Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1230 (since 2009-08-07 20:50:47)


Showing comments 1230 - 1201

  • Triumphalist light show in Jerusalem weaponizes the city walls to celebrate 50th anniversary of Jewish conquest
    • Decades ago, when I lived in Jerusalem, I happened to walk by the Tower of David (the citadel shown in Phil's video) as a Palestinian tour guide explained the site to his group. I was bemused to hear the Palestinian tour guide say that, whereas the Jews call it The Tower of David, it's actually a minaret and an Arab site. I wondered if he would get into trouble with the authorities for saying such a terrible thing.
      How perfect that the iconic symbol of the Jewish conquest of Jerusalem is a mosque. It's not just the oranges and the falafel that Israelis have appropriated even a Muslim holy site is imagined by the Israelis as Jewish.

  • Trump may want a deal, but Israeli Jews are not interested
    • "they refuse to exercise those rights, and then cynically complain about inequality in the city."

      IOW, we will issue a blanket denial for building permits, proper health facilities, decent transportation and other essential services until you become one of us.

      C'mon, even the Israeli government doesn't say that. Just look at all the Palestinian Israeli villages that were forced to accept Israeli citizenship. They get treated just the same as East Jerusalem.

      In the Jewish, two-tiered system it's not about citizenship but about being Arab.

  • Israel's neverending occupation is bringing 'infamy' to Jews worldwide, making Jewish life 'precarious' -- Tony Klug
    • Phil , re your last comment. To what extent are young, progressive secularized Christians proud of their Christian heritage? There has been a generational shift across society.
      Among synagogue-going Jews there are many progressives who do find inspiration in traditional Jewish texts. These include folks, who like Klug, attended traditional Jewish schools but left that world.

  • The immaculate conception of Louis Brandeis
    • Why would Brandeis choose Zionism out of the Jewish hat as his bona fide ? Could it be that Zionism was the least objectionable choice for the anti-Semites who might have derailed his judicial ambitions? Zionism deflected Jewish immigration from America's shores to Palestine and Zionism agrees with anti-Semites reinforces that Jews are different.

      As Tom Suarez showed last week, Zionism has a checkered past as the twin of anti-Semitism. The current silence of major Zionist organizations in the face of the recent neo-Nazi attacks points to these shared interest. For instance, the rabbi Donald Trump got to bless his inauguration runs an organization supposedly dedicated to protecting Jews and fighting racism. But the Wiesenthal Center famously trampled on Palestinian sensibilities by planning a so-called Museum of Tolerance on top of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. The Wiesenthal Center also attacks President Obama as the world's #1 anti-Semite, way ahead of real Jew-haters such as the Zionist supporter and White Supremacist Richard Spencer.
      Why do Zionists care so little about anti-Semitism?

  • The truck attack that killed four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem was not 'terrorism'
    • The soldiers who were attacked and died were young men and women with mothers and fathers, lovers and friends. Their humanity should be upheld. The real criminals are those parents and their peers who put their children in harms' way. Even though they were adults it's hard for me to hold them fully accountable for their actions. It's certainly sad that these young lives ended.
      But it's not terrorism. These were not conscripts. They volunteered to be combat soldiers. they volunteered to serve further time beyond the mandatory three years (for men) and serve as officers.
      The location is also significant. Their commanders brought the cadets to Jerusalem not to have fun for a day but to fill their heads with the idea that "Jerusalem" is worth the fighting, the killing and risking death. The glorious tales of ancient Jerusalem told in front of the promenade's panoramic vista is meant to sustain these cadets when they are beating the shit out of young men in Hebron. Their job as officers is also to instill that sense of mission in the conscripts they will be training and leading in a few months time.
      Jabel Mukaber is a direct victim of this oppression. I can only imagine what the residents of that village must feel watching the Jewish tourists right on top of their homes. The truck driver chose to attack the officer cadets, not civilians.
      This ain't terrorism.

  • Video: All hell breaks loose in Knesset as Zoabi demands apology following Israel-Turkey agreement
    • The wheels are coming off.
      A few notes:
      1) The seat behind the heckler Hazan was occupied and is marked as "Parliamentary Legal Counsel". He was mostly looking at his phone.
      2) The resonance of the call: "Go to Gaza" quoted in the article is twofold. First, in Israeli Hebrew "Go to Gaza" is an insult, equivalent to the English language "Go to hell!" Second, he actually said "Rooh el Azza", in Arabic (and not the Hebrew "Lechi L'Azza"). This is one of the rudimentary Arabic phrases that Israeli soldiers use to disperse Palestinian crowds. How does that sound to a Palestinian? One can imagine that in 1948, this is what the Palestinians fleeing the Nakba heard as the Hagana soldiers moved them into Gaza in the first place.
      3) Why does Israel's official "Knesset Channel", the Israeli version of C-SPAN give equal time to the heckler? Why did the Speaker not cut the heckler's mic? As a result it was hard to follow MK Zoabi's speech. And this lack of intervention was an incentive to all the other thugs to get up and start shouting and shoving too.
      4) I don't think Israelis see this as "all hell breaks loose." The Knesset is a rowdy place and I have seen several similar instances. For USians, a peaceful sit-in by anti-gun Congressmen is a remarkable occurrence. The Israeli Knesset is not nearly as genteel as Capitol Hill.

  • Dennis Ross tells American Jews, 'We need to be advocates for Israel' -- and not for Palestinians
    • "the event was off the record"

      It's a pity nobody speaks Yiddish any more. Reb Dennis could have loosened his tongue to millions of Jews in Yiddish and then denied it in English.

  • Giving up on political propaganda, Israeli consulate turns to Ted-style inspirational conference
    • Hophmi "You’re projecting. No one is trying to censor the speech of pro-Palestinian activists on campus".

      That's just silly. Palestinians (and Jews) who stand for Palestinians are routinely censored. I learned earlie today that Palestinian students at DePaul University face disciplinary proceedings for marking the Nakba in a public space. They were peaceful and calm but we written up by the administration. Meanwhile, the simultaneous pro-Israel demo was allowed t continue without interruption.

  • French premier says 'loathing of Jews' is behind BDS
    • "Valls was addressing an audience during a ceremony on Sunday at Tel Aviv University in which the George Wise Medal was conferred on him.

      George Wise made his academic reputation as a scholar of Latin America's caudillos. Caudillismo is described by Wikipedia as:

      "the Spanish colonial policy of supplementing small cadres of professional, full-time soldiers with large militia forces recruited from local populations to maintain public order."

      Not much different from full-time IDF soldiers backed by the armed settler population controlling the Palestinians on the West Bank.

    • After the Hyper Cacher terror attack Valls' gave a memorable speech to parliament standing by French Jews. "How can we have people chanting "death to the Jews" on our streets?"

      Earlier this week, Valls had a business meeting with Israeli officials just a couple of miles from where Palestinians were murdered by a Jewish mob on the streets of the capital.

      You can hear "death to the Arabs" at Jewish rallies on the streets of Israel. The grafitti "מות לערבים mavet la'aravim" is everywhere.

      The day after Israeli human rights organization B'tselem announced that Israel cannot be trusted to keep Palestinians safe, France is telling the Palestinians that BDS, their call for justice, is unacceptable.

  • Democratic Party is now split over Israel, and Clinton and Sanders represent opposing camps, says Pew
    • I'm optimistic about the winds of change too. But it's going to be slow and painful. Just look at the opposition.

      Among Republicans and moderate Democrats, support for Israel is at at a 15 year high. Going up to some 50% higher than the previous high!

      Who said hasbara doesn't work?

  • When 'Broad City' Went On Birthright, and taught us all a lesson about American Jews and Israel
    • hophmi -
      You avoided my question: "What heritage are Birthrighters connected to (assuming this is so) and is that a good thing" as does the Brandeis study you cite. In fact, the Brandeis questionnaire is heavily weighted towards confirming the assumption of Birthright that Israel=Judaism. The respondents, graduates of Birthright, seem to have gotten that message too.
      Your call for Jewish Day Schools is quixotic. It's also not true that money for non-Zionist education is abundant as you see. On the contrary, "Israel studies" programs at universities cannibalize Jewish studies programs. Funds are extracted from existing Jewish studies to budget Re'ut scholars and other Hasbara projects.
      As for Birthright's popularity: a free foreign trip with guided tours, affirming a disdain for Arabs and the superiority of the Jews plus hook-ups with hot Israeli soldiers with a nod from one's parents and rabbi - what's not to love?

    • "In the real world, of course, Birthright is seen as a major success for connecting Diaspora communities with their heritage"

      Where is the research to back your claim? What is the control group? Imagine what fantastic programs, staffing and content could be developed in Jewish communities with $50m. What heritage are Birthrighters connected to (assuming this is so) and is that a good thing? I hope that's intellectually nuanced enough for you.

