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Shmully and guilt

Israel/Palestine
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A year ago I met a scholar named Ben Karp who asked if I would come for Sabbath dinner at a Jewish society at Yale called Eliezer. Karp co-founded Eliezer 15 years ago. It is a members-only society that takes Jewishness and Judaism seriously, he said. We started it so that people like you can talk about their Jewish experience. We stay up late and you can spend the night in the bedroom. Karp reeled off some impressive people who’d spoken at Eliezer. I said Sure and it was arranged for a Sabbath dinner in January.

I got to a dark stone townhouse in downtown New Haven at about 7:30. There was a stained glass over the front door of a religious character but no other sign that I was in the right spot. I knocked on the big front door and it promptly opened; Ben brought me in.

Ben is tall and slender and from a mixed racial background, and his work is decidedly multiculturalist: he studies W.E.B. DuBois, he’s a pragmatic two-stater. He led me upstairs to the scene of the Sabbath dinner. I was surprised to see a redbearded Chabad rabbi standing there in his black coat, with his tie open on his neck. The man asked me my Hebrew name—Pinchas—and then embraced me and began talking about Pinchas great grandson of Abraham.

Rabbi Shmully Hecht
Rabbi Shmully Hecht

I say surprised because I had last seen Shmully Hecht two years before when Richard Goldstone spoke at Yale. A redhaired, redbearded man with very alive blue eyes, Hecht stood at the back of the hall holding up a big sign that said, “The Dreyfus Affair, 1890, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 1903… Goldstone, 2009.”
After Goldstone spoke, Hecht had approached him at the broccoli and red pepper spears reception and engaged in vigorous discussion. Goldstone had nodded quietly and then directed Hecht to look at the supplement to his report, containing a photograph of a Jewish star cut into a field in Gaza by Israeli tanks. Goldstone said that it had been one of the most upsetting things he had discovered in Gaza.

Shmully Hecht was also a founder of Eliezer. He and Ben and I went back downstairs to see who else had arrived, then we sat chatting. I could see my bedroom, a big bed with piled pillows waiting for me at the end of the night. Shmully said he was raised in a Chabad household but has had experience with many different forms of Jewish devotion. In fact he has more in common with an imam than he did with most Christian clergy– the religions were more similar—and for more than 1000 years Jews and Muslims had gotten along fine with one another across the Middle East.

Of course I have heard this same idea often from anti-Zionists. Why did that change? I said. Why should 2000 years of harmony suddenly end?

Shmully said that when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob there had been a quarrel. That quarrel was reasserting itself now thousands of years later.

Shmully’s wife came in. Shmully had told me ahead of time that orthodox women do not shake hands. She was pretty and darkhaired with an animated face and a big smile– in a word, vivacious. Toby. 

We talked about my Jewishness. Shmully said that Jewishness was in someone’s soul and it would always reassert itself in a Jew’s life. It would call to him at a certain time in life. I said I think that is what has happened to me, though it has not been religiously.

We went upstairs to the long and lavishly appointed Sabbath table. By the time laggards arrived, there were about 18 people at the table, most of them graduate students. We drank wine and I spoke. I believe there were some J Street folks at one end of the table who agreed with me, but hardly any one else did. Still the atmosphere was attentive and respectful. Yale is a serious place, though Shmully is nothing if not charismatic, a storyteller who makes Jewish religion come alive in that immediate, ecstatic Chabad manner. He said that he had also befriended Richard Goldstone since the incident at Yale’s McMillan Center and he thought Goldstone was a fine man. Shmully loves to joke around about anything but the Jewish nation. Over the course of the night as we drank red wine and Japanese whiskey I kept joking that we were going to end up in bed together downstairs. Shmully had no problem with the joke.

Ben introduced me with a spiritual lesson. He said that there was a deep divide in the Jewish community and it shouldn’t be there. There were people like myself who felt righteous about being outcast. It reminded him of the urban renewal project in New Haven. It had cut a deep divide in the community.

When I spoke, I copped to the righteousness of the excommunicated. I said there was a pleasure in it. I spoke for about 15 minutes and told a story I always tell to Jewish audiences, how I as a feature journalist and Christmas tree Jew have a very similar background to the guy who gave Jews the Zionist religion, Theodore Herzl, and like him I have awakened to Jewish experience in midlife. But where the anti-Semites had made Herzl Jewish again, the neoconservatives did that to me, when they pushed for a war to take everyone’s attention off the occupation. I spoke a lot about Palestinian conditions in occupation, and how they had shaken me, made me want to have nothing to do with the Zionist project. 

After I spoke the questions began respectfully but critically and grew more heated. At the end it almost became a heated argument. But even then people were polite.  It was remarkably civil considering that most people at the table had an active relationship with Israel, had family there even.

Ben began the questions by asking me Did I ever have misgivings about my work given that it has been attractive to anti-Semites, and what did I aim to do about that. I said the short answer was Yes. That pained me. There is no doubt that anti-Semites have been drawn to some of what I’ve said, and there have been anti-Semites on the comment board. I tried to explain how hard it is to police a comments board and also how tribal internet communities are. Also, I said that the conflict was polarizing. Communities are deeply divided. It was like Ben’s image of urban renewal, a great wound. I’m in one camp and they’re in another.

A young scholar next to me who is studying proto-Zionism in Europe in the 1800s out of a commitment to Israel said how could I be so sure that anti-Semitism was not going to return in a virulent form. It had been recurring throughout our history. Every 50 or 100 years there were major episodes. Of course it could happen again. And why did I not think that Israel could be struck by a nuclear warhead from Iran soon and it would be gone in the blink of an eye, she said.

The rebbitzin was also tough on me. She leaned across the table to speak directly and familiarly. She used the word my mother has used with me to describe my website: “vile.” She had gone on it that day and been shocked by things she read. People there wanted to dismantle Israel. And then to see me talk about my Jewishness and Jewish history in a thoughtful way–she couldn’t believe this was the same person yukking it up with haters of Israel. Toby seemed to suggest I was masquerading. But she had gotten a taste of the site and said she was hurt by it. She told me about her grandmothers escaping the Holocaust. But their parents died, and many of their relatives died. This was not that long ago. You are not sensitive to this. This is an emotional issue. It’s not something that you can be rational about. These things really happened to our community. I felt bad. I nodded listening to her and said that I was sorry for her family and that I respected the emotion.

Shmully said that I was wrong about the occupation. That land was bought by Jews. It belonged to us. Abraham had bought Hebron to bury Sarah. It’s in the Bible. All of Eretz Israel is the Jews’. He said that some people were afraid of the idea that Jews have guns now. We didn’t use to have guns. Now we do. Nothing would change if Jews left the West Bank. We had left Gaza and nothing had changed. There were just rockets.

When I spoke of the dispossesson of Palestinians, several members of the group contested me. They said that Palestinians had sold the land. They said that no one was getting pushed off their land. When I said that Nabi Saleh had been denied access to its wells, and had to have water trucked in, Toby said Well who trucks that water in—Israel.

There were other comments: Palestinians were desperate to be on the west side of the Green Line because they were treated better than anywhere else in the Middle East. My time line comparing Israeli discrimination to American discrimination in the deep south circa 1964 was skewed. There were Arab members of the Knesset after Israel was founded and an Arab member of the Supreme Court.

I said we should measure a society by people’s consent to their government, and Palestinians didn’t consent to their government, or they did not like it. I felt there was broad acknowledgement at the long table of that truth, though it was stated that Islam doesn’t tolerate being under Jewish rule. The Jews are dhimmi. Second class citizens. Muslims couldn’t accept citizenship in a Jewish state. I said that human history is fluid. I said that American Jews would never accept minority status without equal rights in the U.S. and that is all we should be for in Israel and Palestine.

A big handsome young undergraduate with a shock of dark hair said that I was being narcissistic. I was taking my standards and expecting other people in the world to accept them. I was being completely self-referential. It was kind of psychological and I wasn’t sure what to say. I did a lot of listening. Later he came up to me and said I should read Peter Singer’s book about his grandfather in Vienna, who was killed in the Holocaust (when I got home I ordered it). Now and then I looked down at the J Street Jews at the table but they were mostly quiet and listening. They did not get drawn into the conversation.

The most heated conversation took place with a small businessman with a green knit skullcap. What I said made him angry. He spoke in a withering dismissive tone, a little snappish. As if I were the enemy. How much time had I spent there? Five visits, six or seven weeks, I said. Well that’s no time at all to be reaching such judgments. I said I never went to Vietnam or South Africa.

He said it was worrying when people like me expressed such ignorance. I said that he should be worried, because Israel had always depended on the American Jewish community and we’d had enough. He said I had no idea what I was talking about. Israel was a free place for Palestinians by and large and what was the point of what I was saying, you want to destroy Israel, you think it was a mistake, you want to undo the mistake. That is what you are trying to do.

I said I waffled on partition for just this reason. I wasn’t against a Jewish state per se but it wasn’t up to me, it was up to the people there to accept it or not, and Palestinians citizens didn’t want it.

He said, What do you want Israel to do. What do you want it to do? Right now? I am asking you, tell me!

I said, stop discriminating against Arabs and allowing Nabi Saleh to have access to its water. The man in the green skullcap said that such discrimination was by individual landlords, and he denied that the occupation was hateful. I said that the Palestinians did not like it. He said I was calling for the destruction of Israel and I was dangerously naïve. I said that many American Jews were coming to the same conclusion I was because they didn’t want to continue to support these practices.

Shmully said that if you went around New Haven there were just as stark economic differences between one community and another as there was in Israel and Palestine. Why didn’t I begin my reform efforts in New Haven?

There was a soup course and then a main course of chicken at 11 o’clock. The food was excellent. The wine was excellent. I know because I drank a lot of it. Shmully kept refilling my glass. Then he led the end of the Shabbat service. I stayed up joking with him and Ben. Then I went to bed, that kingsized bed on the first floor with the big white comforter. There was a computer and a desk in the room and also a Chinese cabinet with liquor inside, all for the taking of guests. Ben said that I should lock the guestroom door as members of the Eliezer group might be coming and going all night. The Eliezer group now owns the next door building and will soon expand into it. Eliezer felt like a fancy club, not that different from the men’s clubs at Harvard when I was there. It’s odd for me to see Jews having a fancy club at Yale. But this is our modern condition. Wassail!

I had had too much to drink and did not sleep well. I had a dream about a football game. A Jets player was scoring a touchdown by stretching out over the goal-line. I was watching the player and noting that he was white. He used a clever device to hold on to the ball as he stretched over the goal-line, almost like phylacteries. I decided the dream was about racism. I notice race on the football field– so who am I to be upset when the members of the Eliezer society speak of Jews in exceptional terms and as a nation. So many people are guilty of racism, nationalism.

I woke up at 4 and then at 5 from having drunk too much red wine, feeling terribly guilty. I was in an entirely Jewish setting and had betrayed the Jewish people. I was not helping, I was not helping. I was alienating myself from highly intelligent and kind people. They were kind to me anyway. Now I understood why Goldstone had reconsidered his report, if he had spent any time with Shmully!

The tiled bathroom was beautifully appointed, with a glass bowl sink set on the countertop. I used the toothbrush provided and went upstairs to the Sabbath room of the night before. It was miraculously cleaned up, there was no sign of the tumult and food of the night before. The chairs were back upside down on the table top. The silver Judaica wine pouring device to pour 20 silver cups at once was cleaned and set upside down in its different parts on a drying rack.

I took some of the cookies I had not been able to eat from the night before and closed the heavy front door after me. It was 6 a.m. and still dark on Shabbos. I drove back home wondering how I was going to mend my ways.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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462 Responses

  1. chuckcarlos
    April 26, 2012, 1:01 pm

    ADL and others throw around a lot of BS and call anybody and everybody an anti-semite which has become absolutely and totally meaningless…so what…

    Semite
    a : a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs b : a descendant of these peoples

    Don’t know about Akkadians but do know that Phoenicians became Carthagians so sounds to me like this anti-semite deal includes a pretty broad spectrum…and doubt that many Jews in the USA are actually Semites…

    You are the enemy…because like Paul Krugman you’re basically an American…and shares a heritage with James Longstreet, Chief Joseph, Juarez, General Vallejo, Jane Fonda, William Tecumseh Sherman, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Nelson Rockefeller, Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry, 2Pac, Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemmings…

    Damn site more interesting than talking about some tall tales from ancient Sumeria or Egypt that some scribe in Babylon borrowed….

    yeah, I think you are the enemy…congratulations…

  2. Shmuel
    April 26, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Te absolvo, Pinchas (the proto-zealot). You were set up and outnumbered :-)

    • Citizen
      April 29, 2012, 12:11 am

      Shmuel, that’s how it seemed to me too. Seems like he was the one ugly black duckling seduced into the pond for a night’s entertainment of the normal ducks/swans. Phil was goldstoned. He did not object to Toby’s blanket negative opinion of the Mondowweiss blog community here (vile, haters of Israel who want to dismantle it). He left filled with guilt. (Or was that not a fair takeaway?) Now we have to see what he will do about it. Preen, or get a paint brush and a can of white paint?

      So the rabbi thinks, once a Jew, always a Jew–it’s in the soul and will out. There’s lots of very perjorative jokes along those lines; we’ve all heard them applied to various groups of people, yes? I wonder if the good rabbi believes all peoples have such souls? Will the non-Jewish soul also out at some point in the non-Jew’s life? Or maybe he believes in the Talmudic distinction between two types of souls, one higher than the other?

  3. Annie Robbins
    April 26, 2012, 1:50 pm

    this is another of your bests phil. it gives me a very creepy feeling reading it. it requires layers of lies and denials to believe some of the stuff they are saying, like the jews bought all the land. of course they didn’t. even israel’s supreme court understands this. the idea jews bought the land around nablus back in the day and therefore still own it now is simply fabulous, tho not in a good way. but it does inform how just this week netanyahu can throw together a ‘special ministerial committee’ and presto, declare palestinian land theirs. just like that. i mean, it’s crazy.

    the entire setting tho sounds so very intoxicating and intimate but psychologically devastating, manipulating and almost cult like. breathe.

    • David Samel
      April 26, 2012, 2:27 pm

      Annie, I think that’s a great point about comparing it to a cult. Check you reason at the door and try to battle your way against a bevy of true believers. How do police get innocent people to confess? I think there’s a connection there. We are all susceptible to having our realities turned upside down when confronted by skillful interlocutors.

      I admire Phil’s courage, or is it recklessness, for accepting the invitation – I never would. I’m much better suited to solitude and a keyboard, and can too quickly get hot under the collar and unpleasant in person. Their arguments seem ludicrous in print, but at the time, I would have found it difficult to swat each of them down comfortably. I wonder if Phil would subject himself to this again, and how long it took him to get over his undeserved guilt. It’s a good thing Phil did not mend his ways after all.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 26, 2012, 3:55 pm

        Their arguments seem ludicrous in print, but at the time, I would have found it difficult to swat each of them down comfortably.

        yeah, that is the whole point. another thing is the complete insular ethnic thing. i wonder if goys are ever allowed to these affairs. i suppose the psychological ‘logic’ doesn’t work on them so well.

        when i was younger i was associated with a chanting group. there was a leader and he had a holier than tho way about him. everyone deferred to him. i couldn’t. i’m just not attracted to manipulative control freaks.

      • Pamela Olson
        April 26, 2012, 10:18 pm

        Reading this was like reading George W. Bush’s book, Decision Points. (A family member gave it to me for Christmas two years ago.) Psychedelic, creepy, crazy-making. A fully internally consistent world is created, and all you have to do to believe it is disengage completely from actual observable reality. Once you do, anything is possible. Black is white, up is down, freedom is slavery. No land was stolen. Israel doesn’t take water, it gives water. Phil, you’re not a humanist, you’re a traitor.

        Glad you’ve stopped falling for it. But I know how disorienting it is to fall back into that rabbit hole for a while.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 2:09 am

        There are no social events at Eliezer that don’t include Jews if all backgrounds and non Jews who are included among founders, members, speakers and guests.

      • Shmuel
        April 27, 2012, 3:31 am

        tokyobk,

        I presume that you are Ben Karp (the Japan connection, initials and intimate knowledge of Eliezer). If I’m right, could you explain why you invited Phil, what you thought might happen, and whether you think such an atmosphere is really conducive to open discussion. Thanks.

        One more question: Do you think that MW is “vile”?

      • tree
        April 27, 2012, 4:48 am

        You’re especially sharp today, Shmuel! Great analysis of Phil’s dream and now this revelation. I’d likewise be interested in bk’s explanation of his thought processes and reasoning – and his take on MW.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 5:06 am

        yeah, smart shmuel ~ tokyo BK

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 5:13 am

        There are no social events at Eliezer that don’t include Jews of all backgrounds and non Jews who are included among founders, members, speakers and guests.

        tokyobk, just for clarification..(and i am serious) in the context in which you are referring, are sabbath dinners classified as ‘social events’?

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 6:18 am

        Yes, I am The BK of tokyo BK.
        I invited Phil Weiss because he is an interesting guy doing intersting things on a subject which matters to Jews and the larger world which is the only criteria for a guest of Eliezer. I wont out some of our other guests but trust me they are people that are both revered and reviled here. No litmus test. Or at least a very, very wide one. (prob would not have the grand dragon of the kkk… or, hmmm…). There is no commentator on I and P of any background that I would not invite and a few on schedule.
        What I thought might happen did happen and happens pretty much every Friday during the year which is people eat, drink, and talk about serious things.
        I think the conversation about Israel happens in various echo chambers and I pride Eliezer on being a place where Conversations are honest and I think that happened the night Phil came.

        No I do not think the commenters here are vile I think some comments have reflected jew hatred, most crazy standards for Israel. Some commenters flip to provide any context of understanding for any group other than Jews and Israel. Some. Mostbhere imo romanticize the Palestinians abit thiugh I understand that given what many are going through. I give a little money to this site because I believe in free soeech for the Jewish world, so in short, no.

        Annie, yes Shabbat is religious but also the main social event at Eliezer.

        More random personal beliefs:

        Indeally one secular democratic state, practically twonstates but alas that might be indeed dead.

        Inwould live i. a secular Palestine before a religious Israel.

        No, God did not give Israel to the Jews. God does not give land and land is not”Jewish” or “Arab” (one of my problems with the BDS platform). I understand why a rabbi believes that just as an Imam believes that his Prophet landed in Jerusalem on a winged horse making it Islams third holiest site.

        Jewish paranoia makes sense, though Phil is not wrong that Jews now are rich and seure and the claim that only Israel makes us safer is unproven.

        Nationalism and religion (redundant?) is dangerous in all groups.

        All cultural and academic boycotts are obnoxious. I am against boycotting Pakistan, China, Iran inthis way too.

        And, lastly the theme that gets me to post here sometimes: Jews are a natural and normal part of the middle east and north Africa. Helen Thomas can kiss my ass. Jewsih expulsions changed the character if Israel some as an entity conceived in Europe and enacted as a settler state (the nakba not denied of course – a human tragedy that Jews deny at the peril of our collective soul). Jews should be able to live freely among other groups there including in a small, secure Israel that gives rights to all its citizens and makes consideration and restitution to expulsed Palestinians. Israel was born in blood and war on artificial borders at the expense of indiginous peple (some of whom were trying to enact their own expulsion). and thatbis the origin of many countries especially my own, the US. I am with NF, however, Isreal exists as a legal country.

        excuse typing. this is an ipad and I have jetlag.

      • Terryscott
        April 27, 2012, 6:40 am

        Fantastic. This has been a real surprise. Both Phil’s piece and your post struck me hard.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 6:41 am

        …no God did -not- give Israel to the Jews…

      • tree
        April 27, 2012, 6:50 am

        the nakba not denied of course – a human tragedy that Jews deny at the peril of our collective soul

        And yet it seems you stood silent while others did just that, and preferred instead to focus on whether some people have said “anti-semitic” things in the comment section here, and whether the Jewish community was “divided” or not. This isn’t a particularly auspicious omen for the health of your own soul.

        And, lastly the theme that gets me to post here sometimes: Jews are a natural and normal part of the middle east and north Africa.

        I’d certainly agree, but have you read the books by Shabti and others, that point out that it was, and is, the Ashkenazi elite that chose to alienate the Arab Jews from their own Arabic culture, and remake them in a European mold, yet still relegated to an inferior status, never quite achieving the same lofty heights above the reviled Arab non-Jew that the elite choose to claim as their birthright? Do you ever bring this up in your evenings? Or do you rely on others to avoid the echo chamber?

        And do you really think that the ongoing I/P conflict is equivalent to urban renewal in New Haven? Would you have made the same comparison between apartheid South Africa and New Haven?

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 7:01 am

        Thanks for concern about my soul, but if it is in jeopardy it is not for any open conversation that happens at the Eliezer table.

        Yes, in my capacity as host I have remained silent while all sorts of garbage I disagree with is spouted. Since, as a host at a salon I am responsible for getting people to voice their opinions, some of which offend me personally. Then, I get to talk and others are quiet while I talk. That is how a conversation happens. I find the idea of “a land without a people” and denying Palestinian’s their sense of identity to be abhorrent at every level and no one who knows me is not aware of this.

        I certainly did ask Phil if he worries about people who are Jew haters using his site. Its a question many Jews ask and assume to be the case and I think it gives them an excuse, btw, to alienate people like him. I wanted him, as all my guests, to be able to speak openly and honestly and he did.

        I think the dysfunctional conversation between Jews is like the urban renewal in New Haven, too many cuts and segregations destroyed that town (which is now being reconnected). That was the analogy not to I – P which no does not resemble New Haven.

      • Shmuel
        April 27, 2012, 7:09 am

        Thanks for answering, BK.

        You say “prob would not have the grand dragon of the kkk”, yet the ideology of Chabad in general, and it seems Rabbi Hecht in particular, is not that different from that of the Klan (see e.g. Syd Nestel’s comment on this thread). What is more, not only is Rabbi Hecht invited to the table, but it is his table and his rules. I think that is what has “creeped” people out here about the whole story. It doesn’t seem like an open forum at all, but a kind of set up, in which one (very offensive) perspective is given primacy, and people like Phil are, at best, decorative fig leaves that allow Eliezer to strike a pluralistic pose. Judging by Phil’s description, I don’t think there was any meaningful discussion going on at all – more like a kind of public dressing down by an authority figure. It’s no wonder Phil left feeling guilty.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 7:28 am

        Phil “decorated” the table long into the evening and was a memorable guest. I don’t think anyone left that evening without liking him as a person whatever continued disagreements. If you have any other suggestions for mere window dressing in our grand project to dominate all opinion let me know! I am open to anyone having a turn in the guest seat except the raving narcissist Gilad Atzmon who has nothing good to offer Jews or Palestinians.

        Re Chabad. Every group has their schtick and Chabad has theirs. Religion divides, and the subdivisions of course divide even more. All told, I am grateful for having the chance to spend time in that community and having met so many wonderful people.

        Lastly, Shmully runs the religious aspects of the table. Members bring whomever they want. Its a Yale and Jewish organization, everyone thinks they are running the table frankly and everybody speaks loudly with authority. Phil gave as well as he got as you can imagine.

      • Shmuel
        April 27, 2012, 8:13 am

        Every group has their schtick and Chabad has theirs

        If that is the attitude of the “moderate” founder of Eliezer, I suspect the club has (to borrow your phrase) “nothing good to offer Jews or Palestinians”.

        Shmully runs the religious aspects of the table

        The “religious aspect” is the setting, and according to Phil’s account, the entire discussion has a decidedly religious (viz. Chabad) bent. Just out of curiosity, does Rabbi Hecht sit at the head of the table?

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 8:28 am

        Yes, moderation is precisely realizing that everybody has their schtick.

        No, he does not.

      • David Samel
        April 27, 2012, 8:33 am

        Ben, I am particularly interested in your question to Phil about whether he worries that Jew-haters use his site. I think his in-person answer was honest but inadequate, and as his un-retained lawyer, I would like to offer something more. First, what would you suggest Phil do to avoid providing fodder for anti-semites? Should he keep silent in the face of Israeli crimes as he sees them? Isn’t that the classic Jewish-paranoia cliche: “Shhh, don’t make trouble. Don’t give the goyim reason to hate us.” Besides, true anti-semites don’t need Phil or anyone else to spread their hatred. If he kept his mouth shut, they’d find plenty of other sources. Should Americans who disagree with their government’s policies keep quiet for fear of provoking hatred of the US and possible terrorist attacks against it?

        Second, if you are really concerned with acts that promote anti-semitism, you should ask Israelis and their supporters if they are worried about the same thing. Israelis commit monstrous acts against the Palestinians, and do so in the name of the Jews worldwide. Isn’t it better for Jews like Phil to say “I’m not part of that” and to demonstrate that there are many more Jews who also distance themselves? Israel behaves like, indeed stands for the principle that, Jews born everywhere in the world have more rights in Israel/Palestine than non-Jews who have lived there all their lives and whose family roots go back more than a millennium. Can you think of any obnoxious/arrogant attitude that is more likely to spread anti-semitism?

        On the other hand, if you ask Israelis if they are concerned about their actions encouraging anti-semites around the world, their honest answer might be yes, they hope so. Israel likes to bill itself as the only place of true refuge and security for Jews, and they like to exploit incidents of anti-semitism in the diaspora, real or apparent, by encouraging Jews to move there.

        Phil answered your question honestly, because as the proprietor of the site, he really does worry about some of the comments he sees. But he should feel zero responsibility for them. He fights true anti-semitism more than Israel, Abe Foxman, and Elie Wiesel combined.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 8:59 am

        I have no problem with what Phil does or says, though I disagree with him sometimes. Every human being needs to call it as they see it even where it goes against their tribes purported interests (and who speaks for any tribe authentically?). Being silent in the name of solidarity can be immoral as in the cases where Israel has trampled on the rights of Palestinians. I thank god every day that my clergy does not have the power to enforce their interpretations as priests once did and as imams seem to these days.

        I believe Phil has made every reasonable effort to monitor the site and there is a lot less of the kind of thing I was referring to.

        To repeat, I asked the question as a moderator who wanted to begin the conversation with a question often posed to Jewish critics of Israel. I was curious how he would respond to that, which he did. Its not my biggest hang up. I do think sometimes people like Phil get milage out of claiming to have been excommunicated which I said to him directly.

        But frankly I just don’t have the same view of Israel as most people here. You can call me a hasbarist or whatever or insinuate that I have not read enough or read the wrong things or am a firster or whatever other bs which functions just as calling any critic of Israel and anti-Semite does — to shut down conversation.

        I see Israel as a deeply flawed nation with a conflicted charter that began in war and blood in the context of the holocaust but also in the context of Jewish life in the Arab world. In itself a Jewish state is no more or less odd or improper than a Muslim or Arab one. Jews on a small piece of land that once housed Jewish communities throughout is not in itself an evil. I am totally ok with a Jewish state sharing Jerusalem.

        PS some people at Eliezer including Shmully think I am nuts, naive, haven’t spent any time walking the streets of Hebron, etc… and wonders of wonders the place still functions and we remain partners in the task of bringing people like Phil to New Haven.

        And I believe most people here romanticize and contextualize the Palestinians out of deep and genuine concern but also out of a need to see the conflict as a simple battle of good versus evil. I see the Palestinians as in no way equal militarily, of course, but as adult agents. If the Gazans elect Hamas it is rational to conclude they support the agenda of Hamas.

        Some people see 48 as a crime. I have a bigger issue with post 67.
        You may agree with the reasons why Palestinians rejected partition but reject they did and war was fought with the intention to cleanse on both sides.

        I fear two states is no longer an option but think it is the most practical solution.

        In my dreams there is a secular state that protects religious minorities and welcomes exiled refugees and welcomes Jews who want to be close to their holiest sites and the land that figures in all of our liturgy.

      • eljay
        April 27, 2012, 9:07 am

        >> tokyobk @ April 27, 2012 at 6:18 am

        Well said! :-)

      • Shmuel
        April 27, 2012, 9:21 am

        Well put, David. A basic premise of Zionism – and some Jewish religious ideologies, such as Chabad – is that Jews will always be despised, no matter what they do. So why worry about Phil Weiss? Rabbi Hecht in fact alluded to this idea in his bizarre reference to the unsettled account between Jacob and Esau.

        Of course it is an accusation often levelled at Phil Weiss and Jewish critics of Israel in general, but does it really deserve attention? The implication of the question – especially “in an entirely Jewish setting ” – was precisely the one that Phil took away with him, i.e. that he has “betrayed the Jewish people”. I have no doubt that Phil “gave as good as he got”, but the whole set-up strikes me as disrespectful and the very opposite of dialogue.

        On the subject of “realizing that everybody has their schtick”, you may be right in theory, but the terminology itself is forgiving. You wouldn’t use it in reference to the KKK or (I hope) Meir Kahane, why use it in reference to Chabad? Unless Eliezer treats some forms of racism as a “schtick” and others as “raving narcissism” or worse. Speaking of which, would Kahane disciples Michael Ben-Ari or Baruch Marzel be welcome at an Eliezer shabbos dinner? If not, how do their views differ from those of host and Eliezer co-founder Rabbi Hecht?

      • edwin
        April 27, 2012, 9:29 am

        I was interested in Aaron Levitt’s comments and experiences with Chabad and Shabbat in Jerusalem.

        Reading Phil’s post and hearing tokyobk’s comments reminded me of the article.

        http://justiceforpalestine.blogspot.ca/2009/11/shabbat-in-jerusalem.html

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 9:44 am

        Set up would imply a person is brought in on a false pretext and then ambushed. Neither happened to Phil.

        Hard to say who we would not bring — trying to think of who has come that was controversial. Whomever we bring on the “right” or “left” garners complaints.

        Al Goldstein came for dinner once which was, uh, interesting. His main topic of conversation was a “date” he once went on with Linda Lovelace. Gerry Springer, too. Lots of very cool non controversial people like the late comic book artist Will Eisner.

        Our guest tonight is someone I cannot name unless this person choses to on her or his own later but is considered “worse” than Phil by mainstream Jewish groups.

        In fact, for all your railing on Chabad, Shmuel, it is only because we have been completely independent that we can bring whomever we please. Chabad or any other organization would never approve our guest list.

      • Shmuel
        April 27, 2012, 9:50 am

        Thanks for taking the time to answer, BK.

      • edwin
        April 27, 2012, 10:11 am

        In itself a Jewish state is no more or less odd or improper than a Muslim or Arab one. Jews on a small piece of land that once housed Jewish communities throughout is not in itself an evil.

        I’m not sure how many people here would think that a Muslim state is proper or acceptable. I don’t. Ultimately, a Muslim state must be willing to enforce religion, and marriage or it becomes a secular state with a Muslim majority, or in the long term, not even that. I believe in freedom of religion, and ultimately a Muslim state must deny this. I believe that religion is a personal, private activity. A Muslim state must deny this as well. There is no problem with Jews inside any country, but in context, that is not what you said.

        When you finish with “Jews on a small piece of land…” you are moving the goal posts and engaging in racism at the same time. Either Jews are just another religion or Judaism is “special” and should be treated differently than every other religion. I think that people anywhere in the world have the right to their own faith – Judaism included. That does not give them the moral right to move to another country. Nor does it make it acceptable to officiate on who is and is not a Jew.

        In my dreams there is a secular state that protects religious minorities and welcomes exiled refugees and welcomes Jews who want to be close to their holiest sites and the land that figures in all of our liturgy.

        I am glad that you wish to protect religious minorities, and would welcome exiled refugees. This is, in my mind, where we draw the line between civilized and barbarism. I think that this is the key to a non-violent future from the Jewish side of the conflict. Similarly, the stated goal of not expelling Jews from even occupied Palestine, is the Palestinian side of this – recognizing that it means more for the victim to say this than the oppressor.

        Still – you have a need to see Jews as “other”. You did not say that you would welcome exiled refugees and welcome all those who want to be close to their holiest sites – Christians, Jews and Muslims. Ultimately, you must be willing, as the Catholic church tried to do with Christianity, decide who is worthy – who is a good Jew and who is not worthy, and who is a bad Jew. Ultimately, you resist freedom of religion, feeling that state privileges and penalties should be assigned based on religious belief. When privileges and penalties are applied to religious beliefs at the state level, there is no true freedom of religion.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 11:21 am

        Thanks for the dialogue!

      • David Samel
        April 27, 2012, 11:32 am

        Once again, BK, something of yours catches my eye: In itself a Jewish state is no more or less odd or improper than a Muslim or Arab one. Jews on a small piece of land that once housed Jewish communities throughout is not in itself an evil.

        I think that is a common misconception of profound consequences. Israel is not a Jewish State in the same way that other countries are Muslim or Arab states. As for “Muslim” countries, that can either mean that the majority of the population is Muslim or that Islam is the official religion, or both. An “Arab state” is one which is geographically located in a certain area and Arabic is the primary language. They are Arab in the same sense that Peru and Argentina are Latin American states.

        The Jewish State is something different altogether. Judaism is not the official religion of Israel, which officially recognizes several different religions. Nor is the Jewish State tied to a geographical area, as it purportedly is the state of the Jewish people worldwide. No Muslim or Arab state offers any automatic citizenship to other Muslims or Arabs who live elsewhere in the world. The Jewish State alone offers such preferences to people of a certain ethnicity, not necessarily religious belief (Jewish atheists are most welcome). Whereas some Muslim states no doubt blur the distinction between church and state, which I don’t like, the Jewish State offends me for a different reason. It fails to provide equality to citizen/residents of the area under its control, and maintains a system of inequality based on ethnic origin. I am not aware of any parallel to this concept of a Jewish State, and if one exists, it is just as offensive to my point of view.

        Your second sentence quoted above is equally troubling. You seem to equate “Jews on a small piece of land” with a Jewish State. This is another widespread misconception fostered by Zionists. Can’t Jews live there without taking proprietary rights to the state? They do so in New Jersey, where plenty of Jews live without the benefit of a Jewish State. I do think Helen Thomas, whom I generally respect and admire, was wrong to suggest that Israeli Jews leave. Let them stay, but as equals, not superiors, as fellow citizens rather than armed rulers over the rest of the population. If Israeli Jews refuse to relinquish such privileges, they will never find the peace and security that Israel the Jewish State was in theory supposed to provide. I’m much safer here than there.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 12:00 pm

        You and I share the ideal, I am sure, of a secular state where all groups live equally and protected.

        I believe the next best step would be two states with a shared Jerusalem.

        In itself, I have no problem with a Jewish state that gives refuge to Jews from around the world. I have no problem with Pakistan providing refuge for Muslims from India during the partition, though clearly there is both Apartheid and cleansing in that countries founding. Neither are ideal but this is the planet we live on.

        I love America and what it has provided for Jews and others in spite of its history (and I am also descended from its slaves and -for reals because everyone says so- from the natives who were ethnically cleansed here).

        I agree that we cannot say for sure if Israel has made things safer for Jews or not. I personally do not need to know there is an Israel to feel safe in the US.

        And we must ask the question of Palestinians. Can Jews live as equals in Palestine? I hope the answer is yes. Are you sure it is yes?

      • lyn117
        April 27, 2012, 12:34 pm

        “You may agree with the reasons why Palestinians rejected partition but reject they did and war was fought with the intention to cleanse on both sides.”

        It’s clear from the writing of dominant zionists from Herzl on that they wanted to get rid of the Palestinian Arabs from the start of the zionist project. Palestinian leadership, on the other hand, supported equal rights regardless of creed. Rejected by zionists because they wanted to dominate. Its true Palestinians attempted to limit Jewish immigration prior to 1947, but there’s no indication that to cleanse was the dominant intent on the part of Palestinian leadership. Some may have wanted it, others supported partition. As Ilan Pappe reports, the war in 1948 was for the most part instigated and kept alive by the zionists. The Palestinians were largely unarmed, and unwilling to fight having suffered immensely during the 1936 uprising. Zionists had every opportunity to approach Palestinian Arab leadership and come to an agreement. Who knows, perhaps Palestinian Arabs would have been moved as much as anyone by the story of the holocaust, had they not been under attack by people who acted in the name of Jews? Too late for that now, of course.

        I believe your view of history is colored by your support for a Jewish state. I too see nothing theoretically wrong with a Jewish state, but everything wrong with the one that exists. Whatever one has to say about forced or coerced religious conversion which of course, was done by Christians, Jews and Muslims, and by communists as well if you count the forced conversion to communism under communist rule, most of the Muslim states became that way by conversion, not by ethnic cleansing.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 1:35 pm

        I can live with the same statement that I have problems with this Jewish state and that ethnic religious states are not desirable.

        There were Palestinians who supported equality and those who wanted to drive out the Jews.

