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Total number of comments: 1441 (since 2009-08-07 20:50:47)

Elliot

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  • Snowden revealed a world of conspiracies I once would have scoffed at-- Bryan Burrough
    • "We saw the same thing in the smears and attacks against Greenwald in the aftermath of the Snowden story. I was stunned by the spectacle of elite journalists more or less accusing Greenwald of treason on live TV time and again."
      Exactly so. What if Edward Snowden had not succeeded in staying out of the hands of the US government long enough for the story to gain traction? Last summer and fall Glenn Greenwald wrote repeatedly, lambasting his media colleagues in the most derisive terms for their failure to act responsibly as journalists. Here we are, less than a year later and he has been transformed into their darling.
      It is telling how much the US media is in bed with the US government (see also the NY Times and the Iraq war) that a foreign newspaper had to start a US operation in order to give Glenn Greenwald his institutional media home.
      I rely on The Guardian and CBC (radio) for my American political news.

  • Some pro-Israel images to ease you into the weekend
    • Those silly Israeli soldiers.
      How will those olive green fatigues camouflage them on that lush, green lawn?

  • A Jew's dead dog has more rights than a Bedouin in the Negev
    • The one headstone that the Goldog website shows celebrates the friendship and fidelity of "Dusty". Another American fantasy: suburbia on the West Bank, now, American-named Jewish dogs "resting in their eternal resting place in the bosom of nature."
      The hardcore settlers must detest this self-indulgence as much as they abhor Christian fundies. But when you are in the Zionist business, you must take help wherever you can get it: from Hagee to Micronesia to Dusty.

  • When you watch football, you are complicit in violent assault
    • We were driving past the big football stadium and this is how I explained it to my pre-school child:
      Lots and lots of people come to watch a bunch of people play with a ball. There is only one ball. But only 20 or so players get to play. Everybody else just sits on the side and watches. The 22 people fight over the ball constantly. Some of the people who try to get the ball get boo-boos from the other people.
      She got it. At least for now.

  • Fact-checking Jeffrey Goldberg: the American Jewish unanimity on Israel
    • Ok, so why doesn't Rabbi Weintraub do something about #2, "demonization. " She is one of the four leaders of a "big tent" JCPA initiative that is all about #1 "avoiding JVP".

      Good for her, she doesn't do #3, " villifying those she disagrees with."

  • Jon Stewart plays 'Let's break a deal' with AIPAC
    • @ Krauss.
      Jon Stewart lost me a few years ago when he had Pevez Musharraf on his show to promote a new book. The value of this piece is that since he is a lightweight - and a successful one - it means that AIPAC no longer rules the mainstream.

  • BDS: The best hope for a true peace
    • Thank you for this thought-provoking analysis. I'd be interested to read comments from people who are more knowledgeable than me about Algeria and Zimbabwe.

  • Reactions to Ariel Sharon's death over social media (Updated)
    • Kalithea, I am not so sure. I'm reading Howard Zinn's People History of the United States. As you may know, it's packed with monumental deceptions that I, for one, had never heard of previously.

    • With so many of our national leaders saddened and in mourning, will they lower the stars and stripes to half mast?

    • Oh, the ever-cautious, nice J Street. Note the absence of any details or judgement in the perfunctory reference to the man's worst crimes. Sharon was the father of West Bank colonization. This is his baby more than anybody else's. And the J Street statement leads one to wonder what happened in his Lebanon adventure of 1982, if anything at all.

      "Sharon will be remembered for many things - his bold thrust across the Suez Canal during the war of 1973, his role in planning the vast expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank and his tenure as Defense Minister, when he presided over the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

  • Ariel Sharon, whose political career was unhindered by civilian massacres, dies at 85
    • Actually, as criminal as he was in life, he didn't deserve this prolonged death. Anybody else would have been taken off the machines long ago. The manipulation of his comatose body for political benefit by his own family was cruel and self-serving. Now it's time to give him a decent burial.
      It's a sign of how terrible Sharon was, that even postponing the inevitable for eight years has done nothing to clear his name. Actually, had he been allowed to die in peace eight years ago, he would have gotten better tributes for getting out of Gaza. Now, it's obvious that there's nothing to choose from between him and Netanyahu. Let the false pieties flow.

  • My Disillusionment with Hillel: Feeling censored and unwelcomed in the Jewish community
  • 'Haaretz' says many Orthodox are taught to see non-Jews as 'not quite human'
    • I should have stated at the end of my post that Haredi and Israeli insularity obviously do not result inevitably in this kind of crime or attempt to . There are sleazy types everywhere. But I do think that American Jews tend to fantasize Israel as more authentically Jewish because they see it as an all-Jewish society and the authentic heir to the supposed all-Jewish world of their ancestors. There are all sorts of problems with these dangerous fantasies, not least is that the fantasy does not match reality.

    • @Yonah -
      I cannot afford to carelessly destroy all racism, but must instead understand it

      Why?

      All Woody was attacking was racism. Why did you get defensive about Judaism?

    • I was going to post this on the excellent Idan Raichel discussion, but it works here too.
      I know secular, self-styled leftie Israelis who hate the Occupation, have Arab friends, don't serve in the army. They read The Guardian. They live in West Jerusalem's hip enclave of the German Colony with like-minded folk. Yet they still feel it is their duty to promote Israel's good name. I suppose they are trying to project their bubble existence. They wouldn't call what they do Hasbara, except in quotes. They are not radicals. They don't want to through the pain of declaring for Palestinian solidarity and the high social price that entails. Bottom line, it is Hasbara. Without the quotes.
      I think "Hasbarah" is a secularized form of "kiddush hashem/chilul hashem" (Sanctifying/profaning the Name). Every Orthodox child, from Satmar to the most liberal Modern Orthodox is taught to always make the community look good. The good name of the community (or, God, as they put it) rests on the shoulders of every member of the community. If they misbehave in public, they are shamed with: "what you are doing is a chilul hashem!"
      Israelis adopted certain mindsets from pre-modern Jewish life. Even though they would vigorously deny that the New Hebrew Man kept anything from the shtetl. I think that's what Phil is getting at in exposing Satmar. The Us vs. Them construction that justifies all manner of wrongdoing comes inevitably from this carefully constructed and rigorously enforced sense of "us". The damage done is a function of the power of the community. For Satmar, it's a landlord scandal. In Israel, it could start a new Mid East war.

  • A bible park grows in (occupied) Jerusalem
    • Richb, you beat me to it. Emek Shaveh is the go-to website for apolitical archeology at Silwan. The story Elad sells is flattering to Jewish ears and would be lovely if it were true. Do we know that the tower of rough hewn stones is the original "Zion" or is that just a myth the messianic settlers offer secular Israelis to justify Zionism?
      @yrn - you gotta be kidding. Palestine is covered in ancient sites and artifacts that have absolutely nothing to do with Jewish or Israelite history.

    • I confess that I did this tour a few years ago. It's impressive and very political. With a h/t to Seafoid: the Disneyfication of Israel continues full steam ahead. In the good old days, when I was a kid, we would wander through the Silwan waterway. I suppose as Israeli Jews we were not welcome guests. Still, we were kids and we weren't carrying guns. The site then was completely undeveloped. It was wonderful to get down there in the boiling summer and walk through the icy water.
      Now, it is a fortress with security cameras and guards, walls and turnstiles. It's an odd combination of privatization and settler colonization. Like a cruise's private beach in Haiti. Carribean paradise fenced off from Haitian misery. But also like a settlement, fenced in with technology, protected by the army and armed settlers.
      Other sites have gone through the same kind of commercialization and are used as tools of indoctrination. I used to play in the blown up bunkers and trenches of the Castel fortress just west of Jerusalem. I remember balancing on a huge concrete slab that was hanging by a couple of metal rods. It was quite unsafe and there were no fences barring my entry. I would imagine the battles in 1948 between the Jewish and Arab forces. Today it is a national (Jewish) monument. It is safe and official and has become a tool of indoctrination. You are told exactly what to think.
      I'm sure the soldiers you saw there were on some tour of indoctrination, a key function of Israeli military service.