      Birthright has succeeded in making Birthright participation a marker of Jewishness in casual conversation.

      A leader of Birthright tours tells me there is no follow up with participants when they get back home. Why bother? the Israel indoctination has happened already. Who cares about "Diaspora" Jewish identity after that.

  • Whose Birthright?
    • Birthright is marketed as the way to make American Jews more Jewish. In reality - as usual - Israel doesn't care at all about American Jews. The goal of Birthright is to shore up American support for Israel. I had a chat recently with a Habad rabbi on a university campus who leads Habad-themed Birthright trips. He's delighted to have access to free funding but tells me he'd much prefer to get those 100s of thousands of dollars to hire staff and do programming here. (Disclaimer: I am not Habad and I don't support their campus work.) He complained that there is no follow-up with Birthright participants. If Birthright was about building Jewish identity, it would be the first step not the last one.

  • Sanders's leftwing base made him take on Netanyahu
    • Krauss,
      Wow. The EMILY prez' comments on how potential political candidates had to get an AIPAC-approved paper on Israel before hiring a campaign staff. Just a few years ago that would have been pure anti-Semitism. A non-Jew from Montana saying that Jewish money serves Israel by blocking by only supporting candidates who tow the line.
      We've come a long way since then.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • Bryan -
      Your (d) and (e) are crucial.
      You still have not made the case set out in your (b).
      " Judaism (cf Christianity, Islam) had no concept of pilgrimage to holy places – the earlier prescribed ritual of visiting the temple on prescribed holy days was made impossible by the destruction of said temple, and later the prohibition from entering the area where it had once stood. "
      That's simply not the case.
      1) In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Temple, Rabban Gamliel considered retaining the temple worship at the site of the temple.
      2) In rabbinic tradition, there is a ritual for visiting the site of the temple including rending one's garments and saying a special blessing.
      3) The case of Maimonides and others that you cite proves this point. They came on pilgrimage to see the holy sites and then left.
      4) The traditional ideas that you reference of not entering the Temple Mount supports this as does the ancient principle of the Four Holy Cities: Tiberias and Safed in the north, Jerusalem and Hebron further south.

      It's fair to say that the Biblical requirement of "pilgrimage" (three times annually to the temple in Jerusalem) passed with the destruction of the temple. But the idea of pilgrimage in the sense we use it today lived on plus the emotional connection to specific sites and the Holy Land in general nurtured through study, prayer and ritual.

    • bryan -
      I have to agree with hophmi on this one. I suppose Sand (if he said this) meant there was an uptick in Jewish pilgrimage along with Christian pilgrimages. But that doesn't mean to say Jews did not make religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land for centuries from both Christian and - more commonly - from Muslim lands. We have records from antiquity through the Middle Ages to modern times of such pilgrimages. From the Amoraim of Talmudic times to Maimonides in the 12th century to Benjamin of Tudela etc etc.

    • tokybk:
      "A cultural Zionism that included living in/visiting Palestine (as legal residents and tourists) speaking Hebrew etc."

      Jews have always visited Palestine as an act of pilgrimage and have lived there alongside other peoples under a non-Jewish government.
      What I love about Hebrew is how older layers are intertwined with the neologisms and new grammar (which I am told is essentially Slavic). But that literary Hebrew is rare and getting more rare. That beautiful was the hallmark of the first generation of Hebrew writers who received a traditional Jewish education and brought that into the new language they helped create. Modern Hebrew is really not enough to justify a whole movement.

    • Eljay:
      "Antarctica: A land with only penguins for a people kicked out of the land they stole."

      Three of Israel's Prime Ministers including its founder were born in Poland (David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir). If they had moved down to Antarctica they could all have been South Poles in succession.

  • El Al captain indoctrinates the passengers, but only in Hebrew
    • EL AL is much more than an airline. Israel's only (sorry, Eilat) international airport is Israel's only door in and out of the Middle East. El AL is its only airline (sorry, Arkia). El Al pilots are trained by the Israel Air Force and are the creme de la creme of Israel's militarized culture. So, the company's tag line is pretty accurate.
      So El Al, aka Israel, delivers up one last shot of hasbara before its Israelis escape for a few days of sanity in Berlin.
      There is something sad and desperate in this announcement. Back in the day when Israel was the place were cute girl soldiers carried Uzis and the men were making the desert bloom, everything was proudly translatable. Now, even the Israelis concede that this stuff is better kept in the family. They are talking to themselves. No wonder Israelis like Mati Shemoelof prefer Berlin to the Jewish national home where Jews talk to themselves about how safe they are.

  • Why I support a one state solution and still consider myself a Zionist
    • Krauss:
      "Thus, the theory of ethnic nationalism within a democratic contex, is plausible only in a case where there has been no ethnic expulsions or genocide, such as in Japan. That’s not the case in America – or Palestine."

      Thank you for this.

  • New Birthright trip for Jewish law enforcement seeks to counter BDS movement
  • Palestine and the anxiety of existence
    • Susan -
      As an Israeli Jew, I can assure you that if Israeli Jews talk to Palestinians it ain't about the heart of the matter.
      Salaita is interested in justice not in folks' internal lives not for the fun of it but as a pathway to resolution.
      Miko Peled and the handful of other names we can mention are notable because they are so rare. They are the exceptions that prove the rule.
      Salaita's piece is important as analysis and, yes, of course, we should not be trying to make supporters of the occupation feel good about it.
      I'm not investing my time in trying to have these kinds of conversations as nobody can point to worthwhile returns on this kind of effort.

    • An Israeli Jew who needs such a change of heart would never talk about these questions to an Arab such as Prof. Salaita. Anyway, as he wrote he doesn't want the Israelis to leave.

      So how many American Zionists have responded well to this treatment, Prof. Salaita?

    • 1) This is a masterful analysis full of great insights - which I intend to borrow from liberally!
      But I wasn't convinced by the prescription for changing people's minds. Does Prof. Salaita have successes he can point to how "exacerbating the conflict" has brought about a change of heart?

      2) The picture resonates with me as an Israeli. This is exactly how the Israeli parks service marks its hiking trails.

      Hiking across the country was an early expression of Zionist lordship over the land and an enduring one. I wonder of this marking is a Palestinian response, claiming the land back from the Zionists.

  • The list of foreign policy experts Bernie Sanders should be consulting
    • I just listened to 1 hour of Chomsky's speech. It's great stuff. A broad sweep of what global U.S. police is all about. His account of the total U.S. blockade on humanitarian aid to Cambodia could be copied and pasted for Gaza.

      Thanks for posting this. It's good to know that this is the kind of analysis Bernie Sanders values.

  • 'No Wars for the Billionaire Class': A look at a possible Sanders foreign policy
    • Thanks Adam for filling in this blank.
      Bernie has called out the economic, political and media establishments.
      Is it too dangerous to take on the military?

    • dx -
      I'm sorry for your illness and for the needless bureaucratic work you have to put in on top of that. It's too bad.
      Best wishes.

  • Tel Aviv housecleaning service advertises higher rates for European help than Africans
    • 2nd line of defense: Hasbarists will double down on the racism and point out that this is a Russian, not Israeli, company. The contact person is "Irena".

  • Israeli designer eroticizes the Palestinian keffiyeh
    • Google image has the same pattern as an option for the keffiyeh and houndstooth. (It looks to me like a dynamic Jewish star in motion.) Isn't houndstooth a fine pattern rather that supersized? Anyway, I don't remember seeing this pattern around before this and houndstooth has been around for a long time.

    • Page: 12
    • The question isn't Palestinian survival. You've gotta be kidding that you can get away with this shtick wrt first nations. That's where Israel is the antithesis of the U.S.
      Israel parades behavior that is shameful over here.

    • It seemed like that the keffiya pattern went mainstream in the States after the Arab spring. Over the last few years, I asked several women about the kefiiya design they were wearing. They had no idea it was inspired by the keffiya.
      A woman rabbi I know who is an outspoken backer of the IDF and its wars wears a jacket with a supersized keffiya pattern. I found her chutzpah breathtaking.

  • Novel featuring Palestinian-Jewish romance threatens 'Jewish identity,' Israeli gov't rules
    • It's that and more. Israel functions as an escape for American Jewish liberal Zionists. Not an escape from the anti-Semitic bogeyman but from the threat of losing "Jewish identity". Actually, a particular kind of Jewish identity that was created as a cozy response to real anti-Semitism. So, Israel has to be at war to get to that identity. And Israel is the antidote to American Jewish insecurities. So, while they may feel a tug of their conscience, their actual feeling will be one of satisfaction. They are getting their money's worth from the Israel project. It's working. Israel is standing on guard against American Jewish assimilation.

