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Jews can’t be ‘a force for good’ without Israel, says Jewish Federations report

Israel/Palestine
on 77 Comments
Theodor Herzl

Theodor Herzl

The Jewish Federations are the leading communal body in Jewish life in the US. Last month it released this report, “Israel: Jewish and democratic,” which aims to counter “the concerted assault on Israel’s legitimacy” and on the “moral and legal right of the Jewish people to national self-determination in its historic homeland” from anti-Zionists.

The report is by two people who don’t choose to live in Israel: Gil Troy, professor of History at McGill in Canada, and Martin Raffel, an executive at the Jewish Center for Public Affairs.

The report begins by explaining that Jews are a “people,” both a religious and a national group. Then here’s an excerpt from pp. 3-4, explaining Zionist ideals for that people:

Zionism, quite simply, is Jewish nationalism, or, more elaborately, the Jewish movement of national liberation,
first to build and now perfect a Jewish democratic state in the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland….

[I]n his visionary 1896 book “The Jewish State,” [Theodor] Herzl dreamed of the Jewish state as a liberal model for the world. “We shall live at last as free people on our own soil, and in our own homes peacefully die,” Herzl wrote. “The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all humanity.”

In this passage, Herzl articulated the essential Zionist message that still holds true, and that echoes in the liberal nationalism of most Western nation states — that only through self-determination can utopian ideals be achieved, that a community first must unite and protect itself before it can become a force for good.

Nationalism posits that the community is the best structure through which to implement high ideals — sometimes out of broad conviction, sometimes out of sad necessity. There is, of course, a rich, ongoing debate about how to balance universalism and particularism. But it is very odd that often the same anti-Zionist forces that go out of their way to celebrate Palestinian nationalism insist on negating Zionism. Mutual respect for each people’s collective sense of self is a better approach.

This is obviously a strongly-nationalist tract. But is it true that a “community first must unite and protect itself before it can become a force for good”? The ADL was formed 100 years ago after the Leo Frank case in Georgia, to combat anti-Semitism. It didn’t need a Jewish state to do that. Was American Jewish participation in the civil rights movement or the antiwar movement predicated on our community “having” a state in our name 5000 miles away? Kurds don’t have a state. Does that mean they can’t do good?

Update: This piece originally stated that the report came out in August. It was evidently turned in then, published in September.

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About Philip Weiss

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77 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    October 21, 2013, 1:56 pm

    ” “The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all humanity.”

    In this passage, Herzl articulated the essential Zionist message that still holds true”……

    We’re better than you. That’s the message.

  2. radii
    radii
    October 21, 2013, 2:05 pm

    the tide of history is stirring and it will wash away this propaganda – jews have been around nearly 6000 years (as long as the Chinese) and zionism just over 100 … the nationalist movement is the biggest threat to jews today

  3. seafoid
    seafoid
    October 21, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Israeli jews do f%$& all good when set against the work of the idf. The balance is skewed heavily negative. Israel as a role model is laughable.

  4. Dutch
    Dutch
    October 21, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Come on guys, a little serious please. I don’t know who the people are that cooked up this blatant nonsense, but I wonder why anyone should take this as a serious effort. Any high school student would be ashamed for this rubbish.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      October 21, 2013, 4:43 pm

      I wonder why anyone should take this as a serious effort. Any high school student would be ashamed for this rubbish.

      Agreed. The authors stated 5 bullet points at the outset that were nothing but half-truths and false propositions, which they promised to “explain”.

      The CERD has repeatedly called upon Israel to ensure that “the definition of Israel as a Jewish nation state does not result, in any systemic distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin in the enjoyment of human rights” and urged Israel “to assure equality in the right to return to one’s country and in the possession of property.”

      So I was very interested to see how the authors could reconcile the obvious conflict between the criteria contained in the ICERD with the legal preferences granted to Jews under various statutes, including the Law of Return. They deployed a lame-assed rhetorical and tautological argument that wouldn’t even satisfy a normal sixth grader, much less the CERD panel of experts.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        October 21, 2013, 6:51 pm

        Hostage,

        Can you tell me what you disagree about the first of their 5 points?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 22, 2013, 5:41 am

        Hostage, Can you tell me what you disagree about the first of their 5 points?

