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The crisis of Jewish identity

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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Last Sunday, Stephen Walt gave a talk on the Israel lobby and Iran at the Church of the Messiah in the scientific community of Woods Hole, Mass., and as my parents have a house not a mile from the church, I walked over with my father. In the past, Walt and Mearsheimer’s assertion that the Israel lobby was a necessary factor in the decision to invade Iraq used to upset people the most. “In Dark Times, Blame the Jews,” the Forward wrote angrily, when the two professors published their paper in 2006. But today Iraq is ancient history, and in the packed church, as Walt spoke of the neocons pushing a war on Iran as they had on Iraq, people seemed to accept it. And many of them were Jews. Oh those crazy neocons was the feeling. We’re against them.

No, the dirty secret now is the brutality of the Israeli occupation. Walt gave just a couple of minutes to this subject, and one of his questioners echoed the point by saying she had been in the West Bank recently, but I sensed from the room and my subsequent socializing that ethnic cleansing and the destruction of olive trees is a subject to be politely skirted. Walt was introduced by a fellow Harvard professor, Everett Mendelsohn, who said that he and Walt has worked on a Boston Study Group paper, “Israel and Palestine – Two States for Two Peoples: If Not Now, When?” And that bright imperative is the mood of the liberal Jewish community: It’s time for the two state solution! With a nod to Rabbi Hillel’s famous statement, “If not now, when?”

There is a profound denial inside my community of the horror of the occupation, and its irreversibility. In his talk, Walt said frankly that the nature of Israeli politics militated against there being any end to the occupation, and the nature of American values barred our condoning apartheid or ethnic cleansing– but happily,  that was the end of it. Oh and by the way, it turns out one of my relatives is having a bat mitzvah in Jerusalem later this year.

When I got back to New York I read yet another column by a Jewish liberal dithering about what to do about the occupation– Leonard Fein in the Forward— and it struck me that my people, the Jews, are looking at a huge crisis stemming from Israel’s crisis, and we simply can’t face it. For more than a generation now, Israel has supplied American Jews their identity. Israel’s thereness, its modernness, its democracy, its army, its high-tech, its Jewishness– these qualities have supplied us with our understanding of what it means to be Jewish. Israel answered the centuries-long European Jewish question– how does modern society deal with our unique minority?– with a freshly built ghetto in the Middle East. We could have our cake and eat it. We could become successful peers to nonJews in the U.S. and maintain our distinctness because we had the living breathing Jewish ghetto preserved with a strong Jewish majority behind the security fence (and in front of it too!).

All that is now at risk. Anyone with any sense knows that the occupation threatens Israel’s future. Even the Times of Israel worries that Israel will become a “failed state,” something the left used to warn about. And with that goes American Jewish identity. How will we stay Jewish if Israel and Palestine become another mixed society in the Middle East?

As Walt himself has written, Peter Beinart is most alive to this crisis. He sees the Jewish leadership’s unconditional support for Greater Israel as the bulwark of Jewish identity and realizes this can’t work. He wants to repackage American Jewish identity so that his grandchildren will be Jewish– with segregation. Separate schools, religious instruction. A new way of ghettoizing our identity. Walt has questioned that prescription in his review of Beinart. Many on our site, myself included, have also done so.

Why is it that anti-Zionists like myself can be so blithe about this threat to Jewish identity? I think because our identity constructions were more universalist: from a young age we went outside the Jewish community for sources of spiritual and social and political inspiration. So we don’t feel at all threatened by a crisis for religious nationalism. No, we are thrilled by it– because religious nationalism goes against our values. We have hastened that crisis.

But this is a post about empathy. My father’s getting old, I can see the looming crisis in Jewish identity. What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state? How will Jews insure a Jewish future without this bulwark? (Jack Ross and Yonah Fredman have both sounded this theme on this site). I work for this website because I believe the destruction of Palestinian human rights and the corruption of American political values are more important issues than Jewish continuity, I will not put religious community over my progressive principles.

Nonetheless, I recognize the fears and the loss. I grew up going to that Cape Cod community every summer. Those smart Jews helped form me, I’m proud of their achievement. My heart goes out to them now. They’re scientists, and yet they are blinding themselves to the facts. Because they know– this is the end of something.

About Philip Weiss

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

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1,210 Responses

  1. seafoid
    July 17, 2012, 9:13 am

    “What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state?”

    Whatever it meant before 1948 . Hopefully something based around ethics and culture.

    http://www.hartman.org.il/Blogs_View.asp?Article_Id=938&Cat_Id=275&Cat_Type=Blogs

    Our tradition, places the relentless pursuit of peace amongst the highest of our aspirations. The Talmud, in Tractate Derech Eretz Zuta, devotes an entire chapter to exalting peace as a Jewish value. Hillel the sage instructs us to be “like the students of Aharon, to love peace and chase after it” (Avot 1:12). And in the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 21:1) Rabbi Shimon Ben Halufta says, “There is no vessel of greater blessing than peace,” and quotes, in that context, the famous verse from Psalms (29:11): “May God give His people strength, may God bless his people with peace.” The list of Jewish sources embracing peace is almost countless

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/weekly_ad/1338492210
    It is permissible
    To kill gentile children
    Who might hurt Jews
    When they grow up –
    So wrote rabbis in a book

    The Attorney General ruled:
    This is not incitement,
    This is the Halacha.

    No anti-Semite
    Would dare today
    To defame Judaism
    So blatantly!

    http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/a-message-for-jews-in-a-charred-mosque-at-yom-kippur-1.388534

    For the sin which we have sinned against You b’hilul Hashem, in desecrating your Name, in performing wrongdoing in the name of God, in harming others in the belief that we are acting for Your name’s sake
    For the sin which we have sinned against You b’i’mootz lev, in hard-heartedness, in refusal to acknowledge and address our wrongdoing, in lack of compassion for the victims of our wrongdoing.
    For the sin which we have sinned against you, b’yod’in o’b’lo yod’in, knowingly or unknowingly.
    For the sin which we have sinned against You b’sin’at hinam, in hatred for nothing, hatred whose only outcome is more and more and still more hatred.
    For the sin which we have sinned against You, we say on Yom Kippur, for the sin of tzadi’at ra, of hostile intention, of wicked scheming, of taking advantage of a neighbor who has less power, or is more trusting, or has no defense.

    • Krauss
      July 17, 2012, 3:21 pm

      “What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state?”

      Whatever it meant before 1948 . Hopefully something based around ethics and culture.

      Well said.
      I do take assimilation as a problem, as well as intermarriage. I’m not talking about their very existance. That can never be a problem unless you want to control every life in the Jewish world.

      But intermarriage over 50 % for secular Jewry.. I have a problem with that. I think it should be lower, but that requires hard work and no shaming. It requires a positive Jewish identity based on timeless ethics which enriches my life and many like me. Yes, anti-Semitism is real, ugly and there’s a long history of that. But Jews are not timeless victims. There are many peoples who have disappeared alltogether. Some of them have been eradicated by us, just read the Torah for vast and copious amounts of genocide perpetrated by us.

      Jewish history has to be taken in balance. It’s my belief that more good than bad has come out of it, but papering over the bad means that some Jews walk around thinking that we’ve never done a bad thing, and in fact we cannot by some mysterious definition even be racists. It’s enough to look in the West Bank for a counter-point.

      Instead we’ve seen the erosion of Jewish education in favor of aggressive nationalism and the cult of the Holocaust. It’s no longer enough to remember it.
      No, now it has to be invoked before we go to war, even wars which have zero in common with that tragedy. A regional powerstruggle with some nation? Well if we don’t watch out there could be a second Holocaust! A debate over the Israel lobby in America? Well if we don’t watch out there could be a second Holocaust!

      This, the replacement of deeper Jewish mores, for replacement of an eternal victimhood mentality and fleeting nationalism, has meant that Jewish identity has become cheapened, it has become shallow, and assimilation/intermarriage has exploded as a result. And at the other end, racism has increased too.
      Tikkun Olam is now even attacked as ‘overdone’ by some since we have to look after ourselves only..(remember those scary goyim are after us!).

      A final word on Walt/Mearsheimer. Despite the doomsday predicitions, we haven’t seen the second coming of Treblinka. Despite a lot of resistance from the reactionaries, we have seen that the Jewish grassroots seem to understand the need for a less myopic foreign policy that understands the complexities on the ground, instead of backing Israeli aggression at all costs. That isn’t to say that Israel should be disfavoured, I still think Israel has more in common with the U.S. than, say, Syria or Egypt. But whatever the policy outcome, the debate that is slowly being ushered in is comforting.

      And we should remember the hysteria that formed the backdrop of the ‘reception’ to their book. None of it has panned out and the book has, I think, led to a slow re-awakening within the Jewish community and outside it.

      Brooks spoke in vague terms of our ‘new elite’. We all know what he really meant. He groaned about their failure to take responsiblity. To view themselves as eternal outsiders. (He could have said victims, too). My hope is that this condition is slowly changing and we’re seeing a more mature, less hysterical Jewish response to the challenges both within and outside Jewry.

      • lysias
        July 17, 2012, 5:25 pm

        The defeat of 1945 led to the shriveling of German nationalism and of Christianity in Germany.

      • ColinWright
        July 19, 2012, 1:28 am

        “The defeat of 1945 led to the shriveling of German nationalism and of Christianity in Germany.”

        Well, Hitler had already shriveled Christianity in Germany pretty good.

      • lysias
        July 19, 2012, 11:45 am

        The Christian churches in Germany were entirely too guilty of complicity with Nazism, and after 1945 the German public was well aware of this fact.

      • American
        July 19, 2012, 12:37 pm

        lysias says:
        July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am

        The Christian churches in Germany were entirely too guilty of complicity with Nazism, and after 1945 the German public was well aware of this fact
        >>>>>>>

        So you’re promoting the idea all Christian Churches were supportive of what the Nazis did? That has a familiar ring to it.
        Prior to Hitler taking power the Catholic Church excommunicated members who joined the Nazi party. Afterward it tired to make an agreement to keep Hitler from attacking Catholics…but of course he did anyway.
        Right or wrong or obviously some German christians, but it’s a bit more to it than you protray.

      • lysias
        July 19, 2012, 6:51 pm

        Some books you might read: Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 ; Robert Ericksen, Theologians Under Hitler; John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope.

      • seafoid
        July 17, 2012, 5:54 pm

        Judaism has to be better than the mindless cruelty of hophmi, bigger than the myopia of Lieberman, kinder than Bibi , smarter than Gideon Sa’ar. It has to be confident and respectful of the rights of others and it has to say something to people other than permanent war.

        Zionism is like the reign of Aurangzeb.
        http://asianhistory.about.com/od/india/p/Aurangzeb-Emperor-Of-Mughal-India.htm

        It all fell apart after he died

        Fundamentalism can only last so long before its contradictions bring it down.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 6:03 pm

        “But intermarriage over 50 % for secular Jewry.. I have a problem with that. I think it should be lower, but that requires hard work and no shaming.”

        All it requires Klaus, is that you tell your sister and/or daughter to get off their butts, come over here and make Jewish babies with me. And don’t take any back-talk from the b–tches, we gotta race to perpetuate.

        BTW, Krauss, did you ever think, oh no it couldn’t be, but lets just consider it, that the reason %50 of Jewish girls marry out is because there are Jewish men like you? So really, pal, do you really want to bring up this whole intermarriage thing. You run the risk of having some of those out-married Jewish girls saying, in simple words of one syllable or less, exactly why they didn’t marry a Jewish man.
        So you don’t think “shaming” should be used. Well, it’s always easy to put a clause in your will.

        My God, the man thinks Judaism owns, besides my dick, all the women’s uteruses and vagina’s. You’re a sick man, Krauss. Who anybody except you chooses to marry is none of your business. Speculating about other people’s sex lives is iccky! And I feel sorry for her.

      • Dutch
        July 17, 2012, 7:35 pm

        “There are many peoples who have disappeared alltogether.”

        Krauss, no offense meant, but what’s wrong with disappearing in terms of assimilation?

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 7:58 pm

        Who says you “disappear” when you assimilate. I hardly see how being a decent citizen, following the laws of the country you live in and being a good person interferes with any amount of religious activity. Or do I have to wear funny clothes, too? I really prefer to dress more-or-less like the people around me.
        And how does sassimilation prevent a Jew from bringing up his children as Jews?

        You see what they do, they take completely outmoded concepts of assimilation, concepts related to the goddam 18th and 19th centuries, and pretend they are relevant today.

      • jonrich111
        July 19, 2012, 12:05 pm

        Mooser wrote:
        “Who says you “disappear” when you assimilate.”

        Assimilation, by definition, is when a minority group is forced to abandon its own cultural heritage in order to adopt the beliefs and practices of the dominant group. “You” don’t disappear as an individual, but your culture disappears. Your way of life evaporates. The ancestoral memory of your people becomes forgotten — lost in the sands of time.

        “I hardly see how being a decent citizen, following the laws of the country you live in and being a good person interferes with any amount of religious activity.”

        This is a false dichotomy. Living a Jewish life in no way prevents one from being a good citizen. Jews are a cosmopolitan, diasporic people. My identity as a Jew — and my love for the Jewish people — actually makes me feel more connected to improving the lives of the world as a whole.

        “And how does sassimilation prevent a Jew from bringing up his children as Jews?”

        Being Jewish is something you do; not something you believe. Jewish law is concerned with rituals and practices guiding how we live our lives. By suppressing Jewish culture, you are suppressing Jewish identity. Without the Hebrew language, religious education, dietary options, Jewish cultural studies, etc. then there is a significant barrier to a person’s ability to live Jewishly.

        As a Jew from a mixed family raised in the Deep South, I can attest to the negative effects of assimilation on Jewish identity. It is extremely difficult to live Jewishly when 99.9% of the people around you are Christian/Baptist. When you grow up in an atmosphere of Christian normativity and privilege, you are basically invisible — as if you don’t exist. The Jews in the South are less involved in Jewish communal life, and therefore are less educated about what it means to be Jewish. The children of intermarriage are also far more likely to be ignorant of Jewish practice and tend to intermarry as well. As an anecdotal example of this, almost all of my Jewish friends are dating gentiles. All of the Jewish relatives in my family have either married out or are currently dating non-Jews. And only one of my cousins is raising her kids Jewish. The rest are either raising them Christian or as “nothing.”

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 19, 2012, 2:37 pm

        “Assimilation, by definition, is when a minority group is forced to abandon its own cultural heritage in order to adopt the beliefs and practices of the dominant group.”

        Whose forcing? Look at your own family situation:

        “And only one of my cousins is raising her kids Jewish. The rest are either raising them Christian or as ‘nothing.'”

        No one is forcing this, they just don’t seem to care about the Jewish culture like you do. That’s life. It sucks for those who don’t want that outcome, but what’s the alternative? Forcing people to live in the kind of culture YOU want, rather than the culture that THEY, themselves want?

      • Carowhat
        July 21, 2012, 6:11 pm

        Assimilation, by definition, is when a minority group is forced to abandon its own cultural heritage in order to adopt the beliefs and practices of the dominant group. “You” don’t disappear as an individual, but your culture disappears. Your way of life evaporates. The ancestoral memory of your people becomes forgotten — lost in the sands of time.

        Nonsense. The beliefs and practices of the minority culture (to the extent they are valuable and worthwhile) become part of the larger culture. Now everyone subscribes to them, not just a small minority.

      • Carowhat
        July 21, 2012, 6:18 pm

        And only one of my cousins is raising her kids Jewish. The rest are either raising them Christian or as ‘nothing.’

        I doubt anyone is raising their kids as “nothing.” They are raising them as Americans, in other words as a culture which assimilates the best from every culture in the melting pot.

      • jonrich111
        July 21, 2012, 6:30 pm

        @Carowhat:
        “The beliefs and practices of the minority culture (to the extent they are valuable and worthwhile) become part of the larger culture. Now everyone subscribes to them, not just a small minority.”

        If this were the case, then intermarried couples and their children would be well-versed in the beliefs and practices of Judaism. But this is not even remotely the case. Overwhelmingly, children of intermarriage tend to have less Jewish education, less understanding of Jewish culture/religion/history, cannot speak Yiddish or Hebrew, don’t keep Kosher, have little attachment to Jewish communal organizations, etc. Of course some Jewish practices have assimilated into the mainstream, but overall it would appear that assimilated Jews are less Jewishly involved and educated than non-assimilated Jews.

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 6:32 pm

        @Carowhat : “Nonsense. The beliefs and practices of the minority culture (to the extent they are valuable and worthwhile) become part of the larger culture. Now everyone subscribes to them, not just a small minority.”

        Yeah, I agree. Think of the diverse ethnic origin of so many now popular American “comfort ” foods. Now also use “food” as a metaphor.

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 8:41 pm

        Thank you, Carowhat. That’s how my kid was raised. He’s not “nothing.” Far from it. With or without the quote marks.

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 8:49 pm

        jonrich111, why do you assume the beliefs and practices of Judaism would be viewed and felt as valuable by the larger culture?

      • Carowhat
        July 21, 2012, 9:42 pm

        <If this were the case, then intermarried couples and their children would be well-versed in the beliefs and practices of Judaism.

        When you say Judaism I don’t know if you mean the religion or the culture and philosophy. If you mean the latter, I don’t know that anything valuable would be lost. It seems to me that in any intermarried household the children would be well-versed in those Jewish cultural beliefs that have universal applicability (just as they would be well versed in the cultural beliefs of the non-Jewish parent).

        If you are talking about religious beliefs and practices you are indeed right that those would go. But if you are not religious, so what?

        If your concern is genetic–maintaining the ethnic purity of your bloodline, I’m afraid I can’t follow you there, as that has always seemed like Aryan nonsense to me.

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 10:51 am

        @Carowhat:
        “They are raising them as Americans, in other words as a culture which assimilates the best from every culture in the melting pot.”

        I would hardly say that white suburban middle-America absorbs the “best” from every culture. Quite the opposite; I would say the worst elements of ethnic cultures are assimilated into a homogenized mass. McMansions, suburban sprawl, materialism, mindless consumerism, and conformity are hardly “positive” things.

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 12:16 pm

        jonrich111,

        Do you define yourself as white or something else?

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 23, 2012, 1:54 pm

        “I would hardly say that white suburban middle-America absorbs the ‘best’ from every culture. Quite the opposite; I would say the worst elements of ethnic cultures are assimilated into a homogenized mass. McMansions, suburban sprawl, materialism, mindless consumerism, and conformity are hardly ‘positive’ things.”

        You might not think so, but for a large percentage of people (including, by your figures, 50% of Jews) value this “homogenized mass” more than the ethnically pure culture which you would choose for them.

      • Citizen
        July 23, 2012, 6:13 pm

        jonrich111, the characterization of America as a “melting pot” is very passe, and has been for decades since the rise of “diversity” and “multiculturalism” as the favored goal. “Melting pot” morphed to “salad,” and salad has been morphing to” stew” (all in the soup but some chunks here and there). It’s not PC to question the stress on ethnic/racial heterogeneity in terms of the solidarity of the whole nation, the fostering of trust in the whole community that is the USA. The consumer homogeneity you mention is not political at all; it’s pure corporate profit regardless of which tribe in America you belong to.

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 7:54 pm

        jonrich111,

        When you criticize “white” people and “white males,” are you speaking as an insider — a member of that group — or as an outsider — a member of another group? If so, which group?

      • Carowhat
        July 23, 2012, 8:35 pm

        jonrich111: Quite the opposite; I would say the worst elements of ethnic cultures are assimilated into a homogenized mass.

        Therefore what? Jews should not assimilate, lest they be dragged down into the mire in which the goyim live?

      • jonrich111
        July 24, 2012, 9:29 am

        @Woody Tanaka:
        “You might not think so, but for a large percentage of people (including, by your figures, 50% of Jews) value this “homogenized mass” more than the ethnically pure culture which you would choose for them.”

        You present this is as there was a free choice involved, as though every human being is given a free range of cultures to choose to partake in, all of which are equally valued by society. That is not even remotely the case. When you have the persistence of anti-Semitism, of Christian privilege (and white privilege) and of Christian normativity. The fact that there are 2 billion Christians who actively prostyltze and 1 billion Muslims yet only around 13 million Jews shows us definitely that the cultural pull is not equal. If all cultures and religions were put on an equal footing to choose from, you might have a point. But that is not the case.

      • Roya
        July 24, 2012, 9:04 pm

        When you have the persistence of anti-Semitism …

        Jon Rich, what type of anti-Semitism have you personally faced here in the States? How often, in what form, and from whom?

        … of Christian privilege (and white privilege) and of Christian normativity. The fact that there are 2 billion Christians who actively prostyltze and 1 billion Muslims yet only around 13 million Jews shows us definitely that the cultural pull is not equal. If all cultures and religions were put on an equal footing to choose from, you might have a point. But that is not the case.

        This says nothing about equality. This just says that throughout history Muslims and Christians have been more successful than Jews in invading other societies and in embarking on religious crusades. This also has to do with Judaism being a semi-closed religion and Christianity and Islam being open ones. Also, Judaism is older than Christianity and Islam, meaning that somewhere along the line many former Jews converted to the later religions, including many of the Christians and Muslims of the Holy Land. There’s likely other factors too but suggesting that racism is the reason that Judaism is less prevalent than Christianity and Islam is absurd, nonsensical, and just another form of the ‘we are victims’ mantra.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 3:23 pm

        @jonrich111,
        There was a time in Jewish history that they pro-actively sought converts, and not always by peaceful seduction. The Jewish Establishment does not do so; in fact, it often points with pride at just how hard they make it for someone to convert to Judaism. So who’s fault is it that “the cultural pull is not equal?” Most people are pretty lazy. If all they have to do is pledge allegiance to Jesus, isn’t that easier than jumping through a thousand hoops?
        The Hutterites don’t get many conversions either. And I don’t see the Roma complaining they don’t get many converts, do you?

      • Abuadam
        July 17, 2012, 8:00 pm

        You don’t like intermarriage and assimilation? Be careful Krauss your bigotry is showing !!!!

      • Krauss
        July 17, 2012, 11:24 pm

        Uh oh, I’m getting slammed for disagreeing with 50 % intermarriage.

        Also, it’s not about two black/white positions(either trying to forbid intermarriage completely or just allow ourselves to melt away. There are nuances here).

        Last time I checked even the most progressive corners of Judaism, The Reform movement etc, have a thorough methodology to deal with intermarriage and talks about it as a problem in an open way and just about everyone wants to get it down, as well as include those who have intermarried to ensure that there is Jewish continuity.

        How that is bigotry escapes me, and if you stop and think about it, it becomes even more absurd as that would mean just about the entire Jewish community(not just the establishment) are a bunch of bigots for worrying about intermarriage.

        Which of course is a legitimate position to take – if you’re a non-Jew who wishes Jews to cease being a coherent social group. Which Aduadam doesn’t seem to mind happening.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 6:16 am

        I think it’s fair to say that it’s a major Mondoweiss theme to achieve a cessation of Jews as a coherent social group. The blog’s creator is intermarried, proud of it, calls efforts to educate young Jews in the Jewish religion a return to “segregation,” calls efforts to bring down intermarriage in the Jewish community bigoted, publishes literature opposing circumcision, opposes the concept of a Jewish political sovereignty, and favors radical assimilation of Jews into American culture as the answer to the Jewish question. Achieving the cessation of Jews as a cohesive social group is a nice way to put it.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 7:55 am

        @ hophmi:
        The blog’s creator is intermarried, proud of it
        Scandalous! How dare he marry the person he loves!

        calls efforts to educate young Jews in the Jewish religion a return to “segregation,”
        It is segregation. Also, ever heard of freedom of religion? Everyone has the right to decide about their own religion. Imposing a religion on innocent, defenceless children violates the children’s religious freedom.

        calls efforts to bring down intermarriage in the Jewish community bigoted
        Imagine that Christian parents told their Christian son, “Don’t marry this girl! She’s Jewish.” I bet you would be among the first people who accuse the parents of being anti-Semites.

        publishes literature opposing circumcision
        Yeah, wanting to protect the children’s right to physical integrity and religious freedom is so evil.

        opposes the concept of a Jewish political sovereignty
        No ethnic or religious group has the right to an own state! Equal rights for all.

        favors radical assimilation of Jews into American culture as the answer to the Jewish question
        Assimilation is not a radical thing. Also, the USA has freedom of religion. So, assimilation does not include or require giving up your religion.

      • seafoid
        July 18, 2012, 9:22 am

        “I think it’s fair to say that it’s a major Mondoweiss theme to achieve a cessation of Jews as a coherent social group.”

        “The Jews are not my enemy; their fear is my enemy. We must help them to stop being so afraid—their whole history has terrified them—but I refuse to be a victim of Jewish fear anymore.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/07/israel-in-peril/

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 1:37 pm

        I find myself wondering in which particular branch of Judaism hophmi was indoctrinated. Pretty strict, I bet, and it made quite a powerful imprint on his mind and personality.

        Some people can work through their childhood cultural and ideological conditioning, rise above it, be themselves; others can’t. They are permanently caged in. They can’t imagine a world outside the cage. The prospect of stepping out of the cage is terrifying.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 2:01 pm

        @Krauss:

        just allow ourselves to melt away
        If you don’t want to melt away, then don’t lie in the sun. But, seriously, why do so many Jewish people refer to all Jews who have ever existed and will exist in the future as “we”? Aren’t Jewish people individuals, just like non-Jewish people? Recently, I watched a documentary about Jewish life in Germany. And the teacher in the Jewish kindergarten indoctrinated these innocent, impressionable kids with perpetual victimhood by telling them, “Did you know? WE were slaves in Egypt. This means that WE had to work very hard and carry heavy things and stuff.” None of the people in the room has ever been a slave. So, why on earth did this woman say “we”?

        Last time I checked even the most progressive corners of Judaism, The Reform movement etc, have a thorough methodology to deal with intermarriage and talks about it as a problem in an open way and just about everyone wants to get it down
        Yeah, that’s terrible. Not even these progressive Jews are actually progressive. Calling such people progressive is like calling Obama a socialist.

        How that is bigotry escapes me
        Perhaps because these people encourage convenience marriages instead of love marriages. They consider preserving “Jewishness” more important than finding actual love and happiness. That’s pretty fanatic. I mean, if the person you fall in love with happens to be Jewish as well, then fine. However, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to Jewish people when looking for a partner. That’s like declaring non-Jewish people inferior or subhuman.

      • evets
        July 18, 2012, 2:26 pm

        ‘How that is bigotry escapes me….’

        I guess it’s bigotry if you’re only interested in preserving a genetic entity, as opposed to an entity whose religion or culture you deem to have value, maybe absolute value (let’s leave aside the value of that value).

      • AllenBee
        July 18, 2012, 2:36 pm

        “The prospect of stepping out of the cage is terrifying.”

        true, but a larger reality is that it’s extremely difficult to know you are in a cage if that cage is the only world you’ve ever known.

        careful there Allenbee; you’re actually displaying some compassionate attempt at understanding. Gentleness — but firmness — is important in introducing the caged into the larger world.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 2:55 pm

        “I find myself wondering in which particular branch of Judaism hophmi was indoctrinated. Pretty strict, I bet, and it made quite a powerful imprint on his mind and personality.”

        You’re wrong about that too.

        “They can’t imagine a world outside the cage. The prospect of stepping out of the cage is terrifying.”

        Sean, you don’t know shit about Zionism, you don’t know shit about Judaism, and you don’t know shit about me. You subscribe to a conspiratorial, hate-laced ideology and you seem not to be able to step outside of a room of like-minded conspiracy theorists. Show me where you’ve tried to make these arguments in a forum where there was any kind of balance instead of one where you were preaching to the choir.

      • Citizen
        July 18, 2012, 3:11 pm

        Yes, seanmcbride, it’s hard to decolonize one’s own mind. Especially if you were born to a Jewish mother. That’s why that’s the classical Jewish test for deciding if a person is Jewish or not.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 4:14 pm

        hophmi,

        In which branch of Judaism were you raised? With which branch of Judaism are you currently affiliated or most sympathetic towards?

        I’ve noticed in your posts that you keep trying to associate Zionism with religion. Why do you do that? Zionism from the start was an emphatically secular movement (many early Zionist leaders were European socialists or Marxists) and many current influential Zionists despise religion.

        Religious Zionists have made a total mess of the Israeli cultural and political system, and it is going to get much worse.

        What are your core beliefs on religion and its relation to Zionism?

        As for my knowledge of Judaism and Zionism: it goes fairly deep. I am a voracious reader and have had some impressive teachers on those subjects.

        As for you personally: what you are all about couldn’t be more obvious. You shout it out in every post. Your entire emotional and intellectual life (what little there is of it) revolves around your nasty battles with your ethnic nationalist enemies. You are a carbon copy of millions of other people who share the same boring and obnoxious agenda. If there is another side to you, it hasn’t been evident on Mondoweiss.

      • jonrich111
        July 19, 2012, 12:59 pm

        @ German Lefty:

        “ever heard of freedom of religion? Everyone has the right to decide about their own religion. Imposing a religion on innocent, defenseless children violates the children’s religious freedom.”

        Judaism is not merely a religion — it is a peoplehood, an evolving civilization, an ancestral heritage, and a vibrant ethnic culture with a 3,000 year history. It is impossible to raise a child without ANY ethnic/cultural influences. Even if you raise your kids “secular,” you are still exposing them to literally millions of subtle influences from Western/European civilization, Christian influence, and gentile culture in general. This idea that we can raise children as blank slate tabula rasas divorced from any and all influence of religion/ethnicity/culture is a fantasy. Because you are a member of the dominant majority culture, you do not see your cultural influence as a segregating, brainwashing imposition. And that, my friend, is called “privilege.”

        “Imagine that Christian parents told their Christian son, “Don’t marry this girl! She’s Jewish.” I bet you would be among the first people who accuse the parents of being anti-Semites.”

        There is such a massive asymmetry of power between Christians and Jews that this comparison is rendered meaningless. Christians is the largest religion in the world with over 2 billion followers. Christians actively proselyte and are therefore constantly bringing in new recruits. And the intermarriage rate for Christians is extremely low (far less than 50%).

        By contrast, Jews compromise roughly 0.02% of the world population. We have high rates of assimilation and 50% intermarriage rate. We are forbidden to proselytize so the only way to continue our existence as a people is through reproduction and raising our children as Jews. Judaism is an ancestery and heritage in a way that Christianity is not.

        Most Jews (especially Reform) are tolerant of intermarriage and support the right of people to marry for love. However, we still are concerned about the effects of high rates of intermarriage and assimilation on our survival as a people. And our community is working on finding a positive balance between these two values (marrying for love and group survival). It is an admirable thing to encourage Jews to love and forge attachments to their culture, promote Jewish marriages and raising children as Jewish while still be welcoming, inclusive, compassionate, and supportive of couples that choose to intermarry. There need not be a contradiction there and Judaism is capable of being a big open tent.

      • German Lefty
        July 19, 2012, 2:16 pm

        @jonrich111:
        It is impossible to raise a child without ANY ethnic/cultural influences. Even if you raise your kids “secular,” you are still exposing them to literally millions of subtle influences from Western/European civilization
        That’s true, but such influences are inevitable and not encouraged by the parents. Religion, however, is unnecessary and intentionally forced on children. Making your children believe in imaginary beings and fear (posthumous) punishment by these imaginary beings, teaching your children to hate certain groups of people (gays or Arabs), hacking of a healthy body part of your children – such things don’t happen to children randomly. That’s parental force and violates the children’s right to religious freedom and physical integrity.

        There is such a massive asymmetry of power between Christians and Jews that this comparison is rendered meaningless.
        OMG, I can’t believe it. So, you don’t think that Jews should be treated equally? You don’t believe in equal standards for all? You don’t think that you should treat other people the same way that you want to be treated by them? When Christian parents tell their child, “Don’t marry this Jew!”, then that’s anti-Semitic. However, when Jewish parents tell their child, “Don’t marry this Christian/Muslim!”, then that’s totally justified and not hateful at all? What a nice double standard you have there! Well, if Jews willingly espouse and apply double standards, then they have NO right to complain that anti-Semites have their double standards, too!!!

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 19, 2012, 2:46 pm

        jonrich111,

        that’s a really long-winded way of saying “it’s bigotry when you do it to me, but not when I do it to you.”

      • jonrich111
        July 19, 2012, 4:15 pm

        @German Lefty:

        “Religion, however, is unnecessary and intentionally forced on children”

        Who said that Jewishness was a religion? Most Jews today do not define their identity based on religion but rather a broadly encompassing idea of ethnicity/culture/peoplehood. I would liken it more to an extended family or kinship group than a religion.

        “Making your children believe in imaginary beings and fear (posthumous) punishment by these imaginary beings,”

        No offense, but you seem to have very little basic knowledge of what Judaism is about. First of all, Jews do not believe in hell. Judaism has no specified beliefs about the afterlife — only a vague notion that there is a “world to come” (Olam Ha ba). There is absolutely nothing in Judaism about Heaven, Hell, original sin, or punishment in the afterlife. Believing in “imaginary beings” is not required for religious practice either. The Reconstructionist and Renewal movements believe G-d is a metaphorical energy or force in the universe, and Humanistic Jews are outright atheistic.

        “teaching your children to hate certain groups of people (gays or Arabs),”

        This is completely untrue. Judaism teaches that every person is created in the imagine of G-d and is therefore unique and valuable. The Torah reminds us that we must be kind to strangers because “we were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” Jews believe in Tikkun Olam — repairing the world. We are taught that it is our responsibility to help create peace on earth.

        And the Reform Synagogue I attend is very progressive and tolerant of GLBT members and intermarried couples as well. We have Mizrahi Jews in our Temple (Jews of Arabic descent).

        I am sure you mean well, but you seem to be attacking Judaism based on stereotypes and distortions with little basis in reality. I would invite you to study Judaism and interact with the Jewish community. You will learn that despite the Israel/Palestine conflict, most Jews are cosmopolitan people with progressive values.

      • jonrich111
        July 19, 2012, 4:31 pm

        @Woody Tanaka:

        “that’s a really long-winded way of saying “it’s bigotry when you do it to me, but not when I do it to you.””

        What you are talking about is only surface equality. It is the illusion of equality. I am speaking of creating an equality of outcome. To achieve true equality and social justice, we must take into account group dynamics, historical context, and special circumstances.

        I would compare this to Affirmative Action programs in the U.S. that give women and people of color preferential treatment in hiring. Many whites in this country argue that AA is “bigotry” and “reverse racism” because it does not treat everybody equally. However, AA is justified as a way of achieving equality of outcome based on historical and on-going white privilege.

        Encouraging and promoting Jewish continuity is analagous.

      • Citizen
        July 19, 2012, 6:03 pm

        German Lefty, this is really funny if you understand American English as actually spoken by less educated Americans, in this case, the NY, NJ type:

        Prank phone call elicits full blast of Jewish anti-goyism in colloquial NY/NJ English:
        Mom: Hello?

        Julie: Hi Mom?

        Mom: Yes

        Julie: Uh, is Daddy upset about something?

        Mom: Yes, can I ask you something Julie? I don’t understand where this guy comes off calling; he’s Italian for God sakes, whatsa matter with you?

        Julie: We got along good in class, so…

        Mom: What the hell does that mean? He could be a rapist, he could be a murderer, he could be anything!

        Julie: No, we really got along good together, I don’t really see a big a problem…

        Mom: Kid is not Jewish, there’s not even no talking! I don’t even know where this is coming from, I swear to God you go to college and you come out a different person! I got another year of this, I’ll kill myself! I’ll kill myself, are you crazy?

        Dad: Forget about Paul Martin, I’m gonna forget about his trails, and get her out of school

        Mom: I have to worry about you after dark and you’re not home yet, then you wonder why I worry? Then when I call you a dozen, fifteen, twenty times and you don’t answer the phone, and me and your father are calling and calling and calling and we don’t stop calling, and you don’t pick up! It’s a very big sin, for you to go out against your religion. An Italian doesn’t go out with a Jew and a Jew doesn’t go out with an Italian.

        Julie: Didn’t you always tell me that you think a lot of the Italian guys are cute and everything?

        Mom: Yeah, but I won’t go out with them! I don’t marry them, I don’t kiss them, I don’t do anything, they’re nice people! Are you crazy?

        Julie: Would you be upset if I did something with him?

        Mom: I would die. I would, and… They’re not kosher!! They’re lips touch pig and I don’t know… and you can’t!

        Julie: You always told me that they were bigger in the pants, and that’s why you liked them so much.

        Mom: Oh my God, you don’t repeat what I say, Oh my good God, Oh my God good, I was going to go have a good day… now I got a stomachache, I gotta go to the bathroom, I got constant diarrhea, this is ridiculous, oh kill me with a knife. Kill me with a fucking knife. What the hell did I do to deserve this? I have no idea. All I do is stay home every day and clean the fucking house, make you dinner and that’s what you do

        Julie: Don’t act like that

        Mom: And I make you dinner every night, and now

        Julie: Is it against our religion if we hooked up a little bit?

        Mom: Oh it is more than against your religion; God will strike me I don’t know what he’ll do to me. I don’t need this shift in my head

        Julie: Let me speak to Daddy?

        Dad: Yeah Julie: Are you really upset? Dad: What are you dealing with an Italian for?

        Julie: We got along really good in class

        Dad: What? I don’t give a shit!

        Julie, I’m pulling you out of that school. If it wasn’t for that school you would never see this guy Julie: I don’t really think that’s a fair thing to do.

        Dad: It’s not a fair thing? It’s fair you going out with an Italian guy? We’re nothing like that. I thought you were smarter than that! You really disappointed the hell outta me just now. You wanna get me sick, you wanna kill me? This is the way to do it. What you’re doing now. Then I’m going to die. Then you’re going to be happy and do whatever you want. Hold on speak to your mother I’m too nervous.

        Mom: Hello?

        Julie: Hello

        Robert: Is she still not saying its ok? After all this?

        Mom: Oh my God, oh my God, are you fucking kidding me? Oh my fucking God.

        Robert: Hello?

        Mom: Who’s this?

        Robert: Hello this is Robert, how you doing?

        Mom: Listen let me tell you something, we stick with our own, you stick with your own. That’s it because it’s not kosher

        Dad: Hello?

        Robert: Hi sir, how are you doing?

        Dad: I’m very upset about the whole situation, we’re very religious people, you’re not the same religion sir.

        Robert: I got a cross on my neck, I believe in Christianity

        Dad: Well we don’t believe in that sir.

        Robert: Well you should

        Dad: I beg your pardon?

        Robert: You should believe in that.

        Dad: I want you to see me in person and say that to me fella.

        Robert: That’s the right religion.

        Dad: Oh yeah? It is!

        Robert: Yeah.

        Dad: That’s the right religion?

        Robert: Yeah.

        Dad: How about you come over here and tell me that.

        Robert: I will when I meet ya.

        Dad: And I’ll put you through a fucking wall, and I’ll show you who…

        Robert: Well I’ll meet you, and we talk about our relationship

        Dad: Hey look, there’s not gonna be any relationship

        Robert: Well there is gonna be one

        Dad: Well how would you like to bet on that pal?

        Robert: It started three weeks ago.

        Dad: Oh, yeah? Well it’s going to end right now.

        Robert: As a matter of fact, come here baby give me a kiss.

        Dad: You mother… you motherfucker… I don’t like you, I don’t like anything about you, and if I see you I’m gonna fucking break you in 10 pieces. How do you like that fella?

        Robert: I’ll bring over some spaghetti and meatballs for dinner how about that? I don’t want to eat any of that…you make crap dinners. I’d choke at you house.

        Dad: I should come over there and beat the fucking living shit out of you.

        Robert: Well, that wouldn’t be very  

        To get the full flavor of the hate:
        View, hear the actual video at http://www.hark.com/clips/cwwddfhrft-a-jewish-girl-prank-calls-her-parents#twc03xgxxChS62wL.99

      • German Lefty
        July 19, 2012, 6:26 pm

        I would compare this to Affirmative Action programs in the U.S. that give women and people of color preferential treatment in hiring. Many whites in this country argue that AA is “bigotry” and “reverse racism” because it does not treat everybody equally.
        It IS reverse racism! Either you support race-based discrimination or you reject it. Decide for one. You can’t have both. You need to apply your principles equally to all groups of people. No double standards! If black people support race-based discrimination when it’s beneficial to them, but reject it when it’s detrimental to them, then they are not any better than white racists.

        However, AA is justified as a way of achieving equality of outcome based on historical and on-going white privilege.
        So, you want to punish the present generations of white people for crimes that previous generations of white people committed? You want to compensate present generations of black people for slave labour that they never had to do? That’s what you consider fair? Seriously? Let bygones be bygones. Stop punishing or compensating people for things they haven’t done!

      • jonrich111
        July 19, 2012, 11:15 pm

        @German Lefty:
        “So, you want to punish the present generations of white people for crimes that previous generations of white people committed? Seriously? Let bygones be bygones. Stop punishing or compensating people for things they haven’t done!”

        That is why Jews say we don’t have history; we have memory. History is dates and numbers. Memory is alive and active. It is continually struggled with by the present generation, and then passed to the future.

        That is why I mentioned that African-Americans suffer from both historical and on-going oppression. The injustices committed by white Americans against blacks is being perpetuated in our present society. Centuries of institutionalized racism has left African-Americans disadvantaged. Just compare poverty rates, unemployment rates, incarceration rates. Hell, the prison industrial complex is practically the new Jim Crow.

        The flip side of this is that white Americans are the beneficiaries of a myriad of hidden privileges and advantages. These come at the expense of people of color. So the past is still with us. It didn’t go anywhere. In order to create equality between white and black Americans, we have to give temporary advantage and preferential treatment to oppressed groups. It’s not reverse racism. It is abolishing white privilege and leveling the playing field so that blacks and whites can be on equal footing.

      • German Lefty
        July 20, 2012, 5:13 pm

        @ jonrich111:
        Centuries of institutionalized racism has left African-Americans disadvantaged. Just compare poverty rates, unemployment rates, incarceration rates.
        The problem is that you see people as (homogeneous) groups, whereas I see people as individuals. Associating black people with poverty/unemployment and white people with wealth/successful careers is in itself racist. You can’t throw all black people into the same pot, just because they happen to have the same skin colour. The same applies to white people. Look at your Muslim-murdering president and at all the black NBA players. These poor creatures are desperately in need of some preferential treatment, don’t you think? Look at the long lines of white people in front of homeless shelters. These lucky creatures are so privileged, aren’t they? What I am trying to say is that ALL poor/unemployed people deserve support, REGARDLESS of their race. And in order to achieve that, you need to see each person as individual. Don’t you, too, want a colour-blind society? Well, a colour-blind society requires colour-blind legislation. How can a state achieve colour-blindness and teach its citizens that race-based discrimination is wrong when the state itself demands race-based discrimination in form of AA? That’s a contradiction in itself. Black people usually say that they want a colour-blind society. Yet a lot of them refer to each other as brother/sister and support reverse racism in form of Affirmate Action. “I want equal treatment. Now, give me preferential treatment.” – That’s totally hypocritical. You need to practise yourself what you preach to others. Either you want race to matter or not. Choose one option and stick with it. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

        The injustices committed by white Americans against blacks is being perpetuated in our present society.
        Have you ever considered the possibility that some of the present racism against black people could actually be a CONSEQUENCE of Affirmative Action? I can imagine that some white people think something along the lines of, “Black people benefit from AA. That’s why I need to counterbalance this preferential treatment of black people by giving preferential treatment to white people.” Institutionalised racism (original or reverse racism) fuels societal racism.

        The flip side of this is that white Americans are the beneficiaries of a myriad of hidden privileges and advantages.
        And? Even if that’s the case, then this still doesn’t justify the collective punishment of white people by reverse racism. Most white people are not racist. So, it’s not their fault that these privileges exist. And their own whiteness isn’t their fault either. Therefore, it’s unfair to punish them for these things. Also, when you constantly punish non-racists for racism, then you might turm them into racists.

        It’s not reverse racism.
        Treating people differently because of their race is racism. Period. Giving people preferential treatment because of their race is as wrong as treating people worse because of their race.

        I’d also like to add that AA is degrading to black people. Having AA suggests that black people are somehow disabled or underdeveloped. However, black people are as capable as white people of achieving things on their own. That’s why they don’t qualify for preferential treatment.

      • seanmcbride
        July 20, 2012, 6:23 pm

        German Lefty,

        Permit me to say that I am impressed by your sharp mind and forceful and pitch perfect English prose style.

        And as a progressive libertarian, I generally agree with your arguments for organizing politics around individuals, not special interest identity groups. That’s the modern democratic way.

        Identity politics can get to be a real pain in the ass. Germans are especially cognizant of the problem.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 20, 2012, 8:15 pm

        German Lefty,

        In a perfect world, your approach would be the correct one. However, this is the USA we’re talking about here. This country is still a mess. A lot left over from past days, but much of it from institutional problems that disproportionately affect minorities to this date. On the whole, black folks who benefit from Affirmative Action are not likely to even get to the level where they should be if racism and the lingering effects of it were not still active parts of US society.

        To take one small example, past discrimination led to crowding of predominantly poor black folks living in fairly well defined geographical areas. But schools in the US are often funded based on the local tax base, dumb as that is. As you can imagine, those areas which, because of past discrimination, are home to poor people, are much worse than schools in affluent communities. It is simply not true that, in the US, there is equal opportunity for all. A lot of people are disadvantaged before they’re even born. But we like the “equal opportunity for all” lie, so Affirmative Action and similar concepts are put in place instead of the real changes that America is too chicken shit to actually make.

      • German Lefty
        July 21, 2012, 10:14 am

        @ seanmcbride:

        I am impressed by your sharp mind and forceful and pitch perfect English prose style.
        Thanks.

        Germans are especially cognizant of the problem.
        Well, most political parties in Germany are in favour of women quota, including my beloved Left Party. Totally sucks. Reverse discrimination is as wrong as original discrimination. Two wrongs don’t make right. Revenge is not justice. I want to be hired because of my abilities, not because of my gender. Feminists who support women quota can’t be taken seriously.

      • eljay
        July 21, 2012, 11:05 am

        >> Judaism is not merely a religion …

        But it is, fundamentally, a religious construct. The only way to be Jewish is to undergo religious conversion, or to be descended from someone who underwent religious conversion.

        >> We are forbidden to proselytize …

        You’re also forbidden from eating pork and being atheist, but there are plenty of Jews who do both. Why the sudden powerlessness when it comes to proselytizing?

        >> … Judaism is capable of being a big open tent.

        The tent may be big and open, but the gates are firmly shut to those who do not have the price of admission: A religious conversion, or an “inherited” religious conversion.

      • American
        July 21, 2012, 11:58 am

        “In order to create equality between white and black Americans, we have to give temporary advantage and preferential treatment to oppressed groups. It’s not reverse racism. It is abolishing white privilege and leveling the playing field so that blacks and whites can be on equal footing.”

        We’ve done that already with AAction. Wake up, we have a Black president.
        If Blacks are disadvantaged in any way still, it is in the judicial system where Blacks do get disproportionately incarcerated and sentenced imo.

      • hophmi
        July 21, 2012, 12:36 pm

        American says that because we have a Black president, affirmative action has been successful.

        That’s a little ridiculous. The structural inequality in this country is a lot deeper than the judicial system, and affirmative action, while moderately successful at creating a Black middle class, has not come close to closing the gaps left over from hundreds of year of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and discrimination. The Wells Fargo scandal from last week is an unfortunate reminder that Blacks continue to face significant discrimination in American society.

      • American
        July 21, 2012, 1:33 pm

        @ GermanLefty

        I would tend to agree mostly…although I do think that Affirmative Action was necesary and good immediately following civil rights in order to give Blacks a leg up and legal recourse to discrimination.
        That said however, AA and hiring as it was done within AA in the beginning should have a time limit. You can’t eternally give any group a special set up. How long should AA last? A generation? I don’t know, but making it forever doesn’t not inspire any group to not be dependent or count on it instead of themselves.

      • seanmcbride
        July 21, 2012, 2:28 pm

        Hophmi, the supporter of apartheid Israel, is hilarious when he gets on his high horse about American inequalities. This is a seriously confused person. He wants to present himself to the world as a “liberal” while supporting one of the most anti-liberal governments in the world — Israel.

        Good lord — “liberal Zionists” — a remarkable breed.

      • German Lefty
        July 21, 2012, 4:02 pm

        @ jonrich111:

        There is absolutely nothing in Judaism about Heaven, Hell, original sin, or punishment in the afterlife.
        If you had read properly, you would have seen that I wrote about religion in general. And as I am most familiar with the Christian religion, these were the examples that first came into my mind.