        Most ethnic cleanings in the ME happened long before the modern state but of course they happened all throughout history.

        I am not disagreeing that “the land without a people” existed as a concept before 1948 and I find it an abhorrent thought.

      • seanmcbride
        April 27, 2012, 1:54 pm

        Shmuel,

        Insightful comment.

        As I read Phil’s colorful account (great writing, Phil!), it was obvious to me that he was being manipulated, hustled and psychologically coerced by classical cult methods. In this case we are dealing with an actual ethno-religious nationalist cult — not something that merely resembles a cult.

        I’ve been in these kinds of environments myself and the staging was familiar. Bathe the target in a feeling of warm fellowship to lower his or her defenses (the wine obviously helped) and gently apply pressure. There is always the underlying threat in these kinds of situations that if you don’t abandon your mind and soul to the cult you may suffer severe punishments.

        Hey — this is what Goldstoning is all about. Phil just endured a small Goldstoning moment.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 2:57 pm

        “excuse typing. this is an ipad and I have jetlag.”

        Oh, don’t worry about it. I’ll bet you are as literate as you are honest.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 6:51 pm

        “In my dreams there is a secular state that protects religious minorities and welcomes exiled refugees and welcomes Jews who want to be close to their holiest sites and the land that figures in all of our liturgy.”

        And in your worst nightmares there’s a state which extends equal rights to all people, regardless of their religion.
        But of course, you can’t even say that, so you use weasel (Wiesel?) phrases like “protects religious minorities” and veer off into a lot of drek about “holiest sites” and “the land that figures in all of our liturgy.”
        So tell me, Ben, why do you feel your religion should be used as protection for criminal acts? Is that all you think it’s good for? And why do you think it can’t stand on its own without relegating others to the status of “religious minorities”?

        Why not just admit it, and have done with it? Just come out and say that you will never willingly accept an Israel where Jews have to live as equals to Muslims and Palestinian Christians?
        As for why you are content to use your religion for a sheild for criminality and criminals, don’t bother explaining it to me, fortunately, I’ll never understand it. Do you think there is something in that for you?

      • Arnon Shwantzinger Too
        April 27, 2012, 9:44 pm

        “I fear two states is no longer an option but think it is the most practical solution.”

        Hi BK,
        May I inquire into the practicality of a solution that is no longer an option? I usually apply the word ‘practical’ when referring to things that can be done.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 12:24 am

        Phil’s little memory story reminded me of scenes in Dostoesvski’s The Possessed (The Devils), and also I bet Gogol or Kafka could do a great little short story just on Phil’s Night Out. So could the guys who write Family Guy.
        Something things are surreal when they are most real.

        Phil’s dream that night also works as a metaphor in ways more directly related to his experience in the Jewish Cabin In The Woods.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 29, 2012, 3:18 am

        If the Gazans elect Hamas it is rational to conclude they support the agenda of Hamas.

        yeah, and if americans elect obama it may be rational to conclude they support the agenda of obama, but it still doesn’t make it the reality.

        btw, i am not sure you are aware hamas won the election in the WB too. they didn’t win so much as fatah lost, and that was directly related to the ineffectual corrupt governing style of the fatah.

      • Rusty Pipes
        April 30, 2012, 1:17 pm

        An Arab-American woman with a long distinguished career as a journalist (during which in the Bush Administration she was the only reporter courageous enough to ask tough questions and got moved to the back row) who at 89 was entrapped into making a stupid statement can kiss your Yale-scholar ass?

        As they say, “mighty white of you.”

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 1, 2012, 6:52 am

        (the wine obviously helped)

        I, too, wondered, a little, why this Shmully character was serving Phil one glass after the other. The manoeuvre in retrospect looks like an obvious one.. BTW, everything about this Shmully made my stomach feel queasy to the point of almost throwing up! The West Bank belongs to us, Abraham “bought Hebron”, didn’t you read the Bible?
        For a fraction of a second, I wondered if he was serious.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        April 27, 2012, 12:45 am

        “I admire Phil’s courage, or is it recklessness, for accepting the invitation.”

        Yes, this is what struck me, the oddness of anyone accepting that invitation. Obviously Phil was looking for something, but what? To be enveloped in the attention of 18 highly intelligent people, begging him to join them?

        I’m guessing that was a very lonely drive back home. Once again he was just a man, but the night before he had glimpsed what it was like to be a part of something bigger than an individual, something that never dies.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 3:01 pm

        “Obviously Phil was looking for something, but what?”

        When I have been in very similiar situations, I make it a point to slip away whilst everyone else is chattering and check the medicine cabinet for any stray oxycodone. It is very easy to suffer and acute drug-underdose in company like that, and I don’t drink.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 12:26 am

        Would hydrocodone work?

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 12:39 am

        Yep, it does smell like a cult; and yep, it would’ve been hard to respond adequately (in one’s own estimation) to what they were saying to Phil in many cases, especially that small businessman–seems a hot head, loose cannon.

  4. Woody Tanaka
    April 26, 2012, 2:03 pm

    “Shmully said that I was wrong about the occupation. That land was bought by Jews. It belonged to us. Abraham had paid for the deed to the land around Shechem (Nablus). It’s in the Bible. All of the Israel is the Jews’.”

    This is the heart of the problem. When the Zionists recognize the error in this, recant and beg forgiveness for their actions which this belief brought, there can be peace.

    • braciole
      April 26, 2012, 4:03 pm

      So were they arguing that once purchased by a Jew, that land is owned in perpetuity by all Jews? BTW, perhaps they could show us the deeds that Abraham bought just to show they still have title in law rather than from the barrel of a gun! Perhaps they could also show us the entries in the land registers for Palestine for this purchase.

      • pabelmont
        April 27, 2012, 11:05 am

        And explain why — on those arguments — the whole (or much) of the USA should not be returned to the (remnants of the) American Indians who possessed it all and had “title” to it all in the only manner that they knew of “possession” and “title” before the advent of Europeans.

        As a lawyer, I will point out that the Anglo-American legal culture regards ownership of land as a bit tentative: if someone not the “title” owner settles on the land in an obvious way (openly and notoriously) and uses the land as if it were his own, then after a period of years of such “adverse possession” (as it is called), if the title owner has not taken steps to remove the adverse possessor, the title passes to him even though the original owner has the title deeds. Many people have adversely possessed (and “owned”) the Holy Land in the last 2000 years alone. I am not aware or perpetual Jewish efforts to reclaim it pursuant to their ancient “title”. It seems that the State of Israel honors “adverse possession”. See next.

        It seems to me that Israel has given legal force to Ottoman and Mandatory title deeds within Israel, so any claim that “the Jews” (whoever they may be) “own” all of some great land by gift from God or by Abraham’s purchase, is an empty claim judged merely by Israel’s giving credence to Ottoman title deeds. And British-Mandate title deeds. (Unless it be urged that Israel, in giving legal effect to Ottoman and Mandatory title deeds is acting AGAINST the Jewish people. Hmmm!)

        Question: If “the Jews” own all of some great land (I don’t know the space-boundaries of this time-boundless claim of land ownership), what claim has a particular “Jew” to ownership of a particular parcel of land within all of this land unless he obtained that particular parcel within that great land by gift or purchase from its owners, “the Jews”? Did anyone do THAT?

  5. Chu
    April 26, 2012, 2:21 pm

    You were outnumbered by your genteel friends of Israel. If they believe that Palestinians sold the land to Jews that would be red flag number one for an exit strategy.

    The football team was the table of Elizier, and the other team (j-street) did nothing. And you watched them use devices to stretch over and make that goal, rhetorical tricks employed at the dinner. They scored points as you drank and watched this spectacle.

    The next time you’re feeling guilty in the company of smart and kind strangers, think about the Palestinians who are harmed and brutalized every day by this great thing called Israel. The hosts were attempting to deprogram you.

    If Goldstone would reconsider his report after a night with this pleasant company, would this be the January of this year, when the comments policy began to change here? I wonder…You should have saved this one story for Halloween.

    And Mayor Cory Booker is down with this crew. geez…

    • iamuglow
      April 26, 2012, 4:40 pm

      “would this be the January of this year, when the comments policy began to change here? I wonder…”

      I wonder too.

      All due respect to Phil, there is a lot of trash in this post. IMO, you throw the Mondo comment board under the bus.

      “Did I ever have misgivings about my work given that it has been attractive to anti-Semites, and what did I aim to do about that. I said the short answer was Yes. That pained me. There is no doubt that anti-Semites have been drawn to some of what I’ve said, and there have been anti-Semites on the comment board. ”

      And then you find yourself being persuaded by the a guy whose sees I/P in terms of

      “Esau sold his birthright to Jacob there had been a quarrel. That quarrel was reasserting itself now thousands of years later.”

      I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you have to backtrack or mend ways for saying 2+2=4.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 3:06 pm

        “and there have been anti-Semites on the comment board.”

        Ah! I guess my comments are having some good effects.
        Of course, the overt anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian bigotry we get constantly and consistently from certain commenters never, ever seems to disturb anybody over at the Moderator’s Suite.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 12:52 am

        Remember the circumstances re how Esau sold his birthright?

      • Annie Robbins
        April 29, 2012, 1:10 am

        27 And the boys grew; and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents.
        28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison; and Rebekah loved Jacob.
        29 And Jacob sod pottage; and Esau came in from the field, and he was faint.
        30 And Esau said to Jacob: ‘Let me swallow, I pray thee, some of this red, red pottage; for I am faint.’ Therefore was his name called Edom.
        31 And Jacob said: ‘Sell me first thy birthright.’
        32 And Esau said: ‘Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall the birthright do to me?’
        33 And Jacob said: ‘Swear to me first’; and he swore unto him; and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
        34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright. {P}

        http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0125.htm#30

  6. Dan Crowther
    April 26, 2012, 3:09 pm

    I think your dream was about realizing that you were with white chauvinist racists, who happened to be jewish – its foreign to think of racist jews as “white racists” just likes its maybe sort of strange to think of an NFL game and think of a white guy scoring a touchdown. To me, the touchdown is your mind telling you “we made it, maybe now we can focus on being normal”

    • tokyobk
      April 26, 2012, 8:20 pm

      Hi Dan,

      As a fact, Eliezer has two founders that are African American and members who are not Jewish, including Protestans, Catholics and Muslim, as well as of every major racial groups.

      So, you have made some racialist assumptions which you might want to own, if facts matter to you.

      • Chu
        April 26, 2012, 9:45 pm

        and so does AIPAC, anyone can tell you they are a very diverse group of lobbyists- in fact, someone here on this site just made that claim. Not to be forgotten they sit round the Seder table and have guests like Joe Lieberman and Alan Dershowitz. Who runs the organization Tokyo? It’s a reverse discrimination club at the Ivy league level. Does Booker come back often to visit? Not sure.

      • Dan Crowther
        April 26, 2012, 11:04 pm

        HAHA

        I was kind of half kidding, I thought the “dream” bit was a little strange, and added my semi uninterested, uncredentialed psycho-analysis; whatever else is true about the people who Phil was actually writing about here – he didnt mention the founders etc, and it was a sabbath dinner- their views are racist, plain and simple. the people who Phil had to first explain himself to, and then debate, held repugnant views, and I got the sense from the piece that they were white (like the football player in his dream, and the dude in the picture) which makes them “white racists” – Big Fucking Deal they let the upper crust of some other races or ethnicities belong to their club, they cheer on ethnic supremacy from a Yale Supper Club, they can go F themselves. How does that grab ya?

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 5:44 am

        “they” who let in people of all backgrounds are people of all backgrounds and yes youbare welcome to take it or leave it just nit change it into whatbyou need it to be for you two d cutout.

      • tree
        April 27, 2012, 6:09 am

        You seem to be missing the point, tokyobk. The people at the meeting, at least the ones who spoke up in argument with Phil, and apparently with Phil alone, were giving voice to very bigoted and racist myths, and promoting the repugnant idea that Phil, by standing up for human rights, was responsible for undermining Jews. Whether or not “people of all backgrounds” are let into Eliezer is entirely irrelevant to the racism and bigotry, and the cult-like attitudes, on display that evening in January. You seem to be clinging to this “people of all backgrounds” meme to distract from this fact, or to pretend that it negates the overall repellent racism, and willful cluelessness of some of the participants of that evening.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 6:12 am

        nit change it into whatbyou need it to be for you two d cutout.

        come again? do you mean ‘not change it into what you need it to be for you to duck out?’

      • tree
        April 27, 2012, 6:20 am

        I think he means “2-d cutout” as in 2 dimensional. See, it doesn’t matter what kind of racist lying blather was spoken at the Sabbath dinner because “people of all backgrounds” are allowed to grace the club. Why some of their best friends…! He’s offended that Dan dared to call people who expressed simplistic racist thoughts “racists”.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 12:41 pm

        thanks tree, of course. brain not fully engaged @3 am my time.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 3:13 pm

        I still don’t understand why “tokyobk” did not feel it incumbent upon him to declare, when he began to comment on this post, the “tokyobk” was, in fact, Ben Karp. Why did he have to be “outed” by Shmuel?

        I love that whole “Eliezer has two founders that are African American” schtick. I can’t quite understand what that is supposed to be indicative of. Do African Americans have a superior ethical and political intelligence, which makes their presence a token of non-racism?
        As far as I know, African-American can be corrupted much the same as Jews, and by pretty much the same things, if they choose.

      • Dan Crowther
        April 27, 2012, 4:05 pm

        At the risk of having another one of my comments rejected – I will just say, the pointed question of mooser’s is well worth asking. also worth asking is why Phil incessantly finds it necessary to defend his views to folks like Tokyo Benny – its almost like Phil views judaism as the religion of zionism, like there is a “Zionist People” (which he sees himself a part of) whose national liberation movement aka the justification for their crimes, is judaism. Which might explain why he thinks he can change folks by out “jewish-ing” them.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 6:54 pm

        “Tokyo Benny”

        Doesn’t he run a wonderful Sushi place in Tokyo called Benny Ha-Ha’s?

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 7:02 pm

        “Which might explain why he thinks he can change folks by out “jewish-ing” them”

        Gosh, imagine having to go all those places without your wife! I’d be lost. At least I can slip a BLT in my pocket for emergencies, with nobody the wiser.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 7:26 pm

        “also worth asking is why Phil incessantly finds it necessary to defend his views to folks like Tokyo Benny –”

        The most charitable view of that would be that Phil is postponing the moment when he has to face the fact that these people can’t be talked to, and can only respond to force (and I quickly ad that I don’t necessarily mean violent force. They’re not that brave.) not any kind of ethical or religious argument. That is going to be one hell of a painful moment (even more so if he feels compelled to announce that shift in his blog) and it’s hard to blame him for putting that moment off (but don’t worry, I can do it) as long as he can. He’ll finally have to face the fact that relations between Jews are no different than the relations between any other people.

        At least Phil can be free of the dread of thinking that if he ever becomes too much of a nuisance to Zionism, they’ll know exactly what to do about it. The idea that Jews would ever harm another Jew in what they conceived of as the “defense” of their “homeland” is inconceivable, as recent events have shown.

      • Shmuel
        April 28, 2012, 4:15 am

        also worth asking is why Phil incessantly finds it necessary to defend his views to folks like Tokyo Benny

        It’s Phil’s Achilles’ heel. The one accusation that really seems to get to him is that he is somehow a “bad Jew”, and as such, has no right to criticise Jews “as a Jew” – or worse, that his criticism is part and parcel of his being a “bad Jew”.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 1:00 am

        I guess you mean Phil’s Achilles’ heel as distinguished from his sole–the one Shmully told him he had, just waiting patiently to come out?

      • Shmuel
        April 29, 2012, 3:44 am

        I guess you mean Phil’s Achilles’ heel as distinguished from his sole–the one Shmully told him he had, just waiting patiently to come out?

        As long as he didn’t put his foot in it :-)

        The heel is crucial here however. It is the source of all Jewish-gentile rivalry and animus. According to Genesis 25:23-26, Esau emerged first from the womb, but the infant Jacob held onto his heel (the name Jacob in fact derives from the Hebrew word for heel).

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 1, 2012, 7:30 am

        (the name Jacob in fact derives from the Hebrew word for heel).

        Why! Of course! And it’s the Arabic “Ka’ab” for heel ! I never thought of it that way. Thanks Shmuel. :)

  7. Terryscott
    April 26, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Very smart, and emotionally honest writing Phil. Thank you.

    • libra
      April 26, 2012, 7:15 pm

      Terry me old Paddy, I’m thinking that Shmully Hecht with his red hair, red beard and twinkling blue eyes is probably as Irish as you. Now how about dat, begorrah?

      • Terryscott
        April 27, 2012, 6:46 am

        He doesn’t look particularly Irish to me, but then, I’m wrong all the time. People mistake me for every other European ethnicity.
        HOWEVER, in the grand bazaar in Istanbul (a place to avoid unless one is taking tourists about) store owners do yell out at me “hey Irish, come in!” I don’t know how they do it.

  8. ToivoS
    April 26, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Great story Phil, it is what you do best. What struck me most was what you called the J-street faction. Utterly, utterly useless. If they wanted to be useful they would engage the fanatics in head-on debate. This would mean, of course, a willingness to be shunned and exiled from the house.

  9. Shmuel
    April 26, 2012, 3:32 pm

    My turn :-)

    The Jetws were scoring a touchdown by stretching [the truth]. You were watching the player and noting that he was a privileged, powerful guy. He used a clever device to hold on to the ball as he stretched over the goal-line, almost like phylacteries – showing his Jewishness, his oppressed-minority membership card. That’s what you took away from the evening: a bunch of rich, educated, white guys – in a private club at Yale, for God’s sake – playing helpless, oppressed minority. For the touchdown.

    • Chu
      April 26, 2012, 5:14 pm

      sharp analysis :)

    • Annie Robbins
      April 26, 2012, 6:32 pm

      RIFF: (Spoken) Against the Sharks we need every man we got.

      ACTION: (Spoken) Tony don’t belong any more.

      RIFF: Cut it, Action boy. I and Tony started the Jets.

      ACTION: Well, he acts like he don’t wanna belong.

      BABY JOHN: Who wouldn’t wanna belong to the Jets!

      ACTION: Tony ain’t been with us for over a month.

      SNOWBOY: What about the day we clobbered the Emeralds?

      A-RAB: Which we couldn’t have done without Tony.

      BABY JOHN: He saved my ever-lovin’ neck!

      RIFF: Right! He’s always come through for us and he will now.

      the football field symbolizes the arena of life. the goal line represents ones goals and limitations (probably moral limits..crossing the line) as well as the green line (‘scoring a touchdown by stretching out over the goalgreen-line’). phil is automatically assigned on a team (jews, for life) and ‘don’t belong any more’ is part of a theme.

      When you’re a Jet,
      You’re a Jet all the way
      From your first cigarette
      To your last dyin’ day.

      When you’re a Jet,
      If the spit hits the fan,
      You got brothers around,
      You’re a family man!

      You’re never alone,
      You’re never disconnected!
      You’re home with your own:
      When company’s expected,
      You’re well protected!

      Then you are set
      With a capital J,
      Which you’ll never forget
      Till they cart you away.
      When you’re a Jet,
      You stay a Jet!

      and he saw one of his team mates cheating. in his mind it was cheating even tho one could argue being clever made it ok. but the cheating was done thru the use of the religious aspect (phylacteries) of jewishness. mixing clever and religion.

      the goal or ‘winning’ the game symbolizes israel (that being the topic/theme of the evening so he was dreaming about it) and the jets are cheating (‘stretching out over the goalgreen-line’) and using their religion to do it, cleverly.

      the dream was about racism because phil is the one who owns the dream (you gotta go with those first instincts).

      the musical was important culturally. it represented a turning pt. there’s a role reversal (in the dream)wrt jets because in the original script the jets were supposed to play the anti semites pitted against the jews. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Side_Story#Genesis_of_the_concept

      We’re drawin’ the line,
      So keep your noses hidden!
      We’re hangin’ a sign,
      Says “Visitors forbidden”
      And we ain’t kiddin’!

      Here come the Jets,
      Yeah! And we’re gonna beat
      Ev’ry last buggin’ gang
      On the whole buggin’ street!
      On the whole!
      Ever!
      Mother!
      Lovin’!
      Street!
      Yeah!

      more lyrics http://www.lyricstime.com/west-side-story-jet-song-lyrics.html

      you probably think i am crazy making so much of the musical instead of the sports team but i think it’s about loyalty to the tribe as much as a sports game, hence the musical and that’s where the ‘jets’ in the dream came from.

      and phil is tony of course.

      • chuckcarlos
        April 26, 2012, 11:21 pm

        comes to me now…the original script was written by this english guy…and featured this chick on a balcony and this guy comes around because they’ve met before at some kind of dance downtown….maybe in Harlem…but could’ve beensomewhere else…there were these two clubs this english guy said…and they were at each other’s throats…they weren’t Americans or from PR either…but they might have been from Yugoslavia or somewhere…

        Music came from the Delta…Bernstein, Gershwin, Copeland, Sibelius, Dvorak like to borrow some….you gotta have soul…as does most American Culture…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8hqGu-leFc&feature=fvwp&NR=1

        but that’s just my take…

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 3:21 pm

        If I’m not mistaken, Bernstein made use of the old Church modes, especially the Lydian mode, in writing the music for “West Side Story”.
        Go figure!

      • chuckcarlos
        April 27, 2012, 4:08 pm

        Jazz

        created in the south out of the blues by the blacks

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdP02HKQGc

        whatever ones feelings about race…without the Blacks America ain’t got no soul…

        The poorest part of the country is the richest…oh the irony of it all…

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 6:20 pm

        Bernstein made use of the old Church modes, especially the Lydian mode, in writing the music for “West Side Story”.

        i had no idea. i love love love that musical.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 6:42 pm

        “. i love love love that musical.”

        Bernstein’s greatest musical achievement, to my ears. However, if you listen to “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” expecting anything with a sharp 4th you will be disappointed, but you might find the lyrics amusing.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 9:24 pm

        i am listening to Lydia the Tattooed Lady on youtube right now…but i like this new Occupy West Side Story – Officer Winski :

        and here’s mini the moocher

      • RoHa
        April 28, 2012, 1:42 am

        They are great.

        West Side Story does not have a single tune as good as either “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” or “Mini the Moocher”. The music is banal and boring, and the story should have been left with Shakespeare.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    April 26, 2012, 3:41 pm

    RE: “I was surprised to see a redbearded Chabad rabbi standing there in his black coat… We talked about my Jewishness. Shmully said that Jewishness was in someone’s soul and it would always reassert itself in a Jew’s life. It would call to him at a certain time in life.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Phil, does ‘π’ mean anything to you? I’m beginning to think that maybe you are just jerking all of our chains. Your encounter with Karp and Hecht is so much like something taken directly from Darren Aronofsky’s first film ‘π’ (Pi).

    A FASCINATING FILM: Pi, 1998, R, 84 minutes
    Darren Aronofsky’s jarring black-and-white brain-bender is a haunting examination of one man’s numerical obsession.
    The story follows a fragile number theorist who’s on the trail of a 216-digit number that could unlock the secrets of the universe.
    Netflix Availability – Availability: Streaming and DVD
    NETFLIX LISTING – http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Pi/1193100
    Pi movie trailer (VIDEO, 01:41) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ1sZSCz47w
    π, Trailer (VIDEO, 01:57) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQYYGwYTPuY

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 26, 2012, 4:02 pm

      P.S. I think this is a brilliant film. Of course, Phil can’t really appreciate it because he went to Harvard instead of M.I.T. or Rensselaer. And Harvard grads can’t (or choose not to) comprehend that its really just all in the numbers.
      One, two,
      Buckle my shoe;
      Three, four,
      Knock at the door;
      Five, six. . .

      And the next thing you know, the universe is collapsing in upon itself!

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 1:26 am

        You mean Phil’s too fuzzy?

  11. piotr
    April 26, 2012, 3:45 pm

    “There was a soup course and then a main course of chicken at 11 o’clock. The food was excellent. The wine was excellent. I know because I drank a lot of it. Shmully kept refilling my glass. ”

    Ah, bitterness and humiliations of Exile! Without spiritual nourishment that only the touch of Sacred Soil can provide, one has to make do with fine spirits.

    I guess Phil does not have to mention that as detoxification was completed, he did not mend his ways after all.

    I can feel his pain: with charming rav pouring fine wine on one side and accusing gaze of vivacious rebetzin on the other side, rhetorical skills can deteriorate. Plus, there is futility of rhetoric. You can bring horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.

    • Citizen
      April 29, 2012, 1:28 am

      He drank, he drank–bet Shmully just sipped his a few times. Kept plying Phil.

  12. Chu
    April 26, 2012, 3:57 pm

    I said, stop discriminating against Arabs and allowing Nabi Saleh to have access to its water. The man in the green skullcap said that such discrimination was by individual landlords , and he denied that the occupation was hateful. I said that the Palestinians did not like it. He said I was calling for the destruction of Israel and I was dangerously naïve.

    Yeah, It not the system, only certain individuals with a penchant for schadenfreude. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  13. mig
    April 26, 2012, 4:01 pm

    Dont really know how to put this up with in a decent way, so i just shot it out. There is no such a thing as a anti-semitism. There. Done it.

    • playforpalestine
      April 27, 2012, 3:37 am

      ???

      • mig
        April 27, 2012, 3:07 pm

        What ???. People just hate jewish people because they are jewish. ? Whats wrong with a good old term as racism ? Or is it that when jewish person/population face racism, it has some so unique form that it needs needs a new definition ? While it is partly or wholly similar than many other minorities face from time to time, unfortunately of course.

        I just dont buy that anti-semitism term so easily.

      • playforpalestine
        April 28, 2012, 12:41 am

        “Whats wrong with a good old term as racism ? Or is it that when jewish person/population face racism, it has some so unique form that it needs needs a new definition ?”

        Well, the primary problem is that it’s inaccurate as Judaism isn’t a race. Since Judaism can’t really be defined by any single category like ethnicity, religion, race, etc., it does warrant a unique designation. Catchall words like “bigotry” or “prejudice” obviously apply, but why in the world would you challenge the existence of a word that merely seeks greater specificity? Is it just the word itself that bugs you, or are you actually rejecting the existence of anti-semitism itself?

        “What ???. People just hate jewish people because they are jewish. ?”

        Of course not. No one hates *anyone* just because they are black, chinese, Catholic, Jewish or whatever. People generally dislike the “other” because of some set of characteristics they assume they possess. Jews are greedy, Blacks are criminals, Polish are stupid, Mexicans are dirty, etc. Hitler hated Jews because he saw them as parasites living off the work of ethnic Germans, draining the lifeblood of the nation. His reasoning is crazed, certainly, but he DID have a reason for singling them out for cleansing.

        That said, no bigotry is restricted to mindless malice and defining so narrowly makes it easy to dismiss the more common occurrences of soft prejudices. We have all seen someone who would never consider themselves racist make remarks steeped in bigotry, whether by ignorance or personal experiences or whatever. Hating blacks is not a pre-requisite for telling a racist joke.

        Bearing that in mind, your comments bear hallmarks of traditional anti-semitic standards. Specifically that the Jews set themselves apart and above, considering themselves better than non-Jews.

        If you doubt this then I would ask why you have such a strong reaction to the term. What is “not to buy” about it? Homophobia is a form of sexism… does that make it in any way invalid? Obviously not. It seems that the thing bugging you is that the Jews demand a special word, to describe the seemingly unique form of discrimination that they alone face. But Jews didn’t even invent the word themselves. It’s just an accurate term for a specific form of bigotry that obviously exists. Do words like “anti-Catholic” or “Hibernophobia”(anti-Irish) or “Anti-Italianism” equally offend you?

      • mig
        April 28, 2012, 8:27 am

        playforpalestine :

        Is it just the word itself that bugs you, or are you actually rejecting the existence of anti-semitism itself?

        Wrong terminology. I dont put jewish people any higher level importance than rest of the human population. And no, there is no “anti-semitism”. Label it racism, and we are in closer terms.

        Of course not. No one hates *anyone* just because they are black, chinese, Catholic, Jewish or whatever. People generally dislike the “other” because of some set of characteristics they assume they possess.

        Education does marvels, and getting to know those “others”. Ignorance in this case would suite much better. So are those others called anti-black anti-chinese anti-catholics etc ? No. Its labelled as racism.

        Bearing that in mind, your comments bear hallmarks of traditional anti-semitic standards.

        My comments ? Just because i dont see a term “anti-semitism” as valid. How do i see ? Jewish population has faced racism many times. Yes. Many places. Yes. Today. Yes. Tomorrow. Yes. Blacks has faced racism. Yes. Chinese . Yes. Mexicans. Yes. All of those are equally unacceptable.

        If you doubt this then I would ask why you have such a strong reaction to the term. What is “not to buy” about it? Homophobia is a form of sexism… does that make it in any way invalid? Obviously not.

        We are talking different thing in this.

        It seems that the thing bugging you is that the Jews demand a special word, to describe the seemingly unique form of discrimination that they alone face.

        I dont see that jews get any different discrimination than many others groups has.

        But Jews didn’t even invent the word themselves.

        Irrelevant.

        It’s just an accurate term for a specific form of bigotry that obviously exists.

        What specific form of bigotry ? You mean similar harassment as many other groups has been target. We call it also racism.

        Do words like “anti-Catholic” or “Hibernophobia”(anti-Irish) or “Anti-Italianism” equally offend you?

        Yes they do.

      • libra
        April 28, 2012, 11:37 am

        pfp: Bearing that in mind, your comments bear hallmarks of traditional anti-semitic standards. Specifically that the Jews set themselves apart and above, considering themselves better than non-Jews.

        Well pfp, if nothing else you are guilty yourself of setting Jews apart with the following demand for a unique designation:

        Well, the primary problem is that it’s inaccurate as Judaism isn’t a race. Since Judaism can’t really be defined by any single category like ethnicity, religion, race, etc., it does warrant a unique designation.

        No doubt I’m guilty of anti-semitism in pointing this out. Let’s just hope Terryscott doesn’t accuse me of Hibernophobia next time I respond to one of his comments.

  14. sydnestel
    April 26, 2012, 4:01 pm

    Phil,

    Chabad is racist and anti-rational. But they suck-in many Jews with their charm and their commitment and frankly with their subterfuge. If Eliezer is co-sponsored by a Chabad Rabbi, you can be assured that it is committed to the same racist and anti-rational agenda, even if not all its members realize that.

    The rabbi and his wife gave voice to two of Chabad’s central themes.

    “Shmully said that Jewishness was in someone’s soul and it would always reassert itself in a Jew’s life.”

    For Chabad, this is not a metaphor. For Chabad, souls are real – and Jews have qualitatively (better) and quantitatively (more of) different souls than non-Jews. This is just a hairsbreadth away of saying that Judaism is “in the blood” (or DNA.) This is why they spend a huge effort on saving “lost Jews” and not a sliver of effort in general good-works in the non-Jewish community. And I won’t even get into the worst kind of stuff they say about the souls (or lack thereof) of non-Jews. (BTW there are parts of religious Judaism that absolutely reject the idea of Jews having special/different souls. So this Chabad belief is not universal – but they are very good salespeople, so it is sadly growing in parts of the Jewish community.)

    “The rebbitzin was also tough on me. … She told me about her grandmothers escaping the Holocaust. But their parents died, and many of their relatives died. This was not that long ago. You are not sensitive to this. This is an emotional issue. It’s not something that you can be rational about. ”

    This highlights Chabad’s explicitly anti-rational (i.e. anti evidence based) system. So what if she is emotional about it. It still begs rational analysis and thought. (Full disclosure, my parents were holocaust survivors and all my grandparents and most of my aunts and uncles were killed by the Nazis.)

    When you ask the Rabbi why many years of good relations between Jews and Mulism have ended, he does not mention Zionism, or the Muslim experience with European colonialism, or any other actual historical factor. Rather,

    “Shmully said that when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob there had been a quarrel. That quarrel was reasserting itself now thousands of years later.”

    This is typical of Chabad thinking. Chabad thinks in terms of (imagined) timeless metaphysical categories. Jacob is the People of Israel. Esau is the eternal anti-Semite: in Talmudic times Esau was Rome; in the Middle Ages Esau was the Catholic Church; today he is the Muslims. Anti-Semitism itself is a unique metaphysical phenomenon and not subject to normal historical cause and effect i.e. rational analysis, which is why ending the occupation would do nothing to end the Jewish Palestinian conflict in Israel/Palestine – their opinion.

    When you let Shmuli get away with this comment about Jacob and Esau in the forth paragraph, I knew the story was not going to end well for you.

    But, good for trying. The real audience for this drama were those silent J-street types at the end of the table. Better they heard the arguments between you and Chabad than only the Chabad point of view.

    • Donald
      April 26, 2012, 5:19 pm

      “Chabad thinks in terms of (imagined) timeless metaphysical categories. Jacob is the People of Israel. Esau is the eternal anti-Semite: in Talmudic times Esau was Rome; in the Middle Ages Esau was the Catholic Church; today he is the Muslims. Anti-Semitism itself is a unique metaphysical phenomenon and not subject to normal historical cause and effect i.e. rational analysis, which is why ending the occupation would do nothing to end the Jewish Palestinian conflict in Israel/Palestine – their opinion.”

      I don’t know anything about Chabad, but I agree that this way of thinking, whoever holds it, is seriously screwed up. (I’ve seen it before–it’s almost the default set of assumptions behind many defenses of Israel.) It’s no different from, say, the belief that white people are the “ice people” eternally destined to hate and persecute blacks. This is where anti-racism turns into a new form of racism. It’s one thing to acknowledge and fight against anti-semitism and it’s something else to elevate it into, as you say, some metaphysical truth about the world, something that should always be expected from non-Jews.

      Jews were persecuted during ancient, medieval and modern times because for most of human history that’s how powerful majority groups interacted with powerless or nearly powerless minority groups. Ask the Cathars, if you can find one. The solution to this eternal problem of hateful bigotry against the minority groups of any given society is to work for a world where all human beings are seen as having equal rights.

      This has been another episode of “state the fracking obvious.” Back to lurking.

    • Elliot
      April 27, 2012, 9:25 am

      Syd –
      Thank you for this analysis of Chabad. It bears mentioning that Phil was invited to Chabad-New Haven, not Chabad-Brooklyn.Yale is not the soul (to borrow a term) of Chabad. In the provinces, Chabad takes on certain of the local values such as open dialog. The internal, Hebrew term for Rabbi Shmully’s Eliezer is “kiruv”, translated in English as “outreach”.

      Chabad (as a subset of the neo-kabbalistic Hassidim) carries the concept of a metaphysical People of Israel. Phil aka Pinhas is a member and is welcome at a Shabbat table – as a Jew. Chabad doesn’t care whether you believe in Jewish continuity or assimilation or that you discovered your Jewishness in middle life through I/P activism. You have a Jewish soul. You are a Jew.

      That’s charming until you consider the flip side of that coziness. As in Israel, there is nothing a non-Jew can do to transcend his non-Jewishness. Chabad’s belief provides a theological underpinning for blocking Arabs from sharing power in the Israeli government.

      In the face of a diverse, open world, the distinction between Jew and non-Jew comes to define Chabad’s own identity. Fears of anti-Semitism provide the “rational” basis for this religious belief. However, unlike the secular Jews of the ADL, Chabad’s beliefs don’t begin with anti-Semitism, but with the 19th century revival of the concept of a metaphysical Israel.

      In recent years, the two opposite Jewish 19th century responses to modernity, secular Zionism and reactionary Hassidism, have come full circle. They are united in the form of the cause of modern Israel.

    • playforpalestine
      April 28, 2012, 1:07 am

      Your argument is conflicted. The premise of Chabad revolves around religious belief. Criticizing it for not being rational is like criticizing biology for lacking faith in God. It does not seek rationality, rather the opposite. Chabad does what it does because that is what they think God has commanded them to do. Their position is not to question.

      Which is why your accusation of racism is equally unfounded. Never have I heard the argument that Jews have better souls. You are ascribing an assumed reason to behavior that you had only just dismissed for it’s lack of reason. Chabad ministers to Jews because that’s what God wants them to do.

      “This is typical of Chabad thinking. Chabad thinks in terms of (imagined) timeless metaphysical categories.”

      So what. Lots of very real quarrels are based on such things. The rift between Shia and Sunni dates back to Mohammed’s death and a disagreement over his estate. Is that really any different?

      “Anti-Semitism itself is a unique metaphysical phenomenon and not subject to normal historical cause and effect i.e. rational analysis, which is why ending the occupation would do nothing to end the Jewish Palestinian conflict in Israel/Palestine – their opinion.”