        Surely. The authors claim that “being Jewish means belonging to a people with a culture, language, shared history and national identity”. That’s only half true. There are a number of Jewish peoples with different cultures, languages, history, and national identities. The social and dietary taboos adopted by some Jewish groups are incompatible and exclude other Jewish groups. It’s much more correct for scholars and historians to talk about various Jewish cultures, e.g. “Cultures of the Jews: A New History”, David Biale (Editor), Schocken/Random House, 2002, because there really is no overarching, single, inclusive Jewish culture, language, or people.

        The authors also say that “being Jewish is not merely a religious category like Christianity or Islam”. There are nonetheless Christian and Muslim States with established official religions that are just as much a part of their national ethnic-religious identity. During the Ottoman era, religious privileges and personal legal status were accorded to different nationalities and their communities (ethno-religious groups) in Palestine, including: Sunni Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Community, the Latin Catholic Community, the Gregorian Armenian Community, the Armenian Catholic Community, the Syrian Catholic Community, the Chaldean Uniate Community, the Jewish Community, the Greek Catholic Melkite Community, the Maronite Community, and the Syrian Orthodox Community.

        The State of Israel has retained that archaic system and elaborated on it, by adding the Druze Community, the Evangelical Episcopal Church, and the Bahai Community. So, many of the 130 “nationalities” adopted by the interior ministry are strictly defined in religious and ethnic terms, not unlike the terms used to define the Jewish nationality. See for example: Sezgin, Yuksel, The Israeli Millet System: Examining Legal Pluralism through Lenses of Nation-Building and Human Rights (October 27, 2011). Israel Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 631-654, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1731404

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        October 22, 2013, 4:52 pm

        From a scientific perspective, isn’t nationality actually a matter of ethnicity, taking into consideration language, history, etc.? Wouldn’t that make Palestinians “Jewish” if the DNA tests about them are correct, considering that a number of both Jews and Palestinians are aware of this shared background of Palestinians?

  5. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    October 21, 2013, 2:42 pm

    This statement makes me sick. Such awful enforcing party-line propaganda.

    FIRST: The nonsense of the spurious do-good claim (“that a community first must unite and protect itself before it can become a force for good”) is plain to see. Are they saying (these American do-goodsters) that they themselves (Americans) can DO NO GOOD until Israel is finished with its self-inflicted endless conflict? In that case, why should anyone support them for the purpose of doing good NOW or EVER? And if they care to distinguish themselves from the community of Israel — which I doubt — then what has Israel and its successes and failures got to do with THEM?

    SECOND: the mention of “moral and legal right of the Jewish people to national self-determination in its historic homeland” is also spurious.

    In the history reported in the Bible, there were two Jewish kingdoms, not one, and neither was (territorially) ALL of Palestine. and even together they were not all of Palestine (tho they contained parts of Jordan, etc.) (see also here) showing that the two kingdoms did not contain Acre, Ashdod, Ashkelon.

    Also, “IN” seems more akin to “WITHIN” “INSIDE” “IN BUT NOT ALL OF” than “CONSISTING OF ALL OF” — compare: the moral and legal right of the Jewish people to national self-determination on a territory CONSISTING OF ALL OF its historic homeland” .

    THIRD: Since when do ONLY Jews have a right to a national home in their historic homeland? Don’t the Palestinians have the same right? where does the JEWISH PRE-EMINENCE come from?

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      October 21, 2013, 4:54 pm

      Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants

      “We’re racist because we want to preserves our lives and our sanity” , with the Hebrew German r .

      Tikkun Olam for the 21st century

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      October 22, 2013, 4:28 pm

      Since when do ONLY Jews have a right to a national home in their historic homeland? Don’t the Palestinians have the same right?

      Article 1 of the UN Charter makes the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples inseparable.

      An ethnic national group can’t condition participation in the political, economic, or social life of the State on basis of ethnic characteristics without violating those principles and the solution prescribed in Article 1 for solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, i.e. promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

      So the United Nations and Zionism have always worked at cross-purposes. Zionism simply employs the term self-determination without any connection or regard for the inseparable principles of equality, respect for human rights, and for fundamental freedoms and justice for all.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      October 22, 2013, 4:52 pm

      If there is a right which some can claim, there must be true universal statement of the form ‘All have the right to…’ I have never seen such a universal statement in remotely plausible form when it comes to ‘national self-determination’. Were one provided we could begin to judge how it applied to Jewish and Palestinian people.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 23, 2013, 11:35 am

        If there is a right which some can claim, there must be true universal statement of the form ‘All have the right to…’ I have never seen such a universal statement in remotely plausible form when it comes to ‘national self-determination’.

