Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1686 (since 2009-08-07 20:50:47)


Showing comments 1686 - 1601

  • Ben and Jerry won't tell you who's trying to kill Iran Deal
    • Thanks David for calling this out. I'm also unclear what the issue is here. From the "Ben and Jerrys in Israel" page:

      "We have no economic interest in the occupied territories."

      The Vermont group criticizes Ben and Jerrys for having their products sold on West Bank settlements and for using the Jewish roads on the West Bank. I'm not sure how they know this as fact. Regardless, everybody uses those roads. It's pretty much impossible to live in Israel-Palestine without crossing into the West Bank. The government has built roads and other infrastructure to bury the Green Line and create the one state reality. As for selling stuff in settler shops, I'm sure they sell Toblerone and other goodies somewhere on some settlement. Does that mean now I have to give up my chocolate?

    • Sounds like an endorsement of this article - aside from the question of how many tens of millions of dollars AIPAC and other Jewish orgs have committed to torpedo the U.S. deal with Iran.

  • 'They tried to kill me': Nonviolent activist recounts brutal encounter with Israeli military
    • Shame, shame on Israel. I am an Israeli. These thugs and their masters should be exposed to the whole world.
      What determination and dignity on the part of Iyad Burnat. I pray neither he nor his family suffer irreparable harm in the hands of these tyrants.
      It's reports like these that make me want to tear up my Israeli passport.

  • Israeli minister says IDF should have fired on unarmed Palestinian protesters for humiliating a soldier
    • "Regev" means "clod" as in "clod of dirt." Regev's popularity as a new Hebrew name comes from the infatuation of Zionists with land and soil. Seems to have caught on in particular with two Israeli spokesmen, Mark and Miri. Miri may be able to point to her parents for being called a clod; Mark has only himself to blame.

  • Videos: Brave Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh take down Israeli soldier assaulting injured child
    • Interesting observations. Elite police routinely hide their faces. It adds to the mystique. This mask is bizarre. Looks like somebody made a hash of turning a hair net into underwear and then this soldier stuck his head in it. Maybe it's the heaviest thing they can wear on their faces in Palestine's summer heat, so they make do.

    • The soldier attacking the boy with the broken arm calls out (to other soldiers): "send someone over to me". And then, to one of the protesters: "leftists (i.e. Israeli Jewish solidarity activists) are trash."

  • Jewish community is Humpty Dumpty-- it won't come back together again, and shouldn't
    • I belong to a Jewish community in which the only topic we cannot discuss is Israel. There has even been a move to create a separate online discussion group for the subject of Israel. Everything else can stay on the regular listserv. How ironic that the one thing that was supposed to "normalize" Jews is the only abnormal component of Jewish life today. Israel fails at its own game.

  • Calling Herzog and liberal Zionism ‘racist,’ Gideon Levy instigates a reckoning
    • I read The Guardian - USA. Both Donald Trump's outrageous anti-immigrant bloviating and the horrific deaths on the Hungarian border were at the top of the homepage. I never saw any reports on Israel's Cholot facility outside of Haaretz.
      Jews lived as minorities in Arab countries for centuries. As others have noted countless times, they fared much better under Muslim rule than their less fortunate Ashkenazi brethren who were burned at the stake, tortured in the Inquisition's dungeons, massacred by Crusaders or suffered any other genocidal Christian pathology.
      Israeli Jews seem like to Arab countries a lot. They are flocking to Morroco. Turkey too.

    • Thanks for the summary and insights.

      "Herzog says he leads a large ‘camp’ of liberal Zionists"

      The Hebrew adjective Buji Herzog uses repeatedly to magnify his camp is עצום, which translates as "mighty". It sounds as hollow in Hebrew as it does in English.
      It is a measure of Gideon Levy's increasing stature that the leader of Israel's mighty opposition picks an ongoing, losing scrap with him to try to build up his own standing.

  • Palestinian forced to strip to underwear before attending briefing at Israeli Embassy in Washington DC
    • @ W. Jones - Israel officially justified the questioning of Turkish nationals because of their stated intention of "visiting Al-Aqsah mosque." Where are the liberal Zionists who routinely praise Israel for its religious tolerance of non-Jewish religions?

  • It's time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped
    • Rosross,
      I appreciate your perspective but I don't think that a superiority complex is at the root of endogamy. My sense of Jewish endogamy is that it's about preserving the culture. I've seen Jews reject converts to Judaism/Jews-by-choice just because they weren't born Jewish but mostly, it has to do with perpetuating a Jewish family. In recent decades, with the mainstreaming of interfaith marriage with Jewish children, non-Jews are welcomed into the community. I don't think that in mainstream Reform congregations they are made to feel inferior.
      Whether or not perpetuating the culture is a worthy goal, it doesn't mean that to hold to that practice means you think others are inferior. For instance, most Jews I know who are married to Jews out of conviction would not marry a Jew who had converted to Christianity. It's not about race or the tribe.
      Israelis usually prefer to marry Israelis (or, for Israelis living in Israel they will accept immigrants to Israel who have chosen to assimilate into Israel).
      The outsiderness is an identity.