      Would it? Since when do century-old blood feuds obey the laws of rationality? And if they do, what makes you so sure that ending the conflict is within every groups’ rational best interests? Arafat sided with Saddam during the first gulf war not because it was right but because Saddam supported the PLO. (A decision based on logic.) But then when Saddam was eventually deposed the Palestinian refugees living in Iraq were ethnically cleansed. (Revenge… a non-logical decision. But it still happened.) People said that Israel ending the occupation in Lebanon would end the support of Hezbollah and the conflict between those nations. Equally so that leaving Gaza would ease the I/P conflict. Obviously neither happened quite like that.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2012, 11:13 am

        Palestinian refugees living in Iraq were ethnically cleansed when neocons took over control of the government. don’t use the ‘fog of war’ to pretend neocons have not been ethnically cleansing palestinians for decades.

      • playforpalestine
        April 29, 2012, 8:42 pm

        Annie,

        You mean American neocons, following the 2003 US invasion? It’s true, that is when they were massacred and cleansed, but you aren’t implying that the US actually orchestrated that, are you?

        How have neocons been ethnically cleansing Palestinians for decades? US neocons? Cleansing them from where?

        In Iraq, the backlash against the Palestinians was because the mostly Shia Iraqis resented the mostly Sunni Palestinians for their favored status by Saddam and the Ba’ath party. They were perceived as allies to Saddam and often got perks, which sometimes came at the direct expense of regular Iraqis.

        It’s not a fog-of-war thing. The friction between the Palestinian community and Iraqi citizens has been well documented. How did you come to the conclusion that the US (neocons?), were behind it?

      • Elliot
        April 28, 2012, 7:49 pm

        Never have I heard the argument that Jews have better souls.
        I think your comment refers to a different post. Regardless…the notion that Jews have superior souls to other human beings is rife in medieval Jewish thought. Even a rationalist like Maimonides believed – as he wrote on several occasions – that he possessed a superior soul.
        19th century Hassidic thought most definitely breathed new life into Jewish superiority (Ger among others). How odd that a reactionary, religious movement echoes a trope of a contemporary ideology, namely, secular nationalism.
        If Hassidim want to tell each other that they have better souls than the rest of us that’s fine. Except when Chabad gets into politics and its members carry weapons in Palestinian areas. That’s when it’s fair and necessary to call Chabad mysticism what it is: racist.

      • Kris
        April 28, 2012, 8:13 pm

        I don’t think that making Gaza into an open-air concentration camp qualifies as “leaving Gaza.”

      • playforpalestine
        May 1, 2012, 12:45 am

        Well, even if you believe that the current situation constitutes an occupation, what about before that? Like in 2005. Surely that qualifies as leaving Gaza, right?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 12:52 am

        not when they lock the doors on the way out and start strangling them.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 2:07 am

        Well, even if you believe that the current situation constitutes an occupation, what about before that? Like in 2005. Surely that qualifies as leaving Gaza, right?

        I doubt that Israel is going to step-up and request an ICJ advisory opinion on the subject.

        Here is a list of a dozen articles on that subject at Opinio Juris. Most of the experts agree that Israel is not off the hook yet due to its so-called “disengagement”.
        http://opiniojuris.org/?s=Symposium+on+the+Functional+Approach+to+the+Law+of+Occupation

        FYI, the government of Israel signed the first Jericho-Gaza agreement which called for it to withdraw its armed forces in 1994. By 2004 the ICJ had advised that the restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom of residence, access to adequate supplies of food and water; access to health care; and violations of the rights to work and obtain an education were part of an illegal administrative regime.

        The Court also noted that Israel was violating the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination contained in the UN Charter. Any military occupation in violation of the UN Charter, no matter how temporary, is defined as a constituent act of the crime of aggression. That also applies to blockades of a country’s ports.

      • playforpalestine
        May 18, 2012, 5:17 am

        “not when they lock the doors on the way out and start strangling them.”

        What if they didn’t? Seriously, I am referring to the period of time in Gaza between the pull-out’s completion, and Israel’s military response to Qassam and mortar attacks. Before the European’s manning the Gaza/Egyptian border cut out.

      • Talkback
        April 28, 2012, 10:32 pm

        playforpalestine: “Never have I heard the argument that Jews have better souls.”

        Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Chabad-Lubavitch:
        “Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.”

      • RoHa
        April 29, 2012, 1:37 am

        “Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.”

        Cool!

        Is there a way I can find out which satanic sphere my soul comes from?

        (I know it isn’t Canada.)

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 1:44 am

        If memory serves, there are also unedited Talmudic passages that say non-Jews have animal souls.

      • RoHa
        April 29, 2012, 2:02 am

        So I might be a Satanic animal? Is that like a Pokemon?

      • Talkback
        April 29, 2012, 12:22 pm

        @ Citizen

        It’s a little bit more complicated. Simplified: Jews also have an animal soul, but they additionally have a godly soul after their Mitzvah.

        http://asimplejew.blogspot.de/2008/01/waiting-controversy.html
        http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/the-ladder-up/08.htm
        http://www.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7880/jewish/Chapter-1.htm

      • Talkback
        April 29, 2012, 12:42 pm

        One more thing about the “animal soul” of Jews compared to Gentiles:

        “From this soul stem also the good traits inherent in every Jew’s character, such as compassion and benevolence. … in the [case of the] Jew, this soul of kelipah is derived from the kelipah called “nogah”, which also contains good; and the good within this nefesh gives rise to these positive natural traits. … The souls of the nations of the world [gentiles], however, emanate from the other, unclean kelipot which contain no good whatever, …all the good that the nations do, is done out of selfish motives. … So the Gemara comments .. “The kindness of the nations is sin” — that all the charity and kindness done by the nations of the world is only for their self-glorification…”
        http://www.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7880/jewish/Chapter-1.htm

        It’s all based on the Lurianic Kabbalah.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lurianic_Kabbalah
        Which is by the way one of the favourite books of a True Torah Jew I know.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 3:48 pm

        Talkback, as I currently understand it, the belief about souls at issue here is a spin-off of the Jewish concept of being the chosen, or special, or exceptional people–by G-d (the Jewish version of the one God, with deference to the humble idea God is more than can be captured in three little words naming G-d). Ultimately, whether there are three types of souls (goy soul, jewish equivalent, higher jewish “spiritual” soul, or one soul in each human, but 3 grades of quality available; the latter solely available to born jews and any goy who converts. The key is whether or not whatever you do, go to war, or give to charity, you do because G-d commanded it, not because you decided on your own to do it, e.g., because you felt empathy or sympathy, you gave alms to the poor. The Mitzvah you name refers to a good deed done because G-d commands it, not because it helps people or animals or things. Mother Theresa then, because she never converted to Judaism, had a animal soul merely. And the American Israeli who shot all those Muslim Arabs praying achieved a godly soul as he was doing a Mitzvah.

        Don’t the fundy and other sect Christians who are commanded by their God to tithe have a similar teaching?

        Seems to me ethics has nothing to do at all with this orthodox jewish religious view of the relation between a god, good, evil.

        I prefer Kant.

        I got my information (new to me) here: http://www.judaismsanswer.com/The%20Soul.htm

        Tell me, us, what am I missing?

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 4:05 pm

        Further, Talback, in this context re types of souls, consider this B-Horror movie, God Told Me To:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Told_Me_To

        And also consider in relation to the modern nuclear state of Israel, the only transnational state in existence with religio-tribal citizens in every country around the globe, the motto on the WW1 German soldier’s belt buckle: Gott Mit Uns.

        Finally, consider that in world history much harmful to living things has been done in the name of religion, enough to consider religion a net loss for living things always.

        PS: Does Madonna know she has an animal soul that cannot fly higher as there is a glass ceiling for her because she was not born Jewish–unless she converts to Judaism?

      • playforpalestine
        April 29, 2012, 9:18 pm

        Talkback,

        I looked at the link you provided, written by a Chasidic Jew seeking to explain the finer points of his beliefs, and he actually did a good job of pointing out how the true meanings of these beliefs can be easily misunderstood. All of the quotes you cited here were explained in full on that site, with an emphasis on why their meanings were explicitly NOT the ones you outlined here.

        BTW, in the context you are sing it, Mitzvah does not mean “good deed” but “commandment.” And Baruch Goldstein was violating dozens when he shot those innocent Palestinians. In any religion you will find crazy extremists. Judaism is no different. If we begin defining any large group by the beliefs of its most extreme or violent members, just to make a political point, then we aren’t merely forming a dishonest argument but are also distributing noxious propaganda that gets picked up, believed, and then repeated.

        Nothing that you wrote here are real beliefs found in Judaism as you presented them. And the link you gave is very clear about that, leading me to think you were also well aware of it.

        Why did you post this stuff? Did you not ready your own link? And why do you think that reading a single link can really inform you enough about Judaism to pass judgement on its relationship to ethics?

      • seanmcbride
        April 29, 2012, 10:24 pm

        playforpalestine,

        Would it be fair to say that Ovadia Yosef is a more formidable authority on Judaism (certainly in Israel) than you are?

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        TITLE Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews
        AUTHOR Jonah Mandel
        PUBLICATION Jerusalem Post
        DATE October 18, 2010
        BEGIN QUOTE
        The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator.

        “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,” he said in his weekly Saturday night sermon on the laws regarding the actions non-Jews are permitted to perform on Shabbat.

        According to Yosef, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews.

        “In Israel, death has no dominion over them… With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.

        This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” Yosef said.

        “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.

        That is why gentiles were created,” he added.
        END QUOTE
        END ARTICLE

        I don’t think that Yosef and Schneerson represent the views of all religious Jews (obviously not), but they represent the views of a significant and influential sector of religious Jews. One can easily turn up hundreds of similar quotes from right-wing religious Zionists.

      • seanmcbride
        April 29, 2012, 10:29 pm

        Wikipedia on Ovadia Yosef:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovadia_Yosef

        BEGIN QUOTE
        Ovadia Yosef (born September 23, 1920) is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a recognised Talmudic scholar and foremost halakhic authority.

        He currently serves as the spiritual leader of the Shas political party in the Israeli parliament. His halakhic responsa are highly regarded within Orthodox circles and are considered binding in many Mizrahi communities, among whom he is regarded as “the most important living halachic authority.”
        END QUOTE

      • MHughes976
        April 29, 2012, 11:26 pm

        The idea of different kinds or levels of soul, vegetative/nutritive, animal/perceptive, human/rational goes back to Aristotle’s De Anima, Book II, whose influence on the Chabad exposition cited by Talkback is very marked, along with the ‘Hippocratic’ belief in the four elements. This theory was a development of Plato’s belief about the structure of humanity, both at the individual and political level, which has often been used to justify ‘aristocratic’ forms of government – just as each of us should harken to what is best in us, so the best individuals should govern the state with utmost benevolence. Plato increasingly believed that God had given each individual a mission from before birth, though Plato has God act very indirectly, since he keeps his distance from the world. This idea too seems to be appropriated by Chabad mysticism. Developing Platonism in a Jewish direction would probably mean saying that the problem of Divine Remoteness is solved by having a subset of humanity, the Jews, with whom God partly abandons remoteness so that he can communicate through them with the rest of us and bring us all to the starry heavens in the end. This idea need not be shocking, though it surely could be dangerous.
        Philo of Alexandria, the major Jewish intellectual of the first century CE, ingeniously disguised his Platonism by saying that Plato had studied the work of Moses, so was an acceptable philosopher from a Jewish point of view.

      • G. Seauton
        April 29, 2012, 11:34 pm

        “I looked at the link you provided, written by a Chasidic Jew seeking to explain the finer points of his beliefs, and he actually did a good job of pointing out how the true meanings of these beliefs can be easily misunderstood.”

        Oh, I have no trouble understanding. That’s because I have my own Bible, according to which everyone who is not me has the soul of a satanic earthworm, whereas I have a godly soul. This is prone to misunderstanding, of course, by “others” — i.e., those who are not me. Naturally, only a serious and highly intelligent scholar, reading the text correctly, can understand that it really means that I am no better or worse than anyone else.

      • Hostage
        April 30, 2012, 12:10 pm

        Chabad does what it does because that is what they think God has commanded them to do. . . . Which is why your accusation of racism is equally unfounded. Never have I heard the argument that Jews have better souls.

        To claim that Chabad does not practice racism, because God has commanded them to practice racism, is a non sequitur. Some Orthodox Jewish authorities do insist that, when it comes to souls, there is only one model, e.g. http://www.mesora.org/thesoul.htm

        But that thinking doesn’t apply to the teachings found in the Zohar, the Tanya, and etc. If you’ve never heard that Jews have better souls than Gentiles, then you’ve never read the Zohar (supposedly authored) by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi); The Kuzari by Rabbi Judah Ha-Levi; or The Tanya by Rabbi Shneur Zalman.

        For example, here are some snipets from The Kuzari (Part I):

        27: “Any Gentile who joins us unconditionally shares our good fortune, without, however, being quite equal to us. If the Law were binding on us only because God created us, the white and the black man would be equal, since He created them all. But the Law was given to us because He led us out of Egypt, and remained attached to us, because we are the cream of mankind.” . . . 115: “Those, however, who become Jews do not take equal rank with born Israelites, who are specially privileged to attain prophecy, whilst the former can only achieve something by learning from them, and can only become pious and learned, but never prophets.”

        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/kuzari.html

        The Zohar teaches that the soul of Gentiles originate in the sitra ahra (satanic forces), while Jewish souls originate in holiness. See, for example, Zohar, part III, p. 25b – cited in Menachem Marc Kellner, “Maimonides on Judaism and the Jewish people”, SUNY Press, 1991, page 111.

        There is no single consistent Jewish position on the status of gentile converts. A variety of kabbalistic sources suggest that converts are simply Jewish souls who have been reincarnated one or more times in a gentile body (bad karma) or that they were present when the law was delivered at Sinai (more below). Converts are not permitted to marry priests, but they are permitted to marry mamzers who are excluded from “the congregation of the Lord”. Aish points out that God only rests His Divine Presence on the families in Israel who possess purity of lineage (Kiddushin 70b). A mamzer can’t marry another Jew, only another mamzer, a convert, or a non-Jew. They claim that there can be no greater violation of a human right in the eyes of a Jew than the removal of the opportunity to be an earthly repository of the Divine Presence and that the Torah forbids the mamzer to marry in a way that would spread his affliction or spiritual defect. http://www.aish.com/tp/i/m/48916947.html

        I looked at the link you provided, written by a Chasidic Jew seeking to explain the finer points of his beliefs, and he actually did a good job of pointing out how the true meanings of these beliefs can be easily misunderstood. All of the quotes you cited here were explained in full on that site, with an emphasis on why their meanings were explicitly NOT the ones you outlined here.

        He only linked to two sites where the views were explained and neither of those fellows emphasized that the meanings were NOT what we are discussing here. So lets take them in order:
        *http://asimplejew.blogspot.de/2008/01/waiting-controversy.html
        *http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/the-ladder-up/08.htm

        The fellow at the first link merely tries to remove objections to the inferior status of gentiles by offering his own unsourced personal opinion, which doesn’t hold that Jews and Gentiles are equals:

        So, what do we mean when we say the non-Jews have only an animal soul? In my small and insignificant opinion, we are explaining the idea of the Jewish people being the light unto the nations in a practical parent-child relationship. It isn’t that the non-Jews have no Godly soul. We are the Godly soul of the non-Jews.

        The fellow at the second link was the Lubavitcher Rebbe himself, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. He is responding to a question from a student who raised doubts as to whether the gentiles possess at least a certain measure of good, not whether their souls are equal in quality to the soul of a Jew.

        It’s true that the Rebbe mentions the “pious gentiles” who have a portion in the World to Come (according to Rabbi Yehoshua in Sanhedrin 105a). But he never claimed the souls of “pious gentiles” are qualitatively the same as the soul of a righteous Jew. The Mishnah explains that Israel is assured a portion in the world to come by right, for it is written, “Thy people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified “. See Sanhedrin 90a http://halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_90.html

        A footnote in the Soncino edition of Sanhedrin 105a explains that the gentiles are saved by grace, not by right:

        It may be observed that it is not taught here that they actually have a portion in the world to come as a right, but that they will nevertheless enter therein, God bearing their iniquities to make this possible.

        http://halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_105.html

        Even Jewish evildoers have a place in the world to come:

        “Regarding the righteous among the nations, about whom the Rambam wrote, . . . I am inclined to say that according to the Rambam, the level of “having a portion in the World to Come” is in fact a very low level, although it is also a great good – since even evildoers and the ignorant of Israel merit it”

        — Letter 89 – Part II, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Kohen Kook http://vbm-torah.org/archive/igrot/16b-igrot.htm

        The Rebbe said that if we were to look at the issue from the standpoint of logic, support can be found for either position. But he goes on to cite a variety of sources which state that the souls of the Gentiles are derived from qualitatively inferior sources and that in their case the spark of good has become so separated and darkened, that it is as if it is evil, i.e., it has no feeling at all for G-dliness. He says that when the Tanya says “that the three impure kelipos do not possess any good at all, the intent is not that they do not possess a spark [of G-dliness] at all. For without a spark of good, it is impossible for any entity to exist. (Although their existence comes from an encompassing light; nevertheless, we are forced to say they possess some type of spark.) This spark, however, has become so separated and darkened, that it is as if it is evil, i.e., it has no feeling at all for G-dliness.” and “the entities stemming from the three impure kelipos receive life-energy [from the realm of holiness] in an external manner – i.e., in a manner which they do not feel – and in an internalized manner – that [the G-dly energy] is swallowed up, as it were.”

        It’s ludicrous to compare that to the description of a Jewish soul contained in Chapter 2 of the Tanya:

        The second soul of a Jew is truly a part of G-d above, as it is written, “And He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” and “Thou didst breathe it [the soul] into me.” And it is written in the Zohar . . . So, allegorically speaking, have the souls of Jews risen in the [Divine] thought, as it is written, “My firstborn son is Israel,” and “Ye are children unto the Lord your G-d”.

        http://www.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/1028875/jewish/Chapter-2.htm

        The final thoughts of the Rebbe in connection with the prophecy that, in the Future, even the gentile nations will be refined, for “I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth” (Zechariah 13:2)” is the exact parallel of the Christian belief that the bulk of mankind will perish and have no place at all in the world to come. That prophecy doesn’t say the remaining souls of the gentiles will be equal to the souls of Israel at all.

        The restored Temple will be a house of prayer for all the nations, but it is likely that the Court of the Gentiles will be the only part of the sacred precincts of the restored Temple in Jerusalem into which foreigners may enter, e.g. Maimonides ruled in The Laws of the Holy Temple, chapter 7, halacha 16. There is no way for a Gentile “to come and pray in the Holy Temple”! The matter is clear: a Gentile can pray, even on the Temple Mount, but not in the Holy Temple.
        *http://www.bible-history.com/gentile_court/TEMPLECOURTWarning_Inscription.htm
        *http://www.daatemet.org/articles/article.cfm?article_id=119&lang=en

        Here are some extracts from Menachem Marc Kellner, “Maimonides on Judaism and the Jewish people”, page 4:

        Since God creates souls. He can choose to create them in different ways. This is precisely the express position of the Zohar. Jews are differentiated from Gentiles by the fact that Jewish souls are different from (and superior to) Gentile souls.15 Halevi, without expressly adopting a Platonic view of the nature of the human soul, emphatically adopts an essentialist understanding of the nature of the Jewish people.

        Jews are distinct from Gentiles, and that distinction is based on a metaphysical difference between them. There is nothing that can be done to overcome that difference. Such a position immediately runs into problems over the issues of conversion to Judaism and prophetic visions of the time when “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7). If Jews are essentially distinct from Gentiles, and if that distinction is grounded in an ineradicable difference in the very nature of Jewish as opposed to Gentile souls or in some special characteristic that inheres only in Jews, how could one possibly convert to Judaism? No matter how profound one’s religious experience, no matter how sincere one’s attachment to Torah and the Jewish people, the hard fact remains that one possesses a Gentile and not a Jewish soul. Similarly, no matter how many swords are beaten into plowshares in the days of the Messiah, the Jews will still have Jewish souls, and the Gentiles, Gentile (and thus inferior) souls.

        Halevi meets the problem of conversion by arguing that converts are indeed not the equals of native Jews and that only after many generations, so it would seem, can their descendants be fully amalgamated into the Jewish people.16 To adopt a brilliant and amusing metaphor of Daniel J. Lasker’s, just as IBM PC clones may run the same software as original IBM hardware but are still not the “real thing,” so too converts may believe what native Jews believe and act as they do (software), but they are still not the same as native Jews (hardware).17

        The Zohar meets the problem of conversion in two ways. One is to affirm that the proselyte never becomes the equal of the Jew.18 Alternatively, souls of true converts are souls of Jewish origin and were at Sinai with all other Jewish souls.19 That these souls ended up in the bodies of Gentiles is, apparently, the result of some sort of cosmic snafu. It is, then, their intrinsically and essentially Jewish nature that brings these individuals to convert to Judaism.20

        That should settle any question about whether or not this is just a strange theory invented by Mondoweiss commentators, or that we’ve misunderstood what these texts have to say on the subject.

      • Hostage
        April 30, 2012, 12:36 pm

        Is there a way I can find out which satanic sphere my soul comes from? (I know it isn’t Canada.)

        Yes. It’s obviously not without relevance that they call it “The Land Down Under”. Ehud Barak reports that ‘When Netanyahu and I look up we see nothing but the sky’. They undoubtedly plan to moon the rest of us.

      • Shmuel
        April 30, 2012, 12:58 pm

        Is there a way I can find out which satanic sphere my soul comes from?

        It gets a bit tricky, because there are 10 satanic spheres, but there are also 7 circles of hell and 49 gates of corruption. I hear the Weizman Institute is working on a logarithm that will be able to pinpoint the precise origin of your soul (and its future abode, if you’re not careful), within 2-3 gates of corruption. Modern science never ceases to amaze.

      • marc b.
        April 30, 2012, 1:33 pm

        “Those, however, who become Jews do not take equal rank with born Israelites, who are specially privileged to attain prophecy, whilst the former can only achieve something by learning from them, and can only become pious and learned, but never prophets.”
        ….
        “They claim that there can be no greater violation of a human right in the eyes of a Jew than the removal of the opportunity to be an earthly repository of the Divine Presence and that the Torah forbids the mamzer to marry in a way that would spread his affliction or spiritual defect.”

        “Since God creates souls. He can choose to create them in different ways. This is precisely the express position of the Zohar. Jews are differentiated from Gentiles by the fact that Jewish souls are different from (and superior to) Gentile souls.15 Halevi, without expressly adopting a Platonic view of the nature of the human soul, emphatically adopts an essentialist understanding of the nature of the Jewish people.

        Jews are distinct from Gentiles, and that distinction is based on a metaphysical difference between them. There is nothing that can be done to overcome that difference.”

        so we are talking first and foremost about racial theory, not religion or ethnicity according to these authorities.

      • Hostage
        April 30, 2012, 4:18 pm

        so we are talking first and foremost about racial theory, not religion or ethnicity according to these authorities.

        Yes. For example, the satanic origin of a gentile soul is the subject of the very first chapter of the Tanya. The divine origin of the additional Jewish soul is the very next topic in Chapter 2. These are fundamental concepts for Chabaniks that are the mirror opposite of the “seed line,” or “serpent’s seed” doctrine in the Mythology of the Aryan Nations.

        Some of the traditions in the oral law contained in the Babylonian Talmud are just as racist, but there is room for Orthodox Jews to assign less authority to traditions outside the Mishnah, or to interpret them so that gentiles are may still be considered members of the same species who have permanently lost some of their divine legal rights. For example, there is no way to reconcile the tradition (beraita) in Baba Mezi’a 114b with the view that Gentiles are members of the same species. Christian expositors, like John Gill, had taken notice of that passage by the 1700s. He noted that

        By “man”, is not meant all mankind; for the sabbath was never appointed for all mankind, nor binding upon all; only the Jews, who are emphatically called “man”, or “men”; see Ezekiel 34:30, upon which the Jewish writers remark, that:

        “they are called, “man”; but the idolatrous Gentiles, and nations of the World, are not called “men”;”

        See http://halakhah.com/babamezia/babamezia_114.html#PARTb

      • Talkback
        April 30, 2012, 6:30 pm

        @ playforpalestine.

        “Nothing that you wrote here are real beliefs found in Judaism as you presented them. ”

        Why do you lie? I didn’t “present” my writing as anything.

        “Why did you post this stuff?”

        Well, if you have problems following a discussion then I hope you can at least follow two consecutive sentences:

        1.) You were talking about Chabad and that the accusation of racism is equally unfounded and that you never heard the argument that Jews have better souls.
        2.) I quoted Schneerson from Chabad who claimed that Jews habe ‘better souls’ which is considered to be racist amongst humans who aren’t suffering from a personality disorder.

        “Did you not read your own link?”

        I did. Did you understand all of it?

        “And why do you think that reading a single link can really inform you enough about Judaism to pass judgement on its relationship to ethics?”

        Again, why do you lie? You don’t know what I think or how many I’ve read about this topic. And I didn’t pass any judgement about Judaism on its relationship to ethics.

      • Talkback
        April 30, 2012, 6:35 pm

        @Hostage

        I never understood the explanation why the graves of Gentiles do not defile.

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2012, 6:39 pm

        Also, we re talking about the Fuhrer Principle, with an invisible God as the one who gives the orders and your highest ethic is to obey. What one does from the goodness of his or heart is not as worthy as what one does simply because one is told to do it. Works for Evil too, eh?

      • Talkback
        April 30, 2012, 8:14 pm

        @ Citizen

        “Talkback, as I currently understand it, the belief about souls at issue here is a spin-off of the Jewish concept of being the chosen …”

        Me too. It’s a somehow cosmological, metaphysical elaboration of this concept.

        “Seems to me ethics has nothing to do at all with this orthodox jewish religious view of the relation between a god, good, evil.”

        No. From this point of view it is ethic: Jews can help Gentiles because of their alleged spiritual superiority. ‘Light unto the nations’. And if your totally brainwashed you won’t even feel being supercilious but only like a teacher helping misguided childs.

        “Tell me, us, what am I missing?”

        A g-dly soul? :p

        “the motto on the WW1 German soldier’s belt buckle: Gott Mit Uns.”

        Which is the meaning of the hebrew name “Immanu-El”.

        “Finally, consider that in world history much harmful to living things has been done in the name of religion, enough to consider religion a net loss for living things always.”

        People allways try to legitimize the illegitimate.

        “Does Madonna know she has an animal soul that cannot fly higher as there is a glass ceiling for her because she was not born Jewish–unless she converts to Judaism?”

        She probablay only knows Kabbalah for dummies. (Yehuda Berg, etc.)

      • RoHa
        April 30, 2012, 9:46 pm

        Perhaps its because when we are dead we aren’t likely to touch the wine.

      • playforpalestine
        May 1, 2012, 1:17 am

        Sean,

        I’m not going to play the game of cherry picking selected quotes or ideas held by individual authorities, even if they are as influential as the leader of Shas. His ideas you quoted are extremely controversial and don’t reflect what most Jews believe. Nor is Hassidism a “greater” form of Judaism. His opinions are his own. Most forms of Judaism are not nearly as connected to the Kabbalah, and certainly most interpretations are significantly different than what you are interpreting by taking selected translations out of context and then running them through a modern, progressive lens.

        I could easily do the same thing to demonstrate racism, bigotry and violence in Islam, Christianity or even Buddhism. It can be done for liberal ideals, like socialism or communism, democracy, republicanism, etc.

        Just because Yosef, (shneerson did not say this kind of stuff to the best of my knowledge), said these things and is also widely considered a halachic authority does not meant that all of those Jews accept his most divisive (and well debated and argued against) viewpoints. The old trick of picking a radical leader and then using his most radical statements to define a body of thought is intellectually dishonest. In truth, Shas is tiny. It wields power only because of Israel’s warped system of government.

      • playforpalestine
        May 1, 2012, 1:19 am

        Hey, that’s all religion. Take it up with God(s).

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 2:18 am

        . In truth, Shas is tiny. It wields power only because of Israel’s warped system of government.

        In truth, Kim Jong-il was tiny. he wielded power only because of north koreas warped system of government.

        sorry, i can’t stop laughing.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 3:10 am

        I never understood the explanation why the graves of Gentiles do not defile.

        Unmarked graves had to be identified with a solution of water and chalk, usually at Passover. I think the ancients wanted to omit the gentile graves, so the undertaking would be less time consuming and there would be less uproar about possible desecration from unhappy gentiles. They would have also avoided the loss of fields or other properties used for this purpose.

        The flip-flops over the issue of grave desecration entailed in the expansion of the hardened emergency room at the city of Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center a while back provides a good example. The Antiquities Authority thought that relocating a few ancient gentile graves would be no big deal, but the ultra-Orthodox Rabbis jumped-in and claimed that there was no way of knowing for certain the graves weren’t Jewish. So everything ground to an absolute halt. http://forward.com/articles/127264/a-hospital-s-tale-of-bones-bunkers-and-bombs/

      • Antidote
        May 1, 2012, 4:09 am

        “the motto on the WW1 German soldier’s belt buckle: Gott Mit Uns”

        the motto was not only displayed by the Reichwehr (WW I) but also the Wehrmacht (WW II), among numerous other examples

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gott_mit_uns

      • Shmuel
        May 1, 2012, 5:02 am

        I never understood the explanation why the graves of Gentiles do not defile.

        Presumably, the position of Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai in the Talmud (Yevamot 61a; Bava Metzia 114b) that “the graves of gentiles do not defile in a ‘tent’*” is rooted in the idea that non-Jews are not fully human (despite the apparently innocent and “technical” textual inference he cites). In the same passage, Ravina rejects both Bar Yohai’s practical ruling and the reasoning behind it. The Mediaeval Halakhists were divided, with Maimonides ruling like Simeon bar Yohai, and the Tosafists (more specifically Rabbi Jacob Tam – who vehemently opposed the idea that gentiles ‘are not called man’) ruling like Ravina. Accepted Halakhah for both Ashkenazim and Sephardim follows Joseph Karo’s “Shulhan Arukh” which, in this case, ruled like the Tosafists, i.e. that the graves of gentiles do indeed defile in a ‘tent’.

        In Orthodox religious praxis, the position of Simeon bar Yohai is not accepted, but is taken into consideration, along with other extenuating circumstances (e.g. the minority opinion that the laws of defilement by corpses do not apply at all today) in cases of necessity (see e.g. the ruling of Rabbi Moses Feinstein regarding visiting the sick in a hospital where there may be gentile corpses).

        In this discussion, as in the discussion of “pigs and monkeys” in Islam, we must beware of judging ancient texts by modern ethical standards and sensibilities, and of generalising when it comes to contemporary Jews, Muslims or others, on the basis of ancient texts. It is possible to study and hold sacred texts in regard, without accepting every single pronouncement at face value (even if you are a “fundamentalist”). Again, I recommend Yaman Salhi’s response to Shmully Hecht:
        http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/09/understand_anti-semitism_and_anti-muslim_bigotry.html

        * All agree that direct contact with gentile corpses defiles just as contact with Jewish corpses does. The laws pertaining to ‘tent’ defilement refer to leaning over a corpse or being under the same roof.

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2012, 5:57 am

        Hey, Talkback, maybe it’s not what I’m missing, but what I have, e.g., my foreskin?

      • Talkback
        May 1, 2012, 6:12 am

        @ playforpalestine

        “I could easily do the same thing to demonstrate racism, bigotry and violence in Islam, Christianity or even Buddhism. It can be done for liberal ideals, like socialism or communism, democracy, republicanism, etc. ”

        Of course you can. There’s no reason to exclude Judaism or its branches.

        “Just because Yosef … said these things and is also widely considered a halachic authority does not meant that all of those Jews accept his most divisive (and well debated and argued against) viewpoints.”

        To me it’s incitement (antisemitism), if someone claims that Jews as such think, feel or behave in a way I would consider as negative. But why does Yosef get away with his comments about gentiles? Because he’s supported by Israel. Imagine the Pope or the Dalai Lama would have said that Jews are only there to serve them.

        “(shneerson did not say this kind of stuff to the best of my knowledge)”
        You would continue to play ignorant even if he was quoted saying this kind of stuff, right?

        “The old trick of picking a radical leader and then using his most radical statements to define a body of thought is intellectually dishonest. ”

        Statements like ‘were going to drive Jews into the sea’? Statements from Nasser and others in 1967? Or statements like ‘the occupation regime must vanish from the pages of time’ or? Israel does it all the time to legitimize it’s aggressions.

      • Talkback
        May 1, 2012, 6:19 am

        @ Hostage and Shmuel

        Thank you!

        Shmuel: “In this discussion, as in the discussion of “pigs and monkeys” in Islam, we must beware of judging ancient texts by modern ethical standards and sensibilities, and of generalising when it comes to contemporary Jews, Muslims or others, on the basis of ancient texts. It is possible to study and hold sacred texts in regard, without accepting every single pronouncement at face value (even if you are a “fundamentalist”).”

        Well said.

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2012, 7:19 am

        Talkback, if the governing religious principle (& somehow cosmological, metaphysical elaboration of this concept) is that the higher soul follows orders (from G_d, Fuhrer (who thought he was God’s agent), as distinguished from his own (good or bad) whims, than why was Eichmann tried by Jews in Israel?
        Because he was banal, as Arendt might half-joke?

      • seanmcbride
        May 1, 2012, 11:44 am

        playforpalestine,

        You wrote:

        “shneerson did not say this kind of stuff to the best of my knowledge”

        You haven’t been paying attention:

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        AUTHOR Allan C. Brownfeld
        TITLE Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel
        PUBLICATION Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
        DATE March 2000
        URL http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0300/0003105.html
        BEGIN QUOTE by Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
        The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: ‘Let us differentiate.’ Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world… A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity. It is written, ‘And the strangers shall guard and feed your flocks’ (Isaiah 61:5). The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews…
        END QUOTE
        END ARTICLE

        Chabad-Lubavitch (Menachem Schneerson) and Shas (Ovadia Yosef) seem to share the same virulently racist beliefs and attitudes towards non-Jews.

        You are being shifty, evasive, slippery and intellectually dishonest on these issues in a way that has become quite familiar to me by now. No one here (certainly not me) has claimed that all Jews, religious or otherwise, hold racist beliefs. But many Jewish religious Zionists do indeed hold such beliefs. And the organized worldwide Jewish community as a whole bears full responsibility for the racist and apartheid policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories.

        I am unclear on this: are you yourself a religious Jew and Jewish religious Zionist? If so, of what type?

        What does your handle “playforpalestine” mean?

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 11:48 am

        I’m not going to play the game of cherry picking selected quotes or ideas held by individual authorities, even if they are as influential as the leader of Shas.

        Of course you’re not, because you’d loose that argument hands down, e.g. http://mondoweiss.net/2011/08/israeli-ministers-promote-racist-vision-for-israel-and-judaism.html

        Most forms of Judaism are not nearly as connected to the Kabbalah, . . . In truth, Shas is tiny. It wields power only because of Israel’s warped system of government.