        Judaism teaches that every person is created in the imagine of G-d and is therefore unique and valuable. […] And the Reform Synagogue I attend is very progressive and tolerant of GLBT members and intermarried couples as well.
        If Judaism is so incredibly tolerant, then why did the parlament of the “Jewish State” reject a bill that would have legalised same-sex and interfaith marriages, huh?
        http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=270221
        Also, recently, I listened to a radio report about the lack of acceptance of homosexuality by Ultra-Orthodox Jews. They use the same Leviticus verse as Christians to justify their hatred: “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” If you understand German, you can read or listen to the report here:
        http://www.dradio.de/dkultur/sendungen/weltzeit/1795389/

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 5:59 pm

        @American,
        AA started in 1961, was given a boost in 1964,’65, and has been going strong, and adding historical victim classes ever since–with only the lop-off of outright quotas. That’s quite a few decades now, eh? I have always been for equal opportunity for all. I agree it shouldn’t last forever because at some point disparate impact is reversed, yes? AA, as applied to legally discriminate against whites of working class background, for example, never seemed justifiable to me. Logically of course AA is simply reverse discrimination applied on the base of race/ethnic classification. Nothing has been done about “legacy privilege,” in higher education, nor about an education system financed mostly by property owners in any given school district. I’d like to see a cap on inheritance wealth–how’s that for AA?

      • jonrich111
        July 21, 2012, 6:04 pm

        @German Lefty:

        “The problem is that you see people as (homogeneous) groups, whereas I see people as individuals.”

        That’s a product of your white privilege. It’s easy to see people as “individuals” when you’re a member of the dominant group. Your whiteness is accepted as a taken-for-granted assumption; not a socially constructed ethnicity. Being a member of a disadvantaged or marginalized group gives one the perspective of being “an outsider looking in” and therefore we have the ability to actively see patterns of group privilege and oppression.

        Sociologically speaking, individuals only exist in the context of groups. Human beings are a social animal. We are born in groups, we live in groups, and we die in groups. Even the very language we use to speak with would not exist without society and culture. Neither would technology, tool-making, survival skills, beliefs and attitudes, customs, or our sense of self.

        “ALL poor/unemployed people deserve support, REGARDLESS of their race.”

        This is buying into the old Marxist notion that all oppression is class oppression. This is categorically false. There are many INTERSECTING dynamics of oppression based on race/ethnicity, class, gender, religion, disability, sexuality, etc. For example, a poor white male experiences oppression due to his economic class, but he experiences privilege from his white skin and male gender. This is because WHITENESS itself is not a category of oppression but of institutional advantage, whereas BLACKNESS puts one at an extreme disadvantage. Combining blackness with poverty is a recipe for a double oppression that is far beyond what whites experience.

        “Have you ever considered the possibility that some of the present racism against black people could actually be a CONSEQUENCE of Affirmative Action?”

        The facts are indisputable. There are observable disparities between blacks and whites in terms of housing, job interviews, hiring practices, unemployment rates, poverty rates, prison sentencing, incarceration rates, arrest rates, health-care outcomes, and educational attainment. Such disparities existed for CENTURIES before Affirmative-Action programs were even created. Therefore, it would literally be impossible for AA to CAUSE these disparities (unless you reject the laws of physics and believe in backwards causality). Furthermore, all the available data suggests that the social disparities between blacks and whites have shrunk due to AA programs (but not completely.)

        “this still doesn’t justify the collective punishment of white people by reverse racism.”

        Calling Affirmative-Action a “punishment” is Orwellian thinking — akin to saying “war is peace,” or “freedom is slavery.” What you are really stating is that EQUALITY is a punishment. That equality is racist. But blacks and whites do not start with a level-playing field, so there is no objective baseline for comparison. In order for equality to exist, whites must relinquish some of their unjust privileges and advantages. Likewise, blacks must be LEVELED UP TO THE STARTING LINE in order to gain an equal footing with whites. What you are calling “punishment” is actually just a renunciation of unearned white privilege.

        “Most white people are not racist. So, it’s not their fault that these privileges exist.”

        Completely and totally irrelevant. Racism is a SYSTEM. It is embedded in our social structure. It is an institution. Racism is perpetuated through institutional advantages and privileges built into the fabric of society itself. The individual beliefs and motivations of white people is completely irrelevant to the existence of racism. A person can be entirely “color-blind” and anti-racist yet still receive unearned advantages due to their skin-color.

      • jonrich111
        July 21, 2012, 6:08 pm

        @Citizen:
        “I agree it shouldn’t last forever because at some point disparate impact is reversed, yes”

        As a sociologist, I can attest that there is no evidence that American society is anywhere close to this point. In virtually every category imaginable, whites have far better levels of attainment and outcome than blacks do. Compare the rates of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, imprisonment, convictions, sentencing, housing, educational attainment, etc. There may be a black president, but there are still massive disparities between black and white people in America.

      • jonrich111
        July 21, 2012, 6:10 pm

        @American:

        “You can’t eternally give any group a special set up. How long should AA last? A generation?”

        The goal of Affirmative-Action has always been to achieve equality of outcome between blacks and whites. As soon as blacks have the same poverty rates as whites, the same levels of income, same employment rates, same educational attainment, same treatment in the prison system, etc. then we will no longer need AA. Until that day comes, the program is a necessity.

      • Philip Weiss
        July 21, 2012, 6:13 pm

        thanks jon, dont know when this thread got lost on this point, but im with you

      • Carowhat
        July 21, 2012, 6:23 pm

        Achieving the cessation of Jews as a cohesive social group is a nice way to put it.

        Another way to put it is that Jewish culture becomes part of the larger American culture. Jewish values aren’t lost. The best of them become part of the larger culture. Anyone who doesn’t want to assimilate shouldn’t live in America. This country is not for people who fear their culture will be profaned by contact with outsiders.

      • jonrich111
        July 21, 2012, 6:24 pm

        @Eljay,

        “But it is, fundamentally, a religious construct. The only way to be Jewish is to undergo religious conversion, or to be descended from someone who underwent religious conversion.”

        It has been argued by many in the Jewish community that “religious conversion” is an inappropriate description of the process to becoming a Jew. This is why we have an increasing movement of people calling themselves “Jews by choice” rather than “converts.” The Society for Humanistic Judaism argues that conversion should be better understood as an “adoption” into the Jewish extended family. It is a process of casting your fate in with our people, our history, our destiny. It is a way of learning about Jewish history, practice, and then making the decision to be a part of our story.

        I would agree with you that Orthodox Jews currently have a monopoly on interpreting Jewish law (in regard to converts and the question of “who is a Jew?”) but I think that many (if not most) Jews in the world have a much broader understanding that goes beyond what Orthodox communities teach. In the 21st century there are many ways to be Jewish and we are moving towards recognizing the value in these multiple identities.

      • Carowhat
        July 21, 2012, 6:31 pm

        Outcomes are not equal in a free society. Nor are people free in an equal society.

      • edwin
        July 21, 2012, 6:37 pm

        Perhaps this should be split into a new thread?

        The earliest government affirmative action that I can think of in the US is the 50 acres and a mule. This seems to me to be potentially an extremely effective form of affirmative action for the time it was not implemented.

        Johnrich – I am no sociologist, but I am interested in the differences in affirmative action between Canada and the US in particular and am interested in affirmative action in other countries.

        Affirmative action in the US has generated a lot of hostility. I believe that it is based on a quota system. It has generated less hostility in Canada. I believe that it is based on the availability of qualified minorities. As I said, I am no expert on this, and it is possible that I am mistaken.

        I also think that there is “hidden” affirmative action in Canada – equal pay for equal work of equal value – that has forced wage increases to women to match or to match over time male counterparts.

        I don’t know the stats on how bad things are for minorities in Canada vs. the US, with the note that for the Native population things are pretty dire. A native woman survivor of the residential school system has an amazing amount going against her.

        I think that there is something in the US method of affirmative action that has generated this hostility. I don’t think that it is necessarily made up. I would accept that any inconvenience that whites in general and white males in particular suffer is miniscule to those that are helped by affirmative action. I do think though, that there is perhaps something to the claim of reverse discrimination that is leveled in the US.

        How we implement a program can have major consequences to how it is perceived and to its success.

      • German Lefty
        July 21, 2012, 6:45 pm

        @ Philip Weiss:
        thanks jon, dont know when this thread got lost on this point, but im with you
        OMG, seriously? If you think that two wrongs make a right, then why don’t you support ethnic nationalist Israel? You know, as “compensation” for ethnic nationalist Germany! Zionist Jews constantly argue that past injustice justifies present injustice, just that they don’t regard present injustice as unjust. It’s the same logic with Affirmative Action, i.e. reverse injustice.

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 6:48 pm

        Yeah Krauss, you should watch that cable TV series on Gypsies. A few nights ago they were showing inside dramatic disputes re why or why not a good Gypsy boy should date a Ganji (sic?), and why or why not a good Gypsy dad should allow his daughters to pursue their interest in theatre, or go to any Ganji school. It was all about maintaining Gypsy continuity, tradition, etc.

        On a less ethnic note, cable tv is also running a series on the Hutterites (sic?); a splinter group of 17th Century Anabaptists; they conflict, same emotional debates, but with the Hutterites it’s more religious based, their resistance against intermarriage with “the English”–their version of the Roma’s “Ganji.”

        Watching the NYC Roma hotly argue among themselves reminds me of when I was dating my wife against the wishes of (most especially) her mother.

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 7:18 pm

        RE: “A person can be entirely “color-blind” and anti-racist yet still receive unearned advantages due to their skin-color.” You mean like Obama? Did his father grow up in Kenya suffering from Jim Crow? Did Barry grow up suffering from being black, or was that half of him actually an institutionalized privilege (justified by pointing to the past history of American slaves)?

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 7:21 pm

        jonrich111, and all those sorry rates you list are solely due to white privilege?
        Do you really disparate impact theory explains the difference fully?

      • seanmcbride
        July 21, 2012, 7:35 pm

        jonrich111,

        Do you advocate using affirmative action in Eretz Yisrael (as officially defined by Likud) to bring Arabs up to the same economic level as Jews?

        I think it is going to begin to dawn on Diaspora Jews in the United States and Europe that any expressed support of Israel (which much of the world now views as an apartheid regime) is going to pull the rug out from under their traditional espousal of liberal values in the Diaspora. There is no rational way to harmonize these two political programs.

      • seanmcbride
        July 21, 2012, 7:38 pm

        jonrich111,

        You wrote,

        “The goal of Affirmative-Action has always been to achieve equality of outcome between blacks and whites. As soon as blacks have the same poverty rates as whites, the same levels of income, same employment rates, same educational attainment, same treatment in the prison system, etc. then we will no longer need AA. Until that day comes, the program is a necessity.”

        And presumably you advocate the same standards, policies and programs for Arabs and Jews in Israel. Right?

      • American
        July 21, 2012, 7:40 pm

        @ jon

        During the time AA has been in action the most major cause of black poverty ‘continuing’, being passed down, is the unwed mothers rate. That is not even disputed among black educators and leaders.
        Among Blacks it has gone from 24% to 72 % duringAA and aid to single mothers. So there is more at work than ‘white privilege’ keeping them down.
        Instead of blaming the white man your time would be better spent looking into the overall dumb downing of and decline of society and it’s values in general, the poor examples young people get from media and etc…….and those responsible for it. Among those responsible you will find some one note johnny sociologists who blame it all on the white privileged perps.
        All intelligent people agree that that you can only do so much for people or a person and then their own motivation and sense of responsibility has to take over. I don’t think the illegtimate births and resuting poverty situation in the black community can be blamed on ‘white people’ because unwed mothers among whites have also increased but not this to extent.
        Blacks have as much access to basic and further education thru the community College system as ”poor whites’ and just as much access to unskilled and skilled trade jobs. They don’t have access to the higher echelons of education and jobs because of lack of financies, in that they are the same boat as low income whites.
        So no I don’t buy your theory. There is more to it than white prilivage keep the blacks down.

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39993685/ns/health-womens_health/t/blacks-struggle-percent-unwed-mothers-rate/

        Blacks struggle with 72 percent unwed mothers rate

        Debate is growing in and outside the black community on how to address the rising issue
        By JESSE WASHINGTON

        Seventy-two percent of black babies are born to unmarried mothers today, according to government statistics. This number is inseparable from the work of Carroll, an obstetrician who has dedicated her 40-year career to helping black women.

        “The girls don’t think they have to get married. I tell them children deserve a mama and a daddy. They really do,” Carroll says from behind the desk of her office, which has cushioned pink-and-green armchairs, bars on the windows, and a wooden “LOVE” carving between two African figurines. Diamonds circle Carroll’s ring finger.

        As the issue of black unwed parenthood inches into public discourse, Carroll is among the few speaking boldly about it. And as a black woman who has brought thousands of babies into the world, who has sacrificed income to serve Houston’s poor, Carroll is among the few whom black women will actually listen to.

        Statistics show just what that marriage means. Children of unmarried mothers of any race are more likely to perform poorly in school, go to prison, use drugs, be poor as adults, and have their own children out of wedlock.

        The black community’s 72 percent rate eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent.

        This issue entered the public consciousness in 1965, when a now famous government report by future senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan described a “tangle of pathology” among blacks that fed a 24 percent black “illegitimacy” rate. The white rate then was 4 percent.

        Many accused Moynihan, who was white, of “blaming the victim:” of saying that black behavior, not racism, was the main cause of black problems. That dynamic persists. Most talk about the 72 percent has come from conservative circles; when influential blacks like Bill Cosby have spoken out about it, they have been all but shouted down by liberals saying that a lack of equal education and opportunity are the true root of the problem.”

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 7:41 pm

        jonrich111 :
        Native Japanese, for example, are known for having lesser developed personalities than Western individuals. Freud, analyst of the individual self, concentrated on individuals within the confines of the group, beginning with parents, siblings, etc.
        Political individualism posits civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labor, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one’s self, the right to own and bear arms, the right to privacy, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, and the right to marry and have a family. The term “self-governing” is a metaphor when applied to a collective, or people. And so on.

        White is a social construct. Irish were not considered white when they first came in droves to America, escaping Brit occupation and potato famine. They were depicted as apes even though most folks never saw a picture of a rare white ape. In case you don’t know, most Irish are very pale in skin color.

        The devil is in the details when it comes to AA as implemented regarding black individuals and white individuals. Also, check out the list of classified minorities who can benefit from AA. It includes groups that have no history at all of being slaves in historical America.

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 7:55 pm

        @German Lefty: “OMG, seriously? If you think that two wrongs make a right, then why don’t you support ethnic nationalist Israel? You know, as “compensation” for ethnic nationalist Germany! Zionist Jews constantly argue that past injustice justifies present injustice, just that they don’t regard present injustice as unjust. It’s the same logic with Affirmative Action, i.e. reverse injustice.”
        I agree with you.

      • edwin
        July 21, 2012, 9:14 pm

        It is silly to talk of affirmative action in a system of apartheid. It is imperative to talk of affirmative action after such a system has ended.

        All affirmative action is, is a form of empowerment. Empowerment is quite reasonable to talk about about when talking about resisting apartheid.

        BDS!

      • edwin
        July 21, 2012, 10:13 pm

        Ah. I missed this bit of racism.

        The monolithic Christianity and the monolithic Judaism.

        There has been a lot of dead people in the attempt to keep/prevent the monolithic Christianity. There is no monolithic Christianity now. The Catholic church lost.

        And the intermarriage rate for Christians is extremely low (far less than 50%).

        There’s an interesting lie for you. Try peddling that shit in Northern Ireland. There is a reason that Christianity has been called a thousand different religions all based on the same book.

        We are forbidden to proselytize

        You choose not to proselytize. Own it and take responsibility for your own actions. Judaism is not the only religious group that does not proselytize (except of course when it does.). There are Christian sects that do not proselytize. I would be stunned if there weren’t other religions that did not proselytize.

        Religions come and go. If you don’t like it, I understand that ancient Egypt had a religion that is in need of followers, and who better than a people who come out of Egypt.

        However, we still are concerned about the effects of high rates of intermarriage and assimilation on our survival as a people. And our community is working on finding a positive balance between these two values

        Churches are closing left, right, and center. Suck it up like the Christian sects are. The world is changing. Rather than having the highest rate of assimilation, Jewish cultures have the lowest. Talk about sore winners.

        Judaism is not merely a religion — it is a peoplehood, an evolving civilization, an ancestral heritage, and a vibrant ethnic culture with a 3,000 year history.

        That and $2 will get you on the bus. No culture has “rights”. People have rights – the right to choose their religion, the right to choose whom they wish to marry, the right to assimilate or adopt cultures as they wish. If you wish to keep the 3,000 year old history going, sell it – make it attractive to new people. Over time all cultures will die, and new cultures will come into being. That is part of life. As someone who has “assimilated” I am quite insulted by your post.

        t is an admirable thing to encourage Jews to love and forge attachments to their culture, promote Jewish marriages and raising children as Jewish while still be welcoming, inclusive, compassionate, and supportive of couples that choose to intermarry.

        Sounds not to hot to me. My parents supported my right to marry whom I wished, without pressure. I also haven’t experienced that welcoming, inclusive, compassionate and support of couples that choose to intermarry. Sure as hell didn’t happen in our family.

        Because you are a member of the dominant majority culture, you do not see your cultural influence as a segregating, brainwashing imposition. And that, my friend, is called “privilege.”

        As a member of the most successful minority in the history of the US you should know all about privilege. There are Christian sects that have long and bloody histories of being oppressed. I don’t think that your holier than thou attitude is at all appropriate.

        One thing is sure – Jewish history of oppression does not provide an excuse to oppress the Palestinians, nor does it provide an excuse to set up a theocracy where there are public penalties for failure to maintain the correct religion or marry the correct person.

        It is not acceptable to rely on the good graces of the Jewish Synagog for those who intermarry, change religions, adopt new cultures, or assimilate. That’s why I support a secular society. I don’t need the oppression of organized religion on my neck because I have made unpopular choices.

        Try this on for size:

        There is such a massive asymmetry of power between Theists and Atheists that your comparison is rendered meaningless. Theists are the largest group in the world with over 5 billion followers. Theists actively proselyte and are therefore constantly bringing in new recruits. And the intermarriage rate for Theists is extremely low (far less than 50%).

      • eljay
        July 21, 2012, 10:40 pm

        >> It has been argued by many in the Jewish community that “religious conversion” is an inappropriate description of the process to becoming a Jew. … In the 21st century there are many ways to be Jewish and we are moving towards recognizing the value in these multiple identities.

        I’m glad to hear it. Thank you for your reply.

      • Carowhat
        July 22, 2012, 5:02 pm

        There is such a massive asymmetry of power between Christians and Jews that this comparison is rendered meaningless.

        Yeah, tell that to Sheldon Adelson, who doles out $10 million donations like they were sugar cookies to American candidates who promise to attack Iran for Israel. Those of us who are not Zionists are being dragged into a war with Iran that will finish off this country for a generation And it’s the Zionists with all their institutional, political and financial power who are doing this to the rest of us.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 22, 2012, 5:12 pm

        “I would compare this to Affirmative Action programs in the U.S.”

        Then you would be foolish. You are simply seeking to be excused from the bigotry because you find the end-result to be admirable. How is that different from someone who is white saying to his children not to marry someone who is not white, because he finds value is pure-white bloodlines? There is none. You just don’t want it to be called bigotry, because you value the result. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is still bigotry.

        (The only way the AA analogy would work is if Jews were disadvantaged among other Jews for purposes of marriage. That is not the case. The reality simply is that at least half of the Jews don’t value ethnic purity an more than any other ethnicity in the US. When was the last time you heard about the Irish-American or English-American communities complaining about intermarriage??)

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 22, 2012, 5:25 pm

        “Outcomes are not equal in a free society. ”

        Yes, and outcomes are also not equal in an unfree society. That’s why the question is to determine the nature of the society and to adjust the policy accordingly, and not merely be content with pithy sayings designed to salve whatever remains of the consciences of the 1% and your various lazes-faire /social-Darwinist types and random odd-ball Randroids.

        “Nor are people free in an equal society.”

        Not necessarily. But, more to the point, a more equal society than exists in the USA could result, and provide a net increase in the freedom of all the people, by imposing a little on the finances of those who have more than they need to provide essentials for those who are held back by their wants.

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 10:58 am

        @Edwin:

        I’m not sure about statistics comparing U.S. racial disparities with Canada, but I can say emphatically that Affirmative Action is not a quota system. That is factually incorrect. The Supreme Court has ruled that quotas are illegal in hiring practices. Affirmative action works by setting flexible goals — which are based on the percentage of qualified minorities and women in the region. A company that searches in good faith but fails to find qualified minorities or women is not penalized for their failure. This is different from a rigid quota system, in which a company must hire a certain percentage of minorities and women, or else be penalized by a judge.

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 12:01 pm

        @Citizen:

        “jonrich111, and all those sorry rates you list are solely due to white privilege? Do you really disparate impact theory explains the difference fully?”

        Oppression and privilege are two sides of the same coin. You cannot separate them from one another. Discriminatory hiring practices do account for much of the racial disparities in America, but it is not as though white males are nuetral when it comes to hiring practices. Whereas women and people of color recieve disadvantages in hiring, white males gain unspoken advantages and privileges in these areas. Thus, the problem is twofold. The unfair privileges white people hold cannot be written-off or ignored.

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 12:04 pm

        @Citizen:
        “Native Japanese, for example, are known for having lesser developed personalities than Western individuals.”

        Wow. That is an incredibly racist (and factually incorrect) thing to say. What is this, the 19th century?

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 12:45 pm

        @American:
        “During the time AA has been in action the most major cause of black poverty ‘continuing’, being passed down, is the unwed mothers rate. That is not even disputed among black educators and leaders.”

        You’ve got your causation backwards. The unwed mother’s rate is not a cause of black poverty. It is an effect of black poverty. It is a consequence of structural racism that is embedded into society. It is a condition of poverty; not a cause.

        You are essentially propagating the long discredited notion that the moral failings of black men is the cause of black suffering. This is an immoral attempt to absolve yourself, white Americans, and society as a whole of their responsibility for the perpetuation of racism. To blame the unwed mothers rate on black poverty is to ignore the well-documented effects of discrimination in the context of employment, housing searches, car sales, applications, for insurance, home, mortgages, the provision of medical care, and even in hailing taxis. It is to ignore the systematic devaluing of the black male — who has been exploited for profit by aggressive sports recruiters, racially profiled by the police, and targeted for imprisonment.

        White racism causes black family crisis. To assert otherwise is factually incorrect and morally wrong.

        Moynihan’s report was discredited by sociologists decades ago (see William Ryan’s “Blaming the Victim”) yet it is disheartening to see you

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 12:50 pm

        @seanmcbride:
        “And presumably you advocate the same standards, policies and programs for Arabs and Jews in Israel. Right?”

        First of all, keep in mind that Israel is itself an example of an affirmative-action program operating on a national scale for Jews throughout the diaspora. That is why Israel was able to protect Jews who were being discriminated against in Ethiopia, Russia, and Arab countries as well.

        Secondly, I do support measures inside of Israel to create equality between Jews and Arabs. There should be AA programs in schools and hiring in order to eliminate the inequalities between Jews and non-Jews in Israel. There is inequality and discrimination in every society in the world. Israel is no different, and the same rules (AA programs) should apply.

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 12:57 pm

        @Carowhat:
        “Yeah, tell that to Sheldon Adelson, who doles out $10 million donations like they were sugar cookies to American candidates who promise to attack Iran for Israel.”

        Lots of false assumptions in there that you need to unpack. First, I said “Jews,” not “Zionists.” While most Jews are Zionists, not all of them are. And many Christians are Zionists too. Most of the support for bombing Iran and maintaining the occupation comes from Republicans and Christian Zionists.

        Second, not all Zionists support the occupation or any Likkud style politics. I’m thinking of the growing number of liberal Zionists like Peter Beinart and the folks at J Street. These people define themselves as “pro-Israel” but oppose the occupation and are against going to war with Iran.

        Third, Sheldon Adelson is one rich lobbiest who happens to be Jewish. How many Christian lobbiests exist that also support right-wing policies? Too many to count.

        Finally, the notion that Israel determines American foreign policy is too absurd to be taken seriously. Israel is controlled by American; not the other way around. Israel depends entirely on Western/American political, military, diplomatic, and economic support for its very existence and survival and thus always seeks U.S. approval for any of its actions.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 1:24 pm

        “He wants to present himself to the world as a “liberal” while supporting one of the most anti-liberal governments in the world — Israel.”

        Not at all. I’d support (and there has been in the past) an affirmative action program for Israeli Arabs.

        There is nothing inconsistent about railing against inequality in American society and inequality in Israeli society, and nothing inconsistent about pointing out that the struggle for civil rights in America is not the same as the struggle to destroy Israel.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 1:32 pm

        “How is that different from someone who is white saying to his children not to marry someone who is not white, because he finds value is pure-white bloodlines?”

        Can you not understand the desire of a Jew to pass on his traditions to his children, and how that’s different from someone wanting to pass on his skin color to his children? Are you incapable of understanding the substantive difference here?

        Your assumptions are just pure nonsense. In-marriage in Judaism has nothing to do with ethnic purity. It is simply a matter of passing on the tradition and practicing the religion. It is the same reason Christians generally marry Christians and Muslims generally marry Muslims. It is not because they hate other people or faiths. It is simply because people tend to marry people with the same traditions and values as their own. Desiring that is not bigotry any more than it is bigotry to seek out someone who shares an interest in a particular sport or type of music.

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 1:52 pm

        jonrich111,

        I appreciate that you are applying consistent standards for affirmative action in the United States and Israel. But notice: there is nothing resembling AA in Israel — in fact, quite the opposite — Israel is engaging in the ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Palestinians — one might even call it slow-motion genocide.

        So which issue should you be more excited about? The United States is a much more liberal society than Israel, although neoconservatives (pro-Israel activists and militants all) are working hard to push Americans in a fascist direction.

        Regarding AA: I get all the arguments, I agree with most them, and I think that AA has been good overall for African-Americans. But I have serious reservations about permitting the federal government to micromanage the relative economic and social status of various identity groups. I see a really big potential downside there — especially in terms of entrenching self-ghettoizing identity politics in modern democratic societies that need to move beyond that backward thinking as rapidly as possible.

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 2:02 pm

        jonrich111,

        You wrote:

        “Third, Sheldon Adelson is one rich lobbiest who happens to be Jewish. How many Christian lobbiests exist that also support right-wing policies? Too many to count.”

        Actually, one can easily name a dozen or more Jewish billionaires who are major funders of right-wing politics. Who are the Christian equivalents to Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, Bernard Marcus, Bruce Kovner, Irving Moskowitz, Ronald Perelman, Michael Bloomberg, Mort Zuckerman, etc.? I can’t name a dozen. Can you?

        You wrote:

        “Finally, the notion that Israel determines American foreign policy is too absurd to be taken seriously.”

        Without the presence of the powerful Israel lobby in American politics, the United States would have abandoned Israel a long time ago. It is much more trouble than it is worth, from the standpoint of American interests. The American foreign policy community during the Truman era foresaw most of the problems with Israel which have since ensued.

        A not unlikely scenario is that eventually mainstream America will become exhausted with dealing with Israel’s ever-escalating problems with its neighbors and break with both Israel and the Israel lobby.

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 2:07 pm

        hophmi,

        There is no political or moral equivalence between the United States and Israel.

        If the United States were an aggressively white Christian state, engaging in the ethnic cleansing of Jews, Arabs or any other non-white or non-Christian group, then it would look like Israel.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 2:09 pm

        “The United States is a much more liberal society than Israel, although neoconservatives (pro-Israel activists and militants all) are working hard to push Americans in a fascist direction.”

        I think that’s in some ways an arguable proposition. The Israeli government is in some ways more transparent than ours; some cabinet meetings are essentially open to the public. The Israeli press is in freer than ours in some ways, particularly when it comes to reporting the conflict. The Knesset reflects a much wider spectrum of political opinion than Congress does.

        Please explain how “neoconservatives” are pushing America in a “fascist direction.”

        “I have serious reservations about permitting the federal government to micromanage the relative economic and social status of various identity groups.”

        I don’t think that’s what’s going on.

        “I see a really big potential downside there — especially in terms of entrenching self-ghettoizing identity politics in modern democratic societies that need to move beyond that backward thinking as rapidly as possible.”

        This is a basic critique of affirmative action, but my response is usually that with or without affirmative action, given American history, African-Americans are just not going to forget that they are black. There is far too much institutionalized discrimination in American society for that to happen, and the effects of slavery and post-slavery discrimination will take many generations to wear off.

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 2:17 pm

        hophmi,

        You wrote:

        “Can you not understand the desire of a Jew to pass on his traditions to his children, and how that’s different from someone wanting to pass on his skin color to his children? Are you incapable of understanding the substantive difference here?”

        Jewishness is as much an ethnicity as a religion (sometimes more an ethnicity than a religion — certainly that was true for the founders and early leaders of Zionism), and Judaism itself is a highly ethnocentric and often ethnic nationalist religion.

        European cultures could make the same argument: Can you not understand the desire of a European to pass on his traditions to his children?

        Same thing exactly. Tribal politics.

        You play, EVERYONE gets to play. You have lost any moral leverage for criticizing or opposing the ethnic nationalism of anyone. Game over. Now start dealing with the consequences.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 3:13 pm

        “Jewishness is as much an ethnicity as a religion (sometimes more an ethnicity than a religion — certainly that was true for the founders and early leaders of Zionism), and Judaism itself is a highly ethnocentric and often ethnic nationalist religion.”

        So says Kevin MacDonald, condemned as a hatemonger by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

        “Can you not understand the desire of a European to pass on his traditions to his children?”

        Yeah, sure, though that’s pretty different from saying white people want to pass on their white traditions to their children.

        Do you deny that most Europeans marry other Europeans?

        “Same thing exactly. Tribal politics.”

        Kind of depends on how you define European. But the fact of the matter is that if this is your argument, based on the marriage numbers, Europeans are a lot more tribal than Jews are.

        “You have lost any moral leverage for criticizing or opposing the ethnic nationalism of anyone. Game over.”

        LOL. You once again illustrate my point for me. Europeans marry each other at a higher rate than Jews do. Therefore, Europeans must be more tribal. The truth is that they marry each other because they have been practicing a form of ethnic nationalism for so long and have established such a high level of hegemony in their own countries, that they do not have to worry about these kinds of issues any more. You simply want to deny Jews the same things that Europeans have.

        It is no matter. Your opinion is not taken very seriously outside of the Mondoweiss cult.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 3:19 pm

        “There is no political or moral equivalence between the United States and Israel.”

        I love America.

        But you’re right, there is no comparison. Israel is a lot more moral.

        The United States killed around 100K Iraqi civilians despite facing no imminent threat from Iraq and killed tens of thousands of Afghan civilians over the past 12 years in Afghanistan even though Afghanistan itself posed only an indirect threat.

        Israel, which is under constant threat, has never done anything like that.

        Let’s see how the US reacts if there is, G-d forbid, one or two more 9/11s, even mini 9/11s where, say, 50 or 100 people die instead of 3000. One 9/11 was enough to kill 150K civilians, deport thousands of Muslims, imprison people for years without charge at Guantanamo, and spawn a nativist movement on the right.

        Then you can tell me bullshit about which country is morally superior or inferior.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 3:34 pm

        “Actually, one can easily name a dozen or more Jewish billionaires who are major funders of right-wing politics. Who are the Christian equivalents to Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, Bernard Marcus, Bruce Kovner, Irving Moskowitz, Ronald Perelman, Michael Bloomberg, Mort Zuckerman, etc.? I can’t name a dozen. Can you?”

        Saban is a Democratic donor. So are Perelman, and Zuckerman. Bloomberg’s not right-wing either. So basically, as usual, you’re just listing Jewish billionaires and asserting that because they’re Jews, their money is Jewish too. It’s the same antisemitic nonsense; guess what? There are no Stars of David on our money.

        “Without the presence of the powerful Israel lobby in American politics, the United States would have abandoned Israel a long time ago.”

        Yes. We’d be even more supportive of Arab despots in the region than we already are.

        “It is much more trouble than it is worth, from the standpoint of American interests.”

        Yes, some people think that. Many think it’s a fruitful alliance and that it makes sense to support the region’s only democracy.

        “The American foreign policy community during the Truman era foresaw most of the problems with Israel which have since ensued.”

        Yes, I suppose so. I think they’re the same people who also designed the containment policy that led us to kill 2m people in Vietnam because we were afraid of a Communist domino effect.

        “A not unlikely scenario is that eventually mainstream America will become exhausted with dealing with Israel’s ever-escalating problems with its neighbors and break with both Israel and the Israel lobby.”

        It’s always possible, and seems more so inside the Mondoweiss cult. But it’s highly unlikely given that mainstream America, if they care, support the Jewish state in greater numbers than they support the concept of a Palestinian state, and the Jewish people in much greater numbers than they support the Palestinian people.

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 3:35 pm

        @seanmcbride:
        “Jewishness is as much an ethnicity as a religion (sometimes more an ethnicity than a religion — certainly that was true for the founders and early leaders of Zionism), and Judaism itself is a highly ethnocentric and often ethnic nationalist religion.”

        Wow. Where to begin? First, ethnicity does not equal “race,” “skin-color,” or “genes.” Passing on an ethnicity to one’s children has nothing to do with race preservation and everything to do with leaving a legacy of cultural traditions to the offspring. There is nothing at all sinister about that and people of all races/ethnicities/religions do that.

        Second, calling Judaism a “highly ethnocentric” religion is an outrageous falsehood. Jews are no more or less ethnocentric than people of any other group. Jews are individuals; there are some ethnocentric Jews and many who are not ethnocentric. In fact, there are a good number of Jews who abandone their Judaism and assimilate into dominant society… thus undermining your claim that we are “ethnocentric.” The ultra-Orthodox communities are insular and can be intolerant, but this in no way represents the majority of Jews — most of whom are secular or Reform.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 23, 2012, 3:40 pm

        “Can you not understand the desire of a Jew to pass on his traditions to his children, and how that’s different from someone wanting to pass on his skin color to his children?”

        It’s not different. It’s purposeful discrimination.

        “Are you incapable of understanding the substantive difference here?”

        There is no substantive difference. You want there to be, because you favor one of these kinds of bigotry, but are bothered by someone calling it what it is. But in reality, it is the same: it is precluding a relationship based not on who the person is, but what they are; what category they belong to. That is the essence of bigotry.

        “In-marriage in Judaism has nothing to do with ethnic purity.”

        Fine. Then call it etho-religious purity.

        “It is simply a matter of passing on the tradition and practicing the religion.”

        And you can pass on the traditions and practicing the religion in a mixed marriage. You might have to share, with the other partner’s religion, but the more the merrier, right? Where’s the problem? The children get exposed to both religions.

        “It is simply because people tend to marry people with the same traditions and values as their own.”

        No. Half of the Jews aren’t doing that. But their free choice, their desires for themselves, is what really gets your panties in a bunch, hoppy. YOU want them to be bigots in the same way you are, splitting the world up into two camps, those who are Jews and those who are unacceptable, but they’re not like that, and that’s really got your buns chapped.

        “Desiring that is not bigotry any more than it is bigotry to seek out someone who shares an interest in a particular sport or type of music.”

        But there is the exact difference. When you seek out someone who shares interests with you, you are looking at the individual person, at what they like, what they dislike, what kind of temperment they have, what their goals are in life. You’re not putting them in the box of “acceptable” or “unacceptable” because, except in the most rare cases, two people who are incredibly compatible will generally overlook the fact that one likes pop while the other likes rock, or that one likes football while the other prefers baseball.

        But you? If you found a woman who was as religiously devoted as you and shared your exact political outlook and your exact same values, who was compatible with you in every possible way, but was a Christian, you would, from the sound of it, kick her to the curb for someone who is much less compatible who was Jewish. That’s bullshit.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 4:12 pm

        Really. So for you, there is no difference between skin color and religion.

        “And you can pass on the traditions and practicing the religion in a mixed marriage. You might have to share, with the other partner’s religion, but the more the merrier, right? Where’s the problem? The children get exposed to both religions.”

        Sure, I suppose so, even though the evidence says raising children with two faiths is confusing to them and recommend parents choose one, even though in a society that is overwhelmingly Christian, it’s a stacked deck. Are you, like, capable of understanding that maybe the vast, vast majority of the world prefers to have both parents on the same page when it comes to things like religion not out of any ethnocentrism, but simply out of a shared set of beliefs and values?

        “No. Half of the Jews aren’t doing that.”

        That’s true only in America, because Jews are 2 percent of the population and dropping. It’s not true of the Christians.

        “But their free choice, their desires for themselves, is what really gets your panties in a bunch, hoppy. ”

        When did say I was against free choice? I’m not for legislating my beliefs. No one is saying people shouldn’t have free choice to marry who they want as a civil question. As a normative religious question, however, it’s a different story.

        “YOU want them to be bigots in the same way you are, splitting the world up into two camps, those who are Jews and those who are unacceptable, but they’re not like that, and that’s really got your buns chapped.”

        Oh, please give me a fucking break. Again. The vast majority of Christians and Muslims marry other Christians and Muslims. You don’t accuse them of splitting the world into two camps.

        “When you seek out someone who shares interests with you, you are looking at the individual person, at what they like, what they dislike, what kind of temperment they have, what their goals are in life. ”

        How is that any different than religion? How is seeking out someone who likes the same religious practice and has the same religious goals any different than seeking out someone who likes the same music?

        ” If you found a woman who was as religiously devoted as you and shared your exact political outlook and your exact same values, who was compatible with you in every possible way, but was a Christian, you would, from the sound of it, kick her to the curb for someone who is much less compatible who was Jewish. ”

        Because being religiously devoted to worshiping the Trinity in Church should be compatible with being religiously devoted to worship G-d in synagogue. Because all religions are the same just like all types of music are the same just like all types of sport are the same.

        You simply think all religion is the same.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 23, 2012, 4:29 pm

        “Israel is a lot more moral.”

        You have a twisted view of the word “moral” hoppy, if you can describe holding the half of the people under the state’s control in a state of peonage for three generations as “more moral.”

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 23, 2012, 4:35 pm

        “But it’s highly unlikely given that mainstream America, if they care, support the Jewish state in greater numbers than they support the concept of a Palestinian state, and the Jewish people in much greater numbers than they support the Palestinian people.”

        And the North Koreans would tell you they fully support the Kim family. sean’s statement presupposed eliminating the Lobby’s pernicious influence in the US.

      • jonrich111
        July 23, 2012, 4:39 pm

        @seanmcbride:
        “The United States is a much more liberal society than Israel, although neoconservatives (pro-Israel activists and militants all) are working hard to push Americans in a fascist direction.”

        Not true. The U.S. was founded on the genocide of Native peoples, the enslavement of an entire race of people, the denial of rights to women, the theft of 50% of Mexican land, and the supremacy of the white Christian male (who have made up all of our presidents except for one). America has a far more powerful military — which trains, supports, and supplies weapons to dictators and corrupt regimes all over the world. America is also currently occupying Afghanistan and Iraq — killing an estimated half million civilians in the process.

        For all of the crimes caused by Israel’s occupation, it has never come close to the number of those killed by America in Iraq. The Nakba never came close to the death toll the U.S. inflicted on Native Americans. All the wars Israel has fought in its history cannot equal the number of deaths America has inflicted upon the world.

        And Israel has much greater equality between men and women in many respects (women can serve in the military, women have been prime minister). There is more support for gay rights in Israel than in the U.S., there is universal health-care and other socially democratic economic policies in place, and their government is a multi-party system with far more diversity than the Dems and Repubs offer in the U.S.

      • hophmi
        July 23, 2012, 5:03 pm

        “You have a twisted view of the word “moral” hoppy, if you can describe holding the half of the people under the state’s control in a state of peonage for three generations as “more moral.””

        Israel could easily be like the US in terms of how it treats people in its border. It could annex the West Bank just as the US annexed Texas from Mexico.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 23, 2012, 5:23 pm

        “So for you, there is no difference between skin color and religion.”

        When it comes to this type of bigotry, no, there isn’t.

        “Sure, I suppose so, even though the evidence says raising children with two faiths is confusing to them and recommend parents choose one”

        Really. And what “evidence” is this? (And if they’re confused? Good. Let them develop and use their reasoning on this question. Pointing out that there are all these religions which make exclusive claims and is being truthful instead of trying to brainwash them into a religion. It’s be good for all of us.)

        “maybe the vast, vast majority of the world prefers to have both parents on the same page when it comes to things like religion not out of any ethnocentrism, but simply out of a shared set of beliefs and values?”

        Again, whether it’s based on ethnicity or on religion, it’s still bigotry. Because you can share values even if you don’t share religions. And isn’t the values that which is important and not the rituals and dogma?

        “That’s true only in America, because Jews are 2 percent of the population and dropping. It’s not true of the Christians.”

        And if you have 80% of the population, the odds are that you will have to have a majority of marriage between people of the same religion. There’s no problem in that. I’m not saying that people have to marry outside their religion. I’m saying that to preclude that portion of the population is bigotry.

        And even within Christianity in America, there is pleny of intermarriage between Protestants and Catholics, something that was much less common a generation or two ago.

        “When did say I was against free choice?”Right here: “As a normative religious question, however, it’s a different story.”

        Whether you want it to be a personal bigotry, a community enforced bigotry, a bigotry arising from shunning or a legislative bigotry is irrelelvant.

        “The vast majority of Christians and Muslims marry other Christians and Muslims. You don’t accuse them of splitting the world into two camps. ”

        If Christians were marrying Chrisians and Muslim marrying Muslims and excluding anyone else on that religious basis, I absolutely would accuse them of exactly that. And I had this same conversation with a friend of a friend who would not date a girl who was Jewish because he was Christian. Same nonsense you’re pushing about dogma and values and garbage like that. My position was the same: if you’re excluding based on what group the person belongs to, it’s bigotry.

        “How is that any different than religion? How is seeking out someone who likes the same religious practice and has the same religious goals any different than seeking out someone who likes the same music?”

        Because you’re not seeking out someone who likes the same religious practice as you; you’re seeking out someone who is Jewish. That’s the difference. In the religious example, you’re using the “like” as short hand for “what group is does this person fit in?” whereas the music question asks “what can I learn about this individual as a person.”

        And, again, you can find out that you nevertheless like different music and still like the person (in fact, it’s often better when there is a little of that thrown in).

        If you find out that the person who you believed “liked the same religious practice and has the same religious goals” but also believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the mashiach, would you react the same way you would if you found out she really didn’t like jazz all that much??? If not, then that’s why.

        “Because being religiously devoted to worshiping the Trinity in Church should be compatible with being religiously devoted to worship G-d in synagogue.”

        Sure. Ask a Christian. He’ll tell you that his God is the same God as your God.

        Or you put the religion aside, you do your thing on Saturday, she does her thing on Sunday, and you go to the movies on Friday night.

        “You simply think all religion is the same.”

        No, I don’t. YOU just simply want everyone to excuse your bigotry because it’s yours.

      • Citizen
        July 23, 2012, 6:22 pm

        jonrich111, now apply your logic with oppression and privilege being two sides of the same coin to the fact that the US Supreme Court is 1/3rd Jewish, while Jews make up 2% of the US population. Disparate impact? Unfair privileges that cannot be written-off or ignored?

      • Citizen
        July 23, 2012, 6:29 pm

        jonrich111, yes it’s true that after a long battle AA quotas are no longer constitutional. But race/ethnicity is still a kosher part of the current mix that may be applied to take the spot otherwise earned by, e.g., academic merit alone. AA was started by JFK, greatly increased by Johnson–fifty years of AA, and by 2050 or before, whites will be a minority nationally; so, at that time, after nearly a century of legal reverse discrimination against whites, will it be their turn to claim special AA to “balance things out?”

      • Citizen
        July 23, 2012, 6:33 pm

        honrich111, it’s not racist at all to note how racist Japanese culture is; it’s well known. Wake up and smell the coffee! If America was like Japan today, you wouldn’t opt to live here.

        “Racism in Japan is deep and profound”: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4671687.stm

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 7:35 pm

        hophmi,

        You wrote:

        “Saban is a Democratic donor. So are Perelman, and Zuckerman. Bloomberg’s not right-wing either. So basically, as usual, you’re just listing Jewish billionaires and asserting that because they’re Jews, their money is Jewish too. It’s the same antisemitic nonsense; guess what? There are no Stars of David on our money.”

        The point, once again, is not that Haim Saban, Ronald Perelman, Mort Zuckerman, Michael Bloomberg (and a dozen or more others like them) are Jewish billionaires, but that they are Jewish *NATIONALIST* billionaires. They are Jewish ethnic and religious nationalists by ideological choice, not by mere birth.

        And their affiliations with the Democratic Party and “liberalism” mean nothing — they are aggressive supporters of the most right-wing regime in Israeli history — one with strong fascist and racist components originating in Revisionist Zionism. They are in the same camp with those Jewish nationalist billionaires in the Republican Party (like Sheldon Adelson) who are also aggressive Jewish nationalists by choice. All of these billionaires together comprise a single integrated lobby for Israel and Likud Zionism.

        The Israel lobby, which is controlled by Jewish nationalist billionaires, controls both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

        Which Christian billionaires or Christian nationalist billionaires are the equivalent of Jewish nationalist billionaires in American politics? How many names can you turn up?

      • seanmcbride
        July 23, 2012, 8:11 pm

        jonrich111,

        You wrote,

        “Second, calling Judaism a “highly ethnocentric” religion is an outrageous falsehood. Jews are no more or less ethnocentric than people of any other group.”

        That is clearly not true. Judaism is an intensely ethnocentric and ethnic nationalist belief system (unlike universalist and tran-ethnic and trans-nationalist Christianity), which organizes all its core myths and memes around perpetual struggle against “the nations” — with ethnic outgroups. This is the core theme of the Old Testament — the chosen people vs. the goyim.

        If that were not enough, the contemporary Jewish religious establishment worldwide, with a few fringe exceptions among the ultra-Orthodox, has fused Judaism with Zionism, which is a quintessential ethnic nationalist ideology.

        Are American Jews more ethnocentric and ethnic nationalist in their politics than members of other American ethnic groups? One would have to argue, yes, conspicuously so: simply count up the number of ethnocentric op-ed articles among members of various ethnic groups in America’s leading newspapers for the last four or five decades. No other ethnic group comes close for ethnocentrism, especially in relation to its percentage of the overall population.

        Compare the ethnocentric focus of Jeffrey Goldberg vs. Andrew Sullivan or Charles Krauthammer vs. Maureen Dowd or Jennifer Rubin vs. Ross Douthat.

        Many secular Jews are militant Zionists (that is, militant Jewish nationalists). And the Reform establishment is solidly Zionist, that is, Jewish ethnic nationalist in convictions and policies.

        Ethnic nationalism and ethnocentrism dominate and pervade the Jewish establishment. That establishment appears to be quite obsessed with the Israeli interest, conceived in ethnic and religious nationalist terms, and with ever-escalating warfare against Israel’s enemies. The whole mess is straight out of the Old Testament at its most bloody.

      • hophmi
        July 24, 2012, 2:43 am

        “I’m saying that to preclude that portion of the population is bigotry.”

        And Jews generally do not. So what’s your problem?

        “And even within Christianity in America, there is pleny of intermarriage between Protestants and Catholics, something that was much less common a generation or two ago. ”

        Ah. In that case, there’s lots of intermarriage in the Jewish community between Orthodox and Conservative, Conservative and Reform. Lubavitch and Yeshivish, etc…

        ” Same nonsense you’re pushing about dogma and values and garbage like that. My position was the same: if you’re excluding based on what group the person belongs to, it’s bigotry.”

        OK, whatever. I think your position is a little silly. We don’t encourage marriage within the faith because we dislike people of other religions. We do it because pragmatically, and logically, it’s the best way to ensure that people, particularly if they practice the religion, will be happy and will most successfully be able to pass on their traditions to their children.

        “Because you’re not seeking out someone who likes the same religious practice as you; you’re seeking out someone who is Jewish. ”

        I’m just really not sure how to respond. Obviously Jews are the most likely to have the same religious practice as other Jews, so if I seek to marry a Jew, it’s because I’m looking for someone who has the same religious practice as me. Isn’t that obvious?

        “If you find out that the person who you believed “liked the same religious practice and has the same religious goals” but also believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the mashiach”

        How can someone have the same religious practice as me and be a Christian? Christianity and Judaism are not the same thing. They entail different religious practices. You cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus.

        You cannot be Christian and pray in a synagogue. You cannot be Jewish and say mass at a Church.

        “Sure. Ask a Christian. He’ll tell you that his God is the same God as your God. ”

        It is, but his messiah is not the same as mine and his catechism is certainly not the same as mine, and his religious responsibilities are not the same as mine.

        “Or you put the religion aside, you do your thing on Saturday, she does her thing on Sunday, and you go to the movies on Friday night. ”

        And maybe I don’t want that and that’s my choice. That doesn’t make me a bigot.

        “No, I don’t. YOU just simply want everyone to excuse your bigotry because it’s yours.”

        Not everyone who disagrees with your assumptions, presumptions, and fallacies is a bigot.

      • hophmi
        July 24, 2012, 2:45 am

        “Disparate impact? Unfair privileges that cannot be written-off or ignored?”

        Does this bother you? Does that mean that 1/3 of every decision is a Jewish decision to you?

      • hophmi
        July 24, 2012, 2:46 am

        “yes it’s true that after a long battle AA quotas are no longer constitutional. ”

        A long battle? They haven’t been constitutional since 1981 and the Bakke case.

        “so, at that time, after nearly a century of legal reverse discrimination against whites, will it be their turn to claim special AA to “balance things out?””