        Respect for “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” is an obligation imposed by Article 1 of the UN Charter. The two things are inseparable. So, you can’t define the term “peoples” in such a way that it describes a territory, without some of the inhabitants.

        The principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples – for both countries and non-self-governing territories – is codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Those legal documents have been collectively described as the “International Bill of Rights”.

        The application of the right of self determination can’t be used to negate the inseparable principle of equal rights for minority or ethnic groups and keep them from participating in the political life of the territory that they inhabit. The scope of self-determination always been specifically limited by the criteria regarding the exercise of equal political, social, and economic rights by minorities. Some examples are the minority protection plan (Part C) of resolution 181(II) and its plan for economic union and transit (Part D); the prohibition of secession in Article 6 of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, and the application of the principle of uti possidetis to prevent fratricidal wars aimed at altering the boundaries of former colonial territories, like Burkina-Faso and Mali.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 23, 2013, 5:04 pm

        I know that the idea of self-determination is often mentioned with great respect, including in the UN Charter. I still don’t see what is being claimed. ‘All groups of people living in any defined area have a right to determine (and to re-determine at any time) by majority vote among themselves what government should exist in the territory where they live’ would imply all sorts of conflicting and undesirable things.
        I can see that if an existing polity is in fact unavoidably breaking up there is strong (not always overwhelming) reason to set up governments in each of its former provinces that are as acceptable as possible to those living in that province at the time. But even this runs into all sorts of difficulties about defining what boundaries among provinces should be drawn – should they be those of the former empire or new ones? ‘As acceptable as possible’ may not mean ‘very acceptable’. We may find that the only acceptable government is one that is in some serious ways very unjust: is there then an obligation to legitimise and support it?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 24, 2013, 7:46 am

        In my various posts on the topic of the alleged right, I have shown that in some interpretations of the right:

        (a) it has bizarre consequences.
        (E.g., Australian Jews have it twice over (once in common with other Australians, and once in common with other Jews) whereas other Australians do not. And of course there are the stamp collectors, the left-handed lesbian Latvian spokeshavers apprentices, and the West Brisbane Cheesecake Photography Club.)
        (b) it can clash with other rights that are at least as important, and thus, even if there is such a right, it is a heavily conditioned right. If creating the state would severely harm a minority of residents in the territory, or cause serious harm to the residents of surrounding territories, these considerations can annul the right.
        (c) it can produce results that are morally wrong.

        These results are, I think, a pretty good set of reasons for treating the alleged right with scepticism.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 24, 2013, 8:16 am

        ‘All groups of people living in any defined area have a right to determine (and to re-determine at any time) by majority vote among themselves what government should exist in the territory where they live’ would imply all sorts of conflicting and undesirable things.

        That may be the case. But the object of the UN Charter and the human rights conventions was to rule out the possibility of wars of aggression and foreign domination by other states or empires. That was a more pressing problem that was worldwide in scope. Conflicting and undesirable results from democratic elections and protection of minorities doesn’t usually pose a threat to international peace or security.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 24, 2013, 11:47 am

        Establishing peace may have been the motive but it was and is dangerous to try to achieve anything by making ethical pronouncements that actually make no sense. We see with the proof before our eyes how statements which do not make sense, but are very much respected, can be exploited to sanctify misdeeds.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 24, 2013, 12:08 pm

        Quite agree with RoHa. I think (subject to correction; there are people here who know the history much better than I do) that self-determination became an important idea as an attempt to rationalise the dismemberment, justified or not, of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires. I think it failed horribly in both contexts – at least in persuading those involved that the settlement was just. Perhaps no other idea would have served better. In emergencies every course of action may be unsatisfactory.
        The function of government is surely to regulate the relationships and accommodate the differences of the individuals and groups subject to it. This implies a degree of toleration on the government’s part and if that toleration is denied then the government has become tyrannical. On the other hand the same principle implies that the groups that make up the country accept the government’s right to regulate them and do not insist that they will not be governed at all except by those who conspicuously represent them only and are therefore to a degree alienated from all other and all ‘minority’ groups. So it seems to me that the alleged right of self-determination is everywhere subversive and menacing, not to mention paradoxical because of the myriad conflicting ways in which both people and territories can be demarcated.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 24, 2013, 1:31 pm

        Establishing peace may have been the motive but it was and is dangerous to try to achieve anything by making ethical pronouncements that actually make no sense.