        That’s a difference that makes no difference at all, since the irreligious racism practiced by the Zionist majority has always been just as flagrant and just as bad. Phil’s dinner hosts are supposedly kind and intelligent people who think that legends about the purchase of the corner of a field for a burying place or the purchase of a threshing floor for a temple back in the late Bronze Age entitles them to the whole country today. They claim that it’s all explained in the Bible, but those are about the only land purchases mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures. But even when the Zionists were a tiny minority they pressed the same racist claims. The US government documented the hostility toward the claims of superior Jewish rights in the region:

        There is hostility also toward the Jewish claim that they are the “chosen people” and hence entitled, even though they are a minority, to special privileges. One leading Arab spokesman described this “chosen people” concept as kindred to Nazi doctrine. Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1943. The Near East and Africa, page 776

        Hanna Arendt wrote that Judaism had become a closed system of thought that was hostile to Gentiles and a direct antecedent to the rise of Antisemitism in middle of the 19th Century (Preface of later versions of “The Origins of Totalitarianism”). In “Eichmann in Jerusalem”, Arendt noted that the secular majority was in agreement with either the Zionist or Religious camps regarding the desirability of imposing racially discriminatory rabbinical laws. She compared the cultural and legal systems of Israel and Nazi Germany:

        Like almost everybody else in Israel, he believed that only a Jewish court could render justice to Jews, and that it was the business of Jews to sit in judgment on their enemies. Hence the almost universal hostility in Israel to the mere mention of an international court which would have indicted Eichmann, not for crimes “against the Jewish people,” but for crimes against mankind committed on the body of the Jewish people. Hence the strange boast: “We make no ethnic distinctions,” which sounded less strange in Israel, where rab­binical law rules the personal status of Jewish citizens, with the result that no Jew can marry a non-Jew; marriages concluded abroad are recognized, but children of mixed marriages are legally bastards (children of Jewish parentage born out of wed­lock are legitimate), and if one happens to have a non-Jewish mother he can neither be married nor buried. The outrage in this state of affairs has become more acute since 1953, when a sizable portion of jurisdiction in matters of family law was handed over to the secular courts. Women can now inherit property and in general enjoy equal status with men. Hence it is hardly respect for the faith or the power of the fanatically religious minority that prevents the government of Israel from substituting secular jurisdiction for rabbinical law in matters of marriage and divorce. Israeli citizens, religious and nonreligious, seem agreed upon the desirability of having a law which pro­hibits intermarriage, and it is chiefly for this reason—as Israeli officials outside the courtroom were willing to admit—that they are also agreed upon the undesirability of a written constitution in which such a law would embarrassingly have to be spelled out. (‘The argument against civil marriage is that it would split the House of Israel, and would also separate Jews of this country from Jews of the Diaspora,” as Philip Gillon recently put it in Jewish Frontier.) Whatever the reasons, there certainly was something breathtaking in the naivete with which the prosecution denounced the infamous Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which had prohibited intermarriage and sexual intercourse between Jews and Germans. The better informed among the correspondents were well aware of the irony, but they did not mention it in their reports. — Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the banality of evil, Google ebook, page 7

      • seanmcbride
        May 1, 2012, 11:58 am

        playforpalestine,

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        AUTHOR Allan C. Brownfeld
        TITLE Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel
        PUBLICATION Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
        DATE March 2000
        URL http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0300/0003105.html
        BEGIN QUOTE
        The authors point out that “…the adherents of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel oppose equality for all citizens, especially non-Jews.” The respected Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling, citing evidence from a study conducted by other scholars, declared: “The value of the [Jewish] religion, at least in its Orthodox and nationalistic form that prevails in Israel, cannot be squared with democratic values. No other variable—neither nationality, nor attitudes about security, nor social or economic values, nor ethnic descent and education—so influences the attitudes of [Israeli] Jews against democratic values as does religiosity.”

        What particularly concerns the authors is the total contempt which Jewish fundamentalists show toward non-Jews. Rabbi Kook the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism, said, “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

        Rabbi Kook’s entire teaching, which is followed devoutly by, among others, those who have led the settler movement on the occupied West Bank, is based upon the Lurianic Cabbala, the school of Jewish mysticism that dominated Judaism from the late16th to the early 19th century. “One of the basic tenets of the Lurianic Cabbala,” the authors write, “is the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body. According to the Lurianic Cabbala, the world was created solely for the sake of Jews; the existence of non-Jews was subsidiary. If an influential Christian bishop or Islamic scholar argued that the difference between the superior souls of non-Jews and the inferior souls of Jews was greater than the difference between the human soul and souls of cattle, he would incur the wrath of all and be viewed as an anti-Semite by most Jewish scholars regardless of whatever less meaningful, positive statements he included.”
        END QUOTE
        END ARTICLE

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 1, 2012, 12:32 pm

        This is some of the foulest religious talk I’ve ever read. What I would like to know is how common are these bigoted Jewish beliefs? Are all religious Jews bigots like this? Do all Jews who are orthodox hold these bigoted beliefs?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 12:40 pm

        Do all Jews who are orthodox hold these bigoted beliefs

        woody, that would be very unlikely (i’d assume). i do not know about rabbi kook but sean’s 11:44 am comment..chabad/Schneerson..this is the fastest growing denomination of judaism in the world today (i could check, i think wiki says this). and about 1/2 the followers think he is the messiah (already arrived). kinda freaky.

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2012, 12:49 pm

        Is it? Name me a Christian or Muslim religious leader, per se, or with a considerable following, who stated publicly in the last score of years, that is, in the late 20th Century to 21St Century (after WW1,WW2, & Nuremberg Trials) that a birth group of human beings were made by God to serve another group of human beings. I await your response.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 12:51 pm

        plus, he’s political:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chabad

        Politics

        Schneerson looked to Torah law for the appropriate view of the Israeli-Arab conflict. He maintained that as a matter of Jewish law,[29] any territorial concession on Israel’s part would endanger the lives of all Jews in the Land of Israel, and is therefore forbidden. He also insisted that even discussing the possibility of such concessions showed weakness, would encourage Arab attacks, and therefore endanger Jewish lives.

        …….

        The Lubavitcher Rebbe, it sometimes seemed, commanded the largest Jewish “army” outside of Israel. His followers regarded him as their commander in chief and obeyed all his orders. Hasidim routinely would uproot their families and move to whatever city the Rebbe directed them…

        a lot of these price tag settlers and the settlers taking over homes in east jerusalem are chabad. when i was there one family had just arrived from brooklyn the week before, and took over a palestinian home.

        it’s really gruesome.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 1, 2012, 12:52 pm

        “woody, that would be very unlikely (i’d assume).”

        I’d assume so, too, but I also assumed, at one time (in the infantcy of my political awareness), that only a minority of the famed, so-called liberal Jewish-American establishment would be lock-step with something as fundamentally regressive and illiberal as the Zionist project. Imagine my shock to find that it is the norm.

        You never know what people think until you ask. So I ask.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 12:56 pm
      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 1:07 pm

        You never know what people think until you ask

        i don’t think they advertise this stuff. schneerson stated “land of israel will spread to all the lands”….Wolfson http://hebrewjudaic.as.nyu.edu/object/elliotwolfson.html wrote in open secret: “he confirmed a conception of the land that is decidedly diasporic, inasmuch as the boundary of what constitutes the land extends to the entire globe of the earth.”(pg 226)

      • seanmcbride
        May 1, 2012, 1:20 pm

        This is what we know:

        1. Illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are spearheaded by Jewish religious extremists who hold virulently racist views towards non-Jews — *all* non-Jews, not just Arabs.

        2. The Israeli government is fully behind these settlements and settlers and aggressively promotes them.

        3. The worldwide Israel lobby aggressively supports the Israeli government.

        4. The worldwide organized Jewish community overall aggressively supports the Israel lobby and the Israeli government.

        Ergo: the worldwide organized Jewish community, which includes many Jewish liberals, both religious and secular, bears full responsibility for Jewish religious extremists and virulent racists in the occupied territories (and in Israel proper for that matter).

        Self-professed liberals who provide support to religious fundamentalists and racists are, of course, pulling the wool over our eyes and over their own eyes when they claim to be “liberal.” What is going on in their heads I am not quite sure, but many of us would like to know. They are not adding up. Who are they really? What do they really believe in? Is it all about ethnic self-interest first above all other values? Does narrow and selfish ethnic nationalism entirely rule their lives?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 1:35 pm

        sean, if it is any consolation ..i know of at least one very pro israel reform jew who holds nothing but disdain for these people. in fact, he said people who think schneerson is the messiah are no different to jews than the original followers of jesus, threatening judaism and world jewry (as he saw it, a false messiah). i think there’s an internal struggle going on wrt judaism and chabad we don’t really hear much about but i don’t think this person i spoke with stands alone. but the movement is growing by leaps and bounds. freaky.

      • seanmcbride
        May 1, 2012, 1:53 pm

        Annie,

        Quite a few individual Jews are speaking out against these lamentable trends, but the worldwide organized Jewish establishment and community as a whole — “the Jews” in the popular imagination — are standing foursquare behind the most extreme right-wing regime in Israeli history — one which treats Chabad-Lubavitch as a valuable and honored ally.

        The Jewish establishment, as embodied by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and all its components, owns the religious extremists and racists who are dominating and driving the entire Zionist enterprise. If that enterprise goes down or self-destructs and implodes because of its messianic extremism, the worldwide Jewish establishment is going to go down with it.

        It amazes me that more Jews are not alarmed about this perilous state of affairs — they are sleepwalking off a cliff.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 5:00 pm

        Do all Jews who are orthodox hold these bigoted beliefs . . . woody, that would be very unlikely (i’d assume).

        Of course not. We are talking about beliefs expressed on a variety of subjects, but I cited an article from mesora.org in which Orthodox authorities were explaining that they believe that gentiles do not have a different kind of soul. In the case of the tradition (beraita) in the Talmud about the mortal remains contained in gentile graves, Shmuel explained that for a while some, like Maimonides, agreed, while others disagreed with that particular tradition. A few generations later, the law and customs of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities were settled in the positions reflected in the Shulchan Aruch and mappah.

        The Kabbalistic views are mainstream enough that you can find video lectures on subjects from the Zohar and Tanya on the website of the Union of Orthodox Congregations of America.

        Introduction to the World of Kabbalah
        * http://www.ou.org/torah/article/kabbalah_1
        The Early Years of Kabbalah
        * http://www.ou.org/torah/article/kabbalah_2
        Why Study Kabbalah?
        * http://www.ou.org/torah/article/kabbalah_3
        The Shaarei Orah
        * http://www.ou.org/torah/article/kabbalah_4
        Unity in Kabbalah
        * http://www.ou.org/torah/article/kabbalah_5
        Non-Jews and Kodshim
        *http://www.ou.org/torah/article/non_jews_and_kodshim

      • Elliot
        May 1, 2012, 5:19 pm

        Sean –
        I think you are overstating #4. Many Jews are deeply conflicted about Israel. They live quite calmly with their internal contradiction. If necessary, they try to get away from it by ignoring it.
        I don’t admire them and I find their obtuseness infuriating. I agree with you that the accusation of your #4 is fair and deserves and answer. But I don’t think this can be stated categorically.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 5:23 pm

        i do not know about rabbi kook

        He was the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine during the mandate era. His Kabbalistic beliefs regarding the nature of gentile souls aren’t attributable to Rebbe Schneerson or the Chabad movement. The Jerusalem Post noted that three-quarters of a century after his death, his political legacy remains stronger than ever before: “For generations of religious Zionists, Kook is the ultimate father figure of an ideology which combines religious practices and behavior with active support of, and involvement in, the State.” http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=185085

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 1, 2012, 5:43 pm

        Hostage, so these view are the equivalent to the Westboro Baptist group? Are these fringe beliefs? They don’t seem congruent with the religious belief of any Jews I know, that’s why I’m asking.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 5:50 pm

        sean, if it is any consolation ..i know of at least one very pro israel reform jew who holds nothing but disdain for these people. in fact, he said people who think schneerson is the messiah are no different to jews than the original followers of jesus

        Even fellow disciples of Lurianic Kabbalah, like the Vilna Gaon, held nothing but contempt for Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (the “Ba’al Ha’tanya”). He even excommunicated him. That doesn’t mean that successors or students of the two men disagreed over the nature of a gentile soul. For example, Rabbi Kook attended a yeshiva that was founded by a student of the Vilna Gaon.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 6:08 pm

        thanks hostage

      • seanmcbride
        May 1, 2012, 6:40 pm

        Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook on Amalek:

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        TITLE Zachor/BeShalach: The Assault of Amalek
        URL http://www.ravkooktorah.org/ZACHOR63.htm
        BEGIN QUOTE
        The people of Israel have two national missions. At Mount Sinai, God informed them that they would be a mamlechet kohanim (‘kingdom of priests’) as well as a goy kadosh (‘holy nation’) (Ex. 19:6)….

        Amalek rejected both missions of Israel. Amalek cannot accept Israel as a mamlechet kohanim instructing the world, nor as a goy kadosh, separate from the other nations with its own unique spiritual aspirations. God promised to ‘completely obliterate’ (“macho emcheh”) Amalek. In Hebrew, the verb is repeated, indicating that God will blot out both aspects of Amalek’s rejection of Israel.

        Why did God command that His promise to destroy Amalek be written down and also transmitted orally? Since Amalek rejects Israel’s mission to elevate humanity, God commanded that His promise to obliterate Amalek be recorded in the Written Torah. The Written Law is, after all, the primary source of Israel’s moral influence on the world. And since Amalek also denies Israel’s unique spiritual heritage, God commanded that this promise be transmitted verbally, corresponding to the Oral Law, the exclusive Torah of Israel.

        When Amalek has been utterly destroyed, the Jewish nation will be able to fulfill both of its missions. This is the significance of the statement of the Sages:

        “God vowed that His Name and His Throne are not complete until Amalek’s name will be totally obliterated.” (Tanchuma Ki Teitzei 11; Rashi on Ex. 17:16)
        END QUOTE
        END ARTICLE

        So: anyone who doesn’t accept Israel’s “spiritual” authority over “the nations” is Amalek and must be “completely obliterated.” Is that about it?

        One is reminded that Hillary Clinton, under pressure from AIPAC, threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran.

      • seanmcbride
        May 1, 2012, 6:53 pm

        Elliot,

        Let’s see — my statement:

        “4. The worldwide organized Jewish community overall aggressively supports the Israel lobby and the Israeli government.”

        I was careful to use the words “organized” and “overall,” with full cognizance that many Jews are not enthusiastically on board with the Conference of Presidents and its many member and allied organizations (which number in the hundreds). But they are not making themselves heard or felt in an effective way. They have permitted themselves to be steamrollered by Likud Zionists, neocons, Greater Israelists, Christian Zionists, etc. Ethnic and religious communities (and nations) tend to get the leadership and policies they deserve — especially when they are passive.

        The Jewish establishment stridently and relentlessly claims to speak for “the Jews” — and most people around the world understandably take that establishment at its word — they know little about the vigorous debates that go on quietly within the Jewish world and out of sight of the mainstream media. So: I see a major problem developing here.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 8:52 pm

        Hostage, so these view are the equivalent to the Westboro Baptist group? Are these fringe beliefs?

        No, the Westboro Baptist Church only has 30 or 40 members and it is independent. It has no affiliations with any mainstream denomination or Baptist organization and its literature isn’t part of any accepted canon. That isn’t the case with the Lurianic Kaballah. The majority of the fastest growing segment of the population of Israel, the Haredi community, assign a great deal of authority to the Zohar as a source of accepted group traditions, prohibitions, obligations, and a help for the poskim in deciding the strictest interpretation of the law.

        We aren’t talking about a few marginal Jewish spiritual leaders here. We’re talking about people with enormous followings in the millions, like the Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, and the popular former Chief Ashkenazi and Sephardi Rabbis of Palestine and Israel: Kook, Yosef, et al.

        It’s true that in the 19th Century, the Jews of Western Europe lost interest in the Lurianic Kabbalah, but they simply turned to Zionism instead. It had the same metaphysical racist underpinnings. Just look at Leon Pinsker’s “Judeophobia” which treats anti-Semitism as an incurable mental disease, Herzl’s Der Judenstat, or Hopmi’s unshakable faith in the inevitability of recurring cycles of Gentile violence against Jews and the need for a safe refuge.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2012, 9:53 pm

        P.S. Here is an interesting Haaretz article which says that the grave of the supposed author of the Zohar is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in Israel, after the Western Wall.

        It also says:
        “Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov recently visited the site and declared that in the near future a government company “for administration of the Rashbi site at Mount Meron” would assume responsibility for all activities at the site.

        The Tourism Ministry’s says it has invested NIS 13 million at the Rashbi tomb, including NIS 2 million that was recently invested in safety projects, among them the pathway, which cost NIS 1 million.”

        See Israeli government rebuilding kohanim pathway after pressure from Hassidic Jews
        http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israeli-government-rebuilding-kohanim-pathway-after-pressure-from-hassidic-jews-1.427621

      • RoHa
        May 1, 2012, 11:33 pm

        “We aren’t talking about a few marginal Jewish spiritual leaders here. … Chief Ashkenazi and Sephardi Rabbis of Palestine and Israel: Kook, Yosef, et al. ”

        Let’s get it all out, Hostage.
        So far we have established that, according to these guys, I am a sub-human whose life isn’t worth a Jewish fingernail. If they cheat me or kill me, no real harm is done. My soul is a satanic-animal soul. I was created to be Mooser’s servant, but I am so filthy that I mustn’t touch his wine, and certainly not his daughters.

        If I get a bit cheesed off with the chappies who are paying me these compliments, it’s because I suffer from an incurable mental disease.

        Is that all, or do they have any other words of cheer and encouragement to show their esteem for me and the rest of humanity?

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 2, 2012, 7:56 am

        Thanks, Hostage. I didn’t realize that this level of hate and vile thoughts was so prevalent in the Jewish community. I will be on guard against it.

      • David Samel
        May 2, 2012, 8:53 am

        Woody, I’m not sure how this discussion got so far to cause you to say: I didn’t realize that this level of hate and vile thoughts was so prevalent in the Jewish community. I will be on guard against it. As a member of the “Jewish community,” or at least as a “Jew,” I do find your conclusion to be somewhat unsettling. I am very well acquainted with hundreds of Jews, both in an out of my family, and have seen no evidence of such “hate and vile thoughts” among them. What Hostage is describing is a very real phenomenon, but one that is almost entirely absent from my experience. It’s as if he were talking about Christian fundamentalism in the US, and one’s reaction was to beware every time one met a Christian. Needless to say, the Christians that I know bear no resemblance to this movement, powerful as it is.

        I much prefer Elliot’s statement: Many Jews are deeply conflicted about Israel. They live quite calmly with their internal contradiction. If necessary, they try to get away from it by ignoring it. I don’t admire them and I find their obtuseness infuriating. While he does not explain how “deeply conflicted” and “living quite calmly” can be reconciled, I get it. Most Jews I know sense a conflict between their genuinely liberal values of equality and justice on the one hand, and the actions and even existence of the Jewish State on the other, but they accept it by not thinking about it too much. It is indeed infuriating, and they should be confronted with their moral blindness on the issue, but your summation implies that if you were to meet a Jew, you would suspect that he/she harbors some contempt or at least disdain for you as a less worthy human being. That is neither a fair nor accurate assumption, and in fact the way you put it is quite troubling.

      • Elliot
        May 2, 2012, 8:59 am

        Sean – Thank you for the clarification. If you add the word “leadership” to your #4, you cover the distinction between the leadership of the organized Jewish community which stands monolithically – at least publicly – for the evils you list, and the body of affiliated Jews.
        Affiliated Jews – the members of the organized Jewish community – live out the internal conflict that I described.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 10:43 am

        David,

        I don’t think you fully appreciate the crisis that is developing in the Jewish world. Of course most Jews are not xenophobes or racists, but the Jewish establishment as a whole (and the Jewish community which it stridently claims to represent) has permitted itself to be hijacked by Jewish extremists. Your alarm should be directed not at Woody Tanaka but at the Jewish establishment which is driving these disturbing developments in cooperation with Likud, Greater Israelists, neocons, Christian Zionists and militant Jewish settlers in the occupied territories.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 10:45 am

        Elliot,

        I am working as hard as I possibly can to make careful and surgical discriminations in discussing these issues and with an urgent concern to prevent any surge in antisemitism, not to encourage it.

        If you or others here think I am going off the track, by all means correct and enlighten me. Overall I am very much pro-Jewish in my political and cultural orientation.

        (In fact, some people have accused me of being a Jewish supremacist, which, in some sense, I suppose I am. I greatly admire the best Jewish values and think that Jewish civilization is an immensely powerful force for human progress.)

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 11:01 am

        Is that all, or do they have any other words of cheer and encouragement to show their esteem for me and the rest of humanity?

        You’ve seen evidence of the other things here at MW. Israel has adopted anti-boycott laws against gentiles, while a list of leading Rabbis and their wives have authored threatening letters to other members of the Jewish community if they employ Arabs or rent to Arabs or foreigners. There was a line of white shirted-goons stretching as far as the eye could see on Jerusalem Day chanting butcher the Arabs. There are racial incitement laws, but they don’t apply to Jewish religious literature, like the Torat HaMelech, which condones murder and infanticide in cases of gentiles.

        In the late 1980s Meir Kahane could garner nearly a quarter of a million votes at the polls. Here is a video of in which he explains to an audience that the “yoke of the law” prevents one from giving up parts of Eretz Israel in exchange for peace or to save Jewish lives – even if that means civil war. That point of view is reflected in many key pieces of Israeli legislation that require loyalty oaths, legalizes outposts, and call for a super majority in the Knesset or a national plebiscite to approve any final territorial settlement. He takes his audience to task for living in this country, because they have a metaphysical call to be a chosen people in a chosen land or to vanish and die. He explains that they are not allowed to leave any of the land in the hands of the nations whenever Jews have the power to rule over it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oguHBnL5UYc

      • American
        May 2, 2012, 11:23 am

        “I was careful to use the words “organized” and “overall,” with full cognizance that many Jews are not enthusiastically on board with the Conference of Presidents and its many member and allied organizations (which number in the hundreds). But they are not making themselves heard or felt in an effective way.”…Sean

        True, they aren’t making themselves heard in a public way. Afraid of the tribal rejection or are they shut out by the powers that be in press and media? I’d say both and particulary shut out of msm.
        Makes me wonder how much of the general non Jewish public is aware of groups like Code Pink or JVP or ever heard of or hear the Jewish critics of Israel.
        Probably not many….only those really following the Israel issue on the net, the last corner of freedom. Do things like Occupy AIPAC even make the msm news…I’ve never seen it if it did.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 2, 2012, 11:32 am

        David,

        First, please accept my sincere apologies for the way my post was written. It was done in great haste and, frankly, it was negligent of me to have hit “post comment” without major revision, because it clearly suggested things that I did not mean and do not think.

        This I offer by way of explanation and not excuse:

        My reaction was based on the statements by Hostage. I understand that most Jews are not orthodox Jews, nor ultra-orthodox, for lack of a better term. And that was a basis of my questioning of those views, which, I’m sure we can all agree, are pretty vile. I did not intend to suggest that I believe that they are prevalent in the greater Jewish community or to think that most Jews hold those views, although by using the term “the Jewish community” I gave that impression.

        What I should have said, is that I am surprised that this level of religious bigotry exists among ultra-orthodox religious Jews, as it was my understanding that the more orthodox religious Jews were more concerned with their own study and observance and that of their communities than with non-Jews. I further was not aware of any particularly bigoted views to be attributed to them, outside of a few fringe people. That is why I made the comparison to the Westboro Baptist Church. If it is a more common phenomenon within the group of ultra-orthodox Jews, then that is something that we should all understand.

        I further have no excuse for how my second sentence came out. The thought I was trying to express was that I would be aware, moving forward, that there are these people who hold these views, and not to be fooled into thinking that there were no such people among ultra-orthodox religious Jews. It just was not expressed in any way congruent with my intent. I certainly did not mean to suggest that I would be guarded in my interactions with all Jews.

        I hope this clears this up, and I again apologize the my writing was so poor in expressing my thoughts. I certainly did not mean to cause you trouble and apologize for doing so.

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 11:57 am

        I much prefer Elliot’s statement: Many Jews are deeply conflicted about Israel.

        I explained that Western European Jews had abandoned some of these views about gentiles from the Lurianic Kaballah in the 19th Century, but I also ran into a “Kahanist” from a Lithuanian background – within an hour – during my first trip to New York City.

        I see evidence all of the time of members of the Jewish community who speak and act as if Arabs or foreigners are subhuman or don’t have the same entitlement to basic human rights. For example, I don’t think Chabad Rabbi David Eliezrie and Pamela Gellar were particularly conflicted about supporting the militantly racist demonstration against a Yorba Linda California Muslim charity event. People like Daniel Pipes use not-so-subtle racist incitement to get rid of the indigenous Arab “fifth column” living in Israel, because they are supposedly the biggest remaining obstacle to implementing the Jewish national home project. The only paradox is that this miserable ass keeps calling that project a “democracy” and doesn’t seem to mind pro-natal subsidies for Haredis, just Arabs. See Israel’s Arabs, Living a Paradox http://www.danielpipes.org/10873/israel-arabs-paradox

        The same thing applies to the actions and militant attitudes of many activists in the “Stand With Us” and other Zionist organizations. They’re obviously ready to launch physical attacks or lawsuits at the drop of a hat against anyone who supports equal human rights for Palestinians, migrant workers, or refugees in Eretz Israel. All their arguments about “the state of the Jewish people” are grounded in centuries of metaphysical teachings and traditions regarding Jews and Gentiles, not in international relations, political science, or any secular law.

        Phil didn’t have to go to Yale to hear unintelligent comments about Jews with guns or God’s gifts to the Jewish people, he could have easily heard those same things at Harvard.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 12:13 pm

        Woody,

        This is what to keep in mind: these racist views are the locomotive which is pulling the entire Israeli government, the Israel lobby, the Jewish establishment AND the American government behind it. They are not on the fringe: they occupy dead center of all the controversies concerning Israel.

        The Jewish community is offering no effective opposition to these political trends and to the catastrophe they are likely to produce. Why?

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 12:24 pm

        Thanks, Hostage. I didn’t realize that this level of hate and vile thoughts was so prevalent in the Jewish community.

        Yes there are very large Hasidic communities in Brooklyn, New York, Lakewood, New Jersey, Los Angeles, California, and many other cities here in the US.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 2, 2012, 12:29 pm

        “This is what to keep in mind: these racist views are the locomotive which is pulling the entire Israeli government, the Israel lobby, the Jewish establishment AND the American government behind it. They are not on the fringe: they occupy dead center of all the controversies concerning Israel.”

        Sean,

        I understand the point you are making. However, I wanted to make clear to David what my thoughts were, as he clearly believed that I was saying something other than what I was saying. That was wrong of me, as I should have been more precise.

      • David Samel
        May 2, 2012, 12:30 pm

        Woody, I find your explanation to be completely credible and thank you for it. Hostage as usual made some excellent points about how this racism is not merely some lunatic fringe movement but is a powerful force, and somehow it led to your comment. We all hit the “post” button too abruptly now and then. I was concerned about how the rhetoric seemed to spiral to dangerous places, but not really concerned about you in particular, because I’ve seen enough of your comments to know you were being careless rather than offensive. We all know that some people out there patrol this site just looking for things to take out of context and prove that MW is a haven for blah-blah-blah, and your comment seemed a likely target. I thought it required a reply, and hope I was not too harsh on someone who does not deserve it.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 12:47 pm

        Woody,

        I get it completely. Never leave an opening for your opponents to misconstrue and twist your true thoughts and sentiments. I appreciated your generous clarification. And David was helpful in straightening this out.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 12:51 pm

        Hostage,

        This is an incredibly important observation:

        “The same thing applies to the actions and militant attitudes of many activists in the “Stand With Us” and other Zionist organizations. They’re obviously ready to launch physical attacks or lawsuits at the drop of a hat against anyone who supports equal human rights for Palestinians, migrant workers, or refugees in Eretz Israel. All their arguments about “the state of the Jewish people” are grounded in centuries of metaphysical teachings and traditions regarding Jews and Gentiles, not in international relations, political science, or any secular law.”

        My impression is that the racist attitudes of Lurianic Kabbalists permeate the entire culture of neoconservatism, Likud Zionism and Christian Zionism — much or most of the Israel lobby. This is a much bigger problem than has been properly acknowledged by informed analysts of Mideast politics.

        The fanatical racism rolls off them in palpable waves.

      • Keith
        May 2, 2012, 1:12 pm

        DAVID SAMEL- “I am very well acquainted with hundreds of Jews, both in an out of my family, and have seen no evidence of such “hate and vile thoughts” among them.”

        Two comments: First, what you say is absolutely true and has been my experience as well. In fact, I doubt that most American secular and Reformed Jews are even aware of much of this pre-enlightenment mysticism which informs Zionism, the nominally secular return to Classical Judaism. My second comment is that this lack of awareness is part of the problem insofar as it enables liberal American Jews to support Israel out of a felt sense of kinship with Israeli Jews even though they have little in common. What many American Jews don’t seem to comprehend is that they have much more in common with their liberal Gentile neighbors than they do with these religious fundamentalists. Further, the extent to which the Zionists have exploited the Holocaust to attempt to legitimize their retrograde ideology. Make no mistake, Zionism is a rejection of enlightenment thinking.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 1:26 pm

        woody, i too found your exploratory posts for matters of clarification helpful. i recall when i was first made aware of the power and growth of chabad and frankly i found it startling.

        here’s a story..i had a roomie who was raised in this community and some of the stuff he told me was hard to hear. he was very attached to judaism, an ex rabbi but still very religious. young relatively, starting out on his own outside of the community. his family hardly communicated with him anymore. he had 12 or 13 siblings. he was raised in monsey ny.

        anyway, i cannot recall how it came up exactly, about the souls..but he told me about the growth of chabad (he found the trend philosophically worrying) and so i googled it. there is a terrific outreach to young jews and the growth of the group is phenomenal. it’s worrying. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chabad#Numbers_2

        As of 2007 there are 3,300 Chabad institutions around the world.[5][6][7] As of 2006 there were Chabad centers in 75 countries.

        that’s 2007, over 5 years ago.

        Campus
        Main article: Chabad on Campus Foundation
        In recent years Chabad has greatly expanded its reach on university and college campuses. Chabad Student Centers are active on over 100 campuses, and Chabad offers varied activities at an additional 150 universities worldwide.[66] Professor Alan Dershowitz has said that “Chabad’s presence on college campuses today is absolutely crucial”, and “We cannot rest until Chabad is on every major college campus in the world”.[67]

        sorry if i am repeating myself, this thread is so long now i can’t keep track of what i have said.

        and another thing…friends of mine, secular jews my age..had never even heard of this ( animal souls) stuff as i hadn’t til a couple years ago. they brushed off the ultras like they are some quirk of the community.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 1:32 pm

        Keith,

        You wrote:

        “Make no mistake, Zionism is a rejection of enlightenment thinking.”

        This is the truly appalling thing: Zionists — the Israel lobby, neoconservatives, Christian Zionists, etc. — are systematically destroying the Enlightenment values and culture on which America was built. The American Founding Visionaries must be rolling in their graves. Most Americans don’t have a clue about how their culture is being systematically subverted and wrecked.

        Neocons in particular have been ringleaders of the movement to transform America into a totalitarian police state organized around an eternal holy war against the enemies of Israel. Nothing could be more un-American and anti-Enlightenment.

      • Elliot
        May 2, 2012, 1:35 pm

        What many American Jews don’t seem to comprehend is that they have much more in common with their liberal Gentile neighbors than they do with these religious fundamentalists.

        This is is the paradox of Jewish nationalism aka Zionism. Zionism is the only dogma that binds all Jews. And yet, it is a Christian-Jewish invention. The thing that supposedly distinguishes Jews from their surroundings comes from and is reinforced by what American Jews and Christians share.

        I think you are right that there is a level of fraternal identification between American Jews and Israeli Jews. This sits on the broad foundation of American Zionism. So, Jews can be assimilated and fashionably Zionist or Jewishly-affiliated and overtly Zionist as principle of ethnic identification or political commitment.

        In the minds of Jews, and apparently their Christian neighbors too, there is no tension between what previously were at odds: Jewishness and Americanness. Today Jewish/Zionist and American/Zionist meld perfectly.

        I think the mouthpieces of the establishment Jewish community understand the game they are playing. They manipulate this paradox effectively.

      • David Samel
        May 2, 2012, 1:40 pm

        Keith, later in the same comment, I said: “Most Jews I know sense a conflict between their genuinely liberal values of equality and justice on the one hand, and the actions and even existence of the Jewish State on the other, but they accept it by not thinking about it too much. It is indeed infuriating, and they should be confronted with their moral blindness on the issue”

        You complain about “the extent to which the Zionists have exploited the Holocaust to attempt to legitimize their retrograde ideology.” I agree entirely that many people cynically exploit the Holocaust. On the other hand, many members of my father’s family had close encounters with the Holocaust. For him, it was forced dislocation as a teenager and loss of many family members, and for others, it was much worse, including time spent in the camps. All of these relatives became strong Zionists, though none lived in Israel for any appreciable time. The connection they made between the Holocaust and Israel was always quite real and to this day remains understandable to me, even though I feel very differently. Their feelings are genuine.

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 4:10 pm

        My impression is that the racist attitudes of Lurianic Kabbalists permeate the entire culture of neoconservatism, Likud Zionism and Christian Zionism

        The Christian Zionists are certainly racists, but they usually justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians on the basis of the passages from Genesis wherein God either promised the Land to Israel or vowed to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. But they don’t generally view their own souls as being somehow inferior or apply much intellectual rigor to the implied claim that only a Jewish believer can be the legitimate heirs of Jacob or David to the Land of Palestine. The Christian Palestinians of Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and elsewhere just don’t factor into their dispensationalist world views.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 4:27 pm

        Hostage,

        But Christian Zionists have caught the general psychic contagion. They hear the racist music and hum along to it. The Lurianic myths and memes have unconsciously seeped into their bloodstream, infiltrated their dreams.

        And if you follow CUFI’s Twitter stream, one increasingly gets the impression that some leading Christian Zionists are treating Israeli Jews as a kind of master race, their genetic and spiritual superiors who command unquestioning worship and obedience. No exaggeration. Review the stream. They’ve completely lost their minds. This is the Cult of all Cults — Jonestowners armed with weapons of mass destruction and brimming over with apocalyptic hysteria.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 4:36 pm

        CUFI’s Twitter stream, one increasingly gets the impression that some leading Christian Zionists are treating Israeli Jews as a kind of master race, their genetic and spiritual superiors who command unquestioning worship and obedience.

        really?

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 5:32 pm

        I doubt that most American secular and Reformed Jews are even aware of much of this pre-enlightenment mysticism which informs Zionism, the nominally secular return to Classical Judaism.

        Some of the best articles here at MW highlight the fact that Reformed Jews have abandoned the founding principles of their movement. Reform Judaism was a deliberate rejection of the primitive elements of “Classical Judaism”. Nowadays the stream has conscientiously adopted Zionism and their leaders, like Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, are openly preaching against “the disease of assimilation”.

        Classical Judaism provided the template for the adoption of apartheid laws which legally separated the Jews from their Gentile neighbors and family members, i.e. the edicts of Deuteronomy 7 and Ezra the scribe concerning intermarriage and family purity, the Maccabean revolt, and the ordinances adopted by the House of Shammai in the Roman era. That situation was reflected in Christian accounts of the period, like Acts 10:28, i.e. “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him.” I happen to think that is the “Jewish character” and “the Jewish state” that many Zionists have been hell-bent on restoring and preserving in Palestine.

        It is almost a certainty that the State of Israel has employed volunteers and paid employees to post comments here that label anti-Zionists members of a fringe group. There certainly aren’t very many of us who refuse to let Herzl’s claims (about the inability of Jews to lead normal lives among Gentiles) go unchallenged.

      • Elliot
        May 2, 2012, 5:47 pm

        But Christian Zionists have caught the general psychic contagion. They hear the racist music and hum along to it. The Lurianic myths and memes have unconsciously seeped into their bloodstream, infiltrated their dreams.

        Sean, You’re getting ahead of yourself. When exactly did the Christian Zionists first get infected with Lurianic memes: was it Lord Shaftesbury or Lloyd George?

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 6:45 pm

        And if you follow CUFI’s Twitter stream

        Not even at gunpoint ;-) Fortunately most of our mainstream politicos make a point of returning Pastor Hagee’s donations and turn-down his endorsements with no ill effects.

        There are groups in the Jewish establishment who have equally offensive ways of using theology to rationalize Hitler’s role in the Holocaust, i.e. Jewish victims of the Holocaust were reincarnated souls of great sinners who really had it coming. http://www.aish.com/atr/Holocaust_Reincarnated_Souls.html?catid=955188

        Aish has an “educational center” to teach that sort of crap located on prime real estate directly across from the Western Wall.
        http://www.aish.com/ci/s/78061807.html

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 6:50 pm

        Elliot,

        I am referring to the shrill hysteria (and especially pro-Israel chauvinism and maniacal Islamophobia) that has crept into the voices of contemporary Christian Zionists like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck and John Hagee in recent years. They have largely taken their cues from and have been groomed by militant Jewish Zionists, Israeli prime ministers and Mossad heads, Jewish neoconservatives, etc. Some of them are even reaching the decibel level of Pamela Geller and Caroline Glick. Few of them speak “American” any longer — they’ve been turned. They worship at the altar of Zionism, Israel and “the Jewish people.”

        By the way: have you come up with the names of any leading Jews whom who think have have been inflicting major damage on Jewish relations with non-Jews in recent decades? That is rather an important topic, don’t you think? One that needs to be thrashed out?