      Btw, it is "Shiloah". "Shiloh" is to the north and is unrelated.

  • Israel aims to silence growing international criticism with Texas A&M deal in Nazareth
    • @David. Fair enough and, for the sake of the students, I hope the project succeeds and grows.
      But it still highlights the structural problem of the Jewish state. In Israel, Jewish universities are endowed by wealthy American Jews, Arab universities go to the American Christians. Israel is still the project of Judeo-Christian Zionists overseas.

  • JNF on why blue box has no green line: 'This doesn’t say this is a map of Israel'
    • @Ritzl - no, no change was forthcoming. My friend had asked me to call the local JNF rep who, I was told, was eager to answer my questions. I said that I didn't have any questions. I had an opinion based on facts. If the rep wanted to engage in conversation with me, I'd be happy to take his call. So, that didn't go anywhere.
      Also, unfortunately, ToivoS, you are are right. My Israeli friend and I were once close, meeting on a weekly basis for dinner and so on but our circumstances have changed and the friendship has not withstood those changes. The unpleasantness over Israel has not helped. We've each tried many times to stay in touch and be close. But the Israel stuff kept on rearing its ugly head. On both sides. The thing that was our strongest connection, "Israeliness", became the bone of contention. He eventually grew bitter. I suppose I was combative (as in the JNF conversation). His wife is a former leftie, hence her eagerness to put the JNF argument to the test. But I think she has buried that history to make the marriage work. Also, ultimately, you have to give up a lot to be Israeli and honestly pro-justice. I understand that due to her history and current circumstances, her pull to stay connected is stronger than my own. I don't have any facts on the Israeli diaspora this but I expect like all diasporas, it's harder to be flexible when you don't live there. Just look at the (fictional) diaspora of American Jews.

    • True story.
      A few years ago, I as debating this point with an Israeli friend in the U.S. I said: the JNF plants trees on both sides of the Green Line. He said: no. His wife was in the next room on the phone with her brother. Her brother lives on (an extreme rightwing) settlement on the West Bank. She called out to us: hold on, let me ask my brother. Her settler brother's answer: I'm in my living room and I'm looking through the window at a JNF sign in front of a bunch of trees right now.

  • Roger Cohen (who doesn't live there) explains the need for 'my Jewish state'
    • OlegR who is a Zionist (and who doesn't live here) comments regularly on an American blog about undoing America's co-dependence with a "Jewish State".

      But that somehow makes sense to him.

  • Simon Wiesenthal Center calls Falk, Walker, Waters, Blumenthal and ASA anti-Semites
    • @Woody - thanks for making that point. What would the Wiesels, Foxmen and Wiesenthals do without anti-Zionism? If it didn't exist, they'd need to create it to justify their pulpits.

    • @Stephen -
      I think "holiness" is not the right term. The Hebrew word is "yochasin" (which gave birth to the Yiddish "yichus") translates somewhat archaically as "pedigree". But then again, the whole concept is archaic.

      The earliest Rabbinic source, the Mishnah lists the pedigrees thus:
      Ten pedigrees emigrated from Babylonia [to Palestine in the 6th century BC]
      Priestly, Levitical, [Ordinary] Jewish,
      Invalidated Priestly, Converted, Freed,
      Mamzeric [bastards], Nathinitic, Silent Ones and Foundlings.
      Priestly, Levitical and [Ordinary] Jewish
      (Mishnah, Tractate Kiddushin 4:1).

      The context is fitness for marriage within the Jewish community, a focus of this wave of immigration dating back to the Bible.

    • Do you know each other from the potato business? The Mahaneh Yehuda market in West Jerusalem is known coloquially as the "Shuk" (cognate of "souk").

  • El Al airlines promotes tourism in occupied territories
    • For what it's worth, the brilliant copyrighter who came up with this was likely working off the Hebrew. "El Al" is supposed to invoke "to the heights" through a loose use of the word "al" (on, upon, above).

  • African refugees hold up i.d. numbers, recalling Holocaust tattoos
    • "(Rabbi Judah Magnes) went to the States during the (1948) war for health reasons, although he also lobbied the Truman administration and the Jewish community to withdraw support from Israel."

      Thank you for that! Rabbi Magnes was an early proponent for sanctions against Israel. As a Jewish organization on university campuses Hillel should take note that:
      A. The concept of BDS is as old as the State of Israel
      B. BDS is as Jewish as it comes. The founder of Hebrew University instituted a prototype of BDS.

    • Thanks, Ira.
      While we are looking at the resonance of images, one should note that the biblical verse is set in Koren type. This distinctive type is familiar to Israelis from formal texts. In English language terms, Koren type not quite as grand as Gothic but is not for everyday use either. It was actually developed for the first Hebrew bible printed in Israel ("wiping away Jewish shame" at all the Christian=printed bibles as Ben Gurion put it). Curiously, the man who initiated the new print type was an American Reform rabbi Judah Magnes. Magnes moved to a Palestine as a Zionist. He objected vocally to Ben Gurion's aggression and went back home to the States in 1948 over an ideological rift with Israel.

  • Rage over ASA boycott shows, world has never punished Israel for human rights violations --Derfner
    • Thanks Annie for putting this together. It is odd that Larry Derfner who was so impressive in this piece on BDS still holds to the liberal Zionist argument that Israel does not need to answer for 1948. He reinforces his own argument that Israel cannot save the Palestinians or itself and so it's up to the rest of us to stand for justice.

  • 'WSJ' piece argues that Israeli Christians and Jews are aligned, but not Muslims
    • @yrn -
      Even your tone is colonialist.

    • @Mikhael,
      Welcome to the debate. We have several Russian-Israelis here.
      "Shirking" as you put it is becoming increasingly popular among young Israelis, particularly women. It is gaining increasing socially acceptance as the numbers soar. The army is happy not to have them. First, it doesn't need so many non-combatants (the overwhelming majority of soldiers), second, their indoctrination as Israelis is complete.
      Thirdly, there is no PR stunt to be won. It used to be the sexy girl soldier in cute white socks and a gun that sold Israel to the Americans and Europeans, then it was the platoon of bearded Haredi men. Now it's going to be priests singing Hatikva handing out Bibles (with or without the New Testament?)

    • @citizen et al
      my great great grandfather was one of those Russian Jews who evaded conscription by cutting off part of his thumb. We have a picture of him that shows it.

    • @dimadok -
      How many Palestinian Christians do you know?
      I am in touch with several Palestinian Christian leaders and they describe their reality and the place they occupy in Israel very differently to you. And for standing tall, Israel routinely humiliates them.

  • Shavit and Beinart willfully ignore an anti-Zionist Jewish movement
    • Schlemiel - you don't get Mondoweiss because you appear to reject a Judaism rooted in universal values. This is a world community of Jews and non-Jews, including Jews like myself who are also Israeli. I hope you stay curious and stick around.

    • @yonah
      You most likely know that Israeli settlers on the West Bank have also proposed 1 state solution. This is the only meaningful settler proposal, although it is not the democratic solution we are discussing here. The 1ss is the only viable one for ideological settlers as they cannot support a 2 state solution. They understand firsthand the 1 state reality that Israel created for them.
      Meanwhile the politicians play the game of pursuing pie in the sky.

  • Israeli rap warns vulnerable Jewish women about seductive, dangerous Arab men
    • Mahane Yehuda -
      Cut out the warm welcome act. Your winking play of Sephardi and Yiddish confirms for me what others have already posted: you are a troll. I hope both of you who make up your online presence are well paid for being a nuisance.