    • Avigail,
      Thank you for your strong article and your other excellent writings.
      I don't see shaming as a successful strategy.
      My experience with challenging individuals who identify with the Jewish establishment has not resulted in breakthroughs.
      This Palestinian solidarity work is very important for Jews to do yo reclaim their soul. Palestinians say it's valuable for them too. But success won't come from showing PEP Jews just how wrong they are. In my experience, it just makes them defensive.

    • Avigail -
      Unfortunately, it's a tougher nut than that. Obviously, individually, Jews are good and bad just like everybody else. And American Jews do have a legacy of social justice with a blind spot when it comes to Israel (PEP). But the bigger problem is that this blind spot is not just in relation to Israel, but over here too. And it relates to Jews' sense of themselves. Jewish identity. Jews, as a community, feel the need to make the case for being different. And they see themselves (again, as Jews) as being a special case. Ideally, thus outsiderness would work a la Levinas to embrace the Other. But, unfortunately, it usually works the other way, as a self-embrace. What you are asking of American Jews is to transcend a bigger problem than PEP. I don't think you can leverage their liberalism so as to open their eyes to Palestine. I don't think it works that way.

    • Avigail -
      You put too much faith in American Jews. Their social justice (the famed "tikkun olam") concerns do not relate to America's original sins. They talk about Rwanda and Darfur, gay rights in Africa (or the U.S.). They praise Martin Luther King to the skies but not a word about Jewish speculators defrauding Black homeowners in the 60s and 70s, not a word about Jewish complicity in slavery. As for the European genocide against first nations, that is considered to have happened before the Jews arrived. Anyway, what have Native Americans got to do with the lives of American Jews in suburbia today?
      So, yes, in the present moment, the socially conscious fringe of the mainstream Jewish community has shown up for Ferguson and Black Lives Matter. Most Jews won't touch even that.
      American Jews avoiding the structural issues is not limited to Israel. Jews, to the extent that they feel Jewish, see themselves as outsiders. We are not responsible for the big problems, certainly not the historical ones.

  • St. Louis Jews call on ADL to cancel honor to police
    • Annie, thank you for all your work on this.
      It's not clear why Alison Weir doesn't put an end to this this and take the easy step of disassociating herself from racists.

  • Michael Oren misrepresents 1971 synagogue bombing that changed his life
    • I come from a similar background. I witnessed anti-Semitic attacks including on a synagogue during the 70s. There were some members of the community who moved to Israel but none to my knowledge did so because of the anti-Semitism. This includes my own family.
      I remember understanding through the grown-ups around me that the hooliganism directed at members of the Orthodox Jewish community had several dimensions aside from "they hate us."
      This included socio-economic class (unlike American suburban Judaism, Orthodox communities often live in lower income areas) and general juvenile delinquency. We weren't concerned about organized, adult anti-Semites but by the odd one more teenagers.
      We weren't so great either. Within my community, I heard Pakistanis and others spoken about in derogatory terms. There was plenty of prejudice to go round.
      It sounds like 15 year old Oren had a strong response to this incident, jumped on board an ideology that made it better and let it shape his entire life. That's sad.

  • A racist country with too much influence over US -- Israel's new image among Democrats
    • @Double Standard - the link Phil provides defines elites as "highly educated, high income, publicly active US Democrats." That's got to include lots of professors and many Jews but not every upper middle class person you and I might know.

  • Episcopal Church rejects BDS resolutions citing fears divestment would hamper church in Jerusalem
    • "Interfaith dialogue" = The Jewish establishment.
      Back in the Revolutionary War, the Episcopalians escaped the charge of treason when they separated from the British Anglicans. My impression is that this is largely an establishment religion with some notable, inspiring exceptions such as Fr. Cotton Fite.

  • 'Patronizing Israeli crap' -- more American Jewish responses to Oren
    • "They have a schizophrenic world view"
      Your points are spot on. In particular, the schizophrenia. It's not just geographical. Take Jewish summer camp for example. You have a community that is built on interfaith families. Reform Judaism would not be the largest Jewish denomination without interfaith families . Other streams of Judaism have also embraced the openness of contemporary U.S. life.
      But then comes summer. The jewel in the crown of Jewish life is Jewish summer camp. It's where most rabbis get hooked on Judaism. But Jewish summer camp is a shtetl in the wilderness. It's all Jews all the time, with dozens of Israeli counselors. And then at the end of the summer, the kids head back to America back to their Jewish/non-Jewish interfaith community.

  • Oren's criticism of US Jews earns his book five thumbs down: 'slinky,' 'self-aggrandizing,' 'twists reality'
    • Piotr: "Amazingly, this point of view was largely (but never universally) accepted by “Galut”, and this happened quite gradually."

      There is a precedent for this. One historian quipped that "Gentile" is the only time in history that an overwhelming majority accepted the name given to it by a very small minority.

    • Thanks, Krauss. Michael Oren chose to leave his homeland in the U.S. and join the America Jewish diaspora in Israel. Given how recently Jews left their ancient homelands in Europe and the Middle East to settlethe Israeli frontier, the whole country rates as today's Jewish Diaspora.
      As for Yonah's metaphysics, Israel is in deeper Golus than any other Jewish community today.