        Actually, both the Jewish and Christian worlds need to become aggressive about cleaning house at this point. Either that, or they are going to be completely overrun by messianic religious Zionists. To a considerable degree, this has already happened.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 6:50 pm

        Hostage, in my personal experience, the fellow travelers of self-identified Christian Zionists of the Hagee-type schook, Christian fundies (who often don’t even think of themselves as Christian Zionists, but rather, simply people who have the inside daily chat with Jesus) take their cue from Genesis as you described. They admit Jews are not exempt from human evil or foibles, but firmly believe God will take care of them if they bless Israel, the Jews, and God will curse those who do otherwise. I could never get one to distinguish between the biblical metaphor of Israel and the present day state of Israel, nor between AIPAC or the Israeli government and all Jews. Nor could I get them to give a thought to the Arab Christians. When I tried, the most I got was the question, “Is your girl friend Palestinian?” These people were otherwise quite astute as to politics, and very nice people; they would make excellent neighbors–so long as one did not bring up political questions related to Israel.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 6:53 pm

        Maybe the ground was laid by Scofield’s footnotes in to the Bible?

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:10 pm

        So what should a plain American humanist think when Bibi N comes here and explains the world according to the book of Esther, and says it’s Israel’s and America’s mission (for we are you, your are us) to support his regime at all costs as a safe haven for Jews because in every generation past, present, and future, there are non-Jews born with hatred of the Jew in his and heart (simply because they are born Jews)?

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:19 pm

        I dunno, David Samel. I have access to both Jews and Gentiles, having intermarried and with much experience with both Jews, via my extended in-law family, and with Gentiles, since I am one and I grew up with many who are now Christian fundies. My experience crosses class distinctions since I have worked a day laborer and Army grunt as well as a lawyer and in the publishing and fine art fields. Both groups scare me to death; they all remind me of Hannah Arndt’s banality of evil.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:40 pm

        seanmcbride, do you really think you have to worry about enhancing jew hatred on this blog because you have some points to dispute with some jews, who often directly or indirectly imply they are speaking for all jews? Get a grip, Phil’s blog is not AIPAC, nor is it the mainstream US media. I know you know that, but maybe you just forgot?

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:42 pm

        Yes, seanmcbride, that is correct.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 8:12 pm

        American, re your: “Makes me wonder how much of the general non Jewish public is aware of groups like Code Pink or JVP or ever heard of or hear the Jewish critics of Israel.
        Probably not many….only those really following the Israel issue on the net, the last corner of freedom. Do things like Occupy AIPAC even make the msm news…I’ve never seen it if it did.”

        In my long experience, the general American public has never has heard of Code Pink, JVP or any critic of Israeli policy and the US enmeshment in it.
        And no, Occupy APAC has never once made the US msm news.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 9:08 pm

        Annie,

        Regarding CUFI’s over-the-top stream of Israelcentric and Judeocentric tweets on Twitter (Mossad mind control mantras, really, for those with weak and fragile minds), following are a few samples. What is most interesting is that CUFI, which is largely under the direction of David Brog (who is Jewish), has synonymized ancient (and largely mythical) biblical Israel with the contemporary Israeli *government*. In other words, Christian Zionists are being commanded to obey the Israeli government and the Israel lobby without question as if it were God Himself — they have sucked all the Christianity out of Christianity and transformed it into a weird Old Testament cult based on messianic ethnic nationalism, chauvinism, xenophobia and racism:

        A few revealing tweets:

        1. CUFI’s Executive Director David Brog’s review of Peter Beinart’s book. Long story short – don’t waste your time.

        2. Defend America- Vote Israel.

        3. Despite centuries of persecution, the Jewish people have received and brought incredible blessings wherever they lived throughout history.

        4. Every time you want to take something God did not give you, God will take back something He has given you. Israel belongs to the Jews.

        5. Exec. Dir. of @CUFI (@DavidBrog): “Supporting Israel is in our best interest because it saves our souls.”

        6. God loves his people Israel, and will never denounce them or his unconditional promise to keep them a people unto himself.

        7. God loves his people Israel, and will never denounce them. As we as Christians strive to live biblically, how can we do any less?

        8. God never looks at your past to determine your future and The Lord has decided to bless Israel Forever.

        9. God said His people Israel will ALWAYS prevail, so attempts to destroy them isn’t just hatred, but a spiritual battle against our God.

        10. God will deal with nations by the way they deal with Israel. Let’s pray that our current and future administrations deal wisely with Israel.

        11. In about 2 hrs, @CUFI got 12,000+ supporters to bomb CBS inboxes re: their anti-Israel piece; that’s 1+ emails a sec

        12. In the good times and in the bad times, God has always been and will continue to be with Israel.

        13. Israel Fact of the Day- the technology for AOL Instant Messenger was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

        14. Israel is an example to the nations in innovation, education and personal liberty.

        15. Join with the Jewish people in celebrating the faithfulness and love of God through all generations! We serve a God who keeps his promises.

        16. No one can curse what God has blessed and God promised to bless Israel forever!

        17. Our God is an awesome God who keeps his covenants and continues to bless the Jewish people!

        18. Scripture of the Day- 2 Samuel 7:24. God’s love for Israel & the Jewish people is everlasting!

        19. Scripture of the Day- Exodus 14:13. Stand firm with Israel and you will see deliverance from all your enemies.

        20. Send a message to the presidential candidates – one of the best ways to defend America is to stand with Israel.

        21. The Lord has a plan for Israel, for she is always on his mind!! 1 Sam 3:11

        22. The lord has promised to increase Israel more & more. Thank God he is faithful to fulfill his promise.

        23. The proof of your love to God is the passion to protect and the disposition to help what it’s His. Proof your love to God, protect Israel!

        24. We celebrate that the Jewish people and the nation of Israel have become a blessing to the entire world!

        25. We celebrate the incredible testimony of God’s power-the return of his people On this Easter, let us worship a Jewish savior who fulfilled, not replaced, God’s eternal promises to his people. to their homeland after centuries of exile and persecution.

        26. When we see the sunrise remember that our God is a faithful God who keeps his promises and does not turn his back on His chosen people.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 9:10 pm

        The answer, seanmcbride, is that many jews have bought Bibi’s concept that in every generation there are jew haters and hence jews need Israel as Israel, that is as a nuclear-armed state with all the convention military force Dick n Jane can be duped into providing, as a save haven for jews.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 9:32 pm

        they have a little over 7000 followers, almost twice as many as JVP. hmm

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 9:39 pm

        But check it out: JIDF (Jewish Internet Defense Force), which is a self-professed Kahanist group, and which is much more extreme than CUFI (Christians United for Israel), has over *50,000* followers:

        https://twitter.com/#!/jidf

        It’s a safe bet that Mossad is using JIDF, CUFI, Chabad-Lubavitch and hundreds of other pro-Israel organizations in a coordinated fashion.

      • Keith
        May 2, 2012, 11:50 pm

        HOSTAGE- “Some of the best articles here at MW highlight the fact that Reformed Jews have abandoned the founding principles of their movement. Reform Judaism was a deliberate rejection of the primitive elements of “Classical Judaism”. Nowadays the stream has conscientiously adopted Zionism and their leaders, like Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, are openly preaching against “the disease of assimilation”.

        Fascinating post, Hostage, as always, but I’m afraid I must to a degree dissent. Reformed Rabbis have for a long time preached against “the disease of assimilation,” or at least of intermarriage, but to no avail. Surely to no avail for secular Jews, and the enlightenment gave the Reformed Jews permission to ignore their Rabbi’s entreaties. My personal experience has been that Reformed Jews frequently only go to Temple on high holidays and are not overly concerned with the socio-political views of the Rabbi. You wouldn’t be having this shift of liberal Jewish opinion on Israel if it was otherwise. If the majority of American Jews were returning to Classical Judaism or its nominally secular equivalent Zionism, then Phil is wasting his time. I feel reasonably certain that Phil does not feel that he is wasting his time. I agree. Furthermore, I would be astonished if secular and Reformed Jews willingly acquiesce to a return to Rabbinical control. To the contrary, as Norman Finkelstein discusses in his new book “Knowing Too Much” (I just got my copy and have started reading), American Jews are beginning to distance themselves from Israel because of Israel’s behavior which conflicts with their liberal values. Insofar as we live in an elite run society, the ramifications of all of this are not clear, particularly in view of the fact that we have entered a period of upheaval and uncertainty.

      • Hostage
        May 3, 2012, 10:25 am

        Reformed Rabbis have for a long time preached against “the disease of assimilation,” or at least of intermarriage, but to no avail.

        Of course they have opposed intermarriage, but they haven’t been publicly denouncing assimilation as “a disease” and sharing that message with the outside world on Vimeo and YouTube. I don’t view Rabbis as free agents. The regular members of their congregations are the ones who ultimately pay their salaries and get identified with the messages that they preach.

        If the majority of American Jews were returning to Classical Judaism or its nominally secular equivalent Zionism, then Phil is wasting his time.

        In a sense, Phil is wasting his time. Assimilation and Orthodoxy are the two the fastest growing streams in America today. The members of the Reform and Conservative streams are like other westerners – they’re experiencing zero population growth before assimilation is even factored-into the equation. Orthodoxy is the smallest group, but it’s still experiencing growth – thanks to the average size of an ultra-Orthodox family. Unfortunately for Phil, they think that God has already spoken on nearly every imaginable subject, including the boundaries of Jewish identity and the second-class status of Palestinians in Eretz Israel.

  15. LanceThruster
    April 26, 2012, 4:15 pm

    Naiveté and ignorance are certainly part of the destructiveness, but not in the way the speakers imagined.

  16. LanceThruster
    April 26, 2012, 4:26 pm

    And as far as the assertions of land bought and paid for fair and square; Israeli historian Tom Segev uses declassified Israeli sources to paint an entirely different picture.

    See; Looting, Looting, and More Looting – http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Palestine-Remembered/Story680.html

    To any of those who have wandered over from this tribal installment of “Exceptionalists with Guns,” I am not a hater. I truly love communing in this multicultural forum of individuals with the integrity and insight to argue for justice from a humanist universalist perspective.

    They are truly “rock stars.”

    The rest of you pious poseurs…less so.

    For any who would consider this site, and the ongoing discourse here “vile,”

    I has a sad.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_JGsPS-Y7GHU/TSihDXKX_oI/AAAAAAAAAWA/vP1f6PCHfrw/s400/i%2Bhas%2Ba%2Bsad.jpg

  17. evets
    April 26, 2012, 5:00 pm

    As for the dream, Phil — I believe the Jets are about to undergo seven lean years and you are meant to save them.

    Please see what you can do.

  18. Alex Kane
    April 26, 2012, 5:16 pm

    A wonderful story.

  19. W.Jones
    April 26, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing with us a very good story.

    I really liked it. It was very heartfelt, descriptive, and revealing.

    Do you feel like Hercules?

    One thing helpful for me at these kinds of discussions is to bring a notepad in case good points or new information are brought up I can think about later.

  20. chet
    April 26, 2012, 6:21 pm

    I don’t understand.

    Surely the beginning of the colloquy would have centered on Israel’s founding – in that the discussion took place at an academic locale and that all the participants were scholars, how was it possible for anyone to refute scholarly research such as that of Benny Morris, that immediately after the UN vote hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their lands and villages? Was the claim that the land was bought and the Palestinians left voluntarily not debated vigorously with demands for scholarly support for their seemingly nonsensical claims?

    With respect to the legitimacy of the occupation, was there not a demand to account for the ignoring of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the countless UNSC resolutions, the ruling if the International Court Of Justice?

    If these matters were raised and glossed over, you should have stubbornly stuck to your guns and demanded reasoned answers rather than accepting hasbarist pap.

  21. chuckcarlos
    April 26, 2012, 6:40 pm

    Richard Feynman “What Do You Care What Other People Think”…wrote…well he wrote three general reader type books, I guess and a slug of other stuff including the Feynman Diagrams on a blackboard…

    well anyway, in one of these books, and by the way he’s nominally, and I mean really nominally jewish, sort of,

    He writes of his encounter in the elevator with some Rabbincal (?) Students who ask him if electricity is fire…well I guess there is some restriction on fire on some sorts of days or something…so Feynman goes into the normal Cal/Cal Tech/Los Alamos lecture about the physics and chemistry of fire and electricity with some quantum theory thrown in for good measure…so the future Rabbis (?) look like they understand and then ask him, “well Professor Feynman is fire the same as electricity?”

    Feynman gets off the elevator and does not answer and basically thinks…to hell with them…here I am trying to give a scientific explanation to some yahoos who still read and believe books and concepts from the Medieval Ages…to hell with them…

    Maybe it was in “Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman.” I don’t know…”What Do You Care What Other People Think” is more apropos

    He also liked to pick locks and break into safes…but I don’t know if he was an anti-semite..russian I believe

    • LanceThruster
      April 27, 2012, 11:52 am

      Fascinating anecdote. I saw a PBS program about an Orthodox Jewish pediatric hospital where they rigged the telephones with a peg and hole faceplate so they could dial without violating Sabbath rules (the peg interrupting the light beam was akin to it being OK if a fire in the home went out if it blew out when the door was opened).

      I couldn’t imagine a more Rube Goldberg setup to get around these sectarian restrictions. I thought it would be easier just to invoke the “It’s OK to break the rules if it’s to save a life” exemption and just conclude that pretty much everything medical staff do in the long run is to prolong life.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 1:58 am

        Here’s the explanation for, and a guide to kosher machines: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/kosher.html

      • LanceThruster
        April 30, 2012, 1:40 pm

        TYVM, Citizen. I enjoyed that.

        I remember seeing a play by an adjunct professor about her family history. She had a Jewish grandfather who no one would talk about because he abandoned the family after they came over to Ellis Island.

        It ended where she was allowed to forgive him because she researched that he had done some act that constituted “contrition” and so she interpreted that as he had asked for forgiveness (she wouldn’t have been allowed to per her belief if he had not). She was quite proud of her quest (the historical search *was* interesting), but I felt it showed how her strict adherence to the ritualistic limited her somewhat as a human being. She could choose to forgive based on her own will, not by playing convoluted games to see if she could find doctrinal justification.

      • LanceThruster
        April 30, 2012, 1:49 pm

        Citizen, one thing that occurred to me was if it was OK to leave the stove on continuously, would it be OK to set a timer to have the stove come on at a prearranged time during the Sabbath as long as you did the work to set it outside the Sabbath.

        A person has not violated the rules. Can an appliance displease Jehovah by its programmed actions?

        I have everything I can on timers and motion sensors. Forgive, oh lord, I know not what I doo’d.

      • tree
        April 30, 2012, 2:23 pm

        Citizen, one thing that occurred to me was if it was OK to leave the stove on continuously, would it be OK to set a timer to have the stove come on at a prearranged time during the Sabbath as long as you did the work to set it outside the Sabbath.

        Current models of stoves often have a so-named “Sabbath mode” which allows you do do exactly that.

      • LanceThruster
        April 30, 2012, 3:39 pm

        OK, I misread the wired piece in that I thought a Sabbath stove setting was to override the auto shut-off. This gets interesting. Would a so-called “dead man’s switch” work (keeping the covenant) in that your actions only provide a continuation (or not) of whatever action you sought to “control.”

        Like I said, as a secularist, it seems pretty Rube Goldberg, the way the fishing line to create an Eruv does. (though the line deal, seems simple enough yet effectively allows the skirting of the rules – or is it allows “keeping” them?).

      • RoHa
        April 30, 2012, 9:26 pm

        “Can an appliance displease Jehovah by its programmed actions?”

        If it gets blasted by lightning from a clear sky you will have your answer.

      • LanceThruster
        May 1, 2012, 12:36 pm

        In the great San Francisco earthquake, it was noted the churches toppled, but the bar rooms and cathouses still stood.

  22. lobewyper
    April 26, 2012, 7:49 pm

    For me, Phil’s story is at heart a statement about the difficulty of swimming against the tribe (pardon the pun). I’m thrilled that these people invited you to share your thoughts with them. You (Phil) had to be much more knowledgeable about the historical facts than any one of them, and they knew in advance your general views. (Hence, it took just as much guts for them to invite you as it did for you to accept.)

    Most if not all their arguments were baseless hasbara, but you were outnumbered and wanted to be polite. You respected these folks in many respects as human beings and with reason, and wanted to influence them toward the truth of the situation in a reasoned way.

    Yes, some were calling you a traitor to your race (someday, you’ll come to your senses and act like a real Jew). And you felt guilty for a while afterwards, because the pull of one’s tribe when it is as collectively focused as Jews as a group are, has tremendous power–even when we consciously attempt to free ourselves from this sort of thinking. Personally, I think it’s instinctive and very, very difficult to fully overcome when it is also essentially bred into you from birth (although I’d say you have struggled against this idea that the tribe’s politics should never be challenged with considerable success).

    Thanks for sharing these deeply personal reflections.

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2012, 3:30 pm

      “For me, Phil’s story is at heart a statement about the difficulty of swimming against the tribe”

      So you don’t think marrying “out”, and never being willing to submit to even the most elementary dietary restriction of Judaism isn’t enough?
      Just amazing how fungible Jewish identity is, isn’t it? It can be anything you want, any time you want.

  23. Keith
    April 26, 2012, 8:11 pm

    PHIL- “A young scholar next to me who is studying proto-Zionism in Europe in the 1800s out of a commitment to Israel said how could I be so sure that anti-Semitism was not going to return in a virulent form. It had been recurring throughout our history. Every 50 or 100 years there were major episodes. Of course it could happen again.”

    Phil, with all due respect, you need to get infinitely more familiar with actual Jewish history so you can more effectively deal with Jewish mythology. There was a lot of violence in Europe for many centuries as countries, cities and groups struggled for power. In fact, the creation of the nation states was not by mutual consent of the citizenry, it was by force and violence. A lot of people were killed, mostly Gentiles. What else was going on during these “major episodes” of anti-Semitism? Most Zionists have a laser-like focus on Jewish “suffering,” along with a total disdain for non-Jewish suffering. They are not interested in actual history and how the Jews fit in, rather they defend a myopic mythology which reinforces their ideology of eternal victimhood. Perceived anti-Semitism is at the very core of their Holocaust centered religion. They aren’t rational, rather, they are very logically promoting Jewish solidarity and defending their privileged status. I might add that much of Jewish history written by Jews for Jews is going to be Jewish mythology with footnotes, the type of crap an Alan Dershowitz would write. Some of the Mondoweiss commenters appear very knowledgeable and could make suggestions. Israel Shahak could be a starting point.

    • Keith
      April 27, 2012, 12:20 am

      PHIL- “A year ago I met a scholar named Ben Karp who asked if I would come for Sabbath dinner at a Jewish society at Yale called Eliezer.”

      I have reread the post and found it fascinating on multiple levels. I originally was going to make an additional brief comment on the “scholar” who claimed recurring historical anti-Semitism, but have decided not to. Something about the post doesn’t ring true. Are you really as you present yourself, or have you constructed an artificial persona designed to elicit comments of a certain nature? This occurred a year ago? Why bring it up now, not then? Something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 2:37 am

        keith, he said he met him a year ago. the evening took place in january.

    • Citizen
      April 29, 2012, 2:21 am

      Phil should read Esau’s Tears. It’s just what Dr Keith orders. It traces anti-semitism through the ages, is thoroughly documented, and is a big anti-dote for typical Jewish History tunnel vision. It’s written by a Jew.

      Solzinitzyn’s (sic) 200 Years Together is good for the big picture on Russian-Jewish relations over that time period.

  24. eljay
    April 26, 2012, 8:30 pm

    >> I woke up at 4 and then at 5 from having drunk too much red wine, feeling terribly guilty. I was in an entirely Jewish setting and had betrayed the Jewish people. I was not helping, I was not helping. I was alienating myself from highly intelligent and kind people. They were kind to me anyway. Now I understood why Goldstone had reconsidered his report, if he had spent any time with Shmully!

    I can understand why one might be tempted to set morality and justice for “the good of the tribe”, but I don’t understand why anyone would or should. “Loyalty” is not – and should never be – enough reason. If it’s because of “duress” – if you’re being pressured to accept immorality and injustice – that’s even more reason to tell the tribe to f*ck right off.

    You appear to be made of sterner stuff than Goldstone. Good on you. :-)

  25. thetumta
    April 26, 2012, 8:32 pm

    Jim Jones with a kipper. Just get to the Kool-aid faster, please. Can you imagine if Jim Jones and company had nuclear weapons, let alone Dolphin submarines to deliver them anywhere on the planet? If this keeps up, perhaps, I should drink the Kool-aid first and skip the finale?
    Hej!

    • LanceThruster
      April 27, 2012, 12:27 pm

      Jim Jones with a kipper.

      I like it!

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 12:49 pm

        i sense we might be getting carried away.

      • LanceThruster
        April 27, 2012, 1:30 pm

        It hurts too much to laugh and I’m too old to cry.

        I think it addresses in a sardonic way the “banality of evil.” I do not like to ascribe “evil” to another human being, but if by ignorance and/or arrogance you promote injustice so pervasively…the shoe seems to fit.

        Silence equals assent.

        And arguing *for* injustice in the name of tribal solidarity is convoluted and delusional.

        I also think the top down authoritarian structure has a host of flaws. Like a cable comic put it when questioning those who say they require their sacred texts to know how to act ethically,

        “I’d like to b4ng my neighbor’s wife, but lets see what the good book says first…”

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 9:55 pm

        “I’d like to b4ng my neighbor’s wife, but lets see what the good book says first…”

        And in so many cases, the answer comes up “yes”. In almost every case, mystical religious leadership translates into sexual privileges. Name the religion, and you will come up with examples of it.

      • LanceThruster
        April 30, 2012, 1:36 pm

        True, though it is said that Droit du seigneur (right of the lord) is just apocryphal. You’re correct that many sects, cults, etc., allow the leadership carte blanche in setting themselves beyond the rules everyone else must conform to. Rank has its privileges.

  26. lyn117
    April 26, 2012, 8:55 pm

    Congratulations on throwing yourself into the den of lions, so to speak, and coming out alive (I venture God didn’t have anything to do with coming out alive).

    As for the Chabad folks, whoever said their religious beliefs are racist nailed it. I have to admit, I take a little offense that they think I’m not fully human.

    Facts don’t matter if racist religious beliefs work for them, and their racism (along with the cutesy singing rabbis and telethons) work for them. Yes it blinds them to inconvenient facts and logical universal thinking too. Which wins in an argument, facts or religion? Logic or religion? Please don’t feel guilty about eating the food, you paid for it. Be glad they didn’t make you drink poison, like Socrates. Think instead about making their racism not work for them. I’d like to know how your wife would have broached the subject with them.

    • seanmcbride
      April 27, 2012, 2:40 pm

      lyn117: “Be glad they didn’t make you drink poison, like Socrates.”

      One could spin an interesting fictional plot in which Mossad engineered this event for Phil’s “benefit.”

    • Citizen
      April 29, 2012, 2:33 am

      lyn117, I too would like to have had Phil’s wife enter into that clubby scene. Many here will remember what happened to her when she went to the Holy Land with Phil and got a full plate of it up close and personal.

  27. AlGhorear
    April 26, 2012, 9:22 pm

    As much as I admire and respect Phil, this whole encounter just gives me the creeps. It’s cult-like as Annie pointed out and I think after the second or (how good was the wine?) fifth or so drink was poured, I would have bolted out of there screaming you guys are insane! I don’t understand how someone’s identity becomes so completely shaped by ethnicity or religion (or maybe I should say religious leaders) or can be so influenced by peer pressure. I don’t want to be part of any group that would shun me for advocating justice and human rights for all. That’s why I come back to Mondoweiss nearly each and every day. The thoughtful people who post here represent the best of humanity.

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2012, 3:37 pm

      “I don’t understand how someone’s identity becomes so completely shaped by ethnicity or religion”

      Well, when you need an excuse for what is basically pretty much criminal activity and atrocities, you get real religious in a hurry, if you think that might give you an “out”
      The effort to blame Judaism for Zionism makes Zionists giggle with glee. And Phil is giving them, for reasons I cannot understand, exactly what they want.

  28. Sin Nombre
    April 26, 2012, 9:34 pm

    To me the secret to Phil not feeling guilty was simply something he’s spoken about wonderfully but just forgot. Just not internalized by him really, understandably enough given his upbringing and the milieu in which he was raised, but nevertheless to me a complete answer to this attempt to make him feel as if he is/was doing something wrong.

    As Phil has hit on before, he’s an *American,* and here he’s sitting in the midst of a bunch of people, here in America, presumably many if not most also Americans, clearly however invested first and foremost with another nation, and indeed another people.

    All that talk about Esau and Jacob and God granting land titles and the detailed history of how the Israelis or jews did this and the arabs or Europeans did that and blah blah blah. Well, I say, while I have some interest in same and would like fairness and right to come out on top, the bottom line is I don’t give a good goddamn. Not to the extent that it ensnares and immerses me and my fellow Americans in all that shit.

    And, moreover, I think that’s the view of most Americans too, including most jewish Americans. People came here historically understanding they were making a deal: They weren’t coming here to enmesh their new fellow citizens here in their fights from the Old Country. Of course they may still have their loyalties and allegiances there, but by becoming a citizen here you were declaring a new primary loyalty and allegiance—to your new fellow citizen Americans.

    So not only did you not try to enmesh them in all that crap you left behind but indeed you shouldn’t *want* to if it didn’t intimately involve them and their interests. And I think that was true of the vast majority of folks who came here, gentile and jew.

    And yet here in New Haven what did you have but, it would appear, a bunch of Americans obviously hyper-emoting not over any risks or damages to American interests, but to someone else’s, on the other side of the globe. And their chiding of Phil was clearly lots due to this blog: To the idea that gee, he might be encouraging Americans to start to think of their own interests rather than Israel’s or foreign jews. He might be encouraging Americans to see their interests as being less tilted toward Israel, or, gasp, being neutral. To realize that no, they have no real vital national interest in the conflicts over there and should extricate themselves from that fight and stop expending their blood and treasure on behalf of Israel and foreign jews.

    So … *Phil* comes away from this feeling guilty? In *New Haven*? An American comes away feeling guilty from a debate with a bunch of people obviously looking upon American interests as something at least secondary to other interests, if being of any value at all?

    Take your freaking fights back over the horizon where they belong, say I. Nobody’s stopping you. Go and fight your heart out forever because of the way you read some ancient holy book or the intricacies of what happened on the other side of this globe 2000 years ago or yesterday or whenever that the U.S. had absolutely no hand in. But don’t sit here, with me owing my allegiance to you as a fellow American citizen and thus willing to devote blood and treasure for you, with you however sitting there wanting to enmesh me to expending same for some other country or some other people on the other side of the world.

    Like I say, I have no doubt most American jews, while having obvious, natural and even admirable feelings for Israel and jewry generally, feel the exact same way: First and foremost before the U.S. submerging itself up to its chin in troubles U.S. interests are determinative. And *not* the overwhelming sense that these New Haven folks gave off here not appearing to have even a molecule of concern about what’s good or not for Americans. (Or at least none that Phil mentioned.)

    Go meet ’em again, Phil, and challenge ’em on this. Challenge them on where they get off criticizing you for being an American citizen and feeling loyalty to your fellow Americans as you’ve demonstrated here. Challenge ’em to be true to their words and start to recognize that loyalty themselves if they are Americans, and so start to question how they can be honoring that loyalty if they are wishing their fellow American citizens to get and stay neck deep in a bunch of fights in which their obvious best interest is to stay as far as hell away from as possible.

    • LanceThruster
      April 27, 2012, 12:25 pm

      Very much enjoyed your observations. Well put. And it’s not rejecting justice for them either. It’s recognizing that for justice to have any real meaning needs to be truly universal.

      An injury to one is an injury to all.

    • CloakAndDagger
      April 27, 2012, 4:22 pm

      Nice!

  29. chris o
    April 26, 2012, 10:10 pm

    Great piece. Of course, one major aspect of all this is the massive US funding of Israel. If not for that, would you be so concerned about the issue? I am not Jewish so I would not be.

    I strongly believe in non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. But with Israel, we provide massive funding and have for over 30 years so we are intervening. So I don’t know what Israel should do or how this problem will play out. But first do no harm. And our massive funding, in my view, is doing harm, is intervening in the internal affairs. It is not like we are feeding a poor country with this aid.

  30. Chu
    April 26, 2012, 10:30 pm

    Should’ve invited A Horowitz to let them know what time it was. You guys need to tag team with this stuff.

  31. G. Seauton
    April 27, 2012, 1:43 am

    Phil, the striking thing about many of these accounts you give us of your encounters with various Jewish audiences is that you so often find them “smart,” or “intelligent,” or — as in this case — “highly intelligent.” The question becomes, What would it take for them not to seem intelligent?

    In your story, the great intelligence you impute to your interlocutors is nowhere in evidence, to put it mildly. Consider some of their many statements, as you relate them:

    On why enmity has arisen between Jews and Muslims after 2000 years of harmony:
    “Shmully said that when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob there had been a quarrel. That quarrel was reasserting itself now thousands of years later.”
    A tired religious cliché — repetition of which is evidence of a mediocre intelligence, rather than a “high” intelligence.

    “A young scholar next to me … [asked] why did I not think that Israel could be struck by a nuclear warhead from Iran soon….”
    Perhaps not such a scholar after all, since by all evidence Iran is nowhere close to being able to produce a nuclear warhead “soon,” not to mention the obvious fact that such an attack would be suicidal, in addition to the fact that Iran has not been the aggressor in any war for hundreds of years.

    “Shmully said that I was wrong about the occupation.”
    Stupid or lying? The eternal question.

    “That land was bought by Jews. It belonged to us.” Clearly misinformed or lying. Hasn’t he heard of Benny Morris? But assuming he’s just lying, it’s not a clever lie. Clearly not the product of any great intelligence.

    “Abraham had bought Hebron to bury Sarah. It’s in the Bible. All of Eretz Israel is the Jews’.” I would call this “religious nonsense,” but it’s even worse. This is about the most primitive argument ever to be made over a land dispute.

    “[Shmully] said that some people were afraid of the idea that Jews have guns now. We didn’t use to have guns. Now we do.” Who are these people? White supremacists? Neo-Nazis? Actually, the issue isn’t really guns, is it? It’s nuclear weapons, white phosphorus, and some of the best weapons American aid can bestow. The very naive image the rabbi evokes is quite silly, given the reality, of which the entire world is well aware.

    “Nothing would change if Jews left the West Bank. We had left Gaza and nothing had changed. There were just rockets.” More lies and/or misinformation. What about the siege of Gaza? These are scholars? Such pathetic arguments. You get this kind of thing from Hophmi or eee, OK. But don’t call it intelligent.

    “When I spoke of the dispossesson of Palestinians, several members of the group … said that Palestinians had sold the land. They said that no one was getting pushed off their land.” Once again, these are scholars? Can’t they come up with better arguments than the mere assertion of utter falsehoods? Pathetic.

    “A big handsome young undergraduate with a shock of dark hair said that I was being narcissistic.” Is he an aspiring psychiatrist? It sounds as though he doesn’t even know the meaning of the word “narcissistic.” Probably a lot more studying will be needed before he can become a certified shrink and can go around labeling people narcissistic a bit more appropriately.

    “Shmully said that if you went around New Haven there were just as stark economic differences between one community and another as there was in Israel and Palestine. Why didn’t I begin my reform efforts in New Haven?” Oh, so the situation in New Haven is as bad as in the occupied territories? Seems we’ve heard similar variations on this theme before. They’re not intended for anyone who is even minimally informed about Palestine; they work best with “low-information” audiences and true believers who wouldn’t dare question the official propaganda. But once again, not a sophisticated argument.

    What led you to call this group “highly intelligent”? Stockholm Syndrome? Or is it the doctrinal necessity of believing that Jews are, by nature, highly intelligent?

    It’s an interesting story, but your Eliezer group sounds more like an exasperating collection of mediocrities mouthing the usual tired nonsense, rather than a “highly intelligent” group of scholars. You should raise the bar a bit.

    • CloakAndDagger
      April 27, 2012, 4:26 pm

      Excellent analysis!

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2012, 4:29 pm

      “It’s an interesting story, but your Eliezer group sounds more like an exasperating collection of mediocrities mouthing the usual tired nonsense, rather than a “highly intelligent” group of scholars.”

      You don’t insult people you are going to “redeem”. And a man can be mighty, mighty motivated by the thought of how grateful they will be once redeemed.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 2:55 am

        Mooser, so you think Phil flattered the clubbies in print as he knew they would follow his blog to see if he’d write there about the cozy night? And he just wanted to take good mental notes and let their activity and discussion speak for itself when he wrote about it? Makes good sense; especially since Phil has enough knowledge about the I-P situation to counter all they said easily. And he’s been at it long enough not to lose his faculties under red wine and spontaneous polite conversation?

  32. talknic
    April 27, 2012, 2:53 am

    One wasp buzzing around is not a big problem. Don’t poke around in their nest tho…
    Their stings are like the guilt you were made to feel. (after a while it’ll go away). To make you feel guilty was after all the purpose of inviting you. Feeling guilty and shunned. Next will come the slurs

    Nothing in the reported conversations has any bearing on the actual legal status of Israel’s legally recognized sovereign extent and rights under Customary International Law or the UN Charter which Israel agreed to uphold or; the inherent and inalienable rights of the people outside of Israel’s legal sovereign extent under the same laws and Charter

    The ‘Jews bought land’ argument is a nonsense. Some Jewish individuals, families and Jewish organizations/institutions bought some ‘real estate’. The amount of ‘real estate’ they bought is minuscule compared to the amount of Palestinian ‘territory’ the world’s Jewish population was given, completely gratis, as the ‘territory’ of the Jewish state. It was accepted without any registered reservation and the UNGA resolution by which it was offered was enshrined in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

    No ‘territory’ was ever bought by Israel. Added to which ‘territory’ outside of Israel has been illegally acquired by war, illegally annexed by Israel and illegally settled by Israelis.

  33. DICKERSON3870
    April 27, 2012, 3:32 am

    RE: “A big handsome young undergraduate with a shock of dark hair said that I was being narcissistic. I was taking my standards and expecting other people in the world to accept them. I was being completely self-referential.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Lol! Yes, you are a regular Klaus Kinski and George W. Bush all rolled into one. No doubt about it!
    Is this undergraduate with a shock of dark hair a “psych” major? Or is he, like Stuart Smalley, just a “nurturing caregiver” and a member of several 12-step programs who is genuinely concerned about you?
    I seem to detect that this “narcissism” angle is an approach that some supporters of Israel are using in an effort to “neutralize” critics of Israeli policies by trying to subtly foster self-doubts on the part of these critics regarding what I see as their principled stands on the Israel-Palestine issue. You will recall that the world-renowned hasbarist/psychiatrist(lol) Marty Perez recently made a similar “diagnosis” regarding Peter Beinart. Of course, I’m certain these matching diagnoses of “narcissism” are either entirely coincidental or otherwise perhaps part of an epidemic suddenly afflicting critics of Israel (but certainly not supporters of Israel like Alan Dershowitz, Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, etc).
    I’m certainly no expert, but I have read many of your posts, and I just haven’t detected many (if any) of the hallmarks of a narcissistic individual. Consequently, I wonder if the “big handsome young undergraduate with a shock of dark hair” might himself be a wee bit narcissistic; and perhaps he is “projecting” his own narcissism onto you. This is pure conjecture on my part, since I have no basis for drawing such a conclusion. Now as to Marty Perez . . .

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Narcissism]:

    (excerpts) Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait. . .
    . . . Thomas suggests that narcissists typically display most, sometimes all, of the following traits:[5]
    • An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
    • Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
    • A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
    • Difficulty with empathy
    • Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
    • Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
    • Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
    • Haughty body language
    • Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
    • Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
    • Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
    • Pretending to be more important than they really are
    • Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
    • Claiming to be an “expert” at many things
    • Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
    • Denial of remorse and gratitude

    Hotchkiss’ seven deadly sins of narcissism
    Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:
    [6]
    • Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
    • Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
    • Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
    • Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
    • Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
    • Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
    • Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other. . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism

    P.S. PHIL AND LADY WEISS DURING THE EARLY YEARS (JPEG) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Echo_and_Narcissus.jpg

    • AlGhorear
      April 27, 2012, 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Dickerson. I got a good laugh out of the link to Phil and Lady Weiss during the early years.

      P.S. Typically, I find it difficult to read your posts with all the highlighting, bolding, capitalizing etc, but I’m glad I read this one all the way through to the P.S.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 2:58 pm

        ok, that’s clinches it. i will have to go back and reread. i opened the link to Phil and Lady Weiss and didn’t get it!

        edit, i recommend this stuart smalley video to understand the context wrt undergrad with the shock of red hair, weiss’s accuser:

      • Sumud
        April 28, 2012, 12:36 am

        Annie ~ Phil was accused of being narcissistic and the painting Dickerson links to is of Echo and Narcissus.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2012, 2:20 am

        thanks sumud, i should have updated. after my review i got it. it is pretty funny.