    • @mahaneh yehudah:
      "In contrary to you, I think that the fact the Muslims don’t allow non-Muslims men to marry Muslim women (or even to be friends) is also kind of racism. I agree with you, it exists in most Muslims societies and it is not specifically against Jews. "
      I hope you are enjoying your imaginary debate. I never said the first statement that you disagree with or the second statement that you do agree with.
      I am not the source for your unfounded claims.

    • @MahaneYehuda:
      Thank you for not contesting that there is Jewish racism against non-Jews in Israel.
      There is no parallel between this Jewish racism that we agree exists and any possible anti-Jewish racism (which you have not demonstrated). Israeli racism is official, backed by laws and the Israeli Jewish power structure. The second is societal and exists in some form or other most places I know.

    • @yrn
      "If this is the impression you got from the Israel society all you miserable life in Israel."
      I actually had a nice life as an Israeli Jew in Israel. Since leaving Israel, I have come to realize how much of that comfort was Jewish privilege made possible by disadvantaging non-Jews.
      To cite another religious example from Israel's international airport, it has a synagogue but no designated place for Christians and Muslims to pray. The same is true in Israeli hospitals. As the recent Knesset story showed, Palestinian religious life is made invisible in Israeli public spaces.
      In contrast, a devout relative of mine just told me that he prayed with tallit and tefillin in the multi-faith "Meditation Room" at Schiphol airport right next to a Muslim man who was performing his own prayers.
      In case you were wondering, I am managing just fine here in the U.S. without Israeli Jewish privilege.

    • Yet more racism from Israel.
      At Ben Gurion airport, some 49 VIP rabbis can be driven by their chauffeur up to the plane when flying overseas.
      No imams or priests enjoy this privilege.
      link to haaretz.co.il (Hebrew)

    • @ Konrad -
      Desperate indeed. This is a fantasy, exoticizing Arab leaders. No warning and no parallel whatsoever to Lehava's crude, inflammatory, racist warning to Jewish Israeli women.

    • Page: 14
    • Translation:
      You are imprisoned in a village little sister
      because he tricked you, now you live in a mosque
      He promised you the life of a real princess
      but now he beats you because you wanted
      to be different
      to marry an Arab
      and not listen to your parents, your girlfriends and your brothers
      "I'm the smartest", you were so sure of yourself
      he bought you clothes
      took you out to eat every day
      he bought you jewelry - the prince of your dreams
      He just wants a Jewish woman to be his slave
      to let his family and friends taste you
      they hurt you. no heart. for them you are just a dirty rag.
      you want to escape, you are closed off in a cage
      He said his name was Chayim, he played the Jew
      He made you feel good
      He wrote you lovely poems
      In his heart he hatched a scheme, little sister
      Look at you now, you have lost hope
      You are lost in bottomless misery
      despairing, frustrated "how did I get so lost?"
      50,000 Jewish women in "the villages"
      What will be, O Israel, we have abandoned the girls.
      So, another year went by and you are still in the village
      drowning in your blood in the jail of that village
      heart full of yearning for the beautiful world
      you are wilting, falling apart, you can't stand yourself
      "what was I thinking?" you cannot forgive yourself
      ...
      "What am I now? an Arab woman, an idiot"
      ...(she finds God and becomes observant of Jewish practice. God can and will save you etc.)
      Chorus: you are the daughter of the King and He is all powerful. Give Him your all.

  • Snowden's Christmas address
    • For comic relief, I watched the opening minute of the mainstream British Christmas message. The one the Queen gives. Both she and Snowden speak of "George". In the Queen's case, it's all about the new baby, HRH Prince George and the joy and hope of babies and so on. OTOH, Edward Snowden's George is George Orwell and how 2014 is set up to be so much worse than 1984.

    • Ha! I loved the WWII reference. Feeling mauled by shopping mall Christmas.

  • Remnick asks Shavit whether Zionism is a historical mistake
    • "Shavit says, “We will know the answer about Zionism in 100 years time or 200 years’ time.”

      I posted yesterday how Shavit is trying to make a Jewish argument that ended over 100 years ago. This is another example of that. So, the Israeli strategy is to get by for another century or two and then turn around at that point and say: just like the U.S. managed to separate itself from its century old crimes, so can we right now. It's desperation.

  • Will 'sex in the toilets' really renew Zionism?
    • "[A]nyone who thinks the new Israel is a fundamentalist theocracy doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about…"

      'Provincial' is right. Shavit tilts at the religious, forgetting that his real problem lies outside the Jewish shtetl. He's not just stuck in his provincialism, he's lost in time too. Nietzche and Wagner would have been proud. This is like rite of spring, shocking the prudish, Victorian world with sensuality.
      And the constant worry about what the rest of the world thinks of the Jews. Over a century later, Shavit is still trying to show Europe that the Jews can be free too.

      As others have suggested, is there a correlation between the accepted norm of semi-public compulsive and anonymous sex in Tel Aviv, and the same soldiers' callous and brutal treatment of the Palestinians?

  • Senior faculty have 'intimidated' junior faculty who supported boycott measure, ASA caucus says
    • @ Obsidian and @any liberal Jew who is old enough:
      the simple answer is: why did people support the boycott of South Africa? There were arguably worse regimes at the time. Thankfully, that didn't stop the popular movement to boycott South Africa. The ASA vote is another step towards the mainstreaming of the BDS movement. And it's working. Just like the Presbyterian BDS campaign, the ASA's internal division is along the lines of power and generation. The older members are using their power to slow down the younger generation. Inevitably, the generational shift will win the day.

  • The settler's welcome
  • David Brooks comes out against the occupation
    • @ Oleg,
      Early Zionism's Jewish detractors pointed out that the world was moving towards greater urbanization. People were moving off the farms and shtetls to Warsaw, Vienna, Berlin and provincial towns. The argument went: you aren't going to reverse that trend and get Jews to move to frontier settlements in Palestine.
      What all arguments based on current reality miss about change is people's passion. To quote one guy from those early days of Zionism: "If you will it, it is no dream."

  • Reform Jews embrace Israeli 'pluralism' -- sans Palestinians -- to energize the young
    • Reform Judaism is not trying to save Israel for modern Jews, let alone for Palestinians. The leadership and the membership of Reform Judaism really don't care. If all of Israel turned ultra-Orthodox, Reform Judaism would still need and love Israel just as much as now.
      Why has Women of the Wall become Reform Judaism's cause celebre 25 years after it was started? Because there is so much unstoppable anger against Israel that they needed a safe intra-Jewish way of channeling that. "Look we are activists too!"

      The content of the American-Israel relationship for the Jewish masses is:
      1) Make pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
      2) Support Reform/American institutions and projects in Israel.
      This is a 21st century restatement of a pre-Zionist relationship with Eretz Yisroel: you visit if you can and you support your landsmen in the Holy City.
      Barely a mention of the I/P reality (that American Judaism helped create) that lies outside this narrow sliver of Israeli life.
      It's all about what Israel can do for you and your "Jewish identity."

      Another point to keep in mind is that, along with the other national Jewish organizations there is a divide in Reform Judaism between what the senior leadership allows themselves to talk about and the concepts and content that are presented to the rank and file and local leadership.

  • It sure pays to support Israel!
    • @hophmi:
      Just like it's silly for:
      1) Women to advertize pay differentials with men in the same position.
      2) Blacks and ethnic groups monitoring their representation in high level jobs.
      3) Etc.
      Apparently, you cannot hold a big position like president of a major university - or any other position of national Jewish leadership - if you don't hold the right opinions on an issue totally unrelated to the job.

  • Israel is uniquely sexy -- Ari Shavit tells Sally Quinn
    • "We are not addicted to victimhood. We didn’t turn it into our religion or identity.”