  • 'Obama coffee' is black and weak -- racist tweet from wife of Israel's vice premier
    • I think what's going in there is an identification of Israeli elites with the U.S. Zionism aspired to integrate the (Ashkenazi) Jews into Europe. That love affair didn't work out so well. So Israelis see themselves as part of America (I guess the billions in aid make that true). Israelis see New York as their stomping ground, consume American culture as if it's their own.
      There is anti-Black racism within the Israeli Jewish community. Look at the Israeli Ethiopian Jewish community. But Nir Mozes wouldn't use an offensive line like this against Black Israelis. She thought she was cracking an American joke. There are plenty of places in America, including in the Jewish community, where racist jokes at Obama's expense are socially acceptable. I've heard them.

      btw, the identification of Israelis with the U.S. seems to cut both ways of the racial divide: Israeli Ethiopians took to the streets following the Baltimore killing and Black Lives Matter movement.

  • Video: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs ridicules foreign press in cartoon defending Gaza attack
    • The second article is behind a paywall. Per the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian military delegation was paid for by a pro-Israel group. There is no mention of them going to Gaza or meeting with Palestinians. The fluff quote that mistakes happen may or may not be all they said on the issue.

  • Netanyahu likens BDS to Nazi Germany
    • The Vogons in general were bloodyminded, incompetent bureacrats, but the Vogon captain in charge of destroying Earth also had an unpleasant personality disorder. Actually he was a . His psychiatrist (who gave him counseling sessions by some early, intergalactic version of Skype) was happy to be many light years away from his psycopath patient.

      Like Israel, the Vogon system was terrible but it still takes committed individuals to keep it going.

  • Is BDS practicing a double standard with respect to Arab countries?
    • Yonah - You fault BDS because you see its goal as achieving a one state solution. Your fear of one state is not an excuse for denying whatever justice the Palestinians can get right now.
      Regarding your pronouncement about how BDS working, you wouldn't bother to address the 1SS without BDS. Thanks for confirming the success of the BDS strategy.

    • Yonah: "Elliot- I am glad that your conception of the future one state is so benevolent if only the US truly wills it."

      Nothing will happen in Israel/Palestine without the U.S. willing it and paying for it. There's $4.7b a year and counting involved. I think a one state solution has as much chance of success as anything else with or without the U.S.
      You cling to the current impossible situation because no one can give you ironclad guarantees about the future. That's not a good enough reason to make life hell for others. And it's not as if the current situation is guaranteed to last either.

    • The U.S. invests over 80% of its direct foreign aid in maintaining the status quo of Israel. It backs that up with the Sixth Fleet, other military and lots of political capital. If the U.S. can sustain the current, unstable, violent status quo, what's to stop it creating a more just - and therefore more stable - democratic state. You may not have faith in Arabs but the U.S.'s power in the region is demonstrated every day.

    • Thanks for all the great comments exposing Beinart's misuse of "double standards."

      Beinart: "If you’re talking about boycotting Israeli behavior in the West Bank and Gaza, because of the fundamental oppression that exists there, but not boycott anything else in the Arab Middle East, I’m with you."

      I don't buy his distinction between Israel proper and the West Bank. Life on the West Bank is better than under ISIS: there are no mass beheadings, blowing up of landmark archeological sites, wholesale rapes and so on.
      Beinart's distinction is artificial and serves his own liberal Zionism.

      Also, the folks who say they are ok with BDS against settlements usually don't follow through. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the leader of the largest Jewish denomination in the U.S. said he backed targeted BDS and then he led the attack on the Presbyterian church for doing just that.

  • People behind BDS are also responsible for 9/11 attack, Israeli centrist tells NY synagogue
    • It bears repeating that the Jerusalem Post is a rag. It is written and edited primarily by members of the ex-pat community of American Jews. Its readership is the same. The Jerusalem Post's reputation in the U.S. is still sustained by the fumes from its heydey 40+ years ago. It once was the unofficial English language outlet of the Labor Zionist establishment. The JP's editorials were pre- approved by the Prime Minister's office.
      It's odd that a Jerusalem Post event got such high recognition from the White House and Israeli pols. Other Israeli dailies have much better access to the corridors of power in Jerusalem. I guess "Jerusalem Post" is easier to work with in the English language rather than the unwieldy "Ha'aretz" (where do you put the accent?) or the impossible Yediot Aharonot.

  • Netanyahu under siege, in 'the most embattled democracy on earth'
    • Good for Netanyahu for referencing FIFA.
      Like Sepp Blatter, Netanyahu won an election after the voters had plenty of information to know better. And now the international community is repudiating both men and their electorates.

