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Hell freezes over (NYT publishes glowing profiles of anti-Zionists)

Israel/Palestine
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Alissa Wise, at JVP

Alissa Wise, at JVP

I’ve always told Adam we’ll have to shut this site down when the mainstream media begin doing their job. Well, here’s a big opening, involving the Jewish community. Mark Oppenheimer’s “Beliefs” column in the New York Times profiles a number of Jewish-observant anti-Zionists, in very positive terms. All are sympathetic or supportive of the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement (BDS).

Oppenheimer observes, “while there have always been anti- or non-Zionist Jews, today they cluster on the less observant end of Judaism, among secular or religiously liberal Jews.” But evidently these religious folks count more, because Zionism is (my contention) a religious ideology.

The Times piece begins with Charles Manekin, whose site is the Magnes Zionist: “his Orthodox faith calls him to take stands against Israel.” Manekin lives part of the year in Jerusalem. You’d think that the Jerusalem bureau of the Times would have gotten to him a long time ago. No, they’re locked down in the conventional pro-Israel perspective of the Jewish community, echoing the Israeli government’s view that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic.

Oppenheimer says the trend has brought strains in Jewish families, with Jewish Voice for Peace rabbi Alissa Wise:

Alissa Wise, 34, grew up in Cincinnati, in what she calls a “modern Orthodox or Conservative kind of background, a very right-wing Zionist background.” In 1999, she arrived at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. On her first day of classes, there was a pro-Palestinian rally on campus…

Today, Rabbi Wise works for Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that endorses some boycotts against Israel. Her views make her a minority in her family.

“I still believe the way I believe,” said her father, Ron, who works for Osem, an Israeli food company. “I am open to how she believes, and I listen to her.”

Good historical background:

Daniel Boyarin, who teaches Talmud at the University of California, Berkeley, attended Orthodox synagogues for 30 years. He believes that Zionism was always flawed.

“The very concept of a state defined as being for one people was deeply problematic and inevitably going to lead to a moral and political disaster,” said Professor Boyarin. “Which I think it has.”

Professor Boyarin, 67, is still observant, but he has dropped out of synagogue life. “I have been so disturbed by the political discourse,” he said, “that I felt that I couldn’t participate.”

Skepticism toward Zionism used to be common. Before World War II, Reform Jews tended to believe that they had found a home in the United States, and that Zionism could be seen as a form of dual loyalty. Orthodox Jews generally believed, theologically, that a state of Israel would have to wait for the Messiah’s arrival (a view some ultra-Orthodox Jews still hold). In the 1930s and ’40s, the persecution of European Jews turned many American Jews into Zionists. Major organizations, like the American Jewish Committee and Hillel, the Jewish campus group, turned toward political Zionism after the war….

Then there’s a leading activist, Corey Robin the Brooklyn college scholar:

Corey Robin, 46, a regular at a Conservative synagogue in Brooklyn, writes a blog about his opposition to Israeli policy and his support for the B.D.S. movement. “There are lots of ways to be Jewish, but worshiping a heavily militarized state seems like a bit of a comedown from our past,” Professor Robin, who teaches political science at Brooklyn College, said in an email.

He said that he tries not to get into arguments with friends, but he has become very “vocal and visible” in his writings. In response to such views, Professor Robin is often accused of despising Judaism….

“I love being Jewish. I just don’t love the state of Israel.”

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About Philip Weiss

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

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39 Responses

  1. Jethro
    Jethro
    February 15, 2014, 11:18 am

    Charles Manekin isn’t “anti-Zionist,” strictly speaking. He’s a cultural Zionist and is anti-POLITICAL Zionism. Which is a-ok by me. Not that it matters that much what’s a-ok by me. His writings on his blog are some of the most ethical and universalist I’ve ever read on the subject.

    • kalithea
      kalithea
      February 16, 2014, 10:51 am

      There is only one Zionism and only one type of Zionist. That illusory harmless Zionism doesn’t exist and has never existed and to hang on to it is to further what Zionism really is in fact. Similarly, the so-called liberal Zionist is, like Scarjo, someone who one day out of the blue without hesitation will deny the greater cause of humanity for tribal ignorance. Only those who admit that Zionism is flawed and incompatible with justice, democracy and universal values that help mankind evolve towards something better can be trusted to be fully committed to the cause of justice to the end.