  34. marc b.
    April 27, 2012, 9:11 am

    what a bizarre post. is he sure that the whole thing isn’t just a dream or hallucination? phil seems more and more susceptible to shifts in and out of reality, swapping out fictional bits for lived experience with relative ease. for all his modern liberal referents, he’s more goofy 19th century spiritualist than 21st century materialist, which would partly explain why he had such difficulty countering arguments that a white belt in mental judo could have pinned. to me this whole night smells like the scene from ‘eyes wide shut’ absent the naked models and anonymous sex. too bad for phil. the unctuous rabbi hecht plying the goyishe phil with booze all night, the frame wobbling, Vaseline smeared on the lens, and what does our protagonist get for it? a headache and some cookies. really, phil, if all it takes is a couple of hours at yale to send your head spinning off its axis with guilt, cut to the chase and move to the settlements. i’m sure your wife will convert if they’ll have her. or is this more masochistic pleasure than authentic internal conflict?

    • libra
      April 27, 2012, 2:26 pm

      marc b: what a bizarre post. is he sure that the whole thing isn’t just a dream or hallucination?

      It does have a rather surreal quality about it. Indeed, it reminds me of the old fable “The Carp and the Pike”. A seemingly harmless carp invites an innocent fish around for dinner only for him to be surprised to find an engrossing pike at the table who proceeds to swallow him whole.

      It works much better in the original German.

      • marc b.
        April 27, 2012, 2:44 pm

        it always works best in the original, libra. but you’re definitely on to something: we even have a real live karp to work into the narrative here! phil’s perception of his life sure is fertile material for a volume of short stories. this tale just needs a tweek or two to send it over the cliff into fabulist territory.

        ps ‘eyes wide shut’ is based on the german novel ‘traumnovelle’ by arthur schnitzler, which i think was reworked for gesualdo bufalino’s ‘tomasso and the blind photographer’.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 4:37 pm

        marc, it had a dream in it and his memories on occasion sound like he was hallucinating but the cast of characters sounds real and one of them, the host, is on the thread…so..i think that we can determine it was a real event!

        i really like your eyes wide shut observation and libra’s fable but i’m not sure i agree with your conclusion. i think phil probably got a lot more out of it that cookies and a headache.

        i also think writing about it was risky and daring because of how much it reveals about himself and his perceptions and vulnerabilities. i think it is fascinating it took him months of reflection before he penned something, or shared it with us.

        also, he somehow caught his wits about him and landed back home and he’s still here fighting the good fight, he didn’t go off the cliff so the chances he will be moving to the settlements is nil. i think he was more likely the innocent fish invited around for dinner , and he didn’t get eaten. this story is a form of revenge. possibly unintended revenge, but revenge nonetheless.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 3:13 am

        Wonder how Shmully feels about getting that photo of him published here? Phil should have used his cell phone camera that night.

    • Keith
      April 27, 2012, 4:18 pm

      MARC B- I think you have identified a critical aspect of this post, however, you may be misconstruing Phil’s intent. Or I may be misconstruing Phil’s intent. Briefly, Phil realizes that on this issue you can’t change hearts and minds with rational argument. He is telling stories, modern parables to try to sneak a little truth past intellectual defense mechanisms. His target audience is the Mondoweiss readership. He is trying promote discussion, not give a lecture. Either that or he is losing his grip on reality and I am projecting rationality on someone who is intellectually disheveled. Either way, it is quite clear that he likes good food and good wine, something we all can agree on.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 3:14 am

        And he likes hanging around such “intelligent” clubbies?

  35. mjrosenberg
    April 27, 2012, 9:19 am

    Interesting piece. I have never had a moment’s “guilt” about opposing Israel’s suicidal course loudly and publicly.
    I consider Jews like Phil (and me and so many others) to be ANTI-anti-Semitism machines.
    The work of the Firsters is producing hatred toward Jews worldwide, and particularly in the Muslim world.
    And here in America there is smoldering resentment at the way our government is pushed around by the lobby. This resentment extends even to Israel’s loudest advocates in Congress.
    I fear it will ultimately extend to Americans Jews in general, unless checked.
    BUT every time people prone to dislike Jews because of Israel, the lobby, Bibi, etc, feel rage or just resentment, they may remember “they are not all like that.”
    They may have just seen Beinart on television.
    Or read one of our pieces.
    And think: the lobby is not them.
    Similarly, when Israeli peace people speak out, Arabs may think: Bibi is not them.
    In other words, fighting the power (AIPAC, the Israeli government) is a mitzvah. We are not only fighting for the soul of Judaism but also for the physical safety of Jews (including Israelis, including our families) who could pay a terrible price if we weren’t there representing on behalf of real Judaism.
    The only time I feel guilty about not fighting the lobby and the Israeli government is a day (rare) when I’m not doing it.
    Let David Saperstein and his ilk feel the guilt. Not us.
    In fact, it would never have occured to me until reading Phil’s piece, provocative as always.

    • tokyobk
      April 27, 2012, 9:58 am

      Hi MJR,

      You are also most welcome to come to Eliezer talk about your new blog, about the term “Israel First” as you see that controversy, or any other issue on your mind or from your long career on this subject.

      Do those in the world Muslim and otherwise inclined to hate Jews really care about Phil Weiss and MJ Rosenberg? I want to hope so, but doubt it.

      I will have a formal invitation sent to your mail which I hope you will take up as schedules work.

      rgds,

      obk

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 1:10 pm

        i’m always disturbed by the fluidity in which the term hate is bantered around in the midst of these conversations. it happens from both sides of the isle. while mj referenced The work of the Firsters is producing hatred toward Jews worldwide he also said smoldering resentment at the way our government is pushed around by the lobby and people prone to dislike Jews because of Israel which i think is more nuanced and descriptive although i still reject the idea of ‘disliking jews’ because of israel, too broad and ugly for my taste.

        when you say Do those in the world Muslim and otherwise inclined to hate Jews really care about Phil Weiss and MJ Rosenberg? it implies people are inclined to hate Jews as opposed to inclined to hate the injustice inflicted on them or others as a result of israels actions or the actions of certain jews. it frames the dynamic as if there is a general inclination to hate jews, and i don’t think that’s rampant or reflects the vast majority of people who may find themselves with smoldering resentment, which i think is a common reaction to following events on the ground on a daily basis.

        it’s normal for people to have a cringing feeling or resentment reading about the constant abuses and humiliation, what’s not normal is having those resentments crystallize into hatred which decays the soul.

        i think it’s important, if one is too respect ones adversaries, not to assume everyone fighting the good fight of righting the wrongs is filled with hatred…no matter how angry they might be. there’s really a difference between being furious and coming from a place of hatred and most people are not inclined to hate Jews . by assuming this you put the onus on your opponent and dissolve oneself of responsibility. it is a destructive form of ad hominem designed to strip away legitimate complaint of ones adversaries and not listen to their grievances with an open mind.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 1:40 pm

        MJR claims his work reverses resentment towards Jews.

        I hope so but not so sure it matters to those individuals who simply hate Jews.

        You have the privilege to deny there is such a thing as Jew hatred or people who simply hate Jews. You are free to think its all made up but Jews aren’t and should’t be asked to, least of all by non Jews.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 2:19 pm

        there is nothing simple about hate bk. as i stated earlier most activists and those involved in the struggle (the vast majority) do not simply hate jews. way more people are motivated by the suffering they see and reject the actions of the state of israel and advocates of that state. it is a crutch to keep emphasizing or referencing this group of people you claim ‘simply hate jews’ because you’re ignoring your main adversaries here, those people who work tirelessly speak the truth to what is happening. they are not anti semites yet they are constantly being accused of that. it’s like a fixation, a dangerous fixation for it absolutely waters down the meaning of anti semitism, which you must know is not the cause of what is happening in the conflict. or do you?

        i do not deny there is jew hatred nor did i ever allude that to be the case. so why the all or nothing response? why? and i have every right to say what i have to say because i am aligned in activism with many of the people who are good people who have been accused (as a way of brushing off very legitimate complaints) unfairly.

        you are either willfully ignoring my point or you are brainwashed and paranoid to the point that you are brushing off and diverting and ignoring criticism by justifying (very very casually) it is based on those inclined to hate Jews. is it so ingrained in you to assume those who have been robbed, killing, dispossed of their land and homes and rounded up etc etc are resentful and angry because they are inclined to hate Jews?

        you are being cowardly here. i do not assume those who defend israel are inclined to be racist, i do not say that about you for it does not further any resolution. i do not say about beinart, who is a zionist, zionists are inclined to be racist, regardless of my opinion of zionism.

        if you are concerned about reversing resentment towards Jews (which there’s nothing in particular you’ve said that might make me think it is a priority for you) how bout demonstrating what a fair person you are, not not painting such a broad broad brush towards those with legitimate complaints.

        plus, wrt your “least of all by non Jews” statement, there’s no reason you should dismiss my ideas so casually because of my ethnicity. try listening.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 4:03 pm

        “I hope so but not so sure it matters to those individuals who simply hate Jews.”

        I’m sorry tokyobk, or Ben Karp, I live way the heck out in the boondocks, on the shores of Putrid Sound, and I don’t get around much anymore. Would you be so kind to give me, oh, maybe a half-a-dozen names of “those individuals who simply hate Jews.” Like I said, I don’t get the news much, and I’d like to know who I have to watch out for.

        Surely that’s not too much to ask, not too much to do for a fellow-Jew, is it? What if I met one of “those individuals who simply hate Jews” and was nice to them out of ignorance?
        So please, a few names so I can protect myself. And it might also have the effect of putting those people who might think you bring up things like “those individuals who simply hate Jews.” for the effect, without anything to back it up.

        Anyway if make it easy for you, by supplying the first name, could you give me five more? I’ll start with “Alabamajihad” or whatever his name is from Iran, the one who wants “to wipe all the Jews off the map”.

        Your turn.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 5:09 pm

        I do not think most people who support Palestinian rights are anti-Jewish.

        I think there are —- Individuals — who hate Jews and Phil Weiss and MJR cannot do anything about that. If Israel went away there would still be people raving about sons of apes and pigs and the Protocols would still be a bestseller.

        I do think that non-Muslims should not po poo Islomophobia and men should not roll their eyes about sexism etc…

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 5:33 pm

        Mooser, you know well as I that there are racists who hate Jews. Go to any neo-nazi website, go to the NOI website which is recently back obsessed with Jews, look at where the Protocols sells as a work of non-fiction.

        I don’t think most people involved in this issue are Jew haters.

        If you can roll your eyes about it great, it means we live in a really safe time which we do, thanks to life in the US.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 6:59 pm

        Annie, best watch yourself. It’s possible MJ Rosenberg is trying out that no-fear-of-death-drug he advocates on his blog. A man could do anything if he’s loaded on that stuff.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 7:08 pm

        I was right, your a weasel, and you can’t do it. You can’t do it because anybody you would name would turn out to be quite inconsequential in terms of affecting our lives.
        And if we are so safe here in the US where we are all equal, why don’t you want the same thing for Israel? No, you want a Jewish State where “religious minorities” are “protected”.
        Ben, when the moles attack my lawn next year, can I offer you a job?

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 7:45 pm

        “If Israel went away there would still be people raving about sons of apes and pigs and the Protocols would still be a bestseller.”

        And when I think of the fact that nobody except Jews has ever been subject to racism or discrimination, or atrocities arising from that, I could plotz
        And I’m still angry about the millions of African Jews kidnapped and forced into chattel slavery in America!

      • Keith
        April 28, 2012, 12:33 am

        TOKYOBK- “If Israel went away there would still be people raving about sons of apes and pigs and the Protocols would still be a bestseller.”

        Do you have any idea how bad this looks? You’re a PhD candidate and you mouth crap like this? Apparently, rationality is not your forte. As for the Protocols, several comments are in order. First, I have a copy and you know what? It is the dullest book I have ever read. Obviously bogus, not to be taken seriously, and atrociously written. Second, on a per capita basis, who has more frequently read the Protocols, Jews or Gentiles? The Protocols are somewhat akin to the “anti-Semitic” websites, some of which maintained by the Mossad as black propaganda, which are frequented by significant numbers of Jews getting their anti-Semitic fix so that they can justify their victim-hood ideology. Your privileged, deal with it.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2012, 2:29 am

        keith, i keep hearing about the pigs and apes from supporters of israel. do they think people fall for that kind of rhetorical jiu jitsu?

      • edwin
        April 28, 2012, 9:22 am

        Keith – I don’t think that you have disproved the notion of the Protocols are a best seller, and similarly, Tokyobk hasn’t proven that they are.

        On such an issue I would like to see some real backing – including who is reading the Protocols. A certain number of readers, may well be Jews . It matters if the readership has shifted from Jews to Muslims, for example. There is a difference between those who are on the receiving end being racist against those who seek to oppress them, and Israel does what it can against all Muslims, it claims in the name of all Jews. The ongoing attempt at a war against Iran being an example.

        Of course, who is oppressed today, may be on the giving end tomorrow – just as has occurred to Jews under the racist philosophy of Zionism.

        There is a second part has not been discussed – and that is when evaluating the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, are Jews any less racist than Gentiles? Is this pamphlet unique? Are Jews better than that?

        You would think that after Nazi Germany there would be no Jews who supported Hitler.

        http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.ca/2010/01/hitler-was-right-so-say-two-angry.html

        There is also the feeling the love series by Max Blumenthal.

        http://maxblumenthal.com/feeling-the-hate-in-jerusalem/

        No matter how much we wish otherwise, there is no difference in the racism of Jews and everyone else. Neither more nor less, the Protocols of Zion not withstanding.

      • Keith
        April 28, 2012, 10:55 am

        EDWIN- It was not my intent to “prove” that the Protocols were not a best seller, they probably are what with all of the free publicity and the notion that it is forbidden for Gentiles to read them. Heck, that is why I read them to see what all of the fuss was about. What I learned was that they are extraordinarily dull, high readership more an indication of curiosity than anti-Semitism. The fixation on the Protocols by Zionist Jews is indicative of their need for some evidence of anti-Semitism, however contrived, to justify their behavior. As for “people raving about sons of apes and pigs,” I have never heard of Jews referred to like this and can only wonder what infantile stories are taken as gospel by the “scholars” at Eliezer. I can only conclude that the endless and increasingly desperate search for anti-Semitism has a degenerative effect on mental functioning even as it promotes tribal camaraderie.

      • American
        April 28, 2012, 5:57 pm

        “MJR claims his work reverses resentment towards Jews.
        I hope so but not so sure it matters to those individuals who simply hate Jews.”

        Well, MJR’s work does reverse hatred of Jews, just as Phil’s does.. or better put, prevents the misconception that all Jews are alike in this or are all immoral zionist zombies or collectively to blame. You should get down and kiss their feet cause there are a lot of Type A American personalities like me out here that are fed up with the zionist cult here in America and really, really pissed off with Israel, it’s I/P atrocities and it’s US zionist manipulation of our government.
        Ever heard of tossing the baby out with the bath water?….well the MJs and Phils are your protection from being tossed out with the zio bath water.

      • tokyobk
        April 28, 2012, 6:56 pm

        The Protocols were and are believed by people. I own a copy too. I said people who rave about sons of apes and pigs and the protocols.

        Someone who thinks a document is obviously bogus because he realizes it is bogus shouldn’t lecture someone who studies history, btw.

      • tokyobk
        April 28, 2012, 7:02 pm

        If you have never heard the expression “son of pigs and apes” it really means Keith that you are having a conversation about somethng you just don’t know a lot about, which is ok, but you ought to google, and correct not project ignorance.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        April 28, 2012, 7:51 pm

        “I keep hearing about the pigs and apes …”

        Everyone knows that Arabs think Jews are sons of pigs and apes. Jeffrey Goldberg has told us so–
        “Nizar Rayyan of Hamas on God’s Hatred of Jews”
        http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2009/01/nizar-rayyan-of-hamas-on-god-apos-s-hatred-of-jews/9278/

        Goldberg says he interviewed a Hamas official who believed it, although he conveniently waited until after the man’s death before reporting the discussion. And he has never explained why any Hamas official would have given an interview to such a notorious Zionist. And he has never exlained how the interview actually took place, since he does not know conversational Arabic.

        Still the story appears to have been good enough to scare TokyoBK.

      • tree
        April 28, 2012, 8:36 pm

        Someone who thinks a document is obviously bogus because he realizes it is bogus shouldn’t lecture someone who studies history, btw.

        That’s a rather blatant appeal to your own supposed authority there, but someone who studies history should probably be a bit more clear in his writing. I doubt that you are trying to say that the Protocols are not “obviously bogus”, although that is the gist of your sentence. I would guess that you meant to say that simply because something is obviously bogus does not mean that it won’t be believed to be true by some.

        And BTW, someone who co-founds a private club with a religious bigot really ought not to lecture anyone on “ranters about sons of pigs and apes” and the Protocols, lest he be seen as a hypocrite. Especially when he excuses his co-founder’s bigotry as merely a “shtick” which doesn’t concern him,

      • Shmuel
        April 29, 2012, 4:41 am

        And BTW, someone who co-founds a private club with a religious bigot really ought not to lecture anyone on “ranters about sons of pigs and apes” and the Protocols, lest he be seen as a hypocrite. Especially when he excuses his co-founder’s bigotry as merely a “shtick” which doesn’t concern him

        On the subject of “ranters about sons of pigs and apes”, see this excellent article by Yaman Salahi – coincidentally, in response to one Shmully Hecht:
        http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/09/understand_anti-semitism_and_anti-muslim_bigotry.html

      • Arnon Shwantzinger Too
        April 29, 2012, 1:17 pm

        “If Israel went away”?
        WTF does that mean? Nobody, and I mean – nobody, thinks Israel is going away anywhere. Israel has strong institutions like an army, courts, treasury, parliament, treasury, income tax, executive offices etc.

        These institutions (overwhelmingly run and staffed by Jewish Israelis) do not have any viable alternatives anywhere within Israel or Palestine. Therefore are not going away anywhere under any reasonable or practical future paradigm. Be it 1S, 2S, 2S-federal, 1S-apartheid or 1S-ethnically homogeneous.

        What in the world are you going on about, BK?

      • Keith
        April 29, 2012, 1:36 pm

        TOKYOBK- Essentially, you have just admitted that anti-Semitism in the US is so low that it takes scholarly credentials to detect it. Of course, there is racism against other groups much more easily detected. I have heard people referred to as “jungle bunnies,” but these weren’t Jews, although I believe a Jewish comedian in New York, formerly on Seinfeld, referred to some Black hecklers in the audience in a racist fashion. Of late, I have seen the phrase “raghead” used. Perhaps Pam Geller can fill you in. Perhaps this is why some Jews feel that a Jewish education is so important. How are the little dears going to detect so much pervasive anti-Semitism without express tutelage? Or the power of the Protocols to overpower the social media in our bookish society? You know, Ben, I think you have found your calling. Socializing with up and coming members of the Jewish elite in your new house at Yale, drinking fine wine from a “silver Judaica” wine service, basking in the reflected glow of tales of shared victim-hood augmented with biblical certitude. No doubt about it, some victims have it better than others.

      • tokyobk
        April 29, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Hi Keith,

        You are having a conversation with someone, not sure, but def not me since you ascribe all kinds of things to me by your many assumptions that I did not say and don’t believe.

        Anti semitism in the US is almost non existent, which happens to be my only country. There is some more antisemitism in Europe and more still in the ME. The popularity of the Protocols (which you can google) is troubling. I am sure some are buying this to study, some probably most are buying it because they believe it is a true document. Israel does not make this easier but it is not the only cause of prejudice against Jews which has a long history in both places. Not sure how much Phil or MJR can do about this, I hope a lot. Without a doubt Zionists have used antisemitism real and imagined to justify Israel and aggression.

        I do love a good shmooze (both the yiddish and german meanings) and used to like wine.

        I invited Phil precisely because he is also representative of Jewish opinion. I agree completely with Phil about the status of Jews in the US. We have as a group money and power.

        I think Pamela Geller is a racist and in fact she was suggested as a guest and I declined.

      • Keith
        April 29, 2012, 5:55 pm

        TOKYOBK- Ben, a thousand apologies! When I read Phil’s post, I thought that what with Eliezer being at Yale, and with mostly American Jews coming together to talk about their “Jewish experience,” that the discussions and your comments here primarily related to Jewish life in the US. When Phil writes that “Ben began the questions by asking me Did I ever have misgivings about my work given that it has been attractive to anti-Semites, and what did I aim to do about that,” I assumed that you were referring to anti-Semitism in the US. Now you say that “Anti semitism in the US is almost non existent….” Jeez, we are in complete agreement! So what is the problem? “There is some more antisemitism in Europe and more still in the ME.” Ah, the Arabs. You guys at Eliezer are concerned that Mondoweiss is inciting the Arabs! Phil a big celebrity on the Arab street!

        You may have a point. If I were to guess, I would wager that anti-Semitism and anti-American sentiments probably are higher in the Middle East. Gee, I wonder why? Any ideas? Now if I were to hazard a non-scholarly guess, I would suggest that Israeli militarism and American imperialism might have something to do with it. Of course, that answer is hopelessly simplistic (and possibly anti-Semitic) for the scholars at Eliezer. The mystery is solved! Esau did it! Knock me over with a feather! Only a true Eliezer scholar could piece together the evidence to come up with that conclusion.

        Let me conclude by noting that if you are truly concerned about anti-Semitism in the Middle East, you would support Phil and Adam in their efforts to overcome Israeli militarism and anti-Arabism, and make Israel a state of all of its citizens. Perhaps then you could spend less time obsessing about apes and pigs and Protocols.

      • Shmuel
        April 27, 2012, 1:43 pm

        Do those in the world Muslim and otherwise inclined to hate Jews really care about Phil Weiss and MJ Rosenberg?

        This is kind of what I mean. You refer to a certain group of people (“Muslim and otherwise”) as “inclined to hate”, and thus beyond dialogue (“do [they] really care … I doubt it”). Yet, you have set up an organisation with someone who seems equally “inclined to hate”, whom you excuse as having “his schtick”. Would you ever describe Jews – Chabad and otherwise – as inclined to hate Arabs/non-Jews?

        MJR, should he accept your invitation, would again lend an air of openness and tolerance to your club. Will he and his views be accorded the respect they deserve, or will he be asked his Jewish name and how he feels about fanning the flames of eternal, biblically-decreed anti-Semitism so soon after the Holocaust? I hope he has better things to do with his time.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        April 27, 2012, 2:15 pm

        “Would you ever describe Jews – Chabad and otherwise – as inclined to hate Arabs/non-Jews?”

        Shmuel deserves an answer.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 4:30 pm

        Sigh. please read what I said.

        Individuals. Individuals. Be they in the Muslim world or not. Individuals. Not groups.

        He would be asked whatever the person asking him wants to Again, lots of people have schticks and agenda. My schtick is promoting a salon related to Jewish issues. There are Chabad cultists, Zionist cultists and certainly anti-zionist cultists.

        I imagine the rabbi would ask him his Hebrew name. This is what rabbis do.

        If his views being accord the respect they deserve meaning everyone will agree with him the answer is no. Not everyone will agree with him but he certainly has the right to speak them and the topic of Israel Firsters real or not is interesting.

        You have an issue with Chabad, I don’t. They believe all sorts of things that seem strange to me just as do Baptists and Shiites. By doctrine Islam teaches that the saliva of dogs and the sweat of kuffar is najis or impure. So what? its a religious belief that can be considered racist but most Muslims don;t really believe it. If Chabad believes Jews have a second soul thats also a big yawn for me. Its as I say schtick.

      • tokyobk
        April 27, 2012, 4:32 pm

        No I don;t think Jews are inclined to hate arabs. I think individual Jews hate arabs and no amount of an Arab being nice to them or sharing their politics will change that – individual’s- racism if it is truly core racism. Same in reverse.

      • Chu
        April 27, 2012, 4:58 pm

        Do you think the hatred stems from the philosophy of a Jew, or the mere sight of a Jew? Is it a combination? It’s a genuine concept I’ve never heard before.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 5:05 pm

        Sigh. please read what I said.

        Individuals. Individuals. Be they in the Muslim world or not.

        BK, we are not going to get anywhere if you cannot own what you are doing. try reviewing the what you responded to and see if perhaps you chose to evade the topic and land right back in the inclined to hate jews realm. remember, most activist and individuals, and muslims, and people, including jews, are NOT inclined to hate. here is what MJ said:

        The work of the Firsters is producing hatred toward Jews worldwide, and particularly in the Muslim world.
        And here in America there is smoldering resentment at the way our government is pushed around by the lobby. This resentment extends even to Israel’s loudest advocates in Congress.
        I fear it will ultimately extend to Americans Jews in general, unless checked.
        BUT every time people prone to dislike Jews because of Israel, the lobby, Bibi, etc, feel rage or just resentment, they may remember “they are not all like that.”
        They may have just seen Beinart on television.
        Or read one of our pieces.
        And think: the lobby is not them.
        Similarly, when Israeli peace people speak out, Arabs may think: Bibi is not them.
        In other words, fighting the power (AIPAC, the Israeli government) is a mitzvah.

        can you see that there is nothing here addressing the kind of individuals who are inclined to hate jews. it is about :

        The work of the Firsters is producing hatred toward Jews

        smoldering resentment at the way our government is pushed around by the lobby

        people prone to dislike Jews because of Israel, the lobby

        so why would you move around mj’s argument and ask about the kinds of individuals he’s not addressing? why focus on a fringe of problem when most people understand the resentment towards israel and those promoting the policies is over the actions taken, not an inclination towards blind hatred. and similarly, when i pointed it out to you, you landed right back in the same place only this time doubling down astoundingly accusing me of denying there is such a thing as Jew hatred! or people who simply hate Jews!

        way to evade the topic bk, and then you came in for the kill and implied you didn’t have to hear this garbage from me (“least of all by non Jews”). so the tables are turned and you scream Individuals.

        we are never going to move forward if israel supporters keep screaming anti semitism. it’s a crutch. take away the source of problem and most of the anger will subside. really. most people are not prone towards hatred.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 5:08 pm

        “Individuals. Individuals. Be they in the Muslim world or not. Individuals. Not groups.”

        That’s what I said, individuals. So hows about the name of five of “those individuals who simply hate Jews”? Surely you can name five?

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 5:14 pm

        “Do you think the hatred stems from the philosophy of a Jew, or the mere sight of a Jew? Is it a combination? It’s a genuine concept I’ve never heard before.”

        All he has to do is name five of “those individuals who simply hate Jews” and I’m sure we’ll be able to figure out, from their own statements, why they purport to hate them.
        And if tokyobk is not brave enough to name them, seems to me the entire concept of Jewish self-defense falls to pieces.
        C’mon Ben, as I remember, Meir Kahane never had this problem. He was always ready to call out “those individuals who simply hate Jews”!
        If we are not brave enough to do that, what are we brave enough to do? Oh, I know, excoriate fellow Jews who we do not agree with, that’s what we are brave enough to do. And make vague statements.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        April 27, 2012, 5:42 pm

        Annie writes: “Most people are not prone towards hatred.”

        Based on his comments here, I suspect it’s too late for BK to ever accept this. He has too much invested in the notion of “antisemitism.” All of his posts rely on this idea as their spoken or unspoken foundation. To start questioning that bogus concept now, to start regarding gentile and jewish behavior as symmetrical, would leave him completely adrift.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 7:10 pm

        Bingo BTJ! Bingo! You have rung the bell, hit the bulls-eye and are entitled to cigar or coco-nut, winner’s choice.

      • Shmuel
        April 28, 2012, 3:46 am

        Individuals. Individuals. Be they in the Muslim world or not. Individuals. Not groups.

        Individuals (“be they in the Muslim world or not”) inclined to hate Jews, belong to the group of “those … inclined to hate Jews”. Of course you recognise the theoretical existence of Jewish individuals with opposite tendencies, but you do not refer to them in the same terms that you reserve for Muslims and non-Muslims “inclined to hate Jews” (why do you single out Muslims for this kind of “inclination” that supposedly has nothing to do with the actions of Jews?), and they do not seem to play any significant role in your worldview.

        I imagine the rabbi would ask him his Hebrew name. This is what rabbis do.

        It’s an infantilising parlour trick – one I would ask my partner to avoid, were I trying to promote open and honest dialogue.

        If his views being accord the respect they deserve meaning everyone will agree with him the answer is no. Not everyone will agree with him but he certainly has the right to speak them and the topic of Israel Firsters real or not is interesting.

        Of course that is not what I meant. Respect does not imply agreement, and my criticism was not about “the right to speak”, but the context in which that right is afforded. A freakshow is also interesting, but it does not entail dialogue or respect.

        You have an issue with Chabad

        I have issues with all racist points of view. I do not call those points of view “schticks”, whether those who espouse them believe that they are divinely ordained or not, and I do not form outward-pointing dialogue groups with them (although I have participated in respectful Haredi-secular dialogue in Jerusalem), in which those views are aired. I know Chabad pretty well, and have even studied (and appreciated) some Tanya (Chabad’s founding theosophical text). That’s not the issue here. Chabad differs from most Haredi and Hasidic movements in its outreach (mission to the Jews) and extreme right-wing politics when it comes to Israel. Combined, those aspects of Chabad, make a partnership such as yours extremely problematic.

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2012, 11:16 pm

        tokyobk: Gee, I thought schtick was what comedians do to get a laugh. Or it refers to activity, such as a hobby, say collecting stamps. Anyway, I’d say any group who believes its group has a second soul or a higher soul is not a joke because it’s a dangerous belief. It naturally elevates one at the expense of the other. It diminishes the other and allows for treatment of that other one wouldn’t do to one’s own group. It curtails empathy, sympathy, slides toward objectification of the other in a lesser light. Don’t you think history show many examples of of inhumane treatment spawned from such a culture or religion or ideology?

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2012, 11:29 pm

        Also, toyobk, we still await a direct response to Shmuel’s question to you: “You refer to a certain group of people (“Muslim and otherwise”) as “inclined to hate”, and thus beyond dialogue (“do [they] really care … I doubt it”). Yet, you have set up an organisation with someone who seems equally “inclined to hate”, whom you excuse as having “his schtick”. Would you ever describe Jews – Chabad and otherwise – as inclined to hate Arabs/non-Jews?”

        And see my other comment today about your application of the word “schtick.” Do those you characterize as “incline to hate” (who you doubt care) have their own “schtick?”

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 1:48 pm

        Mooser, beware! You don’t attack the replacement for Skull & Bones! The founders of this Salon Phil attended are not guilt-ridden like WASPs. http://www.crownheights.info/index.php?itemid=43509
        There’s an advantage to being a member of a group that has never been predator, only victim! Remember George Carlin on the topic of guilt, and ignore all those Jewish comedians on the same topic?

      • Terryscott
        April 27, 2012, 1:57 pm

        I guess I’m not the only one around here to wonder about that, BK. There is a lot of what has been termed narccisim in this conversation, but that’s not quite it in my opinion. What I see is, rather, people who been marginalised by their peers (MJ Rosenberg, Phil, Finkelstein) who seek support from the more naive corners of youth. Anyone who’s spent time in grad school knows the type–the second rate academic who scorns his colleagues and hangs out with the kids.Late middle aged men, their modest accomplishments behind them, fantasizing about the idealism of twenty somethings. I sometimes wonder, after reading Phil’s observations about the physical appearance of those he disdains or admires, if he’s ever read Death in Venice?

      • marc b.
        April 27, 2012, 2:19 pm

        I sometimes wonder, after reading Phil’s observations about the physical appearance of those he disdains or admires, if he’s ever read Death in Venice?

        i was thinking the same thing. really. the ‘death in venice’ part, though not exactly for the same reasons.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 2:32 pm

        who seek support from the more naive corners of youth

        is this your observation of phil’s target audience? and what do you think of the vigorous campaigning of groups like israel on campus? or david horowitz?

        second rate academic who scorns his colleagues and hangs out with the kids

        what exactly is your evidence of this? have you gone to any of these rallies or shown up at actions and gone off line? there are a lot of aged people there and the majority of people who comment here are not kids.

      • libra
        April 27, 2012, 3:50 pm

        what exactly is your evidence of this?

        Annie, you mustn’t take old Terry too seriously. He’s just here to liven up our days with a bit of Irish blarney. Personally I like a hasbarist with a sense of mischief and a certain turn of phrase, it makes a change from the usual drones.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 4:05 pm

        “Phil’s observations about the physical appearance of those he disdains or admires, if he’s ever read Death in Venice?”

        Yup, Phil really needs to Mann up!

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 4:17 pm

        ah, insulting reality based filler for a rainy day perhaps. can’t let a popular thread soaring over a hundred comments in less than a day be denied its share of completely unwarranted ad hominems.

        thanks for the reminder libra.

      • Terryscott
        April 27, 2012, 5:19 pm

        Annie:

        I wasn’t meaning to imply that pro-Palestinian rallies are filled with these people, I was talking about Phil, and a type familiar in academic circles. I can’t be the only one who’s noticed Phil’s constant contrasting the youth and beauty of those he likes with the aged ugliness of those he disagrees with. He’s an aging “loser”, he admits, but the young people are beautiful, and they are changing the world.
        This sounds a lot like mid-life (post mid-life actually) crisis talk. That doesn’t erase its validity, but it provides some psychological context.
        Remember when Phil wrote about Eliot Spitzer? If not, you may want to reread those posts.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 5:58 pm

        Phil’s constant contrasting the youth and beauty of those he likes with the aged ugliness of those he disagrees with

        great! we’re in the right place because there’s a no scarcity of his writing here, and since he’s constantly up to it i look forward to some links. maybe then i will be able to relate. a few from this year for starters would be helpful. much appreciated in advance.

      • libra
        April 27, 2012, 6:38 pm

        I can’t be the only one who’s noticed Terry’s constant contrasting the wealth and vibrancy of Tel Aviv with pretty much everywhere else in the world (but especially and bizarrely the 510 area code). He’s a poor “loser”, he admits, but Tel Aviv is wealthy and he enjoys watching it in passing, his face pressed hard against the bus window, drooling in amazement.

      • Terryscott
        April 28, 2012, 1:00 am

        I try to walk, Libra–buses still freak me out.

      • Terryscott
        April 28, 2012, 1:02 am

        OK Annie–I’d start with my all time favorite.
        http://mondoweiss.net/2008/03/im-a-52-year-ol.html

        Good luck getting through it without that spoon you like to gag on.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2012, 2:16 am

        terry, thanks but no thanks. spare me your all time favorites. you said constant, i said this year, not 3 years ago. cough it up or admit you have nothing and were just making a cheap shot w/nothing to back it up.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 4:11 pm

        Do those in the world Muslim and otherwise inclined to hate Jews really care about Phil Weiss and MJ Rosenberg?

        here is an excellent trailer of My Neighborhood. listen to the child who says “i hate them” and then see what happens!

        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/04/al-jazeera-and-tribeca-festival-pick-up-feelgood-documentary-on-jerusalem-evictions-starring-rivetting-palestinian-teen-mohd-el-kurd.html

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 3:22 am

        tokyobk, you toss around the concept of those in the world “inclined to hate Jews” as if you’re up to your armpits wading through them. Your radar may be defective. Are you projecting?

      • tokyobk
        April 29, 2012, 3:26 pm

        Not at all since I live in America where Jew hatred at this point is practically non existent and where it does exist not only carries no weight but ensures the bearer complete marginality.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 4:46 pm

        tokyobk, so you rely on goy soldiers and cops to keep your nice way of life here in USA and use your thus secured time to make the lives of the native (also goy) Palestinians across the sea miserable on a daily basis. I guess you have earned that higher soul your G-d awards & rewards. And, hey, you didn’t even have to pay for it! Kudos to you!

      • tokyobk
        May 1, 2012, 6:10 pm

        Citizen,

        You are revealing yourself, I think

        I am an American and a Jew not and Israeli and not a political Zionist.

        I reject any notion of higher and lower souls any racism against Palestinians.

        I do think that Jews should be able to live peacefully as equals in that region no more no less. Ideally one state, I have thought two states is a good and practical place to begin as it would bring Israel back to 67.

        Why should I not be proud of my country?

        So, seriously, why have you made such assumptions about me?

        And PS, go to Arlington you will see Jewish stars and Crescents too, not just crosses.

        I love my country as much as yo and find the word goy offensive as the assumption that I am a firster simply because I am Jewish or the co founder of anJewish society (the kind which has as its mission putting Phil Weiss next to Shmully Hecht at the same table.)