  • Once again, 'NYT' fails to tell its readers that many Jews support BDS
    • Yonah,
      If the Pew poll is your text then it refutes the anti-BDS campaign. Per the poll, JVP and BDS are solidly within the Jewish camp. 89% of American Jews believe that it is compatible to be "strongly critical of Israel" and still be within the camp.
      Tell that to Sheldon Adelson.
      link to

    • Decent Jews who are LZ really do see themselves as victims. It's bizarre but it happens all the time. One retired prof complained to me that BDS was polarizing the Jewish community. He's a lovely guy, progressive on all the issues and open to talking about BDS. I asked him why put all the blame for polarization on BDS, I know many Jews were are upset to the point of tears because they are shunned by the Zionist mainstream on account of not being Zionists. Zionism is also polarizing.
      And the result of using that line with my professor friend was to end the conversation. He didn't want to talk any more. This is the social shunning BDS supporters experience in the Jewish community. You say "BDS", the other guy gets offended and there goes your relationship, or at least that conversation.
      At least we know who to blame: it's all the fault of BDS.

  • Munayyer and Beinart's historic debate on the solution to the conflict
    • Beinart's need for a Jewish national state is another example of projecting American Jewish needs on to Israel/Palestine.

      The reality is that there is an Israeli identity that is distinct from American Jewishness. It is actually a tribute to the success of Zionism: a vibrant Hebrew culture, connection to the country and its Palestinian citizens. Say what you will about hummus but its function for Israelis is similar to Palestinians and nothing like its place in the lives of American Jews. Most Israelis have much more in common with Hebrew speaking Palestinians like Sayyed Kashua and his peers than with Beinart and American Jews.

      And yet secular Israelis choose to share power with ultra-Orthodox Jews rather than with secular Arabs. Imagine in the U.S. if progressive Democrats made coalitions with rightwing Republicans only because they happened to be Christians, never mind whether it's Southern Baptist of Episcopalian.

      This identification of Israel with Jewish nationalism is artificial and is kept alive, in part, by the needs of American Jews (and Christians).

      Beinart is part of the problem.

    • @Pabelmont: "However, it is easy to get behind the times. I had never heard of the PNA’s (not PLO’s) 2003 Palestinian Constitution that Beinart attributes to the PLO (see wikipedia on Palestinian Constitution). Which does mention Islam and Sharia, just as Beinart says.

      And, BTW, Beinart is very convincing to me when he described 1SS as utopian and unworkable."

      At first blush, I agree but then I read Ali Abunima and Omar Barghouti's one state declaration: link to

      We should consider that the current state of enmity reinforces the religious component on both sides. One example from the Jewish side was covered recently in Haaretz. Overwhelmingly, secular Israelis get married according to Jewish religious law or otherwise bind themselves to religious laws. Any two Jews who marry in Israel or whose marriage is recognized by the State are governed by the Rabbinical Courts. This means that in the case of a divorce, they must go before a panel of three Orthodox rabbis - all men - who typically live in a different world to the couple. I once had to have business with one of these Rabbincal courts. It was shameful. The Haaretz article posed the question why secular Israelis submit to this willingly. The analysis "Israel's leading demographer" offered was that this strengthens Jewish identity and is a direct consequence of the state of war with the Arabs.
      Jewish and Palestinian nationalism mutually reinforce each other. Getting out of this vicious cycle is going to be tough and may take many years. But Beinart is wrong to tell us to despair of a one state solution because of current official attitudes.
      The United Kingdom has held together for over 400 years; other European countries have their histories of long civil wars and opposing identities.
      No reason why it can't be achieved in Israel/Palestine. It's just that Beinart doesn't want it.

  • 'This land is ours. All of it is ours': Meet the Netanyahu cabinet members focused on fighting BDS & annexing the West Bank
    • You don't need to be ultra-Orthodox to believe this stuff. On the contrary, this is more modern Orthodox.

    • " never thougt that could be a form of Zionism that wasn’t about all the land but only about some of it."
      Amos Oz (I think, in "Black Box") suggests that Zionism was about securing a place of refuge. To want more than that was greedy. If all you want is that + a place for Hebrew culture to thrive, the West Bank is a liability.
      At least in principle.

    • "This land is ours. All of it is ours"

      Reminds me of two poems.
      I saw the first one framed on the wall of a daycare center. The second one is with apologies to a great American:

      1) "The Toddler's Creed" by Dr. Burton White

      If I want it,
      IT'S MINE!

      If I give it to you and change my mind later,
      IT'S MINE!

      If I can take it away from you,
      IT'S MINE!

      If it's mine it will never belong to anybody else,
      No matter what.
      If we are building something together,
      All the pieces are mine!

      If it looks just like mine,
      IT'S MINE!

      If it breaks or needs putting away,
      IT'S YOURS!

      2) This land was your land and now it’s my land

      From the sea of Gaza to the Jordan River
From the Hermon Mountain to the Gulf of Akaba

      This land was made for you, now me.

      As I was walking that ribbon of highway, 

      I saw above me that endless skyway: 

      I saw below me that golden valley: 

      This land was made for you, now me.

      As I went walking I saw a sign there 

      And on the sign it said "A Border Crossing." 

      But on the other side it didn't say nothing, 

      That side was made for me as well

      Nobody living can ever stop me, 

      As I go walking that Jewish highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back 

      This land was made for me, all mine

  • The grotesque injustice of Obama's speech at the Washington synagogue
    • "Not the easiest of partners" is Obama's sanitized version of Netanyahu's "Israel lives in a tough neighborhood." He copied-and-pasted the rest: Holocaust, Yad vashem, Jewish values,

      In the wake of his nuclear disarmament kerfuffle with Israel, Obama needed a feel good moment with the Jewish community. This speech nailed it. Thank God for synagogues. If they didn't exist, we'd have to invent them.