  • Israeli settlers at a wedding party cheer burning of Palestinian baby
    • This "Retribution Song" is really a guy bellowing. I couldn't detect a melody. The two key Biblical verses which get the goons really going are:
      1) "The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God" (Psalm 104:21). The preceding verse is: "Thou makest darkness, and it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth" which sounds ominous in this context. These young men, including many minors, have taken on the role of "devouring" their Palestinian prey under the cover of darkness. What is perverse is that Psalm 104 is well known to traditional Jews from the liturgy where it as an ode to the glory of nature.
      2) "that I may be this once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes" (Judges 16:28). As the Israeli TV reporter points out, the song changes 'Philistines' ("Plishteem" in Hebrew) to 'Palestinians' ("Palestina'eem"). It appears at the end of the Samson story just before Samson commits suicide in a mass killing of the Philistine brass. The full verse reads: "And Samson called unto the LORD, and said: 'O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be this once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." These thugs, like all good bullies, see themselves as the victims.
      I agree with the comments that the Israeli government is turning a blind eye to this. They dress distinctively with super-sized skullcaps and a combination of the long locks of the ultra-Orthodox with the white shirt of the settlers and modern Orthodox.
      The KKK hid behind hoods. These men know they are safe in Israel.

  • Top Israel advocate uses San Bernardino killings to attack Islam
    • Hophmi,
      There is no equivalence here:
      Muslims, the underdogs in the U.S. are being attacked by a member of a powerful political lobby which speaks for an extremely influential foreign power; OTOH, is a group of African-American activists with offices in Florissant right next to Ferguson doing educational work and edgy activism. They periodically take on public figures who back violence and oppression. They targeted Rabbi Talve on account of her words and actions. Handsupunited reframes the hyper-inflated and abusive term "terrorist". They are labeling influential public figures as "Real Terrorists" because of their backing of violence and oppression. They are not accusing all Jews (who have done nothing) of anything.
      I agree with others that your second post undermines the credibility your first post. That's a pity. Your repudiation of Josh Block's Islamophobia was important.

    • Unfortunately, Josh Block's effusions work for many people because of the insidious way American (Jews) re-frame the I/P conflict as a religious one. The Israel crowd denies the ethnic conflict in I/P and make it instead about Jews and "Muslims". Palestinian Christians are "Muslim"; Arab Jews are "Jews". So, a U.S. born Muslim with Pakistani roots is as good as a Palestinian.

  • Video: 'I killed for you, with these hands!' cries Israeli veteran with PTSD
    • @blah chick
      Yes, "clear as wine" is a preposterous name. The phrase is taken from tbe opening of Israel's unofficial anthem (and colonialist fantasy) "Jerusalem of Gold". It's the name of an Israeli attack on Gaza in Decrmber 2007.

      I have to agree that this video exposes the usual neglect of these men who were broken on the battlefield. Its the same in the US with all the VA dysfunction. I imagine its the same other countries too. There is nothing to indicate this wouldnt have played out the same in any other war or military conflict. It doesnt appear to be directly related to the occupation, except in the sense of the neverending waste of human life and human potential.

  • Netanyahu: In wake of Paris attacks, world should condemn attacks against Israel
    • "we may hear him say that he keeps stealing lands and building illegal settlements, because of terrorism."

      That is exactly what the settler leaders say. The response to terror should be to build more settlements.

  • Theocratic Israel
    • Diasp0ra - got it! Thanks.

    • Diasp0ra - got it! Thanks.

    • @Diasp0ra - What are you going on about? and how is that relevant to this thread?

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


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

      When a state official in the U.S. tried to impose her religious beliefs about marriage on a couple, Amerucan Jews were outaged. Why is the same behavior kosher in Israel?

      "...the context is a woman who has converted to Judaism and whose conversion is under question."

      That's likely. The question still stands: why is a religious court regulating marriage under the seal of the state. And the reason for limiting her choice of partner is still true. A female convert is considered to be less pure than a man or a born Jew. In the U.S., she would file a discrimination suit.

    • It's more involved than that. Israel is the mirror image of the United States. It's an "insurance policy" not against the rise of an American Hitler but against disappearing through assimilation. Israel is the solution to American Jewish anxieties. This is made explicit through the Birthright trips. Israel is financed and armed by American Jews or with American Jewish backing to be a. racist (provides clear binary Jewish/ non-Jewish identity) b. in a state of constant war (provides a crystal clear demarcation with all Arabs outside its borders and within its borders c. must be ruled by Jewish law (provides clear identity).

      American Jews need Israel to stay the way it is. They condemn it to be the opposite of their values because that serves their anxieties.

    • The issue is not religious laws. Catholics can debate divorce vs. annulment to their hearts' content. The question here is the state, as the licenser of marriage, enforcing those religious laws. This is not about Judaism. This is about Israel.
      As Phil notes, Americans harp on about sharia. They shudder at the Iranian and Saudi Arabian thoecratic regimes.
      How is Israel any different?

  • The way for Americans to take on the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism
    • Nobody holds me to account as a Jew for Israel's murder of Palestinians. Uniformed Jewish police gun down non-Jews on the streets of Jerusalem to mollify the Jewish mob and nobody says to me: "look what you Jews are doing!" And the State of Israel is our baby. The American Jewish community identifies publicly with the State of Israel.

      But of a Moslem anywhere does anything, all Moslems are under suspicion and will suffer discrimination no matter their brand of Islam, their country of origin or political beliefs. That's racism.

    • I agree. We only believe Arabs when they say they hate the Jews, not when they say they love other Arabs.
      Why are we told to believe Arabs and Muslims when they supposedly say: we hate the Jews/we want to destroy Israel/we told Hitler to do it but not believe them when they say they act in response to the Palestinian issue?

  • Israel gets to use violence. Palestinians don't. That's the rule
    • Thanks, Kris. This is phenomenal. Jeremiah Wright's sermon right after 9/11 is even more powerful today than it was 14 years ago. His words have turned out to be prophetic. He predicted that resistance to the U.S. would take the form of suicide bombers and he was right. He predicted that the U.S. would make innocents suffer for 9/11 and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis were made to pay for Osama bin Laden. His analysis links different issues around the world years before we started talking about intersectionality.
      Obama chose/was forced to ditch Jeremiah Wright and look at the mess we are in.

    • I don't get why Obama needs to suck up to Netanyahu. He's liberated himself on other fronts, why not this too? Hillary's Zio creds are rock solid and she will provide the Zio umbrella for the congressional and other races. She is already distancing herself from Obama. So why not show some backbone and stand up to Netanyahu. Pathetic.

  • I went from Bar Mitzvah to BDS at Temple Emanu-el
    • I think his calls for an end to Jewish day school education

      Almost all Jews outside of the Orthodox community have rejected Jewish day school education. Public schools in Jewish areas around the country are so full of Jews they all shut down for the High Holydays.

      and an end to circumcision,
      If the rabbis declared circumcision to be as irrelevant today as animal sacrifices and stoning Sabbath desecrators, how many Jews would care? Have you ever been to a bris and watched the faces of the family and friends while the deed is being done?

      and his conspiracy theories about powerful Jews, which echo antisemitic tropes

      Hannah Arendt and many other Jews who are honored today by the Jewish establishment have written extensively about powerful Jews. So, you are left with the anti-Zionism that makes Mondoweiss anti-Semitic. Nothing else.

      his preference for secularism over Judaism

      To paraphrase you, who are you to set up Judaism and secularism as opposites?

    • Rob,
      I second CG's praise. Thank you for an interesting read. You brought your experience to life. It's great that you stayed through the evening and succeeded in starting a conversation.

    • "As far as knowing about Jewish tradition, that’s just ridiculous. The vast majority of the Jews involved with the BDS movement have little to no Jewish education whatsoever; they’re there because of their left-wing politics, not because of their Judaism."

      Since we are flinging around anecdotal impressions, most of the Jews I know know very little about Judaism. And I am sure I know many more Jews than Hophmi knows BDS supporters.
      And some of the best educated Jews I know are supporters of BDS.

      Still, what I report cannot possibly be true because, by definition, a good Jew does not support BDS.

  • Jewish American activists unfurl banner in support of BDS at the Western Wall
  • Chicago Reform temple welcomes rightwing rabbi from sexist group -- why?
    • Yonah,
      Not all pro-Israel activism is anti-Palestinian, but Stand With Us is. I know lots of Jews who work for Hadassah, building hospitals in Israel. They would say they are pro-Israel but they are also aware that Hadassah serves Palestinians too. They choose to work for Israel, not against Palestinians. I don't see the two rabbis feting each other at a Hadassah fundraiser. SWU brands BDS as "the New Anti-Semitism" maligning non-Jews and Jews alike.