        No, because as things currently stand, African-American in this country, by virtue of the institutional discrimination they suffer, are still at a disadvantage compared to whites, even with AA. Whites continue to enjoy a huge privilege.

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2012, 9:29 am

        What are you saying, hophmi, that Christians believe the messiah has come, and Jews believe he will come “some day”? Considering all the false messiahs in Jewish history, how will the Jews recognize the real messiah? When every Jew is practicing all 613 commandments given to them? Sound like a recipe for endlessly kicking the can down the street to me. That is genius, in its own way, yes?

      • jonrich111
        July 24, 2012, 9:40 am

        @Seanmcbride:
        “Judaism is an intensely ethnocentric and ethnic nationalist belief system (unlike universalist and tran-ethnic and trans-nationalist Christianity), which organizes all its core myths and memes around perpetual struggle against “the nations” — with ethnic outgroups. This is the core theme of the Old Testament — the chosen people vs. the goyim.”

        As opposed to Christianity, which spent 2,000 years torturing scientists, promoting slavery, instutionalized anti-Semitism, the murder of women as witches, sexual repression, censorship and the Inquisition, Crusades and other aggressive wars against non-believers. Even today, many Christians in the U.S. use their religion as a tool against the GLBT community, as an excuse to starts wars in the Middle East, and as a justification to attack science.

        Judaism is actually a cosmopolitan, diasporic religion. We’ve adapted and prospered in virtually every country on the planet throughout our history. Our prophet tradition teaches that all humanity (not just Jews) are equal and created before G-d. The teachings of Judaism also stress that we must be kind to all people, including “strangers” because “we were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” Judaism draws an explicit connection between Jewish suffering and our obligation to ease the suffering of others. Step foot in any Reform Synagogue and you will hear sermons mentioning social justice, tzedekah (charity), and love for all humanity.

        You are defaming the Jewish people based on a narrow stereotype of who we are and what we believe. It would be unfair of me to stereotype all Christians based on the actions of Jerry Fallwell, or all Muslims based on the beliefs of Bin Laden. The same applies for us Jews.

      • jonrich111
        July 24, 2012, 9:42 am

        @Citizen,

        you didn’t say their culture was racist (which I don’t doubt. Every country in the world has racists.) But what you said was that Japanese people have “lesser developed personalities.” That is a disgustingly racist statement against an entire people.

      • jonrich111
        July 24, 2012, 9:52 am

        @Citizen:
        “now apply your logic with oppression and privilege being two sides of the same coin to the fact that the US Supreme Court is 1/3rd Jewish, while Jews make up 2% of the US population. Disparate impact? Unfair privileges that cannot be written-off or ignored?”

        What you refer to as “privilege” actually constitutes the specific nature of Jewish oppression — that we occupy intermediary positions of power; placed into highly visible social positions that isolate us from other oppressed groups. We are a wedge driven between the privileged and the oppressed. As a result, the powerless in society scapegoat and blame the Jews for economic and social problems. When you call attention to Jews on the Supreme Court, you are falsely equating Jews with being the powerholders and playing into a classic anti-Semitic trope.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 24, 2012, 11:18 am

        Jewish oppression — that we occupy intermediary positions of power; placed into highly visible social positions that isolate us from other oppressed groups.

        this is frightening jon, i feel so sorry for you. do you think there is something the oppressed jewish americans, the ones placed in these unfortunate power positions, could do to alleviate the burden of being separated from the other oppressed groups? so that you could stand as one to have your oppression recognized.

      • German Lefty
        July 24, 2012, 11:25 am

        @ jonrich111:
        you are falsely equating Jews with being the powerholders and playing into a classic anti-Semitic trope.
        So, when Citizen says that Jews are powerholders, then you call that anti-Semitic. But when YOU make the generalisation that white people are privileged, then you DON’T consider this racist but merely a factual statement!? Nice double standard.

      • seanmcbride
        July 24, 2012, 11:26 am

        jonrich111,

        You wrote:

        “What you refer to as “privilege” actually constitutes the specific nature of Jewish oppression — that we occupy intermediary positions of power; placed into highly visible social positions that isolate us from other oppressed groups. We are a wedge driven between the privileged and the oppressed. As a result, the powerless in society scapegoat and blame the Jews for economic and social problems. When you call attention to Jews on the Supreme Court, you are falsely equating Jews with being the powerholders and playing into a classic anti-Semitic trope.”

        Do you think that Jews in the year 2012, in the United States, are an oppressed group and not a highly privileged group? By most statistical measures of economic, social and cultural power, they are arguably the most privileged identity group in American society.

        Are there any statistics that would convince you of this fact? The era of WASP domination in America is long gone. This reality became evident when Israel-centric neoconservatives succeeded in overpowering the best judgment of the old WASP elite (George H.W. Bush, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, etc.) in driving the Bush 43 administration into a disastrous war against Iraq.

        From your remarks, would it be fair to infer that you do not consider yourself to be a member of the “white” sector of the American population that seems to be the main target of your criticism? With which ethnic or religious group do you most strongly identify?

        A key book that has influenced my thinking on this subject:

        book; Benjamin Ginsberg; 1993; The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State; University of Chicago Press

      • jonrich111
        July 24, 2012, 12:08 pm

        @Annie Robbins,

        Jews have been affiliated with the organized left for centuries. Look into the history of the early 20th century communist/socialist movements, the Bund, etc. All of these movements were filled with Jews. In the 1960s, Southern Jews were the most significant allies blacks had in the Civil Rights struggle. Jews have always fought for the oppressed and people who are suffering!

        The current right-wing shift in some segments of the Jewish community is partially a result of the feeling that we have been abandoned by the left — that leftists have embraced every minority group struggle as valid except for our own. I know from my work organizing “Occupy Judaism” events at my local Occupy Wall-Street that many people on the left have problems with Jews. I routinely heard anti-Semitic statements that Jews owned the banks, Jews owned Wall-Street, Jews own the FED, Jew were behind the bailouts. One person even said Jews caused 9/11 and the Iraq War. I would argue that one of the motivations for the Jewish right is the perception that assimilating into the White Christian Capitalistic power structure will protect our people when the left does nothing but attack us. I am not saying that Jews are beyond criticism or that people should be silent in the face of the Israeli occupation (we should all criticize that!) but that we should do so with a supportive, loving attitude towards the Jewish people. Our criticism should come from a place of love and concern, not hostility and anger.

      • jonrich111
        July 24, 2012, 12:17 pm

        @seanmcbride:

        I have no desire whatsoever to engage in a Quixotic debate with you over whether or not Jews are “the most privileged identity group” in America who actively control our elite government and foreign policy. I trust that such viewpoints are so absurd that they are effectively self-refuting.

        However, in regards to my ethnic identity, I consider myself Jewish, not white. I suppose the relationship there is more complex, because I have white-skin and can pass as white in some situations, but I do not consider myself a “white person” and do not identify with that ethnically or culturally.

      • jonrich111
        July 24, 2012, 12:22 pm

        @Germany Lefty:
        “So, when Citizen says that Jews are powerholders, then you call that anti-Semitic. But when YOU make the generalisation that white people are privileged, then you DON’T consider this racist but merely a factual statement!? Nice double standard.”

        I call it anti-Semitic because it IS anti-Semitic to make baseless assertions about Jews controlling or having undue influence over the power structure. That is a false stereotype that has been used to persecute Jews for centuries!

        I never said all white people are privileged. I said that WHITE-SKIN is a category of privilege in our society. And that is indisputable. I also pointed out that privilege/oppression is multifaceted and intersectional. In other words, a poor white single mother with a disability would have privilege due to her whiteness, but would NOT have privilege due to her disability, gender, and class. In other words, white people can be oppressed in as well and things are not so simple as to say “white = privileged.” But as a whole, whiteness is more highly prized in American than say, blackness.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 24, 2012, 1:47 pm

        @Annie Robbins,

        Jews have been affiliated with the organized left for centuries.

        i know that, and i’ve made that pt myself many times.

        Jews have always fought for the oppressed and people who are suffering!

        not sure why you’re jumping from the ‘oppressed’ supreme court justices to jews fighting for oppressed people. are you confusing fighting for oppressed people with being oppressed? i fight for oppressed palestininans, doesn’t make me oppressed. let’s review your statement:

        What you refer to as “privilege” actually constitutes the specific nature of Jewish oppression

        so why are you changing the topic away from the specific nature of Jewish oppression to pointing out jews have fought for oppressed people.

        let’s stay on topic shall we, which is today’s reality of oppressed jewish americans.

        We are a wedge driven between the privileged and the oppressed. As a result, the powerless in society scapegoat and blame the Jews for economic and social problems.

        who is driving that wedge jon? are the supreme court justices being used as tools to drive a wedge between the privileged and the oppressed?

        why is it antisemitic to point out the US Supreme Court is 1/3rd Jewish, while Jews make up 2% of the US population? why can’t it be used as a marker identifying the success of the american jewish community? is it also racist to pt out we have a black man in the WH?

        to a certain pt people are welcoming and accepting of the elite regardless of their ethnicity. but please do not tell us american jews are oppressed when clearly, for the most part, they are not. no amount of ‘affiliation’ with the oppressed will morph into being oppressed oneself, not in my mind anyway.

      • seanmcbride
        July 24, 2012, 1:51 pm

        jonrich111:

        You wrote:

        “Jews have been affiliated with the organized left for centuries. Look into the history of the early 20th century communist/socialist movements, the Bund, etc. All of these movements were filled with Jews.”

        You do realize, one presumes, that it is controversial to claim that the communist movement of the early 20th century was “filled with Jews” — to use your words. And the reason for this is that communism during the early 20th century — in the name of leftist values and “progress” — murdered many millions of innocent civilians.

        See the Black Book of Communism for a discussion of the hard numbers:

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

        As for the main reason why some American Jews have moved to the right in recent years: as the Israeli government and Israeli society has moved to the hard (even fascist) right since the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist, it has dragged quite a few American Jews along with it. But certainly not most American Jews — at least not yet. But one might discern a trend in that direction.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 24, 2012, 1:55 pm

        it IS anti-Semitic to make baseless assertions about Jews controlling or having undue influence over the power structure. That is a false stereotype

        not wrt all things israel it isn’t. you’re living in a fanatsy land if you don’t think certain powerful members of the american jewish community do not have undue influence over our FP wrt israel. and if one uses the accusation/crutch of anti semitism to silence legitimate criticism one becomes part of the problem.

      • eljay
        July 24, 2012, 1:58 pm

        >> What you refer to as “privilege” actually constitutes the specific nature of Jewish oppression — that we occupy intermediary positions of power; placed into highly visible social positions that isolate us from other oppressed groups. We are a wedge driven between the privileged and the oppressed. As a result, the powerless in society scapegoat and blame the Jews for economic and social problems.

        A single paragraphs that smacks of both anti-Gentilism (we put Jews into positions of visible power to isolate them and to make them ready scapegoats in hard times) and anti-Semitism (Jews are unable to rise to positions of visible power on their own). Nicely done. :-)

      • seanmcbride
        July 24, 2012, 1:58 pm

        jonrich111,

        You wrote:

        “I have no desire whatsoever to engage in a Quixotic debate with you over whether or not Jews are “the most privileged identity group” in America who actively control our elite government and foreign policy. I trust that such viewpoints are so absurd that they are effectively self-refuting.”

        Which of my viewpoints are “absurd”? Please name one and explain why it is “absurd.”

        Are you not capable of conducting a reasonable discussion about the relative power of the Jewish establishment in contemporary American society and politics compared to other ethnic and religious groups? This is a legitimate topic of discussion, one which you yourself have raised. These issues are subject to empirical and fact-based analysis. Let’s do the analysis, based on well-documented data.

        You wrote:

        “However, in regards to my ethnic identity, I consider myself Jewish, not white. I suppose the relationship there is more complex, because I have white-skin and can pass as white in some situations, but I do not consider myself a “white person” and do not identify with that ethnically or culturally.”

        So you draw a clear distinction between “whites” and Jews. Your criticism of “whites” is directed at an outgroup, not your own group. Interesting.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 24, 2012, 2:03 pm

        Jews have always fought for the oppressed and people who are suffering!

        so why don’t you explain to us which oppressed suffering people sheldon adelson is fighting for?

        don’t you think your comment is just a little tweaked? that’s like saying ‘jews have been in palestine for thousands of years’. well, some of them have. but you can’t claim the mantel of any and every jew to make broad brush statements about all of them. obviously not every jew has ‘always fought for the oppressed’. some jews actually oppress other people. in fact there’s a whole army of them oppressing palestinians right now. hellllooo.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        July 24, 2012, 2:54 pm

        In the Talmud there are numerous discussions of whether one or another type of person is good enough to “have a share in the world to come.” The expression “the world to come” means heaven. By implication there are also those who do not have a share in the world to come. They go to hell. What else can it mean? The rabbis do not go in for the sort of fire and brimstone preaching that used to be popular with Christian preachers, but the basic ideas about the afterlife are identical in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 24, 2012, 3:04 pm

        “Israel could easily be like the US in terms of how it treats people in its border. It could annex the West Bank just as the US annexed Texas from Mexico.”

        Yes, and why doesn’t it?? Because it would then have to, like the US did, make the people living in that land citizens and give them rights and the vote. And israel is too racist to permit that, favoring as it does it’s ethno-religious apartheid.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 24, 2012, 3:37 pm

        “And Jews generally do not. So what’s your problem?”

        When you lament the fact that people are marrying who they want, rather than imposing your religious test, that’s bigotry.

        “Ah. In that case, there’s lots of intermarriage in the Jewish community between Orthodox and Conservative, Conservative and Reform. Lubavitch and Yeshivish, etc…”

        Yes, there is. But it’s irrelevant to the point at issue.

        “We don’t encourage marriage within the faith because we dislike people of other religions.”

        It doesn’t matter why you do it. If you tell people “don’t marry him; he’s not your kind” it hardly matters what the specifics of the bigotry is.

        “…it’s the best way to ensure that people, particularly if they practice the religion, will be happy…”

        And yet fully 50% of the Jews in America do not marry in the religion. So are they really unhappy or is your reason merely an excuse?

        “…and will most successfully be able to pass on their traditions to their children. “

        But, again, it comes back to: what business of this is yours? It’s THEIR traditions. If they don’t value them or want their kids to have them, what business of it is yours to encourage them otherwise? Clearly if they cared about passing along these traditions, they would do so. If they don’t, it’s not because their choices weren’t appropriately limited, it’s because they didn’t place value in them.

        “I’m just really not sure how to respond. Obviously Jews are the most likely to have the same religious practice as other Jews, so if I seek to marry a Jew, it’s because I’m looking for someone who has the same religious practice as me. Isn’t that obvious?”

        Yes, and it misses the point. “Hav[ing] the same religious practice” is simply shorthand for “being Jewish.” And the reason why someone looks for someone who has similar interests has nothing to do with what group that person belongs to, but who they are as a person. When you say you are looking for someone who enjoys jazz, if they turned not to like jazz, but you were otherwise compatible, that wouldn’t matter.
        That’s the difference.

        “How can someone have the same religious practice as me and be a Christian?”

        I didn’t say “have,” I said “liked.”

        “You cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus.”

        Jews for Jesus would differ with you on that.

        “You cannot be Christian and pray in a synagogue.”

        Well, I can tell you that I was at a funeral service at a synagogue and quite a few of the Christians present said a silent prayer, so, at least anecdotally and unofficially, it happens.

        “ You cannot be Jewish and say mass at a Church.”

        Well, most Christians can’t “say mass” either. (A priest “says Mass.” It’s a Catholic thing. So while Protestants and lay Catholics pray, they don’t “say Mass.”) But there is nothing stopping any Jewish person from going to most any Christian Church on a Sunday and praying to God. They wouldn’t get run out.

        “And maybe I don’t want that and that’s my choice. That doesn’t make me a bigot. “

        Well, then we’ll have to disagree on that.

      • Carowhat
        July 24, 2012, 4:43 pm

        jonrich111: Finally, the notion that Israel determines American foreign policy is too absurd to be taken seriously. Israel is controlled by American; not the other way around. Israel depends entirely on Western/American political, military, diplomatic, and economic support for its very existence and survival and thus always seeks U.S. approval for any of its actions.

        That might be true of the typical run-of-the-mill client state and it’s larger protector/benefactor but the relationship between Israel and America is anything but typical. In this country we’ve got a bunch of super rich Israel Firsters (Sheldon Adelson is one) who make it their business to ensure Israel’s needs take priority over our own. And these Israel Firsters rule absolutely.

        When Adelson looks back at his military service, he recently said, his only regret was that he didn’t serve in the IDF instead of the US Army. Look at all the American congressmen who rushed off to Israel at the first possible opportunity when the session broke. To anyone who cares about America, it was humiliating to see our leaders rushing off to a foreign country to be briefed on how to vote. They didn’t even apologize. They acted like they thought that we thought that what they did was great.

        If Israel doesn’t control America’s Mid-East policy someone ought to have told Ariel Sharon, because he always thought that Israel did, once telling Simon Peres not to “worry about American pressure” in considering a cease-fire request, because “we the Jewish people control America.”

        You say America controls Israel and not the other way around, but look at Israel’s lack of willingness even to give America so much as a heads-up when it finally attacks Iran. As several top American officials have publicly pointed out, any attack by Israel on Iran will inevitably bring the US into the conflict as Iran will assume America gave Israel both the go-ahead and its blessing (not to mention material aid). Iran in turn will almost certainly respond by targeting American ships in the Persian Gulf. Once American sailors start dying, the US will have no choice but to join the war on Israel’s behalf. If the power to make another country go to war for you isn’t absolute control, I don’t know what control is.

      • hophmi
        July 24, 2012, 6:25 pm

        “When you lament the fact that people are marrying who they want, rather than imposing your religious test, that’s bigotry. ”

        Not at all. I’m lamenting that people are giving up the faith. If intermarriage did not correlate with a diminishment of Judaism as a religion, then I would not care.

        “Yes, there is. But it’s irrelevant to the point at issue.”

        Not when you talk of intermarriage between different Christian sects.

        “It doesn’t matter why you do it. If you tell people “don’t marry him; he’s not your kind” it hardly matters what the specifics of the bigotry is. ”

        I don’t say that.

        “And yet fully 50% of the Jews in America do not marry in the religion. So are they really unhappy or is your reason merely an excuse?”

        No. Mostly, they’re not educated in the faith and don’t care. That’s what bothers me. Intermarriage is a symptom. It’s not a disease. And again, when you’re a member of the hegemonic faith in a society, this is simply not the same issue for you as it is when you are a tiny minority.

        “But, again, it comes back to: what business of this is yours? It’s THEIR traditions”

        And again, I’m not running to restrict anyone’s rights.

        ” Clearly if they cared about passing along these traditions, they would do so. If they don’t, it’s not because their choices weren’t appropriately limited, it’s because they didn’t place value in them.”

        Yes, that tends to happen when you live in a country where Christmas is a legal holiday

        ” “Hav[ing] the same religious practice” is simply shorthand for “being Jewish.” ”

        Oh no it isn’t. I would not marry someone just because they are Jewish if they never went to synagogue.

        “And the reason why someone looks for someone who has similar interests has nothing to do with what group that person belongs to, but who they are as a person. ”

        That’s what I’m saying.

        “When you say you are looking for someone who enjoys jazz, if they turned not to like jazz, but you were otherwise compatible, that wouldn’t matter.”

        OK. But for people who actually practice a religion, it’s a little more serious than listening to Jazz.

        “Jews for Jesus would differ with you on that. ”

        Jews for Jesus is Christianity, not Judaism.

        “Well, I can tell you that I was at a funeral service at a synagogue and quite a few of the Christians present said a silent prayer, so, at least anecdotally and unofficially, it happens. ”

        OK. It’s getting a little silly here.

        ” But there is nothing stopping any Jewish person from going to most any Christian Church on a Sunday and praying to God. They wouldn’t get run out. ”

        No, there isn’t. But as a general matter, Jews aren’t saying Mass and Christians aren’t saying Kaddish, so let’s leave it at that.

      • Roya
        July 24, 2012, 9:42 pm

        *I meant previous centuries.

      • G. Seauton
        July 25, 2012, 12:20 am

        “Jews have been affiliated with the organized left for centuries.”

        Centuries? Really? How many? One and a half?

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 25, 2012, 11:29 am

        “Not at all. I’m lamenting that people are giving up the faith. If intermarriage did not correlate with a diminishment of Judaism as a religion, then I would not care.”

        Then you are making a fundamental logical error. Correlation does not equal causality. The cause of people giving up faith is not intermarriage. So by opposing it you are causing distress to those who chose intermarriage (even those who do so and fully maintain their faith) but for no reason, because stopping intermarriage won’t do a damned thing to halt the decline in religious faith. Intermarriage isn’t the issue; the issue is the fact that they’re not buying what you’re selling, so it’s kind of crappy for you to oppose someone’s choice of life mate because you’re insecure about your religion.

        But just because someone was born of a certain family or has parents who were Jewish does not obligate them to believe in the religion, to care about it as you do or to even care one whit about it. And if they don’t think it damages what they value in themselves and their heritage to marry the person they love regardless of who that person is, how is this any of your business?

        “Not when you talk of intermarriage between different Christian sects.”

        Not in the context of what we’re talking about here. Where one group has a majority of 85%, the rate of intra-group marriage tells us nothing about that group’s views on intermarriage, because of the sheer numbers involved. However, one can get a truer (but very gross) view of the view on intermarriage by observing the rate of intermarriage between sects within the majority group. However, the same simply is not true when you’re talking about a minority, because the numbers aren’t there.

        “I don’t say that.”

        Not in so many words, but the sentiment is there.

        “Mostly, they’re not educated in the faith and don’t care. That’s what bothers me.”

        What business of it is yours? If they don’t value the faith, then why can’t you just mind your own business?

        “ Intermarriage is a symptom. It’s not a disease.”

        No, it’s not a “disease,” it’s two people finding that the value in life is not with silly faiths, but with each other. That’s a cure, not a disease.

        “And again, when you’re a member of the hegemonic faith in a society, this is simply not the same issue for you as it is when you are a tiny minority.”

        Who someone else marries should be an issue for anyone, of any faith, or no faith.

        “And again, I’m not running to restrict anyone’s rights.”

        No one said you did. But it doesn’t change the fact that just because they’re Jews and you’re a Jew that who they choose marry is any of your damned business.

        “Yes, that tends to happen when you live in a country where Christmas is a legal holiday”

        Well, every Jew in America, as well as Muslims, Hindus, atheists like me, and all the other groups also live in a country where Christmas is a legal holiday, too. Some value religious traditions, some don’t. Same as everywhere in the world. You can’t blame Christmas for the fact that some people don’t put the same value on religion that you do.

        “I would not marry someone just because they are Jewish if they never went to synagogue. “

        Okay. Then your group of “acceptable” vs. “not-acceptable” is even smaller and more bigoted than I suspected.

        “That’s what I’m saying.”

        No you aren’t. If there was a beautiful, loving woman who mentally, psychologically and emotionally was the most compatible person for you who has ever lived, who was Jewish but did not go to a synagogue, you would reject her (you said so yourself) because she didn’t fall into the narrow grouping of humanity which you consider acceptable.

        “OK. But for people who actually practice a religion, it’s a little more serious than listening to Jazz.”

        Yes, and reasons that have nothing to do with who the person is you are talking about. It’s serious, because it lets you put people in boxes.

        “Jews for Jesus is Christianity, not Judaism. “

        To you it is. To them it isn’t. To them, it’s Judaism.

      • ColinWright
        July 26, 2012, 3:59 am

        “…I guess it’s bigotry if you’re only interested in preserving a genetic entity, as opposed to an entity whose religion or culture you deem to have value, maybe absolute value (let’s leave aside the value of that value)….”

        Lol. So, say if Blacks and Hispanics go at it in East Oakland it’s bigotry, but if Protestants and Catholics go at it in Northern Ireland it’s something more praiseworthy?

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 3:27 pm

        @ hophmi,
        Or, you could keep it short and say Phil takes humanism seriously, not to mention America’s egalitarian values.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 3:34 pm

        RE: “There need not be a contradiction there and Judaism is capable of being a big open tent.” Yep, just like being a Hutterite–and bonus, there–they have no insidious lobby like AIPAC!

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 5:28 pm

        jonrich111 ,
        I don’t disagree with your wide notion of the many aspects of Jewishness. However, you insult any American here if you say the Jewish Establishment and its religious and secular leaders don’t constantly assert the Jewish religion as reason for whatever they propose or defend. The fact is, and most people on this site know it, is that Jewishness is a nicely plastic identity that can be and is used, to enhance and defend any agenda that some influential Jews think is “good for the Jews.”

        You would “liken it more to an extended family or kinship group than a religion.”
        So would I. It’s called tribalism.
        It’s a regressive thing.
        If all other “portable cultures” were given the power Jews have in the USA,
        there would be no American solidarity at all, not that there’s much now–and guess who has lead that charge all along?

      • Shlomo
        July 30, 2012, 8:40 pm

        > “The goal of Affirmative-Action has always been to achieve equality of outcome between blacks and whites”

        Blacks would be better off in a socialist country, then. The goal of America is equality of….OPPORTUNITY.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 6:41 am

        @ johnrich111,

        How is it “factually incorrect” to point out that individualism has never taken deep root in Japan as it has in Western lands?

      • Citizen
        August 18, 2012, 5:45 am

        In all my adult years, over half a century, attention has been called to the predominance/substantial disproportion of white males in power slots, so all along, the American political norm has been falsely equating white males with being the powerholders and playing into a classic anti-white and gender racist trope? If the trope shoe fits, wear it.

      • seafoid
        July 18, 2012, 6:00 am

        Krauss

        Intermarriage is something I would be concerned about if I were Jewish but having a cruel Sparta in the Middle East to sort it out doesn’t seem to be the way to go.

      • Carowhat
        July 21, 2012, 6:27 pm

        I don’t see why intermarriage is to feared by Jews (or anyone else). The kids from an intermarriage grow up with (hopefully the best) values from both of their parents. What’s so awful about that?

        Frankly, I don’t understand this almost Aryan fear of profaning the bloodline.

      • AllenBee
        July 27, 2012, 11:48 am

        “Frankly, I don’t understand this almost Aryan fear of profaning the bloodline.”

        read Ezra ch. 9-11.

        here’s a comment on Ezra from “The Cultures of the Jews;” ed. David Biale, ‘Jewish Culture in Greco-Roman Palestine,’ by Eric M. Meyers (p. 137):

        ” [T]he period opens with a . . .xenophobic expression: the ban on intermarriage by Ezra the Scribe in the middle of the fifth century B.C.E. Defining his people as zera kodesh (a holy seed), Ezra sought to erect high walls between the returnees and the “people of the land,” who may have been a mixture of remnants of the indigenous Canaanites and of Judaeans and Israelites who had not gone into exile. Ezra represents . . .the voice of ethnic and religious segregation in the face of outer pressures for accommodation and acculturation. Indeed, throughout our period . . .the forces of separation and assimilation, struggled with each other in ways that are more complex than is commonly believed.”

        Based upon the fact that a majority of Jews chose to remain in Babylon/Persia, it is reasonable to speculate that constraints against intermarriage with Persians — the most powerful culture and empire of the time — was not similarly forbidden.

    • Shmuel
      July 18, 2012, 2:59 am

      Whatever it meant before 1948

      If only it were that simple (i.e. not simple at all). Many of the Jewish communities, cultures and languages that existed pre-48, no longer exist; the generational distance from traditional religious education and lifestyles is now far greater than it was pre-48; and the emphasis on anti-Semitism/Holocaust and Israel as primary components of Jewish identity for nearly 3 generations makes it all the more difficult to revive other components of Jewish culture and identity that have since atrophied.

      • seafoid
        July 18, 2012, 4:33 am

        “The emphasis on anti-Semitism/Holocaust and Israel as primary components of Jewish identity for nearly 3 generations”

        How can Israel be a primary component of Jewish identity when aliyah is dead? Is it some kind of po mo identity shop ? Even with the best will in the world Diaspora Jews are slowly moving away from Israel and on top you have the language barrier.

        http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/if-a-million-american-jews-moved-to-israel-there-d-be-peace.premium-1.450732#

        “According to Noga Martin, a former editor at the Jerusalem Post, now writing at the Times of Israel site, “tonight’s rally in favor of universal draft presented us with a stunning example of another phenomenon – the Anglo Hebrew speaker with an accent that could peel paint off walls. “Toward the end of the demonstration, an immigrant rabbi took the stage and gave an articulate, impassioned speech in perfectly acceptable Hebrew. Sadly, the power of his words was diminished by his dreadful North American accent.””

        Hasbara has been the glue keeping the links alive but as that collapses how can Israel continue to define Judaism for the 50% of Jews who do not want to live in Zionistan ?

        Irish Americans have a similar problem. Distance destroys cultural uniformity.

        Aren’t more Jews going to turn away from Israel as things deteriorate?

        And surely at least 5% of Diaspora Jews by now realise that the “Jewish identity” constructed around Zionism is built on sand, as the tribulations of hasbara so clearly demonstrate. .

      • seafoid
        July 18, 2012, 5:00 pm

        That is just the Zionist view. It’s like the Walmart marketing department.

        Considering the difficultes the bots had getting people for their project in the 20s I do not believe that Judaism needs Zionism to work.

      • evets
        July 18, 2012, 5:41 pm

        Allen Bee –

        Used in this way, Israel would refer to the ‘people of Israel’, the Jewish people and its mission — not the land or the state. Though Dennis Prager might twist the phrase around to suit his own theo-political agenda.

      • Citizen
        July 23, 2012, 6:42 pm

        AllenBee, it’s really absurd how Jill Levine can say that Jesus was a Jewish leader of rebellion against Rome. ” Jesus said,
        “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Jesus only brought his message to fellow Jews, not to Gentiles. He kicked the money changers out of the temple. He was against the Jewish Establishment of the time, primarily for their greed and hypocrisy and inability to see what Jesus thought God wanted.

      • AllenBee
        July 27, 2012, 11:15 am

        it’s gradually dawning on me that the American Jewish community is less problematic in terms of protecting Israel against condemnation for oppressing Palestinians than is the American Christian community, including the mainstream Christian churches.

        It is not an accident that American Christian churches are committed to support for Israel. Zionists understand the power of force multiplication by turning an otherwise uninvolved party/institution/mass into warriors for their cause. With a few well-placed infiltrators — Amy Jill Levine, Joel Rosenberg — the closest thing our era has to Elmer Gantry; Mike Evans, a pseudo-Christian; Rabbi Yechial Eckstein, numerous Christian congregations have been reduced to unwitting supporters for zionism, even though they most likely have never heard the term nor have a clear notion of its history and impact on their lives.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 3:38 pm

        RE: “Irish Americans have a similar problem. Distance destroys cultural uniformity.” Is the Irish Establishment in America trying to get us into a war on Iran? How much foreign aid for military weapons does the USA give Ireland? What people are the Irish currently colonizing and occupying?

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 6:44 am

        On his talk radio show Dennis Prager constantly conflates criticism of Israel as anti-American and anti-semitic.

      • seafoid
        July 18, 2012, 4:45 am

        The emphasis on antisemitism is incomplete

        http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/the-anti-semitism-that-goes-unreported-1.394279

        “The day our grandparents feared was Sunday, the Christian Sabbath; the Semites, who are not of interest to the researchers monitoring anti-Semitism, fear Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Our grandparents knew that the order-enforcement authorities wouldn’t intervene to help a Jewish family under attack; we know that the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police, the Civil Administration, the Border Police and the courts all stand on the sidelines, closing their eyes, softballing investigations, ignoring evidence, downplaying the severity of the acts, protecting the attackers, and giving a boost to those progromtchiks.The hands behind these attacks belong to Israeli Jews who violate international law by living in the West Bank. But the aims and goals behind the attacks are the flesh and blood of the Israeli non-occupation. This systemic violence is part of the existing order. It complements and facilitates the violence of the regime, and what the representatives – the brigade commanders, the battalion commanders, the generals and the Civil Administration officers – are doing while “bearing the burden” of military service.”

        Surely it is possible to build a Jewish identity that does not revolve around reverse antisemitism . Surely there are enough Jews who want their kids to be respected and teach them to respect others, regardless of religion.

  2. seafoid
    July 17, 2012, 9:34 am

    The primacy of Jewish suffering has to go.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/16/olympics-munich-massacre

    “The (1972 Olympics) “Munich massacre” was the single greatest tragedy in the history of sports.”

    PFO

    • hophmi
      July 17, 2012, 2:10 pm

      Do you know a worse Olympic tragedy?

      • marc b.
        July 17, 2012, 5:32 pm

        Do you know a worse Olympic tragedy?

        jesus christ, who measures every event like this? and what exactly would it mean if someone identified a ‘worse olympic tragedy’ on the ‘olympic tragedy’ scale’? you’re missing the point entirely, as usual.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 6:20 am

        “jesus christ, who measures every event like this? and what exactly would it mean if someone identified a ‘worse olympic tragedy’ on the ‘olympic tragedy’ scale’? you’re missing the point entirely, as usual.”

        Do you think having a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes who were taken hostage and murdered at the Olympics in front of a worldwide TV audience is too much to ask?

        I would feel the same way if the athletes were Palestinian.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 18, 2012, 9:09 am

        “Do you think having a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes who were taken hostage and murdered at the Olympics in front of a worldwide TV audience is too much to ask? ”

        Yes, it absolutely is. There is to be no politics in the Olympics. These people died in a politically motivated attack, brought on by the brutal and criminal policies of their state.

        Would it be too much to ask for a moment of silence in front of a worldwide TV audience to honor all of the Palestinians who have been killed, murdered and oppressed by the israelis for the last 70 years? How about if we limit it to all the Palestinian athletes who have been killed, murdered and oppressed by the israelis?

      • Kathleen
        July 18, 2012, 11:04 am

        “, who measures every event like this? ” Ethnocentrics!

      • Carowhat
        July 21, 2012, 6:45 pm

        I would feel the same way if the athletes were Palestinian.

        How do you feel about rabbis who urge the killing of young Palestinians lest they turn into anti-Semites?

      • Citizen
        July 21, 2012, 7:58 pm

        Yep, Carowhat, those rabbis were echoing Himmler’s famous speech to his SS Officers, if memory serves, in Pozen. It’s a tough job, killing babies, but somebody has to do it to assure Aryan continuity.

      • hophmi
        July 24, 2012, 6:26 pm

        “Would it be too much to ask for a moment of silence in front of a worldwide TV audience to honor all of the Palestinians who have been killed, murdered and oppressed by the israelis for the last 70 years? ”

        Were they killed at the Olympics?

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 3:41 pm

        @ marc b
        Yep; it’s like on a par with all those Christians that use to get thrown to the lions for Roman entertainment.

      • seafoid
        July 17, 2012, 5:46 pm

        Was it the single greatest in the history of sport? No, it wasn’t. Was it worse than the Heysel stadium disaster?

        Look at all the Palestinian civilians Israel has murdered. Do you consider those to be tragedies too ? Of course you don’t, you hypocrite.

        I feel sorry for the Jews who died after they fell into the Yarkon river when that Maccabiah bridge collapsed. One of the four athletes died during the collapse, but the other three were killed afterwards by infections caused by exposure to the polluted river water.[1]

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

        They thought they would be taken care of in Israel. They also probably thought that Israel cared about the environment. Duh!

      • Dutch
        July 17, 2012, 7:21 pm

        Heizel is the best known stadium desaster. The probably least known is that in Loezjniki Stadium (Spartak Moscow vs. FC Haarlem, 1982), which went unnoticed for players and camera’s. First details were only published in 1989. Sovjet sources mention 66 dead.

      • dbroncos
        July 17, 2012, 10:03 pm

        Munich wasn’t even the worst sports tragedy in that year (1972). Uruguay rugby team, Andes mountain crash. Faced with eating the dead body of his own mother to survive, or watch as others did same, one of the rugby team members instead walked off into the snowy peaks. He made it out and found help but not before his mother had been eaten by his fellow survivors who spent two months in the frozen Andes mountains before being rescued.

      • straightline
        July 18, 2012, 5:11 am

        And if we’re measuring in deaths, what about the Hillsborough disaster?

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

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 17, 2012, 5:49 pm

        “Do you know a worse Olympic tragedy?”

        He didn’t say “Olympic,” he said “the history of sports”

        And there’ve been many, many worse tragedies in the history of sports than Munich.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 5:40 pm

        The statement referred to ‘history of sports’ — not history of the Olympics.

        And since the massacre was hardly an integral part of the Olympic event, just about anything connected with ‘sports’ would qualify.

        So for ‘single worst tragedy in the history of sports’ I’d go with the ‘Nika’ riots of sixth century Constantinople, which ended with about half the city burnt down and fifty thousand dead or something (look it up if you want an authoritative figure.)

  3. CitizenC
    July 17, 2012, 10:23 am

    “What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state? How will Jews insure a Jewish future without this bulwark?”

    This question has only been postponed, not invented, by the present apotheosis of Zionism. It arose with the modern era and emancipation itself. The question is not only “being Jewish without a Jewish state” but being Jewish without a pre-modern Jewish collective, without Judaic religious coercion or gentile restriction, being Jewish at all, without such coercion, in freedom.

    Zionism has attempted to recreate pre-modern conditions and values, with overwhelming success, not only in Palestine, but in the “diaspora”; the very term is Zionist. This success includes the left, where critique is still carefully refracted through identity politics. Anti-gentilism is the rarely acknowledged substrate of secular “Jewish identity”. I have cited Ahad Ha’am’s anti-gentilism, and Phil has acknowledged it today.

    The task is to recover the modern, liberal spirit, in which freedom, not Jewish identity, is absolute and normative. The possible disappearance of the group thru acculturation and assimilation is a trifling price to pay for freedom and its benefits, and should be seen as normal and positive, is seen that way, by sophisticated observers of the “continuity crisis”.

    Today “Jewish identity” is inextricably bound up with power and privilege, from genocidal racism in Palestine to qualified dissent on the left. This pre-modern Jewish obscurantism, in extreme and attenuated forms, is the essence of Zionism, and overcoming it is the essential task of Palestine politics. The problem of “being Jewish” is a remote second to that of “being human”, of being a liberal citizen. Any defensible “Jewish identity” can be constructed only after the obligations of liberal citizenship are met.

    • Citizen
      July 17, 2012, 10:49 am

      RE: “The problem of “being Jewish” is a remote second to that of “being human”, of being a liberal citizen. Any defensible “Jewish identity” can be constructed only after the obligations of liberal citizenship are met.”

      And consider: “Anti-gentilism is the rarely acknowledged substrate of secular “Jewish identity”.

      Here a chabad equates universal morality with the seven noahide laws, as refined today:
      http://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/62221/jewish/Universal-Morality.htm

      Perhaps “they know– this is the end of something.”
      Discovery that the state of Israel really does make one consider that “the creed is in the deed?”

      History has a way of eventually teasing out hypocrisy and falsehoods–at least for truth & justice-seekers.

      • Kathleen
        July 17, 2012, 12:27 pm

        “And consider: “Anti-gentilism is the rarely acknowledged substrate of secular “Jewish identity”.

        Few talk about this and it does exist. Have heard it in sizeable Jewish groups

      • hophmi
        July 17, 2012, 12:37 pm

        “Few talk about this and it does exist. Have heard it in sizeable Jewish groups”

        What does “sizable Jewish groups” mean? That one person said something that you interpreted as anti-gentile? That a few did? I know of no strain of anti-gentilism amongst Jews, and it’s a hell of a charge considering that both Christians and Muslims proselytize and Jews do not.

      • smd341
        July 17, 2012, 2:36 pm

        Yeah, the anti-gentilism is so bad that 50% of us marry gentiles! Have you even a clue what your talking about?

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 6:08 pm

        “I know of no strain of anti-gentilism amongst Jews”

        He said, putting his fingers in his ears and shouting la-la-la-la.
        Nope, not a bit of it, couldn’t find it in Jewish books or culture no matter how hard you look. In fact, Jews usually mention how grateful they are for the persecution, the prejudice, the pogroms, and the genocide. Nope, there wouldn’t be any of that antil-Goyim stuff in Judiasm.
        And did I mention that Jews poop solid gold? You just gotta face it, they’re not like other people.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        July 17, 2012, 7:03 pm

        “I know of no strain of anti-gentilism amongst Jews.”

        This was posted by Seafoid at the top of this thread. In your haste you must have missed it–

        It is permissible
        To kill gentile children
        Who might hurt Jews
        When they grow up –
        So wrote rabbis in a book

        The Attorney General ruled:
        This is not incitement,
        This is the Halacha.

        No anti-Semite
        Would dare today
        To defame Judaism
        So blatantly!

        (By the way, in a discussion of anti-gentilism I wouldn’t bring up the fact that Jews discourage converts from the goyim. It’s not a very productive strategy for you.)

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 8:04 pm

        Like I said, it really shows you what classy people us Jews are. The Gentiles made life hell for us for 2500 years (estimates vary) but did we ever say a word against them? No, not us Jews. Our Mother’s told us “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything!” and we listened

        Oh my aching ass.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 9:15 pm

        “(By the way, in a discussion of anti-gentilism I wouldn’t bring up the fact that Jews discourage converts from the goyim. It’s not a very productive strategy for you.)”

        That’s a new development. In earlier times, Jews were eager proselytisers and converted many people, sometimes whole peoples. They know a good deal and a good time when they see one. Alas, things have changed.

      • seanmcbride
        July 17, 2012, 9:20 pm

        hophmi,

        You wrote:

        “I know of no strain of anti-gentilism amongst Jews.”

        Why do you think it helps the cause of Israel, Zionism, Judaism and “the Jews” to tell the most absurd and ridiculous lies over and over again, which is your by now well-established pattern?

        We have seen on Mondoweiss many *hundreds* of well-documented examples of raw and virulent racism that is deeply embedded in important strains of ancient Judaism and modern Zionism. You have never rebutted any of that material. We can get into all the interesting details once again, if you wish — all the key quotes from reputable sources are a few keystrokes away on Google.

        Some useful Google searches on the subject:

        1. bible genocide
        2. bible goyim
        3. bible non-jews
        4. bible racism
        5. bible xenophobia
        6. chabad lubavitch racism
        7. israel apartheid
        8. israel ethnic cleansing
        9. israel goyim
        10. israel non-jews
        11. israel racism
        12. israel xenophobia
        13. jews goyim
        14. jews non-jews
        15. jews racism
        16. jews xenophobia
        17. judaism genocide
        18. judaism goyim
        19. judaism non-jews
        20. judaism racism
        21. judaism xenophobia
        22. kahanism racism
        23. maimonides goyim
        24. maimonides non-jews
        25. maimonides racism
        26. meir kahane goyim
        27. meir kahane non-jews
        28. meir kahane racism
        29. ovadia yosef goyim
        30. ovadia yosef non-jews
        31. ovadia yosef racism
        32. site:failedmessiah.typepad.com/ racism
        33. site:mondoweiss.net racism
        34. talmud genocide
        35. talmud goyim
        36. talmud non-jews
        37. talmud racism
        38. talmud xenophobia
        39. yitzhak shapira goyim
        40. yitzhak shapira non-jews
        41. yitzhak shapira racism
        42. zionism apartheid
        43. zionism ethnic cleansing
        44. zionism genocide
        45. zionism goyim
        46. zionism non-jews
        47. zionism racism
        48. zionism xenophobia

        Many of these issues are openly and freely discussed in depth in the mainstream Israeli and Jewish press on a regular basis — publications which apparently you don’t read.

        Hophmi: you don’t seem to know anything about *any* subject you address or you are brazenly telling one lie after another. Trust me: this is terrible hasbara. Once you are caught out in a few lies, not to mention many, few intelligent people will ever believe a word you say again. There is no truth or honesty in you — every word that comes out of your mouth is shameless and dishonest propaganda on behalf of your narrow ethnic nationalist interests.

        Why do you do this to yourself?

        Reasonable people are not saying that all Jews or the entire Jewish tradition is racist. But important streams of the Jewish tradition, like important streams of the European and other major cultural traditions, are indeed intensely and even fanatically racist. Much of that racism towards non-Jews seems to be spilling over like volcanic lava from contemporary religious Zionists and Likud Zionists who are promoting an explicitly Jewish ethnic nationalist agenda in the name of “the Jews” — all of them.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 12:12 am

        Like I said, I know of no strain of anti-Gentilism amongst Jews. There are certainly some Jews who have said nasty things about Gentiles. They are far outweighed by the Christians and Muslims who have said nasty things about Jews and the strain of hatred toward Jews has historically been a much more prominent feature of both Christianity and Islam than hatred toward Gentiles has ever been in Judaism.

        You are an antisemite, McBride, and you fetishize worrying about my coreligionists. You should seek help. And you can continue to post meaningless lists that prove nothing than your own proclivity for neo-Nazi websites.

      • Taxi
        July 18, 2012, 4:11 am

        hophmi,

        Sean’s lists are always well researched and informative. When you call him an ‘antisemite’, you’re opening yourself to be labeled a jewish supremist and a zionazi.

        Point is: stop colonizing the holy lands and committing war crimes against the natives in the name of your ‘religion’. And if you refuse, then expect to be critiqued, exposed for your crimes, named, shamed AND put on trial for your immoral and illegal transgressions – whatever religion you may be.

        Simply: STOP HIDING APARTHEID ISRAELI CRIMES BEHIND THE DUBIOUS VEIL OF JUDAISM.

      • Philip Weiss
        July 18, 2012, 9:40 am

        I grew up hearing anti-gentilism, hophmi. I certainly have heard antisemitism too. but my nonjewish wife’s comment on coming into my mishpocheh was, I always heard about antisemitism, but i never heard about anti-anti-semitism.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 9:58 am

        hophmi,

        You wrote:

        “Like I said, I know of no strain of anti-Gentilism amongst Jews. There are certainly some Jews who have said nasty things about Gentiles.”

        You have been provided with torrents of solid evidence that there are important ideological strains within Judaism and Zionism that promote bigotry and hatred towards non-Jews. I gave you a few dozen useful Google searches to dig deeper into the matter. And yet you continue to lie shamelessly about the issue in a way that utterly wrecks your credibility.

        Here is one example of hundreds of such examples that have been posted on Mondoweiss over the years:

        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

        You wrote:

        “You are an antisemite, McBride, and you fetishize worrying about my coreligionists. You should seek help. And you can continue to post meaningless lists that prove nothing than your own proclivity for neo-Nazi websites.”

        So instead of discussing this issue in an informed and reasonable way, once again you collapse and start wailing about antisemites and Nazis. I despise Nazism, pro-Nazi websites, antisemitism and ignorant bigotry of all kinds.

        Is Allan Nadler, who is Jewish, and who earned a Ph.D. from Harvard, an antisemite or Nazi? Do you care to argue with his points above in a persuasive way without infantile name-calling?

        If you and your “coreligionists” (Meir Kahane? Yitzhak Shapira? Ovadia Yosef? Menachem Schneerson?) want to keep your religious beliefs under wraps and out of sight from the world at large, you should take care from injecting them in a highly conspicuous, contentious and destructive way in American foreign policy and American domestic politics. You have asked for the scrutiny. Your peculiar cult beliefs are having significant damaging consequences for Americans.

      • Sheldonrichman
        July 18, 2012, 10:09 am

        You might profit from reading Israel Shahak’s work.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 10:32 am

        I still don’t understand your point, Phil. I mean, you grew up right after the Holocaust. Do you think that maybe Jews were not feeling so wonderful about the Gentiles at that point history? Most of us in America have roots in a Europe where we were regularly accused of deicide and blood libels, expelled from every European country, and then slaughtered and buried in mass graves. And despite this, we’ve been at the forefront of every meaningful movement for civil rights and pluralism in this country. And all you can write about is how a few nebbishy Yids from your childhood complained about how the Goyim don’t like us very much and accuse Jews of having an anti-gentilism strain? I think maybe you don’t expect Jews to be human beings. I think you expect us to be angelic.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 10:51 am

        hophmi,

        Do you care to rethink and revise your previous false statements on this subject?

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        TITLE Israel’s racist rabbis: Wave of edicts urge: ‘Hate the gentile’
        AUTHOR Jonathan Cook
        PUBLICATION Media Monitors
        DATE December 9, 2010
        URL http://world.mediamonitors.net/Headlines/Israel-s-racist-rabbis-Wave-of-edicts-urge-Hate-the-gentile
        BEGIN QUOTES
        “The general trend towards extremism has not happened by chance, said Sefi Rachelevsky, a prominent Israeli writer critical of the Orthodox rabbinate. Israel’s public coffers pay the salaries of some of the most extremist rabbis, and the education system regularly falls under the political control of religious parties like Shas.”

        Jews must not rent homes to “gentiles”. That was the religious decree issued this week by at least 50 of Israel’s leading rabbis, many of them employed by the state as municipal religious leaders. Jews should first warn, then “ostracise” fellow Jews who fail to heed the directive, the rabbis declared.

        The decree is the latest in a wave of racist pronouncements from some of Israel’s most influential rabbis.

        … Racism in Israel is increasingly enjoying high-level sanction among the most influential sectors of the religious establishment.