  • Losing public opinion on BDS, activists turn to 'lawfare'
    • "This manipulative language aids, conceptually and otherwise, in the full annexation of the West Bank into Israel."

      Today, BBC World Service did a piece on Orthodox Jews. The reporter visited a business on a West Bank settlement which was presented as being in Israel ("Alon Shevut, Israel"). The reporter did not correct that statement.

  • Faithwashing: the Muslim Leadership Institute and the academic boycott
    • The article that Tree posted on the founder of the Hartman Institute (by Donald) is damning.

    • "Hartman receives much of its funding from the right-wing and Islamophobic Russell Berrie Foundation"
      Sa'ed, that's a serious accusation and potentially helpful. Would you post your source for this (and other claims). Thanks.

  • The Jewish establishment has banned these four valiant Jews. Why?
    • I've run into Yonah's comment wrt the use of "McCarthyism". I really don't know whether these charged words are just a convenient target or whether dropping them would make a difference. I love Phil's style because it challenges the norms of the MSM which are just as "agit prop" - but they get to pretend that that's normal just because they can.
      This stuff fells like the proverbial joke about trying to talk to a deaf man. You repeat what you have to say, each time increasing the volume of your voice. Finally, you are practically shouting but then the deaf man objects: stop shouting, I'm not deaf you know!" And you still don't end up having the conversation you wanted to have.

  • Netanyahu's speech and the American Jewish condition
    • I recently attended a small, closed event of Jewish leaders where Israel was stye declared topic of the meeting. Most of the participants were downbeat about Israel and spoke openly about their fear that Israel was about to be destroyed. In my opinion they are deranged. I think post-traumatic is the kindest way of saying it. Although, why people born a generation or two after the Holocaust should be traumatized by an event that, in most cases, did not touch their families is beyond me. Most Jews today choose to be Jewish. If the trauma of being Jewish is too overwhelming, just choose to be something else; don't take your Jewishness out on the Palestinians.

  • Netanyahu's disaster: speech cost 'omnipotent' lobby a veto proof majority for Iran sanctions
    • Krauss,
      Thank you for this clear analysis. My reaction to this piece is that Phil is overdoing his stirring-of-the-pot writing. But he is following the liberal Zios on this. And that's misplaced hope. So it's great that J St is using language that 15 years ago was fresh, edgy and taboo (remember the Jewish "Not in My Name" group that picketed Ehud Barak in 1999?). But we are not here to save the Israeli liberal center.
      Netanyahu has made the calculation that having his name in the news alongside America's political A -list sets him ahead of the Israeli political pack. So far, it's working.
      There's no way whatever possible fallout from the speech that lies in the future is going to hurt Netanyahu in the elections coming up next month.

  • Biden will skip Netanyahu's speech
    • "If we struck Iran we’d have to do so again every two years. "
      If Israel struck Gaza they'd have to do so again every two years.

  • 'Great American villain' Henry Kissinger faces citizen's arrest inside a Senate hearing room
    • Yonah,
      I feel uncomfortable with the prosecution on nonagenarian Nazis. It all seems part of the fetishizing of the Holocaust, in the face of the inevitable aging and passing of that generation.

      There is a furore in South Africa about the parole of Eugene de Kock, who brutally murdered over 100 South Africans under the apartheid regime. It was pointed out that the people who testified in front of the Truth and Reconciliation commission and who served prison terms were the policemen and soldiers carrying out orders. De Kock had the explicit support of top politicians; he received medals for the killings and torture that he perpetrated. But the men who ran the show were never made to pay for their crimes. Just like in the U.S.

      Kissinger is responsible for more deaths than John Demjanjuk or most of the other Nazis who are still being hounded today. I think Eva's point is fair. 'Shalom' objected to CodePink harassing "a 91 year old". Kissinger looks like he is in better health than some of those Nazi war criminals and his is culpable for much more.

  • Shit dead rabbis say about gentiles
    • 1) Not sure whether the Lubavitcher Rebbe's statement was descriptive or prescriptive.
      2) 'Gentile' does not communicate the pejorative "goy." After all, gentiles call themselves gentiles but no goy would call himself a goy. Re Hophmi's defense of Schneersohn, he would not have called any of the non-Jewish people he met "goyim." I've always thought that "goy" is also a classist snub. Distinguished, affluent, generous and refined non-Jews are not goyim. It's the poor, rough types who get slammed with that: the drunks, villains and crass anti-Semites.

  • That thrilling, anti-elitist Shas campaign video
    • Plenty of state funded indoctrination goes on in public schools in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    • "Shas has built schools"

      To clarify, it wasn't Shas but the State of Israel that built those schools. The money was not private but public. In a system which is overtly sectarian in ways unimaginable in the United States, Shas positions itself as a remedy to the racist Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox system and the and mainstream secular or "state religious" schools. As a religious school system, Shas gets more hours of state-funded schooling per child than the comparable non-sectarian stream.