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2012, 11:42 pm

        tokyobk, would you invite Kevin McDonald to your salon to schmooze with Shmully? Wouldn’t that be entertaining? A chance to exchange interesting ideas and information? If not, why not? Do you think that Palestinians and their family who left their homes in what is now Israel proper due to the Nakba should be able to live peacefully in that region in the same manner say, you could if you chose to right now? If not, why not?

        Why are you giving me information I already know about Arlington? I have old army buddies buried there. Do you?

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 1:20 pm

        “Not at all since I live in America where Jew hatred at this point is practically non existent and where it does exist not only carries no weight but ensures the bearer complete marginality.”

        So you were more than willing to jump in with a bunch of blather about “people who simply hate Jews” than you are unable to name any, and now you are withdrawing the statement completely.
        There’s an ugly name for that kind of cowardly behavior, Karp. Where I come from they call that being a putz!

        Another words, had anybody bitten on your whole “simple Jew-hatred” shibboleth you would have played it (As I’m sure you do with the susceptible) to the hilt, all the way to invoking the rattle of the boxcars.

        Tell it to Hophmi, Karp. Tell it to Hophmi.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 2:16 pm

        Aw come on, Mooser, despite your differences in outlook, don’t you think Chabad distills the way to discover the essence of the real Jew and upholds it? Here, let me help you both: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1600970/jewish/Chabad.htm

        BTW Chabad says its the most important Jewish activity in the world today, so you both could be on the cutting edge too–right along with Dershowitz! Don’t you want to repair the world?

    • American
      April 27, 2012, 10:51 am

      All true MJ.

    • Sin Nombre
      April 27, 2012, 12:28 pm

      A million “hurrahs” for you and this, Mr. Rosenberg. While I understand that the people here are especially deeply interested in and knowledgable about the I/P issue, reading the first 50 or so comments made in response to Phil’s comment more than a little disappointed: All the intricate, substantive rebuttals to what this or that member of the party said to Phil and etc., so seeming to me to be so secondary if not tertiary if not worse. Sure, still interesting and probably mostly right and all, but to me missing the freaking biggest point of all because I think at bottom most Americans couldn’t give a shit really compared to just simply not wanting to see their blood and treasure used for another country’s sole interest, especially when it damages their own, period.

      Yes, that is, one can agree 100% with those sorts of posts—and I’m not disparaging them in the least or wish to see them diminish—but frankly I don’t think that sort of thing taking the perspective of the Palestinians essentially does diddly much in terms changing things. Take the perspective of the American people, on the other hand, and ….

      Tell Americans , that is—as you did here—that you’ve got a bunch of people putting another country’s interests ahead of their own (your “American Firsters”) and *then* you’re playing in the big-boys league. *That’s* when you’ve graduated to using a real serious argument that the other side fears the hell out of because of its inarguable nature.

      Sink back into the intricacies of this and that and the relative Israeli/Palestinian arguments, and see how much it delights the Israel Firsters: Whang they pull out the image of the undeniably corrupt-and-stupid-beyond-belief Yassir Arafat. And whang they pull out the Palestinians supporting Saddam Hussein. And whang they pull out that indeed there was some dancing in the Palestinian streets after 9/11. And then of course they pull out the biggest whang of all which is the Holocaust.

      They will talk *forever* on those grounds, and just love love love it.

      So what’s the idea behind the perspective of playing on that game field? What’s the idea behind how that’s going to accomplish change? That … first, you make millions of ordinary Americans into Ph.D’s in Mideast and jewish history, and then….

      Moreover, what’s the subtext behind so many of these pro-Palestinian types of posts and arguments? Essentially it’s nothing less than the crazy (and certain-loser) idea that … oh yeah, it’s perfectly right and *good* that the U.S. is up to its eyeballs in all this Mideast crap. It’s just that we’re on the wrong side….

      And whang! again comes out the easy home run in the form of “you’re really supporting those Afghan crazies who burn women and are shooting at our boys?” And whang again comes the idea that … “you’re really supporting arabs like bin Laden and the nutjob over in Iran?”

      The entire subtext just reinforces exactly what the Israel Firsters are claiming: That you bet the U.S. belongs neck deep over there. And they will love love love to death debating you every day every second as publicly as possible which side the U.S. should be on.

      *Not even the people here,* with all their extensive knowledge of the I/P conflict, can with any real credibility say that they know to any degree of refinement whatsoever what a perfect solution is to that conflict. A total retreat back to the Green Line? An absolute total Right of Return beyond that? One-state no matter what? (When the Palestinians themselves are rejecting it?)

      So what’s the further idea behind pushing this pro-Palestinian perspective? To not only make a vast swath of Americans Ph.D.s in the field but then … to convince them to support some solution you yourself can’t even articulate? That you yourself cannot say is surely the right one that will correct everything and is fair to everyone and is workable and etc.?

      Pfui. A million times pfui. If there is any hope it’s merely pointing out that the U.S. has absolutely no interest in that mess over there and that being in that mess over there just brings us nothing but dead Americans, hatred, and the hemorrhaging of billlions upon billions if not trillions of our dollars.

      And, not coincidentally, this too is the only hope of seeing any decent solution over there too via stopping the U.S. subsidizing the grandiose schemes of Israel and putting both parties more on a level playing ground of seriousness and cost/benefit analysis. I.e., by letting *them* decide *that* way what “fairness” they are going to insist on and what unfairness they are going to accept. Because in the real world—often overlooked here I think—there is certainly going to be *lots* of unfairness that’s going to have to be swallowed.

      So bravo bravo bravo, Mr. Rosenberg, with your bringing what I think is the right perspective back here. Nobody here knows with any certainty whatsoever the unanswerable question of what is the perfectly fair solution over there. Nor even what is the fairest possible solution. Nobody on earth does, so stop pretending.

      What I think the vast majority of people *do* know however is that they don’t like to see their country getting used like a cheap whore, so let’s start talking from the perspective of what people know, instead of what nobody knows.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 4:10 pm

        “can with any real credibility say that they know to any degree of refinement whatsoever what a perfect solution is to that conflict.”

        Why, the one which ensures a wonderful 18th Century style Sabbath in Jerusalem, and lot’s of tanning oil, steroids, illicit sex and personal ads for escort services in Tel Aviv. Although I don’t understand why those should be so important to Methodists, but let it go.

      • CloakAndDagger
        April 27, 2012, 8:36 pm

        @ Sin Nombre

        You are on a roll today! I agree 100% with your perspective!

  36. American
    April 27, 2012, 10:28 am

    “When I spoke of the dispossesson of Palestinians, several members of the group contested me. They said that Palestinians had sold the land. They said that no one was getting pushed off their land. When I said that Nabi Saleh had been denied access to its wells, and had to have water trucked in, Toby said Well who trucks that water in—Israel”

    Who trucks in the stolen water???????……good gawd!… I don’t know how you tolorate the Toby idiots…really I don’t.

    “I woke up at 4 and then at 5 from having drunk too much red wine, feeling terribly guilty. I was in an entirely Jewish setting and had betrayed the Jewish people.”..Phil

    No you didn’t….these nuts might be Jewish but they aren’t your people. If you beleive Judaism or Jewishness is what you say it is, then they are the betrayers, not you.

  37. American
    April 27, 2012, 11:07 am

    Every time I see something about betraying the tribe (the Jews) I am all the more convinced that extreme tribalism is one of the causes of Jewish travails.

    As white Anglo Saxon person would I consider the Anglo Saxons in the KKK or the David Dukes or the insane Evangelicals “my people”?…hell no. All white people, all Anglo Protestants and Christians and etc aren’t ‘my people”. ‘My people’ are the people who hold the same basic human values I do, period….the rest aren’t my people. Waterboarding couldn’t make me claim some white people or so called christians as my people.

    • marc b.
      April 27, 2012, 1:23 pm

      As white Anglo Saxon person would I consider the Anglo Saxons in the KKK or the David Dukes or the insane Evangelicals “my people”?…hell no.

      exactly. phil’s flacidity is just too much to bear sometimes.

      A big handsome young undergraduate with a shock of dark hair said that I was being narcissistic. I was taking my standards and expecting other people in the world to accept them.

      so how does phil respond to this puerile bit of projection? (the irony of that schmuck calling phil a narcissist was apparently too subtle for our troubled hero to detect). he drools on his shirt, because it was kind of psychological and I wasn’t sure what to say.

      all the cut onions in the world couldn’t dredge up a tear of sympathy for phil in this circumstance.

      (you’re right american. imagine some protestant coming to this site, blubbering on about his/her encounter with an Identity preacher, and the preacher’s arguments about the ‘white’ race being under attack (‘you do remember the muslim and mongol rape of europe, eh?’), and christians being the true covenant people, and america their holy land, and . . . and . … in whom would that drivel inspire guilt or sympathy?)

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 5:21 pm

        “it was kind of psychological and I wasn’t sure what to say.”

        Phil went to the wrong schools to learn the right answer to that guy. It’s a three-word answer, and the first word is the name of a classic Chinese board game.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 5:52 pm

        ROTL, you slay me time and again!!!

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 7:30 pm

        Anyway, Annie, to avoid any danger, just listen for the sound when I post. Hear that? Yup, them’s the slay-bells.

      • AlGhorear
        April 29, 2012, 2:22 pm

        Ha! The perfect response to the narcissim accusation (assuming the Chinese board game you were thinking of is “Go”).

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        April 27, 2012, 6:55 pm

        “and . … in whom would that drivel inspire guilt or sympathy?”

        I think we’re being a little too hard on Phil. You have to remember that the world view he was confronting at that dinner is the same world view as his mom’s. And that’s a difficult thing for any man to reject. In a sense (and I hope I’m not sounding too much like the dream analysts here), you could even say that the whole evening was really a symbolic confrontation with his mother.

      • marc b.
        April 28, 2012, 9:15 am

        you could even say that the whole evening was really a symbolic confrontation with his mother.

        that would explain the deferential mumbling and symbolic castration, phil having to steal back his ‘cookies’ on the way out the door. like i said before, i can’t work up any sympathy when he does this to himself.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 3:34 am

        PeaceThroughJustice, marc b: U two just knocked it out of the ball park.

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 1:27 pm

        “And that’s a difficult thing for any man to reject.”

        I still don’t understand what he’s supposed to do? Wreck the place? Scream at them? Deck Karp with a sudden inside left? You can’t sucker-punch a man in his own house, it’s called assualt.
        If he didn’t cop the Percocet, or give a joint to the younger members of the household, well then you can consider the evening a failure, and you have no proof Phil didn’t do these things. He is after all, a man with a strong sense of conviction, and not one to evade the calls of conscience!
        Just imagine if everybody in the Anti-Zionist community took that no-fear-of-death drug MJ Rosenberg touts in his blog! Why, we’d show those Zionist what-for, in half of no time at all!

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2012, 4:19 pm

      “extreme tribalism is one of the causes of Jewish travails.”

      Holy Mackeral, are you that easily fooled? That easily taken? Or do you just know that little about Jews and Jewish history? For Christ’s sake, the reason that “Jewish leaders” and Zionists are always talking about Jewish tribalism is because there’s hardly enough of it for them, and they want to create more!!! Can’t you get that? You are talking about a religion whixch has never been able to organise itself, and one in which adherents fled, fled, from Jewish tribalism as soon as they were given the opportunity, in America, and later, in Europe. You are talking about a religion (or whatever it is) which has never been able to rouse itself to help other Jews.
      It’s no wonder they go on and on about Jewish tribalism. First of all, they need a lot of it, a lot more of it, to do what they wish to do, and they desperately need to convince non-Jews it exists which convincing raises the posibility that Jews will be turned over to them to rule.

      That whole Jewish tribalism thing is a farce, and I have never, ever had a Jew (or anyone else) bring up my “tribal” affiliations because they wanted to give me anything, but only because they wanted something from me.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 5:24 pm

        What a racket! Why didn’t I get into it on the ground floor. Half the time you kvetch because the Gentiles made us live in Ghettos or Shtetls, and the other half the time you invoke this ghetto existence, which was forced on us and which we fled as soon as we were able, as the Jewish ideal! You can’t lose.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 7:35 pm

        Haven’t you noticed that most of the time our hasbaratchniks, when talking to a poster they perceive as Jewish, spend most of the time demanding that tribal unity, or bemoaning our lack of it, if not condemning us as kapos or even mosers for the lack of it?
        Believe me, if we had the kind of “tribal unity” they demand, they would be spending most of their time denying it exists so as not to be held responsible for crimes.
        Of course, when a guy like Hophmi or his latest iteration demands “tribal unity” it’s pretty plain who he thinks the tribe’s chief should be.

      • Citizen
        April 29, 2012, 3:37 am

        MOT a lot?

  38. pabelmont
    April 27, 2012, 11:30 am

    MJR: Thanks for this comment. Generally I agree with it. And I value your work greatly even if I sometimes criticize it. One quibble about your comment, above:

    You wrote: “Similarly, when Israeli peace people speak out, Arabs may think: Bibi is not them. In other words, fighting the power (AIPAC, the Israeli government) is a mitzvah. We are not only fighting for the soul of Judaism but also for the physical safety of Jews (including Israelis, including our families) who could pay a terrible price if we weren’t there representing on behalf of real Judaism.”

    I don’t know why you thing there is such a thing as “real Judaism”. I know little of rabbinic Judaism. but the little that I know suggests that it is pluralistic (so there are many realities) and that some of the authentic strains are (to me and I imagine to you) horrible beyond belief, regarding non-Jews as non-humans even. Look what some of the Israeli military rabbis have told the troops. Look what zealot “religious” settlers have been doing to Palestinians.

    These people are also “real Jews”. So, no, we (or at least I) are not fighting for “real Judaism” but in favor of a shift of power in the world, including within the great body of Jews, and including within Israel, toward universalism, tolerance, justice, peace. If those qualities are present in some “Jewish souls”, well and good, and well and good if they are present in all human souls.

    But where those qualities are absent, there (in my book) is evil. I look at the manner of Israel’s occupation, its wars, its attack on (read Goldstone Report) and siege of Gaza, its proposal to attack unoffending Iran, and I see evil. We must call them as we see them.

    I respect the rabbitzin’s feelings as feelings, but not her conclusion: Holocaust Remembrance does not wipe out evil (where it erupts in West Bank settlements, Israeli military destructiveness, etc.) merely by remembering and deploring another example of evil from another time and place. The victims of evil are sometimes Jews, true. The perpetrators of evil are sometimes Jews. We should identify and fight all evil.

    And, with MJR, I believe that fighting Israeli evil will in the long run be good for USA’s Jews and even for Israel’s, but not good in the sense of helping them to acquire all of the land of Palestine by acts of war and oppression.

  39. Mooser
    April 27, 2012, 2:40 pm

    “I drove back home wondering how I was going to mend my ways.”

    Simple! All of your doubts and contradictions can be immediately and forever resolved by Progressive Zionism. Remember, if you’re not progressive, you are regressive. You wouldn’t want to be that, would you?

  40. wondering jew
    April 27, 2012, 4:38 pm

    Shmuel- Here I am defending Chabad:

    As a rule when I see Chabad people, I react coldly, not because of their attitude towards nonJews or towards the West Bank, but because they believe their dead Rebbe is the Moshiach (Messiah) and belief in a dead Messiah rubs me the wrong way. (Guess why.) (It might be of some use for me to study the evolving attitude of the followers of Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, who also left an empty chair after his death and how his followers see the coming of the Messiah. Since Rabbi Nachman died in 1810 and the Lubavitcher Rebbe died in 1994, Bratzlavers have had more time to adapt to a prolonged death and maybe they will show us how the Lubavitchers might develop over time.)

    Chabad, Lubavs, are known for outreach, putting tefilin on Jews in the streets of various cities including New York. It is understandable that when they approach people and ask, “Are you Jewish?” they offend nonJews. It could be that their public outreach will eventually convince some nonOrthodox branch of Judaism to reach out to nonJews (for purposes other than making intermarried partners feel welcome). But even if the Lubavitch themselves might give a theological explanation on why they reach out to Jews and not to nonJews, their explanation should not be accepted at face value. The real reason Lubavs don’t reach out to nonJews is because traditional Judaism gave up proselytizing about the same time Jews became an oppressed and dispersed minority.)

    (I actually like Lubavs on Sukkot when they give me a chance to shake the palm branch and the citron, and I also like the candles they hand out on Chanuka.)

    It is unfortunate (although somewhat predictable because of their: “the end is here” attitude) that they take such a belligerent attitude towards the West Bank. But to treat them with disdain because of their politics would seem nearly impossible because they are everywhere and to take Ben Karp to task because Lubav and Shmuel Hecht plays a large role in their Friday night dinners is asking too much from Ben Karp and treating reality as if it did not exist.

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2012, 7:13 pm

      Well now, that was completely pointless.

    • Shmuel
      April 28, 2012, 4:06 am

      WJ,

      Unlike you, I am not bothered by the dead Rebbe part, whether they manage to find a Breslov kind of equilibrium (although they too have gone off the deep end in recent years) or not. I actually have a soft spot for Breslov (the traditional kind): the “orphan Hasidim”.

      I am equally unfazed by Chabad’s tefilin/lulav/shabbos-candles operations, and do not find them racist in the least. They want to preach their variety of Judaism to Jews. Fine. Their zealous volunteers can be a little aggressive at times, but that’s their problem. I do mind their flattening of Jewish tradition and takeover of Jewish life in some places (particularly evident in smaller communities in Europe), but can see their point of view and the point of view of those who appreciate the services they provide.

      Their racist ultra-nationalist politics are the real issue for me and, to a much lesser extent, the insecurity of non-Orthodox Jews and deference to Chabad and its variety of Judaism. Why does Eliezer need Chabad’s “patronage” for its Friday night salons? Is it so hard to find a Jew who knows how to make kiddush and a moytze? Chabad’s active presence (with its ulterior motives, imperious mannerisms), especially as co-host and founder, sets a certain tone – ably described by Phil – that seems to run counter to the open dialogue image the club tries to project.

      • Mooser
        May 1, 2012, 2:51 pm

        Wait a minute, Shmuel. Aren’t you the guy who told me he didn’t want to have the same arguments over and over at Mondoweiss?

  41. Sumud
    April 27, 2012, 5:15 pm

    It’s great piece Phil, very vivid.

    Two things stand out – first, the very bog standard hasbara you were subjected to. It’s not smart or sophisticated, it’s rubbish. You were criticised you for only having been in Israel for 5-6 weeks, but I’ll bet you have spent more time in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (settlements *not* included) than everybody at that table put together. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone (zionism, Yale) and confront the reality of Israel & Palestine. How many at that table have done that? Maybe some of the J Street jews who remained quiet because they know what you say is true, but they can’t handle rocking the boat like you have…

    Second – the fear. The holocaust still resonating, and the fear that the end of Israel will bring on some catastrophe. There’s a lot of looking backward, and no looking forward, no vision.

    Why can’t the next step for Israel and Palestine be a restoration of the former harmony that existed in the holy land between jews, muslims and christian? [If a rabbi wants to tell you that the disharmony is some mystic re-occurrence of an ancient quarrel, sorry, there’s no sensible conversation to be had with that person. There’s disharmony because Israel has been shitting on Palestinians for 65 years. That’s the reason.]

    Do you remember Taxi’s story of speaking with an old shepherd in southern Lebanon from a few months ago:

    He said his grandfather used to say that all Palestinians: jews, moslem and christian, were the real and only ‘chosen people’ – chosen by god and more fortunate than all other arabs to be born and to live on holy land – chosen to belong to the holy land.

    I had this nagging thought in my head about stumbling blocks for a one-state solution for months before I read that story by Taxi. It helped me to think about a way out of the Israel vs Palestine way of thinking. If that is your framework, then you better pick a side, and all your dinner mates have. You haven’t, because you’re disgusted by Israel’s behaviour, and you’re right to be.

    So then we need to get past the idea of Israel and Palestine to a new conception of what that state can be. If it’s Palestine, the zionists will never get on board; if it’s Israel – well, it just won’t be Israel because the single state will have a Palestinian majority and I don’t think they will want to keep the name Israel.

    Taxi and I discussed it and he proposes:

    The Democratic Republic of Jerusalem.

    It is one state, with equal rights for jews, muslims, christians and other. By pushing aside the Israel vs Palestine paradigm, where one side has to win or lose, then you make space for a little hope and vision about healing some wounds in the ME and eventually getting beyond them.

    It is possible, but it won’t be for your dinner pals until they stop looking backwards at the holocaust – you should send them each a copy of Avrum Burg’s book – and start to understand that Israel’s behaviour in effect encourages anti-semitism.

    That’s the how I want to finish off. I think of everybody at that table, you are probably the most effective at fighting anti-semitism in the real world. Racism of any sort is about stereotypes and in standing up for what you believe to be right, in defiance of your tribe, you break stereotypes.

    So there are anti-semites who read Mondoweiss? Probably, but I doubt they would be of the hardcore variety. Really, it’s not your problem, if anything an anti-semite reading Mondoweiss would have their preconceptions of jews fairly heavily challenged.

    It’s a dirty tactic to suggest that you contribute in any way to anti-semitism. Indulging yourself in hasbara to assuage your guilt – because deep down you know Israel is doing awful, awful things – now that would be the kind of thing that encourages antisemitism.

    And it’s a rotten stinking dirty tactic to try to knock you down [‘A big handsome young undergraduate with a shock of dark hair said that I was being narcissistic.’] for listening to the part of your mind that looks at Israel and is horrified and says ‘I cannot support this’. Don’t put up with it.

    The Righteous Among The Nations are those who fought the nazi programme to exterminate jews, not those who collaborated with and supported them. So it hasn’t come to that yet in Israel and Palestine, but it really is on the cards. Gaza December 2008/2009 was a taste.

  42. Gene
    April 27, 2012, 10:26 pm

    That was a tough read. It’s all rather simple though if you think this through the prism of ‘Human Rights’ as was commented above. I don’t believe there is any other way to view the situation. May you find the right compass to guide you through this.

  43. mjrosenberg
    April 28, 2012, 8:14 am

    I read all the comments. Thanks.

    I am not talking about neo-Nazi anti-Semites, white supremacists or the Taliban.

    I am talking about plain people, not haters, not racists, who either now or ultimately will understand what the lobby is doing to this country. Many Americans, often for reasons that are ridiculous, tend to resent foreign countries which is why likening anything to “Europeans” is a political no no.

    But these people make an exception for Israel, and only Israel. Thanks to indoctrination they believe that Israel is Us. And they excuse a lobby (if they even know it exists) that is based on the lie that Israel’s interests are our interests.

    That won’t last forever. I can foresee circumstances where an incident could cause that situation to flip in a day.

    I want to do everything I can to make sure my fellow Americans understand that many American Jews (and many Israelis too) hate the policies that endanger U.S. security and abhor the lobby that speaks in our name.

    That is why I am proud of what I do. I don’t know if I accomplish anything. But I have never had any doubt that fighting the power is good for America, Jews, Israel, Palestine, and, most important to me, my own descendants.

    “The occupation and its lobby is dangerous to children and other living things.”

    • CloakAndDagger
      April 28, 2012, 2:52 pm

      That is why I am proud of what I do. I don’t know if I accomplish anything. But I have never had any doubt that fighting the power is good for America, Jews, Israel, Palestine, and, most important to me, my own descendants.

      And more power to you! Your blog is on my daily reading list and I appreciate your writings.

    • PeaceThroughJustice
      April 28, 2012, 4:13 pm

      Thanks MJ. There’s not a lot of journalists left that conceive of their job as fighting power. We’re lucky to have you.

    • Rusty Pipes
      April 28, 2012, 8:03 pm

      Thank you, MJ, for all that you do!

      I hat-tipped you on the Garish Orange Site the other day. Unfortunately, lurkers there can’t find some of the latest news and analysis related to American foreign policy in the Middle East because of a site ban against linking here — which is an impediment for Progressive Democrats who seek to be reality-based. One of the users there encouraged me to change my blogroll. As well I should: I need to update it with a link to your new blog.

  44. seanmcbride
    April 28, 2012, 11:45 am

    It’s interesting that Phil on January 8, 2011 cited this quote from Moshe Greenberg which argues that “the main stream of Jewish thought is permeated by genetic spiritual superiority of Jews over non-jews, disconcertingly reminiscent of racist notions of our time”:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/more-on-joel-greenberg-and-his-rabbi-father.html

    “What emerged for me, from the study of the first chapters [of Sefer Hatanya, the central works of the Chabad ultra-Orthodox organization] was the discovery that the main stream of Jewish thought is permeated by genetic spiritual superiority of Jews over non-jews, disconcertingly reminiscent of racist notions of our time. Living in Israel for the past twenty years in a Jewish majority that is no more sensitive to the feelings of minorities than Gentile majorities are … [with] Jews in their midst, I have come to realize the vitality of Jewish racist notions, and I am more than ever convinced that the hold Judaism will have on this and future generations will be gravely impaired unless these notions are neutralized by an internal reordering of traditional values.”

    What does Phil think about this quote now?

    My own impression from browsing around in the literature about Chabad is that it is a racist movement. Most of the Chabadniks I have encountered have also been Kahanists.

    But wait: the racism of Chabad may even be too much for some Kahanists — see these two JIDF tweets:

    JIDF: . @ElSmoocho Chabad seems to claim that Jews have a “spiritual soul” and “animal soul” whereas non-Jews only have “animal souls”

    JIDF: . @MasonRabbi By contrast, what IS clear: Chabad teaches that the Jewish soul is somehow different, or better, than the non-Jewish soul.

    (As I recall, JIDF objected to these racist beliefs in other tweets — I’ll look them up later.)

  45. seanmcbride
    April 28, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Would any Chabadniks here care to comment on this quote from Allan Nadler? Nadler is a Harvard Ph.D.

    BEGIN ARTICLE
    AUTHOR Allan Nadler
    TITLE Last Exit to Brooklyn: The Lubavitchers’ Powerful and Preposterous Messianism
    PUBLICATION The New Republic
    DATE May 4, 1992
    URL http://www.drew.edu/religiousstudies/files/Last-Exit-to-Brooklyn.pdf
    BEGIN QUOTE
    Gentile souls are of a completely different and inferior order. They are totally evil, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Consequently, references to gentiles in Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s teachings are invariably invidious. . . . Their material abundance derives from supernal refuse. Indeed, they themselves derive from refuse, which is why they are more numerous than the Jews, as the pieces of chaff outnumber the kernels. . . . All Jews were innately good, all gentiles innately evil. Jews were the pinnacle of creation and served the Creator, gentiles its nadir and worshiped the heavenly hosts.

    … Moreover, this characterization of gentiles as being inherently evil, as being spiritually as well as biologically inferior to Jews, has not in any way been revised in later Habad writing.
    END QUOTE
    END ARTICLE

    Alan Nadler email address: [email protected]
    Alan Nadler telephone: (973)408-3222

  46. seanmcbride
    April 28, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Questions for any Chabad-Lubavitch members here:

    1. Christian Zionism: pro or con?
    2. Dubai assassination: pro or con?
    3. Greater Israel: pro or con?
    4. Iran War: pro or con?
    5. Iraq War: pro or con?
    6. Islamophobia: pro or con?
    7. Israeli settlements: pro or con?
    8. Jewish ethnic nationalism: pro or con?
    9. Jewish religious nationalism: pro or con?
    10. Jewish segregation: pro or con?
    11. Likud: pro or con?
    12. Meir Kahane: pro or con?
    13. Mossad black ops: pro or con?
    14. neoconservatism: pro or con?
    15. Operation Cast Lead: pro or con?
    16. targeted assassinations: pro or con?
    17. torture: pro or con?

    How does Chabad-Lubavitch profile out?

    Ari Fleischer, a leading member of the Bush/Cheney administration, is a member of Chabad-Lubavitch. Billionaire Lev Leviev is a member. I am trying to figure this issue out.

    • wondering jew
      April 28, 2012, 4:19 pm

      Ari Fleischer is a member of Chabad. Where does this info come from? What does that mean, he pays dues?

      • Terryscott
        April 28, 2012, 7:20 pm

        It means he’s a Jew, WJ–guilty until proven innocent. And it’s not antisemitism because there is no such thing.
        And you wonder why this site gives Phil bad dreams!

      • seanmcbride
        April 29, 2012, 10:40 pm

        Terryscott,

        You wrote re: Ari Fleischer and Chabad:

        “It means he’s a Jew, WJ–guilty until proven innocent. And it’s not antisemitism because there is no such thing.
        And you wonder why this site gives Phil bad dreams!”

        Do you and wonderingjew know how to use Google? Try Googling [ari fleischer chabad] and you’ll get 243,000 results:

        http://www.google.com/#q=ari+fleischer+chabad

        Two facts about Fleischer and Chabad:

        1. Fleischer was the co-president of Chabad’s Capitol Jewish Forum.

        2. Fleischer received the Young Leadership Award from the American Friends of Lubavitch in October 2001.

        But you assume that Fleischer is being associated with Chabad merely because he is a Jew. Why did you make that assumption? Most Jews have no association with Chabad-Lubavitch.

    • seanmcbride
      May 2, 2012, 2:25 pm

      I know that some Chabad-Lubavitch members are reading these comments. Will any of them answer the questions above about their policy positions?

  47. libra
    April 28, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Great comments Sean and a great list of questions. Perhaps I can add one which seems relevant given your comments:

    Jewish gene: pro or con?

    • Chaos4700
      April 29, 2012, 10:09 pm

      Most of the Jews I’ve ever met have the same skin color, hair color, eye color, etc. as I do, and I’m not Jewish. There’s nothing even remotely genetic about Judaism. Thousands of years and miles removed? You might as well be talking about me having Italian DNA just because I was raised Catholic. Remind me again why Zionists use Nazi standards for determining who’s a Jew these days, anyway?

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2012, 5:03 am

        Chaos, for the same reason the African-American community culture uses, often without being conscious of it, the old American Southern white racist one-drop rule to determine if anybody is black–a liberal version of it? Which arguably explains why Obama is regarded by said community generally as a black man, a not half-black man or mulatto? I noticed in Pelosi’s daughter’s juxtiposition of her interview videos of blacks in the welfare line getting their “Obama checks” and southern crackers in their shacks pushing self-reliance–that in the latter video, an old cracker corrects Ms Pelosi by saying Obama is not black, he’s half black and half white.

        Imagine if the state of Israel, in legislating its law of return, had used traditional Jewish criteria in full to define who is entitled to that law of return. Perhaps they borrowed from the Nazi criteria because it was not practical nor streamlined to make the criteria for who is a jew more complex, too time-consuming?

        Recall that the Nazi Nuremberg laws had another catagory, Mischling?

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2012, 5:36 am

        A dispute between the Interior Ministry and the NSDAP over the precise “racial” definition of a Jew, namely how many Jewish grandparents did one have to have to be considered Jewish, led to the entire process being hopelessly bogged down by 1935.[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Laws#cite_note-5

        Ultimately it was decided:
        Mischling was a half-breed. 2 Jewish grandparents. German Jews who survived Nazi Germany inside Germany were almost always mischling.
        A Mischling 2nd degree had 1 Jewish grandparent. This meant he or she was always to be treated as a full Jew for purpose of German laws.

        Stuckart and his assistant, Dr. Hans Globke, in the RMI claimed that Nazi racial laws differed little from Jewish law: “The German people want to keep their blood pure and their culture together just like the Jews have done since the prophet Ezra ordered them to do so.” http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0015_0_14977.html

  48. seanmcbride
    April 28, 2012, 3:33 pm

    BEGIN ARTICLE
    AUTHOR Allan C. Brownfeld
    TITLE Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel
    PUBLICATION Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
    DATE March 2000
    URL http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0300/0003105.html
    BEGIN QUOTE BY Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
    The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: ‘Let us differentiate.’ Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world… A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity. It is written, ‘And the strangers shall guard and feed your flocks’ (Isaiah 61:5). The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews…
    END QUOTE
    END ARTICLE

    • Annie Robbins
      April 28, 2012, 3:46 pm

      A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity. It is written, ‘And the strangers shall guard and feed your flocks’ (Isaiah 61:5). The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews…

      reminds me of:

      At 29, Irenstein was married with two daughters, living in the Hasidic community he’d grown up in. He remembers his 6-year-old coming home from school and telling him that non-Jews existed solely to witness the good deeds of the Jews. He’d wanted out of Hasidism for a while, but that was the day he pulled his kids out of school and laid plans to move. “I would have done anything,” says Irenstein, “even given up my own life, to make sure my kids weren’t forced into cult living.”

      http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/04/dating_in_new_york_a_dating_coach_for_ex_orthodox_men_.single.html

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2012, 6:16 am

        Annie, imagine growing up with so many big and tiny rules daily? And in America of all places. I’ve seen documentaries on the isolation, frustration, angst, and ineptness young Mormon rebels have when they leave the nest. I imagine young Amish venturing out into the world have similar gross ID problems. Orthodox Jews and these other groups seem like cults to me, even if they are treated generally like any other established religious group. Same for the Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to my door dressed like normal conservative folks. Of course that’s just me and I’m not into any religion.

      • LanceThruster
        May 1, 2012, 6:50 pm

        Citizen…X2

  49. seanmcbride
    April 28, 2012, 3:34 pm

    BEGIN ARTICLE
    AUTHOR Allan C. Brownfeld
    TITLE Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel
    PUBLICATION Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
    DATE March 2000
    URL http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0300/0003105.html
    BEGIN QUOTE
    Rabbi Schneerson always supported Israeli wars and opposed any retreat. In 1974 he strongly opposed the Israeli withdrawal from the Suez area. He promised Israel divine favors if it persisted in occupying the land. After his death, thousands of his Israeli followers played an important role in the election victory of Binyamin Netanyahu. Among the religious settlers in the occupied territories, the Chabad Hassids constitute one of the most extreme groups. Baruch Goldstein, the mass murderer of Palestinians, was one of them.
    END QUOTE
    END ARTICLE

  50. wondering jew
    April 28, 2012, 4:14 pm

    Phil- Job well done on going into the lions’ den with the Lubavitch lion and lioness.
    (Yasher koach. Google it. It means job well done in this case, but with ethnic, particularistic, tribalistic echoes because of its Hebrew and Yiddish pronunciation. Btw- reading Yiddish literature gropingly recently I came across the term, Ivri-Teitch instead of Yiddish for the language the people spoke. Literally Hebrew/German. Yiddish is a more recent term for the language, viewing it as an outsider- the language of the Jews. Ivri/Teitch seems to be what insiders called it.)

    Aside from the I/P issue my ideal for the Jewish people is for secular Jews to talk to Torah Jews so that some oxygen reaches the brain of the Torah Jews and for Torah Jews to talk Torah to secular Jews so that some particles of Jewish nutrition reach the secular Jewish brain. Your visit to the lions’ den was a good act in those terms.

    Oh, yeah, and regarding the dream. It reminded me of the Dick Van Dyke episode where Buddy Sorel (Morey Amsterdam) is getting secret late in life lessons to celebrate the bar mitzvah he never had and when he sees a 12 year old arrive after him (at the rabbi’s house for the next lesson) carrying a football he tells the kid, “leave the pigskin at home.”

    • Shmuel
      April 28, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Ivri-Teitch is usually used to refer to the translation of Torah or Midrash (or liturgy – I have a bilingual “Ivri-Teitch” prayer book that belonged to my great-grandfather) from Hebrew into Yiddish, including the traditional Eastern European teaching method of having children recite the verses of the Torah first in Hebrew then in Yiddish (you can still hear it, if you pass by Hasidic schools from Brooklyn to Jerusalem to Antwerp).

      In “Yeshivish” (a mixture of English and Yiddish spoken at Haredi yeshivas in the US and Canada), “vos iz teitch” (lit. “what does it mean in Yiddish”) is an expression that signifies “what does it mean” or “what’s the real meaning”.

      • wondering jew
        April 28, 2012, 5:05 pm

        Reading Grade’s “Der Shtumer Minyan” and I.J. Singer’s “Der Velt…” and I.B. Singer’s “Satan in Goray”, they referred to people who spoke Yiddish, but not German, Polish or Russian and used the term “Ivri-Teitch” for the language that they spoke. But the next time I come across it I will see if it is used in context of translating Hebrew texts.

      • wondering jew
        May 1, 2012, 3:46 pm

        Seems like I was depending on I.J. Singer’s town’s Yiddish as the prime exemplar of Yiddish. In his town they called the “Momme Lashon”, Ivri-Teitch, elsewhere in the Yiddish speaking world of the time, its use may have been limited to translating Hebrew into Yiddish.