        The latest ruling was signed by Shlomo Aviner, a spiritual leader of Israel’s national-religious camp; Yosef Elyashiv, a senior ultra-Orthodox rabbi; and Avigdor Neventzal, rabbi of Jerusalem’s Old City.

        Its sentiments have also been echoed by Ovadia Yosef, a former chief rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of Shas, an important political and religious party in Mr Netanyahu’s government. “Selling to [non-Jews], even for a lot of money, is not allowed. We won’t let them take control of us here,” Mr Yosef said recently.

        Two months ago, Mr Yosef explained the logic behind his views and those of like-minded rabbis.

        “Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us.” Explaining why God allowed non-Jews long lives, he added: “Imagine that your donkey would die, you’d lose your income. [The donkey] is your servant. … That’s why he [the gentile] gets a long life, to work well for the Jew.”

        Mr Yosef’s remarks against “gentiles” were greeted with respectful silence by Israeli officials and most of the media.

        The rabbis’ use of theology to support racial discrimination is being applied to more than just housing.

        This summer, Yosef Elitzur and Yitzhak Shapira, who head an influential seminary in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, published The King’s Torah, a 230-page guide to how Jews should treat non-Jews.

        The two rabbis concluded that Jews were obligated to kill anyone who posed a danger, immediate or potential, to the Jewish people, and implied that all Palestinians were to be considered a threat. On these grounds, the pair justified killing Palestinian civilians and even their babies.

        Last month Mr Shapira also backed the use of Palestinians as human shields, a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a practice that Israel’s supreme court has outlawed.

        The King’s Torah, far from being condemned by moderate rabbis, has been greeted with a general silence and enthusiastic support from a number of notable religious leaders.
        END QUOTES
        END ARTICLE

      • Kathleen
        July 18, 2012, 11:06 am

        How about 20, 30 comments. You know this ethnocentric attitude exist amongst many Jews hophmi. You know it

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 11:13 am

        Taxi,

        The lists consist of well-documented and well-organized facts that are directly relevant to the issues under discussion, for instance: who were the ringleaders of the Iraq War; who are the ringleaders of an Iran War; what are the core beliefs of neoconservatives, etc. (I won’t bother to get into the Semantic Web and Data Science angle on the lists — it’s not relevant to Mondoweiss — but it’s really, really interesting if one is into cutting-edge information science.)

        So far hophmi hasn’t challenged a single fact in any of my posts. He doesn’t deal in facts or the rational analysis of facts. He comes across as an overexcited and brainwashed ethno-religious nationalist and cultist who relies heavily on verbal abuse to try to muddle through debates that are going far over his head. He has a low threshold for losing his sh*t in debates — he is easily overwhelmed and thrown off balance.

        The intellectual level of most pro-Israel activists and habarists is simply appalling. As a general matter, ethnic and religious nationalism tends to appeal to mediocre and reality-challenged minds. All the smart Jews I know — and I know quite a few — started drifting away from the suffocating confines of Zionist ideology years ago. They care too much about the truth and are too curious about the world to get trapped by any narrow-minded belief system.

        When pro-Israel militants like hophmi engage in nasty personal attacks on Americans and Europeans — and these attacks are NEVER forgotten — they are hacking away at the foundations of Israel’s political support in the West. It’s amazing how little they appreciate the consequences of their irrational and emotional behavior. At some point, a critical mass of Americans and Europeans will want to cut loose from them altogether — no more debates, no more arguments, no more communications. You go your way and we’ll go ours. We have nothing more to talk about.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 11:24 am

        “Hophmi: you don’t seem to know anything about *any* subject you address or you are brazenly telling one lie after another. Trust me: this is terrible hasbara”

        Only one possible retort to that, and I’ll make it for Hophmi. He shrugs and says: “Feh, It’s a living. Somebody has to do it”.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 11:27 am

        “I think maybe you don’t expect Jews to be human beings.”

        So why, Hophmi, did you say, just a few comments ago, “There is no strain of anti-gentilism” ? So that statement in “inoperative” now? Why is it impossible for you to admit a fact which is as plain as the nose left on your face?

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 11:44 am

        “but my nonjewish wife’s comment on coming into my mishpocheh…”

        We should compare notes someday. My wife, of course, had been trained to reticence, and restraint since she was taught to kneel for hours and pray waiting for the Apocalypse as a child. Anyway, all she said on meeting my family and spending a day with them was: “My f—ing G-D, you people are PIGS!, And so goddam MEAN to each other! What the f–k is wrong with you?” My Mom dimpled quite prettily at the compliment, and before you knew it, they were holding hands, giggling, trading dresses, comparing bra sizes and trying on each other’s make-up. And when my-wife-to-be pulled the flask-and-spoon rig she carries with her out of her purse, and offered Mom a snort or two, Mom was strictly “not-losing-a-son (hey, you can’t have everything) -I’m-gaining-a-daughter from that moment on. She died a happy woman, and we were able to keep the OD out of the news. What more can you ask for?

      • Annie Robbins
        July 18, 2012, 11:46 am

        They are far outweighed by the Christians and Muslims who have said nasty things about Jews and the strain of hatred toward Jews has historically been a much more prominent feature of both Christianity and Islam than hatred toward Gentiles has ever been in Judaism.

        you have staked out a claim for jews as the victims of the most hatred and you covet it. the crimes of zionists over the last decades, the countless abuses and suffering inflicted day after day and night after night; the home invasions, home demolitions, administrative detentions, targeted assassinations, denial of movement, denial of rights..all of this means nothing when stacked up against the hatred in the minds of your adversaries.

        You are an antisemite, McBride

        you are a coward hophmi. you will not even recognize legitimate information. this is about as much leeway you will afford evidence of racism coming from members of the jewish community: I think maybe you don’t expect Jews to be human beings. I think you expect us to be angelic.

        iow, zionist malefeasance is jews just being human whereas everyone who complains of injustices is infected with hatred against jews.

        i am curious if there are any jews in your world with a strain of hatred, or is hatred just a gentile thing.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 11:50 am

        I haven’t challenged any “facts” because you’ve provided none to challenge. Your argument relies on a faulty assumption, which is that if some Jews favor a policy, it must be Jewish policy. You make unsupported statements, like claiming that neocons above all care about Jewish nationalism and Likud Zionism; you’ve not supported that and you couldn’t without statements from them indicating that it is so. You haven’t supported it circumstantially either. The foreign policy favored by neocons is not new. These guys are not the first to promote an interventionist foreign policy. These guys are not the only ones to promote these policies, and they fall firmly within American traditions of foreign policy. They have supported American adventures elsewhere, including Kosovo, an adventure Likudniks generally opposed and that had no benefit for Israel. They’re foreign policy interventionists and they differ from liberal interventionists only in the degree that they allow realism to affect where they decide to intervene. And even then, the differences between neocons and liberal interventionists on foreign policies are not all that clear.

        Sean, make an argument, and I’ll be glad to respond to it. You haven’t. You post a list of Jewish names and suggest that this proves Iraq was a war for Israel or that the Jews control foreign policy, or whatever Jew-centric theory pops into your head. I’ve debunked them enough, but generally, conspiracy theorists stick to their conspiracies.

        You pose when-did-you-start-beating-your-wife type questions and ask for responses and then claim you’ve won the argument when people choose not to play your game.

        I’m sure people like Father Coughlin thought they were making great arguments too. And I’m sure they carried on like the demagogues they were when people refused to buy into their nonsense.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 12:04 pm

        Flask-and-spoon rig? OD? Mooser, what are you talking about? My former English teachers didn’t prep me for people like you.

      • Kathleen
        July 18, 2012, 12:10 pm

        “And despite this, we’ve been at the forefront of every meaningful movement for civil rights and pluralism in this country” Deeply involved but the “forefront” claim is not backed up by a great deal of evidence. Just as Phil, Medea and other Jewish individuals who have jumped on the Palestinian justice bandwagon (wonderful to witness) have admitted they sat on the sidelines for decades knowing what was going on (mixed reasons for this silence). Those “forefront” claims are to be looked at closely

      • edwin
        July 18, 2012, 12:15 pm

        I think that Mooser’s wife is the candy man.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 12:20 pm

        Annie, as usual, you put words in my mouth. I never said Jews were the most hated and I certainly don’t covet anything. I also never said that hatred is exclusive to Gentiles, and indeed, I fight hatred in my own community, much more than you fight it in yours.

        It’s quite clear that Jews have faced far more discrimination at the hands of Christians and Muslims than the other way around. If you deny a fact as basic as that, you have serious problems. But generally, to complain about anti-gentilism in the Jewish community is a lot like complaining about anti-White sentiment in the Black community. Does it exist? I’m sure it does (though I don’t hear very much of it, and I hear next to none expressed by people under the age of 50), but there are obvious reasons Jews do not place great trust in Gentiles anymore, just as most Blacks do not place great trust in Whites to do right by them. 400 years of persecution will do that to people.

        And why should we trust Gentiles collectively? Because America has given us a nice home for a few generations? Do you think that cancels out the historical memory of a millenium of pervasive antisemitism among Christians that culminated in the Shoah? Indeed, most people in my generation do trust Gentiles. Most of us have moved past the feeling in the previous generation that, for instance, Americans would not vote for a Jewish Presidential candidate. As we become more removed from the hatred of the past, we become collectively more trusting. Those closer to real antisemitism, like the Russian Jews, think a lot of us are nuts for moving in that direction.

        Jews are deeply grateful to be Americans and always have been. We’ve also contributed collectively a great deal to this country and it has been good to us as a community. But historically, for the West and much of the East, including Russia and the Arab world, it is the exception, not the rule. And surprise, surprise, the closer people are to having experienced actual antisemitism, the less they trust others to take care of them. Again, see the Russian Jewish community.

        McBride supplies no “legitimate information.” He makes lists and faulty assumptions and asks us to buy into them. Is that who you are, Annie? Are you a person who makes lists of Jews in power and then tries to sell them to others so you can claim Jewish power is too pervasive in American society? Are you proud of being associated with that kind of filthy garbage? Because that’s who you seem to be.

      • American
        July 18, 2012, 12:38 pm

        @ hoppie

        People tend to not like people who don’t like them…understandable in both Jews and non Jews

        I dare say though that more Jews were raised being told about the terrible gentiles than there were gentiles being raised told about the terrible Jews.
        And this was probably so even before the holocaust because Jews had a belief in their victimhood even before the holocaust.
        And even the Jewish holocaust itself was the product of ‘some’ mad men not the entire gentile world.

        I don’t like Jews like you who call someone like Sean a anti semite, I don’t like any of them who say all non Jews carry ‘latent anti semitism”…and we’ve seen a regular parade of Jews who do that, including lately the so called interfaith religious leader who said that about the Presbyterian church group.
        For some reason some Jews think it is acceptable to accuse or slur all non Jews. They think no one is going to say or point out they are the same kind of bigots as anti semites. The common mantra of organized Jewry for Israel and even in general among some is the Whole World is anti semitic or anti -semities- in -waiting to persecute the Jews.

        Well that double standard is over as far as I am concerned.
        Bigotry is a two way street….there are no Jews only or Non Jews only roads in it.

      • Keith
        July 18, 2012, 5:42 pm

        HOPHMI- “Do you think that maybe Jews were not feeling so wonderful about the Gentiles at that point history?”

        Any particular Gentiles, or are all of us Goyim pretty much alike? Jews versus Gentiles pretty much captures your reality, doesn’t it? Also, the Holocaust didn’t initially receive the emphasis it does now. It wasn’t until the 1967 war that the Holocaust industry was born. Until then, it was viewed as a WWII tragedy, associated with Hitler and the Nazis, not the culmination of a mythological 2000 years of irrational anti-Semitism.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 10:14 pm

        “Any particular Gentiles, or are all of us Goyim pretty much alike? ”

        European Christians.

        ” Jews versus Gentiles pretty much captures your reality, doesn’t it?”

        Well, let’s see. Before 1939, around 75 percent of the worldwide Jewish community lived in Europe and the Arab Middle East.

        By 1955, around 6/11 of the European Jewish community was dead and most of the Jews in the Arab world had been expelled. So I do tend to think of Jews as somewhat of a collective in need of protection.

        “Also, the Holocaust didn’t initially receive the emphasis it does now. ”

        No, it did not. It took a long time before survivors were willing to talk about it.

        “It wasn’t until the 1967 war that the Holocaust industry was born.”

        Drop the industry crap. People did talk about the Holocaust before 1967, they talked about it afterward, and Israel is NOT central to Holocaust education.

        “Until then, it was viewed as a WWII tragedy, associated with Hitler and the Nazis, not the culmination of a mythological 2000 years of irrational anti-Semitism.”

        Mythological antisemitism? So, what, deicide, blood libels, and mass murder didn’t happen?

      • Roya
        July 18, 2012, 11:25 pm

        “I know of no strain of anti-gentilism amongst Jews.”

        That’s funny, because just yesterday MK Michael Ben-Ari tore up the Bible, threw it into the trash can, and made sure photographers documented his deed. http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/07/18/3101071/israeli-lawmaker-michael-ben-ari-rips-up-new-testament An interesting thing to note here is that it was covered widely in Israeli and Jewish news, but not at all in American mainstream media. And the tax dollars keep on flowing.

        And I second everything that Taxi said in his post at 4:11 am.

      • G. Seauton
        July 19, 2012, 1:28 am

        Good comment, Sean. This is much better than your comment above, in which you stated, about Hophmi, “You are a carbon copy of millions of other people who share the same boring and obnoxious agenda.” Not wishing to defend Hophmi, I would simply point out that that statement comes close to implicating millions of Jews in the support of Hophmi’s agenda. This may or may not be true, but it would need to be proved (or demonstrated statistically). (Or were you thinking of the “Christian Zionists”? The problem there is that they don’t really share Hophmi’s agenda — that is, beyond the point of defending Israel’s current existence; they want “Apocalypse Now” — or fairly soon.)

      • G. Seauton
        July 19, 2012, 1:34 am

        To be clear, I was responding to Sean’s comment that said,
        “We have seen on Mondoweiss many *hundreds* of well-documented examples of raw and virulent racism that is deeply embedded in important strains of ancient Judaism and modern Zionism. You have never rebutted any of that material. We can get into all the interesting details once again, if you wish — all the key quotes from reputable sources are a few keystrokes away on Google.”

      • G. Seauton
        July 19, 2012, 2:06 am

        “You are an antisemite, McBride….”

        Ooh, he played the anti-semitism card. So scary!

        “… and you fetishize worrying about my coreligionists.”

        What the hell does that even mean? Write something in English.

      • G. Seauton
        July 19, 2012, 2:22 am

        Why can’t Hophmi admit facts “… as plain as the nose left on your face?”

        Oh, Mooser, that’s below the belt.

      • G. Seauton
        July 19, 2012, 2:23 am

        … holding breath about inevitable implications of above …

      • Keith
        July 19, 2012, 2:52 pm

        HOPHMI- “Mythological antisemitism? So, what, deicide, blood libels, and mass murder didn’t happen?”

        “Mass murder?” You mean like what went on in the USSR under the direction of Genrikh Yagoda? Or the 20,000 plus victims of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to destroy the PLO? Including the Sabra and Shatilla massacres? After which Menachem Begin had the audacity to say “goyim kill goyim, and they come to blame the Jews.” Amazing. Israel sends in their mercenary killers who commit mass-murder and this is twisted to become an example of anti-Semitism and Jewish suffering! And you wonder why I question the historicity of much of Zionist mythology?

        “Blood libels?” You mean like the depiction of the ‘Goyim’ (all 6 billion plus of us) as irrational Jew-haters who want to throw the Jews into the sea or into the ovens? Since there is so much cultural diversity among us Gentiles, this consistent Jew-hatred would seem to be genetic. Have all of the Israeli geneticist and all of their studies isolated the definitive Gentile gene of hatred? Seems an obvious shoo-in for yet another Nobel prize.

        “Deicide?” Huh?

        Hophmi, once again you have engaged in a doctrinaire, admit no mistakes, defense of Zionist mythology, falling back on ritual incantations of anti-Semitism and blood libels. Zionist mythology never actually examines the context of depicted events, rather, everything is presented as a consequence of irrational anti-Semitism. When have you ever looked at the big picture? To you WWII is reduced to the death of 6 million Jews, nothing more. World War, what World War? The world stood by and allowed the destruction of the Jews. The 50 plus million Gentiles who died? Hey, Goyim kill Goyim, what is there to discuss? World War II depicted as simply an excuse to kill 6 million Jews. The pogrom of pogroms. The culmination of an unbroken 2000 year old history of anti-Semitism. An ideological construct. Zionist mythology.

        To you, Mondoweiss is primarily a chance to practice your lawyerly skills. To defend Jewish power, privilege and victim-hood. Truth is what works, winning the only criteria of success. A no-holds-barred defense of Zionist ideology. Perhaps you are adding to your resume, so that when Dershowitz goes to that big appeals court in the sky, you can take over.

      • Kathleen
        July 20, 2012, 7:33 pm

        It is in the Torah… The Bible… Deutoronomy. All written by Jewish guys. Thick with racism

        “”For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth.” –Deuteronomy 7:6

        “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if its answer to you is peace and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the LORD your God gives it into your hand you shall put all its males to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the cattle, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourseves; and you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you. Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save nothing that breathes . . .” –Deuteronomy 20:10-16

        “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break into pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever . . .” –Daniel 2:44 “

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 5:44 pm

        “…I know of no strain of anti-gentilism amongst Jews, and it’s a hell of a charge considering that both Christians and Muslims proselytize and Jews do not…”

        Oh gimme a break. I imagine Jews tend to regard gentiles as stupid, ignorant, lazy, bigoted, dirty, violent, and irrational.

        To some extent they are. I fail to see why Jews wouldn’t think so.

        …and what would this have to do with who proselytizes and who doesn’t? The Nazis didn’t attempt to convert their victims. Does that make them better?

      • straightline
        July 21, 2012, 7:10 pm

        But Jews did proseytize once.

        http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Jewish_proselyting_in_the_first_five_cen.html?id=V2dbAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y

        Now it’s become a more exclusive club of the kind that Groucho – were he not a member – would have something to say about.

      • seanmcbride
        July 26, 2012, 11:16 am

        G. Seauton,

        You wrote:

        “Good comment, Sean. This is much better than your comment above, in which you stated, about Hophmi, “You are a carbon copy of millions of other people who share the same boring and obnoxious agenda.” Not wishing to defend Hophmi, I would simply point out that that statement comes close to implicating millions of Jews in the support of Hophmi’s agenda. This may or may not be true, but it would need to be proved (or demonstrated statistically). (Or were you thinking of the “Christian Zionists”? The problem there is that they don’t really share Hophmi’s agenda — that is, beyond the point of defending Israel’s current existence; they want “Apocalypse Now” — or fairly soon.)”

        I wanted to clear this up. When I wrote about “millions of other people” I was referring to ethnic nationalists from all groups (including my own) — they all tend to display the same predictable and robotic personality traits and behavioral patterns.

      • G. Seauton
        July 27, 2012, 11:55 pm

        “I wanted to clear this up. When I wrote about ‘millions of other people’ I was referring to ethnic nationalists from all groups (including my own) — they all tend to display the same predictable and robotic personality traits and behavioral patterns.”

        OK. I didn’t think that’s what you had in mind.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 3:07 pm

        @ Mooser,
        Yeah, we should compare notes sometime. My wife, of course, had been trained to spit at churches and assume all Gentiles were drunks and beat their wives, just treading time until they could do their next pogrom. On her meeting my parents she said, “Your mom’s saint, but your father’s a stingy bastard, and I heard that sneaky whisper to you that I was ‘kinda dark’. Can you believe he yelled at me for taking some string beans from his garden! Nearly took my head off! How was I suppose to know he had some special way of doing that? Do I look like a farmer? I was just trying to help your mom make dinner! That’s what I get for being a good daughter-in-law! ”
        I could have told wifey that her mom had threatened to pour hot boiling chicken soup in my head–before I even met her, but I did’nt. And when my mother-in-law died, she told me on her death-bed, “I should have had you handle my will, not my son.”

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 3:46 pm

        @smd341, yes, that 50% works the other way too–should we really be worried about a pogrom in America when Gentiles marry half of all young Jewish eligibles?

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2012, 6:48 am

        @ hophmi,
        You said, re anti-gentilism, “…and it’s a hell of a charge considering that both Christians and Muslims proselytize and Jews do not.”
        Consider that Christians and Muslims (may have thought, convinced themselves,) believed as a matter of faith–that they were seeking Jewish conversions as a favor to the Jews? (Sort of like a Christian version of the Jewish mandate of “repairing the world.”

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 6:49 am

        @smd341

        So, in a country comprised of 98% non-Jewish human beings, only half of its tiny Jewish community intermarry?

      • Citizen
        August 18, 2012, 5:54 am

        @ hophmi
        ” There are certainly some Jews who have said nasty things about Gentiles. They are far outweighed by the Christians and Muslims who have said nasty things about Jews”

        Gee, hopps, wouldn’t that have something to do with the proportionate total number of Jews v Non-Jews in the population? For example, 2% v 98%? Maybe the proper conclusion is just the contrary on the weight scale.

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 4:06 pm

      “What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state? How will Jews insure a Jewish future without this bulwark?”

      On the face of it, the concern seems mildly absurd.

      A recognizable Jewish community has existed for 2500 years. For only a fraction of that time was it centered in ‘Israel,’ it was never confined solely to there, and it only held political dominion there for a historical blink of an eye.

      Obviously, whatever is needed for a continuing Judaism, it’s not a Jewish state. That’s like me arguing I just gotta have a boat.

  4. Citizen
    July 17, 2012, 10:32 am

    It’s always tough to look into an unflinching mirror. That’s why there’s none in The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

  5. CitizenC
    July 17, 2012, 10:33 am

    Cf. “the modern, secular Jewish tradition”, as the late Israel Shahak called it, which he traced from Spinoza; Gabriel Piterberg’s opposition of the “conscious pariah” in the work of Hannah Arendt, to the “sovereign settler” of Herzl, in his “The Returns of Zionism”; Isaac Deutscher’s “non-Jewish Jew”; etc.

  6. American
    July 17, 2012, 10:37 am

    ”So we don’t feel at all threatened by a crisis for religious nationalism. No, we are thrilled by it– because religious nationalism goes against our values. We have hastened that crisis
    I work for this website because I believe the destruction of Palestinian human rights and the corruption of American political values are more important issues than Jewish continuity, I will not put religious community over my progressive principles.”

    Good statements. I don’t see that crisis necessarily means the end of Jewish continuity however. Everything on earth goes thru changes and interruptions, it’s just how man’s universe works. People change and adapt to survive.

  7. flyod
    July 17, 2012, 10:41 am

    maybe it’s time to assimilate

    • hophmi
      July 17, 2012, 2:11 pm

      “maybe it’s time to assimilate”

      Tried that. Didn’t work.

      • German Lefty
        July 17, 2012, 5:21 pm

        flyod: “maybe it’s time to assimilate”
        hophmi: “Tried that. Didn’t work.”

        Then try a little harder!

      • schlemiel
        July 21, 2012, 12:24 pm

        Considering the fate of European Jews who did indeed assimilate by the 1930s, the sassiness of your comment seems to be in remarkably poor taste.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 17, 2012, 5:50 pm

        “Tried that. Didn’t work.”

        LMAO. It’s working really well in the USA.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 8:31 pm

        “Tried that. Didn’t work.”

        No Hophmi, an indictment is not the same thing as a failure to assimilate.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 6:13 pm

        Yup Hophmi, there’s no assimilation for you. Why, you even refuse to speak English. Only Hebrew for Hophmi. And as far as getting any kind of credentials or job from the Goyischer State, that’s out. And you won’t use the Internet on Fri. nights and Saturdays. And of course, Hophmi won’t live in America, not while a Jewish State exists! Nope, no assimilation for old Hops.

      • AllenBee
        July 18, 2012, 6:55 pm

        David Ruderman’s lectures on Jewish history start out by explaining three ideological strands of thought that have dominated the telling of Jewish history. A major thread is that of Graetz, who chronicled in seven or eleven volumes (I forget how many) how Jews were persecuted throughout history by Christians, and that therefore the moral inadequacies of Jews were the fault of Christians (I don’t see how that follows logically, but that’s the claim Graetz makes).

        Ruderman explains that the Graetz version of Jewish history is widespread but has several serious flaws: Graetz omitted any patterns or practices of Jewish life that, in his opinion, cast Jews in anything less than a positive, modern, even superior light. For example, Ruderman says, one would look in vain for any discussion of Jewish mysticism in Graetz’s work; he thought mysticism — Kabbalah — was not rational and did not reflect evolved thinking processes, therefore, Graetz erased it from his history of the Jewish people.

        Graetz laid heavy heavy emphasis on Jewish victimhood: it served his purposes at the time he was writing.

        In a more recent history of the Jewish people, “Cultures of the Jews,” edited by David Biale, Ivan Marcus traces “A Jewish-Christian Symbiosis: The Culture of Early Ashkenaz.” Marcus writes:

        “Although many writers have emphasized the violence and insecurity that beset the Jews of Ashkenaz, Jews would not have survived there, let alone created what they left us, had that been the main story. Christian persecution was usually the exception rather than the rule, and it characterized some times, not others. The norm may be described as different patterns of social mixing between Jews and Christians. . . . [M]embers of each culture lived literally face to face with members of the other on a daily basis. . . .

        Despite the social closeness . . .historians of medieval Europe have focused on the story of the Christian majority. Historians of the Jews, in contrast, usually pay attention to Christian authorities and their laws or to officials or mobs only when they are hostile and aggressive agents of a “persecuting society.”

        [This is so] because in the wake of the first horrific anti-Jewish riots in Europe at the beginning of the First Crusade, in the spring of 196, liturgical texts did record the Jews who died then as witnesses or martyrs for their religion in central Europe. Traditional Jews recite these texts to this day. As a result of the ideology of remembrance and martyrdom that synagogue poets created in the early twelfth century, Jews in Ashkenaz remembered only those times when they were persecuted and forgot others when they were not. Modern historians proceeded to construct their accounts based on those preserved records and have forgotten that they were not the norm. Influenced by their own contemporary agendas as well, they lost track of the fact that they were relying on how medieval survivors wanted their own past to be remembered as part of a strategy to build group solidarity. That ideology of persecution does not express the past itself in all of its complexity. [pp. 450-451]

        =====
        Why do I care about these patterns in Jewish belief?
        Perhaps because they mirror the experience of my own lifetime, moving through over 500 years of Catholic tradition — from Fr. Lasance’s “Catholic Student’s Guide” in which the pious child recited novenas and looked about for signs from heaven to make decisions about whether to marry or become a priest; to Michel Quoist’s “Prayers,” and the instruction that “prayer is political action,” and beyond. The process has involved, as someone mentioned earlier, working myself out of a 500 year old cage.
        In many ways, Catholicism has taken several ‘great leaps forward,’ due mainly (imo) to the charisma of John XXIII and John Paul II (in my view, Vatican II did as much harm as good, and the Church is stumbling badly these last few decades).

        In contrast, zionism has imposed a backward momentum onto the Jewish community, focusing on a reversion to a tribal culture signalled most glaringly by Herzl’s war cry at the conclusion of Der Judenstaat, “the Maccabees will rise again.” How sad that focus, like Scarlett O’Hara beating her fists on Sherman’s chest and insisting, “the South shall rise again.” Joseph Campbell refers to such backward longing as a “wildly desiderated past.”

        Several months ago Ephraim Sneh and Trita Parsi were on a panel together. Sneh insisted that the Iranian regime MUST be overthrown. Rehashing his usual mantra, he said that the Iranian people are incapable of overthrowing their regime so sanctions and other threats must be imposed to force the overthrow, “until Iran has a secular culture, then they can have anything they want.”

        Parsi told Sneh that he, Parsi, had more faith in the Iranian people; that he questioned Sneh’s commitment to the well-being of Iranians that stood ready to impose suffering on them; and finally, Parsi said, “the Jewish people will never again be in the same relationship that they once were with the Iranian people.”

        That statement was powerful.

        It will not happen again that Esther will overthrow the Iranian government and supplant the will of the Iranian people.

        When I was in Iran, our guide was unfailingly cheerful, upbeat, and positive. In the course of 21 days of every imaginable challenge, he never lost his composure or uttered a word critical of anybody — not Basiji, when we had to spend 4 hours getting visa extensions; not governments whose actions caused hotel prices to rise by 20% between the time we booked reservations and the time we travelled, nothing ruffled him.
        Except when we visited Isfehan, and he mentioned quietly, almost as if talking to himself, that “there was a queen who was Jewish, and she and her people became very prosperous in Iran, but when they left they took it all with them. They did not acknowledge that our hard work made it possible for them to be successful.”

        The Iranian people are not stupid; however much others may seek to erase the history of Iran, they know their own history, and unlike Americans who have been mushroomed, and Germans who have been traumatized, Iranians have had a semi-detached front row seat as zionism has unfolded. I think that’s what terrifies people like Netanyahu about Iran: Iranians know where zionist skeletons are buried.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 10:03 pm

        This hits the nail on the had — a keeper.

        “In contrast, zionism has imposed a backward momentum onto the Jewish community, focusing on a reversion to a tribal culture signalled most glaringly by Herzl’s war cry at the conclusion of Der Judenstaat, “the Maccabees will rise again.” How sad that focus, like Scarlett O’Hara beating her fists on Sherman’s chest and insisting, “the South shall rise again.” Joseph Campbell refers to such backward longing as a “wildly desiderated past.””

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 10:24 pm

        Edit: hits the nail on the head.

        There are deeper connections to explore here between Zionism and the Confederacy — both are ethnic nationalist movements based on Old Testament myths and fantasies and supersaturated with racist attitudes. Christian Zionism is richly grounded in Confederate religious fundamentalism and carries all that cultural baggage.

      • pjdude
        July 18, 2012, 8:09 pm

        when? i can think of almost no instances where there was a true attempt to assimilate by jews.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 10:03 pm

        Post-enlightenment period. Have you ever seen the movie Sunshine?

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 4:09 pm

        @ hophmi

        RE: “Post-enlightenment period. Have you ever seen the movie Sunshine?”
        So the crazy, murderous captain of the first ship attempting to restart the sun was jewish? Obviously he was not positive part of any post enlightenment period.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 5:48 pm

        ““maybe it’s time to assimilate”

        Tried that. Didn’t work.”

        …says Hophmi, typing away in English on an American site with a mixed audience of gentiles and Jews.

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 4:20 pm

      “maybe it’s time to assimilate”

      Gasp. Shock. That’s what the rest of us have done. Whatever my various Lowland Scots, East Anglian, Norwegian, Danish, German (Jewish?), and Prussian ancestors were like, I doubt if we could all comfortably rent a houseboat together.

      Come to think of it, isn’t this ‘Jewish identity’ really a bit of a pretense? Would anyone here really feel happy in a shtetl outside Grodno — or a village in Yemen? Isn’t this ‘Jewishness’ being clung to merely a momentary phase between Ellis Island and Steven Spielberg? Is it so substantial and immortal? Or is it just a kind of glorification of a momentary ethnic identity that everyone had and shed like an outgrown suit of clothes in a generation or two…which, incidentally, American Jews seem to be doing as well, whether they like it or not?

      My great great grandmother from Memel used to thump her chest and exclaim ‘ich bin Preusse!’. Well, that’s interesting, but believe it or not, it’s just not a powerful component of my identity. My identity has a whole lot to do with first, my own life, and second, a familial history of having hung around in the Bay Area and comfortably if not especially illustriously gotten by for a hundred and fifty years or so. Nothing to do with any half-imagined cultural continuity.

      Jews think too goddamned much. Life happens. Let it.

      • Krauss
        July 17, 2012, 5:03 pm

        I don’t think Jews think too much. If anything this world thinks too little.

        As for assimilation, there’s assimilation and then there is cultural masochism(essentially giving up on your heritage and abandoning it alltogether, or even despising it in some rare cases).

        If you decided to break with your heritage, then be my guest. It’s your life. But not everyone will want to do so, and rightly so.
        There are ways to find a good balance and that is where the center of the debate is.

        Your frankly shrill tone of how Jews should live their lives and even relate to their heritage(essentially throwing it overboard because you decided to do it with your own) has a slight odor to it.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 6:15 pm

        “Your frankly shrill tone of how Jews should live their lives and even relate to their heritage(essentially throwing it overboard because you decided to do it with your own) has a slight odor to it.”

        Your absurdly pretentious, prolix and completely uninformed while being personally disengaged comments stink!
        Shall we go on about odors, Krauss?

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 5:51 pm

        “…Your frankly shrill tone of how Jews should live their lives and even relate to their heritage(essentially throwing it overboard because you decided to do it with your own) has a slight odor to it…”

        Lol. I’m trying to place that moment when I ‘threw my heritage overboard.’

        The light’s just not going off. As to the ‘frankly shrill’ tone, I’d define it as refusing to cooperate in your attempt to wallow in self-delusion about who you are.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 8:12 pm

        “Come to think of it, isn’t this ‘Jewish identity’ really a bit of a pretense? Would anyone here really feel happy in a shtetl outside Grodno — or a village in Yemen? Isn’t this ‘Jewishness’ being clung to merely a momentary phase between Ellis Island and Steven Spielberg? Is it so substantial and immortal? Or is it just a kind of glorification of a momentary ethnic identity that everyone had and shed like an outgrown suit of clothes in a generation or two…which, incidentally, American Jews seem to be doing as well, whether they like it or not?”

        Look Colin, if you want to say that Jews are pretentious phony a–holes, just come out and say it. I’ve heard worse, much worse.
        And do you mind if I ask you just where you get the right to go off on this subject and lecture us? Exactly who do you think you are, and what do you think you know, that you can make these kinds of judgements?
        It’s an outrage.

        “Jews think too goddamned much.”

        At least somebody does. This one thinks he’s I’ve never seen a meaner spirited comment. Hate to hear what you have to say about Native Americans, African Americans, or Hispanics. But I guess there’s only one type of person who really knows how to deal with their identity in America.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 5:55 pm

        ““Jews think too goddamned much.”

        At least somebody does. This one thinks he’s I’ve never seen a meaner spirited comment…”

        I remember wondering after I posted that, ‘could anyone seriously take offense at being told ‘he thinks too much’ ‘?

        I really considered it. Decided it wasn’t a reasonable concern.

        Obviously, I was wrong. I’m sorry Mooser. Jews don’t think too much. They think exactly the right amount. All better now? That grievous wound healed — or is it going to leave a scar?

        As to my right to comment, if you want a ‘Jews only’ section, set it up, label it, and I’ll respect it. If you’re shy about doing that, well — you’ll just have to live with the alternative.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 4:14 pm

        @ Colin Wright,
        Where do you get the notion Mooser wants a Jews Only section? You think too little.

      • evets
        July 17, 2012, 9:52 pm

        ‘Jews think too goddamned much.’

        Or maybe you think too much about Jews. Why not get outside and work on the deck for awhile. Get some fresh air and forget about us Semites. It’ll do you good and we’ll manage to get by without your supervision and helpful criticisms.

        Not that we’re not grateful.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 5:56 pm

        “Or maybe you think too much about Jews. Why not get outside and work on the deck for awhile. Get some fresh air and forget about us Semites. It’ll do you good and we’ll manage to get by without your supervision and helpful criticisms. “

        Jeepers. And here I thought this site was open to gentiles.

        My mistake.

        …but don’t fret. I’ll cheerily keep coming back. As you say, you’re grateful for my comments.

      • Kathleen
        July 18, 2012, 12:11 pm

        “That’s what the rest of us have done” Yep

      • G. Seauton
        July 19, 2012, 1:50 am

        Thinking too much is a contradiction in terms.

      • schlemiel
        July 21, 2012, 12:32 pm

        Your screed hits the nail on the head.

        Other than some haredim, Jews are most certainly not recreating shtetls and Yemeni villages in the New World. The Jewish world you see today in America is assimilation. The problem is, the people on this website are not happy with that assimilation. What they really want when they say ‘assimilate’ is shut up and disappear.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 4:19 pm

        @ schlemiel

        RE: “The Jewish world you see today in America is assimilation.”
        Most Americans who watched Seinfeld and reruns, do not even know the main characters are Jewish. But every Jewish American knows. Is that what you mean? Or are you talking about the world of Curb Your Enthusiasm? LOL

      • G. Seauton
        July 28, 2012, 12:10 am

        I think it’s fine if people don’t assimilate. If whole ethnicities or religious groups don’t assimilate, fine for them. What’s not so cool is the xenophobia some of these groups might develop — but even that is not such a problem as far as it may go. The biggest problem is the combination of xenophobia with the push to make one’s xenophobia (and its resulting agenda) part of the national policy of the country where one is technically a citizen.

      • seanmcbride
        July 28, 2012, 11:11 am

        G. Seauton,

        What personality traits and behavioral patterns do you associate with ethnic nationalists?

        These are a few traits I’ve noticed cutting across all ethnic nationalist movements:

        1. abusive
        2. aggressive
        3. angry
        4. bigoted
        5. conformist
        6. grandiose
        7. paranoid
        8. racist
        9. resentful
        10. self-obsessed
        11. violent
        12. xenophobic

        Don’t you think it is rather important for immigrants to America to abandon ethnic and religious nationalism entirely? Otherwise, on what grounds can they claim to be Americans or to understand Americanism?

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 4:21 pm

        @ G. Seauton: Amen

  8. Kathleen
    July 17, 2012, 11:15 am

    PW”But today Iraq is ancient history, and in the packed church, as Walt spoke of the neocons pushing a war on Iran as they had on Iraq, people seemed to accept it. And many of them were Jews. Oh those crazy neocons was the feeling. We’re against them.”

    All of the dead, injured and displaced in Iraq as a direct consequece of the Bush administrations (confluence of neo, oil theo cons) just a bloody bump in the U.S. and Israel’s empires. Sickening.

    PW “There is a profound denial inside my community of the horror of the occupation, and its irreversibility.”

    Profound denial, acceptance and actual support for the horrors of the occupation for decades.

    ———————-
    PW “Why is it that anti-Zionists like myself can be so blithe about this threat to Jewish identity?”

    I have never read anything that you have written or said refer to yourself as an “anti-zionist” In fact have always read you refer to yourself as a “liberal zionist” And have always had trouble with “liberal” and “zionist” being kosher. They do not fit.. When have you ever referred to yourself as an “anti Zionist”

    PW “I work for this website because I believe the destruction of Palestinian human rights and the corruption of American political values are more important issues than Jewish continuity, I will not put religious community over my progressive principles.”

    But as you have admitted this shift in you was a long time coming. That the invasion of Iraq and the reasons for the invasion were what pushed you towards the evolution , awareness and willingness to look and be able to say it out loud that the apartheid system working in Israel and the cover up is a serious problem for Israel. I have read you say things that your love for Israel based on the internationally recognized border is one of the issues that moved you towards your epiphany as well as your willingness to acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinians. Not just social justice but your love for Israel or the idea of Israel

    • seafoid
      July 17, 2012, 11:58 am

      Iraq isn’t ancient history. It defines Tony Blair.
      It is like the mark of Cain.

      And marked the end of US omnipotence in the region.
      I think it also made a lot of thinking Americans understand the nature of their country a lot better.

      • Kathleen
        July 17, 2012, 1:05 pm

        In the U.S. MSM Iraq was “ancient history” while American soldiers were there. Still ancient history. Most MSM outlets do not touch the issue. Last report on dead, injured, displaced. Who is in control of the oil? Where is Ahmed Chalabi? Think Dougie Feith, Wolfowitz, Rice, Cheney etc will be taken to the Hague for their crimes against humanity any time soon if ever? Nope justice only applies to certain groups of people. Racist at its very core

      • RoHa
        July 17, 2012, 9:55 pm

        Iraq isn’t ancient history in Iraq. They are still trying to climb out from under the rubble.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 4:42 pm

        @ RoHa

        Nobody is allowed to have constant memory refreshers unless the subject is The Holocaust or Europe’s track record of endless pogroms, which we all know, never ever barely paused for a breath, so we wonder how any Jews survived at all to even get shoved gasping into ovens and showers for soap and lampshades.

        PS: I know the Holocaust happened. I don’t deny it. If you think there’s a conflict within this comment, think again.

      • RoHa
        July 29, 2012, 2:10 am

        Yes, you are right. The Iraqis should be remembering the Holocaust instead of Falluja.

        They should be reading The Boy In Striped Pajamas instead of trying to rebuild their water and sewage systems, establish a constant electricity supply, get their National Health System and education system running again, etc.

        They have no gratitude.

    • MRW
      July 17, 2012, 1:01 pm

      @Kathleen,

      “When have you ever referred to yourself as an “anti Zionist””

      Phil’s written entire posts on the subject.

  9. marc b.
    July 17, 2012, 11:15 am

    the problem with ‘jewish identity’, as phil describes, is that some jews seek to craft an identity completely independent of opposition to that identity. it may be understandable given the history of anti-semitism, but it is also untenable. there is no identity absent opposition to that identity. it seems that these ‘smart’ individuals can’t recognize that they are missing half of the equation, which explains their ignorance and/or unwillingness to consider legitimate opposition to the notion of jewish exceptionalism in america, for example, or legitimate non-jewish opposition to the notion of the national exceptionalism peddled by jewish zionists.

  10. Dan Crowther
    July 17, 2012, 11:15 am

    The crisis will be over when “two states for two peoples” is understood as the palestinian people and the israeli people, not palestinians and “the jewish people”.

    • seafoid
      July 17, 2012, 11:39 am

      The crisis will be over when post Zionist Jews en masse recognise that the Palestinians are people rather than some class of vermin.

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 4:35 pm

      The crisis cannot end because the identity of ‘the Israeli people’ can only be perpetuated by perpetuating the crisis itself.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2012, 4:52 pm

        @ Colin Wright
        Are you saying the crisis is perpetuated by Israel’s and AIPACs constant conflation of all Jews with Israeli Jews (or all Zionist Israelis)?

  11. yourstruly
    July 17, 2012, 11:58 am

    so long as it isn’t forced, assimilation in a multicultural society can be looked upon as both natural and progressive. as for jewish identity after israel’s delegitimization – as it was pre-zionist entity, except without jewish nationalism poisoning its humanist tradition.

  12. YoungMassJew
    July 17, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Look, personally, in my opinion, it was a shame that Zionists didn’t advocate a Jewish state in Eastern Europe. I know that was completely un-feasible at the time, but they should have lobbied for it. I would have no problem if there was a Jewish homeland in the area encompassing the Pale of Settlment with there being a Jewish army of course to protect the people thats no different than what say Norway’s military has in protecting the Norwegians. The Jews didn’t have that protection during Czarist Russia or Nazi Germany. They took it to the opposite extreme to oppress another people, the Palestinians, with the IDF after the Holocaust once they got power. It’s really a shame how the whole situation turned out. I got another idea. Why don’t secular Jews just adopt Yiddish culture again in America from the Hasidics. Convince the Hasidics to drop the fundamentalism, but keep the humor, the food, the rich Yiddish language, klezmer festivals on Cape Cod, etc. Although ethnic/secular/liberal/progressive assimilated American Jews look down upon the Orthodox for obvious reasons, they are the future of Jewish America whether we like it or not. The tricky part is convincing them to socialize with and/or intermarry other Jews. All is not completely unhopeful. There just needs to be creative people who are willing to think outside their intellectual circle.

    • YoungMassJew
      July 17, 2012, 1:43 pm

      C’mon Phillip. What takes your moderators so frickin long to moderate my comments when others take no time at all? Just say it moderators that you have it out against me. Just say it. I’m a big boy. I can handle it. Enough with the reverse age-ism…Again, sorry about the comment about Boca Raton and the Upper East Side. Honestly, I had no idea you’d be offended and/or think that was anti-Semitic. My mother jokes about Jews living in Florida, like Boca Roton, so I thought that wouldn’t offend you as you are of a similar generation. I guess we all have different experiences as Jews and a joke that offends one person amuses another.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 8:43 pm

        Just a tip YMJ: The shorter, more direct and simpler a comment is, the less time it takes to moderate. It’s checked for naughty words, and boom, it’s on the screen. Obtuse, indirect, lengthy and erudite comments have many possible meanings, many possible repercussions, which irritates The Moderators. Between the legal, ethical, fact-checking, decisions of taste, queries about spelling, investigation of the commentors background and perusal of their comment archive, etc. it can take a while. And remember, it must be submitted to a diverse cross-section of Moderators, and a consensus decision reached. It takes time. And just as an etiquette thing, to show class, Jewish comments go last.
        Try and be patient. And just hope you don’t end up like me, with almost twice as many comments printed under my name as I write. I criticised The Moderators once, got ’em upset. Well, they showed me! So be careful.

    • Betsy
      July 18, 2012, 9:38 am

      @YoungMassJew– great ideas! How about Idaho, Iowa, & such like in midWest? There are plenty of depopulating towns in the American “Heartland” which would welcome large immigrations with open arms… & there’s a long history of setting up utopian communities…I’m serious! Millions could be assimilated easily.
      [and I, as a Heartlander, do *not* want any snarky comments from MondoWorld re/ this region — no coastal biases accepted by me!]

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 11:33 am

        Betsy, if New Zion is not coastal, where will I moor and race my boats? I’m due for a big win in the “cigarette boat” class, my hydros are doing better an better, and the crew on my 12 meter is really starting to work together as a team. Besides, I can’t aford to live in Idaho. I live on the diesel cruiser all through the summer.

      • Betsy
        July 18, 2012, 1:25 pm

        Hey, Moose! great idea — you can host our New Zion Summer Camps…thanks for the offer…

      • YoungMassJew
        July 18, 2012, 2:44 pm

        I’ve never been to the “Heartland.” This summer might be my last chance for a road trip. I don’t think I can quite afford it, but its a possibility for August.

    • Citizen
      July 28, 2012, 5:00 pm

      RE: “The tricky part is convincing them to socialize with and/or intermarry other Jews.” Yeah, maybe as tricky as getting them to not intermarry with non-jewish Americans? In case you don’t know, the 50% intermarriage rate does not reflect marriages between secular or liberal Jews and conservative Gentiles of any Christian stripe or secular conservative style.

  13. seanmcbride
    July 17, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Phil wrote:

    “In the past, Walt and Mearsheimer’s assertion that the Israel lobby was a necessary factor in the decision to invade Iraq used to upset people the most.”

    The same Jewish neoconservatives (and Likud Zionists) who engineered the Iraq War (and Global War on Terror and Clash of Civilizations) are now agitating loudly for a war against Iran — they are now more conspicuous and more shrill than ever.

    Isn’t it about time for the Jewish establishment to acknowledge the obvious facts of life that the entire world sees? Or does that establishment think it can perpetually bully the entire world into silence and submission with the antisemitism smear? The smart money is betting no — that tactic is going to backfire.

    • American
      July 17, 2012, 1:14 pm

      We could settle the argument about whether zionist instigated or were instrumental in instigating the Iraq war or not –if Tom Freidman would name those 25 people he said were responsible and were only a stone’s thrown from his office.

      • seanmcbride
        July 17, 2012, 11:03 pm

        A few names for you, “almost all of them Jewish” according to Haaretz:

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        AUTHOR Ari Shavit
        PUBLICATION Haaretz
        TITLE White Man’s Burden
        DATE April 3, 2003
        URL http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/white-man-s-burden-1.14110
        BEGIN QUOTE
        In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in the town: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history.
        END QUOTE
        END ARTICLE

        This was prescient:

        “Are they wrong? Have they committed an act of folly in leading Washington to Baghdad? They don’t think so. They continue to cling to their belief. They are still pretending that everything is more or less fine. That things will work out. Occasionally, though, they seem to break out in a cold sweat. This is no longer an academic exercise, one of them says, we are responsible for what is happening. The ideas we put forward are now affecting the lives of millions of people. So there are moments when you’re scared. You say, Hell, we came to help, but maybe we made a mistake.”

        “Wrong” doesn’t begin to cover it. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying to instigate a war against Iran.

        What a crazy messianic crew, all of them fanatically devoted to Jewish nationalism and Likud Zionism above all other issues.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 6:33 am

        It’s another list of names from McBride, along with a BS claim that they are “fanatically devoted to Jewish nationalism and Likud Zionism above all other issues.” Whatever, Sean. You make things up as you go along, like bigots tend to do.

        So, if a group of Jews amounting to a small fraction of a percent of the polity support an issue that is supported by more than half of a country of 300m people, it’s a “Jewish” policy.

        That would mean that Obamacare is Jewish, because many Jews support it. Social Security is Jewish, because many Jews support it. Higher taxes on the rich are Jewish, because many Jews support it. And opposition to the Iraq War is Jewish, because many Jews, way more than supported the War, support it.

        This is Father Coughlin stuff. If Jews support a policy or if a policy is thought to benefit Jews though it benefits others, it must be a “Jewish” policy.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 12:05 pm

        hophmi,

        You wrote:

        “It’s another list of names from McBride, along with a BS claim that they are “fanatically devoted to Jewish nationalism and Likud Zionism above all other issues.” Whatever, Sean. You make things up as you go along, like bigots tend to do.”