  • 'The New York Times' throws another sop to lovers of Israel
    • @ Ivri -

      So sorry you don't find the ladies the article suggests to fit your criteria of attractiveness. I actually find women with progressive politics to be sexy.

  • Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football
  • Living in Israel isn't the solution to antisemitism
    • I'm watching Valls too and the response he is getting from the French public. His knee-jerk retort to Netanyahu's bodyguard in the synagogue, not to mention his speech to the French assembly were just great.

  • Diaspora Jews are not in 'exile,' they are at home
    • @ Mikhael

      "the idea that Jews living outside of the borders of Erets Yisrael are on a fundamental level not truly at home has always been part and parcel of Judaism."

      That is not the view of Judaism. The actual traditional view of Judaism was that Jews are in a state of exile galut גלות until the Coming of the Messiah. Over the centuries not just Jews living throughout the world but also those Jews living in Palestine saw themselves as living in exile. The Jewish religious term "exile" was not a removal from "The Land" but a state of removal from the presence of God, or, in more accessible terms, the assessment that the world is in a state of poor spiritual health.
      That is why traditionalist Jews still view the world as being in a state of exile - including such Jews who live in the State of Israel.
      Modern religious folk held to the idea that the State of Israel heralded the Messianic age. But it doesn't look like that that is the case.

      It’s disingenuous to portray points of view such as those expressed by the 19th century Reform rabbi from South Carolina quoted by Brownfield political Zionists in the original article such as yourself as if such declarations encapsulated the traditional Jewish view

    • The distinction is between what the French Jew in the street says and does and what the Israeli leader says. I can understand if a traditional Jew in France is tired of worrying if his publicly identifying as a Jew is a safe thing. Some may want to stay and fight on principle, others may decided to move. Is it an ethical choice for a French Jew to pick up all the benefits he can get in Israel just for being a Jew who moves there? Perhaps not. I think the more courageous action is stand one's ground in France, but I do feel for the guy who has to make that decision.

      But that debate has got nothing to do with Netanyahu's willful behavior in France.

    • Yonah - I agree. Oyvey's comment was shameful.

    • Agreed, but then why do you accept the Israeli label of "diaspora Jew"? This is a term that projects the idea that the Jewish immigrants to Palestine have returned home and therefore all other Jews were still in "diaspora." The reality, of course, is that in the wake of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel, the old centers of Jewry disappeared. From the ancient North African and Middle Eastern Jewish civilizations to the thousand year old Ashkenazi civilization. So, the hallmark of mainstream Jewry today is diaspora. Although arguably, the American Jewish community, with its older vintage, has a stronger claim to being the Jewish center than the more recent immigrant Jewish community in Palestine.

  • Congress invites Netanyahu to rebut Obama on Iran, and White House slams 'breach of protocol'
  • Gaza war blowback? Palestinian stabs 13 on Tel Aviv bus.
    • I'm more likely to be on a Tel Aviv bus than on the West Bank so this random violence is more dangerous to me personally than Israeli violence. Israelis have killed internationals and wounded other Israelis who have stood with Palestinians. And Palestinians have shown bravery in shielding non-Palestinians from Israeli violence. Ordinary people do brave things. They are victims of bigger systems.
      If Herzl Bitton is being praised as a hero, it's fair to ask if he is also a soldier in the army enforcing the Occupation?

    • GL -
      Shhhh. You aren't supposed to be thinking that right now. Now it's time to talk about murderous Palestinians who can never be trusted no matter what we do. It's only when Jews are killed in Europe that we bring your point up.
      Some people will never learn….

    • Israel sees the Palestinian Authority as the corollary of the Jewish State. Just as Israel is not the state of all Israelis but sees itself (in some regards) as the state of all Jews so the PA is the state of all Palestinians.

    • Marnie - "my question is why did they hold back on this guy? "
      I was hoping someone would point this out. Could be all sorts of reasons. Like they aimed at his head but missed. I prefer that prison guards aren't part of the anti-terror forces. Had it been the army or the anti-terrorist police who roam around Israel's cities on motorbikes, is likely he would have been assassinated.

  • Netanyahu and Europe’s far right find common ground after the Paris attacks
    • hophmi,
      The article does not say what you ridicule. So, strawman aside, the Jewish State's raison d'être is to provide safety for Jews. By Israel's own definitions of anti-Jewish violence, Israel is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews today. It is also a growing liability for the safety of non-Israeli Jews. For Netanyahu to purposefully jeopardize French solidarity and the case for French citizenship vs. ethnic definitions of French identity is to further undermines Israel's case for being a Jewish state, even on Netanyahu's terms.

    • "“in their hearts that they have only one country”

      Since this is such an important statement, it must said that the word "only" was added in the English translation of Netanyahu's statement. It's bad enough as is.

    • "To stretch this to claim that Netanyahu wants ALL Jews to leave Europe is false, shoddy, alarmist rubbish"

      Of course that is what he means. He believes French Jews are inherently unsafe. He believes all Jews are unsafe outside of Israel; their position is untenable and their future is doomed - only Israel can guarantee a Jew's safety.
      He doesn't say: "all Jews know that, if they feel unsafe as Jews in their native country, Israel's doors will always be open to them." Instead, he denounced their French citizenship as false; "al Jews know that they have one country: Israel."