  2. Steve Macklevore
    Steve Macklevore
    February 15, 2014, 11:23 am

    The real tipping point will come when the N.Y.T profiles gentiles such as myself without suggesting our motives are tainted with ‘subconscious antisemitism.”

    But I suppose hell really will become chilly before that happens.

    • piotr
      piotr
      February 15, 2014, 4:03 pm

      Chinese Buddhist have Hell with 18 chambers, one of them being

      Hill of Ice
      Schemers, deceivers of elders (including parents) and adulterers will be left naked in freezing cold.

      Check panel nine:
      http://www.china-underground.com/magazine/the-eighteen-layers-of-chinese-hell

    • American
      American
      February 15, 2014, 5:50 pm

      Steve Macklevore says:
      February 15, 2014 at 11:23 am
      The real tipping point will come when the N.Y.T profiles gentiles such as myself without suggesting our motives are tainted with ‘subconscious antisemitism.”

      But I suppose hell really will become chilly before that happens.>>>>

      I agree. On no other issue are other American voices and opinions so ignored as this one. Its like a black out or white out. I wrote a letter once as an example of how I would explain the American opinion about Israel in our government to the
      Israel supporter Jews in a full page NYT ad…..but it went down the rabbit hole on MW.
      I dont know if this invisibilty of n-J Americans on the Israel problem is deliberate or not, I know it is in the MSM and Washington, among Jews in general I dont know, but they would have to be some place like this on the net to see any, they wouldnt see it anywhere else. I remain convinced the NYT and WP cut out their comment sections on Israel articles precisely because they were getting too many negative comments from average Americans on Israel. No, there is no honest or national ‘public’ discussion or debate on Israel vr US interest or I/P because most of the nation is left out of it.

  3. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    February 15, 2014, 12:19 pm

    Logically messy: Oppenheimer observes, “while there have always been anti- or non-Zionist Jews, today they cluster on the less observant end of Judaism, among secular or religiously liberal Jews.” But evidently these religious folks count more, because Zionism is (my contention) a religious ideology.

    These folks count more because they are outliers, atypical for antiZionists.

    Is Zionism a religious ideology? Zionism is a response to Jewishness and Jewishness in its purest form is called Judaism, a religious ideology. So Zionism is a response to a religious ideology.

    Why does one need to respond to Jewishness or Judaism? Well for Jews of a certain age, history demanded a response. Now that an interval has passed since the hurban, history no longer demands a response in the same way that it did in that first phase. So now only those Jews who are raised with some religious education find a need to respond to their Jewishness. (Alternately some Jews who are raised without religion are curious as to their roots and their religious roots and then they too need to respond to their religion, not due to their upbringing but due to some internal need.)

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      February 15, 2014, 1:51 pm

      One big problem with “Jewishness” is that some Jews think that “being Jewish” means something about religion, others think its about blood-lines, others about culture, etc., In other words, the “who’s a Jew” question is messy. Next, there is a deeply disturbing — to me — attitude among many Jews that there is a rule, a requirement, that Jews protect each other, protect the one big family, and that has meant that supporting Zionism (despite what to many seem its crimes) became — to believers in this one big family thing — a requirement. Hence “self-hating” (what a weird formulation! meaning not-respecting-the-rule-to-protect-the big-family). So the “one family rule” — a sort of ethical rule for the tribe as against all others — becomes an anti-ethical rule over-all. And that has forced a lot of Jews into “cognitive dissonance” because they do not want to allow into consciousness any awareness of Israel’s crimes. Big-time denial.

      So is Zionism (or anti-Zionism) a religion? To the extent that Zionism enlists the “one big family” rule in its support it at least enlists a religion (the “one big family” aspect of Jewish culture) in its support and is to that extent “religious”.