        Here is the list of names mentioned in Haaretz, a Jewish and Israeli newspaper, by Ari Shavit, who is Jewish and an Israeli;

        1. Richard Perle
        2. Paul Wolfowitz
        3. Douglas Feith
        4. William Kristol
        5. Elliott Abrams
        6. Charles Krauthammer

        One could easily name dozens of other Jewish neoconservatives who were ringleaders of the Iraq War.

        To say that these individuals are militant Jewish nationalists and Likud Zionists is not a bigoted statement or imaginary statement — it is a TRUTHFUL and FAIR statement, based on objective facts.

        I have actually read most of the key writings of these zealots over the years — they are obsessed with Israel and the enemies of Israel and they are in fact Likud Zionists. They are bogged down in a perpetual vicious war against “the nations,” Amalek, “Jew-haters,” etc. — much like you, hophmi. You are all members of the same xenophobic ethno-religious nationalist cult.

        Hophmi — once again, you are way over your head and flailing. You know absolutely nothing about the subjects that you try to address. Why are you here at all? You don’t care enough about the truth to research, read and think.

      • Roya
        July 18, 2012, 12:31 pm

        This is no longer an academic exercise

        Since when has war ever been an academic exercise? Seriously, the things these people delude themselves with…Last last year RT interviewed the Prince of Darkness (known to some as Richard Perle) and nearly 9 years later, he is still saying that the Iraq War was a good idea and is strongly hinting that an Iran War would be too (note that in that same interview, he also openly acknowledged there were no WMDs in Iraq). Let’s count all the benefits of the Iraq War…1,455,590 Iraqi deaths, 4,486 body bags shipped to the US, and an increase in Iran’s regional power. Who are these people and why are they in power?

      • evets
        July 18, 2012, 12:40 pm

        hophmi –

        It’s true that

        ‘…. all of them fanatically devoted to Jewish nationalism and Likud Zionism above all other issues.’

        is an overstatement. I suppose it could summon echoes of Father Coughlin.

        But there’s no question that attachment to Israel was a crucial and formative art of this group’s political worldview. It played an important role in their push for war, even if never explicitly acknowledged. Fact is, the neocon American-greatness doctrine, which could be sold as simple hardline patriotism, was always influenced by concerns for Israel’s security.

  14. evets
    July 17, 2012, 12:16 pm

    ‘A new way of ghettoizing our identity.’

    Separate education, with its immersion in Jewish law as the foundation of Jewish identity, is actually a pretty ancient approach. I think it’s unobjectionable, at least in the abstract, no matter what you think of Judaism or Jewish law (unless you feel all religion-based education should be abolished). The charter school twist on this is a different story. The Israel-centric curriculum only makes sense if Jewish survival is an end in itself, and its purpose unimportant. Beinart may back these schools as a temporary means to a more substantive end, but the means is dangerous and can very easily turn into an end.

    • Dutch
      July 17, 2012, 3:24 pm

      “… unless you feel all religion-based education should be abolished.”

      Hopefully we all do. Religion should be kept far from education. In the Netherlands a (christian) minister recently tried to slip the notion of (what she calls) ‘intelligent design’ into the school programs. She failed by a long shot, but it shows that our society should by on guard permanently.

      • evets
        July 18, 2012, 1:10 pm

        Dutch –

        I’m talking about parochial schools not public schools. In the U.S. parochial schools have to adhere to a certain standard curriculum, to which they add a religious curriculum. Conflicts can arise between the two. I don’t think that justifies abolishment of such schools.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 3:04 pm

        In America, we have a First Amendment that allows people to educate their children as they see fit. The abolishment of such school is kind of a Stalinist idea.

    • hophmi
      July 18, 2012, 3:03 pm

      Charter schools don’t have an Israel-centric curriculum. I’m not sure where you got that idea. Hebrew-language charter schools do discuss Israel just as Greek-language charters discuss Greece – as a place in the world where the language of the charter is spoken, not in the religious sense.

      • evets
        July 18, 2012, 3:19 pm

        ‘Charter schools don’t have an Israel-centric curriculum. I’m not sure where you got that idea. ‘

        My point was not that they focused on Israel in a ‘religious sense’, but simply that they focused on it — aiming, obviously, to foster an appreciation for the place, its language, culture etc.

  15. schlemiel
    July 17, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Musings from the Cape Cod summer house. How inspiring.

    Phil is right about something: The two-state solution as envisioned by hopefuls is not going to work. The fallout from Oslo showed us that. Thus, people who still push it as if the Al Aqsa Intifada hadn’t derailed the process are beating a dead horse.

    It is indeed a tough time for people who were hopeful that a simple two state treaty would make everything work out. They are now without a readily identifiable solution.

    Most of these one-time hopefuls have tuned out or turned right. A small fringe on the left keeps going, getting whatever support they can, which in this case seems to include the borderline Jew-watchers and other extremists who are fond of this site.

    There are still people who beat the drum for a Socialist overthrow in the US after all these years. In fact, many of them are commenters on this website, along with all the Jew-watchers.

    • Annie Robbins
      July 17, 2012, 12:38 pm

      A small fringe on the left keeps going, getting whatever support they can, which in this case seems to include the borderline Jew-watchers and other extremists who are fond of this site.

      so tell me..why is it that you think the goi and reut/think tanks etc characterize the ‘deligitimizers’ as a serious threat and the internet as being a ‘battlefield’ if the threat was merely a ‘small fringe on the left’? in fact, why are you here? aren’t there more important things for you to be doing? or are you here ‘watching jews’ as you put it?

      • seafoid
        July 17, 2012, 12:50 pm

        “Delegitimisation” is what they call it but they know what Israel does isn’t legit and they are increasingly panicked about the hasbara breakdown because it takes more and more effort to rebut the waves of truth that come crashing into Zionism . More and more dirty tricks out in the open, fewer and fewer people they scare and trend it out 5 years and imagine what is going to happen.

      • anonymouscomments
        July 17, 2012, 2:17 pm

        well put annie.

        and the 2nd intifada didn’t derail process…. israel did. through clear actions. and israel *could* revive 2 states, but apparently, she does not *want* to.

        come what may, schlemiel, but try not blaming the victims. blame the regional hegemon, with the monopoly on force, making “facts” on the ground…. making these facts since 1967 (and about a million other “facts” made ~1947-1951, with some bloody wars and regional insanity in the interim).

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 8:46 pm

        A schlemiel is bad enough, but a schlimazel who thinks he’s a schlemiel is beneath contempt.

    • seafoid
      July 17, 2012, 12:39 pm

      Apartheid as Jewish realpolitik. TINA. Sure. Good luck with that and don’t come whining here when it doesn’t work out.

    • seanmcbride
      July 17, 2012, 12:47 pm

      schlemiel,

      1. What do you envision as the final status of Israel’s relations with its neighbors — including final borders and the status of Palestinians in the occupied territories?

      2. Nearly the entire world — including the American and all European governments — support the two-state solution. Do you define those governments as being “extremist”? Or is it Likud Zionists who are extremist?

    • seafoid
      July 17, 2012, 12:52 pm

      “Musings from the Cape Cod summer house. How inspiring.”

      That is all wrong. If you want to take a dig at Cape cod you have to bring up the time the virginity almost went in that shed. And there was no birthright hand to hand to hand it over to.

    • Kathleen
      July 17, 2012, 1:06 pm

      “Musings from the Cape Cod summer house. How inspiring.” tee hee

    • atime forpeace
      July 17, 2012, 1:32 pm

      Schlemiel we should have been watching you long ago, look what you’ve done to our politics.

      Now everyone is watching you, not just the arab world.

      aipac will be registered sooner than later.

      your community will continnue to divide over israel.

      as for me, i am just watching the clouds as the storm builds,

    • chinese box
      July 17, 2012, 2:22 pm

      Ziocaine: Not even once

    • Avi_G.
      July 17, 2012, 2:27 pm

      Thus, people who still push it as if the Al Aqsa Intifada hadn’t derailed the process are beating a dead horse.

      Before you start spreading your Hasbara wide and thick, you should know that your claim is a lie that has been refuted and shown to be false more than I can bother to count.

      The earth, by the way, is not flat.

      The Israeli press has already provided an account of Ehud Barak’s dirty tricks at Camp David, tricks that made the second Intifadah (Known as the Aqsa Intifadah inevitable.

      Ehud Barak couldn’t care less about the so-called peace process, he cared about his own political career. So when the American press peddled the lie that he made Arafat a generous offer, they lied.

      In addition, the second Intifadah was triggered by Ariel Sharon marching with a contingent of settlers to the Dome of the Rock and declaring it an Israeli and Jewish territory forever (In other words, threatening that one day it will be demolished). That is the same Sharon who was known as the Butcher of Beirut for the massacres he oversaw during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s.

      So as a child can see, Israel was not interested in any negotiation and was itching to strangle the Palestinians even more, in its effort to provoke a response that it could later use to smear them as rejectionists.

      Your Hasbara is more than a decade old. You should really try to keep up with the times.

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 3:57 pm

      “…the borderline Jew-watchers…”

      That is a coinage. Am I a BJW — or a full-on anti-semite? Is it like HIV and AIDS? Assuming I have it, is the disease going to progress? Do I start out as a BJW and a few years from now turn into a raving Julius Streicher? Help me to understand what is happening to me…

      …and all this time I thought I just hated Israel. I even seriously believe I’d be on this site if there were no Jews on it at all and Israel was inhabited by berserk Armenians.

      …am I just kidding myself? Help me to enlightenment here, schlemiel.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 8:49 pm

        Well, Colin, it’s always possible you are a “latent” anti-Semitie. That was discussed a few days ago.

    • yonah fredman
      July 17, 2012, 4:02 pm

      Shlemiel- So where do you stand, sir? There is one state: with no rights for the West Bank Palestinians. Then there is one state with rights for the West Bank Palestinians. Then there is two states. Then there is transfer. I might have left something out. Where do you stand?

      • ColinWright
        July 17, 2012, 4:38 pm

        Shlemiel- So where do you stand, sir? There is one state: with no rights for the West Bank Palestinians. Then there is one state with rights for the West Bank Palestinians. Then there is two states. Then there is transfer. I might have left something out. Where do you stand?

        You did indeed leave something out. Whether by ‘transfer’ you mean the ‘transfer’ of the Palestinians out of Palestine or the ‘transfer’ of the various Zionist populations back to where they came from or (more likely) the US, those are two entirely distinct possibilities you’ve lumped into one.

  16. evets
    July 17, 2012, 12:24 pm

    BTW Phil –

    Which beach did you prefer — Stony (MBL) or Rocky (Gansett)? I was a a Gansett man myself.

    • seanmcbride
      July 17, 2012, 12:39 pm

      Speaking of Cape Cod (and American) beaches and great swimming places (like Henry David Thoreau’s beloved Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts) — I am a great lover of such places. They seem to embody Americanism at its best — people of all ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds cohabiting a peaceable kingdom. No tribal friction or ideological arguments — just joy and good vibrations. This is the way society in general should work.

      • Kathleen
        July 17, 2012, 1:07 pm

        I did some great body surfing on the Cape when my oldest was at Wheaton in Norton. Always went where the surfers were…in case I started drowning. Always wore a wet suit.

      • evets
        July 17, 2012, 2:40 pm

        Yes, Walden Pond is an underrated swimming hole, so long as you can steer clear of the shore weeds and literary associations.

      • Kathleen
        July 18, 2012, 11:09 am

        No surfers on Walden Pond. Some sizable surf on the Cape up north

      • evets
        July 18, 2012, 2:53 pm

        Don’t try to out-Cape me Kathleen — it won’t fly.

      • Kathleen
        July 20, 2012, 7:35 pm

        Body surfing “out Cape” you…really

      • evets
        July 22, 2012, 5:22 pm

        Was just kidding, Kathleen. Keep on surfing.

  17. Kathleen
    July 17, 2012, 12:25 pm

    When you think about Phil’s fathers generation of Jews and the majority of them either had family members killed in that genocide and some just barely escaped and wanted a safe place for Jews so that horrific event could not be repeated against Jews in particular (lots of genocides have taken place since that one) and Phil’s generation of Jews (closer to my age group) who grew up being hammered with the facts and the aftermath as well as being exposed to the successful efforts of shutting the horrendous side of creating Israel has had. And the Zionist movement that started in the 1800’s long before the Holocaust. Plans to take that land by what ever means.
    While I do not agree on the way Israel was created based on the 48/67 border…it is internationally recognized. But this persistent illegal push for expanding Israel has done Israel a great deal of harm as well as undermining U.S. National Security.

    Will never get Phil’s “my people” stances.

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2012, 8:58 pm

      “Will never get Phil’s “my people” stances.”

      Kathleen, I have been flabberghasted by everybody trying to “out-Jew” one another here. Goes for both the Israel criticisers and the Israel-praisers. I’ve never seen anything like it, but I’m a real greenhorn when it comes to stuff like this web activism. I just keep on asking myself “Who are they doing it for? Who or what is going to reward them for this?” You know, I don’t think they can help themselves.
      I sometimes feel like I’m the only bad Jew in the world. All the rest seem to be so much better than the others.

  18. Kathleen
    July 17, 2012, 12:30 pm

    “But today Iraq is ancient history,” And not one of the warmongers who promoted the invasion of Iraq based on a “pack of lies” have been held accountable for the death and destruction in that country. No one. At least some of the Nazi war criminals were held accountable. And that genocide will never be referred to as “ancient history” But the death and destruction in Iraq was only whispered about and as Phil has said is “ancient history” How fucked up is that?

    • RoHa
      July 17, 2012, 9:57 pm

      Very.

    • ColinWright
      July 21, 2012, 11:10 pm

      I don’t want to have to mount a defense of the invasion of Iraq — but Kathleen’s post is bizarre.

      Implied is this happy pre-conquest society, with all the Shi’as and Kurds and Marsh Arabs and things basking in the benevolent glow of Saddam Hussein’s rule.

      …and then that fierce bad America just had to come along and spoil things.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2012, 7:52 am

        @ Colin Wright,
        Kathleen is well able to speak for herself, but I’d like to say, I did not read her comment as saying Saddam’s Hussein’s Iraq was wonderful, either for those inside it, or those it attacked outside of it. She clearly is annoyed that the Bush Jr neocon regime, which lied us into attacking Saddam, is guilty of war crimes, but nobody influential cares, and remember when Saddam could do no wrong according to Uncle Sam?

  19. Newclench
    July 17, 2012, 12:37 pm

    “There is a profound denial inside my community of the horror of the occupation, and its irreversibility.”
    Denying the horror of the occupation requires a kind of blindness.
    But insisting on its irreversibility demands the ability to predict the future. Who can say Phil? These two denials are not of the same category.
    Things are pretty bleak right now, but they don’t unbleak themselves when you insist on predicting an unknowable future. There’s enough about the present to worry about.

    • seanmcbride
      July 17, 2012, 1:04 pm

      Newclench,

      I have a pretty good track record on making political, cultural and technological predictions (details available on request), and I would have to agree with the prognostication that the horrors of the occupation are irreversible and are going to become much more horrifying.

      I make accurate predictions by looking at the facts that are directly in front of my nose. All the key demographic trends in Israel (like ultra-Orthodox birthrates) suggest that Israeli society will become increasingly radicalized in the coming years and decades. And Zionism is a radical ideology at its core. Its true extremist nature is becoming more apparent with each passing year. The “liberal,” “progressive,” and “democratic” facade (flimsy hasbara) has eroded completely.

      Zionism is rooted in the same mindset and cultural values that produced European fascism (including Nazism) in the 20th century. Zionism’s most enthusiastic supporters among contemporary American non-Jews (Christian Zionists in particular) are, by any reasonable definition of the term, fascists.

      Care to place a bet?

      It’s going to be all downhill from here for Israel and the Zionist experiment. The relentless agitation by the Israel lobby to embroil Americans in self-destructive wars with the enemies of Israel is going to hasten the decline. The level of shrill verbal abuse being directed by pro-Israel activists against the American government (and European governments) is pushing this volatile situation to the breaking point. Watch and see.

      • hophmi
        July 17, 2012, 5:51 pm

        “Zionism is rooted in the same mindset and cultural values that produced European fascism (including Nazism) in the 20th century.”

        That’s just utter bullshit. I’m sorry. You keep repeating things like this, and they’re not remotely defensible on a logical or an intellectual level. The mindset that produced fascism and Nazism in particular was the idea that humanity could be perfected through the conscious elimination of undesirables from humanity and from culture. Thus, the Nazis pronounced Jews, homosexuals, Roma and others undesirable and killed them en masse, and pronounced things like Jazz decadent because black people created it.

        There simply is no analogue – at all – like this in Zionist thought. Zionism is simply the idea that Jews need a state because they keep getting persecuted as a minority. There is no racial element to it. To the extent that there is a cultural element, it is the idea that there is a distinct Jewish culture that cannot fully flower without the security of political sovereignty of some kind, not that Jewish culture is organically superior to everyone else.

        Israel is a democracy where everyone has the vote, and it’s one of the most culturally rich and diverse places on Earth in terms of music, art and literature.

      • ColinWright
        July 17, 2012, 7:52 pm

        ““Zionism is rooted in the same mindset and cultural values that produced European fascism (including Nazism) in the 20th century.”

        That’s just utter bullshit. I’m sorry. You keep repeating things like this, and they’re not remotely defensible on a logical or an intellectual level…”

        Sigh. Sean said it, but I heartily agree. I might interpose the fine distinction that Zionism is more akin to Naziism in particular than fascism in general, but…

        However, I can see that people like you are going to keep repeating the claim is indefensible. I suppose I’ll need to research and write a piece demonstrating that yes, the world is indeed round (or close enough).

        The depressing aspect of this is that it won’t do any good. You’ll just keep trotting out the same claim that the comparison isn’t valid no matter what I do to demonstrate that it is valid.

        Why are all you pro-Zionists like frigging cuckoo clocks? One can say, point out, or demonstrate anything at all to you — you just mindlessly come back with the same hackneyed cliches. It’s literally like you don’t think, or can’t read, or something. I mean, arguments with the religious fanatic in the parking lot are rewarding and illuminating by comparison.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 9:03 pm

        “it is the idea that there is a distinct Jewish culture that cannot fully flower without the security of political sovereignty of some kind”

        Yes Hophmi, I feed my roses blood meal, too. So you think Palestinian blood will water the “flower” of “a distinct Jewish culture”. Are you sure it’s good enough?
        Given that roses are fed blood meal, I would drop that whole “flowering” shtick Hophmi. The comparison springs way too easily to mind. You’d be blood libeling yourself, and you wouldn’t want that.

      • Sheldonrichman
        July 18, 2012, 10:05 am

        You live in denial about the third-class citizenship of Arabs in Israel. It is a democracy only for a particular subset of its “citizens.”

        The idea of perfecting the human race through elimination of undesirables was not the essence of Nazism. It was an implication of its essential racial or ethnic supremacy. Zionism and much of Judaism share that essence.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 12:12 pm

        hophmi,

        What does the phrase “volkish-national Hebrium” mean below? Can you interpret it for us?

        The forebears of contemporary Likud Zionists, who now comprise the dominant ruling group in Israel, believed they shared important common values with Nazism:

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        AUTHOR William James Martin
        TITLE The Zionist-Nazi Collaboration
        PUBLICATION Dissident Voice
        DATE July 8, 2012
        URL http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/07/the-zionist-nazi-collaboration/
        BEGIN QUOTE
        The Charter of the Stern Gang, or more accurately, the principles promulgated by Stern, included the establishment of a Jewish state “from the Nile to the Euphrates”, the ‘transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to regions outside of the Jewish state, and the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. It maintained offices outside of the Middle East – including Warsaw, Paris, London, and New York City, the latter headed by Benzion Netanyahu, the present Prime Minister’s father.

        1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.

        2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed volkish-national Hebrium would be possible; and,

        3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
        END QUOTE
        END ARTICLE

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 12:30 pm

        I’ve read a great deal of scholarship on Zionism to try to understand it and get it in focus. More and more I’ve begun to notice that it is the Avraham Stern strain of Zionism — Stern was the head of the Stern Gang, or Lehi, of which Likud leader and former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir was a member — that seems to define core Zionist values and the ideological agenda of contemporary Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu is very much in the mainstream of that tradition.

        Four books on Stern worth reading (by newest):

        1. 2011; Zev Golan; Stern: The Man and His Gang; Yair Publications http://www.amazon.com/Stern-Man-his-Gang-Golan/dp/9659172400/

        2. 1995; Joseph Heller; The Stern Gang: Ideology, Politics and Terror, 1940-1949; Routledge http://www.amazon.com/Stern-Gang-Ideology-Politics-1940-1949/dp/0714645583/

        3. 1979; Gerold Frank; The Deed; Berkley Publishing Group http://www.amazon.com/The-Deed-Gerold-Frank/dp/0425039137

        4. 1959; Avner; Memoirs of an Assassin: Confessions of a Stern Gang Killer; Thomas Yoseloff http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Assassin-Confessions-Stern-Killer/dp/B0000CKA65

        Pay special attention to the Joseph Heller book to get a handle on the belief system in play. And, yes, it is fascist to the core — no wonder this group believed that Nazis were their natural-born allies. Ethnic nationalist movements always tend to form alliances of convenience, even when they hate one another. That is why pro-Israel militants and Islamophobes like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have been reaching out to European neo-Nazis, like the EDL (English Defence League). We are right back to the era of the Stern Gang.

        All of this is going over hophmi’s head — bank on it. :) Scholarship and thinking aren’t his thing. He’s a cult zombie.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 12:56 pm

        More antisemitic nonsense. Again, is it anti-Zionism or antisemitism. Here, a commentator says that it is the essence of Judaism to preach racial or ethnic supremacy.

        It’s just pure nonsense, and if this is not an antisemitic website, comments like these should not be here.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 1:00 pm

        It’s not over my head. It’s just not accurate. The Stern Gang constituted well under one percent of the Yishuv. It was the definition of a fringe group.

        As usual, you engage in a deception. You take a tiny subset of Zionism, the Stern Gang, claim they had fascist sympathies. Those are arguable points. But then you take then and make a wholly unsupported claim that they are in fact mainstream Zionism today, an argument which is beyond the pale. People like Geller and Spencer are not mainstream, not in this country, not in the Jewish community, and not amongst Zionists.

        You can check your condescension and cheap tactics at the door McBride. You may fool the fellow travellers here, but it’s a Mondoweiss-only argument.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 1:04 pm

        “Volkish blah blah blah”

        Don’t know, don’t especially care any more than I’d care if someone quoted some American Nazi sympathizer from the 1940s. Ask a Stern Gang member if you can actually find one. They had zero influence in the Yishuv.

        What do you think “Kill the Jews wherever you find them” means?

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 1:55 pm

        Sheldon,

        “The idea of perfecting the human race through elimination of undesirables was not the essence of Nazism. It was an implication of its essential racial or ethnic supremacy. Zionism and much of Judaism share that essence.”

        Of course this is true. Blood and soil. Mystical ethnic nationalism. Ethnic cleansing. Torture. Massive human rights abuses. Contempt for cult outsiders. Hatred of democratic values and norms. Lebensraum. Greater Israel. Chosenness. Bloblike groupthink. The whole package.

        Abraham Stern and the Stern Gang, which evolved into Likud, felt ideologically and culturally in tune with Nazi Germany for very good reasons.

        I find myself increasingly unmotivated to respond to any of hophmi’s posts because they are so ignorant and off the wall. He seems to know very little about anything except his own narrow religious beliefs. He isn’t curious about what is going on the big wide world around him. He lives in a mental ghetto. Not a good example of Jewish civilization at its best, which is in the business of breaking down all mental ghettos and letting in the light.

      • Philip Weiss
        July 18, 2012, 2:05 pm

        isnt a terrorist militia necessarily a tiny group? it requires esprit de corps secrecy bravery, no milk in the veins. what does it signify that head of the group later became PM. Fringe?

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 2:26 pm

        hophmi,

        You wrote,

        “You take a tiny subset of Zionism, the Stern Gang, claim they had fascist sympathies. Those are arguable points.”

        Per usual, you are incapable of engaging in any kind of clear and rational thinking. Your mind is a mess, thoroughly deformed and scrambled by your weird cult religious indoctrination and beliefs.

        You can’t even read my own words.

        I didn’t say that the Stern Gang merely had “fascist sympathies” — I said that they were explicitly pro-Nazi, based on their own words. There is nothing “arguable” about this. Do you dispute the authenticity of the Stern Gang document quoted above? No: you don’t.

        Likud, via Yitzhak Shamir and others, a former Mossad head and Israeli prime minister, is the heir and latest iteration of the Stern Gang and its ideology and methods. The Stern Gang was a highly influential vangard movement within a vanguard movement.

        NO WONDER contemporary Israel more and more has the tone, texture and trappings of a racist and fascist state. The core ideological beliefs have been there at the heart of Israeli power for decades. No wonder Israel felt such a sensitive affinity for apartheid white South Africa. Ethnic nationalists all around the world, especially of the messianic and mystical variety, are brothers and sisters in arms against the “disease” of universalism, assimilation and modern Western democratic values, which they fear and hate.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 2:36 pm

        “Abraham Stern and the Stern Gang, which evolved into Likud”

        Again, this is simply false. Likud was not derived from the Stern Gang. The Likud was a collection of center and right factions in Israel, and if it has any ancestor, it may be the Irgun. To suggest that any political party in Israel can be traced historically back to anything is difficult given how many political parties have formed and dissolved and reformed during Israel’s history. But as far as a political program, the main difference between Likud and Labor during the past 35 years has been over compromise with Israel’s neighbors. Likud has historically not been a fan of compromise, though Menachem Begin signed a peace treaty with Egypt; Labor has tended more toward negotiations, as we saw with Oslo. The two factions has also been separated by economics. Likud has favored a more laissez-faire system; Labor has favored a more socialist system, though today, Israel’s economy is more liberalized.

        This is an example of the intellectual disingenuousness you practice, McBride. You take a tiny group like the Stern Gang (which is principally known today for assassinating Folke Bernadotte, an act almost univerally condemned by the rest of Israel), and claim it is fascist because it reflected some of the fascist zeitgeist of the 1930s. Again, these are at least arguable claims, even if claiming the Stern Gang had a coherent political program of any kind was accurate, and even if whether they did or didn’t is highly irrelevant because they had no meaningful influence on the founding of Israel. But to take that, and claim that Stern Gang is the forerunner of Likud, a blatant lie, and then to take that lie, and argue that Israel has fascist tendencies based on it, is simply willful disingenuousness on your part.

        You’re a hypocrite. You spout this nonsense in this friendly room. Why are you here? Everybody already agrees with everything you say. Could it be that it feels good to be with the other nutjobs? That you’re sick of being marginalized by the mainstream community, which has rejected your common brand of antisemitism? You seek comfort in this group of like-minded fanatics. Oh, the irony.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 2:52 pm

        “isnt a terrorist militia necessarily a tiny group?

        No Phil, absolutely not. Hamas is in part a terrorist militia and it is not at all a small group. The Muslim Brotherhood was for years a terrorist organization, and it was not a small group. Frankly, this is a big difference between the involvement and importance of groups like Irgun and Stern Gang and groups like Hamas. The former were never mainstream or even close. Irgun and Stern Gang’s terrorist attacks were not just condemned by the British. They drew widespread condemnation in Jewish community, both in the Yishuv and the Diaspora. You talk about Likud. There wasn’t anything but a Labor government for the first 30 years of Israel’s existence.

        Hamas attacks do not draw condemnation from the PNA or from the greater Muslim and Arab communities; they can’t condemn them because Hamas is a mainstream group. They have won elections already. The Irgun and Stern Gang were the crazies of Jewish nationalist movement. The Hamas are not the crazies of the movements. They ARE the movement today. To talk of Palestinian nationalism without talking about Hamas is silly, as you know.

        what does it signify that head of the group later became PM. Fringe?”

        What does it signify? It signifies the same thing that it will signify if, one day, a guy who was a member of Hamas (a mainstream Palestinian group) or Islamic Jihad in 1995 becomes Prime Minister of Palestine in 2035. The same thing Mohamed Morsi’s election in Egypt signifies. That once people do achieve sovereignty, they generally moderate. The Muslim Brotherhood is the father of Hamas and in the past has been a terrorism organization. Their founder was Hassan al-Banaa, a man who preached restoration of Islamic manifest destiny. Are you going to talk about how we should be really afraid of Mohamed Morsi because the Muslim Brotherhood has troubling roots and its founder is also considered the main intellectual father of Al-Qaeda? Are you going to say Egypt reflect Nazi or Empire or whatever values because Morsi is a Brotherhood member, the ideology of the Brotherhood is Islamic worldwide domination, and therefore, Egypt is Qaeda/fascist/Nazi/crazy state? That’s exactly the reasoning people are applying to Israel here.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 3:49 pm

        There is little evidence that Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud have moderated their ideas from the Greater Israelist and racist version of Zionism that was articulated by their Stern Gang forebears (actually Shamir was a member of the Stern Gang):

        BEGIN QUOTE
        The Charter of the Stern Gang, or more accurately, the principles promulgated by Stern, included the establishment of a Jewish state “from the Nile to the Euphrates”, the ‘transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to regions outside of the Jewish state, and the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. It maintained offices outside of the Middle East – including Warsaw, Paris, London, and New York City, the latter headed by Benzion Netanyahu, the present Prime Minister’s father.
        END QUOTE

        What do you think settlements program is all about? Why do you think it is that the Israeli government refuses to abandon the settlements or to slow down the building of new settlements?

        And “left-wing” Labor has been a completely on board with the settlements program. In fact, settlements expanded more rapidly under Labor than Likud regimes.

        The entire Israeli government seems to be following the roadmap that was designed by Avraham Stern and Lehi at the inception of Israel. Once you understand their roadmap, it’s easy to predict their behavior in the coming years: continue to expand the settlements to fill the full borders of Greater Israel and find excuses and pretexts to forcibly drive Palestinians from this territory. It’s a non-brainer. Israel’s supposed interest in the Mideast peace process and the two-state solution was always a lie, a delaying tactic. The Lehi documents provide insights into what Israel has always been up to from the standpoint of long-range strategic objectives.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 4:31 pm

        This is what links the Stern Gang, Irgun, Mossad, Likud, Labor and all the other key players in Israeli politics:

        1. militant Jewish ethnic nationalism
        2. ever-expanding Jews-only settlements within Eretz Israel (Greater Israel) [KEY]
        3. assassinations
        4. black ops
        5. anti-Arab racism
        6. hostility towards the entire world

        Yitzhak Shamir is of course the main personal link between the Stern Gang and Likud. There is no indication that he altered his Greater Israelism, anti-Arab racism and addiction to assassinations and black ops one whit from his early days with Lehi.

        hophmi: you still haven’t challenged the evidence that the Stern Gang openly praised Nazi Germany and its political values and agenda. Nor have you explained the meaning of the phrase “volkish-national Hebrium” in “Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed volkish-national Hebrium [that is, Zionism].”

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 4:52 pm

        “There is little evidence that Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud have moderated their ideas from the Greater Israelist and racist version of Zionism that was articulated by their Stern Gang forebears (actually Shamir was a member of the Stern Gang): ”

        Maybe you ARE Joachim Martillo, who has gone around the net spewing this crap for years. I guess you’re quite taken with this article, which you’ve called the most important article you read on Zionism in recent years, though it’s an article written by some math professor in Maryland and repeats old antisemitic pro-Palestinian chestnuts about how Zionism and Nazism are the same, replete with Lenni Brenner references and so on.

        Anyway, you defeat your own (already bad) argument. The charter speaks of a state from the Nile to the Euphrates. Can you point to any constituency in Israel that favors vying for such a state? The main fight, and this is with Likud now, not between Likud and others, is whether to annex the West Bank, not whether to take over Jordan, etc.

        “transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to regions outside of the Jewish state”

        There are some Israelis politicians who support some versions of transfer. They do not include Netanyahu or anyone in the Likud leadership. There is a faction in Likud that is more extreme led by Moshe Feiglin, but they are not in power and never have been, and indeed, politicians like Bibi have taken considerable lengths to marginalize them. Even Danny Danon, who favors annexing the West Bank, does not believe in transfer.

        “the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem”

        Please tell me which mainstream Likud politician favors building a Third Temple, and if so, what actual steps he has taken toward doing so.

        “What do you think settlements program is all about?”

        I think it’s about settling the West Bank, not about settling Jordan, and I think it wouldn’t have happened if the Arab world had left Israel alone before 1967. At any rate, much as some Likud politicians support the idea, most of the ones I know realize it’s not going to work out long term.

        I haven’t any reference to Benzion Netanyahu being a part of Stern Gang outside of the article you quoted earlier. I think it unlikely since he was Jabotinsky’s secretary; there is no source for the claim in the article.

        As far as Ariel Sharon, I don’t know how you can say there’s little evidence he moderated when he literally left the party so that he could withdraw from Gaza, and was harshly criticized by the Israeli right for it.

        And Likud in general? Begin signed away the entire Sinai in 1979. That in itself shows how much Likud moderated from its more revisionist and right-wing roots.

        “And “left-wing” Labor has been a completely on board with the settlements program. In fact, settlements expanded more rapidly under Labor than Likud regimes.”

        That’s misleading.

        The real acceleration with the creation of settlements took place under Begin. Labor during Oslo, it was an expansion of existing settlements that were responsible for the growth in population. Likud has generally been at the forefront of the settlement movement. Labor has turned a blind eye at times to it as a concession to the political reality, but today and for two decades and more, Labor has favored negotiations and the two-state solution.

        And that said, it is, again, just so ironic that you would bother us with a recitation of the Stern Gang charter, a charter for a tiny militia from the 1940s that hasn’t been around in over 60 years, but carry on if a Zionist quotes the Hamas charter, which is the founding document of a group that is currently mainstream in Palestine and is in power.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 4:55 pm

        Wikipedia on Revisionist Zionism (including the Stern Gang) and its ties to European fascism
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revisionist_Zionism

        Fascinating stuff:

        BEGIN QUOTES
        The movement called Lehi and nicknamed the “Stern Gang” by the British, was led by Avraham “Yair” Stern, until his death. Stern did not join the Revisionist Zionist party in university but instead joined another group called “Hulda”. He formed Lehi in 1940 as an offshoot from Irgun, which was initially named Irgun Zvai Leumi be-Yisrael (National Military Organization in Israel or NMO). Following Stern’s death in 1942—killed while already in custody by British police—and the arrest of many of its members, the group went into eclipse until it was reformed as “Lehi” under a triumvirate of Israel Eldad, Natan Yellin-Mor, and Yitzhak Shamir. Lehi was guided also by spiritual leader Uri Zvi Greenberg. The Lehi, in particular their members in prison, were encouraged in their struggle by Rabbi Aryeh Levin a greatly respected Jewish sage of the time. Shamir became the Prime Minister of Israel forty years later….

        In 1940, Lehi proposed intervening in the Second World War on the side of Nazi Germany to attain their help in expelling Britain from Mandate Palestine and to offer their assistance in “evacuating” the Jews of Europe.[14] Late in 1940, Lehi representative Naftali Lubenchik was sent to Beirut where he met the German official Werner Otto von Hentig. See Lehi (group)#Contact with Nazi Germany.

        Tensions between the Irgun and Lehi simmered until the two groups forged an alliance during the Israeli War of Independence.

        Ideologically, Revisionism advocated the creation of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River, that is, a state which would include the present-day Israel, as well as West Bank, Gaza and all or part of the modern state of Jordan. Jordan was separated from Mandatory Palestine in 1922 in response to Arab resentment of the Balfour Declaration. All three Revisionist streams, including Centrists who advocated a British-style liberal democracy, and the two more militant streams, which would become Irgun and Lehi, supported Jewish settlement on both sides of the Jordan River; in most cases, they differed only on how this should be achieved. (Some supporters within Labor Zionism, such as Mapai’s Ben-Gurion also accepted this interpretation for the Jewish homeland.) Jabotinsky wanted to gain the help of Britain in this endeavor, while Lehi and the Irgun, following Jabotinsky’s death, wanted to conquer both sides of the river independently of the British. The Irgun stream of Revisionism opposed power-sharing with Arabs. On the topic of “transfer” (expulsion of the Arabs), Jabotinsky’s statements were ambiguous. In some writings he supported the notion, but only as an act of self-defense, in others he argued that Arabs should be included in the liberal democratic society that he was advocating, and in others still, he completely disregarded the potency of Arab resistance to Jewish settlement, and stated that settlement should continue, and the Arabs be ignored.

        Up to 1933, a number of members from the national-messianist wing of Revisionism were inspired by the fascist movement of Benito Mussolini. Abba Ahimeir was attracted to fascism for its staunch anti-communism and its focus on rebuilding the glory of the past, which national-messianists such as Uri Zvi Greenberg felt had much connection to their view of what the Revisionist movement should be.
        END QUOTES

        The main point to focus on: Israel keeps expanding the settlements, in defiance of American, European and world opinion, and consistent with the original vision of Avraham Stern, Lehi and numerous other Greater Israelists.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 10:18 pm

        Again, all stuff that has been posted here many times.

        The main point is that the Stern Gang was teeny tiny, and their views were not mainstream, and have no influence today.

        It’s a sickness to keep comparing the persecuted to their persecutors.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 10:36 pm

        “Anyway, you defeat your own (already bad) argument. The charter speaks of a state from the Nile to the Euphrates. Can you point to any constituency in Israel that favors vying for such a state? The main fight, and this is with Likud now, not between Likud and others, is whether to annex the West Bank, not whether to take over Jordan, etc.”

        You know, I think most close observers of Mideast politics and Israeli behavior have come to the conclusion that Israeli public policy statements and Israel’s true policy agenda bear no connection whatever. Israel has acquired the habit of operating by way of deception as standard operating procedure.

        We know by now that that “peace process” and two-state solution that has been promoted by “liberal Zionists” like Shimon Peres, Dennis Ross and Aaron David Miller was a fraud from the get-go, a stalling tactic to keep the world at bay while Israel continued to expand Jewish settlements into Eretz Israel.

        Whenever you try to pin down Israeli leaders and influential pro-Israel activists about their vision of Israel’s final borders and the status of Palestinians within those borders, one encounters nothing but a solid wall of evasions or silence. They don’t want to reveal their real strategic plans and objectives. One needs to pay attention to their actual behavior on the ground: more and more settlements and ever-escalating abuse of the Palestinians.

        I think the Israeli right (and much of the “left”) is counting on embroiling the United States and “the West” in a war with Islam worldwide which can be used as a cover under which to accomplish the goals of consolidating Greater Israel (final borders still unknown), the expulsion of Palestinians from Greater Israel, the crushing of all of Israel’s neighbors in the region (including Iran) with American military might, and probably the rebuilding of the Third Temple over the ruins of the al-Aqsa mosque.

        This entire messianic project is fully in line with the strategic vision that was articulated by Lehi (Stern Gang) over 70 years ago. It has probably been the secret game plan of the dominant faction within the Zionist establishment all along. Likud, via Revisionist Zionism and Herut, is a direct ideological descendant of Lehi.

      • hophmi
        July 19, 2012, 1:11 pm

        “You know, I think most close observers of Mideast politics and Israeli behavior have come to the conclusion that Israeli public policy statements and Israel’s true policy agenda bear no connection whatever. Israel has acquired the habit of operating by way of deception as standard operating procedure.”

        So in the absence of evidence, you will now assume that Israelis simply do not tell the truth about their aims. Sean, it’s simple. Israel has been in the West Bank for 45 years. They’ve had the capacity to take it all over and kick out its residents for all of that time. They’ve also had the military capacity to overwhelm every one of their neighbors, including Jordan. They haven’t. So there’s simply no basis, not in history, not in the present, to assume that Zionism is about creating a state from the Nile to the Euphrates. That story is not new; it’s basically an Arab horror story like the story that Jews are responsible for 9/11. It has no basis in fact; its basis is simple fear and ignorance.

        “We know by now that that “peace process” and two-state solution that has been promoted by “liberal Zionists” like Shimon Peres, Dennis Ross and Aaron David Miller was a fraud from the get-go, a stalling tactic to keep the world at bay while Israel continued to expand Jewish settlements into Eretz Israel.”

        If your outlook is simply to put a nefarious spin on anything and Israeli does, then this is the conclusion you draw. If you’re a fair person and you appreciate human reality and complexity, you know that this is nonsense. Peres initiated talks with the PLO before Oslo and has written whole books on his vision for a new Middle East. Miller has as well. It is perfectly reasonable to suggest that the expansion of settlements during Oslo was a serious problem. But to ignore the entire political reality is simply to allow an irrational bias against Israelis to override reason. The fact of the matter is that Israel is a democracy, and it was divided in 1993. Labor didn’t build any new settlements, but putting a restriction on building would have upset the coalition they needed to move forward. For similar reasons, Yasir Arafat was unable to fight incitement and terrorism to the extent necessary for the process to move forward. That is why a person could say that the Palestinian never wanted two states, and that Oslo was simply a stepping stone to an attempt to take over all of Israel. We’ve all heard of the PLO’s phased plan, I’m sure.

        “Whenever you try to pin down Israeli leaders and influential pro-Israel activists about their vision of Israel’s final borders and the status of Palestinians within those borders, one encounters nothing but a solid wall of evasions or silence.”

        That’s simply not true at all. Those Israeli leaders involved in Oslo have quite concrete ideas of what the borders would look like, and as far as the Palestinians within them, they would be citizens of the Palestinian state. Those on the right say that the borders should be the West Bank of the Jordan River and that the Palestinians within the border should be given conditional Israeli citizenship in exchange for a promise to be loyal. There really are not many who favor transfer. Many of them say simply that people have talked about the demographic threat forever, that demography has never been a problem, and that it won’t be the problem people think it will be in the future, whether because they think that Jews will just somehow continue to outnumber the Arabs, or because they figure once Israel annexes the West Bank, a lot of Palestinians will leave on their own accord because they won’t want to live under Jewish rule. But about the last thing I hear from Israelis on these issues is silence. Israelis are not silent about anything.

        “I think the Israeli right (and much of the “left”) is counting on embroiling the United States and “the West” in a war with Islam worldwide which can be used as a cover under which to accomplish the goals of consolidating Greater Israel (final borders still unknown), the expulsion of Palestinians from Greater Israel, the crushing of all of Israel’s neighbors in the region (including Iran) with American military might, and probably the rebuilding of the Third Temple over the ruins of the al-Aqsa mosque.”

        You can “think” anything you want Sean. It’s not going to become true because you think it. There’s not an iota of evidence for these contentions’ most Israelis could not care less about the Third Temple, and even on the right, those who talk seriously about building a Third Temple are considered to be a lunatic fringe. Why would a country dedicated to take over the Temple Mount give over control of it to the Waqf and allow the Waqf to restrict Jews from approaching Al-Aqsa?

        “This entire messianic project is fully in line with the strategic vision that was articulated by Lehi (Stern Gang) over 70 years ago. It has probably been the secret game plan of the dominant faction within the Zionist establishment all along. ”

        Right, see Sean, this is where you begin to look silly. You talk about a “messianic project” based on a line of reasoning about the Stern Gang that has no basis in fact. Your vision is mostly a conspiracy theory that has no relation to the reality. So in the absence of any evidence for your theory, you claim it’s a “secret game plan” which is same thing as saying it’s a conspiracy theory. So arguing with you is a waste. Any facts that I bring to undercut your thesis – Israel has not annexed the West Bank, no constituency in Israel talks about expanding the state to the Euphrates, people in Israel, particularly Oslo alumni, talk about border and the status of Palestinians all the time, right-wingers in Israel talk about it all the time, Third Temple people are a lunatic fringe and have no constituency in any mainstream party in Israel, there is no evidence that the Stern Gang was anything but a small group, never a mainstream organization, condemned in their time, and folded later amongst much larger groups into a Likud that historically has signed agreements giving the Sinai back to Egypt – you’ll just continue to insist that there’s a “secret plan.”

      • seanmcbride
        July 19, 2012, 2:31 pm

        hophmi,

        There is an interesting new article in Tablet today about one of the Jewish terrorists who was behind the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946:

        “My 91-Year-Old Grandfather Helped Blow Up the King David Hotel on July 22, 1946 – Tablet Magazine”

        http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/106688/blowing-up-the-king-david-hotel

        The bombing left 91 people dead, including 54 civilians, 28 Brits and 17 Jews. Historians view the King David Hotel bombing as one of the most important terrorist events of the last century — somewhat comparable to 9/11 (according to the Discovery Channel).

        From the beginning of the article:

        ““Everyone dreams,” my 91-year-old grandfather tells me over a cup of coffee in his north Tel Aviv apartment. “My dream was to move to Eretz Yisrael and ride a horse, carrying a rifle.”

        My question is this: what are the boundaries of “Eretz Yisrael” mentioned above? Mainstream Israeli leaders, politicians and pundits have repeatedly expressed their determination to build Greater Israel.

        What are its borders?

        And do you honestly believe that the Israeli government has any intention of ever tearing down and evacuating the settlements that it continues to build as we speak, in defiance of every government in the world?

      • hophmi
        July 19, 2012, 4:12 pm

        “My question is this: what are the boundaries of “Eretz Yisrael” mentioned above?”

        Yeah, I get it. I’ve answered you. The left sees the eventual boundary as the Green Line with land swaps. The right sees the boundary as the Jordan River. I don’t know why you keep repeating the same question.

        “And do you honestly believe that the Israeli government has any intention of ever tearing down and evacuating the settlements that it continues to build as we speak, in defiance of every government in the world?”

        I believe that is exactly what they anticipated doing with Oslo. Most plans out there, the Geneva Initiative, the Clinton Parameters, all assume version of the same thing – an agreement based on the 1967 lines with land swaps to accommodate the larger settlements, which, with the exception of Ariel, border pre-1967 Israel. Most settlers are secular and would move. The fact of the matter is that Israel hasn’t built many new settlements in recent years; it has merely allowed older ones to expand.

        Frankly, the Palestinians understand that settlement growth, while troubling, does not make a peace agreement impossible, which is why they signed Oslo despite its shortcomings and stayed in the game until 2000, when Arafat apparently either lost control of the street (if you’re being generous) or decided that violence would force the Israelis to give him more (if you’re not being generous).

        Unfortunately, the hardliners on both sides eventually won out. Suicide bombing led to the defeat of Shimon Peres by Bibi Netanyahu, who, like Begin before him, sped up settlement expansion and generally put the breaks on the process.

        The entire history of Israel simply undercuts your entire thesis that the hardliners are the real Zionists. Labor Zionism was the only game in town for the first 30 years of existence. When the Revisionists finally did take power in 1977, led by the very leader of the group who blew up the King David, they signed a peace agreement two years later, giving up the entire Sinai, including a number of settlements. Thirteen years after that, the Israelis and Palestinians signed Oslo and spent 8 years negotiated, and depending on who you read, came agonizingly close to an agreement. In 2004, Ariel Sharon, the quintessential right-winger in Israel, upended his own party by withdrawing from Gaza, destroying in the process the homes of thousands of people. In 2008, Ehud Olmert, another former Likud member, spent months in negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas, and continues today to favor the continuation of negotiations to arrive at a two-state solution.

        To look at this history and conclude that what Israel wants is the Stern Gang’s vision of a Niles to Euphrates Israel (a vision that, even for them, was rhetorical more than substantive) is to promote a complete conspiracy theory, supported by no facts and evidence.

      • hophmi
        July 20, 2012, 1:21 pm

        “My question is this: what are the boundaries of “Eretz Yisrael” mentioned above? Mainstream Israeli leaders, politicians and pundits have repeatedly expressed their determination to build Greater Israel.”

        It’s very tiring to have to keep explaining this, but for the left in Israel, and people like Miller, Ross, Beilin, Geneva Initiative people, Clinton parameter people – it’s the Green Line with land swaps for the settlement blocs contiguous with pre-’67 Israel. For the rightists who want to annex the West Bank, it’s the Jordan River. There is no major constituency in Israel who believes it should be the Nile and Euphrates; this is an old Arab bogeyman story; they used to say that the two stripes on the flag represented the Nile and Euphrates, when in fact it represents the t’chales from two strands of a prayer shawl.

        No one I know, and I know enough rightists, suggests that Israel should take over Jordan.

        “Mainstream Israeli leaders, politicians and pundits have repeatedly expressed their determination to build Greater Israel.”

        Yes. Greater Israel means today annexing the West Bank. It does not mean a state from the Nile to the Euphrates.

        “And do you honestly believe that the Israeli government has any intention of ever tearing down and evacuating the settlements that it continues to build as we speak, in defiance of every government in the world?”

        The government? Not this government. But there is no question – at all – that those involved in Oslo anticipated eventually dismantling the settlements not contiguous with pre-’67 Israel. And after Oslo was signed, there were no new settlements built; only expansion of older ones. I’m not going to argue to you that it was not a problem, but frankly, the Palestinians understood that you could negotiate a settlement without shutting down all building in the existing settlements, particularly when most of it was in places that were going to end up in Israel anyway.

        The record is clear – Israel does dismantle settlements. It did so in Yamit in the Sinai in the early 1980s and in Gaza in 2005. It is also clear that Israel is a democracy and that governments must deal with the political reality, which is that the settlement movement wields enough power in Israeli society to make settlement evacuation difficult. It withdraws from territory, as it did in Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2004, and most Palestinian population centers in the West Bank during Oslo. But these withdrawals have to have a security benefit. People do not compromise their safety to make the international community happy. Most Israelis are only too eager to have an end to the conflict and move on; there is no desire to perpetually sign their children up for the Army. But not at the expense of their security, and not to undermine their society.