      Palestinians are persona non grata in practically all synagogues. Heck, even the word "Palestinian" is not allowed inside the building. I did a google search of BJBE + Palestine and found nothing positive. There is tons of course for BJBE + Israel.
      These two individuals (along with the late Joan Peters who is also being honored) are hardcore anti-Palestinian war-mongers (check out the callous sermons at this synagogue) leveraging their standing as spiritual leaders to undermine the Palestine struggle for freedom. It took an anti-Palestinian group to get this party going. So, yes, these Israel activists are anti-Palestinian. Their support for Israel is anti-Palestinian. The whole point of today’s gathering is to build up anti-Palestinian feeling and give Israel even more cover for its anti-Palestinian policies.

    • Roha - not all non-Jews were created equal. reform Jews do lots of great work with non-Jews. Many of the affiliated Synagoge families are interfaith. They do social justice with minorities. But they draw the line at Palestinians.

    • Which emotion is in play wrt the 200,000 members of JVP, Jews and allies, who support BDS? The despising or the loving?

    • All the progressive streams of Judaism, including so-called open modern Orthodoxy reject the exclusion of women in the more traditional streams of Judaism. They consider it outdated. The full inclusion of women is a banner issue for Reform Jews as evidenced by their prominent backing of Women of the Wall. So, I think it's fair to say that, in the eyes of Reform, traditional Orthodoxy is sexist.
      The point is not our opinion of Orthodoxy but the hypocrisy of this situation. Bashing Palestinians in Palestine trumps womens' right in the U.S. This synagogue - and practically all other synagogues - would never welcome a Palestinian supporter to talk about Palestinian women in labor dying at Israeli army checkpoints. Or the psychological trauma of being a mother raising a family under the Gaza siege. Or holding it all together while the men spend years in Israeli administrative detention.
      As always with Jewish and Democratic, Jewish comes first. Attacking Palestinians and womens' rights? Israel comes first.

    • The hallmark of progressive Jewish streams is their full inclusion of women in positions of leadership. They attack traditionalists for their recalcitrance. One example: the Reform movement and this congregation in particular are outspoken proponents of Women of the Wall, an organization that attacks Haredi Jews - Chabad included - as sexist.

      As for the LGBT inclusiveness, that's great. But your use of it is classic pinkwashing.

      "the only thing correct about this is that Israel is definitely the “glue” that binds Jews from many stripes together."
      Yes, Jews need the Israel-Palestine conflict to maintain unity. Nothing like having a common enemy to hold a community together. What will happen to the Jewish community without its anti-Palestinian "glue" ?

  • Ann Lewis and AIPAC pressured Democratic thinktank to censor writers deemed 'anti-Israel'
    • "Ann Lewis is a true believer" but Ann Lewis is also a "former Hillary Clinton aides with a lot of clout".
      We know Hillary was bought by Haim Saban to oppose BDS for $2m. As a former aide, Ann Lewis likely hopes to be rewarded with a job in the next Clinton Administration. Sounds like she is acting as an enforcer for Hillary/Saban.
      It's not to say that Bernie Sanders et al don't have Zionism in their blood but it's not impossible for Bernie to change. OTOH, Hillary machine cannot afford to upset their donors.

  • The US spends $35 billion on foreign aid . . . but where does the money really go?
    • "the aid to Egypt and Jordan too, is not paid for the interests of the US, but to advance the interests of Israel"


      What are those big, white empty spaces in Israel's belly? Why does the U.S. not send any money there?

  • Bloomberg's int'l editor to host event on 'incredible courage' of Israeli soldiers (including Netanyahu)
    • Yonah, Phil has been clear about the benefits that he has enjoyed in his career of account of being a Jew. You may not like "Jewish" but be ok with a "community of Jews." Since Zionism is the one unifying dogma across the spectrum of Jewish ideologies, theologies, observance and class, it's fair to relate to Zionism - or its mirror, anti-Zionism - as "Jewish." Phil has shown how Zionism worked in his professional community of Jews and continues to work in his social circle of Jews. There is also an emerging community of Jews who are Jewishly educated and Jewish-identified who are anti-Zionist.
      So, why wouldnt this community of Jews be called a Jewish community?

    • Phil,
      Bernie Sanders is a true believer. And he's ancient. I don't know the percentage diehards and true believers but, as you say, it's certainly a minority. Less so, as the older generation gives way to the 20 somethings who overwhelmingly don't care.
      I know that the majority of rabbis and other professionals would be more outspoken on the left if they didn't fear their masters, the older deep pockets who keep the Jewish community afloat. I know J Street is not popular here but look at how many rabbis signed their names to that, which means that many more would if they weren't terrified. How many would sign on to JVP if they could be sure that step wouldn't leave their kids without college funds? But to listen to the ADL and AIPAC, you would think practically every rabbi was with them.
      The evidence is that the organized Jewish community is in deep crisis. The underlying economic reality is that the money is with the older grandparents who aren't getting any younger or richer On top of that, the suburban synagogue is losing relevancy and haemorraging members. Already most Jews don't affiliate. Now, even the affiliated Jews are leaving the synagogue. The Jewish community is practically in panic mode. And the deep pockets can't save something that isn't there. Even money has its limits.
      How long will the rabbis cling to a broken ideology that is losing currency by the moment? When the shell of the establishment cracks, the ironclad hold on Zionism will break too.

    • "I often feel that there is a confusion between the (or various) Jewish Community(ies) and the leadership of the big Jewish organizations, synagogues, etc. The leadership is solidly Zionist and attempts to train and constrain the communities to be Zionist. A lot of social pressure there. Top down. "

      I totally agree with this analysis. Most Jews are ready to flip in an instant. It's the combination of the deep pockets and the professionals who believe in Zionism as a religion that keeps the lid on the Jewish community. Those who work for a living are not going to turn against their donors because "Israel" serves a function for them too. Particularly in synagogues and Jewish communal institutions, they can't figure out what they stand for. "Israel" is perfect for the job. It's a bit like God only more so. So unreal. Since it's far away, people can argue all day about it and it doesn't really matter. How many Palestinians can you fit on the head of a pin?
      The Jews who care about the Palestinians swallow the racism because they can't be bothered to fight it. And they just want a place to be Jewish. Those who can't stomach it, give up on Jewish community. So I don't see the Jewish community changing any time soon.
      If I were Sheldon Adelson's mirror image, I'd give a few million to fund an alternative Jewish community. Put a bunch of rabbis and executives on the payroll. That would kickstart a revolution in the Jewish community which might break the system.

  • Glen Weyl's agonizing journey to boycott the country he loves
    • "There is now an overwhelming majority of 71 seats for parties (the fascist right of Likud, Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu, the ultra-religious of Shas and UTJ and the joint Arab list) that are fundamentally opposed to a democratic, secular Jewish homeland that is a member of the international community and at peace with its neighbors."

      Lumping the bullies Netanyahu, Bennet and Avigdor Lieberman together with their target Chanin Zoabi and the entire Israeli Palestinian population is plain weird under any circumstances.

  • You can't save Israel from itself by appropriating BDS
    • "The Zionist idea of a state with a Jewish demographic majority, that can act as a home for Jews suffering persecution elsewhere, that is democratic, and provides equal protection for all citizens of that state, is not “irredeemably racist.”

      Ok, I'll say it: look who's being naive.

      How do you achieve a Jewish majority in a land where Jews are a clear minority?
      You start with a nakba and clear out most of the previous non-Jewish majority, then you kill those who try to come back as fedayeen and finally you make life hell for those who stay behind in the hopes that they too will leave.
      If the Israeli state were to provide equal legal rights to all its citizens it would no longer be a safe haven for persecuted Jews (which persecuted Jews? and why seek haven in Israel of all places?). It would cease to be a Jewish state. It would be democratic.
      As Omar Barghouti says, you gotta choose: square or circle, democratic or racist.

  • (Update) This year for Halloween your child too can help defend the Israeli occupation
    • So, Palestinians in Gaza are having trouble holding on to their Palestinian heritage. Isn't that what Israel is for?

      Actually, Amazon should develop the Gaza market too. Pitch the IDF paratrooper uniform to Gazan parents concerned about their children's Palestinian identity.
      Just in case they happened to miss an Israeli military raid.