      What is astounding is how stuck Israel still is in its founding myths. The stuff the 19th century Zionists said about European Jews was indistinguishable from the right wing anti-Semites. The Zionists agreed with the anti-Semites that the old Jew was no good. The Zionists replaced him with the new Hebrew man, rippling with masculinity and a Biblical name to boot.

  • There is no pride for Jews in the state of Israel
    • "As the birthplace of the Jewish religion and the location where its most important modern day features and symbols came into being, the land of Israel should..."

      Scott, I agree with most of what you write and thank you for writing it but this reading of Jewish history is simply not true:.
      1) 4.5 out of the 5 books of the Torah take place outside Canaan. For the Israelite period, it would be more reasonable to locate the birth of Judaism in Egypt or the desert.
      2) The most fundamental work of Judaism, the Talmud is the Babylonian version. (Its Palestinian counterpart is much smaller and is largely ignored). One could more fairly say that Judaism is predominantly Iraqi.
      3) With rare exception all of the post-Talmudic development of Judaism happened outside the Land of Israel.

      Regarding the present day, the identification of modern Israel with the "most important symbols" of Judaism is ideological. I think that would largely be rejected by non-Zionists.

  • Why I am not Charlie
    • Thanks, Tree. Nothing like a piece of reality to clear up the comment: "but it can't be so!" The New York Times creates the perception that there is no way the U.S. funds Al-Q'adeh by exactly the kind of reporting Piotr referenced. Jeff's logic is circular.

  • Eric Fingerhut, head of Hillel, says JVP is 'frustrating' and that Open Hillel movement has no legs
    • I know lots of people who are not "deep-pocketed" but support Hillel. If this all all about "Jews and money" then make the case. Otherwise, let's be more careful with old tropes.

    • "a well-off suburban area in New York with a high Jewish population"
      and "Hillel, the big-pocketed, leading Jewish campus organization"

      Since this article is not about money why is a synagogue introduced as full of rich Jews and Hillel presented as a rich Jewish group?

  • Hillel exec likens Open Hillel to biblical rebel against Moses who was swallowed up by the earth
    • Eric Fingerhut: "Their [alluding to Open Hillel] real agenda is to have another platform for anti-Israel agitation. This is an argument that is not for the sake of heaven and one that we will not join." [applause]

      This is the correct framing of the debate. Can Fingerhut convince the public that all Open Hillel wants is to take over Hillel to take down Israel. I think that by attacking the integrity of this growing movement of Jewish students he is setting himself up to lose. His audience are the hardcore Israel supporters. Fingerhut is their leader. But his other audience are the liberal Zionists who still feel uncomfortable in the radical camp but could be pushed in that direction by people like Fingerhut,

  • Against self-determination
    • Jon -
      You believe in the Israeli system and the options the Israeli electorate has produced. That's why you live there and that's why you vote. I don't. You want us ex-pat Israelis to fly home to win the day for your candidate, whomever he may be.
      That's Israel in a nutshell. Pretending to be the center of the Jewish universe but constantly appealing - and demanding - that we save you. But only on your terms. Jewish independence and utterly dependent. First, on the American empire for survival and second, on us Jews for your self-declared legitimacy.

    • Danaa -

      I appreciate your irreverence for those oh-so-serious finest and brightest young Israelis. Once, one of them gave me a grilling because my last name was the same as someone on their blacklist. She called over her superior, an even more serious "gorilla." They seemed to believe that I was a danger to the state by virtue of sharing genes or family dinners with that persona non grata. Luckily, they believed me when I told them that the only thing we shared was a rather common surname.

      And this was when I was LEAVING Israel. I would have thought this would be a greater concern on the way in.

      Another time, they were partially mollified when I was able to pull out the name of a synagogue at home. I got a helping hand from a family member who lives on a kibbutz and muttered that we were together.

      It all felt rather melodramatic.

    • @ Roha -
      "Apple pie is neither a German nor a Jewish invention."
      I had to sit down after your broke that to me. I'm feeling a bit better now. :)

    • Jon -

      Some elections ago, Israeli orgs were flying in non-resident Israelis on free charter flights. I didn't go then either and that was when I thought elections mattered and believed that one candidate was better than the other one.

      My future is not in Israel and I shouldn't be making decisions on behalf of people who have to live with the consequences. Besides, elections in general are overblown in importance, typically at the expense of real engagement, advocacy and activism on a daily basis. On top of that, there is not one realistic candidate for leader who I would vote for in a million years.

      Bottom line I object in principle to non-residents voting in any country's election.

      If I change my mind, I can still vote in the World Zionist Organization elections in the “Parliament of the Jewish people” as a Jew.

      link to

      "Israeli citizens are represented in the elections through political parties in Israel; world Jews are represented through international Zionist political parties to which they belong."