        Every irredentist action the Palestinians have taken have had a direct result – it has strengthened the settlers and the right. Blowing up buses brought Bibi Netanyahu to power; he would not have had a prayer without it. Intifada II helped Ariel Sharon take power and destroyed the Israeli peace movement. BDS and similar attempts to isolate Israel have strengthened Netanyahu’s hand and allowed him to dither and not really do much of anything.

        Yitzhak Rabin was the last leader to say negotiate like there’s no terror and fight terror like there’s no negotiation. Remember – Yitzhak Rabin got shot at a massive peace rally in the center of Tel Aviv singing a peace song. Every time you think that Israelis don’t want peace, remember that fact. And remember that BDS strengthens those who spawned the guy who did the shooting.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 11:14 pm

        More antisemitic nonsense. Again, is it anti-Zionism or antisemitism. Here, a commentator says that it is the essence of Judaism to preach racial or ethnic supremacy.

        It’s just pure nonsense, and if this is not an antisemitic website, comments like these should not be here.

        Two claims that the comparison is nonsense, three that it is anti-semitism, and a demand that the comment be deleted entirely.

        …not bad for two short paragraphs.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2012, 8:12 am

        @ Phil Weiss
        That we should note Hitler and his brown shirts were a tiny group when they were shot at in Munich and Hitler was quickly thrown into prison, but Hitler rose to be head of The Third Reich by vote, coupled with an Enabling Law written for times of great national duress?

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2012, 8:35 am

        @ hophmi

        RE your: “The main point is that the Stern Gang was teeny tiny, and their views were not mainstream, and have no influence today.”

        No, hophmi, because, as seanmcbride just told you, in effect, the creed is in the deed, the proof is in the pudding–and both tell anybody not willfully blind who has had the most persistent and consistent influence in Israel, right up to today:
        seanmcbride: “The main point to focus on: Israel keeps expanding the settlements, in defiance of American, European and world opinion, and consistent with the original vision of Avraham Stern, Lehi and numerous other Greater Israelists.”

      • ColinWright
        July 17, 2012, 7:45 pm

        “I have a pretty good track record on making political, cultural and technological predictions…”

        I’d nitpick with the rather broad definition of ‘fascism’ — it appears to refer to any intolerant political movement you disagree with. Evangelicals are no more ‘fascists’ than Islamic fanatics are.

        However, that aside, I agree with all your substantial points.

      • American
        July 18, 2012, 12:59 pm

        “Care to place a bet?…Sean

        My money’s on you’re being right on all points.
        There has never been the slightest sign of Israel becoming anything but more and more agressive and supremist and holding itself above all universal laws.

    • seafoid
      July 17, 2012, 2:10 pm

      “But insisting on its irreversibility demands the ability to predict the future”

      Cancer is like that after a certain number of iterations.
      Maybe if they take the money away from the Zionists they can change but it’s a long shot and the omens are bad.

  20. atime forpeace
    July 17, 2012, 12:43 pm

    I do not understand why you seem to say that if the Beinart’s of this world i.e folks who want to send their kids to exclusively jewish schools to learn their religion of choice that this is such a terrible impermissible almost bordering on the racist request.

    let them be jewish, let them do what they please with their children and educate them in whatever judaic studies they choose, what can be more american than this?

    It is the zionist part of this equation that is so destructive and corrupting to both the jews and to the american governmental system, not the judaic part, this second one is akin to the christians sending their kids to Christ centered education centers.

    “He wants to repackage American Jewish identity so that his grandchildren will be Jewish– with segregation. Separate schools, religious instruction. A new way of ghettoizing our identity. Walt has questioned that prescription in his review of Beinart. Many on our site, myself included, have also done so.”

    I do not get it, why throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    jewishness has nothing to do with Israel worship, for thousands of years it seems jews have kept an identity alive, without Israel to worship.

    the old rabbis of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were so right and apparently right also, that zionism would compete with the heart of the jew for worship, israel or God but not both.

  21. Shmuel
    July 17, 2012, 1:03 pm

    He wants to repackage American Jewish identity so that his grandchildren will be Jewish– with segregation. Separate schools, religious instruction. A new way of ghettoizing our identity.

    So what’s a (Jewish) body to do? Beinart has come to the conclusion that “the anti-Semites are going to get you” and ethnic cleansing overseas are dead ends identity-wise: good, smart people won’t want to have anything to do with it or with those to whom such ideas may appeal. The alternative is knowledge and cultural experience – attainable only through intensive education, which necessarily entails some form of voluntary segregation. It’s a rock and a hard place – especially since most Jewish day schools are also hotbeds of Zionist/victimist indoctrination. Beinart feels he can repair the damage at home. I’d rather not risk it.

    But Beinart is on the right track. The only way forward (if there is one) is to construct a positive identity (better yet, identities) to replace the false messiahs of the 20th century.

    • MRW
      July 17, 2012, 4:56 pm

      @Shmuel,

      Good luck with that replacement. My family built, maintained, and owned the Jerusalem Plaza and Tiberias Plaza hotels until Menachem Begin came in. Then they sold to the Leonard or the Leonardo group (can’t remember). They saw the writing on the wall, the gigantic sluice that Israel was going to fall into. They weren’t wrong.

      • Shmuel
        July 18, 2012, 2:50 am

        MRW,

        I’m not sure what your family’s investment strategy has to do with non-Zionist Jewish identity, but the hotels you mention have made mountains of money since 1977. The Leonardo chain seems to own just about every hotel in Israel now.

      • MRW
        July 18, 2012, 1:17 pm

        @Shmuel,

        That’s what a bottle of wine will do to you on an empty stomach (OK, with these cheese sticks, too). The perception was that the militancy of Zionism was changing dramatically. What was perceived as Zionism before Begin was no different than opening up in Kenya or Stockholm and honoring the local founding myths, whatever they might be. They saw I/P situation looming ahead and thought it would be destabilizing. They never knew, of course, that the US govt would become the #1 patron.

      • Shmuel
        July 19, 2012, 3:35 am

        That’s what a bottle of wine will do to you on an empty stomach (OK, with these cheese sticks, too).

        Has no one ever told you that cheese sticks and Mondoweiss don’t mix?

        I think reports of Israel’s imminent demise are as exaggerated now as they were in 1977. Pulling out might have been a sound business decision based on the information available at the time, but 35 years of lost profits paint a different picture.

      • MRW
        July 22, 2012, 12:19 am

        but 35 years of lost profits paint a different picture.

        What can I tell you, they were Montréalais.

      • Shmuel
        July 22, 2012, 4:08 am

        What can I tell you, they were Montréalais.

        J’comprends.

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2012, 6:23 pm

      Yes, Shmuel, that’s all right, but you can’t blame a man for reflecting his own experience on to his kids, because he wants the best for them. WHen you look at how much beinart has suffered from anti-Semitism, how it has held him back, stolen his acheivments, made him old and a physical wreck before his time, is it any wonder he wants his children to be cautious about mixing with them?

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 7:58 pm

      “It’s a rock and a hard place – especially since most Jewish day schools are also hotbeds of Zionist/victimist indoctrination.”

      Izzat a fact? I don’t particularly want to do anything about it on that account — but it is a depressing bit of information.

      It conjures up this image of American Jewry as this ever-dwindling, ever more fanatically intolerant and chauvinist minority of almost fantastically microscopic dimensions.

      Like Alzheimers’, not the most edifying way to go out. I mean, I don’t want to cue the ‘great Jewish achievements’ record, but there was a time when Jews were rather vigorously participating in America along with the rest of us.

      • Shmuel
        July 18, 2012, 2:46 am

        Colin,

        The studies that show a link between day school education and hard-line support for Israel like to postulate that a more extensive Jewish education creates greater solidarity with one’s fellow Jews. What they fail to take into account is the direct indoctrination in such schools.

  22. AllenBee
    July 17, 2012, 1:59 pm

    ( a disorganized collection of thoughts on reading book of Esther & books about the book of Esther —)

    I’ve spent a lot of time reading books on Esther. It started before Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech last March; the speech only energized the drive to find out more about that story, about Purim, and why it is so important to Jewish people.

    Yesterday I finished reading five children’s story books about Esther. All were published after 1997; none is true to either of the Bible accounts (Hebrew version and Septuagint version: Hebrew does not have Mordecai’s dream, nor does it include Ahasueras’s affirmation of his trust in Haman and how the good of all the people in the kingdom requires that deviations from the empire’s rules must be attended to — i.e. Mordecai’s refusal to respect the authority of the prime minister).

    Nowhere in the children’s books is it mentioned that at about the time that Esther is said to take place, Ezra had decreed that Jews must not intermarry:

    Defining his people as zera kodesh (a holy seed), Ezra sought to erect high walls between the returnees [to Jerusalem from Babylon] and the “people of the land,” who may have been a mixture of remnants of the indigenous Canaanites and of Judaeans and Israelites who had not gone into exile. Ezra represents . . .the voice of ethnic and religious segregation in the face of outer pressures for accommodation and acculturation. Indeed, throughout [the Persian] period, . . .the forces of separation and of assimilation struggled with each other in ways that are more complex than is commonly believed.” [p. 137]

    Could it be the case that Esther felt the need to justify her alliance with the Persian king by contriving a story that made her act heroic rather than disloyal to her people?

    All of the children’s books emphasize that Esther and Mordecai alternately conceal and reveal their identity as Jews; in all five books, Mordecai warns Esther not to reveal that she is Jewish because “there are people in the palace who do not like Jews.” This narrative runs counter to the effusive testimony of numerous passages in the books of Chronicles and Judges, and seems to be contrary to the real facts of history carved in clay on the Cyrus Cylinder, the first universal declaration of human rights. All five children’s books lionize Esther, Queen of all Persia, for acting on behalf of her people, not all of the people in the Persian empire.

    None of the children’s books acknowledges that Esther and Mordecai brought about the deaths of 75,000 innocent Persians (although one children’s book mentions that “500 enemies of the Jews were killed”) as well as the deaths of Haman and his ten sons. All of the children’s books rejoice in those deaths — all of the books wrote of Purim celebrations that include booing and hissing at mention of Haman; one book notes that as part of the Purim celebration, the names of the ten sons of Haman who were killed are recited all in one breath.

    In the first chapter of his magnum opus, “Origins of the Inquisition,” Benzion Netanyahu writes in a footnote that the Esther story is not an historical fact. But the children’s books treat not only treat the story as an historical fact, they go out of their way to denigrate Persians, in image and word; they hyperbolize the threat posed by Haman, which, in the children’s books, is based entirely on mind-reading and on situations that had to have been imagined by a third-person omniscient narrator: “Haman thought . . .” and “Haman’s wife said to him . . .” The imagined scenarios, thoughts and threats — for there were only perceived threats, never actions that Haman carried out– are answered with real world and deadly consequences: the hanging of Haman and his ten sons; and the killing of at least 500 people, which at least one of the children’s books mentions.

    Nurit Peled-Elhanan’s research into Israeli textbooks came to mind.

    What other culture teaches its children to fantasize that they are hated; take deadly actions based on that fantasy; then rejoice in the deaths of vast numbers of innocent people consequent to those actions?

    The presence of these themes in the story of Esther indicates that the mind set that Avigail Abarbanel analysed –that Jews are everywhere and always threatened with annihilation, against which they are entitled to react by killing and displacing the Other — did not arise from modern zionism, although it is a fundamental element of the early zionists. Etan Bloom observes these conflicts in Arthur Ruppin, the ‘Father of Hebrew Culture:

    Ruppin’s cultural identity was a clear product of Prussian indoctrination in Posen and like most of the Jews in the region he aspired to be accepted into the German culture.10 He identified with the education system of the Prussian state, and its heroes served him as substitutes for his Jewish-Polish father. With this move, from his Jewish-East European-Polish identity to a modern-German identity, from the ‘superstitious’ beliefs of his mother and the embarrassing Yiddish language, hand gesticulations and fantastic behavior of his bankrupt peddler father,11 to a culture which sanctified masculinity and science12 Ruppin differentiated himself from his parents and from Jewishness. Influenced, like other Jews, by the anti-Semitic discourse, he fills his diaries with his aversion to the Jewish physique and appearance, as well as to his own ‘ugliness’. These feelings of inferiority accompanied him in his hyper-bildung, a long and demanding process of acquiring the body and mentality of the ideal Prussian models. He taught himself to swim, excelled in fencing, gymnastics and dancing and practiced cycling and shooting in the forest, with which he aspired to ‘unite’, predisposed by mystical vo¨lkisch astralism. In those optimistic days he still believed it possible for even a Jew to become part of the German Volk . . .by sheer willpower, through conscious identification and intellectual cultivation, expressed mainly through mastery of the German language and literature.

    Careful study of Ruppin’s own identity crises and they ways that he worked them out in building the “new Jew” of “human material” carefully selected for identifiable traits among European Jews who were admitted to aliyeh in Palestine, could offer present-day zionists a way out — “Ruppin was a little crazy; his notions are not based on sound Jewish values,” in a fashion similar to the way that Catholics can dismiss some of Augustine’s notions as emanating from a seriously troubled psyche (in my opinion).

    But the Esther thing — that’s disturbing.

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 8:08 pm

      “What other culture teaches its children to fantasize that they are hated; take deadly actions based on that fantasy; then rejoice in the deaths of vast numbers of innocent people consequent to those actions?”

      Yawn. I try to think of an answer to that — and come right back to what I always do come back to.

      ‘If a Stuka weighs 8000 Kgs on take-off, and burns 0.2 kgs of fuel per kilometer in flight, and delivers a 1200 kg bombload to Warsaw after a 300 kilometer flight, how much does it weigh on its return?’

      Or something like that. The point is astonishingly similar.

      • AllenBee
        July 18, 2012, 1:11 pm

        yawn.

        Connect the dots, find the pattern:

        1. On Purim Jews celebrate how Queen Esther saved the Jews of Persia from annihilation. -About dot com, part of the New York Times; ‘Judaism.’

        2. Michael Walzer, perhaps the leading international scholar on just war theory and a long-time supporter of Peace Now, argues that Israel’s counter-attacks in Lebanon and Gaza are proportional and just, with some caveats. – July 2006

        The first purpose of any state is to defend the lives of its citizens; no state can tolerate random rocket attacks on its cities and towns. Some 700 rockets have been fired from northern Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal a year ago–imagine the U.S. response if a similar number were fired at Buffalo and Detroit from some Canadian no-man’s-land. It doesn’t matter that, so far, the Gazan rockets have done minimal damage; the intention every time one is fired is to hit a home or a school, and, sooner or later, that intention will be realized.”

        3. ““Today we are facing plain and simple, a danger of annihilation. This is not only the ongoing existential danger to Israel, but a real danger of complete annihilation.” – Benzion Netanyahu, Feb. 2009

        4. Was Israel’s conduct in its campaign against Hamas morally justified? – Summer 2009 —

        “No one can honestly dispute that, for years, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organizations in Gaza have launched thousands of rockets at Israel’s population. Therefore, we can present a responsible answer to the question: Was the decision to take military action against those terrorist organizations, at that particular time, justified on the basis of the right to self-defense? The answer is self-evident: Firing rockets at Israel is an attack on the state and a constant endangerment of the life, health, security, and well-being of the citizens under attack.

        5. They Tried to Kill Us, We Won, Now We’re Changing the World – David Horovitz, April 2011

        6.

        The Palmer Report’s Moral Clarity “The Palmer report found that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal and “was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea,” that its implementation “complied with the requirements of international law,” that Israel had a “right to visit and search the vessel and to capture it if found in breach of a blockade,” including in international waters, that the flotilla organizers planned “in advance to violently resist any boarding attempt” and that “Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara” and responded in self-defence. The commissioners also noted that they have serious questions about “the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly [the Turkish NGO] IHH,” and described the decision to breach the blockade as a “dangerous and reckless act,” which “needlessly carried the potential for escalation.”

        – Report on Mavi Marmara, Oct. 2011

        7. “Think of Israel as a post-traumatic stress disorder victim, still. Unjust attacks only reinforce Israel’s instinct to fight no-holds barred against perceived threats to its survival, whether it’s really threatened or not. . . . Israel will never change course until it feels free of the centuries of unjust slanders that led to slaughter. – Robert Gippin, Akron, OH Nov. 2011

        8. A Song for Passover: “They Tried to Kill Us, We Survived, Let’s Eat” – Huffington Post, April 2012

        = = = = =
        The jokey pattern is spoken out loud: “They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.”
        Ha ha ha.
        But the historical pattern that has persisted from 400 BC Esther to the Esther of Bibi 2012, looks more like this:

        We fantasized that they were going to kill us;
        We killed them instead.
        Let’s eat at our Jews only table and celebrate that we are a chosen people separate and apart.

        There is real world utility in such a mental set: It is phenomenally energizing to make your gut think someone is out to kill you; your entire body goes into survival mode, firing up only those systems that will ensure YOUR survival, and bypassing draining and cautionary filters like, “Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not covet . . .” Fear of being killed is the greatest motivator there is.
        Conditioning that convinces one that he/she faces threat to his existence also serves to bypass normal human revulsion at thought of killing another: In this clip, Sanho Tree explains the dead-end spiral of conditioning soldiers to kill:

        ” But to take an 18 year old, whether it’s American and Japanese or German or Chinese and be able to turn that 18 year old into someone who is capable of doing horrific things to complete strangers for reasons of state is a very unnatural act, it takes a lot of conditioning. Uh, so there’s a lot of dehumanization that goes on, both of the perpetrator as well as the victim.
        And this carries over into the way – in order to do these things you have to dehumanize but if you dehumanize you can’t really get into the mindset of your adversary. And if you can’t get into their mindset you can’t understand what’s motivating them. And if you can’t understand what’s motivating them, you can’t get them to stop whatever it is you went to war to get them to stop doing in the first place.”

        The fantasy that one is under “threat of annihilation” provides a rationalization for what would otherwise be repugnant, but it also utterly blocks any possibility of understanding the Other’s motivations, since the Other has been dehumanized – and so has the Killer/Soldier.
        = = = = =
        Question:
        9. Do Ronen Bergman’s statements in this videoclip fit the pattern – “They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat; are they outliers; or are they the exception that proves [my] thesis: We fantasized that tried to kill us; We killed them instead; Let’s enjoy our gains from the action.”
        Here’s Bergman: Israel Teams with Terror Group to Kill Iran’s Nuclear Scientists Feb. 2012
        Excerpts:

        “Israel has used assassination more than any other state, even Stalin, to change history . . .” and “I don’t agree that Ahmadinejad is Hitler, but the Israeli state says so. If your state declares someone is Hitler, the state has a moral obligation to protect its people from that . . .”

        10. The dots come full circle. Joe Wilson, Republican from South Carolina, was on on C Span Washington Journal this morning, urgently warning that cuts in US defense spending will impair our “domestic tranquility.” “Terrorists struck at the United States from caves in Afghanistan!! We have to make sure they never have a safe haven to plan such an attack again!!”

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2012, 9:07 pm

      “the speech only energized the drive to find out more about that story, about Purim, and why it is so important to Jewish people.”

      It’s not. You wasted your time reading all those books, and now find it “disturbing”. You’re coo-coo. Nobody gives a s–t about Esther.

      • AllenBee
        July 18, 2012, 11:23 am

        Benjamin Netanyahu was coo-coo enough to think it was a good idea to talk about Esther in one of the most widely covered fora in Washington, therefore the world: an AIPAC convention. And he gave the president of the free world a copy of the Book of Esther, sounding alarums that “Iran has been trying to annihilate us forever.”

        Sorry Mooser, facts are not on your side.

        The public library in my city has more books about Esther than about all of Persian history.
        here’s one of ’em — What Queen Esther Knew: Business Strategies from a Biblical Sage, Queen of Persia, Leader, Heroine by Connie Glaser & Barbara Smalley
        Glaser’s version of Ahasuerus, Haman, and the history of Jewish people in Persia follows the talking points of the children’s books on Esther; namely, they are hasbara; deceitful and counterfactual. Based on the demonization of Persians amplified by Glaser/Smalley, “bad bosses” are labeled as “Haman,” who is of course inextricably linked with Persia/Iran.

        The entire package serves to reinforce Israeli Iranophobia (the Logic of an Israeli Obsession) which is the underlying dynamic for what has so far resulted in the deaths of numerous Iranian civilians; sanctions on Iran that are harming Iranian children and sick people, according to Sanam Anderlini at Occupy AIPAC Conference in DC last March; and may yet result in a military attack on Iran that would kill thousands of Iranians, destroy Iranian cultural treasures, and inflame the entire region.

        I disagree with you, Mooser: Purim is the most popular holiday among Jews. Even Jews who have no other association with Judaism/Jewishness/Israel/zionism join in the “fun” of celebrating the deaths of innocent Persians — Purim.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 11:56 am

        “I disagree with you, Mooser: Purim is the most popular holiday among Jews. Even Jews who have no other association with Judaism/Jewishness/Israel/zionism join in the “fun” of celebrating the deaths of innocent Persians — Purim.”

        You should see what goes on after sundown! I’m not allowed to tell you what it is, but I can give you one piece of advice: Keep you kids home that night! On no account let them go out! Wear your bosom to a nubble taking them to it, and as the shrieks and moaning from the street come through the closed drapes and blinds, tell them “Stay here, Daddy will keep you safe, my little ones. I won’t let them turn you into homentaschen!”

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 1:44 pm

        I was surprised by Mooser’s comment on Esther and Purim. It’s a very big deal. You are on the right track. It is one of the most important ideological myths and memes in Zionism — especially radical right-wing Zionism. That is why Benjamin Netanyahu treats the book as holy and full of urgent contemporary political meaning.

        If you want to understand contemporary Zionism, understand Esther and Purim — and the beliefs and activities of Avraham Stern and the Stern Gang (especially their proposed alliance with Nazi Germany). It’s all there.

      • Kris
        July 19, 2012, 3:39 am

        This is excellent information, thank you, AllenBee.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 6:58 am

        @ seanmcbride,

        Atzmon devotes considerable space to the special significance of the story of Esther in his study of Jewish identity politics, The Wandering Who?

  23. Gryfin
    July 17, 2012, 2:33 pm

    Hats off to you Phil…this is why I keep coming back:

    “I will not put religious community over my progressive principles.”

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2012, 12:01 pm

      “I will not put religious community over my progressive principles.”

      And some day, when somebody can tell us what both “religious community” means in this case, or what “progressive principles” means at all, that might be a very affecting statement.
      Man, that “progressive principles” give me a pain. It’s the “family values” of liberals. Means anything and nothing. Well, I guess you can’t go wrong with that. I mean, it’s not like you’re asking for ownership of the means of production or anything. And it leaves speculation untouched.

  24. evets
    July 17, 2012, 2:38 pm

    I agree on the bleakness and unknowableness. Some who claim irreversibility simply want it so.

  25. Stephen Shenfield
    July 17, 2012, 3:23 pm

    We can construct an enlightened universalistic philosophy and call it Judaism, but in what essential way would it differ from other “non-Jewish” versions of the same philosophy? So yes, let us assimilate. But assimilate into what? Into American (or French or Russian etc.) society as it currently exists? My answer is: into the enlightened and united humanity of the future, without which in any case there is no future for humanity.

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 4:49 pm

      It’s a red herring, but I don’t believe in ‘the enlightened and united humanity of the future.’ History will go on. In spite of our universal and perennial tendency to forecast and await the millennium, it never gets here.

      ‘…without which in any case there is no future for humanity…’ That too is a delusion (at least so I hope). We may well significantly and further degrade our home. We could conceivably significantly reduce the carrying capacity of the planet. But we’ll always be here. We might be eating algae cakes and looking at the stump forests, but we’ll be here — and probably quarreling bitterly about something or rather.

      …and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Utopia is dull, and since I strongly suspect I’d have to conform to someone else’s prescription for it rather than getting to impose my own, I’m averse to it on principle.

      Actually, come to think of it, the proponents of ‘the enlightened and united humanity of the future’ have usually been more part of the problem than part of the solution. Whether it was Conquistadors helping Indians to save their souls or Communists with their revelation, the net results have tended to be the most ghastly slaughters and widespread infliction of misery we’ve ever undergone.

      So keep your millennium. I don’t want it. It’ll boil down to firing squads and long lines of people being marched off for forced labor.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 17, 2012, 6:09 pm

        “We may well significantly and further degrade our home. We could conceivably significantly reduce the carrying capacity of the planet. But we’ll always be here.”

        Oh, I wouldn’t count on that. Less than 100 years ago, the flu wiped out 3% of the population of the world and about 1/4 of the population were infected. Since then, we’ve become more urban and more interconnected and our antibiotics are getting overused.

        I think the odds are pretty good (at least greater than negligible) that we will eventually experience a pathogen that will be more widespread than influenza in 1918, but for which humanity has little or no immunity, and it will hit humanity the way small pox and a couple other diseases wiped out almost all of the Native Americans. Will it be a total extinction event? I hope not.

      • ColinWright
        July 17, 2012, 8:15 pm

        It almost certainly won’t be a total extinction event. Your first 50% is going to be easy. The next halving will be harder, as people will be finding prophylactics — if only by trial and error. Eventually, you start having problems with the simple isolation of the survivors.

        I’ll readily grant a 90% extinction event is possible. In theory, a 99% extinction event is doable. But 100%? Fergeddabout it….

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 18, 2012, 8:54 am

        Colin,

        What if the disease spreads like flu, is dormant for a decade like HIV and kills like Ebola or smallpox among Native Americans? Not much prophylactics can do in that situation.

        And if you get to 99%, what is the liklihood that the 1% who remain will be sufficiently resourceful to survive. 90% means societal collapse. How many people of those 1% could find sufficient food to live for a year?

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 3:04 am

        But there you are. The various American Indian cultures had survived the impact of smallpox — which preceded the arrival of actual White folks by as much as a century in some cases, maybe more — and had adjusted. They didn’t just completely die out. Often, ‘first contact’ was with what could I imagine be described as survivor or refugee cultures — but they were there.

        …and if human populations plunge, wildlife is going to start becoming very abundant. One of the curiosities of Chernobyl is that wildlife is doing just great around that site — in spite of a spectacularly high miscarriage rate, etc.

        Of course, there’s the suddenly revived question of whether you are going to eat it or it is going to eat you — but in general, in optimum areas, human populations will remain. Very small, of course, and with dreadfully primitive skills (ever thought about just how you would go about making a decent bow with no tools?), but there.

        Say the human population is reduced to 1% of its current level. And suppose only 1% of that number are actually resourceful enough to master the fine art of eating succulent grubs and lucky enough to live somewhere without a severe winter — well, 1% of 1% of 7 billion is still 700,000. We wouldn’t even qualify as an endangered species.

        And of course, they’re not going to be randomly scattered, so don’t try that on. They’re going to be concentrated in areas that don’t pose any insuperable obstacles to survival.

        At some point in the past (according to the still-in-my-opinion dubious findings of genetic science) the total human population was reduced to only 2000 individuals or something by some cataclysmic event. You don’t need many survivors to bounce back. Ask the whooping crane.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 20, 2012, 10:42 am

        But even with Native Americans, the survival was in part because the diseases burned out (they couldn’t spread faster than the hosts died.) But if it has a dormancy period of a decade, yet spreads like a virus, it’s going to spread to everybody and then, a decade later, start killing everybody.

        And I disagree with your assessment of the aftermath. If there’s 1% survival, they would be dispersed at random across the globe, because the only thing that might save them is genetic luck. And if you take the current land mass of the earth and spread 700,000 people on it, it is one person for every 12 square miles.

        Of that 1%, many, as you point out, will be in environments where human life is only posssible as a result of civilization and technology (wintery areas, desserts, etc.) Some of the survivors will be infants, children, elderly, people with medical conditions, etc. So that 1% will be reduced further.

        And while the natural world will rebound, it won’t happen in a year or a decade, so those urbanites and non-handy-folks who couldn’t figure out how to survive will likely not survive, further reducing the 1%.

        Could there be a surviving population big enough to prevent a total die-off, perhaps. But not necessarily. Remeber, there were 5 billion passenger pigeons not so long ago and they’re all gone now.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 9:26 pm

        “But we’ll always be here.”

        No, many species of animal much more numerous and more well-adapted are gone now, and homo sapiens time will come as well.
        Or do you think God will ensure our eternal survival as a species? And why do you think evolution has stopped

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 3:12 am

        “And why do you think evolution has stopped?”

        Has it? And for how long has it been stopped? Isn’t whatever period you’re referring to incredibly short in evolutionary time?

        Anyway, I’ll grant we might die out. But we’re incredibly adaptable. People are able to survive under almost any environmental conditions. I can’t think of any species that has successfully colonized such a wide range.

        So we may well want there to be a grand finale — or even a dreary one — but I don’t think there will be. There might well be for 50% of us or 90% or even 99% — but not 100%.

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2012, 12:03 pm

      “We can construct an enlightened universalistic philosophy and call it Judaism, but in what essential way would it differ from other “non-Jewish” versions of the same philosophy”

      Obviously in such a philosophy which springs from Judaism, there will be no angels on horseback.

  26. Roya
    July 17, 2012, 4:02 pm

    What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state? How will Jews insure a Jewish future without this bulwark?

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and throw out the eccentric idea that Jews can continue being Jewish post-Israel, just like they did for 2,000+ years before the inception of Herzl’s brainchild.

  27. Klaus Bloemker
    July 17, 2012, 4:09 pm

    The fundamental problem of the ‘Jewish identity’ …
    —————————————————————————–
    … is to define it in a way so it doesn’t trigger animosity on the part of others.

    Jews know that their ‘real identity’ triggers animosity, so they define it in a deceptive way by saying: ‘There are Americans who happen to be Jewish and go to a synagogue or Americans who happen to be Catholic and go to their church.’

    In fact, it’s different: There are Jews who happen to be American (happen to be born and grew up in America) or happen to be French (born and grew up in France.)
    – Their Jewishness is seen as the essential, defining property, it’s not a property that ‘happened’ and could be changed. – To say: ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical.

    Maybe one has to give up ritual circumcision – that might change the self-definition of Jewish identity (and also Muslim identity). – All this has nothing to do with Israel.

    • German Lefty
      July 17, 2012, 5:11 pm

      To say: ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical.
      As you know, I disagree.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 17, 2012, 6:11 pm

        Do you see the difference to someone who says:
        ‘I used to be a communist’? – that makes sense.

        Being a communist isn’t an essential property that defines you as a human being – but being a Jew is (in both Orthodox and Reform Judaism).

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 9:33 pm

        “Being a communist isn’t an essential property that defines you as a human being – but being a Jew is (in both Orthodox and Reform Judaism).”

        And your point is? That religious bodies often say things which are supposed to be believed through faith, and make no rational sense? I don’t want to shock you Klaus, but we knew that, and nobody is disputing it.
        Or are you trying to show that Jews are stupider than anybody else? Well, to do that you would have to demonstrate that no other religion says stupid stuff like that. So what, exactly, Klaus, is your point. Do you know? And all that stuff about the “deceptive” Jewish identity which “arouses animosity”
        I mean, if your idea of fun is getting as close as you can to outright anti-Semitism and doing a little tightrope walk in that area, be my guest, but let us all in on the performance.

      • RoHa
        July 17, 2012, 10:01 pm

        “Being a communist isn’t an essential property that defines you as a human being – but being a Jew is”

        I thought being human would be the property that defined you as a human being. And in what way is being a Jew an essential property?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 17, 2012, 11:25 pm

        Now here we go (according to Judaism, Orthodox or Reform):

        – Being Jewish defines what kind of human being you are.
        – You are born with the property ‘Jewish’ and you will die with it.
        – You are Jewish because your mother is Jewish.
        – Why is your mother Jewish? – Because her mother was Jewish.
        – You get into a regress: mother to mother to mother. Where does it end?
        – It ends at Mt. Sinai where the mother of the mothers was part of the covenant that Moses struck with Yahwe – thus defining a ‘holy people’,
        sort of a ‘holy species’ – with all their descendents. – (I’m not kidding.)
        – The converts are interpreted as adopted children to the ‘holy people’.

        I don’t buy that. And I don’t say that to offend, just to understand.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 17, 2012, 11:32 pm

        What Klaus said wasn’t anti-Semitic. It was just poor word choice that needs clarification.

      • RoHa
        July 18, 2012, 4:13 am

        “Being Jewish defines what kind of human being you are.
        – You are born with the property ‘Jewish’ and you will die with it.
        – You are Jewish because your mother is Jewish.”

        If the property “Jewish” is the property “born from a mother who was Jewish” then you are right that someone born from a Jewish mother cannot become an ex-Jew.

        Similarly, if the property “Philatelish” is the property “born from a mother who was a stamp-collector” then someone born from a mother who was a stamp-collector cannot become an ex-Philatelite.

        But these are both trivial properties.

        A person born from a Jewish mother may be brought up by Hindus. He will have learned their ways, practice their religion, and think of himself as a Hindu. He will be Jewish in the trivial sense, but will he have any sort of “Jewish identity”, let alone one that annoys people?

        (Not that a “Hindu identity” will necessarily make him any less annoying.)

      • Citizen
        July 18, 2012, 5:03 am

        RoHa,

        There is the concept that Judaism or being Jews is “a portable culture.”
        And first imprinting comes from Mom usually. And, traditionally, mostly continues so, Dad being out hunting (food or a job) most of the time. But in Western countries today, could be Mr Mom, or Dad & Mom as full partners with interchangeable parental roles. Next step outside the home (with sibs or not, itself key said Freud) for the kid is neighborhood peers, then school. And so on, is how culture is acquired–and one’s self-identified (or not) place in it.

        Then, there’s the snowflake analogy: every snowflake is different.
        DNA differences, noting chimps have 95% the same DNA as humans.

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 6:24 am

        Being born Jewish does not define what kind of human being you are. Obviously, one can be born Jewish and be a bad person and one can be born Jewish and be a good person.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 6:35 am

        @ Klaus:
        according to Judaism, Orthodox or Reform:
        – Being Jewish defines what kind of human being you are.
        – You are born with the property ‘Jewish’ and you will die with it.
        – You are Jewish because your mother is Jewish.

        I know this, Klaus. However, the decisive words are “according to Judaism”. So, one has to actually believe in Judaism in order to believe that children of Jewish mothers are Jewish, too.
        Let’s say a Jewish woman has a daughter. The Jewish mother believes in Judaism and therefore follows its rules. That’s why she considers her daughter Jewish. The daughter, however, doesn’t believe in Judaism and its rules. That’s why she doesn’t consider herself Jewish (despite her mother’s Jewishness).
        Religious law is only relevant to the adherents of this religion. People are NOT born Jewish. Only followers of Judaism BELIEVE that people are born Jewish, just like they also BELIEVE in imaginary beings. So, secular people can’t take this stuff seriously.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 6:51 am

        @ hophmi:
        Obviously, one can be born Jewish and be a bad person and one can be born Jewish and be a good person.
        Let me guess:
        good Jews = Zionists
        bad Jews = anti-Zionists
        Right?

      • RoHa
        July 18, 2012, 8:42 am

        ‘There is the concept that Judaism or being Jews is “a portable culture.”’

        If it is a culture, then then it can be rejected. In that case, one can be an ex-Jew.

      • lysias
        July 18, 2012, 10:16 am

        Only followers of Judaism BELIEVE that people are born Jewish.

        Actually, the Nazis believed that as well.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 11:17 am

        @ lysias:
        Actually, the Nazis believed that as well.
        Oh, right. I totally forgot about them.
        But what are you trying to tell me with this? That the Nazis believed it, too, and that’s why it must be true? Or what? Well, the Nazis believed a lot of dumb shit.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 18, 2012, 11:44 am

        Yes, the Nazi interpretation was the flipside of the Jewish one.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 12:07 pm

        “- It ends at Mt. Sinai where the mother of the mothers was part of the covenant that Moses struck with Yahwe – thus defining a ‘holy people’,
        sort of a ‘holy species’ – with all their descendents. – (I’m not kidding.)”

        Look, Kaiser Klaus, why can’t you get it right? It’s spelled M-o-o-s-e-s! Two “O”s, okay?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 18, 2012, 2:10 pm

        Why can’t you get it right Mooser? You should have put “Mooses” in quotation marks because you were talking about a name/word. The name “Mooses” has two “O”s. The person at Mt. Sinai didn’t have two “O”s.
        – Do you remember my lesson?: “Home” has 4 letters, the word not the place.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 3:33 am

        “…But in Western countries today, could be Mr Mom, or Dad & Mom as full partners with interchangeable parental roles…”

        Parenthetically, I wonder how often that actually happens. Don’t the members of whatever subgroups actually practice that simply not have kids as a rule?

        …and it’s definitely academic what parenting role you intend to play if you never have children. To put it differently, whatever the high culture may espouse may not be what’s actually going on out there among the great unwashed — and they’re the ones who seem to have kids these days.

        Say what you will, it isn’t our values that are being propagated — it’s Rick Santorum’s.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 7:09 am

        Klaus was merely pointing out that nobody is born a communist, while in the Classical Jewish tradition one is born a Jew if one’s mother was Jewish. And this in the context of trying to define essential traits.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 6:47 am

        To say: ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical.

        “I used to be a Jew.” = “I used to be a follower of Judaism.”
        “I used to be a Christian.” = “I used to be a follower of Christianity.”
        Totally makes sense.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 18, 2012, 10:29 am

        Lefty:
        In the Jewish (and generally accepted) interpreation someone would say:

        “I used to be an observant, believing Jew, now I’m secular (but still a Jew).”
        Being an “atheist Jew” is not an oxymoronic term – like “atheist Catholic.”

        I once asked someone. “Are you Jewish?”
        He replied:”Yes by tribe, but not by spirit.”

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 11:32 am

        “I used to be an observant, believing Jew, now I’m secular (but still a Jew).” Being an “atheist Jew” is not an oxymoronic term – like “atheist Catholic.”

        Klaus, I don’t make a distinction between the different religions. I treat all religions equally. All religious beliefs are just imagination and not based on facts. So, why should I – as a non-follower – acknowledge any religious rules? What I respect is the secular law. And the secular law says that people have freedom of religion. This means that every person can decide about their own religion. Nobody is born into a religion.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 18, 2012, 12:49 pm

        Lefty: The whole thing is strange. Look at this:

        When you or me convert to Judaism, we join the Jewish faith and people.
        But we are not only ‘adopted’ by them but “reborn as sons of Abraham and Sara” (That’s what the rabbis will tell us at the end of our conversion).
        – We not only change from an atheist or Lutheren to a believer in Judaism, we also change for an ethnic German into an ethnic Jew. We got a new line of descent. – Of course, that’s all in the minds of the Orthodox Jews.
        Why should we care?

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 3:39 am

        ‘To say: ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical.

        “I used to be a Jew.” = “I used to be a follower of Judaism.”
        “I used to be a Christian.” = “I used to be a follower of Christianity.”
        Totally makes sense.’

        It may make sense — but is it true?

        Jews, being a minority, are going to be continuously reminded of just how much more extensive their Jewish identity is than mere religious belief.

        A Christian is generally in a country that consists mostly of people of Christian background. You can say ‘I am no longer a Christian’ — and be unconscious of all the cultural and psychological baggage you still carry that went with that identity simply because so many around you are carrying it as well.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 3:43 am

        “…Being an “atheist Jew” is not an oxymoronic term – like “atheist Catholic.”…”

        Well, there you are. From what I’ve read, in places like Northern Ireland, where one has Catholic and Protestant populations that are closely juxtaposed, people are aware of a difference — and it isn’t restricted to going to different churches.

        Thinking about it, even the various Protestant creeds seem to have various personal characteristics associated with them. I’m distant enough from all that to be sure of just what they were — but I think the notion that a confession consists simply of the religious beliefs one espouses is an over-simplification.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 3:50 am

        “Nobody is born into a religion.”

        I’d say just the opposite. For all practical purposes, we are all born into a religion — and even if we don’t profess any of the explicit tenets of it, and even if our fathers didn’t, it’s still with us.

        To take quite a different example, my father died when I was quite young, and I wound up evolving a set of political attitudes that don’t seem to resemble anything he used to say at all.

        And yet…

        For example, he was always ferociously egalitarian, and to this day, I cannot abide rich people, conceptually. I mean, come the revolution, we are going to stand all of them up against the wall and shoot them, aren’t we?

        It’s just there. It doesn’t fit in with a single thing I believe — but it’s there. And I know who I got it from.

        Similarly with religion. You are born into it, and you can’t just discard it. Not all of it.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 4:50 am

        I had the following conversation with a friend, a little while ago:

        Friend: What is a secular Jew? I just don’t get it.
        Me: It’s something like your being secular in your beliefs, but a part of Christian [note: around here Christian=Catholic] culture.
        Friend: I am completely secular. I am not Christian in any way.
        Me: Why do you hold your Palestine solidarity conference on 4 October?
        Friend: It’s St. Francis day!
        Me: Isn’t St. Francis a Christian saint?
        Friend: I just happen to love St. Francis. It has nothing to do with Christianity.
        Me: And why is Jerusalem so important to you?
        Friend: I grew up hearing stories about Jerusalem, and I felt that it was a part of me.
        Me: But weren’t those Bible stories?
        Friend: Sure. My mother was a Christian, but I am secular.
        Me: And why did you insist that we come to see your town’s re-enactment of the Passion and Resurrection on Easter? What does it mean to you?
        Friend: I love local traditions.
        Me: You are a secular Christian whether you like it or not.
        Friend: No. I’m not.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 5:00 am

        Anecdote #2:

        I recently came across a booklet published by the Bund, in Krakow (other editions were published in New York, London, Geneva and elsewhere), in 1919. It is a socialist Passover Haggadah. On the one hand, it is thoroughly universalist and virulently anti-religious. On the other hand it is written in a Jewish language, follows the form of a Jewish liturgical text, and is absolutely oozing Jewish religious and cultural references. Was it written by ex-Jews? For ex-Jews? Or was it the product of a secular, atheist Jewish culture?

      • German Lefty
        July 20, 2012, 10:41 am

        I had the following conversation with a friend, a little while ago:
        Friend: What is a secular Jew? I just don’t get it. […]
        Me: You are a secular Christian whether you like it or not.
        Friend: No. I’m not.

        Shmuel, I agree with your friend. Just because someone practises some traditions that are of Christian origin, doesn’t mean that the person is a Christian. To be a Christian, you need to actually believe in the stuff that the Bible says. As I said earlier, I am an atheist who celebrates Christmas and Easter (without all the religious stuff). Celebrating essentially means meeting with my family and exchanging small gifts. The same applies to a school friend of mine. Her parents are atheists. She celebrated Christmas and Easter with her parents as national, secular holidays. Until the age of 15, she didn’t even know that Christmas and Easter have their roots in Christianity. She was really surprised when she found out about it. FYI, my friend and I live in the Eastern part of Germany, where 75% of the people are non-religious. A few years ago, some journalist interviewed several people in a pedestrian precinct (in the Western part of Germany). He asked them why Christmas and Easter are celebrated. Some of them knew that it had something to do with the Christian religion, but almost none of them could give the precise reason.
        Applying the same logic to traditions that have their origin in Judaism, this means that the mere practising of such traditions doesn’t make you a Jew. You need to believe in Judaism to be a Jew.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 11:44 am

        GL,

        You’re arguing semantics that derive largely from differences between majority and minority attitudes. In Europe, if you don’t espouse Christian beliefs, but were raised in Christian culture, observe Christian holidays, embrace certain Christian teachings, feel an attachment to Christian symbols and figures, you are just “normal”. If you are in a similar position, but from a Jewish background, the word “secular” alone, is inadequate to describe your cultural identity. You are a secular Jew, in a way that may resemble the cultural and religious identities of your non-Jewish neighbours, but which they might simply call “secular”, without thinking twice about the religious origins or significance of much of their culture.

        In a similar vein, I have met Europeans who describe themselves as secular Muslims (i.e. non-religious, culturally Muslim). It is a suitable model for minority religious/cultural groups.

        You are not really arguing that such people don’t exist (in every religion), but merely that your majority definition of religion/culture should be applied to everyone – one size fits all. Your statement “You need to believe in Judaism to be a Jew” is false for the simple reason that the world is full of Jews (such as myself) who do not “believe in Judaism” (I assume you mean belief in some sort of religious tenets, although Judaism has no credo, and you will find strictly observant Jews who reject much of what you might identify as a Jewish belief system) yet consider themselves Jews.

        One might say that you are thinking like a Christian ;-)

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 20, 2012, 12:15 pm

        Shmuel –
        Well, in your interpretation, I’m a secular Calvinist.
        A former girl friend of mine who comes from Catholic Collogne used to tease me by saying my habits were typically Calvinist: simplicity, ascetric lifestyle, abhorrence of the baroque etc. (She was right, I’m an ex-Calvinist.)

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Klaus,

        I was just teasing my friend and trying (rather unsuccessfully) to make a point. I would not presume to tell you your religious or cultural identity.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 12:37 pm

        “A former girlfriend from Catholic Collogne used to tease me by saying my habits were typically Calvinist: simplicity, ascetric lifestyle, abhorrence of the baroque etc.”

        And of course, you have abandoned any pretense of a sexual morality which comports with Christian principles, but we’ll let it go. “Girlfriend”, forsooth!

      • tree
        July 20, 2012, 12:41 pm

        I see two problems with your story, Shmuel.

        First, I understand the concept of allowing a person to self-define who he or she is, and so if someone wishes to define themselves as a “secular Jew” that’s fine by me, even though I personally consider the term an oxymoron. But Shmuel, you aren’t allowing your friend the same right. You insist he is a “secular Christian ” whether he “likes it or not” when he clearly does not define himself so. Is the right only a one-way street? You can define yourself as a “secular whatever” but you can’t define yourself without the “whatever” label even if it doesn’t seem to fit your own identity?

        Two, I grew up non-Christian with non-Christian parents but as I grew up I was surrounded by both a Christian culture and to a lesser extent a Buddhist culture. I am familiar with many Buddhist traditions and festivals, many of which I enjoy. My mother later became a Buddhist. By your reasoning above I should be both a “secular Christian” and a “secular Buddhist” and yet I would find both labels ridiculous if applied to me by someone else. I would also note that after I grew up I moved to areas with a greater Jewish population. Some of those Jews were of the “secular” variety and some of those secular Jews had grown up surrounded by Christian culture (the so-called Christmas-tree Jews??). By your definition they are also “secular Christians” whether they like it or not, because of the culture they grew up in.

        And, likewise, there are numerous Israeli Palestinians who have grown up in a Jewish culture in Israel, who know Hebrew, know and understand all the Jewish holidays and may even enjoy some of them. By your definition they too are “secular Jews”. But they are not considered so by any Jew that I am aware of, and they are certainly not considered Jews by the state of Israel. I am unaware of any one who is allowed to call him or herself a secular Jew unless that person comes from a hereditary line of Jews, “unsullied” (so to speak) by any past conversion to another religion within the hereditary line.

        On a related subject , I ran across this video with Akiva Orr while reading in another post here at Mondoweiss. I’d be curious as to your take on what he says.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 1:04 pm

        tree,

        As I explained to Klaus, I was just teasing my friend and trying to make a point. Your identity, your call. I was trying to get past the “oxymoron” part – failing with both my friend and you. Some gaps of perspective are too hard to bridge, I guess. I’ll just leave it at each of us being allowed to define our own identity.

        There are of course degrees of identification, and familiarity is not synonymous with identity. The late Edward Said used to joke that he was “the last Jewish intellectual”. It was a joke and he obviously didn’t think of himself as Jewish, but there was something Jewish – not contingent upon any particular religious belief – that he identified with.

        I’ll try to have a look at the Orr clip later.

        What did you think of my second story (the Bund Haggadah)? Still an oxymoron?

      • seanmcbride
        July 20, 2012, 1:14 pm

        Shmuel,

        I get Said’s remark. I find that in some ways I identify more with Jewish than Christian culture, even though my background is Christian. Many ways, in fact, with an emphasis on restless skepticism and creative argument.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 20, 2012, 1:21 pm

        The way I understand Shmuel and that makes sense is this:

        Religion A has
        1. stricly religious, transcedental tenets – Rebirth
        2. rituals that are strictly connected to these tenets
        3. customs, a lifestyle that is traditionally connected but non-religious
        4. an ethics of that religion

        Religion B has
        1. ….. – Final Judgement
        2. ….
        3. ….
        4. ….

        When A and B differ on all four counts and someone displays A #3 and #4 (but not the transcendental 1 and 2) – one might call him a “secular A”.

      • tree
        July 20, 2012, 1:22 pm

        What did you think of my second story (the Bund Haggadah)? Still an oxymoron?