        The fact is that it is unethical to govern people without their consent. The declarations regarding equal rights for minorities and indigenous peoples, plus the ones prohibiting unilateral secession, wars of aggression, & etc. work in concert with the customary doctrines like uti possidetis, which is aimed at preventing fratricidal civil wars, like the one in Palestine. That all makes perfectly good sense.

        The UN Charter, the human rights conventions, and those declarations only deal with the obligation of the signatory States to respect the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples (plural). They don’t provide any legal basis for one people to exercise self-determination over territory inhabited by another people. The right of a State to exist does not imply the right to commit wrongful acts against others. The declarations and conventions do envision confederations and federal states comprised of many peoples. The Declaration On Principles Of International Law Friendly Relations And Co-Operation Among States In Accordance With The Charter Of The United Nations stipulates that establishment of an independent state, integration with an independent State, or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of implementing the right of self-determination by that people.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 25, 2013, 5:41 am

        Quite agree with RoHa. I think (subject to correction; there are people here who know the history much better than I do) that self-determination became an important idea as an attempt to rationalise the dismemberment, justified or not, of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires.

        Not really. It was a US policy pushed by Wilson, but it was not accepted by the other powers. The new European states were made subject to minority treaties and granted their independence. There was even a Committee on Minorities and the Creation of New states established for that purpose. Only the overseas territories were made subject to the mandates. The disparity in treatment and the third party nature of the decision making process was actually a denial of the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples.

        Lloyd George insisted that the LoN mandates could not be used to violate the treaty agreements concluded with the Hashemites during a meeting of the Council of Four. He also stated the agreement was basis of the Sykes-Picot treaty. http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1919Parisv05&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=7

        The British Cabinet papers regarding the commitments to Hussein note that the Sharif advised both Picot and Sykes during the negotiations that he would only agree to British or French advisors on the understanding that they would have no executive authority whatsoever.
        * See pdf file page 9 of 21 in:
        Former Reference: GT 6185
        Title: British Commitments to King Husein.
        Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
        Date November 1918
        Catalogue reference CAB 24/68
        http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?queryType=1&resultcount=1&Edoc_Id=7960299

        At the very same meeting of the Council of Four, President Wilson said that Americans were indifferent to the claims of the Great Britain and France to peoples, unless those peoples wanted them. http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1919Parisv05&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=9

        So he insisted on sending an Allied Commission to inquire about their wishes. But the Principle Allied Powers never bothered to send their own delegations and they ignored the recommendations forwarded by the US King-Crane mission. http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1919Parisv05&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=12

        The British and French also backtracked on their public declaration which promised:

        “the complete and final liberation of the peoples who have for so long been oppressed by the Turks, and the setting up of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the free exercise of the initiative and choice of the indigenous populations.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-French_Declaration

        It’s common knowledge here that Foreign Secretary Balfour wrote a memo to his successor, Curzon, from the Paris Peace Conference explaining that the Americans were going through the motions of asking about the wishes of the Arab inhabitants, but that the principle powers didn’t care. He noted that the Arabs would have to accept whatever advice or tutelage they were given, because it would be imposed by force. He said that the British and French allies would break the promise of Arab independence they had made in 1919, because:

        Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land … in short, so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.

        You can read the entire memo here: –See Nº. 242. Memorandum by Mr. Balfour (Paris) respecting Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia’ [132187/2117/44A], August 11, 1919 http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/60431057?access_key=key-136ulpy32ssl2l27p8nb

        So the breakup of the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires is a well documented case of the violation of the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples. The abusive nature of the mandates was an international scandal. The Yalta Conference recommended that it be scrapped altogether and a better system of trusteeship established under UN auspices.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        October 25, 2013, 6:02 am

        “The abusive nature of the mandates was an international scandal. ”

        The British walked away from Kashmir, Cyprus and Palestine. Wars in all 3. They took over Northern Ireland, another imperial basket case.

  6. LanceThruster
    LanceThruster
    October 21, 2013, 2:46 pm

    And you can’t have the trains run on time in Italy without Mussolini, nu?