      Dear Mr. Shavit: you can reproduce plentifully and be beautiful and still be hooked on victimhood.
      Also, this is yet another classic statement of Israeli ideology: rejecting non-Israeli Jewish life. "We are a different breed to our miserable forebears who trembled in fearful victimhood in the shtetls of Europe or the effete "diaspora" today."

  • Warpaint and terrorists
    • Thanks for the geography lesson. Who knew the West Bank was so close to Israel? People are interested in what makes the Occupation work. The bubble that Israelis try to live in is sustained by the moral support families give to their sons and brothers, the enforcers of the Occupation. If warpaint is prestigious, that means that the work of subjugating the Palestinians is valued by Israeli families.
      I'm not comfortable with public displays of militarism outside Israel too. What's with the British royal family getting all dressed up in uniform for their own weddings?! Most American Jews never see a military uniform and would be uncomfortable having warpaint in their wedding pics. The difference here - yet again - is that what American Jews reject at home, they allow and celebrate overseas.

    • The main job of the Israeli army is enforcing the Occupation. That's where they regularly use live ammunition and interact every day with "the enemy". For everything else there is the United States.
      Would you send me the google results for "US servicemen showing up at weddings in warpaint"?

    • I find this warpaint schtick intriguing. Why does a training march require warpaint? And why didn't the soldier in the wedding pic take a minute in the restroom to wash it off before kissing the bride? It seems like there is prestige attached to warpaint. When I was in the Israeli army, a certain type of sweater was more prestigious than another type. Just because it was harder to come by. Five year later, the pattern reversed as fashions changed. Throughout the military, there is a hierarchy in the prestige of different colored berets; certain guns are cooler than others and so on.
      This warpaint fetish is new (at least for me). Given that Israel is not fighting with its neighbors, warpaint must mean active duty in the Occupied Territories. these pics show that in civilian Israel there is prestige attached to being the enforcer of the Occupation.
      To use the classic Jewish accusation of Germans who lived 70 years ago: "they cannot say they did not know."

    • My guess is that the second photo is of the conclusion of a military march. Combat soldiers go on these extended marches 40 or more miles long carrying full battle gear. At the end of the march, they have a passing out parade and get some emblem, such as the right to wear the prestigious colored beret. It's important for the army to secure the moral support of the soldiers' families and so these are invited to these events. Seems to me likely this is the final approach of such a trek and the family is out to push and encourage their brother and son over the finish line.
      Could be anywhere in (greater) Israel.

  • Real estate, racism, and righteousness -- a grim visit to Israel
    • It is indeed grim. It's not even as if violence offers any hope. If all the Palestinians rose up against the army and kept at it until the Israelis shifted. But I don't see that happening. The Israelis are so powerful and they feel totally justified to kill as many Palestinians as it will take. The West Bank is not Birmingham, Alabama. There are no White northerners who can be shamed by any images.

    • We are in the finals so to speak. And each one of us has its team to support. I know which one is mine.

      @fnlvt:
      In other words: I will take no responsibility for my actions. If you fail to support me you are a traitor.

  • Brandeis tosses Nusseibeh off board for not condemning militant rally at his school
    • Thanks for all the interesting comments.

      link to en.wikipedia.org
      1) In a public setting, the leader receives the salute from his followers (see Stephen's comment above on the Italian fascist salute).
      2) The Nazi salute is given with an outstretched, straight right arm pointing forwards and up.

      To state the very obvious, the U.N. pics of Netanyahu are not Nazi salutes. As the guy at the podium, Netanyahu should be the man receiving the salute, not the one giving it. Netanyahu uses his left arm and it's pointing off to the left, in the general direction of Iran.

      Lawrence is most likely responding to his donors.
      What will the Brandeis faculty and students say in response?

  • 'Pro-Life? Pro-Israel?': Israeli anti-abortion organization reaches out for US support to fight demographic war in the Jewish state
    • @yrn
      I served in the Israeli army because that's Israeli law. Every man and woman is required to do military service.
      My service taught me many things, both positive and negative.
      It is indeed a place where young men and women are given unusual amounts of responsibility.

      It solidifies indoctrination.

      But the enduring lesson for me, and I would suspect for most soldiers, is the incredible waste of time. The only thing worse than doing military service must be doing time.

      I advised my nieces to get out of military service if they possibly could. Mostly, because of the waste of time and the indoctrination. I guess I wouldn't want them to be in a machsimo, potentially sexually abusive, system either.

    • @RP
      You made a bold assertion that you have still not backed with any evidence:
      Then again, if Jewish women weren’t pressured to be “mattresses” for their male colleagues in the IDF, maybe there would be a lower rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions.

      Maybe there would, maybe there wouldn't.

      Your second assertion needs to be tested against the United States, which is also highly militarized and also suffers from a sexually predatory military and an epidemic of rape and sexual abuse:
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      The militarized state, a culture that glorifies “masculine” values and denigrates “feminine” ones, and the devaluing of female control of their bodies help contribute to more Jewish conceptions.

      I served in the Israeli army. It was a bloody waste of time for men and women. And yes, there is a prevasive culture that abuses women - as there is in the U.S. military, and I expect in many others. For that reason alone, I wouldn't want my female friends and relatives serving in any army.

      Israel has many ills, but bringing in an unsupported non sequitir to the abortion discussion overplays your hand and unnecessarily changes the subject. Efrat stinks on its own demerits.

    • I have to agree with Mayhem's objection to the tone of this comment.
      What is the evidence linking unwanted pregnancies to the IDF's machismo? How does that compare to the US military and its pervasive abusive culture towards women?

  • Liberal Zionism ends with a pinch
    • If it's any comfort, I bet Yair Lapid can't stand Avigdor Lieberman. This pinch was as false as they come.

    • Elliot, some Israeli cabinets have included a token Palestinian minister in a technical role.

      In the current and previous cabinets - not one minister or deputy minister.
      In earlier cabinets (I checked back to 2000), it was typically one deputy minister or one junior ministry for a period of a year or so). Not a member of the kitchen cabinet, the septet or the security cabinet.
      "A token Palestinian minister" is right.

    • The bigger question is, would you see Yair Lapid giving a welcome home pinch to a returning Palestinian minister. No, you wouldn't, because there are no non-Jews in the Israeli cabinet. There are settlers and Russian-Israelis, just no Palestinian citizens.
      Which just proves the point. Liberal Zionism means that the State of Israel is for Jews only. Palestinian citizens of Israel not given government ministries; they are just tolerated

  • Netanyahu calls on American Jews to stand 'together with us' to stop Iran deal
    • I dont know how many billions have been collected from Germany and everyone else by the zionist but its more than enough for every real holocaust survivor to have lived in comfort the rest of their days

      I don't know either. I do know a Holocaust survivor who collects a monthly pension from the Austrian government. Very appropriate.

    • @walid, as you cite, this is well known stuff.
      You can hardly fault the germans for not fighting israeli corruption.
      Anyway, this new german resolve in standing up to Netanyahu's guilt trips and not allowing themselves to be browbeaten into holocaust guilt is commendable. And if Germany can't be guilted into backing Netanyahu, who can?

    • @walid -
      Surely, there's no problem in Germany paying reparations for the Holocaust? The are many survivors in Israel, so that makes sense.
      It used to be the case that Israeli PMs could pick up the phone and guilt Germany into silence. Netanyahu was shocked the first time Merkel told him to shove off.

    • @ Walkd,
      I googled "merkel and netanyahu" and got news reports from 2011 and 2012 (sorry, having trouble posting the links) in which it was public knowledge that she slammed Netanyahu over his handling of the Palestinians and Iran.

    • That's so true.

    • This year's Kristalnacht anniversary could not have come at a better time for Netanyahu. Bibi owns the Holocaust. Without the Nazis, what meaning would there be to Netanyahu's transnational "Jewish people"? The Nazis took Frenchmen and Germans, who had nothing in common except that they each had a Jewish grandparent, and put them together in a concentration camp. They revived the idea of "the Jew" and left American Jews with Jewish guilt.
      Netanyahu is running with it. Problem is, he's missed the boat. The Israeli, Zionist manipulation of the Holocaust as a political force is over.
      Ask Angela Merkel.