        The Orr video touches on this subject, actually. He sees Zionism as one reaction to a crisis in Jewish identity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century caused by the profound decrease in religious practicing Jews in the 19th century. I think the socialist/communist “proselytizing” amongst Eastern European Jews of that era was yet a different reaction
        to the crisis, relying on common and understood cultural forms to make their case.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 20, 2012, 1:58 pm

        I just realize Mooser why I have often difficulties getting at your meaning.
        It’s because I’m an ex-Calvinist and your style is baroque.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 2:22 pm

        tree,

        I agree about the crisis of religion and the various historical responses to it (see also my comment above on the idea that Judaism might simply return to what it was pre-48), but I think you’re trying too hard to fit everything into your religion-or-culture paradigm. Of course the “Pesach Hagodo mit a sotzyalistishe nusach*” was meant as propaganda, and as such tried to address the people in their own cultural idiom, but what was that idiom and was it not also the natural idiom of the authors?

        *A liturgical word of Hebrew origin meaning rite.

        Third story. My grandfather was a kind of cultural Jew, generally known as “traditional”. He was raised in a Yiddish-speaking ultra-Orthodox home and community in Galicia, but “lost his faith” as a teenager. The only language in which he was completely fluent and literate was Yiddish. He was well-versed in Yiddish theatre and literature (as well as a little Bible and Talmud), and read a daily Yiddish paper (secular) and two Yiddish papers on the weekend – including a religious one he bought mainly for the Bible commentary.

        He did not believe in God, worked and travelled and smoked on the Sabbath, but kept the dietary laws (after a fashion), went to the synagogue on Friday nights, and prayed and donned phylacteries on weekday mornings. He was proud that my father was more serious than he was about religion (but also a little ticked off), and doubly proud that I studied in yeshiva and knew my Talmud – although he definitely did not want me to become a rabbi (he used to say “that’s no job for a Jewish boy”).

        So what was he? If you had called him anything other than a Jew, or told him that his secular beliefs were incompatible with his identity as a Jew, he would have laughed himself to tears and told you that you are a “meshigine oyf dem gantze kop”.

        The Yiddish author Y.L. Peretz (who also dabbled in Hebrew) once wrote that he was often asked by non-Jews why he continued to be a Jew, if he no longer believed in the Jewish religion. He would reply that he does not know how to be anything else.

      • tree
        July 20, 2012, 3:09 pm

        Thanks for your reply, Shmuel. Unfortunately I really should be out the door by now, and don’t have time for a proper response. Perhaps tomorrow when I get a chance. Honestly, the topic is not one of my main concerns, but felt your first story needed a reply. And this one probably deserves one as well. Enjoy your weekend!

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 3:24 pm

        tree,

        To be honest, it’s not one of my main concerns either, and I usually try to avoid the endless “no such thing as a secular Jew” conversations at MW (which make about as much sense to me as a discussion of whether there is such a thing as a balding translator), but a couple of Colin’s comments caught my attention this time. Feel free not respond, if you have better things to do. A good weekend to you too.

      • German Lefty
        July 20, 2012, 3:54 pm

        @ Shmuel:
        You’re arguing semantics that derive largely from differences between majority and minority attitudes.
        I agree that it’s a semantic issue. However, this has nothing to do with majority and minority attitudes. I would never call myself a (secular) Christian, not even if I lived in a country with a Jewish or Muslim majority. I don’t want to be mistaken for or associated with a god botherer. The terms Christian/Muslim/Jew are, in my opinion, solely reserved for followers of the respective religion. If anything, I would call myself an atheist with a Christian (cultural) background. Accordingly, I would refer to a self-identified “secular Jew” as an atheist with a Jewish (cultural) background.

        I have met Europeans who describe themselves as secular Muslims (i.e. non-religious, culturally Muslim)
        The chairman of the German Green Party, Cem Özdemir, calls himself a secular Muslim. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cem_%C3%96zdemir Now, I finally understand what he means by it.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 4:34 pm

        The chairman of the German Green Party, Cem Özdemir, calls himself a secular Muslim… Now, I finally understand what he means by it.

        But you would call him an atheist of Muslim (cultural) background anyway, because that is what fits your cultural paradigm.

      • German Lefty
        July 20, 2012, 4:45 pm

        But you would call him an atheist of Muslim (cultural) background anyway, because that is what fits your cultural paradigm.
        Ha, ha. Exactly right. It’s just that now the fact that we use different terms for the same thing is not a problem anymore, because we understand what the other person means. And that’s what matters.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 20, 2012, 5:00 pm

        – “Cem Özdemir, calls himself a secular Muslim…”

        That means probably “non-believing and non-practicing Muslim”. But in Muslim tradition you stay a Muslim when you are ritually circumcised as one. He probably is and therefore he still calls himself a Muslim although a ‘secular’ one.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 5:04 pm

        But he considers himself still a Muslim because he was ritually circumcised as one.

        Really? Did he say that? I should hope there’s more to his Muslim identity than that.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 20, 2012, 5:16 pm

        I don’t know whether Özdemir said that. But judging from the Turkish-Muslim students I had, it’s the rule that they get circumcised at the age of about 4 or 5.
        This is so not only for very traditional Turkish families but also for students whose parents grew up in Germany and are non-practicing Muslim Turks.

      • edwin
        July 20, 2012, 5:20 pm

        Can’t say, but he apparently considers it extremely important for Muslims in Germany to be able to mutilate their male children before age of consent.

        http://circumstitionsnews.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/berlin-resolution-passed-no-legal-effect.html

        The parliamentary resolution was jointly drafted by legislators from Merkel’s coalition and opposition Social Democrats and Greens.

      • Shmuel
        July 20, 2012, 5:33 pm

        Klaus,

        I was not suggesting that Özdemir is not circumcised, but that that is not the sole reason he considers himself a Muslim.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 21, 2012, 12:21 am

        There is no such thing as a distinct ‘Muslim culture’ to Turks in Germany. Their being Muslim is just part of their being Turkish. Being Turkish overrides being Muslim. – Actually, before German Lefty mentioned it, I had never heard that Ötzdemir referred to himself as ‘a secular Muslim’.
        I guess, it’s like secular Jews who have their boys circumcised.
        It’s a token that they belong to the community.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 2:21 am

        ” …He sees Zionism as one reaction to a crisis in Jewish identity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century caused by the profound decrease in religious practicing Jews in the 19th century…”

        There’s a book called The Generation that discusses this. It’s not a great read, but tolerable.

        The book is actually about the Jews of the Polish Communist Party, and their odyssey from 1920 to 1970 or so. However, it breaks down the choices open to Polish Jews in the interwar period as follows.

        1. Cling to the traditional life.

        2. Attempt to assimilate into Polish gentile culture.

        3. Join groups such as the Bund, which as I understand it, was a kind of socialism for Jews.

        4. Become internationalist Socialists or Communists — which would really be a variation on (2).

        5. Become Zionists.

      • Shmuel
        July 21, 2012, 2:39 am

        Klaus,

        Of course being Muslim is a part of being Turkish (or Moroccan or Indonesian) – like being Catholic is part of being Italian or Irish.

        The rites of initiation (or “covenant”) are one aspect of religious culture. Circumcision in and of itself does not make the Jew (from a religious or a cultural perspective), and I presume it is the same for Muslims. One may be a part of the culture and identify with it without having been circumcised, although the culture to which one is exposed may perhaps be less pronounced in a family that does not practise circumcision.

        I don’t know whether Calvinists have some sort of rite of initiation, but once again, I think you are trying to impose a religious/cultural paradigm that does not exist for Jews (or Muslims).

      • German Lefty
        July 21, 2012, 5:22 am

        @ edwin
        From your link:
        “An overwhelming majority of lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution, although the small opposition Left party opposed it, suggesting that infant boys could have a ‘symbolic circumcision’ then undergo the actual operation when older.”
        Yay! This shows that I’m voting for the right party.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 21, 2012, 10:53 am

        Ötzdemir and circumcision

        Shmuel,
        I was just looking for an explanation for Özdemir’s puzzeling statement “I’m a secular Muslim.” To say somthing like that doen’t make sense in the Christian paradigm. (It does make sene in the Jewish one since one is a born Jew as one is a born Kurd or Basque.)

        Ötzdemir’s wife is Catholic and they must have had just a civil marriage. I think he is not a card carrying paying member of any Muslim mosque community. He doesn’t display any ‘cultural Muslimism’ (like a Turkish woman who wears the hijab although she doesn’t believe in the Koran – unlikely.)

        So I was looking for something unchangeble that in the Turkish-Muslim tradition makes you one, once and for all whether you believe and practice or not. That’s why my guess was circumcision as a cultural-religious ritual that is connected with a family festival. A social ritual that affirms your connection to the community.

        One of the Turkish students I was tutoring, 13 years old, had a picture of his circumcision festival in his room; he was all dressed up like a little prince. It must have been a big event that he was proud of. The picture was quite prominently on display.- His parents were very modern, secular and the mother didn’t even want him to go the the mosque with his uncle who was a believer. She feared that that will be detrimental to his achievement in school. When I will ask him today, he will most likely also answer he is a Muslim since he isn’t a Christian and being an ‘atheist’ or ‘agnostic’ is something alien, too philosophical, intellectual to these people. To say so to his people would mean ‘I’m no longer one of you’.

        I think that Ötzdemir uses the label ‘secular Muslim’ has also the function not to disconnect with his Turkish background community. He would disconnect if he said ‘I’m an atheist/agnostic” (what he probably is, like the rest of his German Green party people.)

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 21, 2012, 3:11 pm

        – “I’m voting for the right party”
        I thought you were voting for the left party Lefty.

        Anyway, although I disapprove of the economic agenda of these (ex-) Socialists, I approve of a couple of other things, like their stance against German participation in American wars, Israel, and in this case circumcision. FYI, I used to vote for the FDP (neo-liberals) but probably not the next time.

      • Elliot
        July 21, 2012, 11:27 pm

        I agree with Orr that Zionism/Jewish nationalism was a crutch for secularized Jews. I think he’s wrong to say that the secular Israelis – unlike the Orthodox in Israel – are afraid of a schism in Jewish Israeli society because they are so invested in the idea of the Jewish nation.
        First, on a factual level, there have been any number of nasty splits in Jewish nationalism. Take, for instance, the 1925 secession of the ultra-nationalist Revisionist camp from mainstream Zionism. Bibi Netanyahu comes from that ideological camp.
        Second, the dependence that secular Israelis have on the Orthodox comes from the contradiction (that Orr alludes to) between “Jewish” and “democratic.” If Israel were truly democratic, secular Israeli Jews would share power with secular Palestinians.
        Since Israel is Jewish, not democratic, Israelis are forced into the arms of the ultra-Orthodox. Secular Israelis chafe at this dysfunctional alliance, but there is no escaping it without ditching Jewish nationalism.

      • German Lefty
        July 22, 2012, 4:07 pm

        @ Klaus:
        “I’m voting for the right party” – I thought you were voting for the left party.
        I anticipated such a comment. Yeah, the English language and its ambiguity …

        I used to vote for the FDP (neo-liberals) but probably not the next time.
        I’ve already suspected that you were an FDP voter. Please don’t vote for this party again. The liberals are traitors. In their party platform they claim to support marriage equality, but a few weeks ago they voted against the marriage equality bill that was introduced by the Greens.
        http://www.queer.de/detail.php?article_id=16815
        If you can’t make yourself vote for the Left Party, then at least vote for the SPD or the Greens. We need a left-leaning government to get equal rights.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 22, 2012, 5:34 pm

        Well, the marriage equality isn’t my priority, but the FDP didn’t live up to its principles on several counts (even its free-market one) – yes, I considered voting for the SPD (I have voted for the Greens before). – Take care.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 7:14 am

        @ Shmuel,
        Gee whiz! Is your friend that bone-headed about other stuff as well? Just curious.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 7:16 am

        @ Schmuel,

        RE your Anecdote #2, ask your friend in your Anecdote #1. :)

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 7:39 am

        @ Shmuel

        By Klaus’s interpretation of your meaning he could as easily be a secular Amish or Hutterite. The habits he retains are equally found in those Christian religious communities. GL is, as you say, “thinking like a Christian” about religion. Perhaps she might ponder on the definition of Judaism/Jewish as being “a portable culture.”

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 8:05 am

        @ Shmuel
        RE: “Really? Did he say that? I should hope there’s more to his Muslim identity than that.”

        An atheist Muslim from a Muslim cultural background who has been ritually circumcised, likely before he had a real practical choice. What more? Food, dress, etc–all part of any “cultural” habits, likes, dislikes. So that’s assumed. So what more do you mean, Shmuel, a sense and continued significant interest in the history of his ethnic group?

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 8:19 am

        @ Shmuel
        “I think you are trying to impose a religious/cultural paradigm that does not exist for Jews (or Muslims).”

        par·a·digm/ˈparəˌdīm/
        Noun:
        A typical example or pattern of something; a model.
        Yes, the key here is not “one aspect” but a very typical aspect or pattern–so what’s the probability a young Jew or Muslim man you meet is not circumcised?

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2012, 5:55 pm

      Maybe one has to give up ritual circumcision – that might change the self-definition of Jewish identity

      Klaus, I am stunned, taken aback and super-calla-flabberghasted at the depth of your knowledge on Jewish identity and experience. And your precise knowledge of Jewish lives and lifestyles! It is indeed a privilege to have you here. It’s like you can see right inside us. I’m not referring to just the quoted sentence, the entire comment is gold, pure gold.
      And how you do it while you and your own feelings remain so transparent, your observation so unaffected by bias, I’ll never know. It’s almost scary how smart you are.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 7:37 pm

        And Klaus, how did you discover the well-suppressed link between the foreskin and the brain? SO you might as well tell us what circumcision does to a guy, how and why it forms his self-definition. Or is it doing the circumcision which effects your “self-definition of Jewish identity” Klaus, you have a real penchant for oxymoronic phrases, did you know that?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 17, 2012, 8:02 pm

        “a penchnat for oxymoronic phrases”?

        – “bittersweet” is an oxymoronic term. – Are you bittersweet? I guess you are .

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 3:56 am

        “Or is it doing the circumcision which effects your “self-definition of Jewish identity”

        To be fair, circumcising yourself does sound like it would be quite an experience.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 8:21 am

        @ Mooser
        Early babyhood trauma?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 17, 2012, 7:51 pm

        That’s another typical ‘meta-comment’ of yours. You see how smart I am.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 12:09 pm

        Klaus, you never met a comment of mine you didn’t like?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 18, 2012, 4:27 pm

        “meta-comment”

        Mooser, you didn’t understand what I meant by “meta-comment”.
        That isn’t something meta good.
        A meta-comment is a comment on a comment but NOT on the substance, argument of someone but on the wording or the motives of someone’s comment. – In the case of circumcision and Jewish identity, you didn’t say anything on the matter whether there is a connection or not.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 12:43 pm

        “In the case of circumcision and Jewish identity, you didn’t say anything on the matter whether there is a connection or not.”

        Of course not Klaus! I, as you should be, am waiting for the scientific consensus on the subject, to be announced after (methodologically immaculate! Control groups, double-blind drunk, the whole schmear) research and proper peer review (and no pun intended!)

        Now that’s what you call a heavy-meta comment!

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 8:26 am

        @ Klaus,
        “Mooser, you didn’t understand what I meant by “meta-comment”.”
        Yes he did, so he made a bad pun you may have missed since you are not a native English speaker/writer: “…”[you never] met a comment “

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 8:23 pm

      ‘To say: ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical.’

      The argument is sound in theory — but in practice?

      Most American Jews I’ve known are somewhere along the ‘I used to be a Jew’ road. Their reactions to this are varied — anything from denial to literally forgetting that they are Jews. However, that’s what happens.

      There’s a reasonable chance it happened to one of my ancestors (on my maternal grandfather’s side, so don’t get excited.)

      Jews disappear. This is actually one of the reasons I tend to summarily dismiss the ‘Israel is our homeland’ argument. In practice, people are eternally interbreeding and adopting or discarding new identities. America is an an exaggeration of the process — but just in principle, it’s ridiculous to assert that today’s Jews are predominately descendants of inhabitants of Palestine. Not after two thousand years they’re not. Things just don’t work that way.

      • Ellen
        July 31, 2012, 9:42 am

        it’s ridiculous to assert that today’s Jews are predominately descendants of inhabitants of Palestine.

        It is more than ridiculous, it is insane. But many Jews I know, even among friends, believe it. And then they go on about the Cohen gene and blah blah. I do not go there….but am always amazed that intelligent and nice people really are so brainwashed, so incapable of thinking when it comes to reality around their adopted and pretend identities.

    • RoHa
      July 17, 2012, 10:00 pm

      “Jews know that their ‘real identity’ triggers animosity”

      What is a “real identity”, and how does the Jewish one trigger animosity?

      Also, if it does, isn’t this a good reason for getting rid of it? Why hang on to something that annoys everyone else?

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 12:12 pm

        “Why hang on to something that annoys everyone else?”

        Best person to answer that would be my wife. We celebrated (jeez, I hope I can convince the Judge that’s what it was. DV penalties are harsh in Wa. I may not see her again for years) our 23rd Anniversary last weekend.

    • ColinWright
      July 20, 2012, 3:23 am

      “- Their Jewishness is seen as the essential, defining property, it’s not a property that ‘happened’ and could be changed. – To say: ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical.”

      But there is also the question of just how important Jewish identity is. I’m left handed, and I intend to continue to be left handed, and I was probably born left-handed.

      It’s embedded, profound, complete — but it’s just not that important. Thinking about the Jews I’ve known, their Jewishness was hardly their most important attribute.

      Moreover, while Jewishness might have been important in religiously defined and otherwise relatively homogeneous cultures, just how much importance will people attach to it in the future? In a world where people differ much more radically from each other than Jews do from the gentiles around them, how could it continue to be significant that someone is Jewish?

      Let us take a hypothetical example. Just for the sake of argument, we’ll assume that you are a white German and that you are intensely aware that Mooser is an American Jew. Well, at least he’s white, and shares a rather impressive list of values and assumptions with you. Put you and him on an island with a Papua New Guinean, a Kirghiz herder, a Filipino flagellant, and a Siberian forest dweller of some sort, and you two are going to start seeing each other as identical.

      …and that’s the kind of world we’re moving into. I’m not as starry-eyed as some about how it will all play out — but I don’t see how being Jewish can continue to matter much to anyone except (possibly) the Jews themselves.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 12:49 pm

        “I’m left handed, and I intend to continue to be left handed, and I was probably born left-handed. “

        How come you haven’t revealed this salient fact until now? How on earth could we evaluate your comments fairly? BTW, listen up: If your parents told you they trained you to left-handed ness when you were an infant, would you know the difference? You wouldn’t, unless you had some outside info on human handed ness. Now, if you lived in ancient times, would you know you were circumcised (as a child) or would you think you were born that way? Think about it, chump.

  28. yonah fredman
    July 17, 2012, 4:21 pm

    A couple comments about Jewish identity. The Shoah or the churban to use a less unique word for destruction, I think continues to demand an answer. It could be only because I was born so soon after WWII to people who escaped Europe in 1941 and because I was raised Orthodox and Zionist. Maybe the Shoah is on my mind, but in fact it is best to move on.

    So where are we: With two large Jewish populations- America and Israel and a smattering of medium sized and small populations. Now that we have dismissed the past (other than traditions), but if you dismiss the European genocide, what becomes your model- disappearance or identity? Universalism is beautiful (sometimes, especially the desired ends expressed, if not as often the speculated means.) And face it, the Exodus plus the prayers and the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos) expressed some rather universal values. So good for universalism. But are you advocating disappearance? Of course the false dichotomy of disappearance or identity dismisses compromise. But an emphasis must be declared by the end of your sophomore year. Whose side are you on? Disappearance or identity.
    I’d say Phil is on the side of disappearance and I am on the side of identity. But disappearance also happens to be the fate of me, childless especially, but mortal so disappearance is part of the earthly experience. Besides it’s not just disappearance into a Christmas tree, but disappearance into America and like the mortician who starts the narrative of “The Godfather”, I love America, also like that song by Sondheim and Bernstein “I like to live in America”, so assimilation into America is a holy myth to blaspheme as I bless.

    • yonah fredman
      July 17, 2012, 5:20 pm

      Sorry, the mortician Americo Bonasero (?) began the Godfather “I believe in America” not “I love America”.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 6:19 pm

        You’ve watched “The Godfather” yonah? I never have, thank God. I heard a little about it, and I knew, that was no film for a Jewish boy like me to be watching. And I think women’s bubbas were shown. Only one pair I, as a Jewish married man, have any interest in.

      • yonah fredman
        July 17, 2012, 6:53 pm

        Mooser- I actually saw the Godfather in Jerusalem. Ha–sandak.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 7:04 pm

        ” I actually saw the Godfather in Jerusalem.”

        A shondah! So that’s what assimilation has come to! Jews watching filthy, violent gangster movies and imitating them.

    • Woody Tanaka
      July 17, 2012, 6:14 pm

      “And face it, the Exodus plus the prayers and the prophets… expressed some rather universal values.”

      Is this the same Exodus were the people of Egypt suffer plagues because YHWH kept “hardening Pharoh’s heart”? How is that universal? I’ll bet the Egyptians who suffered dead children wouldn’t think so (if they didn’t happen to be fictitious)…

      • yonah fredman
        July 17, 2012, 6:50 pm

        Woody- The rabbis teach that there are 70 facets to the Torah. So it does not surprise me that there are at least two ways to view Exodus. Liberation theologians learn from Exodus, that God is a God of freedom. You learn from Exodus that the God of the Bible is a bloody and cruel and maybe even Egyptian hating God. There are at least two ways of viewing Exodus.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 7:09 pm

        “The rabbis teach that there are 70 facets to the Torah. So it does not surprise me that there are at least two ways to view Exodus”

        But there’s only one way to view a dead Palestinian. As a “terrorist”

        BTW yonah, it has long been an anti-Semitic trope that Jews can talk their way out of anything, and use language in an unethical way. Anyway, thanks to you, anti-Semites can demonstrate how deeply the avoidance of truth and the substitution of words for reality is embedded into our religion.

      • AllenBee
        July 17, 2012, 8:46 pm

        If god is a universal god does that mean all of humanity is “chosen,” and Palestine belongs to all of humankind, not just Jews?

      • Citizen
        July 18, 2012, 5:32 am

        So what were the Canaanites, chopped liver? Or did God love them too?

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 18, 2012, 9:15 am

        “The rabbis teach that there are 70 facets to the Torah. So it does not surprise me that there are at least two ways to view Exodus. Liberation theologians learn from Exodus, that God is a God of freedom. You learn from Exodus that the God of the Bible is a bloody and cruel and maybe even Egyptian hating God. There are at least two ways of viewing Exodus.”

        Who cares what the rabbis “teach” (assuming that any theology is a subject that is “taught” and not merely spread like a disease)? They’re full of crap; they have a vested interest in defending this primitive nonsense because they’ve based their ego on it being “holy.” Try applying your rational mind.

        And if one of the ways to view Exodus is simply to look at what the book actually says and rightly conclude that YHWH is a brutal, cruel and psychopathic monster who casually murders babies to make a rhetorical point — after hardening Pharoh’s heart no less (and how demonic is that – forcing him not to let the Jews go so that he can inflict more death and destruction on the innocent Egyptians) — then it is simply nonsensical to say that this story has ANY universal values whatsoever. It was good for the fictional Jews held in a historically-non-existant captivity, but it did not express a univeral value. That expression means that it is applicable to all humans, and unless you are prepared to argued that the Egyptians weren’t human, it clearly does not posit universal values.

        Rather, it posited rather twisted religious ones: if you worship the evil god, YHWH, he will do things for you. If you don’t, he will murder your children, ravage your land and order his worshipers to commit genocide against you, or, perhaps, merely to kill all the adults and male children among you and keep all the virgin girls as sex slaves.

        There are no “universal values” in that.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 11:40 am

        Woody Tanaka,

        You wrote,

        “And if one of the ways to view Exodus is simply to look at what the book actually says and rightly conclude that YHWH is a brutal, cruel and psychopathic monster who casually murders babies to make a rhetorical point — after hardening Pharoh’s heart no less (and how demonic is that – forcing him not to let the Jews go so that he can inflict more death and destruction on the innocent Egyptians) — then it is simply nonsensical to say that this story has ANY universal values whatsoever. It was good for the fictional Jews held in a historically-non-existant captivity, but it did not express a univeral value. That expression means that it is applicable to all humans, and unless you are prepared to argued that the Egyptians weren’t human, it clearly does not posit universal values.”

        The Old Testament God as “psychopathic monster” — often a racist and genocidal monster — that case is easy to make. Who would dream up such a character and then worship it?

        By the way, I think Exodus opens a psychological window on the entire social dynamics of several thousand years of problematic relations between Jews and “the nations” (including persistent antisemitism across all times and cultures). For another time.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 18, 2012, 5:22 pm

        “Who would dream up such a character and then worship it?”

        A weak and helpless bronze-age era tribe in a backward corner of the world, which often found its interests blunted by its much more powerful neighbors in Egypt, Rome, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, etc. Dreaming of a cosmic bodyguard to rain down destruction on the hapless heads of those who have always been your betters, temporally speaking, is psychologically more acceptable to some than facing the fact that you are also-rans at that stage of history.

      • AllenBee
        July 19, 2012, 9:49 am

        “if you worship the evil god, YHWH, [aka USrael imperialist interests] he will do things for you. If you don’t, he will murder your children, ravage your land and order his worshipers to commit genocide against you, or, perhaps, merely to kill all the adults and male children among you and keep all the virgin girls as sex slaves.

        There are no “universal values” in that.”

        Summarizes rather nicely Eliot Engel’s spiel on C Span Washington Journal this morning. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/DNYo

      • Rizla
        July 19, 2012, 1:57 pm

        A great synopsis. Gibbon basically said the same thing (Chapter 12 or 13, I think?) a few hundred years ago. You’d be hard pressed to find anything in history to argue against this interpretation of the OT/Talmud, yet it’s not considered polite in the USA to discuss such things. “Cosmic bodyguard” — I may have to nick that from you, thanks.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 4:10 am

        “…Palestine belongs to all of humankind, not just Jews?”

        It only belongs to Jews according to the Jews. According to the Muslims, it belongs to them, and we Christians have been known to put in claims as well. Indeed, even the current support of Evangelicals for Jews having Israel is all part of a deep-laid plan to get it back for Christians, I’ll point out.

        So I’d say adherents of the Eastern religions and animists are out of luck — but there’s a good three billion of us who have as reasonable a claim as anyone else does.

        …To answer your question directly, then, not all of humanity does not have a claim to Palestine. Only about half of humanity does.

        …The place sucks, by the way. At the moment, it’s over 110, and it’ll snow in the winter, to boot. Plus, the whole place seems to be carpeted in rocks. Half the pictures I see explain this rock-throwing problem right away. Too many rocks. You can just bend over and pick up a fine head-buster wherever you’re standing. A Garden of Eden of rocks…maybe God was trying to tell us something and no one got the joke.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 4:14 am

        “if you worship the evil god, YHWH, [aka USrael imperialist interests] he will do things for you. If you don’t, he will murder your children, ravage your land and order his worshipers to commit genocide against you, or, perhaps, merely to kill all the adults and male children among you and keep all the virgin girls as sex slaves.

        There are no “universal values” in that.” “

        ? They seem to be values that are almost universally practiced. Our remarkable fecundity always frustrates the project, but we do seem to spend a remarkable amount of our time trying to kill each other off.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 4:24 am

        “Who would dream up such a character and then worship it?”

        A weak and helpless bronze-age era tribe in a backward corner of the world, which often found its interests blunted by its much more powerful neighbors in Egypt, Rome, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, etc…”

        I wouldn’t agree with your specific formula — for one, by the time the Bible was actually formulated, the Jews were neither a tribe, nor bronze age, but rather (I would argue) a predominantly urban cult in the Persian empire. We probably have no good idea of what ancient Israelites believed — if the group existed at all.

        However, it does open up an interesting line of inquiry: looking at religions and how their deities and practices express the particular situation of their adherents.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 20, 2012, 9:55 am

        “I wouldn’t agree with your specific formula — for one, by the time the Bible was actually formulated, the Jews were neither a tribe, nor bronze age, but rather (I would argue) a predominantly urban cult in the Persian empire.”

        I would respond by saying that the written versions of these stories originated in oral traditions dating back to the bronze-age tribal days. (Of course, that doesn’t mean that they were the same exact stories [clearly they weren’t, given the polytheism that preceded the monotheism] but that the themes and the motivations for the religion were likely tribal in nature.)

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 20, 2012, 10:04 am

        “They seem to be values that are almost universally practiced.”

        I don’t think that is how the phrase “universal values” was intended, but your point is well taken.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 12:56 pm

        “Dreaming of a cosmic bodyguard to rain down destruction on the hapless heads of those who have always been your betters, temporally speaking, is psychologically more acceptable to some than facing the fact that you are also-rans at that stage of history.”

        What a ridiculous, crazy, meshuggah idea! And I have to mention the personal disapointment, too. The one guy I thought wouldn’t let me down, and sink to the depths of… no, I’m just gonna hope for better things from you.

        And a shout-out, with a thank-you to Google spel-chek. It also does Yiddish!

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 2:40 am

        “I would respond by saying that the written versions of these stories originated in oral traditions dating back to the bronze-age tribal days…”

        Well, as I understand it (and if someone actually knows more, I’m prepared to be corrected), there are several problems with that.

        1. A good deal of the material for the Bible seems to come from Mesopotamian rather than Palestinian sources. This would fit with the authors being a group brought from Mesopotamia by the Persians.

        2. I don’t believe there’s much in the way of archeological evidence for these stories having been current in pre-Persian Palestine. No carved ‘Joshua figure’ or whatever. Indeed, in spite of desperate efforts to find something, the Israelis seem to keep running into what can only be described as a blank wall when they try to find archeological evidence supporting the Biblical accounts.

        3. The stories tend to contain solecisms that could only have arisen if they had been written around the fifth-sixth century. Joshua or whoever destroys cities that weren’t even founded until the eighth century. People ride camels long before they were domesticated.

        4. The Jews who seem to have written the Bible seem to have been members of an urban-based cult — not village bards or tribal elders or something.

        None of this completely rules out ‘oral traditions dating back to the bronze-age tribal days’ — and indeed I’ll grant much of the material must come from such sources. However, a good deal of it clashes with what one would expect to find in a text that had solely local, traditional sources.

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2012, 7:41 pm

      “A couple comments about Jewish identity.”

      Sorry, pal, I’ll get my comments on “Jewish identity” from somebody I know is a Jew. On the internet nobody knows your religion, even if you don’t use capital letters in your handle. Frankly, I read nothing fropm you which indicates you are a Jew. You are much more likely to be somebody pretending they are a Jew, for God only know what reason.
      Can you prove you are a Jew, yonah? You seem to be trying to make Jews out as bad as possible, and it makes me suspicious. And don’t start with the Hebrew. You give me a fast Internet computer and I’ll pretend. convincingly, to be anything.

    • PeaceThroughJustice
      July 17, 2012, 10:05 pm

      “The Shoah … continues to demand an answer.”

      What’s the question again?

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 12:34 am

        “The Shoah … continues to demand an answer.”

        What’s the question again?

        Gosh, I thought of about five answers to that question, and not one of them was suitable as a comment, even coming from me. It should be counted in my favor that I restrained myself.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 11:36 am

        Gosh, I thought of about five answers to that question, and not one of them was suitable as a comment, even coming from me.
        Oh, Mooser. Please enlighten us.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 12:16 pm

        “Oh, Mooser. Please enlighten us.”

        There is a thing called “good taste” you know. And there is also “less filling”. And such a thing as being fed up. The only Holocaust jokes I make concern the Hawaiian Islands.

      • yonah fredman
        July 18, 2012, 4:09 am

        peacethroughjustice- Certain comments by certain commentators increase the entertainment value of reading MW, but don’t necessarily increase the number of thoughts per paragraph.

        I will respond regarding what questions are raised by the Shoah, but the word “answer” is not only the mate of question, it is also the synonym for response.

        My (melodramatic) image is that of the emaciated Jew breaking out of the gas chambers and then collapsing at my feet, but before dying handing me a football titled “Jewishness/Judaism”. (I would call it a rock rather than a football, but a rock that size would be too heavy and a football is the shape I envision.) I have never known how to respond to this football handed to me. And this is the question: what is demanded of me. How can I respond to this fact? Which way do I carry or run with this football? And having not carried it too far, but not having dropped it, how do I hand it off to the next generation.

        But “what questions does the churban pose?” is a very good question, even if you didn’t mean it as a question and I hope to get back to you later on maybe 5 or 10 questions.

      • Citizen
        July 18, 2012, 5:38 am

        Does the churban pose a question or a lesson: “Never Again!” And is that lesson applicable only tribally, or universally? Time to play the Anne Frank Game?

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        July 18, 2012, 1:32 pm

        @Yonah:

        Melodramatic indeed. (In fact some might even call it kitsch.)

        But I think you’re being somewhat dishonest, trying to wrap a devotion to Jewish separatism in the suffering of WWII. Because the question you feel compelled to respond to (“passing on the football”) is the exact same question Herzl was responding to more than two generations before the Holocaust, when all around him he saw Europe’s newly secularized Jews interbreeding with the goyim and realized that at this rate the bloodline was not going to last.

        I happen to agree that continuity is good and it’s something that should be encouraged wherever possible. But continuity for continuity’s sake can also be a kind of antiquarianism, and needs some additional justification when it is causing so much suffering for others. But the Holocaust just isn’t that justification.

      • yonah fredman
        July 18, 2012, 4:21 pm

        peacethroughjustice- I’ll reread your paragraph later, but right away- Herzl was a survival Zionist and not a cultural Zionist. Before Herzl reached Zionism he reached for German nationalist fraternities, where he was told, “Jew, you ain’t one of us.” Herzl’s first ideas were assimilating, converting into German society, and when he sensed that this would not work, only then did he discover Zionism. (I’ve heard this historical undisputed fact dismissed as hasbara in this website’s comments, but I swear it’s the truth. or at least swear that i’ve never even heard evidence to the contrary.)

      • yonah fredman
        July 18, 2012, 4:22 pm

        Citizen- What’s the Anne Frank game? Or is this a snide aside?

      • yonah fredman
        July 18, 2012, 4:29 pm

        peacethroughjustice- I agree that continuity merely as a reaction to the churban is lacking. I realize that the shadow that the churban cast when i was a child less than 20 years after the fact is not the same shadow (or lack of a shadow) that exists 67 years after the fact. But you asked, what question does the churban pose and I gave you an answer, and the image was not dishonest. (meaning it does not feel artificial to me, although it feels insufficient to the task of relating to the present tense and the future).

      • yonah fredman
        July 18, 2012, 4:48 pm

        Here are some questions posed by the Churban:
        1. A question posed to all the human race: Regarding the resiliency-mourning dialectic. When is it too much mourning? Do children whose parents and uncles were killed by the Khmer Rouge have a human duty to put the past behind them? Do Rwandans who lost almost all their relatives have a duty to put the past behind them? In fact the world taken as a whole has recouped many times over the population lost in WWII and other conflicts and in fact overpopulation (or overuse of fossil fuels by the population which is growing) seems to threaten Mother Earth? So how to relate to these black holes. (The churban and the Khmer Rouge and the Rwandan slaughter are black holes, emitting no light.)

        2. Question for all human believers in God. What does such suffering tell us about God? Do we need to recalibrate God’s goodness or power?

        3. Question for Jewish believers in God’s Torah: What does this “episode” reveal to us about the revelation? Is the smell from Treblinka more important than the thunder of Sinai? What to do with those “chosen people” mentions in the good book and our prayers? Do we still believe in that God who gave the Torah? Is it a different God we believe in now?

        4. Question for those who read the Torah and Hebrew bible with seriousness: Do we look at Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac differently now than we did before the Churban? And what about that story of Haman and Mordecai? If it happened as written, so then history repeats itself. But what if it didn’t happen and was merely written as a type of prophecy: How do we relate to an event like the Churban being predicted by the book of Esther? Must we divorce ourselves from all these prophecies in order to escape doom?

        5. Questions for humans- If we view the Jews as passive during the Churban, what does this say regarding activity versus passivity?

        6. For Jews and others interested in the sociological construct of families, tribes, nations or other large groupings. What does it mean to identify with a group? Is it a good? Is it an evil? Is it a necessity built into the human heart? What are the consequences of raw individualism? Were those people who saved Jews at risk of life and limb, individuals or groups? What does this say about the individual versus the group?

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        July 18, 2012, 7:26 pm

        “… only then did he discover Zionism.”

        I think you want to be convinced of that, yonah. The old seductive pull of “antisemitism” as an all-purpose explanatory principle, as the driving force of history, is misleading you. The writings of the early Zionists are pretty clear: what was driving them is exactly the same thing that drives you today–how to preserve Jewish identity as a people apart in a secular age when 613 laws are a tough sell. It was how to ensure continuity of the tribe. “Antisemitism” was to them just a convenient tool to push the Zionist message that Jewishness isn’t a religion but a race.

      • RoHa
        July 18, 2012, 10:29 pm

        “I have never known how to respond to this football handed to me.”

        When you give the emaciated Jew a decent burial, why not put the football back into his arms and bury it with him? You are under no obligation to do anything else.

      • eljay
        July 19, 2012, 7:26 am

        >> When you give the emaciated Jew a decent burial, why not put the football back into his arms and bury it with him? You are under no obligation to do anything else.

        1. Is it a football football, or a soccer football?
        2. Why do you hate footballs so much?! ;-)
        3. As usual, you make a devastatingly sensible point.

      • RoHa
        July 19, 2012, 8:44 am

        “1. Is it a football football”

        Do you mean an AFL football or a Gaelic football?

      • eljay
        July 19, 2012, 12:42 pm

        >> Do you mean an AFL football or a Gaelic football?

        Dunno. Which one did Jews invent? And did they invent it before or after they invented hummus? ;-)

      • Rizla
        July 19, 2012, 2:10 pm

        Have you read “I will bear witness” (forget the author’s name, help me MW-ers)? A thoroughly assimilated German Jew wrote it, it covers the 30’s-40’s. I can ponder a lot of things that might have “worked” without Hitler and the Nazis. I’ve read less of Herzl than you have, I’d like to read where he discusses converting into German society. From Bertold Brecht to the entire Ufa production company to the originators of Berlin Cabaret, Germany in the 30’s was full of German-Jewish intellectuals who helped define/lead a very stimulating artistic period prior to the dark ages of Nazism. German cinema in the 20’s-30’s lead the film world in many ways, and there were German Jews helping define it all, in ways far more interesting than Hollywood, then or now, few (none?) of them Zionists. The rot hadn’t set in. Check out Berlin Cabaret by P. Jelavich, 1993.

      • RoHa
        July 19, 2012, 8:36 pm

        “Which one did Jews invent?”

        All football, of course. Real football (called soccer in Australia), Australian Rules (AFL), Gaelic, and even the American thing. They also invented cricket, polo, and tossing the caber.

        “And did they invent it before or after they invented hummus?”

        At around the same time, I think.

      • eljay
        July 19, 2012, 9:07 pm

        >> At around the same time, I think.

        Makes sense. I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy some hummus after a good game of football? :-D

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 4:32 am

        “But the Holocaust just isn’t that justification.”

        Maybe the awful truth is that the Holocaust didn’t mean anything.

        I mean that seriously. Maybe what’s really horrifying is that six million people were calmly and deliberately murdered to no purpose at all.

        …and people respond to that by trying to impose meaning on what was a profoundly meaningless event.

        It’s like when somebody close dies. There’s just this hole. People try to fill it with words — but the words are worthless. It’s just a hole.

        …and I have to add, that when it comes to the Holocaust, most of the significance people try to find in it seems pretty bogus. Sometimes, people even seem to pick up on it when it’s not their hole. That’s even worse.

      • Cliff
        July 20, 2012, 5:26 am

        @WJ

        1. Never forget your past but try your best to move forward without living in the past. At the same time, given the history of Jewish persecution, it’s understandable if you do live in the past – however that may manifest in the present…

        Just don’t expect other people to roll over and die if your remembrance or some strain of it or actions influenced by it in some relevant manner are harmful to people not of the group.

        Thats why we’re here right now and that’s why youre asking this question.

        2. I don’t believe in God, but look at the collapse of ENTIRE civilizations throughout history, WJ. The Anasazi of Chaco Canyon. First they flourished, and it was good. Then their population increased (as it would naturally) – and then out of nowhere, a severe drought wrecks everything causing a cascade of events that led to the total fragmentation and destruction of their society.

        Out of the remnants (literally) of the Anasazi, we got the ‘pueblos’. Due to in-fighting over water and everything else – tensions that were already there but inflamed by the environmental catastrophe precipitated the downfall of their people. As a result, the migrated away from their ancestral lands in search of water but didn’t find it for a very long time.

        What about the downfall of the Roman Empire? The inevitable takeover of Christianity? Isn’t that a clear-cut example of a society losing its faith in the old gods? This has happened a lot throughout history.

        When Mohammed returned to Mecca, he didn’t kill the civilians within the city. It would have been common to do so. I mean, during the Crusades, Christian Crusaders would butcher Christians in the Holy Land just because they wanted to fuel their bloodlust. When a people are conquered it isn’t pretty.

        Though Mohammed didn’t massacre the people of Mecca, he went into the Ka’bah and destroyed the idols of the old gods. The pagans were assembled at the entrance prior to his arrival and for him to destroy these symbols of their religion was akin to killing their fathers. Isn’t that significant?

        What about the collapse of the Maya? Or the collapse of the Greek city-state when Alexander and his father before him, conquered Hellas and began the Hellenistic Age?

        The Macedonians were viewed as barbarians by the Hellanes even though they were of the same stock. They ruled by successor-kingdoms and the Hellenic world was centered around the poleis. Aristotle once said that it was natural for the Greek to organize into the poleis and this outgrowth was what led to democracy in the Hellenic world. That being said it wasn’t a shining beacon of virtue (the Hellanes viewed women as demonic and we see the first use of the veil in Greek society; they destroyed entire islands of people who disobeyed their authority; they kept tons of slaves; etc.).

        But with the takeover by Alexander and the spread of this new kind of political system (successor kings backed by a strong army) – Greek life had changed irrevocably. Out of this political shift and utter destruction of the poleis’s significance, we got the schools of Stoicism and Hedonism. Stoicism in particular was important because it demonstrates how Greek thought changed from independent to passive submissiveness.

        There are tons of examples of people ‘rethinking God’ which really just means questioning their faith because something went wrong in their lives that they don’t understand. It cannot be explained unless they believe they are being punished in some way.

        Some don’t though.

        St. Augustine wrote that the troubles and hardships of the Roman empire had nothing to do with Christianity because Christianity was a ‘separate’ kingdom from the Earthly Roman kingdom. The troubles the Roman empire faced were ‘their own’.

        And I suppose I can only respond to the last question of yours;

        6. It’s natural for us to identify with others we have something in common with. It’s human nature. I think it’s a bit insane to be ‘tribal’ in our society – American society; due to globalization (at its best, I would mean the cultural exchange and not the neoliberal economic policies so don’t jump down my throat).

        But each society is different and is informed by a different narrative. That’s why it’s entirely NOT antisemitic to say that Israel is NOT like the United States.

        Similarities exist but not a mirror situation, which is the insinuation that gets us into asking your question in the first place. This is all about Israel and Palestine and the wars in the ME.

      • yonah fredman
        July 20, 2012, 6:22 am

        Rizla- Victor Klemperer wrote that.

        Amos Elon wrote the definitive biography of Herzl. Read about his pre Zionist ideas in that.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 20, 2012, 9:52 am

        “Do you mean an AFL football…”

        The AFL became the AFC when it merged with the NFL.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 1:01 pm

        “Certain comments by certain commentators increase the entertainment value of reading MW, but don’t necessarily increase the number of thoughts per paragraph.”

        Cool! I always felt that way about “Wondering Jew” too. I miss him. You know what they say about the ‘best medicine’ and all.
        What do you think happened to him, yonah?

      • Mooser
        July 21, 2012, 2:29 pm

        “I have never known how to respond to this football handed to me.”

        That’s not true! You knew exactly how to react. You knew it was delicate, and must be protected from harmful UV, so you shoved it where the sun don’t shine, and there it stayed.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2012, 8:48 am

        @ yonah fredman

        Me, being snide? I’m not that talented. From what I’ve heard it’s a real game, apparently usually played by people seated at a table with refreshments in hand, and in some nonPC areas, a cigaret. They go around the table with a little high pressure scenario, usually set in German occupied territory, or in Nazi Germany itself. Would you save this Jew, or these Jews? Whatever the pretend situational facts, it’s always a high risk scenario. The follow-up round is, of course, to demand/entice the responder to explain their decision if they didn’t do so in the first round.

      • Rizla
        December 20, 2012, 6:04 am

        Thanks for that, months later, Yonah. And thanks for the lead to other stuff, I mean that. Cheers.

  29. German Lefty
    July 17, 2012, 4:48 pm

    Israel answered the centuries-long European Jewish question– how does modern society deal with our unique minority?– with a freshly built ghetto in the Middle East.
    OMG, that’s so funny!

    There is a profound denial inside my community of the horror of the occupation
    I would bet that the very same people ask themselves how the population in Nazi Germany could not be aware of the Holocaust.

    But today Iraq is ancient history
    How come the Iraq war is considered ancient history, but the Holocaust is ever-present?

    Why is it that anti-Zionists like myself can be so blithe about this threat to Jewish identity?
    Mooser, did you read this? Mr Weiss wrote anti-Zionist. Now, please stop claiming that this is not an anti-Zionist website.

    What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state?
    Well, I am an atheist and there is no atheist state. Do I whine about it? Do I have an identity crisis because of it? No! So, why should Jews? Nobody needs an own country in order to believe or not believe in imaginary beings.
    (FYI: I don’t regard secular Jews as Jews.)

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2012, 7:22 pm

      “Mooser, did you read this? Mr Weiss wrote anti-Zionist. Now, please stop claiming that this is not an anti-Zionist website.”

      I don’t think I’m quibbling if I point out that Mr. Weiss’s (he gets pissed if I call him anything else) views have been evolving since I’ve been reading about them at Mondoweiss. And they may evolve some more, and in any direction. I wouldn’t know. But the website’s outlook and principles are listed in the “ABOUT” (so that’s where all the upper-case letters went!) section. Let me check it now. Well, what do you know, it’s short enough to reproduce in full:

      To publish important developments touching on Israel/Palestine, the American Jewish community and the shifting debate over US foreign policy in a timely fashion.
      To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.
      To foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy.
      To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.

      I don’t see anything about advocating or even embracing anti-Zionism there. Now if you want to argue that Mr. Weiss (or Sir Mr. Weiss) is a journalist with no principles, who puts one thing in the “about” (I save mine for when I need ’em) section, and does another in his blog, that he has an agenda other than what he states, you are free to make that case, I can’t stop you. Me, for what it’s worth (no estimates, please) think that he tries to adhere to that formula in the “about” section as much as he humanly can, and speaks for himself on the blog when he wants to under his own name. I don’t think he has an agenda other than what is in the “about” section. But like I said, you are free to argue otherwise.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2012, 7:29 pm

        Not that I, before I finally got a few simple facts of journalism through my head, didn’t accuse him of everything from counter-revolutionary cerebrations to anti-soviet agitation to malingering, wrecking and taking the last spoonful of sour cream. But when I start swinging a keyboard around, there’s no telling what will happen.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 1:13 pm

        @ Mooser:

        Mr. Weiss (he gets pissed if I call him anything else)
        Well, in Germany it is considered impolite to address *cough* old(er) *cough* people by their first name. Didn’t you know that, Mr Alces?

        And they may evolve some more, and in any direction.
        What is more evolved than anti-Zionism? Do you really think he would ever evolve backward?

        But the website’s outlook and principles are listed in the “ABOUT” section. […] ‘To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology’
        I know, Mooser. We’ve already had this discussion. And I told you that I think there are 3 main approaches to Zionism: (1) pro-Zionism (2) anti-Zionism (3) indifference. Indifferent people wouldn’t bother to create or read this website. So, the only other “alternative to pro-Zionist ideology” is anti-Zionism. If there are more alternatives, then please, please, please tell me.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 1:10 pm

        German Lefty, if you want to say that Phil Weiss is a journalistic phony, a guy who would state one thing in his “about” section while he follows another agenda, you go right ahead. And if you want to say that the “about” section is meaningless garbage, meant to obfuscate what the site is really about, because he is incapable or unwilling to write what he really means, go right ahead, I can’t stop you. But I would caution you about how long some people’s comments can get hung up in “moderation” Capiche Lefty?

      • German Lefty
        July 20, 2012, 3:11 pm

        @Mooser:
        if you want to say that Phil Weiss is a journalistic phony, a guy who would state one thing in his “about” section while he follows another agenda, you go right ahead
        No, I don’t want to say that. Why would I? It’s just that I don’t see any other “alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology” than anti-Zionism. I have asked you twice to give me some, but you didn’t reply.

        But I would caution you about how long some people’s comments can get hung up in “moderation” Capiche Lefty?
        Oh, that sounds really scary. I am soooooo afraid. By the way, in Germany we say “Kapische?”

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 5:58 pm

        “No, I don’t want to say that. Why would I? It’s just that I don’t see any other “alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology” than anti-Zionism. I have asked you twice to give me some, but you didn’t reply.”