  7. seafoid
    seafoid
    October 21, 2013, 3:02 pm

    ““We shall live at last as free people on our own soil, and in our own homes peacefully die,” Herzl wrote. “The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. ”

    Herzl must have imagined nationalism the way celebrities envision their first marriage. Real life is actually quite grubby and the Zionists still don’t have the hang of it.

    • kayq
      kayq
      October 22, 2013, 1:52 am

      The irony behind Herzl is he was an assimilated Jew, an atheist, he did not face antisemitism much.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 22, 2013, 4:12 am

        kayq- Herzl lived in Vienna in the 80’s and 90’s and he looked like a Jew. He faced antisemitism. Why would you say he didn’t? Because he wasn’t murdered? Is that your standard for “much”? As if assimilation and atheism made his Jewish face look Aryan?

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 22, 2013, 5:28 am

        Herzl encountered the anti-Jewish tirades of Karl Lueger who was elected Mayor of Vienna against the will of the Emperor but (I understand) with support from the Pope. Lueger notoriously didnt mean what he said. exploiting mass anti-Semitism to further his career and perhaps thought that he was providing a harmless safety valve

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 22, 2013, 5:35 am

        You can hardly blame Herzl for being alarmed by Lueger. But it’s interesting that Herzl, who was successful in the non-Jewish world , did not suspect anti-Semitism when he encountered the early stages of the Dreyfus case and he was one of the leading foreign journalists in Paris.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        October 22, 2013, 5:37 am

        @ yonah fredman
        Herzl lived as a professional in the upper socio-economic tier of middle class life in his time and place; he may have faced anti-semitism but, unlike the majority of non-Jewish folks, he lived quite comfortably, thank you. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/264012/Theodor-Herzl

      • talknic
        talknic
        October 22, 2013, 5:39 am

        yonah fredman “Herzl lived in Vienna in the 80′s and 90′s and he looked like a Jew.”

        Take away the clothes and it’s impossible to tell who is a Jew.

      • kayq
        kayq
        October 22, 2013, 8:11 am

        Okay maybe I was wrong to say that he didn’t face antisemitism at all considering he did look Jewish but yeah he enjoyed the tiers of the middle/upper class. Basically going with what Citizen said.

      • amigo
        amigo
        October 22, 2013, 10:58 am

        jonah, what does a jew look like???.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        October 22, 2013, 1:29 pm

        US : Philip Roth
        West Bank: Shades, olive uniform, Auto rifle, checkpoint/ kippa, rifle, mad eyes
        Gaza : angel of death

      • tree
        tree
        October 22, 2013, 1:59 pm

        He faced antisemitism. Why would you say he didn’t? Because he wasn’t murdered? Is that your standard for “much”?

        Well, yonah, not only was he not murdered, but he lived an upper middle class life, was able to go to college and beyond, and pursue a lucrative profession with few barriers put in his way. He wasn’t ethnically cleansed from his home, he didn’t have his house demolished in front of his eyes, with no chance to claim his few possessions, nor was he later charged for the “privilege’ of having the state demolish it. His children weren’t arrested in the middle of the night, held without charge and tortured. He didn’t have to suffer through a belligerent military occupation, or have his freedom of movement curtailed through a system of checkpoints and permits, and he wasn’t told that he didn’t exist or that he was a terrorist simply because of his ethnicity.

        So, yeah, compared to what his harebrained racist scheme unleashed on the Palestinians, Herzl didn’t suffer much at all. Does that clear it up for you?

      • kayq
        kayq
        October 22, 2013, 2:15 pm

        Oh seafoid, you never fail to amuse me.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 22, 2013, 8:34 pm

        amigo- Jews don’t all look alike. But Herzl (with his beard) looks conspicuously nonAryan.

      • amigo
        amigo
        October 23, 2013, 6:29 am

        “West Bank: Shades, olive uniform, Auto rifle, checkpoint/ kippa, rifle, mad eyes”seafoid

        Sneaking behind Palestinian Human Shield.