    • "German Jews assimilated to the point where many were celebrating Xmas, and thought persecution would never happen in such a modern society. America is safe for Jews, yes. But don’t make the same mistake they German Jews did. Like it or not, you’re a Jew. "

      I disagree. Jews in the U.S. have long celebrated Xmas. Many are descendants of German Jews. They brought their tannenbaum over to the U.S. along with their apple pie. And the Christmas tree became as American as their pie.
      But that's not what makes Jews in America so much more powerful and safe than German Jews back in Europe. It's the more recent changes. The next president or the one after that could easily be a Jew. Joe Lieberman's candidacy for vice-president made many older Jews worry. Now, just a few years later, it's a non-issue.

      Why should that fear dominate Phil's thinking,? If the worst happened, he would automatically have a kinship with whoever else the government labeled as "a Jew". Just like all those Germans and other nationalities who suddenly become part of a Jewish community only because the Nazis said so. There's no value in choosing an identity solely out of anxiety for a possible bleak future.

    • Danaa -
      I assume you go to Israel occasionally to visit family. How do the border policemen treat you? Is it obvious you are Israeli?

      For myself, I keep an Israeli passport to get in and out easily. Israelis are required to use an Israeli passport. A couple of years ago, there was a problem with my passport (-the local consulate botched the job). At Ben Gurion airport a police officer in a back room asked me if I had another passport on me. He admitted me to the country with that. We are all monitored on a shared international database anyway.

    • @ Yonah,
      Thank you for agreeing that in the Middle East (and the broader Arab world and beyond), Islam transcends national identity.
      Palestinian Christianity transcended religious sectarianism with the Kairos statement of Palestinian unity.
      As you know, there have also been secular pan-Arab movements.
      And going back a bit, there have been all sorts of super-national empires.

      For what it's worth, I'm not convinced by Phil's apotheosis either. Feels like a post-industrial society (say, the U.S) lecturing developing countries about greenhouse emissions.

    • Jerusalem isn't sweating this one. The Senate voted 100-0 to cheer on Israel's onslaught on Gaza.

    • @Yonah: "Your post nationalism is not something that is that common in the middle east. rather rare in fact"

      I'm not sure how "post-national" Phil is. He's post religious-sectarian and urban, Jewish New York. There are other versions of "Americanized" out there which wouldn't recognize his new, larger identity . He also doesn't say how this new identity fits not any larger, North American or fully American (north and south) group.
      To your point, there are plenty of Arab identities that transcend sectarianism and national identity. Take Islam for example.

    • "One great thing about Jewish Voice for Peace is it welcomes non-Jewish members"

      Nothing special there. AIPAC or J St don't turn the non-Jews away at the door either. The Jewish community is an interfaith one. It's only that lefties still feel insecure about their Jewish creds.

  • 'Spiral,' 'threat,' 'polarization,' or 'full-scale popular campaign for Palestinian freedom' -- reactions to the ICC move
    • The U.S. has launched the diplomatic front to allow Israel's punitive actions against the Palestinians to go ahead. We are expected to greet the soon to follow Israeli sanctions against the PA with a shrug. What can you do, they've been fighting each other forever.

  • Leading rabbi tells Arab ambassador not to 'shlep' Kerry's view of Palestine into discussion of religion and terrorism
    • hophmi -
      Israeli Jews today don't need the spectacular mass murder of Baruch Goldstein. They use terror on a daily basis, killing one or two at a time (see B'teselem's reports). And the media over here gives regular coverage to your list instead of Israeli (or American) state terrorism.

  • Dissecting 'The Jewish Voices on Campus': a predictable but necessary endeavor
    • David - Thank you for doing this work and exposing this stuff for what it is. I am filing away for use when people refer to anti-semitism on campus as a given.

  • Ari Roth is fired by DC Jewish center -- after staging Nakba play
    • "And I’m still trying to figure out why it’s always a tent"

      Judaism prides itself on embracing debate. The Talmud is the foundational document of Judaism and its largest work. The overarching theme of the Talmud's discussions is to affirm debate and honor dissenting opinion.
      The tent is an image associated with the Biblical patriarch Jacob (aka Israel) (Genesis 25:27) that the Talmud and contemporaneous rabbinic works re-imagine as the study hall . Rabbinic commentary also interprets Abraham's tent (Genesis 18:1) as an icon of his hospitality and openness .
      So, the Jewish community;s "Big Tent" evokes for its proponents the openness of Jewish debate on Israel. It should be noted that the Bible contrasts pious Jacob's "tent" to evil Esau's hunt for wild game in the "field" .
      If you take yourself outside the tent, you are associating yourself with Israel's mortal enemy, Esau.

  • Israel will lose all American Jews but the crazies
    • Netanyahu posted this pic because he liked that the dog he just met relates to him as the leader, rather than to his trainer, the soldier. You gotta admit, it's flattering to be instantly identified as top dog.

  • Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia
    • Interesting breakdown of the signatories of Israel's Declaration of Independence. Some progress compared to the U.S.'s founding document 175 years earlier with the inclusion of two women.
      Also worth noting, that of the 38, all are Ashkenazi Jews, born in Eastern Europe. The two exception are the the one highlighted in the post and Saadia Kobashi of Yemen.

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