    • Ellen, I find that encouraging. Netanyahu calls the Jews to war. Problem is, nobody knows about it. He just can't get the American media to get the message out to the Jews.

  • Echoing Netanyahu, Ted Cruz slams Kerry and calls on Iran to recognize Israel as 'Jewish state'
    • Did Kerry just go through the soap opera of pleading Israel to temporarily slow down West Bank settlement construction so that the U.S. can later say it wasn't capable of stopping Israel from attacking Iran?

    • Phil, I think your headline and lead miss the point.
      How about: "Defiant Netanyahu slams peace deal with Iran: "we will do everything we need to do to protect Israel"

  • Joseph Massad on how 'Peace is War'
    • Tree, it seems to me that 1917 is the critical year. As long as the Turks were in control, just getting Constantonople to grant entry certificates and land rights for a handful of halutzim was enough to occupy Ben Gurion's time.

      Britain blew the lid off that with its government's explicit Christian Zionist program and the establishment of the Anglo-Jewish government in Palestine in the early 20s. In the 1920s, the Jewish Agency and the British Mandatory government in Palestine had the kind of close relationship that has only been rivaled since by AIPAC's relationship with the US government.

    • and by the time of the violent events of
      1929 most Zionists understood that the reality was going to be quite different,

      Zionist leaders such as Hans Kohn figured this out earlier and left for America. He left Jerusalem in the mid-1920s.

      Most of the founding wave of Jewish immigrants ("Aliya shniya") to Palestine left, never to return. We'll never know how many of them saw through the myth of Ziomism just by virtue of being in Palestine.

  • Video: 'The real truth about the West Bank' offers rejoinder to Danny Ayalon's hasbara lies
    • Looks great. One mistake that should be cleaned up in the voiceover (around 4:24). Menahem Begin obviously was not the prime minister in the Six Day War. The cartoon image gets it right.

  • Netanyahu tweets tense photo of meeting with Kerry
    • Netanyahu got his comeuppance with the return of Lieberman. See the picture MW posted with Alex Kane's article.

  • Beinart: Saving Israel took too much time away from my writing career
    • Yup. That's the one. How do you feel about his messianic dream?
      He's about as relevant politically to everybody else as the Amish are to their countrymen.
      His vision of Judaism contra nationalism is great. Isaac Meyer Wise, the 19th century founder of American Reform Judaism would have liked that speech a whole lot more than the sermons of mealy-mouthed Jewish nationalists Reform rabbis today.

    • It worked 2,000 years ago for the founders of Judaism and it worked 1,000 years later for Maimonides. Very different today. They had clear, strong internal and external Jewish markers. what is there today?

    • Which Rabbi Weiss? If you mean Neturei Karta, then they are a tiny group, the married women (who are at least 18) shave off all the hair on their head. Generally, they to live in the 18th century, pre-Zionism and pre-Napoleon.

    • Sure, Beinart has helped expand the camp of Israel critics, but wrt his career, weren't his backing of the Iraq war and his Orthodox Jewishness significant in his success as a critic of Israel? "Even an authentic pro-war Jew says it!" So, now, he is being pulled back into the community that gave his views their legitimacy. Very much like Goldstone except that Goldstone didn't yammer about how tough it was to grow up as a Jew in South Africa.

    • Why not start a petition. I'll sign. I'm sure others will too.

    • Ellen - sure. I hope it will happen in my lifetime and I'm working to make it so. I don't think that Beinart wants to hitch his cart to that horse. To continue the animal metaphors, he has smaller (or at least other) fish to fry.

    • I do wonder what he isn’t telling us about his efforts to keep OZ alive…

      Phil, thanks.
      I was going off his headline: "Why Open Zion is Closing"
      and unequivocal lead: "Open Zion will be closing at the end of the year."

    • I hope there are ways to flesh this out. The inherent challenge is that if you are universally universal, then what makes it "Jewish"?
      But for that to be a real option, it has to exist in the world. Sadly, it doesn't yet. Critically, as long as ostracizing Mondoweiss, Jewish Voice for Peace continue to be respectable and mainstream, it doesn't stand a chance.

    • Amazon is selling The Crisis of Zionism brand new for $4.79.

    • Can’t we have multiple communities, just like most of use have different circles of friends and communities with which we identify?

      I agree with that. That's the way things are, or are going: JewBus (Jews who practice Buddhism), interfaith families and so on. And that is just one aspect of Jewish culture: religion. When you throw in cuisine, language, ethnic affiliation and so on, the multiple identities just grow.

      Can’t Jewish identity or Jewish faith/culture be enough to create a sense of Jewish Community for those who seek it?

      What does "Jewish" mean if it's merged with everything else? There is no one thing that we can all agree on. Unlike Zionism, which we can all agree on is good. Holocaust commemoration worked for a while but it's not going to last forever. Anyway, that is also opening up to be not being exclusively "Jewish."
      There might be a path forward but is hasn't been tested yet. In the meantime, many of us, for whom radical, Jewish politics on I/P are our passion, feel that Zionism has EVERYTHING to do with it. Every so often, just when I am beginning to get past this and feel that I am connected, some muckety-muck in the J community excommunicates me and my tribe of radicals. And the silent J majority stays mum.
      Where does that leave me?

    • Why cannot Beinart be a mensch, a human motivated by love of the other over love of “our people.” That does not exclude being Jewish…but does exclude Zionism.

      That is a MUCH bigger project. There is no Jewish community outside of Zionism. There may be niches, like the gay, Jewish community that have found a common bond with each other other than Zionism, but they are intinsically limited and are flawed in other ways (e.g. Phil's piece today).
      Nobody has yet figured out on a global scale what it means to have a Jewish community without Zionism. Some are begining to figure out what being "Jewish" means without Zionism (Marc Ellis, Judith Butler and some rabbis), but the "Jewish community" bit is huge and uncharted.

    • Rusty - I disagree. There are all sorts of things he could have done or said had he wanted his project at Open Zion to continue. Instead, Beinart created it and Beinart is closing it down. From what he wrote in his closing essay it would appear that he needs to clear his reputation in his synagogue community and the broader Jewish community. For him to be forgiven, Open Zion needs to disappear and become just a historical footnote in his career.

  • Jerusalem gov't invites you to watch knights battle in the occupied city
    • If Israel is Jewish Disneyland for American Jews then Jerusalem serves the same function for Israelis. Most Israelis would never live in the Holy City but love going there on tours to get their fantasy fix: religious - at the Western Wall; nationalistic - take your pick; Israeli military folklore - ditto. Knights jousting fits right in. You've got the setting and the mindset to go with it. Medieval chivalry plays up Jerusalem as a European Christian city, displacing the Moslem/Palestinian Christian association. It simultaneously works perfectly for both Americans and Israelis.

  • Stop the demolitions in Jerusalem!
    • Inside the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem (close to the entrance of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate) there is an empty rectangular compound, roughly the side of a football pitch. There is no direct access to it. It is surrounded on all sides by a wall and apartment buildings rising above that. Nobody ever built inside the compound because the ground us unstable. In ancient (Roman) times it was a water reservoir and the landfill is not solid. That is, until recently. A couple of years ago, I was allowed into one of those apartments and was able to see that structures were beginning to go up. Because of Israel's policy of "ethnic cleansing" ('Judaization' gives me the creeps both because it mimics Aryanization and because of the abuse of the term 'Jew') the Palestinians are desperate for Jerusalem residency; they will even risk their family's safety to stay.