  • Video: Two prominent Israelis envision replacing Dome of the Rock with Jewish temple
    • Annie - +1
      And what if Christians in any majority Christian country could demonstrate that the site of a mosque was once a church 1,000 years ago. And then White supremacists demanded access to the mosque using hophmi's argument of freedom of religion.
      Would he support the Christian supremacist claim? And if the site were now a synagogue?
      Context is everything.

    • Exactly right. The rules for the priests were the opposite of the rules for the people. That's what set them apart.
      For instance, the rules of Sabbath observance did not apply in the ancient Temple. In fact, Judaism derives the prohibited categories of work on the Sabbath from what the priests did at the temple. The priests are defined as the mirror image of the people.
      Same with uttering the name of God. Wouldn't be special if any Joe could say it whenever the mood took them.

  • Executed: Dania Ersheid, 17, from Hebron
    • Jon S.
      Why do you introduce this tragedy on this thread? You are berating us for talking about the murder of Dania Ersheid and apperently not noticing not about Chaim Yechiel Rothman. Of course, they are both terrible tragedies and murder is murder.
      Have you got nothing to say about your country's soldiers committing these serial murders wearing your military's uniform? Next to no condemnation by the country's leadership. No accountability for state murder. The government is sanctioning the random murder of its occupied subjects. And the troops are hearing their leaders loud and clear.
      Murder more Arabs. We've got your back.
      What has that got to do with Mr. Rothman's death?

  • Dear Chief Rabbi, your sermon on Palestinian violence failed tests of moral and communal leadership
    • Website of the Chief Rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth:

    • It's a state function. The Brits are funny people. The descendant of the French guy who killed the English guy at Hastings does double duty as Defender of the Faith. They bring in an archbishop to crown the monarch in that old guy's church. Their kings and princes put on their best military uniforms when they go to church. And just in case God forgets what this is all about, they carry their swords into church and up to the altar. Funny guys, those Brits.
      Anyway, that rubs off on to other religions. Well, at least the Jews. The Chief Rabbi is he poor man's Archbishop of Golders Green. He doesn't wear purple dresses but he makes all the Jews feel like they have a stage in British pageantry.
      For the most part, his job is impossible. He has no authority to enforce doctrine. He has to make nice with the Reform while not crossing whatever line the Orthodox lay down. His predecessor, the noted celebrity Lord Sacks had the advantage of not having a conscience. From what I hear Mirvis is actually a nice guy. Unless of course if your are Palestinian watching this nonsense and then his niceness to Jews is not really relevant at all.

    • @ Yonah,

      That implication is yours, not mine.

      I don't know which circles you moved in when you lived in Israel but if you had any exposure to Hesder yeshivas you would know that they are heavily into settler ideology. They believe the entire Land of Israel was given by God to the Jewish people. They believe that it is the fulfillment of Zionism to settle the West Bank, including building more yeshivas there (see Mirvis' Har Etzion yeshiva among many others). Look at the voting patterns in these yeshivas - they vote en masse for parties that endorse the Greater Land of Israel. And they serve in the military units that enforce Israel's violent control of the Palestinians, the purple berets of the Givati Brigade and others.

      And yes, the main function of the Israeli army is to enforce the occupation of the West Bank, the siege of Gaza with occasional forays into Lebanon. Israel's actual safety is, yet again, guaranteed by the U.S. in the form of the Mediterranean-based Sixth Fleet.

      But that has nothing to do with settler ideology.

      Still, good job none of these well-indoctrinated Hesder yeshiva boys will ever shirk military duty on account of some bleeding heart "conscience."

    • Thanks, Mooser.
      The specifics of Rabbi Mirvis' religious education in Israel are:
      1) Har Etzion - on the West Bank
      2) Kerem B'yavneh
      Both of these combine religious studies with military service. The Israeli seminary students/soldiers serve in the IDF combat units that police the West Bank.
      3) Machon Ariel - founded by the spiritual father of the settler movement, Rabbi Kook.

    • Long gone are the days of Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, a moderate compared to Ephraim Mirvis. Rabbi Mirvis was trained in Israel in a settler-friendly seminary. His installation as Chief Rabbi was honored by the presence of Prince Charles. HRH was escorted into the ceremony by the Israeli ambassador to the Court of St. James with equal billing to British royalty.

      Mirvis is the Israeli Hasbara team's dream rabbi. He is just doing his job.

  • The effectiveness of the pro-Israel lobby to intimidate our press has reached new heights
    • @ Brown eyed girl -
      That was my thought too.
      "Jews constituted about one third of the residents of Palestine in 1946. But that does not alter the fact that the first map is not about population or sovereignty, it is about ownership of land. More accurately, it depicts areas of Jewish ownership as opposed to the areas of non-Jewish ownership".

      That picture is misleading. It conveys the idea that, based on relative population, Jews had a third stake in Palestine. But at the time of the establishment of the British Mandatory government under the Jewish, Zionist leader Sir Herbert Samuel, a quarter of century earlier, there were only 75,000 Jews in Palestine. Most of that "half million Jews" were newly arrived European Jews who were let in by the Zionist British Mandatory government. They were a sign of the millions of Jewish immigrants yet to come, as soon as Israel ethnically cleaned Palestine of most of its native, non-Jewish population.

  • Hypothesis: Cappuccino Israelis will be radicalized against apartheid
    • "the settlers captured the government because they are the frontier warriors for the society; and that’s how history works"

      One of the trends that made me give up on Israel was the passing of the torch from the kibbutznikim (members of a kibbutz) to the settlers in the Israeli army. The officer cadre of the combat battalions are Israel's Ivy league. Even a junior officer in a crack unit can rise high in Israeli society e.g. its longstanding Prime Minister.
      It used to be the case that young, male kibbutznikim served as commanders in combat units at rates far exceeding their proportionate numbers in Israel. Noblesse oblige. With the demise of the kibbutz movement, the hyper-nationalist religious Zionists took their place. With so many junior officers sporting the Religious Zionist kippa (skullcap), it was only a matter of time before they became generals and other leaders in society.
      This has been a long time coming. The leaders of the Labor Zionist movement passed the torch almost 40 years ago when they launched the settler movement at Sebastiya.
      There is no ideology or force waiting in the wings. Haaretz columnists and even less so radical 972 journalists are not even harbingers of change.

  • Set up? Video appears to show Israeli soldier placing object next to Palestinian killed in Hebron (Update)
    • I have watched the video several times and looked at the pictures. I don't see what Annie see. This is a blurred series of images. It would be helpful to have more specifics. Which soldier? Which side of the body?

  • Rabin assassin's family are not outcasts and his brother is congratulated for bravery -- Ephron
    • Contrast the Amir Bros with Mordechai Va'anunu.
      Va'anunu exposed Israel's nuclear program. He didn't hurt anyone. But he continues to be hounded by the Israeli authorities. In Israeli it's socially acceptable to assassinate the leader if he has betrayed the war camp but not cool to expose Israel's plans to blow up the region.

  • Larry Summers holds forth on subjects he doesn't know about
    • "It doesn’t take an economist to know that in the short run a lot of us will be dead."

      Only statistically speaking. Hopefully, you will be around, in good health and doing this work, for many decades ahead!

  • State Department forced to retract statement suggesting Israel incites violence
    • This blog is located in the United States. The United States was founded on the principle that it is ok, even commendable, to use violence to win liberty. Every American sports event celebrates "the bombs bursting in air." So, the State Department should be advocating for the Palestinian popular uprising as a kindred liberation movement.

  • Israel gets away with it because it is a global arms supplier -- Halper
    • "the 100s of billions of dollars the US has handed out to various and assorted Arab and Muslim client states -the list is very long- that either default or have gone broke."


      Israel has been given many tens of billions of dollars by the US as an outright gift.

  • On Bret Stephens' hate speech
    • A close friend of mine worked for Bret Stephens when he was parachuted in to run the Jerusalem Post. My friend does not care about politics. He told me at the time that Stephens was a jerk in his personal dealings. No surprise here.

  • American press coverage grants Israelis all the humanity
    • Netanyahu's strategy is to fill the media with official Israeli spokesmen who will connect emotionally with Western audiences. He was a breath of fresh air after all those old Israeli politicians with poor English and terrible accents. That was his big success when he started out as Israel's UN ambassador. Netanyahu spoke fluent American. Now he's cloned himself with Michael Oren, Ron Dermer, Mickey Rosenfeld (Israel police), Mark Regev etc. Seems to me that we should use this as a point of weakness: Israel is a colonial/immigrant country ethnically cleansing the indigenous population. Just look at all its spokesmen.