        Don’t ask me, ask Phil, he runs the freakin website. He’s the guy who has to worry about whether or not his “about” section is clear, and whether or not he is adhering to it. Him, not me. I have no more connection with the website then you do, and I am not a mind reader, and I never know from one day to the next what Phil’s thought has evolved into, until he tells us, if he chooses to do so.
        Why are you unable to understand this simple concept? If you don’t feel that the “about” section comports with, or can comport with, the articles presented or the agenda you perceive, Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz are the guys you have to ask about it.
        Now, if their NY Jewish accents prove too thick for intelligibility, I’ll be glad to translate, to the best of my ability. And my judgement (for what it’s worth), is that they try to adhere to the strictures of the “about” section as closely as they can, and if the thinking behind the “about” part changes substantially, they will let us know. And again, you may think differently, and I can’t stop you.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 6:07 pm

        “Oh, that sounds really scary. I am soooooo afraid.”

        Oh that’s it, taunt the Moderators! Oh, that’ll work. Bigger men than you have tangled with the Moderators, and let’s just say “they lived to tell the tale” (if you call what’s left “living”) You’ll notice I capitalise “Moderators”.
        I learned my lesson, Lefty. If you wanna learn yours the hard way, be my guest. And if you are counting on a soft answer turning away Roth, forget it, he’s the toughest one in the bunch!

      • German Lefty
        July 21, 2012, 5:51 am

        @ Mooser:
        Regarding the ABOUT page, I think we just don’t understand each other. So, a further discussion about this topic is pointless.

        Oh that’s it, taunt the Moderators!
        I didn’t taunt the moderators. Would you please stop twisting my words!? I was simply talking to you. I just found it funny that you threaten me with the revenge of the moderators if I don’t agree with you.

        Bigger men than you have tangled with the Moderators
        I am not a guy. And not a moose either. I am a woman. You should know that by now.

        You’ll notice I capitalise “Moderators”.
        Yes, I noticed that. But why did you do this?

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 8:43 pm

      “What will Jewish mean if there is no Jewish state?
      Well, I am an atheist and there is no atheist state. Do I whine about it? Do I have an identity crisis because of it? No! So, why should Jews? Nobody needs an own country in order to believe or not believe in imaginary beings…”

      More to the point, having existed for virtually all of its history without a ‘Jewish state’ it is almost mindnumbingly obvious that whatever its current problems, Judaism does not require, does not imply, and perhaps even has no use for ‘its own state.’

      Even the very question implies a certain slavish devotion to the really very recent shibboleths of modern ethnic nationalism. One might as well wonder how human life could go on without Hostess Pop Tarts.

      Honestly…fuck… I’m a little warped, because I can get by quite nicely without more than a minimum of interaction with the world around me, and my idea of a really good time is a decently written text on ancient Indian history or whatever, but if you people (and I mean 90% of you) would just wake up and realize what a recent and probably transient concept the nation-state is, we could move on.

      ‘Israel’ is not some sacred cow. It’s a relict of nineteenth century obsessions, projected into the twentieth century, and staggering to its overdue death in the 21st. So what? I’d just prefer to see the process expedited, as it’s causing a great deal of completely gratuitous death and misery.

      We’re all children of our time, and of course I’m reflexively patriotic, and America is either just great or we should make it so and I’d prefer to think that if push came to shove I would indeed give my life for it, but look…

      Israel was a really bad idea. Can we just bag it?

      • Citizen
        July 18, 2012, 6:07 am

        Colin Wright,
        Isn’t Japan the largest current nation state? Do you think even Japan will lose this nature/ethnic form of organization, first maybe by becoming a civic state (as does have a tiny few minorities in it), and then by, along with both current nation states and current civic states, followed by post-modern “kingdoms” composed of international corporate and NGO webs?
        With international banking web as ultimate “world monarchy”?

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 5:14 am

        “…followed by post-modern “kingdoms” composed of international corporate and NGO webs?”

        Maybe. It could happen. However…

        1. This assumes no catastrophic event — and catastrophic events do have a way of upsetting the civilizational apple cart.

        2. Most past efforts to forecast the future seem to have gone wide of the mark. Presumably any attempt you or I make will as well.

        3. Merely because the current nation-state paradigm passes from the scene doesn’t mean that cultures won’t endure. They don’t have to be expressed as nation-states.

        4. Certain current efforts and trends toward universalism notwithstanding, people do seem to have a persistent desire for a more elaborately defined and particular community life. We have Evangelicals, Muslim fundamentalists — and all sorts of what can only be defined as ‘cries for help’ like Scientology. People deplore urban gangs, but I tend to see them as a response to what is otherwise a vacuum.

        The future may not be less culturally-defined reality, but more of it — in what form, I couldn’t say.

        5. One model I think no one considers is the communal state — where various cultural groups coexist (almost necessarily in a heirarchy, I regret to point out). The Ottoman Empire would be the example par excellance of that. Everything — including the laws that apply to you — is determined by your ethnic identity. Indeed, this may be the only viable response to the sort of ethnic geographical muddling we seem to be undergoing. There’s no particular reason the California of the future — after various upheavals — couldn’t consist of an Anglo vilayet, and an Asian vilayet, and an Indian vilayet, and a Muslim vilayet, and a Hispanic vilayet. There might no longer be a dominant culture. Indeed, increasingly there isn’t, and whether a vacuum can suffice is an interesting question. Do people actually want that glorious new day of personal freedom? Will it actually make them happy?

        It occurs to me (reluctantly) that the Ottoman model would have — perhaps still could — solve a lot of Israel’s problems. After all, Arab-Jewish hostility is just the start. Haaretz often unconsciously reveals an almost pathological loathing for religious Jews — and of course those are split into Askenazi and Sephardi groups, who also seem to loathe each other. If Israel — rather than being spatially divided — was reorganized as a state of eight or nine communities — Sunni Arab, Christian Arab, Druze, Secular Jews, etc, etc — it might work better. If there’s any place the modern unitary secular state model ain’t working, it’s Israel.

        The same could conceivably occur in the Europe of the future. It might cease to be an amalgam of spatially defined entities and become one of culturally defined entities. It wouldn’t matter whether you were in Germany or France. What would matter would be whether you were ‘White’ or Arab, or Turkish, or African. Indeed, these divisions are probably already starting to become more important than the old national ones.

        And if so — watch out. When the forms of government no longer match the cultural units they imagine themselves to be governing, it can be fun times.

    • RoHa
      July 17, 2012, 10:10 pm

      “Do I have an identity crisis because of it?”

      Do you have an identity? If not, that might be the reason.

      I don’t think I’ve got one, but I can’t be sure because no-one will tell me what an identity is. It seems to be a secret. Perhaps something to do with Superman.

      But whatever it is, it seems to cause a lot of worry. We’re better off without it.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 7:17 am

        @ RoHa:

        “no-one will tell me what an identity is.”
        Oh, you poor thing! I will tell you. Just looked it up on Merriam Webster for you.
        1a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances
        1b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing -> oneness
        2a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual -> individuality
        2b: the relation established by psychological identification
        3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted

        “Do you have an identity? If not, that might be the reason.”
        Of course, I have an identity, even more than one. A few examples:
        religious identity: atheist
        national identity: German
        gender identity: woman
        sexual orientation identity: bisexual

        But whatever it is, it seems to cause a lot of worry. We’re better off without it.
        I disagree. Not the identity itself causes trouble. Trouble is caused by the people who falsely believe that they deserve more rights and better treatment than others because of their identity.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 12:21 pm

        I too, have several identities. It’s gotten me out of more scrapes than I care to mention. My only advice would be, don’t carry two sets with you. If you get searched, it can lead to unpleasant complications.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 12:49 pm

        My only advice would be, don’t carry two sets with you. If you get searched, it can lead to unpleasant complications.
        I got it, Mooser. I should have said “identity markers” instead of “identities”.

      • RoHa
        July 18, 2012, 10:06 pm

        Oh, you poor thing! I will tell you. Just looked it up on Merriam Webster for you.

        What would Merriam Webster know? The OED is the only trustworthy source. But I’ll go with the MW for now.

        1a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances
        1b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing -> oneness
        2a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual -> individuality
        2b: the relation established by psychological identification
        3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted

        So that’s five different things. Which type is the “Jewish identity”, and why is it important?

        Of course, I have an identity, even more than one.

        These”identities” are just some of your characteristics. The first two could change easily. The second two would be a bit harder to change.

        Do you have An Identity that you worry about in the middle of the night?

        Not the identity itself causes trouble. Trouble is caused by the people who falsely believe that they deserve more rights and better treatment than others because of their identity.

        The people who claim rights over others because of their identity don’t seem to be the ones agonising about their identity (Jewish or otherwise).

      • Rizla
        July 19, 2012, 2:13 pm

        “Trouble is caused by the people who falsely believe that they deserve more rights and better treatment than others because of their identity.”

        How much happier life would be if more people felt that way. Danke.

    • YoungMassJew
      July 17, 2012, 11:26 pm

      @GermanLefty
      Secular Jews ARE Jews. Read my previous comments and then get back to me. Just click on my name and keep scrolling up and down.

      • Citizen
        July 18, 2012, 6:13 am

        YMJ,
        Are Christians who no longer believe in religion, or self-identify as Christians, but who yet apply daily to their own actions and those of others the ethical/moral values illustrated by the story of Jesus–are those secular Christians–Christians?

      • YoungMassJew
        July 18, 2012, 3:19 pm

        I’d say so. That sounds like a Unitarian-Universalist? Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they not mention Jesus in the services, but still kind of sort of believe in his message. The services are conducted in a church.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 2:47 am

        “Are Christians who no longer believe in religion, or self-identify as Christians…are those secular Christians–Christians?”

        I omitted the bit about trying to apply ethical/moral values to make your question even broader.

        Yeah — I think there is a ‘Christian’ identity. It’s certainly broader, more diffuse, and less important than the Jewish one — and I suspect the Muslim one — but it’s there.

        I wouldn’t even want to think about defining it — but I’d say it exists.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 6:25 pm

        “I wouldn’t even want to think about defining it — but I’d say it exists.”

        Well, you’re the one who grew up Jewish, was exposed to Jewish social mores, religious training, and later on at the appropriate time, got to know love, marriage and child-rearing from a Jewish perspective. And what about your career and being Jewish? Why anything I could say contradicting you would be so presumptuous, so ill-informed, it’s ludicrous to even think of responding.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 3:04 am

        You are aware that in my post ‘it’ refers to Christian identity?

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 10:08 am

        @ YoungMassJew:
        First of all, I’d like to say that I totally misinterpreted your username. I thought that “mass” stands for “religious service”, not “Massachusetts”. Therefore, I assumed that you were some religious fundie on Ziocaine. Sorry for that.
        I just read your description of your Birthright trip. Very interesting.
        Anyway, back to the topic. I am still not convinced that people are born Jewish. And I think that nobody will ever be able to convince me of that. I refer you to my comment: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/the-crisis-of-jewish-identity.html/comment-page-1#comment-475013

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2012, 12:28 pm

        “First of all, I’d like to say that I totally misinterpreted your username. I thought that “mass” stands for “religious service”, not “Massachusetts”.”

        That’s what I thought, too. And the “Young Mass” would be, of course, the modern vernacular service, not the traditional Latin Mass. You know what GL? That makes two of us. I think we are right, and he is wrong. If he was any kind of man he would just admit it, and go on.

        Just to make sure, you have no doubt I am a 1500 lb. ungulate, the largest member of the North American Deer family, with palmate antlers (in season) spreading up to 6 feet, do you? My real name is Alces Al-ces, but you can’t blame me for concealing my Muslim origin, can you? I have to work, you know.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 12:41 pm

        Just to make sure, you have no doubt I am a 1500 lb. ungulate, the largest member of the North American Deer family, with palmate antlers (in season) spreading up to 6 feet, do you? My real name is Alces Al-ces, but you can’t blame me for concealing my Muslim origin, can you?

        Mooser, please, has nobody taught you how to effectively communicate with Germans? You need to say what you mean and mean what you say.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 2:01 pm

        German Lefty,

        You wrote: “I am still not convinced that people are born Jewish.”

        Is Woody Allen Jewish? Larry David? Yes. Many secular, agnostic and atheist Jews are Jews by their own definition, by the definition of Jewish culture and the Jewish establishment, and by the definition of the world at large.

        Jewishness is as much an ethnicity in the biological sense as a religion. Leading Jewish scientists themselves are now arguing for an important genetic component of Jewish identity.

        Jews can be both religious in the Roman Catholic sense and Irish in the ethnic sense.

        Most of the early leaders of Zionism were militant atheists and Marxists. They were very much Jewish.

      • German Lefty
        July 18, 2012, 2:32 pm

        @ seanmcbride:
        Many secular, agnostic and atheist Jews are Jews by their own definition
        If non-religious people voluntarily self-identify as Jewish for whatever strange reason, then that’s fine by me. I will never understand it or agree with it, but I have to accept it.
        What I have a problem with is Klaus’s statement that people are born Jewish and that saying that ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical. I can’t stand this imposed, imaginary Jewishness.
        Regarding being Jewish because of Jewish culture: Just because I celebrate Christmas and Easter (in a secular way) doesn’t mean that I am a Christian, because in order to be a Christian one has to actually believe in Christianity. So, adopting parts of the Jewish culture doesn’t make you Jewish.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 18, 2012, 3:27 pm

        Whatever, I just chose it as I couldn’t think about anything better at the moment. MASS is a common way people from Massachusettes refer to the state. As in “I’m from MASS.” Like I’ve said before Mooser, and anyone else who is reading this, I would indeed like to change by user name to something else, but no Mooser you can’t change your username. It says I can’t on my profile page. I don’t think Phil wants be to bug him to change my user name. He’s a busy man. If I could change my username it would be youngneuroticnotlikewoodyjew. My first name starts with an “M.” You’d need to give me a really good reason why I should use my real name.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 18, 2012, 3:45 pm

        @ German Lefty
        I just think you’re trying to be too politically correct in continually asserting that Judaism is soley a religion. There are cultural Jews. I consider myself an ethnic Jew. I refer to myself as Eastern European Jewish. Not just Eastern European, as in Slavic. When my ancestors on my father’s side were in Bessarabia(Moldova) in the late 19th and early 20th century they were considered Jews by ethnicity. Not native Moldovans. They look different, as in Mediterranean features, than the Christian Moldovans and Romanians from the region. Judaism is an ethno-religious group. When people see my on the street, they see a Jewish guy, or sometimes Italian. There’s nothing wrong with saying someone “looks Jewish” no kipa required. I’m not saying I look like a super “stereotypical Jew,” but I’m certainly no tall blond dude either. Just like Italian or Sicilian is a group/ethnicity/population identity so are the Ashkenazim. It’s what makes me unique. You can’t undue my facial features unless I get plastic surgury or die my hair and put fake contacts in, which I’d never do. Part of my ancestry comes from the Near East and Mediterranean, part of it from Eastern Europe. Perhaps there needs to be a better word for this ethnic group, but it is what it is. I don’t base it on race. That would be wrong. There is no such thing as a “Jewish race.” A relatively endogamous population over the centuries, with certain facial/ethnic features yes.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 10:47 pm

        German Lefty,

        You wrote:

        “What I have a problem with is Klaus’s statement that people are born Jewish and that saying that ‘I used to be a Jew’ is nonsensical. I can’t stand this imposed, imaginary Jewishness.”

        If you buy into the proposition that Jewishness is in part — and perhaps even largely — a set of biological and genetic traits, then Klaus’s statement makes sense. People of Irish, Arab or African descent are (in the ethnic sense) Irish, Arab or African for life regardless of their religious beliefs.

        By the way, Jews themselves have often referred to themselves as a “race.” It’s a sensitive topic, obviously, because Nazi ideology latched on to and abused that concept. But Nazis didn’t invent the concept.

        Important aspects of Jewish ethnic culture have thrived with little religious component.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 7:00 am

        One P.S. Lefty.

        Are you going to tell Reich-Ranicki, who doesn’t believe in Judaism and said “The God of the Bible is a poorly conceived literary figure” – are you going to tell him: ‘Oh I see, you used to be a Jew.’ ? – What will he reply?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 8:53 am

        Lefty, Sean is right.

        Let me quote the very popular Zionist rabbi Dr. Joachim Prinz from Berlin who wrote in October 1933 in his book ‘Wir Juden’:

        “I want an affirmation of our Jewish race and an assurance of our own blood.”
        ————-
        – The Nazis should have appointed him Commissioner for Jewish Affairs because he conceived the Jews the same way they did.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 9:58 am

        Well, there was a small difference between Prinz’ racial concept of the Jews and the Nazis’ racial concept of the Jews:
        1.
        Prinz thought Jews were inherently a great people/race, just corrupted by the abnormal Diaspora situation. – Let’s go back to Palestine and revive our inherent national/racial greatness.
        2.
        The Nazis thought Jews were inherently a mean people/race. Get rid of them. – Promote their emigration to Palestine (in the 1930s).

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 10:43 am

        YMJ – What you say is a very good, unideological comment on the matter.

      • German Lefty
        July 19, 2012, 12:42 pm

        @ YoungMassJew:

        I would indeed like to change by user name to something else, but no Mooser you can’t change your username. It says I can’t on my profile page.
        It is true that you can’t change your username. However, you can fill in the box “nickname” and have the nickname displayed instead of the username. I look forward to communicating with “youngneuroticnotlikewoodyjew”.

        I just think you’re trying to be too politically correct in continually asserting that Judaism is soley a religion.
        No, I really don’t try to be politically correct. I just don’t see any difference between Jews, Christians, or Muslims. I don’t believe any of their fairy tales.

        When people see my on the street, they see a Jewish guy, or sometimes Italian.
        Looking like an Italian? How do Italians look? Italian is a nationality. A black guy can be Italian. A white guy can be Italian. You don’t need to look a certain way in order to have Italian citizenship. Also, an Italian can have any religion, including the Jewish religion.
        In a recent documentary about Jewish life in Germany, a Jewish woman complained that when she tells non-Jewish Germans that she’s Jewish, she often gets the comment, “Oh, but you don’t LOOK Jewish!” Then she states that the idea that Jewish people look a certain way is totally ridiculous. So, it seems that non-Jewish Germans are unable to please Jews. If we say that Jews DO NOT look a certain way, Jews call it “too politically correct”. If we say that Jews DO look a certain way, Jews call it “ridiculous”. There is no hope.

        I’m not saying I look like a super “stereotypical Jew,” but I’m certainly no tall blond dude either.
        So, tall and blond dudes are not allowed to convert to Judaism, because they don’t look convincingly Jewish? Is there mandatory plastic surgery before conversion? I mean, except genital mutilation.

        It’s what makes me unique.
        Every person it unique. Therefore, your uniqueness is not unique.

      • German Lefty
        July 19, 2012, 12:48 pm

        People of Irish, Arab or African descent are (in the ethnic sense) Irish, Arab or African for life regardless of their religious beliefs.
        Yeah, but the difference is that you can’t convert to Irishness, Arabness or Africanness. However, you can become a Jew by conversion. So, that’s not the same.

      • evets
        July 19, 2012, 12:49 pm

        Klaus –

        Though Prinz made those reprehensible remarks, it’s only fair to acknowledge that they were made during a time of crisis which may well have inflamed his thinking. He was in fact strongly anti-Nazi (arrested by the Gestapo many times) and after escaping Germany became an early and enthusiastic proponent of the American civil rights movement, friendly with ML King, sticking with the movement long after many got off the bus (no pun intended). His support for black liberation was connected to his interest in Jewish liberation and Zionism.

        To muddy the picture even more, I can remember an essay of his which strongly criticized the idea that Jewish identity should be based on ethnic solidarity or desire for group survival. It also condemned the idea that American Jews should split their political loyalty.

        So it’s not so simple and Prinz’s reckless comments from the 30’s shouldn’t be viewed as some summation of his thought, and certainly not as the summation or boiled-down essence of Jewish doctrine.

        Though I’m sure it’s hard to resist recycling them in the glorious quest to equate Judaism with Nazism.

      • German Lefty
        July 19, 2012, 12:55 pm

        By the way, Jews themselves have often referred to themselves as a “race.” It’s a sensitive topic, obviously, because Nazi ideology latched on to and abused that concept.
        Yeah, this just shows once again that sometimes things come back and bite you in the ass. Not that I approve of it in this case.

      • German Lefty
        July 19, 2012, 12:57 pm

        Are you going to tell Reich-Ranicki, who doesn’t believe in Judaism and said “The God of the Bible is a poorly conceived literary figure” – are you going to tell him: ‘Oh I see, you used to be a Jew.’ ?
        Depends. Has he ever believed in Judaism? Does he consider himself a Jew? As I said, I accept people’s self-identification. I just don’t understand it.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 2:51 pm

        Lefty:
        Reich-Ranicki was born to Jewish parents, was ritually circumcised, had his bar mitzvah at the age of 13. – Of course he considers himself a Jew. He says so on the first page of his autobiography ‘Mein Leben’.

        You have difficulties to understand why Jews call their group “a people” because you apply our model of religion, a community of believers, to Jews.
        But a Jew belongs to the Jewish community/people because he was born by a Jewish mother and (as a boy) was circumcised.

        I had a problem to understand that, too.

        I give you another example that is difficult for us to comprehend.
        Michel Friedman was asked in an interview: “In what God do you believe?”
        – His answer was: “In none”.
        Now, he married Bärbel Schäfer who converted to Judaism and the two celebrated their marriage at an Orthodox synagogue in Manhatten.

        The point of Bärbel Schäfer’s conversion to Judaism was that she became a Jew and thus assure that the children of the two would also be Jews.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 5:02 pm

        Lefty, YMJ writes:
        ” [Ashkenazi Jews were] a relatively endogamous population over the centuries…”

        – Do you understand what he means?
        Endogamy was very high, exogamy probably below 1% per generation.
        You just don’t want to understand and keep talking about “religion”.

      • German Lefty
        July 19, 2012, 5:12 pm

        @ Klaus:
        You have difficulties to understand why Jews call their group “a people” because you apply our model of religion, a community of believers, to Jews.
        Exactly right!

        But a Jew belongs to the Jewish community/people because he was born by a Jewish mother and (as a boy) was circumcised.
        That’s what Jews believe and what they teach their children. As a non-Jew, I don’t believe this stuff.

        The point of Bärbel Schäfer’s conversion to Judaism was that she became a Jew and thus assure that the children of the two would also be Jews.
        If Michel Friedman doesn’t believe in Judaism, then I don’t consider him a Jew. I know that Bärbel Schäfer converted to Judaism, but it didn’t occur to me that she did it because of their children. If I had a Jewish partner who wanted me to convert to Judaism for whatever reason, then I’d leave him. I want to be accepted and loved the way I am.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 6:51 pm

        Lefty,

        Some time ago, a friend of mine asked me this question:
        “When someone says he is a Jew is that like someone who says he is Catholic or is it like someone who says he is Irish?”

        I know your answer – but your answer is wrong.
        Woody Tanaka explained it to you some threads ago. His explanation was very good. It hit the nail on the head.

      • Citizen
        July 19, 2012, 6:55 pm

        I wonder how many commenters here have intermarried. Speaking for myself , my wife and I never found it much of a problem. We always have done what we mutually agree to do or not do, and our relatives and in-laws do the same, and some we are closer to than others as a result. We are not religious at all but do celebrate holidays, family gatherings, etc on both sides when it’s fairly convenient to do so. Our son has no problem with being of mixed ethnic heritage and is aware of the usual good and bad comments/prejudices reserved for either. He’s not hung up on any of that stuff.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 19, 2012, 8:42 pm

        @Lefty
        Here is my last try on you – then I give up.

        You say: “If Michel Friedman doesn’t believe in Judaism, then I don’t consider him a Jew.” (Friedman said in an interview he doesn’t believe in any God.)

        But how come, Friedman was on the board of the “Jüdische Gemeinde Frankfurt”? (Frankfurt Jewish Community)

      • RoHa
        July 19, 2012, 8:46 pm

        “So, it seems that non-Jewish Germans are unable to please Jews. If we say that Jews DO NOT look a certain way, Jews call it “too politically correct”. If we say that Jews DO look a certain way, Jews call it “ridiculous”. There is no hope.”

        Which is why references to “the Jewish Question” always make me think of this:

        ‘Gladstone…spent his declining years trying to guess the answer to the Irish Question; unfortunately, whenever he was getting warm, the Irish secretly changed the question.’
        W. C. Sellars and R. J. Yeatman 1066 and All That (1930), Chapter 57.

      • RoHa
        July 19, 2012, 8:56 pm

        People of Irish, Arab or African descent are (in the ethnic sense) Irish, Arab or African for life regardless of their religious beliefs.

        But to me it seems ridiculous, and pointless, to say that a US citizen, born and brought up in the USA, is “Irish” just because his ancestors came from Ireland. The “ethnic sense” is a reference to ancestry, and not really about what that person is actually like.

        “Yeah, but the difference is that you can’t convert to Irishness, Arabness or Africanness.”

        Not in the “ethnic” sense, no. But if you live in Ireland, become a citizen, drink Guiness, and think like an Irishman, you will have converted to Irishness.

        So if your mother was a Jew, they get you with “Jewishness is an ethnicity”, and otherwise they get you with “Jewishness is a culture/religion/laundry detergent/whatever”.

      • RoHa
        July 19, 2012, 9:16 pm

        Bother. Buggered up the italics.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 19, 2012, 11:02 pm

        German Lefty,
        It looks like your experience as a German Christian or atheist/agnostic living in Germany is different than my experience growing up as a Jewish American in a prodiminately Italian American Catholic neighborhood on Long Island, NY and then a town with a sizable Jewish-American population when my Dad moved my family up to the Boston area. Where I’m from, New York and New England, Jews and Italians seem to have a strong ethnic identity. That’s been my experience. Maybe I haven’t had enough experiences. I’m 22, but I don’t think I’m over-stating anything either.

      • ColinWright
        July 20, 2012, 2:50 am

        “Mooser, please, has nobody taught you how to effectively communicate with Germans? You need to say what you mean and mean what you say.”

        He is. We have some very unusual moose over here.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 1:17 pm

        “but no Mooser you can’t change your username.”

        Really? Ask “yonah fredman” about it. He’s apparently found a way. And IINM it’s an option on most “edit profile” pages. Anyway, ask yonah, you may need a note from your parents or Rabbi or something.

      • German Lefty
        July 20, 2012, 5:36 pm

        @ Klaus:
        ” [Ashkenazi Jews were] a relatively endogamous population over the centuries…” – Do you understand what he means?
        Yes, I understand what he means. Otherwise, I would have asked. If that’s actually the case with Ashkenazi Jews, then I would agree that they are an ethnic group. However, the claim was that Jews (in general) are an ethnic group and are born as Jews. And I just don’t see that. I’d like to give you some examples and hopefully you will answer me patiently.
        Let’s say a Jewish woman gives birth to a girl.
        Case 1: The woman gives the girl up for adoption. The new parents are not Jewish and don’t raise her as Jewish. Later, the girl doesn’t self-identify as
        Jewish.
        Case 2: The woman keeps the girl and doesn’t raise her as Jewish. Later, the girl doesn’t self-identify as Jewish.
        Case 3: The woman keeps the girl and raises her as Jewish. Later, the girl doesn’t self-identify as Jewish.
        Now, tell me in which cases would you consider the girl Jewish? If people were born Jewish, then the answer would have to be: In all 3 cases.

      • Mooser
        July 20, 2012, 6:31 pm

        “Mooser, please, has nobody taught you how to effectively communicate with Germans? You need to say what you mean and mean what you say.”

        Me? I just keep my head down, try to hide in the crowd, and hope there will be a chance to escape later on, and they won’t notice a missing child at the count.

      • ColinWright
        July 21, 2012, 3:14 am

        “…Jewishness is as much an ethnicity in the biological sense as a religion. Leading Jewish scientists themselves are now arguing for an important genetic component of Jewish identity…”

        A genetic component might well be there. How important it would be is another matter.

        I recall seeing a show on the descendants of conversos in Portugal. Unlike Spain, Portugal was relatively relaxed about things, and if Jews just showed up at the cathedral every Sunday, they apparently were left more or less in peace.

        So a lot continued to be Jews — in secret. And perhaps some maintained their faith. But a lot didn’t. If you always have to hide it all, inevitably, you just stop doing it.

        At the same time, I imagine these people remained as genetically Jewish as any Jewish population — but are they still Jews? They knew they were somehow distinct from other Portuguese — but that seemed to be about it. There were two little old ladies who drew the curtain and lit candles every friday night — but they couldn’t explain why. There was some village where one of the men vaguely recalled that it had been held that it had been a good thing for the inhabitants of that village in particular that Hitler hadn’t won the war — but again, he couldn’t say why that was. There was some guy who had this magnificently fractured fairy tale about how the King of Portugal was going to throw them all out, but the good Queen Esther intervened and they were allowed to stay in Portugal.

        Are these Jews? If so, how?

        Genetics are nice, but they’re just not pivotal. What’s important is what a people continue to think of themselves as. Take Germany. I’ll readily grant all Germans are Germans — but is it genetic?

        I’m inclined to doubt it. First, most of what is now ‘Germany’ was actually inhabited by Slavic tribes 1200 years ago — the ethno-linguistic frontier more or less ran along the Elbe. Second, a whole lot of Poles and things became convinced they were ‘Germans’ only with the advent of public schooling and universal military service in the nineteenth century.

        So what’s a German? Genetically, he must be a good third Slavic.

        Doesn’t matter. If he thinks he’s a German, he’s a German.

      • Citizen
        July 22, 2012, 8:53 pm

        Roha,
        Obama went to Ireland. I just watched him on tv in an Irish pub, where he was being praised as an Irishman; everybody drinking up on the matter.

      • AllenBee
        August 3, 2012, 1:40 pm

        Klaus Bloemker,
        The context that is seldom if ever explored re Jews in Germany is that there was a huge increase in the Jewish population in Germany-Austria-Hungary between the mid-to-late 1800s and the era of the two world wars. The population bubble, in which Jewish increase far outpaced the rate of increase of native populations, was due to high reproductive rates among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Slavic locales, and migration into Germany of Russian Jews eager to take advantage of German & Austrian university education opportunities & of nascent prosperity subsequent to Franco-Prussian war & German unification, with attendant industrialization.

      • Citizen
        August 18, 2012, 6:22 am

        @ GL
        Or is the other side of the coin even there, i.e., to communicate with a self-identified Jewish moose, you need to never say what you mean and never mean what you say? Which is also to say, you need to catch all the English and/or Yiddish meanings of each word the Jewish moose types here.

  30. jonah
    July 17, 2012, 4:49 pm

    “… throw out the eccentric idea that Jews Jews can continue being Jewish post-Israel, just like they did for 2,000+ years before the inception of Herzl’s brainchild.”

    Yea, 2,000 years of anti-Semitism and persecution. For 60 years Israel is the Jewish bulwark against it, so rest assured that she will not disappear so soon to satisfy your eccentric ideas.

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2012, 7:32 pm

      “Israel is the Jewish bulwark against it”

      Yes sir, In-gathering all the Jews (or as many as they could get) to Israel, in the age of the intercontinental ballistic missile, long range jet airplanes, and world-wide naval power projection, was the smartest thing we ever did. They’ll never find us there, or be able to get at us!

      • jonah
        July 18, 2012, 8:02 am

        Intercontinental ballistic missiles can reach also Washington D.C.
        Your fear of a military threat is not a very a convincing argument for not having the Jewish State. But 2000 years of nearly constant persecution is well an argument to have it.

      • German Lefty
        July 23, 2012, 10:35 am

        In-gathering all the Jews to Israel, in the age of the intercontinental ballistic missile, long range jet airplanes, and world-wide naval power projection, was the smartest thing we ever did. They’ll never find us there, or be able to get at us!
        Right. I thought of that, too. Actually, this is so obvious that even Zionists should be able to understand that.

    • ColinWright
      July 17, 2012, 9:13 pm

      “For 60 years Israel is the Jewish bulwark against it, so rest assured that she will not disappear so soon to satisfy your eccentric ideas.”

      Just to take this idea at its most elementary, in what way has Israel served as a bulwark against ‘antisemitism and persecution’? Name one Iraqi, French, or Argentinian Jew who has been protected by the existence of Israel.

      I’d argue that just the contrary has happened. The creation of Israel has rather obviously and directly caused the extinction of half of the world’s Jewish communities, and has severely compromised the position of many of the remainder.

      Take — as a random example — Moroccan Jewry. Absent Israel, wouldn’t they still be in Morocco? What kind of demented fantasy is it to think that by organizing your own expulsion to a strip of overgrazed semi-desert, you are improving your position?

    • Klaus Bloemker
      July 17, 2012, 10:27 pm

      – “For 60 years Israel is the Jewish bulwark against it [anti-Semitism]”

      Are you nuts jonah? – Israel is the bulwark against anti-Semitism as Berlin was the bulwark against Communism? – The “bulwark Israel” created militant Arab anti-Semitism that wasn’t there 100 yeas ago.

    • Roya
      July 17, 2012, 10:42 pm

      Jonah, the fact that Jews have been around for 2,000+ years and have 2,000+ years of culture, history, and existence to pride themselves on is a lot more than other minority groups can say. All peoples have been persecuted one time or another (sorry but Jews don’t have a copyright on suffering).

      Israel is the bulwark against anti-Semitism.

      Really? Because every time I hear the latest news on what Israel has done I have to remind myself of the Max Blumenthal and Ilan Pappe contingent so that I don’t project my hatred onto all Jews. Rather than ostracizing these Jews with a conscience you should really be embracing them with gratitude for keeping Israel-induced anti-Semitism in check.

      Israel is the bulwark against persecution.

      Again, I beg to differ. I don’t know of anywhere in the world but Israel where rockets are fired exclusively with Jewish targets in mind.

      • jonah
        July 18, 2012, 9:16 am

        FYI, Israel became a safe haven for one million Jewish refugees from Arab countries, not to mention the many European Jews who survived the holocaust. I think you still need to understand that if the neighboring Arab nations are hostile to the existence of the Jewish state in ME, this is a problem related to anti-Semitism prevalent in the Arab-Islamic world, not to Israel itself. This anti-Semitism was already present in embryo before the creation of the Jewish state in the state of subjugation of the Jews in the Arab world (the status of “Dhimmi”), but like a long-infected pus bubble that finally bursts under the skin, it erupted with violence at the surface because of Arab- Islamic nationalism which resulted in xenophobia, that is in open anti-Semitism, when Israel was declared an independent state. Just like Europe, but without reaching its horrors, Arab anti-Semitism pre-existed the birth of Israel and, triggered by Arab nationalism, caused the wave of immigration of Jews to Israel.

        Here some crude facts:
        http://jcpa.org/article/the-expulsion-of-the-jews-from-muslim-countries-1920-1970-a-history-of-ongoing-cruelty-and-discrimination/

      • jonah
        July 18, 2012, 9:45 am

        waves of immigrationforced emigration

      • Annie Robbins
        July 18, 2012, 10:55 am

        I think you still need to understand that if the neighboring Arab nations are hostile to the existence of the Jewish state in ME, this is a problem related to anti-Semitism prevalent in the Arab-Islamic world, not to Israel itself.

        iow, when the nakba started and hundreds of thousands of people were expelled from their homes, it was because they were anti semities.

        This anti-Semitism was already present in embryo before the creation of the Jewish state in the state of subjugation of the Jews in the Arab world (the status of “Dhimmi”), but like a long-infected pus bubble that finally bursts under the skin, it erupted with violence at the surface because of Arab- Islamic nationalism which resulted in xenophobia, that is in open anti-Semitism, when Israel was declared an independent state.

        a long-infected pus bubble of anti semitism burst. uh huh. something tells me what you think ‘we need to understand’, and reality might not be in synchronization here. does taking responsibility ever enter into your imagination.

      • seanmcbride
        July 18, 2012, 11:48 am

        jonah,

        You wrote:

        “I think you still need to understand that if the neighboring Arab nations are hostile to the existence of the Jewish state in ME, this is a problem related to anti-Semitism prevalent in the Arab-Islamic world, not to Israel itself.”

        If Zionists had tried to build a Jewish state by terrorism and force in any state in the United States, do you think all Americans would have been violently hostile to the enterprise and opposed and ejected the invaders by every means at their disposal?

        Try to remove the blinders from your eyes — one doesn’t need antisemitism to explain the hostility of Arabs to the entire Zionist project.

        Aggressive ethnic nationalist movements that rely heavily on terrorism tend to provoke conflict sharp conflict with everyone who isn’t a member of the cult. This is why most smart people (at least in the modern Western democratic world) are not ethnic nationalists.

      • Bumblebye
        July 18, 2012, 11:58 am

        jonah
        Oh, of course, how foolish of us not to realise the Arab states harbored embryonic anti-semitism!
        It was nothing at all to do with the hundreds of thousands of dispossessed, traumatised Palestinian refugees many of their countries had to suddenly make provision for!

      • hophmi
        July 18, 2012, 12:31 pm

        But Jews did not try to build a state in the US. They tried to build it through planning and diplomacy in the Palestine Mandate and they did not “rely heavily” on terrorism. Their state was attacked; they fought back. And they got a state because the UN voted on it, and they laid the groundwork through diplomacy and the creation of functioning civil institutions.

        And no one said Arab opposition to it was solely based on antisemitism, though Jews were never more than second-class citizens in Arab societies. But there is something wrong with the argument that Jews are OK in the Middle East so long as there aren’t too many and they don’t ask for political autonomy and something wrong with the fact that Jews are expected to help realize Palestinian nationalists aims that Arab state never cared about until Jews began emigrating to the region.

        One doesn’t need to ignore Arab hostility to the Jewish state. But it must be placed in some kind of context, and the converse, which is that the alternative would have been to send homeless DPs back to countries where their fellow countrymen had tried to murder them and have them ghettoized and murdered, the injustice that would result from ending the world’s single Jewish state while allowing dozens of other religious states to continue and historically excusing the bloody pasts of most Christian states, must be dealt with. Edward Said was at least willing to acknowledge that the end of Israel posed a problem for him on moral grounds. Most here do not seem that sophisticated. People here need to take off their blinders, which cause them to apply a different standard, morally and historically, to Israel than they do to other states.

      • ColinWright
        July 18, 2012, 1:29 pm

        “…I think you still need to understand that if the neighboring Arab nations are hostile to the existence of the Jewish state in ME, this is a problem related to anti-Semitism prevalent in the Arab-Islamic world, not to Israel itself. This anti-Semitism was already present in embryo before the creation of the Jewish state in the state of subjugation of the Jews in the Arab world…”

        So if — say — the United States seizes Baja California, and Hispanics object, that would be evidence of bigotry on the part of Hispanics?

      • Roya
        July 18, 2012, 1:32 pm

        They tried to build it through planning and diplomacy in the Palestine Mandate and they did not “rely heavily” on terrorism.

        One more of these big bad ones and your nose will be bigger than Pinocchio’s.

        Their state was attacked; cause they fought back.

        They didn’t have a state when their terrorism started, so who do you think you are fooling? Do you ever branch out and read non-hasbara? Do you ever think it may be detrimental to your cause to keep on parroting these lies, and that maybe it’s time to concede that Israel is not the angel you think it is? If you were the parent of one of the murderers of the Columbine massacre would you just go on and on about how angelic your son was, or would you take some time to reflect on the terrible reality?

      • jonah
        July 18, 2012, 2:14 pm

        @seanmcbride @Bumblebye

        Are you suggesting that the Arab lands were right to take revenge against their own Jewish citizens because of the outcomes of the first Arab-Israeli war for the Palestinian Arabs? If this was not outright anti-Semitism, what then?
        BTW: Did you know that pogroms against Jews in Arab lands occurred already prior to the foundation of Israel?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world#Pre-state_anti-Semitism

      • Roya
        July 18, 2012, 2:31 pm

        long-infected pus bubble that finally bursts under the skin

        Dude, pimples are not socially acceptable conservation fodder on Internet forums. Take your pimple fetish elsewhere.

        This anti-Semitism was already present in embryo.

        Whoa who whoa. So let me get this straight, the very moment that a zygote formed from the gametes of two Muslim Arabs turns into an embryo, there’s some Jew-hating gene taking form? You really think you’re special, huh, thinking there’s an entire evolutionary process taking place in the womb of Arab Muslim women dedicated to hating you. [EGO ALERT] I hate to break it to you Jonah, but you just aren’t that special.

        Thank you for giving me my daily dose of laughter. That aside,
        I made two very valid points and as usual, you deflected. Tell me, do the Jews in Azerbaijan and America have rockets pointed at their heads? No, so why in the world would you propose that Israel is a safe haven for Jews? It never was, and never will be because when you try to correct a wrong with an even bigger wrong you will never reach a satisfactory end. Never. And Israel-induced anti-Semitism is very real. You would be foolish to deny this.

        I think you still need to understand that if the neighboring Arab nations are hostile to the existence of the Jewish state in ME, this is a problem related to anti-Semitism prevalent in the Arab-Islamic world, not to Israel itself.

        Ok, I will put this in broad terms. If Adam Jones kills your cousin and Adam’s sister, Beatrice, is your neighbor, common sense would say that you would not be too fond of either Adam or Beatrice Jones. In fact, you may project some of your anger towards Adam Jones onto Beatrice Jones. Then if Clark Jones (Adam’s and Beatrice’s uncle) forcibly exiles your aunt from her home, your anger towards the Jones family would increase. Then if Dominic Jones (Adam’s grandson) calls your family a cockroach and takes over your cousin’s and aunt’s neighborhood and calls it JonesLand, in the meantime expelling and killing more of your cousins, you will hate the Jones family and at some point that hatred may manifest in the form of violence towards Beatrice. I’m not condoning anything, just telling you a bit about how life works. And let’s not forget about false flag ops like the 1950-1951 Baghdad bombings, in which Iraqi Jews burned down Iraqi synagogues and Jewish buildings and then told everybody to flee to Israel because of Muslim persecution.

        As far as dhimmis go, it was a title conferred to protected non-Muslim religious groups in Muslim majority states. While dhimmis had certain restrictions, any respectable scholar can tell you that their rights were fully protected. Anyhow you will find that historically, minority groups have been lower in the social hierarchy in generally all societies through either de jure or de facto means, not exclusively in Middle Eastern ones as you seem to suggest. This continues to this day. Also, the title of dhimmis was not exclusive to Jews–it was given to Christians, Zoroastrians, Sabians, Buddhists, etc but they didn’t terrorize the Middle East because of it.

      • jonah
        July 18, 2012, 9:27 pm

        without typos:)

        Roya –

        So let me get this straight, the very moment that a zygote formed from the gametes of two Muslim Arabs turns into an embryo, there’s some Jew-hating gene taking form?

        No, but from the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish brainwashing the Arab society is subjected in school, politics, media and mosque.
        A couple of recent examples:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kDoV8ZL9Xkc
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI3wG3loKlA

        No, so why in the world would you propose that Israel is a safe haven for Jews?

        Because in Israel they will not be not threatened or persecuted for the simple reason of being Jewish. But this is the case in Azerbaijan, America or Europe. The threats against Jews in Israel come, once again, from outside, their hostile neighbors (Palestinians or other Arab/Muslim groups or countries).

        FYI: Anti-Semitism in world is still a widespread scourge : http://antisemitism.org.il/, regardless of Israel, or better: Israel is often the alibi to let out anti-Jewish instincts.

        Ok, I will put this in broad terms….

        Of course, of course: that’s why also Austria still claims South Tyrol, which was annexed by Italy after WWI; or why the Sudeten Germans still hate so deeply the Czechoslovak state because of their expulsion in the immediate aftermath of WW2 and want to regain the lost territories, together with all their descendants; or why, if you prefer, the American Indians still want to restore their immense property of land that white settlers from overseas came to steal; or why, last but not least, the Mizrahi Jews still want all their properties back, stolen after the majority of them was forcedly expelled from and by their Arab lands ………… Have you got the hint or should I continue the endless list?

        “I’m not condoning anything, just telling you a bit about how life works.”

        I could say the same.

        While dhimmis had certain restrictions, any respectable scholar can tell you that their rights were fully protected.

        Full protected? You speak in denial – or out of ignorance.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world#Medieval_times
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world#Views_in_Modernity
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world#Twentieth_century

      • Roya
        July 18, 2012, 10:59 pm

        Full protected? You speak in denial – or out of ignorance.

        That’s funny, I speak based on the same source you use. “According to scholars, dhimmis had their rights fully protected in their communities, but as subjects to the Muslim state, had certain restrictions” from the Wikipedia dhimmi page. Same can also be found here.

        No, but from the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish brainwashing the Arab society is subjected in school, politics, media and mosque.

        If I got a shekel everytime I heard this I would be a trillionaire. Textbooks in Palestine and throughout the Middle East for that matter are heavily monitored by international organizations (though Palestinian ones get special attention). So there can only be limited “anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish brainwashing.” Israeli textbooks, on the other hand, go unchallenged and they flourish with anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian brainwashing. See Peled-Elhanan’s Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. You my friend, could benefit tremendously from reading it so here it is at Amazon Italy and here’s a preview of the sad reality that you will inevitably and reflexively deny. As far as bias “in politics, media, and mosques,” I’d like to refer you to my Mr. and Mrs. Jones analogy. You can’t blame victims for hating their victimizers, and your very own Ehud Barak doesn’t either. When a Haaretz reporter asked him what he would doif he were Palestinian he immediately replied that he would join a terrorist group. Not that that means anything, since Mr. Barak is already the head of the world’s “best financed, best armed, best fed terrorist organization” (also the words of one of your own, the highly respectable Miko Peled). :D

        Of course, of course: that’s why also Austria still claims South Tyrol, which…

        Mr. Jonah in case you don’t read the articles here on Mondoweiss and instead opt to go straight to the comments in order to waste the time of people like me with your hasbara, the Palestinian Nakba is still going on. Others you mentioned live in the aftermath and with the consequences of their nakbas, but they are not subjugated to abuse, occupation, and terror on a daily basis like the Palestinians are. And one more thing–Zionists claim that Jews prayed with fervor for the past 2,000 years to return to their “homeland,” so why can’t Palestinians who have been expelled for a fraction of that time have the same desire? Of course this is untrue as the obsession with Eretz Israel is very recent (see Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the State of Israel but you should get the point.

      • jonah
        July 19, 2012, 9:40 am

        That’s funny, I speak based on the same source you use.

        The fact that you are in intentional denial about the status of Jews under Islamic rule (which is the premise for historical revisionism), doesn’t change the historical facts: Jews under Islamic rule were tolerated at best, traditionally discriminated and consistently persecuted. Please take note:
        http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/Chapter%207%3A%20Persecution%20of%20the%20Jews%20Under%20Islam
        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Jews_in_Arab_lands_(gen).html

        So there can only be limited “anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish brainwashing.

        Again, you seem not aware of the reality. There is in fact a systematic anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic propaganda in the Arab/Muslim world. Please take note:
        http://www.adl.org/main_Arab_World/default.htm

        Peled-Elhanan’s Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks: Ideology and Propaganda in Education.

        Ms. Peled is a well-known leftist with radical views on the Israeli society. Her researches are considered biased and find no consensus in the academic world.
        http://www.impact-se.org/docs/reactions/individuals/NuritPeled2006.pdf

        the Palestinian Nakba is still going on

        The Palestinian have chosen – from the first moment of their nationalist movement – terror and war rather than peace. Their “on-going Nakba”, as you call it, is mainly self-inflicted. If they don’t want or can not change their strategy, they will in the long term lose the opportunity for their own state and will eventually be absorbed by neighboring countries.

        <i<so why can’t Palestinians who have been expelled for a fraction of that time have the same desire?

        They can but it makes only sense through the will for peace process, compromise and true reconciliation.

        see Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the State of Israel

        Sorry to correct you again: it’s called “The invention of the Jewish people”. But don’t worry: this Freudian slip says it all ….

      • Roya
        July 19, 2012, 8:39 pm

        It speaks volumes that you are so unwilling to accept the bitter truth that you will come up with any excuse possible not to even bother seeing what Peled-Elhanan had to say for yourself. You are as open-minded as a rock and I prefer to debate with people, so I’m not going to give a full reply because this will go on and on in no direction. But I’m not letting the Freudian slip thing go by—Sand wrote a new book that is to be published later this year. I did make a minor mistake in the name, but it was hardly a “Freudian slip.” It is called The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland.

        Zionism is nearing its deathbed and I hope for your own sake that after it gets tossed into the ash can of failed 20th century political ideologies you will be able to think independently and without the need to cling to a tribal mentality.

      • jonah
        July 20, 2012, 9:11 am

        Zionism is nearing its deathbed and I hope for your own sake that after it gets tossed into the ash

        Sounds hateful and delusional like Ahmadinejad. When you talk about dying Zionism (yes, in your wet dreams), this can only mean the State of Israel and its people as a whole, who represent the historical, tangible realisation of the very Zionist ideals. The two things can not be separated. Do you belong to this sort of enemies of Israel that wish every day her demise?

        Can I ask you what kind of ideology subtends mind-set?

      • jonah
        July 20, 2012, 9:12 am

        … subtends your mind-set?

      • Blake
        July 20, 2012, 9:31 am

        Roya: That book is already out in “Israel” am surprised Jonah had not heard of it.