Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 379 (since 2009-08-07 20:50:47)


Showing comments 379 - 301

  • 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?"

      link to

      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.

      link to

      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.

    • 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
    • Just curious: can I walk into a shul bearing a weapon and hold a ceremony in which I pledge to kill, humiliate, terrorize against men, women and children without discrimination in the Occupied Territories?
      Coz that's how Israel uses the Western Wall.

      These two women have nice Jewish names, don't you think?
      The two Ariels brought dignity back to the Western Wall.

    • The Israeli government regularly disrupts all the Western Wall plaza to swear in the combat troops that are right now enforcing the occupation. Once a year, they close down the entire site honor the memory of those soldiers who died in its military operations.

      What these brave gals did was not in any way disruptive but it was wickedly subversive. If a synagogue is more than a house of worship, you gotta let both teams have a chance.

      As you can see in these images,at these swearing in ceremonies at the Western Wall, the soldiers are handed their Bibles and the rifles.

      link to

      link to

  • 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.

      link to

      link to

      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:
      link to

    • 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.

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