        “http://www.haaretz.com/news/b-tselem-idf-used-palestinian-girl-as-human-shield-in-nablus-1.215065”

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 23, 2013, 12:02 pm

        tree- You object to Zionism. Accepted. Herzl suffered much less than the average Palestinian. Accepted. Herzl sensed that a s**t storm was heading the way of the Jews. Fact. Herzl conceived a plan to save the Jews from that coming s**t storm. Fact. His assimilation and his high standard of living did not dull him into accepting his own status in society as a proof of what was coming for the Yehudim.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 24, 2013, 8:02 am

        Herzl sensed that a s**t storm was heading the way of the Jews. Fact.

        Herzl was no prophet. He helped create that s**t storm by writing political pamphlets that claimed the unnatural and alien Jewish presence among Gentiles was the root cause of anti-Semitism. He was writing about existing anti-Semitic attitudes in Russia, Germany, and France after the fact. The Russian Jews were certainly persecuted. Their property was destroyed and they were routinely assaulted and abused. But they were not usually murdered, even during the pograms.

    • talknic
      talknic
      October 22, 2013, 6:16 am

      Rather odd that Herzl, who in his life time could have immigrated, gained citizenship, bought land anywhere in Palestine and settled. Didn’t! Nor did his family.

      It’s also rather ironic that he’s now buried in non-Israeli territory illegally acquired by the Jewish state, whose expansionist policies and illegal facts on the ground have made it a self delegitimizing pariah, attracting deserved condemnation

      • kayq
        kayq
        October 22, 2013, 8:11 am

        talknic, I agree, and it is rich coming from a guy who wanted to push Arabs across the border by denying them employment.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 23, 2013, 12:28 pm

        talknic- Herzl was not a pioneer and did not see himself as a pioneer. He saw himself as a mover and a shaker. It is not odd that he did not move there himself. He was trying to change 2000 years of history with one fell swoop. Nothing odd about it. Your comment is silly.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        October 24, 2013, 6:33 am

        He saw himself as a mover and a shaker.

        Yeah, someone who didn’t want to move to Palestine.

        He was trying to change 2000 years of history with one fell swoop.

        Nothing to do with 2000 years of history. It’s an established fact there was not a single Jewish historical text written between 1st ce (Josephus Flavius) & early 19th ce (Isaak Markus Jost). For almost 2000yrs Jews were not interested in their own or anyone else’s past, at least not enough to chronicle it. As a matter of convenience, an adequate scrutiny of past was never a primary concern within Rabbinical tradition. As Israeli historian Shlomo Sand puts it,“a secular chronological time was foreign to the ‘Diaspora time’ that was shaped by coming of Messiah”

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        October 24, 2013, 7:00 am

        It’s an established fact there was not a single Jewish historical text written between 1st ce (Josephus Flavius) & early 19th ce (Isaak Markus Jost).

        Shingo,

        You might want to have a look at Sand’s footnote there, or maybe even look up the source of the assertion (Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi’s Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory). There were in fact a number of Jewish historical writings between Josephus and Jost (even including a few chronicles, in the 16th century). Yerushalmi’s point is far more nuanced, and pertains to conceptions of history and memory (as the title of his book suggests), not disinterest in the past.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        October 24, 2013, 7:30 am

        Thanks for the clarification Shmuel.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 24, 2013, 7:30 am

        It is not odd that he did not move there himself.

        Yes it is a little bit odd. Jews who didn’t acknowledge a personal obligation to move to Palestine and help build-up the national home were considered non-Zionists. They were even excluded from working in the Jewish Agency by the 13th Zionist Congress in 1923. That decision wasn’t reversed until the 16th Congress in 1929. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/zionman.html

      • talknic
        talknic
        October 24, 2013, 9:32 am

        yonah fredman “Herzl … saw himself as a mover and a shaker”

        He was ‘shaking’ the British so Jews could ‘move’ to Uganda when he died

        ” He was trying to change 2000 years of history with one fell swoop.”

        One can’t change history, one can only attempt to influence the future

  8. yrn
    yrn
    October 21, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Kurds don’t have a state.
    Is it because they don’t want to. ?
    Kurds Nationalism started in WWI and never stopped and is stronger as ever today.
    You just picked the worst example as usual.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 21, 2013, 4:46 pm

      Nonsense. The point remains: the Kurds exist. As would the Jews without the bastard zionist creation.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      October 21, 2013, 5:03 pm

      Phil: Kurds don’t have a state. Does that mean they can’t do good?

      yrn: Is it because they don’t want to. ? Kurds Nationalism started in WWI and never stopped and is stronger as ever today. You just picked the worst example as usual.