  • Solidarity with the Palestinian popular resistance! Boycott Israel now!
    • @ Kris
      The BDS movement's silence on cannibalism is very worrying. BDS famously stands for Butchered, Diced and Stewed. In all fairness, we can't yet say for sure that Hophmi supports cannibalism. Pending his official denial, all we can say is that he feels comfortable in the company of cannibals and that BDS is used by cannibals to gain public support for their cause.

      BTW, the leaders of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti and others have denounced terrorism. They just don't do it enough for their enemies. The leaders of the BDS movement have other concerns to attend to such as ethnic cleansing, state terrorism and murder by Israeli soldiers. But Hophmi and others would much rather the leaders of the BDS movement waste their valuable time batting away bogus charges instead of fighting Israeli abuses.

    • @ Kris
      The BDS movement's silence on cannibalism is very worrying. BDS famously stands for Butchered, Diced and Stewed. We can't yet say for sure that Hophmi supports cannibalism. Pending his official denial, all we can say is that he feels comfortable in the company of cannibals and that BDS is used by cannibals to gain public support for cannibalism.

      BTW, the leaders of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti and others have denounced terrorism. They just don't do it the whole time. They have other minor concerns to attend to such as ethnic cleansing, state terrorism and murder by Israeli soldiers. But Hophmi and others would much rather the leaders of the BDS movement spend their time denying a bogus charge.

    • @ Yonah - I doubt that the other posters are interested in debate about the viability of Reform Judaism. I am talking about how the leaders of American Judaism are choosing to lock out of the synagogue hundreds of thousands (and growing!) Jews for ideological reasons. I really dont think the leaders of the American Jewish community feel that all they are doing is diluting Judaism into oblivion and that only Zionism can save them - but they sure are acting that way. Self-destruction.

    • Yonah -
      Perhaps you can work with a set of facts.

      Fact #1 - The American Jewish community is in decline. The denominational organizations have fired many staff. The community is a whole has a sense that it is in decline. The numbers are causing alarm in leadership circles.

      Fact #2 - The radical Jewish community is growing at an incredible rate. The staff of Jewish Voice for Peace grew sevenfold in five years. Show me another Jewish organization that even dreams of that kind of growth.

      Fact #3 - The American Jewish community is wedded to hardcore Zionism including vilifying the Palestinians and any who stand with them.

      A rational response to this set of facts is to consider whether the American Jewish community should ditch all those straws they clutch to and consider instead taking an ethical stance in Israel/Palestine. If only in the interests of self-preservation.

      The answer they have given and will likely continue to give is: we prefer for the American Jewish community to be weakened because of its stand on Israel rather than make other choices. That is irrational, self-destructive behavior.

      Oh, and there is also the ethical dimension. It's much, much worse for the Palestinians.

    • Yonah -
      I guess, thank you for affirming my lack of political naifness.
      So, let's speculate what might have happened without the virulent systemic, ideological American Jewish campaign against Palestinian non-violent resistance:
      1. Haim Saban never gave $2m to Hilary for her to attack BDS;
      2. Barack Obama was not beholden to the Pritzkers, the Crowns and other anti-BDS Chicago Jewish royalty.
      1+2 result in the Democratic party supporting Palestinian non-violent resistance.

      3. Christian faith leaders and others civic leaders are not attacked as anti-Semites by Rabbis and other Jewish leaders.

      4. The MSM (as Kay and Annie) have pointed out is free to print all the news of Israeli attacks on Palestinian that are not available on American news sources outside of this blog and The Guardian USA.

      The result: BDS really takes off. It becomes a potent force in the lives of young Palestinians. Scores of Palestinian teenagers see a future for themselves in continuing the non-violent work of their parents.

      Instead, they have given up all hope. One East Jerusalem teenager after another grabs a knife from their mother's kitchen and heads out to do harm to Israelis and commit almost certain suicide.

      Per you, American Jews are completely innocent all tucked up inside their cozy, anti-Palestinian bubble. So, why have they committed so many millions of dollars and cashed in so much political goodwill to fight BDS?

      Must be that all those rabbis and super-rich political donors are political naifs.

    • Israel doesn't know about tikukn olam. Its and American Jewish term. Its modern usage was invented in the U.S. It's standard American Jewish practice to add one or two words in Hebrew to a concept to claim it as a Jewish idea. Anecdotally, tikkun olam was coined by an East Coast rabbi about 35 years ago.
      To your point, how many of those fine American rabbis who have made it their business to villify BDS as if it were Satan will pause to ask themselves why Palestinians have chosen violence. Is it just possibly because the American Jewish community deligitimized non-violent protest and looked the other way when the Palestinians suffered nobly and silently.
      As the American Jewish establishment continues its decline, its leaders might consider rebooting their appalling Israel policies and theology.

  • NPR fails to mention occupation-- while Barghouti says in Guardian it is 'root cause' of violence
    • The U.S. was founded on the principle that it is permissible and even commendable to use violence to achieve liberty. Per the American ethos, why shouldn't the Palestinians do the same?

  • Palestinians will never have a state and will be ruled by Israel -- says Israeli minister
    • “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual,”

      Call to Action from the Union for Reform Judaism:

      Protest Orthodox gay bashing in Israel! Israeli Deputy Defense Minister implies that homosexual Jews have far lesser souls than straight Jews!

      P.S. He also said non-Jews are animals.

  • Ayotte, Rubio and de Blasio are bought and paid for by the 'magnificent' Israel lobby
    • Yonah,
      You write at length on a range of points but are short on defining your terms. I disagree with many of your unstated assumptions and I don't have the time to unpack them.
      For the sake of focus and because the U.S. is where the blog (and I) reside, let's start with the American Jewish community. Israel is the source of abnormality in the American Jewish community today. (As you indicate, it goes without saying that Israel's own abnormality is off the charts.) Israel is famously the elephant in the synagogue, "the third rail. "
      Yet, Zionism is the one dogma left for American Jews. Israel is the glue that holds all the together - and Israel is simultaneously the most explosive, divisive issue there is.
      How's that for abnormal?

      Regarding "assimilation" and Zionism - setting aside the assumptions and arguments you lay out which I do not share - how odd that no matter the massive amounts of "assimilation" and "dilution" of the American Jewish community, there has not been anywhere near as big a diminishing of Zionist identity. Synagogues are packed full of interfaith families and they all wave sing Hatikva and wave and bow down to the Israeli flag with as much ardor as ever. The orthodoxy of Zionism is unchallenged. In fact, I find repeatedly that it is the Catholic spouse of the Jewish guy who proudly shares that her kid went on Birthright. Zionism is all alive and well in the most assimilated Jewish families.
      Yet more abnormality: Jewish nationalism is not linked to assimilation.

    • Mooser,
      Some 12 years ago the middle aged rabbi of a large Reform temple said to me. "If Israel fails, the Jewish people are finished. We won't survive yet another major blow after the Holocaust."
      But, my impression from speaking to many young Jews today is that he was wrong. They don't feel that way. Israel is becoming increasingly irrelevant to them. They are able to imagine a full Jewish life without a Jewish state. That is precisely because the Holocaust - as a lived trauma - is irrelevant to them. The "Holocaust therefore Israel" mantra that previously made Israel to big too fail has collapsed. Young Jews increasingly know that Israel's future is over. Just look at the phenomenal growth of JVP, chock full of Jewishly educated, Jewishly affiliated young Jews. And there are plenty more outside JVP who are JVP-friendly. It's just a matter of time before the increasingly hollow shell cracks open. The old guard keeps shelling out the megadollars for the Jewish identity +kosher sex cornucopia aka Birthright but it isn't working. This current crisis is going to be another nail in Israel's coffin.
      Israel has failed at its own game.

    • @ Stephen:
      I think Phil's final riff on Hannah Arendt is relevant but plays out differently. Per Arendt, Jews struggled to enter into history. She shows how the received idea that Jews were always victims, never agents is simply not so. Throughout history, Jews, as a community, made choices that shaped their future.
      Netanyahu is the exemplar of Jew-as-victim. His response is to flip that outsiderness to Jewish exceptionalism. To escape the status of "Jew who lives outside history" he claims the right to be "the Jew who lives outside morality."
      The Jewish state was supposed to normalize the Jewish condition. In reality, the only thing that is abnormal about the Jewish condition today is the Jewish state. That alone, from an internal Jewish perspective, should put an end to the Jewish state. It has failed on its own terms.

  • Whose violence?
    • Silent and faceless. This image of five cowards hiding behind their veils. One brave man. And terrified. In a few seconds another bully with a gun, outside the frame, will approach this unarmed protester. He will shoot him in the right leg above the knee, at point blank range. All the bullies will then go home to tuck then kids in for the night before settling down to watch their day's work on television.