      • Shmuel
        May 1, 2012, 4:26 pm

        Harkavy (Yiddish-English Dictionary, 6th ed.) defines “Ivri-Teitch” as a Yiddish (or “Judaeo-German”, as he calls it) translation of a Hebrew text, but of course native speakers don’t always read dictionaries.

        “Teitch” itself can mean Yiddish or German, or indeed just meaning or translation (as in the expression “vos iz teitch”). There is the famous story of the printed Yiddish translation of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (Der Soycher fun Venedig) that proudly boasted that it had been “farteitcht und farbessert” (translated and improved). I saw a good film the other day, with dialogue in Welsh, Yiddish and English (“Solomon and Gaenor”). In one scene, a woman having difficulty expressing herself in English asks her husband to translate for her – “farteitch far mir” – from Yiddish to English.

      • lysias
        May 1, 2012, 5:42 pm

        “Ivri-Teitch” is a lot like the names speakers of various German dialects give their dialects. Plattdeutsch in Plattdeutsch is “Plattdüütsch”. Alsatian in Alsatian is “Elsässerditsch”.

        And indeed there’s a lot of similarities of structure and vocabulary between Yiddish and such South German dialects as Alsatian and Swabian.

  51. Talkback
    April 28, 2012, 11:04 pm

    Phil Weiss: “I woke up at 4 and then at 5 from having drunk too much red wine, feeling terribly guilty. I was in an entirely Jewish setting and had betrayed the Jewish people. I was not helping, I was not helping. I was alienating myself from highly intelligent and kind people. They were kind to me anyway.”

    Just a random site I found while googling for “Exit Coaching” that could provide some help: http://www.systemiccoaching.com/exit_coaching.htm

    (No offense. Just to make my point clear.)

  52. Citizen
    April 29, 2012, 12:35 am

    Since Shmully brought up Esau’s story to explain the current Arab v Israeli tension maybe he should read the scholarly book, Esau’s Tears. I doubt he would as it might just change his life. Sort of like if he had to spend some time on an island with Atzmon, who has some insight into the story of Esau too–as revealed in his latest little book.

    • Mooser
      May 1, 2012, 2:55 pm

      “Sort of like if he had to spend some time on an island with Atzmon”

      I’d spend all my time scouting the windward beach, hoping a sax will be cast ashore by the waves. That way, I could avoid him until he can be of some use.

  53. Chaos4700
    April 29, 2012, 10:05 pm

    And these are the people you’re so desperate to remain associated with, Phil? Sheesh.

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2012, 1:20 pm

      Chaos, having been introduced to Shmully et al by Phil, get a load of the comments at this site Tablet, from 15 months ago–about both Phil Weiss, and the nature of his blog community: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/56447/mondo-weiss/#comments
      There are a few favorable comments, but tons of them dismissing Phil as a naive and opportunist crank and our community here as totally anti-semitic. See if you think many of the commenters ever even spent a a few days or a week reading Mondoweiss from how they characterize it. I don’t recall Phil telling us about this article on him, but I’m sure he knew about it and read the comments under it. Think about that, along with this article on Shmully and guilt–and imagine how it must be to be Phil Weiss. I wonder how all this is wearing on his wife, Cynthia Kling. Imagine how Phil would be if he and she had a child. I did that, although the ethnic-cultural-religious roles were reversed in my intermarriage. I think his wife once said she preferred to socialize with mixed couples as other couples were a bit much for her to handle. Reminds me of that film, A Serious Man.

  54. winifred
    April 30, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Reminds me of the time I sat in on a Sunday service at Jim Jone’s church – remember him of Guyana fame. I think the hangover was the kool-aid, not the
    excellent wine.

  55. LittleBat
    May 1, 2012, 6:33 am

    upstairs to the Sabbath room of the night before. It was miraculously cleaned up, there was no sign of the tumult and food of the night before. The chairs were back upside down on the table top. The silver Judaica wine pouring device to pour 20 silver cups at once was cleaned and set upside down in its different parts on a drying rack.

    That seems surprising. I thought that using hot water, or a sponge, is forbidden on the Sabbath. Dishes are usually just taken into the kitchen, rinsed in a pre-drawn sink of water, and left until work resumes. Unless there are gentile servants who can do the dishes … ? I don’t know.

    • Elliot
      May 1, 2012, 8:59 am

      Little Bat –
      This is aok per strictest Jewish observance. Since they needed the dishes for the rest of the Sabbath, they were allowed to wash them. Of course, as you say, sponges are out, but scotch brite and soapy water are just fine.

    • Kathleen
      May 2, 2012, 9:16 am

      “Unless there are gentile servants who can do the dishes … ”

      A dear friend worked in south Florida for years catering and serving wealthy Jewish Americans in the region. Some of this stories of racism and elitism were very disturbing. And not in just a few homes that he served in. Very common racist attitudes and behavior according to what he had experienced. Now hispanics do that work in that region

      • Elliot
        May 2, 2012, 10:27 am

        The Mystery of the Washed Sabbath Dishes – take 3

        Kathleen –
        If I didn’t know you better, I’d take your quick gloss on the previous comment as unfair and tell you that it carries prejudice. Nobody is claiming that wealthy Jews are better than wealthy Christians at managing the class divide.

        As David Samel has clarified, Jews in general have about the same degree of affinity to Chabad as mainstream American Christians do to radical, fundamentalist Christians. Mainstream Jews relate to Chabad with indifference (everything about them is different), antipathy (for all the reasons listed in this comment section) and occasional curiosity (Chabad is funky in a weird way). In other words, the attitudes of strangers.

        You don’t tell us whether your friend was particularly disenchanted with the Jews she worked for, or if she only worked for Jews. My experience is that wealthy, white Jews are assimilated with their Christian neighbors in their attitudes to the people of color who work for them. What your friend describes is a problem not of religion or ethnicity, but of class and race.

        Your comment seems to imply a continuum between Chabad and “wealthy Jewish Americans.” Yet right-wing Orthodox Jews’ identity (voting patterns, political attitudes, cultural preferences etc.) is aligned with the economic class they are a part of, and not to mainstream, affluent, liberal American Jewry. Again, class trumps ethnicity and religion.

        On a different note, to Chabad’s credit, it should also be said that whereas White America – including affluent, liberal Jews – fled colored America for the isolated safety of the suburbs, Chabad still lives in the city, cheek by jowl with poor people of color. They serve underserved parts of the Jewish community – such as the prison population – that the mainstream Jewish community shuns. I expect that Christians have a similar division.

        And still, the Mystery of the Washed Sabbath Dishes is yet to be solved.

      • Kathleen
        May 2, 2012, 11:14 am

        “Nobody is claiming that wealthy Jews are better than wealthy Christians at managing the class divide. ”

        My friend who is a 54 year old male. Had worked in the food service industry for years in south Florida. He had worked for wealthy Christians, Jews, and others in the region. He shared stories that blew my mind. He felt solidly that there was far more racism, elitism amongst wealthy Jews in the region vs other rich folks that he had worked for. That was his experience. Not mine.

        Although I was in shock years ago when I attended numerous functions with many older Jewish individuals in the New York City region at the unbridled prejudices expressed when they had forgotten that a gentile was around and listening closely

      • Kathleen
        May 2, 2012, 11:26 am

        “Nobody is claiming that wealthy Jews are better than wealthy Christians at managing the class divide. ”

        I have a strong belief that racism, classism is taught not innate. If one is taught you are “chosen” that learned attitude will along with economic superiority issues will seep out. My male friend shared that he had experienced an over abundance of this poisonous attitude manifesting in language, treatment, pay etc disproportionately in the wealthy Jewish community that he worked for inSouth Florida vs wealthy non Jews in that same area that he worked for. Again not my experience. So I can’t say whether he came with an attitude. Although had never heard him express any racism towards any group of people in all of the 30 some years that I have known him. So I have trusted his direct experiences

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 11:31 am

        Elliot,

        Let me suggest this simple intellectual exercise — which Jews, aggressively speaking for “the Jews” and who are prominent on the world stage and in American life, have in your mind done the most in recent years to damage the image of Jews and Jewish relations with non-Jews?

      • Elliot
        May 2, 2012, 11:50 am

        Kathleen –
        I was surprised to hear of your friend’s experiences in South Florida and your interpretation.
        I wonder if anybody else (Jewish or not) holds the impression and/or has evidence for the statements that:
        a. wealthy Jews are more racist than wealthy non-Jews.
        b. Jewish education inculcates these racist attitudes.

      • Elliot
        May 2, 2012, 11:53 am

        Sean –
        I respect your commitment to fight anti-Semitism, although that wasn’t my concern.

        On that other posting of yours, I don’t do “simple” and “intellectual”.
        Way too confusing.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 12:05 pm

        Elliot,

        Let me just ask you outright: which prominent Jews do you think have done the most damage to Jewish relations with non-Jews in recent years?

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 12:17 pm

        “What your friend describes is a problem not of religion or ethnicity, but of class and race.”

        Also, as a gloss, the fact that Jews are considered, or can consider themselves “white” and on the other side of the class/race divide from blacks or Hispanics (fortunately, I am only subject to sexual panics, not racial ones, speaking of uncontrollable anxiety) just shows how completely arbitrary and stupid the “race” categories are.
        C’mon, Jews, white? It is to laugh, hysterically. All you need to figure which race we are closest to is to see us undressed!

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 12:22 pm

        “prejudices expressed when they had forgotten that a gentile was around and listening closely”

        Which is to say, you weren’t wearing a large golden cross? Or even one of those Sister Bernadette hats with the wings? Look, Kathleen, if you refuse to observe the simplest and most essential social conventions, don’t blame me if you are shocked at what you find. Do you dress up as a man and go into a locker room and get undressed just to hear things? Of course you don’t! It’s the same principle.

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 1:39 pm

        As David Samel has clarified, Jews in general have about the same degree of affinity to Chabad as mainstream American Christians do to radical, fundamentalist Christians.

        That’s a false comparison unless radical, fundamentalist Christians start espousing the doctrines of the Aryan Nations about Jewish souls originating from satanic sources. The number of Jews who harbor such beliefs are several orders of magnitude larger than fringe groups like the Westboro Baptists or the Snake handling churches‎ of West Virginia and South Carolina.

        It’s not that hard to get a rough approximation of the size of some of the Orthodox groups that cherish the doctrines and traditions contained in the Lurianic Kabbalah. There are over a million Hasidic Jews worldwide. According to the statistics promulgated by the spokesmen at Chabad headquarters, over 1 million people attend one of their services at least once a year. So these groups alone might account for as many as 1 in 10 Jews worldwide who are either members of a Hasidic community or have some degree of affinity with them and their beliefs.

        The Haredi community is the fastest growing segment of the population of Israel. More importantly, the young Jews sitting on the hilltops in Judea or Samaria share an affinity with the views of the Lurianic Kabbalists regarding gentiles. Unlike the white supremacists or radical Christian fundamentalists, they have the requisite political clout to topple their own government if it adopts policies they dislike. The hilltop youth are making the same primitive and unintelligent claims that some of Phil’s dinner hosts were making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=6kRFaFfQ06s

      • Elliot
        May 2, 2012, 2:05 pm

        That’s a false comparison unless radical, fundamentalist Christians…

        I didn’t make the comparison you describe between Jewish and Christian extremists. I did compare the distance between mainstream and extremist in Jewish and Christian life. The million Hassidim and growing number of hilltop youth and all the other Jewish fundamentalists are beyond the realm of experience of mainstream American Jews. Their families are separate. Their lives are detached. Mostly, they don’t even have to deal with each other over Thanksgiving.
        If you are suggesting that liberal Jews who identify as such have a responsibility to disavow the attitudes of Jewish extremists, then, of course I agree.
        But that’s not the same as collapsing the clear distinctions between liberal and extremist (see above).

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 2:22 pm

        Elliot,

        You wrote:

        “If you are suggesting that liberal Jews who identify as such have a responsibility to disavow the attitudes of Jewish extremists, then, of course I agree.”

        Liberal Jews have a much greater obligation than merely to disavow Jewish extremists. They have a responsibility to organize *effective* opposition to all policies associated with this extremism — and so far they have failed miserably.

        In Barack Obama’s early confrontations with Benjamin Netanyahu over illegal Jewish settlements, some leading “liberal” Jewish Democrats sided with Netanyahu and other “liberal” Jewish Democrats failed to speak up in support of Obama.

        What are we to think? What do these “liberals” really believe? Something doesn’t add up here.

      • Hostage
        May 2, 2012, 2:36 pm

        I wonder if anybody else (Jewish or not) holds the impression and/or has evidence for the statements that: . . . b. Jewish education inculcates these racist attitudes.

        Define Jewish education. I provided links to a video about non-Jews on the Orthodox Union website in one of my comments. It’s obviously intended to inculcate racist attitudes towards non-Jews. The Failed Messiah blog does a pretty good job of explaining that studying the Tanya or the Zohar at a Yeshiva funded by the Jewish community usually does have that result. If you don’t have time for that, there’s always Betar Camp or the Friends of Israel Scouts.

        The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) still teaches that Herzl was right about the inability of Jews to lead normal lives among gentiles. It maintains an Education Department that works with many Hebrew Schools. For example, the Director of Market Engagement for North America in its Pedagogic Center has over 300 Shlichim in North America, working on University campuses, at Federations, in schools and Jewish Community Centers, in synagogues and with youth movements. http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Jewish+Education/Educational+Shlichut/pro/

      • marc b.
        May 2, 2012, 2:46 pm

        That’s a false comparison

        and the further problem with these equivalences is that they narrowly focus on the religious while ignoring religion’s influence on secular practice. zionism as practiced by israel is a religious movement, regardless of the nominal secularism of many of its founders. ben-gurion and others enthusiastically employ/ed religious symbolism in their foundational mythology. so how do you separate the religious from the irreligious when they both are invested in similar belief systems? ‘eretz israel’ biblical mythology is a crutch of many self-described secular or atheist zionists who visit this site. so what separates them from hecht? adherence to dietary restrictions? dress? sincerity? what? according to hecht, the kernel is there waiting to sprout in all jews.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 3:07 pm

        Chabad says it’s the most important and growing Jewish movement across the world today. On a slightly different note, here’s one Orthodox Jewish girl’s note of rebellion from cultish things: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17215248?ocid=us_magazine-video_ppc_outbrain

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 3:49 pm

        a. wealthy Jews are more racist than wealthy non-Jews.

        this has not been my observation. however, i have noticed the contingencies of their generosities likely because of my affiliation with this movement (for example pulling funding due to political positions, theirs being racially/zionist oriented imho) but that is something most people do, pull funding if a cause is ideologically adverse to ones beliefs .

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 6:31 pm

        marc b, case in your point–what symbol is on the side of every Israeli F-16? Re Hecht–he believes he’s got the key, the answer, or at least the way to the essence of the Jew, yes? Chabad thinking, yes?

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 6:37 pm

        Annie, I hope the Methodists and Prebys pull their indirect funding of those three American-based companies due to their beliefs, rather than not–due to fear it will be a slippery slope reducing their most profitable pension investments .

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 7:04 pm

        disappointingly, they didn’t citizen. it seems they are not as unified as organized jewry.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:33 pm

        Elliot, there’s lots of truthful insight in what you say; perhaps what’s annoying is that well-t0-do Christians, most especially WASPS, have been icons of snooty (barely veiled racist) hypocrisy for ages now in American pop and literary culture, including in daily TV shows and the movies, especially teen movies, while their Jewish counterparts remain immune in mass media culture. Maybe that’s the Mystery that is not?

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:46 pm

        seanmcbride, maybe the most dangerous Jews speak as if American and Jewish interests are the same as Jewish interests, and they simultaneously support American & Israeli status quo regimes as identical in values, morals, ethics, and practical agenda?

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:51 pm

        seanmcbride, how about Dershie? And, if you know a really lot about how Madoff operated, how him? How about Pollard? And, if you know a lot about American politics, how about Joe Lieberman, or Arlen Spector?

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 8:03 pm

        Kathleen, when I was in grade school I had two paper routes–let me tell you, two bog canvas bags stuffed with daily newspapers was heavy on a little kid’s shoulders; Saturday was collection day. I learned that those who demanded the most from me, a special harder to reach spot to put the paper at or in, were the relatively rich, and they always complained, and yet they were also the ones who vanished when I came to collect my compensation on Saturdays, while the less demanding, poorer folks, always paid on time, and with good attitude.

        On a vaguely related note, in Brazil, class discrimination is less a fact of color than in USA, but it still is. This is because the lower classes are browner.

        Jews harbor both hole cards in the USA, they are considered white, yet they are consider a minority with victim status. Just an old average American white guy’s perception.

      • Kathleen
        May 2, 2012, 8:13 pm

        Not my interpretation. His words. His experience over 10 years. I do not put words in other people’s mouths. His words. Actually will be seeing him soon. Will try to get him on to describe his experience in South Florida. He has some zinger stories about what he heard, had said to him etc.

      • Kathleen
        May 2, 2012, 8:15 pm

        What? Ops this “what” was supposed to go under Mooser’s comment

      • Kathleen
        May 2, 2012, 8:26 pm

        What? Guess I did not mention I was one of two non Jews at this birthday party for an 80 years old gal. Probably at least 50 people there. Many prejudices expressed that I was surprised by.

        Here is a great question I was asking folks at the party. Most had raised children and I was in the thick of raising three daughters. “If you had it to do over again what would you do differently while raising your kids?” Tried not to ask in ear shot of the next person. Over and over again I would hear ‘don’t get wrapped up in the small stuff” with your kids. While raising kids I would also ask older folks for all of their clues. What worked what did not. Learned lots. Some real jewels

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 8:26 pm

        Kathleen, re: “I was in shock years… at the unbridled prejudices expressed when they had forgotten that a gentile was around and listening closely.” I had the same experience–in the Chicago area.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 8:37 pm

        Elliot, I was not surprised at all to hear Kathleen’s experiences in S Florida (where I now live) due to mu own experiences, especially for 30 years in the Chicago area. My experiences agree with Kathleen’s friend’s experiences. And yes, having married a Jewish woman, and hence with inside information about Jewish attitudes from her extended family, at least in the Chicago metro area, I conclude that Jewish home-instilled values are clearly racist. Growing up in my own parental home, the indirect values instilled were clearly anti-jew, anti-black, but listening to my wife, and in my personal exprience, they were not as harsh toward outsiders, and this too has been my experience growing up in America.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 9:05 pm

        Mooser, stupid comment. Sometimes you are not very astute in your comments, although many are.

      • Elliot
        May 3, 2012, 9:04 am

        Kathleen –
        Of course, I accept in good faith your reporting of your friend’s experience.
        My comment, that you responded too, was overly succinct. It should have read: your posting of your friend’s report and your own interpretation in that report of how racism is taught, not innate.

      • American
        May 3, 2012, 10:49 am

        Seems to me racism/whatever is always going to be more pronounced in tribalistic groups based on “peoplehood”. Whether it’s deliberately taught or instilled or not, consciously or unconsciously, it becomes an attitude toward others.

      • Elliot
        May 3, 2012, 2:49 pm

        American – if tribalism is the problem then Mondoweiss, per Phil Weiss, is in deep trouble. If nationalism is the problem, then the U.S. and other countries around the world are prone, as nations, to racism too.
        The problem I have with some of the statements on this thread is they fail to present a broad picture of of how tribalism and peoplehood play in the context of class and race. These determine livelihoods and social standing. In my experience, class is far more potent than frills such as religion or ethnic origin.

        I also question the testimony of outsiders. I challenge them in the same vein that at least one of them challenged Jews: how do you know that you are not blind to your own group’s prejudices, that is, your own personal prejudicial attitudes? And doesn’t your own blindness make you notice, disproportionately, the faults of others?

        It’s certainly true that Jews play both cards: victimhood and privilege, but only own the first. Jews love to talk about their engagement in the civil rights movement (50 years ago!) but fail to talk about the Jewish slumlords who got rich of the back of WASP manipulations. However, given the choice, I prefer to talk about both about the history of being outsiders and Jews’ current insider status. I’d rather own both than do away with both.

        Victimhood, framed ethically, is a powerful educational tool. It works. Sure, let’s take on the hypocrisy, but not at the cost of giving up identification with the dispossessed.

        And that, for Jews, is bound up with peoplehood.

      • Citizen
        May 4, 2012, 11:22 am

        Elliot, for sure socio-economic class partners with tribalism; I read an article written by a Brazilian native about the recent changes there–if memory serves, they recently passed a strict Affirmative Action law, and he made a point of distinguishing between US racial/ethnocentric discrimination in the halls of power and Brazil’s version, which he said was more based on class, than race when compared to USA’s. But he went on to say the color of one’s skin in Brazil is directly related to one’s class and never reconciled his inherent contradiction in his comparison. Chicken and egg? I think proportionate to their numbers in the US population, Jews are # 1 in terms of wealth, and #2 in terms of success in higher education (with orientals taking #1 these days re higher education–White gentiles R # 3 as a collective, with non-white Hispanics # 4, and Blacks at #5)

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 7:26 pm

        Kathleen, I lived in the Chicago metro area for 30 years, and as an intermarried Gentile to a Jewish family with a huge extended presence in the area, I can say your friend’s experience is far ranging. Maybe we need to get Richard Witty’s former nanny and housekeeper in on this conversation? I know I learned a lot from my wife’s former nanny and her family’s house maid/cook. She was black and looked like Aunt Jemima, a great soul.

  56. Kathleen
    May 1, 2012, 3:30 pm

    “and there have been anti-Semites on the comment board.” You bet. Many anti Arabs/anti semites and those fueling Islamophobia on these threads.

    Phil “Shmully said that I was wrong about the occupation. That land was bought by Jews. It belonged to us. Abraham had bought Hebron to bury Sarah. It’s in the Bible. All of Eretz Israel is the Jews’. He said that some people were afraid of the idea that Jews have guns now. We didn’t use to have guns. Now we do. Nothing would change if Jews left the West Bank. We had left Gaza and nothing had changed. There were just rockets.

    When I spoke of the dispossesson of Palestinians, several members of the group contested me. They said that Palestinians had sold the land. They said that no one was getting pushed off their land. When I said that Nabi Saleh had been denied access to its wells, and had to have water trucked in, Toby said Well who trucks that water in—Israel.

    There were other comments: Palestinians were desperate to be on the west side of the Green Line because they were treated better than anywhere else in the Middle East. My time line comparing Israeli discrimination to American discrimination in the deep south circa 1964 was skewed. There were Arab members of the Knesset after Israel was founded and an Arab member of the Supreme Court.”

    Sounds like a great deal of anti semitism was expressed around that Sabbath table. Great deal

  57. Kathleen
    May 1, 2012, 5:31 pm

    “He said, What do you want Israel to do. What do you want it to do? Right now? I am asking you, tell me!’ Dismantle all illegal settlements and get back to the 67 border. Sign the NPT. Play by the same rules that Israel demands that its neighbors abide by. Play fair

  58. Kathleen
    May 1, 2012, 5:37 pm

    Phil “She used the word my mother has used with me to describe my website: “vile.” So so sad. Not getting that Phil in many ways is trying to very much protect Israel based on internationally recognized borders.

    Phil you really took a verbal beating. Keep standing firm based on the deeper side of your Jewishness and humanitarian beliefs and the facts. Admire what you are doing

    • Mooser
      May 2, 2012, 12:26 pm

      “She used the word my mother has used with me to describe my website: “vile.”

      That’s funny, the other day a website used that same word to describe my mother! Oh well, what goes around, comes around, I guess. It’s the Eastern concept of kasha.

  59. Shmuel
    May 1, 2012, 5:57 pm

    Shmully said that I was wrong about the occupation. That land was bought by Jews. It belonged to us. Abraham had bought Hebron to bury Sarah.

    On the one hand, you don’t even want to get into such a crazy discussion. On the other hand there is a glaring lack of internal logic here. Abraham did not buy all of Canaan or all of the area now known as the West Bank. According to the Bible, he bought a field and a cave in Hebron. That’s all. So where exactly is Phil “wrong about the occupation”? The Cave of Machpelah? All of H2? The entire city of Hebron (just to make sure)? Nabi Saleh is nowhere near Hebron, and was never Ephron the Hittite’s to sell. A little consistency please, rabbi.

  60. tokyobk
    May 1, 2012, 6:17 pm

    April 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm
    tokyobk, so you rely on goy soldiers and cops to keep your nice way of life here in USA and use your thus secured time to make the lives of the native (also goy) Palestinians across the sea miserable on a daily basis. I guess you have earned that higher soul your G-d awards & rewards. And, hey, you didn’t even have to pay for it! Kudos to you!

    Citizen,

    You are revealing yourself, I think

    I am an American and a Jew not and Israeli and not a political Zionist, reject any notion of higher and lower souls any racism against Palestinians. I do think that Jews should be able to live peacefully as equals in that region no more no less. Ideally one state, I have thought two states is a good and practical place to begin as it would bring Israel back to 67.

    Why should I not be proud of my country, The USA?

    So, seriously, why have you made such assumptions about me?

    And PS, go to Arlington you will see Jewish stars, including that of my great uncle Mike and Crescents too, not just crosses. I have “goy” relatives who served even though they couldnt get seated at a lunch counter so please try your best to respect my right to feel as American as you.

    The word goy as you project it on to me is as offensive as the assumption that I am a firster simply because I am Jewish or the co founder of a Jewish society (the kind which has as its mission putting Phil Weiss next to Shmully Hecht at the same table.)

    • Mooser
      May 2, 2012, 12:31 pm

      “as the assumption that I am a firster (my bold) simply because I am Jewish or the co founder of a Jewish society

      Oh, that’s allright, Ben. Just the fact that you so easily use the appelation “firster” and know what it means is all we really need to know. Sure, maybe you ain’t one, but you know goddam good and well there are indeed plenty of “firsters”.
      Thanks.

    • Keith
      May 2, 2012, 1:35 pm

      TOKYOBK- “Why should I not be proud of my country, The USA?”

      Because it is a vicious, brutal empire that routinely engages in mass-murder and is the driving force behind neoliberal globalization?

    • American
      May 2, 2012, 2:03 pm

      “Why should I not be proud of my country, The USA? “…bk

      So if America is your country, what is the Jewish state to you and what’s the deal with this Jewish society you belong to that seems to made up mostly of people so concerned with Israel?

    • Citizen
      May 2, 2012, 3:03 pm

      I wrote a response to you here, very early today but it has not appeared so far.

  61. jdfsau
    May 2, 2012, 11:20 am

    I notice from his comments that the only one that tokyobk feels is unworthy of an invitation to one of his little love fests is Gilad Atzmon.

    Gilad Atzmon should feel complimented. Apparently tokyobk and his cohorts are at VERY aware of Atzmon’s new book “The Wandering Who”. The majority of them have probably been under orders not to read it but are VERY aware of its purported contents and consider it a truly existential threat of what appears to be almost Spinoza like proportions.

    I have heard Atzmon speak on two occasions. Both occasions were picketed by both Zionists and, interestingly enough, by supposed anti-Zionists.The first time he spoke the audience was full of people like tokyobk who attempted to take and embarrass Atzmon on and in the question section that followed his speech. Atzmon’s replies to both their questions simply rendered them, for probably the first time in their lives, speechless. They ended up simply sitting there, mouths agape and fuming. Having their hypocrisy made so apparent, for probably the first time, by the absolutely fearless Atzmon was too much for them. I was struck by their sudden, strange, and very uncharacteristic silence.

    They were nowhere to be seen, except for picketing outside, during the second Atzmon speech I attended a year or so later. As usual they had tried to get his speech canceled but to no avail. Their lack of attendance at the speech itself showed that they weren’t into being hardily spanked twice.

    • Citizen
      May 2, 2012, 8:22 pm

      jdfsau, I asked tokyobk if he would invite Kevin MacDonald to his Yale Salon (that replaces Skull & Bones, and much more quickly; Phil W should appreciate), but he has not responded. In the end, it’s like Plato v Socrates, eh? Neocons and PEP continue the path. I hope no regulars on MW here take poison because these know-it-all creeps never stop.

  62. seanmcbride
    May 2, 2012, 12:17 pm

    A note to Mondoweiss administrators:

    I am not sure if Firefox 12.0 is the issue or some other factor, but for the last day or two Mondoweiss has been hanging for me whenever I open it. This is the error message I have been receiving:

    BEGIN ERROR MESSAGE
    Warning: Unresponsive script

    A script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding. You can stop the script now, or you can continue to see if the script will complete.

    Script: http://mondoweiss.net/site/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.js?ver=1.7.1:4
    END ERROR MESSAGE

    I need to stop the script on every visit in order to access the site.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 2, 2012, 12:30 pm

      sean, that’s been happening for me too (Firefox 12.0) but only for this thread. i think it is because there are over 365 comments. it just takes awhile to load them all. but stopping the script seems to end the problem. it seems to work fine on safari. but i will forward this comment to adam and phil in case they are not following all the comments in this thread.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 12:36 pm

        Annie,

        Thanks for the prompt feedback on this issue — it’s good to know that I am not the only one who has encountered this bug.

        Sidenote: sometimes the comments and conversations days in on a lead post exceed in quality and interest some subsequent lead posts. :) Valuable discussions can sometimes go on for days, weeks or months.

        We are discussing some very deep issues here and with some deep thinkers (like Hostage).

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 12:43 pm

        sean, i am in conversation w/adam right now via email wrt this problem. thanks for saying something.

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 1:11 pm

        And you’ve got to keep in mind that moderation cannot go on 24/7 with the same speed and effeciency. Sometimes comment may not be approved for publishing for many hours. And that can slow things down, and I think, sometimes gives people the impression that their comments have been “censored” when they are simply backed up waiting for moderation.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 1:38 pm

        We are discussing some very deep issues here and with some deep thinkers (like Hostage).

        don’t forget mooser!

        sean, i completely agree with your point. as an update adam is on the case, “Happens for me too. I just emailed Foliovision about it. thanks “

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 12:36 pm

        I’m with you, Annie, and I am using an older version of “Explorer.” (I’m married now, long time, I don’t do dates or updates.)
        Mondoweiss can be slow to load, sometimes, but it does indeed load if you give it, at most a minute to 90 seconds.
        But in the interim, after submitting a comment, or clicking to another article, if I press any other function, even “scroll” I get the non-responding message. Wait a bit, and it all comes right.
        The loading varies from almost instant to as I said, almost a minute, depending on time-of-day, and probably, insufficient magic in the intertubes.

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 12:38 pm

        That one took over a minute to load.
        Mondoweiss loads fastest on Fri. evenings and all day Saturday until sundown. I have no idea if that’s helpful, but there it is. You can draw your own conclusions.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 12:47 pm

        Mondoweiss loads fastest on Fri. evenings and all day Saturday until sundown

        are you joking? i am a gullible person.

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 12:51 pm

        “are you joking? i am a gullible person.”

        You should write a travelogue about it, like that Jonathan Swift guy did!

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 12:57 pm

        Besides, Annie, you must know that I can’t possibly look at a computer on Friday evenings or all day Saturday! The very idea! You want I should end up in a lake of burning borscht?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 1:34 pm

        okay okay okay you have made your point mooser, i am a complete FOOL for taking anything you ever say seriously!

        lol

    • alec
      May 2, 2012, 2:58 pm

      Hi Sean,

      We’ll look into it. It may be the comment sorter.

      If you’d immediately like to be able to browse these huge threads faster, try doing so not logged in.

      It does mean keeping a second browser handy for making comments but it should be instantaneous.

      • American
        May 2, 2012, 3:42 pm

        Well I am having no problems with even long threads…no delays at all.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2012, 6:38 pm

        Me too; I use Safari.
        Some of my comment seemed to have been dropped, or not OK’d though.

    • Hostage
      May 2, 2012, 3:15 pm

      I need to stop the script on every visit in order to access the site.

      It’s the script that highlights new comments each time you visit. I’ve had better luck with Firefox 13 beta, but YMMV. Google Chrome and Safari just get unresponsive for a bit without indicating what’s going on.

  63. stevieb
    May 2, 2012, 12:19 pm

    All that emotion and passion for Israel and nothing(I’m not refering to you Mr.Weiss)regarding the suffering of the Palestinians.

    All I see is religious extremism – despite the quite civilized manner of all who adorned this gathering. Not good. I don’t see compromise, I don’t see any notion of sacrifice for peace or the potential for understanding the how serious ‘Israel’ is for the future of all humanity(and our shared home, Earth). How can antisemitism be so much of an issue for these people while they completely ignore why it exists? It’s as if they simply cannot understand why others wouldn’t like them – regardless of what they do. A sense of entitlement based on a percieved(read ‘indoctrination’) shared victimhood. A very disheartening read, as well written as it is…

    • Mooser
      May 2, 2012, 12:44 pm

      “All I see is religious extremism “

      I wonder why? I tell you again, and mark my words (oh, go ahead, deface them if you want) that when it is all said and done, what religion the Zionists happened to employ for their project will be one of the least significant things about it.

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2012, 1:03 pm

        “the potential for understanding the how serious ‘Israel’ is for the future of all humanity”

        Funny, we limped along without it for several thousand years, but at any rate, don’t let me rain on your particular eschatological parade.
        I too, believe some day a man will pull into Nazareth, feelin’ ’bout half-past dead, tryin’ to find a place where he can rest his head. Will we smile, shake his hand and say no, or take the load from his fanny onto ourselves? A load we can take “for free”?

      • stevieb
        May 4, 2012, 10:18 am

        IN terms of where it’s leading us now , Mosser – jeez…..

      • American
        May 2, 2012, 3:33 pm

        “when it is all said and done, what religion the Zionists happened to employ for their project will be one of the least significant things about it”…Mooser

        I think so too. The whys of something are just background , the ‘what ‘ is done is what the world deals with.

      • stevieb
        May 3, 2012, 1:00 pm

        “I wonder why?” Oh I don’t know – maybe something about Israel being so vitally important to the “Jewish people”(to the extent where dogma allows for the rationalization of the crimes we see).

        I wasn’t aware you told me before Mosser – but I’ll mark your words just the same. Have I defaced them before? You’ve lost me on that one.

        Btw – why do you think all I see is religious extremism? Taking into consideration the statement was intentionally hyperbolized(“all I see is religious extremism”)to make the point – and not meant to be taken literally(it’s not all I see; hopefully that’s obvious).

  64. seanmcbride
    May 2, 2012, 12:58 pm

    A note to the Mondoweiss programmer (or programmers):

    Threads with 300+ comments suggest that a valuable feature to add to Mondoweiss would be the ability to like comments and to sort them by number of likes. Make it easier to sift for gold.

    • alec
      May 2, 2012, 2:56 pm

      Hi Sean,

      We’ve considered this several times, but any such system is relatively easily gamed. And there is definitely a group or two here who would try to game the system.

      I can only imagine the hair tearing by those who don’t see their comments appear after we add such a system.

      But soon we’ll have to.

      • seanmcbride
        May 2, 2012, 3:20 pm

        alec,

        One possible disincentive to gaming a like system: make the likers transparent. (This works on Friendfeed.)

  65. Mooser
    May 2, 2012, 1:36 pm

    You know, I just realised, Shmully Hecht is the first person I have ever seen to whom I can fairly and usefully give grooming advice. Schmully, bubele, go to the beauty supply store, get an inexpensive set of electric clippers with “blocks” and get that beard under control! Select the block depth which you find most flattering, and every Thursday, give that briar patch a quick trim.
    Remember Schmully, Gene Simmons started out looking pretty much like you.

    • Citizen
      May 2, 2012, 3:18 pm

      Who wears short shorts, Shmully wears short shorts! Get that video out; maybe Gene Simmons will instruct…

  66. Citizen
    May 2, 2012, 2:26 pm

    Shmully’s quite a guy; where did he get the money to invest in Real Estate so profitably? By writing about how it’s best to give charity, even a few dollars, while choosing to remain anonymous to everyone? Heh. http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/a-lesson-a-rabbi-article-1.193574

  67. Stephen Shenfield
    July 13, 2012, 6:31 pm

    Simply by agreeing to take part in a gathering focused on shared ethnic identity, you are almost sure to be trapped in their ethnocentric framework. “Almost” because if your psyche were extremely strong you might still have put up some real resistance, but it’s understandable that you failed to. What needs to be said when they say how they feel hurt is: why do you think your feelings are the most important thing in the world? why do you refuse to empathize with Palestinian feelings? The topic concerns Palestinians but there is no Palestinian present, so it’s up to you to do your best to represent them, i.e., re-present how they feel to these self-indulgent ethnocentric hypocrites, to try to break down their resistance to sharing the feelings of their victims. Of course, this will lead to them screaming at you and throwing you out, but you would have the satisfaction of at least having tried. Instead you join their discourse of ethnic solipsism and narcissism.

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