  • ADL rebukes Kerry, and -- Ambassador Power embraces ADL
    • "The documentary record seems to reveal that Leo Frank murdered his employee Mary Phagen, tried to frame a worker at his factory, and at the time of the lynching was the beneficiary of behind-the-scenes manipulations of the judiciary that were on the verge of unwinding his case."

      Sometimes it feels like I've been living under a rock. The report, if true, is quite convincing and exposes the ADL's founding myth as just that.

      Who is behind irmep? All they give is a PO Box address and no name.

  • A lynching by another name would be a political murder
    • yrn -
      When I was in Israel, I heard a story from a combat soldier of soldiers in his unit who, while serving in South Lebanon did something similar. After a deadly exchange of fire with Palestinian gunman, one IDF soldier pulled the pin out of a live, hand grenade and put it inside the mouth of a dead "terrorist".
      I have no reason to doubt that the story was true. It was told to me in a matter-of-factly way. Like it was a science experiment.

  • Christian Zionists help settler-farmers take over Palestinian lands
    • @ W.Jones - What about Arab nationalism? It's all about Israeli nationalism. There used to be many more Palestinian Christians in I/P, but an Arab of any religion is just the same. I don't think the CZs care to make distinctions between the religion of the natives. Their categories, when it comes to Palestine are not religious, but secular - nationalistic (in the case of Israel) and racist (in the case of the Palestinians). It is a deeply disrespectful stance:anyone other than CZs cannot be viewed in religious terms. That privilege is reserved for the CZs.

    • Perhaps they are simple-minded but they still have a certain mindset. It doesn't matter whether (or not) they have reflected on it. The KKK weren't necessarily deep thinkers either.
      Who is on the other side of the "line in the sand" that they draw with an Israeli flag? It's not the anti-Christ, Papists, the Devil or any other traditional Protestant target. These young men (and woman) would have to have worn blinkers when they passed through Israel and seen all manner of fornication and general heathen practices. Apparently the only thing that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cares about is standing up to the Muslims. If you do that + claim the name "Israel", you're a good Jew, per these Christians.

    • "I’m not sure why any Jews would be friendly with people who want them dead or converted (in what would basically be a cultural as well as non-cultural genocide) but I guess some Zionist Jews would say their prophecies are wrong and accept their help anyway."

      It's cynical, mutual manipulation on the part of Jews and Christians.

      Isn't it odd, that, while Christianity is a matter of belief, of accepting certain propositions ("Jesus is my savior" or "I believe in the God of Abraham etc."), being Jewish, per these Christians, is something different: membership in a secular nation. They draw a line in the sand not with a flag of the Torah, but the State of Israel's flagpole.
      Is it too much to say that this is a Ku Klux Klan mindset applied not to White "Christian" America, but to a Jewish Israel?

  • What Comes Next: The one state/two state debate is irrelevant as Israel and the US consolidate Greater Israel
    • Ammuel Hirsch is an influential rabbi. He is the champion of Israel in the Reform movement and has debated Peter Beinart. Most definitely anti-Palestinian. If there is a new Reform Jewish identity forming that embraces settler Israel, it's because of people like him.

    • @Oleg - you are either playing the fool or you didn't read my post to the end.

    • I want to comment on one observation in this remarkable, packed analysis.

      "It is, however, understandable that the US-Israel would regard an Iranian deterrent as an intolerable threat. It would limit their ability to control the region, by violence if they choose, as they often have. That is the essence of the perceived Iranian threat."

      I was raised to believe that they 1973 Yom Kippur/October war was an existential threat to the State of Israel. For instance, Moshe Dayan's famous pronouncement that "the third commonwealth is in jeopardy". And then I learn just this year, in the 40th anniversary publications, that the Egyptian war plan was to seize a strip east of the Suez Canal in Israeli-held Sinai, just enough to put a dent in Israel's invincible stature. Their military plan was successful, as was their strategy. Most likely, this opened the Israelis up to the the peace process with Egypt only four years later. But Israel still tells the story of "existential threat." It's Jewish melodrama. If we are anything less than invincible, then we are all doomed to annihilation. The Israeli obsession with Iran is about demanding a 100% gurantee for the existing order. Which is not fair and not right.

  • For Eric Alterman defending Israel trumps longtime friend and employer
    • Danaa, you are a riot.
      Cheerful topics which are officially depressing: Any Palestinian accomplishment, the beauty of the old Palestinian society, Islam etc.
      Incredibly depressing topic that we just can't get enough of: the Holocaust (what's with the obsession with Anne Frank?! enough already!),

  • 'The Nation' tries to balance pro- and anti-Israel voices inside the lib-left
  • Terry Gross aired Blumenthal when he went after Republicans, but Israel -- no thank you
    • I'm so sorry. I wonder if that is something an investigative reporter would pick up. If your uncle was assassinated by US government agents, there must have been more than one person in on the crime. They may have spoken to others over the years (in old age?)

    • Thanks. Great article. Despite the bullying and censorship today, it is still much easier than it used to be, say in the early 80s. I feel for people who had their awakening during the Lebanon War in 1982. You guys soldiered on in the wilderness for years.

    • I have my own experience of this double standard in the mainstream/Jewish world.
      I represented a Jewish organization on domestic advocacy campaign. During the campaign I was given all manner of moral support. When we win, enthusiastic accolades from the organization ensued.
      The next project I took on was an I/P issue. Here I was met with stonewalling. People were offended and annoyed. The final conversation I had with an office-holder ended with her saying to me: "the events you are reporting to me are just so....extreme".

      So I/P is barred from polite Jewish conversation because it is too intense. Unlike that light, fun-filled topic that Jews love to dwell on endlessly - the Holocaust.

  • NYT decontextualizes (ethnically-cleansed) Jaffa in hipster fashion piece
    • Jaffa is accessible to hipsters because housing is affordable; it's funkiness is because of the still standing Palestinian buildings. Unlike tony Ramat Aviv which is new and for Jews-only. So it is Jaffa's visible Palestinian past and its current Palestinian population that make it what it is for the Jews.
      Of course, this is an EXACT parallel to 21st century Williamsburg's famous tepees and its Native American population.

  • 'The bra is a security threat': Harassment and interrogation at Ben Gurion airport
    • Dear Shunra (the "cat"?)
      "She was *very* upset ..."
      You mean you didn't take the word of Israel's youngest and bravest at face value?! Shame on you, you self-hating Israeli, you!

    • Thank you for documenting your hard experience at Ben Gurion airport. You have a gift and your description is powerful and important. Please write more and stay strong.

      What struck me was how these brutalizing experiences are important for the formation of young Israelis. Participating in these humiliating tactics, under the careful tutelage of senior colleagues, conditions you to becoming part of the system yourself.

      The story illustrates among other things the role of social pressure in enforcing Israeli racism and mental barriers. A couple of years ago I was visiting Israel with my wife and we had to pay a visit to the ER. The young Israeli Jewish doctor asked me where I was staying and I answered matter-of-factly with the address of a local convent which has a B&B. She raised her eyebrows and repeated the address in a mocking tone and added: "really?!" (Be'emet in Hebrew). I was being censured as an Israeli for staying over there.

  • 'NPR' whitewashes Israeli rabbi the 'Forward' calls a 'provocative bigot'
    • @Danaa it’s been all along a system based on patronage – almost feudal in practice – where a large chunk of the population, typically more disadvantaged and less educated, can get some help – one that’s hardly forthcoming from the state.

      I think you are right in your analysis of the "feudal" system. Shas people would say they are doing nothing that Ashkenazi Jews weren't doing for decades. The State of Israel was sectarian for many years, during which time, Sephardi Jews were given crumbs off the table. Shas (like Hamas) show up the failure of the secular state to provide for all.

      In return, these people become devout, almost fanatic followers of the religious organization, cloaking themselves in reverence of their “spiritual” leaders, acting as a single united movement, papering over the many divisions underneath.