      Phil was driving home an obvious point by asking that rhetorical question. Apparently it went a little over your head.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia
        October 21, 2013, 8:28 pm

        what kind of state are the Kurds asking though? any room for the non-Kurds? non -muslim?
        I am all for it as long as Kurds respect the lingisuitic and religious minorities.
        Evry nation in it has the inevitability of it’s own slow transformation that comes non violently with passsage of times with exposure to new ideas, new technologies, migration,emigration, climatie changes, external and internal politics. A Jewish State does not leave that possibility by its very doctrine of purity and eternality ,thus it sets itself against violent collison course or degeneration in simple ossification.

    • talknic
      talknic
      October 22, 2013, 6:00 am

      yrn “Kurds don’t have a state.
      Is it because they don’t want to. ?”

      Apologists for Israel HAVE to miss the point in order to continue their argument

      Never the less, to answer your question: The Kurds are spread across the borders of more than one already existing state.

      In order to have an independent Kurdish state, all of those countries would have to cede territory. Hugely difficult and; unlike Israel/Palestine, where Israel occupies Palestinian territory outside the State of Israel, I’m not aware that Kurdish territory is occupied by any state. It’s an entirely different situation in respect to having their own state.

      It is not entirely different when it comes to whether people can do good or not and/or exist without a state

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        October 22, 2013, 7:28 am

        yrn “Kurds don’t have a state.
        Is it because they don’t want to. ?”

        Kurds have been granted citizenship in every state they reside in. The same cannot be said for Palestinians.

  9. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    October 21, 2013, 5:05 pm

    I would think it plainly possible for any group that proclaims ideals, as religious groups tend to do, to be a force for good if the proclaimed ideals are good ones. What else could it be? No one needs control of territory to exercise moral influence in the world.
    I would not expect any group defined by race or ancestry to be a force either for good or for evil. There is no hereditary goodness found in certain groups and not in others.

  10. seafoid
    seafoid
    October 21, 2013, 5:18 pm

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.553680

    “The Anti-Defamation League released a list of the top 10 most “influential and active anti-Israel groups” in the U.S. on Monday, highlighting organizations it sees as being “fixated with delegitimizing Israel” and providing “misleading narratives” about Israel.

    The top 10 anti-Israel groups, as identified by ADL:

    ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
    American Muslims for Palestine
    CODEPINK
    Friends of Sabeel-North America
    If Americans Knew/Council for the National Interest
    Jewish Voice for Peace
    Muslim Public Affairs Council
    Neturei Karta
    Students for Justice in Palestine
    U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
    Information on each of the groups, as well as a description of their tactics, is available in the full report on the ADL’s web site.

    http://www.adl.org/israel-international/anti-israel-activity/c/2013-top-ten-anti-israel-groups.html

    So JVP is a mortal enemy of the Jewish state while the Jewish state is a force for good- WTF?

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      October 21, 2013, 5:36 pm

      ADL — what effrontery! Why isn’t MondoWeiss in the top ten? It is a disgrace for any moral person not to be SOMEWHERE on ADL’s enemies-list, but surely they could have squeezed MW in there?

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        October 21, 2013, 5:38 pm

        I guess Max Blumenthal and his parents will replace NK in the next version of the sh*t list.

    • amigo
      amigo
      October 22, 2013, 9:01 am

      Making that list is a badge of Honour.

      Where do I apply?.

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel
      October 22, 2013, 9:08 am

      “fixated with delegitimizing Israel” and providing “misleading narratives” about Israel

      A fair description of the Jewish Federations of North America and, come to think of it, the ADL itself.

  11. piotr
    piotr
    October 21, 2013, 6:39 pm

    Herzl was not all that original. I suspect that you could put “Livonians” instead for “Jews” and the tract would still circulate with considerable popularity (among the Livonians). [I am not serious about the Livonians, I guess there are no people claiming to be Livonians anymore]

  12. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    October 21, 2013, 10:50 pm

    Herzl was referring to the largest Jewish community of his time: Eastern European Jewry under the rule of the Czar. (He could also have been referring to his own community: Jews living in the Austro Hungarian Empire.) Referring to those communities it was relevant and true, that those communities needed to protect themselves before they could contribute to the world. Unfortunately those communities were crushed by Stalin and slaughtered by Hitler and were never able to contribute as communities (rather than as individuals) to the world. What was possible in the US turned out not to be possible in the practical real world of Eastern and Central Europe.