  • 'It's like military reserve duty': Jerusalem mayor calls on Israelis to carry guns as tension soars
    • @Jon -
      You are right. You obviously do not support the use of the Holocaust by Israel to justify its crimes.
      And you are right that you are not argumentative. That too is obvious.

    • @ RoHa - Yes, even the Gestapo in Denmark were not gung-ho about transporting Jews to the death camps (per Hannah Arentdt). And the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church who cajoled the Bulgarian king to take a stand. There were other notable exceptions to the rule, as there are today in Israel.

    • @ a blah chick -
      Sure does! Although Jon will be quick to point out that there some new Palestinian developments that have red roofs too. So that makes it all alright, then.

    • @Jon -
      The conversation we were having was whether the marking of the Palestinians by the Israelis is comparable to the Nazi yellow star. I gave you a list and I could give you many more. The blue license gives the Israeli thugs in uniform a license to kill. Tell your fine distinctions to a Palestinian driver from Nablus who is routinely humiliated and risks his life every time he drives in his blue plate car. I'm sure it will make a big difference in the real world.

      "I agree regarding the Holocaust. We should be able to have a reasoned discussion without the hyperbole. Every enemy of Israel is not Hitler and everything wrong with Israeli society is not Nazi-like. "

      Cut out the smarmy attitude. We do not agree at all. You lie. You are very comfortable with Nazi language - so long as Israel is the one doing it in order to sanitize its terrible abuse of the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors.

    • On the West Bank, Jewish villages are easily distinguishable from non-Jewish ones by their red-roofed homes; Jewish cars carry (ironically) yellow license plates to distinguish them from the blue, non-Jewish plates; Jews carry guns, non-Jews don't; ID papers are different colors too.
      My guess is the next step for the start-up nation is to install chips in ID papers and/or cars which can be scanned from a distance so an undercover Shin Bet operative can unobtrusively scan a crowd for unfriendlies. Police monitoring a demonstration would use the technology to zero in on those who are not carrying the required IDs while getting an instant read on the personal details of everybody else. They could send a squad to arrest a demonstrator's kid brother before the demo is even over.
      I don't like dragging the Holocaust into this issue. It's personal for me. But this question is now on the table and Israelis, of all people, should be much more sensitive to openly marking minorities for discrimination. The yellow star served to mark Jews for the authorities and also to isolate them from the rest of the population. In Nazi Europe, who would ever dare show friendship or support to a Jew wearing a yellow star. Israel is pretty much there with the exception of a few brave souls.

    • When the violence against Jews gets bad, the Israelis flood Jerusalem with security guards. The security guards engage people in casual conversation. They are on the lookout for an Arab accent in Hebrew.
      I guess it was more difficult in Germany where Jews were culturally assimilated.

    • "Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who was recently spotted holding a Glock in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, today suggested Israeli citizens prepare themselves for vigilantism and called for all Israelis..."

      Surely, Nir Barkat wasn't calling all Israelis to bear arms, only Jewish Israelis. If all Israelis were armed, it would be a shoot-out between the two sides.

  • Video: Undercover Israeli soldiers infiltrate Palestinian demonstration, beat protesters and shoot detainee in leg
    • It must have been 20 or 25 years ago when I was living in Israel that I read one of those military hero myths in the Israeli media. It was the story of an Israeli combat pilot - the most admired masculine role model in Israel. I think it was during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. This pilot had been wounded in combat over Syria and lost his leg below the knee. He was taken prisoner but was eventually returned to Israel. The pilot vowed to return to active duty and after months of rehab he healed and flew his first sortie. The magazine article celebrated his grit.

      What has stayed with me all these years was the story of how that Israeli pilot lost his leg. His plane was shot down in a rural area over Syria. He parachuted to ground intact and was immediately surrounded by hostile people. He feared they were going to lynch him. A Syrian army officer broke through the crowd and took control. The Syrian officer pulled out his pistol as he approached the Israeli pilot. He said to him: "don't be afraid." And then shot him in the leg, smashing it beyond repair.
      I don't know if the Syrian officer felt the only way he could save the Israeli pilot from death by the mob was by hurting him or whether it was cold vindictiveness.

      This video reminded me of that story. The cowardice and utter evil of firing a gun into a man on the ground who is surrounded by overwhelming odds. What was gained by doing that? It's torture. And they do that in public in full view of the cameras. They have no fear of retribution. This was done to be seen. This was an act of terrorism. We have heard no condemnation from the authorities, not even the routine pablum about some empty investigation. This is Israeli policy. Israeli policy is terrorism.

  • Jerusalem at a breaking point
    • Zaid,
      You have twice attributed opinions and words to me that are not mine.
      You reduce religious feeling to malicious intent and you tar "most, but not all" Jews with the same brush. Let's not slide down that slope.
      We basically agree. We are allies, not enemies.

    • @Sibiriak,
      If you look through to the end of the snippet you took from my post, you will see that you actually agree with me.

    • Zaid,
      I have no quarrel with your anger at the current outburst of violence that Israel encouraged and enacts. Israel has learned nothing from Ariel Sharon's foray on to the Temple Mount or Netanyahu's tunnel. Here we go again, with the grimly predictable violent consequence. Unless of course, that's the point.
      Why, in your mind, are Muslims who want a caliphate in Spain are freaks but the Jewish nutsos who plans a Third Temple on the Haram el-Sharif are representative of (most, not all) Jews.
      I personally don't care for holy sites, including Judaism's supposed holiest, the Western Wall. I see the Omar Mosque as a beautiful Muslim shrine.

      The worship of the past is not limited to Jews. Archaeological sites are secular shrines to westerners. Look at the world's horrified response to Isis' destruction in Palmyra (and the Taliban's destruction of buddhist statues). That destruction of old stones captured the headlines more than many deaths. The Western Wall is really an archaeological site, unchanged in 2,000 years. In that case, worshipping the past trumps building something new on top of that. I imagine that the Muslim attachment to the Haram el-Sharif has something to do with its antiquity too.

    • “The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest place”

      Was but not anymore,

      I agree with all the rest of your post but disagree on your opening argument.
      If Christianity wants to decide that Mecca is its holiest site, more power to them. If there is no claim to ownership or expectation that Islam vacate the premises.
      Throughout the ages Jewish tradition has tied Jewish feelings to the Temple Mount through many narratives. Many traditional Jews share those feelings but still have zero designs on the Haram el-Sharif.
      Even the Messianic dimension that defers the rebuilding of the Third Temple to a mythical time beyond history does necessarily using force to harm Islam's shrine. It could be read as some miraculous unity of religions when it won't matter whether the Golden Dome is a mosque or anything else.
      Let Jews venerate the Temple Mount. It is the extreme sanctity of the Temple Mount within Judaism that has kept almost all traditional Jews from even stepping foot there.

  • 'Third intifada was launched,' Palestinian law student posted before carrying out fatal attack in Jerusalem
    • Haaretz leads today with a quote from "a senior officer in Central Command" (usually means OC Central Command, Major General Roni Nomeh). He hopes that: "the Palestinians and the settlers will calm down."
      Besides the paternalism in this statement, it also takes the IDF out of the picture. As if the IDF has done no wrong. Our fine young men in khaki are just doing their best to hold it together while the rival gangs tear up the neighborhood. It's also classic liberal Zionist. If only the West Bank Palestinians and the settlers would calm down the State of Israel could carry on as normal.

  • Netanyahu's 44 seconds of silence at UN are being widely mocked -- 'pathetic,' 'creepy'
    • For me, it felt a lot quicker than a 44 second stretch. I welcome whole lot more of the silent Netanyahu. Imagine how sweet a full 20 minutes would be of not having to hear him go on.

  • J'lem mayor warns Palestinians in holy site clashes: 'if they use violence we will hunt them'
    • @Zaid - I was talking about myself, and, I think, Yonah, too.
      Like everyone else I had to pass thru an IsraelI police checkpoint and metal detector. Once I was past that, I didn't see any security.

    • Zaid, Thanks for clarifying that the issue for you is political, not religious.
      FYI, the Israeli police don't allow any individual Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. They certainly would not allow visibly recognizable Jews like Neturei Karta to pray there. NK don't want to go on to the Temple Mount anyway on account of its sacred status. It is taboo until the Messiah comes. It's a pity the Jewish religious-nationalists did away with that taboo.

      I imagine the pope prays wherever he goes. Do Christians, in general, have any feelings about the Haram el-Sharif?

    • @ Old Geezer,
      So, if Yonah - or any likeminded Jews - say anything about any Jewish feeling for any place in Palestine, they are fair game.
      I think it's smarter to keep Jewish feeling out of the ethical debate. I have a feeling of affinity for the Temple as a Jew. And I vehemently oppose the Third Temple nutsos and their notsonutso backers in the Israeli government and military.
      Sounds like Yonah feels the same way.