      There appears to be a contradiction here. Do you think they are "devout and fanatical" or are they just dissembling in a manipulative manner? Many Shasnikim are religiously devout, or at least respectful of religiosity, and also loyal to the party that feeds them. There's no necessary contradiction there. And likely, the people at the top are papering over differences and seeking to harness "the people" to build up their own power. Just like other political outfits.

  • Our rabbis are afraid of their Israel shadow
    • Unfortunately - and it is really unfortunate - even this initiative is hollow, if not manipulative. JCPA has been a key enforcer of party discipline regarding Israel. The same players who bully Israel's detractors in the Jewish community are behind this "wide tent" initiative. JCPA is trying to define a tent that is just wide enough to keep all the Zionists in and all the others out.

  • de Blasio praises racist rabbi for 'wisdom, charity, sensitivity' (and J St gave him shoutout)
    • Thirty Jewish cabinet members = 25% of the Knesset and not one non-Jew is trusted to hold their own portfolio. Just the token deputy that gives Israel's apologizers a smokescreen.

    • Nothing (I mean no law or regulation) prevents them from getting organized and becoming a real force on the political arena.

      You don't need a law or a regulation when "we all agree" that no non-Jew may serve in this Israeli cabinet. In South Africa, apartheid laws came later when there was a need to formalize the system. Israel has plenty of racist laws but it doesn't yet need them with regard to power sharing in the government because it's not even an issue.

      Contrast that to Egypt, where, because he excluded non-Islamists, Morsi lost his job.

  • 'The world doesn't get it' -- Highlights of Netanyahu's alienation tour
    • The Zionist international network was absolutely essential at key moments in the State of Israel's development. For example, there was no legal Israeli framework for colonizing the West Bank. The Zionist international network (WZO and others) provided that.

  • Hillel director slams Birthright for refusing students' requests to meet Palestinians and see checkpoints
    • Keith - Thank you for posting that. Hilarious.
      Warning: Zionists may be offended.

    • Danaa - LOL!
      It is safe to assume that the steamy, late night part of the Birthright program was not covered by the rabbi. Hooking up that is tacitly approved by one's parents? Cool!
      It's not just among the participants of Birthright. There used to be a well-used, distasteful Jewish quip: "shiksehs (derogatory Yiddish term for 'non-Jewish women') are for practice" i.e. young Jewish men should satisfy their sexual needs outside the Jewish community. For Israeli men, it helped that non-Jewish European blondes were flocking to the kibbutzim. Plenty to choose from. Now that Israel is no longer popular and kibbutzim are museum pieces, the American Jewish community has stepped in to fill that need. They send over planeloads of young Jewish women to serve that function. Two Jews having sex is increasingly desirable in our increasingly intermarried world. Israelis are good for that.
      And the function of "The Holocaust" and "Zionist History" is to make those Birthright unions that much more meaningful and pleasurable.

    • @ ritzl
      On a related but different note, how do the Birthright people justify including converts to Judaism on these trips to The Homeland. Rabbi Danielle should exclude those born outside the tribe on the grounds that they have no "birthright".

    • Israelis scorn non-Israeli ("diaspora") Jews for being "galootee" - cowed, meek, old world Jewish. American Jews have internalized this atitude. (I almost fell off my chair when I heard an American Jew describe the Israeli accent in Hebrew as "sexy"). American Jews tell self-deprecating jokes about not being athletic, having two left hands and so on. Unlike the New Hebrew Man who is masculinity personified. The Middle Eastern sun makes his muscles and his spirit strong.
      The cliches are pathetic and predictable. What a way to create an identity.

    • I often see myself as simply the gatekeeper, the interviewer, the person that sits with pen in hand and checks boxes

      That's exactly what she is. Why doesn't she just refuse to vet young Jews for Birthright until they fix the program? She still values the Birthright program of building American Jewish (religious!) identity on the foundation of Holocaust and the State of Israel.

  • Netanyahu delivers predictable speech fear-mongering on Iran
    • I switched off after this opening: "I feel deeply honored and privileged to stand before you today representing the people of the State of Israel. We are an ancient people, dating back 4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob etc"

      There you have Israeli apartheid proudly displayed at the UN. The State of Israel is for Jews only. Palestinians are invisible.

  • J Street's achievements
    • In British office training school, the mature sergeant majors had to address the young office cadets respectfully. But they also had to deliver the humiliation of boot camp training. So when the sergeant major spoke to a cadet, so long as he began with "Mr" and ended with "Sir!" he could fill in the middle with whatever string of swear words he wanted.
      Yonah Frriedman is just the opposite. He starts and ends with insults and fills in the middle with reasonable comment.

    • Pamela, On Gaza/Ghaza, I was confusing two letters. Thanks for the correction.

    • Thank you Phil for these great reports. I find it encouraging to see the range of opinion that J Street is presenting and the enthusiastic response. J Street is moving us forward even though they have positioned themselves behind the vanguard.

    • @Pabelmont -
      The KH sound that Israelis (not Arabs) use in KHAMAS - and more pleasurably KHUMUS - is an authentic Hebrew sound. Technically, that is not a guttural sound (it comes from the roof of the mouth). Arabs (Jewish and otherwise) have an additional couple of deep guttural sounds which sound to Americans like somebody is choking and is transliterated into English as an approximation. So, the "H" of HAMAS is not an American "H" but an Arab sound. It's also how we get the English GAZA from the original 'AZA.
      The contemporary Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew is a modified form of the Sephardic/Middle Eastern traditional pronunciation. The American Jewish community, in sympathy with the Israelis and in line with their subservience to Zionism, abandoned traditional Ashkenazi pronunciation and now uses the Israeli style (albeit with an American accent).
      Hope that helps.

  • One family's story illustrates the cumulative impact of Israeli interference in Palestinians’ lives
    • MY - people are suspicious of Israeli manipulation of victims of violence. Many of these are not so innocent: soldiers, settlers and other perpretrators of violence are all viewed as "victims of terror" by Israel. OTOH, Palestinians who are killed are branded as terrorists.
      Until you acknowledge these manipulations, I doubt people here will offer the compassion you ask for.
      The disparity in rights which I wrote about is far more significant that the military imbalance that enforces it. You did not read that in my comment.

    • Mahane Yehuda,
      The thrust of GL's comments are directed at the parity you suggest between Jewish and Palestinian suffering. The context is one of great disparity of power and rights and your call to just get on with it is callous.

      In general, it's ok and common for commenters to focus on individual statements. They are often quite revealing and we should be able to stand behind everything we write, no?

  • J Street leaders praise IDF, but audience cheers BDS
    • The Israeli word for "diaspora" is "golah" (pronounced: goh-LAH) is pretty close to the old religious Hebrew word: "galut" (exile). Since Hebrew operates by generating many words from a limited number of "roots", this linguistic affinity is obvious to Israelis. The disparaging, Israeli adjective "galutee" (pronounced: gah-loo-TEE) is less common than it once was. It defines Israeliness as the rejection of the old Yiddish civilization that gave birth to the State of Israel: Yiddish and being nice to the goyim are two typical "galutee" markers.
      The term "diaspora" is more than just an expression of Israel-centeredess. I find that it is used almost exclusively by Israelis. (For an American Jew, even a Zionist, his life is here and Israel is over there.) Knowing the general condescending (defensive?) attitude that Israelis have towards non-Israelis, "diaspora" always sounds quite rude to me.

    • GL - Activists attended the 2010 conference because it was the biggest place to be if you cared about I/P. That was the conference where the college arm of J Street rejected the "pro-Israel" part of J Street's slogan: "Pro-Israel, pro-peace."
      As for Jeremy Ben-Ami and so on, that's another matter.