    • tree
      tree
      October 22, 2013, 2:33 pm

      Unfortunately those communities were crushed by Stalin and slaughtered by Hitler …

      As were many other non-Jewish Eastern European communities, some of whom even “had their own states”. It didn’t prevent them from being overrun by stronger forces. If you seriously think that “having your own state” protects you, just think about the most recent example of the power of having a state- Iraq. Having their own state certainly helped them, right? Oh, wait…maybe not.

      And even having a strong state doesn’t help you if you grossly overstep your bounds and incur the wrath of the rest of the world. The Third Reich ensured its own demise.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 22, 2013, 8:39 pm

        tree- Remember the big bad wolf, who couldn’t blow down the house made of bricks. Well, in the sequel, the big bad wolf could blow up the house made of bricks. Still, we think that pig was smarter than the rest by building his house of bricks and not twigs or straw. So it is with the history of the Jews. In fact, sovereignty was not enough to save the countries in Hitler’s path. Yet, still a house made of bricks seems better than a house made of straw.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        October 23, 2013, 6:51 am

        Remember the big bad wolf, who couldn’t blow down the house made of bricks.

        Pst. Didn’t anyone tell you the big bad wolf wasn’t real?

      • amigo
        amigo
        October 24, 2013, 8:53 am

        “Yet, still a house made of bricks seems better than a house made of straw.”yf

        Your arguments are made of straw.

        Why not make them from concrete.

      • eljay
        eljay
        October 24, 2013, 10:44 am

        >> So it is with the history of the Jews. In fact, sovereignty was not enough to save the countries in Hitler’s path. Yet, still a house made of bricks seems better than a house made of straw.

        It’s a pity, then, that the Palestinians did not have a house of bricks to prevent the Jews from ethnically cleansing them from their homes and lands and setting up an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine.

        And it’s another great argument in support of Iran’s alleged quest to build nuclear weapons.

  13. CloakAndDagger
    CloakAndDagger
    October 22, 2013, 1:06 am

    Interesting that I could not find any mention of “anti semitism” – just “anti Israel” in their full PDF report. It seems they are no longer trying to conflate the two. However, if they agree that these two terms are separate, how do they justify their support of Israel as an American lobby group without registering as agents of a foreign nation?

  14. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    October 22, 2013, 8:40 am

    Writing on the CounterPunch website, M. Shahid Alam knows the score about Herzl, who proclaimed in public that the establishment of Israel wouldn’t hurt anybody, while writing exactly the opposite in his secret diary. For details, click here.

  15. seafoid
    seafoid
    October 22, 2013, 9:15 am

    The memes – like Zionism as a force for good- came back to me when I was making stock with some chicken bones. I threw 3 carrots into the pot and when the stock was done I looked at one of the carrots. All of its goodness was gone into the stock and what was left was just a shell.

    And that is where Israel is now. A used carrot nobody would bother eating.

    • amigo
      amigo
      October 22, 2013, 1:40 pm

      “And that is where Israel is now. A used carrot nobody would bother eating.” Seafoid

      Israel has been offered the Carrot far too long.It is time for the stick.

    • piotr
      piotr
      October 22, 2013, 1:46 pm

      I got a chicken-vegetable pie today at an Amish market and my impression is that I did exactly what seafold wrote that nobody does. You see, when you take a carrot out of context it may superficially look like a tasteless husk, but if you spoon it into your mouth together with the rest of the stew it is OK. The case of dried anchovies is a bit harder (after cooking the stew for an hour): the texture is questionable, and they kind of look at you disapprovingly.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        October 22, 2013, 4:33 pm

        Piotr
        The carrots in your pie were cooked with the chicken and their flavour was in the pie. My stock carrots left all their flavour behind in the stock and had as much kick as 40 year old hasbara.

  16. Edward Q
    Edward Q
    October 22, 2013, 10:36 am

    Sounds like typical colonial rhetoric. I think during WWII the Japanese claimed they were creating a utopia.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 22, 2013, 4:25 pm

      Yes, The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Where all the East Asian people would march together, free of Euro-American colonialism, into the bright future (doing whatever Japan told them to do, for the benefit of Japan, under the threat of the Imperial Army and Navy.)

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