    • @ Mooser:
      Hi there! Would you kindly explain why it's an act of privilege and entitlement for someone to visit the shrine of another religion. This visitor obeyed the rules, dressed appropriately, removed his shoes on entering the mosque, was respectful of the worshippers and left the place no worse than it was before.
      What's the problem?

    • I agree with Yonah on this. The world is full of sites that are sacred to more than one tradition. The Temple Mount Faithful are troublemakers but they work within a tradition that venerates the Temple Mount as the holiest spot on earth. It has nothing to with mosques. If there was a church there or absolutely nothing there the Dome of the Rock would still be the site associated with Judaism's origins.

      I visited the Dome of the Rock, in part to see the beauty of the mosque but also to see the rock that Judaism venerates as the site where the biblical Isaac was almost sacrificed. You don't often get to see a physical feature that appears in your community's ancient texts. Whether or not you are "a believer", a site can be sacred because of your community's tradition.

  • Which nation spends more on its military: Iran or Israel?
    • @ RoHa (& DaBakr)
      What is the significance of "now". The refugee crisis has been a pressure cooker building to explosion. So it exploded now. This "now" could have been last month or a month from now. It just happened to nbe at this particular now.
      DaBakr insinuates but won't say what his conspiracy is because the moment he does so he sounds ridiculous. So he lobs out the meditation: is it hyperbole or is it nothing. Perhaps it's just nothing. Perhaps it isn't. Who knows? The world is so perplexing.

    • @DB -
      Thank you for completely dropping your ridiculous, repeated insinuations re Putin and Russia.

    • @DB
      Let us say that the conspiracy theory you seem to be suggesting is true: the Syrian refugee crisis is being masterminded by Russia. So what? How does arming Israel to the teeth and sabotaging the president's Iran deal help resolve the refugee crisis? More strife and more warfare are not going to help Syria. You are using the refugees to try to knock down the Iran deal and to support the accompanying Israel arms deal.

  • Palestinian students and teachers protest Israeli govt discrimination against church-run schools
    • "Church-run schools receive funding to cover only 29% of their total operating costs in comparison to similarly sized Jewish Haredi and religious schools which have 100% of their costs covered by the government."

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • England has had a strong socialist political movement for almost the last 100 years, long before the pink was rolled back across the world. On the other end of it, Margaret Thatcher crushed the trades union when Britain was even more finished than it is today.
      The Empire explanation doesn't hold.
      Perhaps the times are changing. Corbyn was a surprise win. Tony Blair was supposed to have cleaned out the crazies. But then, who would have predicted Bernie Sanders' prominence as a presidential candidate?

  • Dreamspace in Jerusalem
    • "Perhaps however, had she ever had to fight (really -as in physically) to defend her family and neighbors from actual harm and/or death her perspective might have taken on a slightly more mature stance."

      Translation: almost getting killed in downtown Jerusalem isn't good enough to make the Israeli experience real. That's child's play. Only those who put on the IDF's uniform and terrorize Palestinians on the West Bank or massacre them on Gaza truly get it.

      "So she came to Israel and availed herself of the educational system for a higher degree and left."

      Translation: She paid good money to attend a university built by world Jewry (the whole place looks like a giant synagogue; there are donation plaques everywhere) in a city massively subsidized by world Jewry (I bet that Botanic Garden was a Jerusalem Foundation project or similar non-Israeli, Jewish enterprise) in a city whose international standing is built in it importance to three world religions. But this American Jew is just a taker. Unlike Mr Israeli Baker, the rightful owner of it all.

  • I am Israeli
    • Thanks, Marnie.

    • I don't have current meaningful relationships in Israel outside of immediate family. For me, it's not so much the prejudices themselves but uncovering warped thinking predicated on those prejudices. Like a liberal American suddenly realizing that a term they always used is tainted with racism or that the place they live has a Native history that was obliterated by Europeans. So, it's more about trying to clean that stuff up. But how do you know you have that way of thinking when you don't yet know you have that way of thinking....

    • "I can only wonder that the cleavage between the Jewish population in the US which largely subscribes to universal humanist values, and the Zionists in Israel"

      Bizarre, isn't it? The ability of the human mind to effortlessly compartmentalize seemingly contradictory areas of thought is amazing. It's a feat of mental self-preservation.

    • Krauss -
      Thanks. There is research that shows the arborists who provided the know-how for the JNF in its infancy had previously worked for the British administration in India and the German colonial project in Africa. In other words, Israel's landscape was manufactured by the scientists of other European colonists. This is a European use of trees to disrupt village life and indigenous agriculture in foreign lands. As Ritzl pointed out, this European fantasy projected on to a Middle Eastern climate continues to hurt Palestinians today. The colonists' trees are living thieves of Palestinian water.
      The epitome of the good life in Israel is having a house with a garden in the suburbs. Flat roofs or the Arab domed roofs are more appropriate for the climate, but the sloped, red-tiled roofs are means to look like European houses. On the West Bank you can spot an Israeli settlement from miles away by cluster of red roofs against the olive green landscape.

  • Video: Israel's celebrated Labour Party 'is the mother and father of racism', says member of Knesset
    • Thanks, Ritzl for both of your comments. The JL's power is in being a unified force. That drives Israelis (and Zionists over here) crazy. Remember how the mainstream Jewish community went beserk over the Kairos statement of Palestinian Christian unity. When "divide and rule" fails, they are left with no more manipulations in their bag of tricks.
      Unfortunately, the number of Jewish voters for the JL was miniscule. The party still is beyond the pale in Jewish circles just like it was before. The Arab is still the same Arab.
      Over here in the States, the people I meet have never even heard of the JL. J St is still a radical novelty for them.

    • The Joint List is Israel's only democratic party. Even the most secular Israeli Jews prefer to share power with the settler Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox they despise rather than give any power to people who have the same democratic, egalitarian people as them, folk who watch the same American TV and movies and have the same aspirations. There is no getting over their Arabness. "Jewish" always trumps "democratic." I voted for the Joint List in the last elections. A family dinner almost fell apart when I objected to the casual nastiness directed at MK Zoabi and declared my support for her party.

    • Gideon Levy linked to this video in his latest piece. Amazing. It's not just Zahalka's courage in directly challenging the crushing force of the Israeli state but his self-control. How do you maintain your composure in such a hostile environment backed up by the force of the state. I wonder how the Israeli pols will retaliate? Shaffir's sneers were not quite so charming as her J St glamor shot.
      Let's give this as much publicity as possible. Ari Shavit, Labor and J St will all look like quite silly once we hear the authentic voices of Palestinians over here.

  • 'NYT' misrepresents Iran's prediction about 'Zionist regime' to mean 'Israel'
    • DB -
      "It’s too broad of a subject to delve into"

      and yet, we do exactly that here every day on multiple threads.

      "many believe Israel has no legitimate right to exist."

      Is that not a legitimate idea in your book? If so, make the case. If your like, respond to Annie's last comment.

      "On this site however, you are either against Zionism or you are a racist supremacist."

      Mooser responded to that already.

      "There is no in between in ME world. Just the slightly more guilty liberal supremacist Israel supporters"

      If you don't like people's shorthand, then address the issue and make the case.

      It's great that you are here. Is it fair to say that you recognize that this is not just an internal conversation between Israelis. I think that's right. Happy New Year.

    • DB -
      "If Israel was as demonic as Elliot has suddenly realized why hasn’t he fled as there are no laws binding anybody to remain. Such moral giants have the temerity to lecture on ‘morality’ when they only know how to lay blame and emote shame for their formerly wanton ways."

      I never used the word 'morality'. This conversation might make you feel bad but that's not the point. (Although, it's ok to feel bad about this stuff). The point is not to make you feel lectured, blamed or shamed. Neither does it matter whether I, or anybody else, is morally gargantuan, wanton or just formerly wanton. It's not about me. It's not about you. This website is about the war of ideas in the Middle East. It's about Palestinian human rights. It's about Jewish culpability, U.S. culpability, Jewish amnesia, American blithe obliviousness among others.

      You may have missed this but I did leave Israel. I chose to do so not for any high minded reason or for any particular necessity. It was just that I decided that I didn't want to build my life in Israel. Although I cannot imagine it now, had I had a different set of personal circumstances, I might well have stayed. And that would have been 'morally' fine. I do think that to stay in Israel and not become complicit or willfully oblivious you do need a particular strength of character. I don't know if I would have measured up. Israelis like Gideon Levy, and others who are not known to the public, are inspirational figures. They lead the rest of us in thinking clearly and moving to bold action.

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