    • Great article, Phil. I went to the J Street's first conference in 2010. There, too, there was a marked gap between the leadership's positions and the mood in the audience. At the time, J Street was new and exciting for radical activists. I would have thought that, by now, that would have shaken itself out. Speaking for myself, I was excited to attend the 2010 conference but didn't even consider going this time. I wonder if the same radicals are going or, is the J Street rank and file undergoing a transformation toward embracing BDS?

      I have one quibble with you to do with your use of "diaspora":
      It has long been the spiritual position of religious Zionists that Israel is higher – aliyah—than the diaspora. So the diaspora must defer to Israeli political thought.

      It's not "religious Jews" but the State of Israel (i.e. David Ben Gurion) that insisted that it had primacy over the Jews of the world.

      You don't reject the term "diaspora" in your article. "Diaspora" was adopted and co-opted by secular Zionist nationalists out of the lexicon of traditional, religious Judaism in order to drive this point home. Today, we are all a diaspora of Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jewish civilizations. If anything, Israel is more so a diaspora than the United States Jewish community because its mass displacement of Jewish populations started more recently.

  • What if your friend had to die to preserve a Jewish state?
    • @Yonah:
      You might say, “Why establish a country in a sea of Arabs, if you can’t get along?”
      You might say that and you did say that.
      Jews live in "a sea of Gentiles" all over the world. We live in "a sea of Christians" in the U.S. And we all get along. We intermarry or not. Pray together or not. Play together or not. And we don't talk in those terms.
      Zionism was supposed to normalize the Jewish situation in the world. The State of Israel was supposed to make Jews safe. Yet Zionists and Israelis are the biggest Jewish purveyors of fear.
      Zionism has failed on its own terms. And its recklessness is a liability for the rest of us.
      And Shingo appropriately calls you out for your implied racism.

    • @Yonah -
      Spare me your suburban analogies, on what basis do I deserve that?
      What's up with this rudeness?
      I think “the neighborhood” is often used as an excuse.
      Thank you.

    • @ Yonah
      Elliot- to compare a country the size of America and the population of America vis a vis Latin America to a country the size of Israel and the population of Israel vis a vis its neighbors is illogical.

      Yonah,
      Now you are playing games. You introduce a term "neighborhood" without defining it (Is Greece or the island of Crete in Israel's neighborhood?) but then complain when others use the same term with reasonable points of comparison.
      The definition of "neighborhood" is not a scientific reality but a state of the Israeli mind. Israel loves being near Europe but hates being in the middle of the Middle East.
      In terms of scale of distance, population and reach of power, the U.S. vis a vis Latin America is comparable to Israel vs. its "neighborhood" (whatever that means).
      You read the same things I read on Mondoweiss so you know of the many parallels between Israeli exceptionalism and American exceptionalism that have ben explored here. So, you may disagree with me but you don't really believe that this comparison is illogical otherwise you would have raised that objection earlier.
      What you really object to is anyone taking on the "tough neighborhood" defense of Israel. This argument is an attempt to manipulate American Jews and others who fled the cities for the safety of suburbia. The "tough neighborhood" defense is really something along these lines:
      "Think of your poor fellow Jews who are still stuck in the tough neighborhood while you fled to suburban safety. We're not as lucky as you. How dare you judge us in your fine suburban home and fancy schools. You have a nice neighborhood. We weren't able to get out. Leave us alone to figure this out on our own.
      P.S. Keep those checks and warplanes coming."

    • @yrn
      Elliot
      Are you speaking as an Israeli ?

      I certainly used to be this kind of Israeli and did not know it. It took a couple of visits to the States and listening to Israel's staunch Jewish supporters here to wake up to this rebellious, ungrateful attitude. Israeli hopsitals and universities are plastered with plaques attesting to their Jewish donors around the world. Israel's parliament and Supreme Court were donated by non-Israeli Jews. Not to mention the constant military and political life support that the United States gives Israel.
      Yet, official Jerusalem - in Israel and when they travel here - treat "Disapora Jews" and "goyim" with a sneer. Read Netanyahu's condescending statements to Jews around the world. I've seen it and heard it in official and off-the-cuff asides of Israeli diplomats and regular Yossis too many times to count.
      It's not all Israelis of course but this truculent, adolescent attitude is a mainstream Israeli trope. And, it can be traced back to Israel's founding father, David Ben Gurion and the rest of his cohorts in Israel's founding generation of the so-called "Second Aliya".

    • Uncle Sam is indeed the parent. I've posted this before. Israel reminds me of a rebellious teenager. Its founding fathers and mothers were just that: revolutionary Eastern European teenagers. They left home, changed their names, rejecting their parents' values while living off money from that old world back in the heim.
      The Israeli mentality today is still truculent yet completely dependent. "Give us your money and your love, or else" alongside "shut up. what do you know about anything."

    • My guess is that transliteration is playing games here. The Turkish word for "sacrifice" appears to be a cognate of the Hebrew "Qorban" using the letter "qof" (parallel through the Greek and Latin alphabets to the English "q").
      "Khurban" (destruction) uses the Hebrew guttural "khet" often transliterated as "chet"

    • Walid - I wonder if Yiddish humor also translates into Arabic. The Hebrew "Khurbn" (pronounced by Yiddish speakers as KHOOR-bun) was used euphemistically (and understandably) for "breaking wind"

    • Yonah,
      Thank you for agreeing that Israel's governance is a mess. But what has that got to do with the "neighborhood"? So what if there is/isn't a successful Arab Spring or whatever else is going on over there. It would be like defending U.S. racism/empire or explaining U.S. democracy in terms of Latin America. Israel - in similar ways to the U.S. - dominates its own "neighborhood", intervenes in their affairs while holding itself in higher self-regard than their neighbors.
      But nobody seriously justifies the U.S.'s faults because of the violence in Mexico or revolutions in and military regimes in Central America.
      And the same advice we give Israel goes for Arab countries too. Morsi failed because he did not include non-Islamists in his vision for Egypt; Israel is failing because they have never truly partnered with their Palestinian citizens. Arab dictatorships relied on U.S. money and war materiel to hold their regimes together. Israel is utterly dependent on the U.S. In the long run, the U.S. empire is not as strong as the people. The Arab Spring showed that and Israel cannot last either.

    • @Oleg
      "No but they are not legally barred to be elected into any office."
      If we tell you about Israel's racist laws, you change the subject.
      If we tell you about Israel's racist institutions, you change the subject.
      If we tell you about Israel's racist practices all they way up to the highest political offices, you point back to the law.
      Two things are constant: Israel's racist nature and your efforts to stop the conversation.

      I don't need Lebanon or Israel. I can pick from many democratic countries where I can live freely as a Jew in Jewish communities. Although Taxi's descriptions of Lebanon are appealing and I'd like to visit one day.

    • @ citizen - agreed. There is the popular idea that at least WWII was a noble war: We all agreed that the cause was just and we all did our share. Even the children of the powerful served, we were all in it together and so on.
      But even WWII (or the Civil War, as you note) didn't level the playing field of privilege when it came to questions of life and death. There's no escaping the issue.

    • Even WWII was not exempt from young people trying not to get killed.
      Paul Fussell (a WWII vet himself) wrote extensively about how social class determined what kind of service you did in WWII and your chances of survival.
      The grunts who slogged through Europe in 1944-45 and defeated Germany had a high percentage of Blacks and lower class Whites. They also had the highest rates of casualties.
      I'm reading Malcom X's autobiography. He writes that his close Black friend in the Roxbury district of Boston tried to get out of serving in WWII. "Whitey owns everything. He wants us to go bleed for him? Let him fight." p. 83

    • Right.
      While to Lebanon's south all those office holders plus every one of the 30 government ministers are members of the majority ethnic group.

    • Yonah, I'm surprised you never had a similar experience on a taxi ride or tremp other close encounter with an Israeli. Israelis get existential at the drop of a hat. They eat this stuff for breakfast.
      David's comment about being ever ready with the regurgitated inculcated dogma is spot on.

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