      • amigo
        amigo
        February 15, 2014, 2:03 pm

        I just posted that in my opinion, Zionism is racism and the moderator saw fit to delete it.My opinion of Zionism is based on the vile nature of and number of crimes committed in it,s name.

        Just asking.

      • American
        American
        February 15, 2014, 6:02 pm

        I dont really care if they are tribal or not…as long as they keep it within the tribe and benign and dont use tribalness ‘politically” or as a aggressive unified force against others or others rights.
        Zionist tribalness however has way overstepped it bounds…they dont understand that their rights end where other’s rights begin.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 15, 2014, 10:57 pm

        pabelmont- One big problem with Jewishness is that some Jews think that being Jewish means something about religion, others think its about blood lines, others about culture, etc. In other words, the who’s a Jew question is messy.

        This is not a problem. If complications and messiness are problems then you/we are doing something wrong.

        The impulse to circle the wagons is a human group interest that manifests itself throughout history throughout all groups. Ethics is a far more secondary need of human beings than groups. Those of us/you who wish to struggle for a world based upon ethics will run up against the group dynamic. (One of the methods of group solidarity is religion.)

      • February 16, 2014, 10:53 am

        as an american, and a citizen of the world, i’m damn sick and tired of hearing about all this crap!

      • kalithea
        kalithea
        February 16, 2014, 11:15 am

        Just like the Catholic church couldn’t hide behind religion and past persecution of their faith to cover up crimes against children perpetrated by some priests, neither should Jews as a group be permitted to hide behind their own religion and even past persecution to cover up the crimes and persecution that Zionism and Zionist Jews inflict on Palestinians and others.

      • American
        American
        February 16, 2014, 11:50 am

        @ yonah

        I dont know a single person who cares what makes a Jew and what doesnt….the only people I see concerned with that are some religious Jews and Zionist/Israel. So who is or isnt a Jew is not a problem for or concern of the world, its not the world’s business.

        And while it is a group’s natural impulse to circle their wagons when challanged—if your group is circling wagons to protect to crimes or wrongdoing that offend others—then your group dynamics are going to run into other groups dynamics.
        Thats where you are now.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        February 16, 2014, 10:32 am

        So is Zionism (or anti-Zionism) a religion? To the extent that Zionism enlists the “one big family” rule in its support it at least enlists a religion (the “one big family” aspect of Jewish culture) in its support and is to that extent “religious”.

        The fact that Zionists demand not only nepotism but also complicity from all members of a group which themselves don’t longer define it to be (solely) religious doesn’t make Zionism a religion.

      • kalithea
        kalithea
        February 16, 2014, 11:25 am

        Zionism is more like a cult than a religion in that it justifies itself through religion but in fact contradicts the moral teachings of that religion. Zionists tried to rewrite religious law to accommodate their egocentric end.

        (Of course some people believe all religions are cults, but that’s still up for debate.)

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      February 15, 2014, 11:44 pm

      “Why does one need to respond to Jewishness or Judaism?”
      What does “respond to Jewishness or Judaism” mean?

      ” Well for Jews of a certain age, history demanded a response. ”

      How? (Perhaps the answer to my first question will help with this one.)

      “Alternately some Jews who are raised without religion are curious as to their roots and their religious roots”

      What do you mean by “roots”? If they do not have religion, how can they have “religious roots”?

      “and then they too need to respond to their religion”

      But it seems they haven’t got a religion to respond to.

  4. Krauss
    Krauss
    February 15, 2014, 12:34 pm

    Every rule has its exception.

    Also, there is one thing to do a profile in an apolitical setting and quite another to let that perspective be a natural part of the discussion/news cycle when it really matters(instead of smearing them as a bunch of Nazi-sympathizers like Rudoren tried). And so far on that point: nil.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      February 15, 2014, 3:02 pm

      Good point on the segregation/timeliness of these profiles.

  5. Les
    Les
    February 15, 2014, 12:58 pm

    Anti-zionist Jews are as non-existent to the Times as they are to the ultra-orthodox.

  6. ritzl
    ritzl
    February 15, 2014, 1:23 pm

    Keep on ’em (NYT), please.

  7. Hostage
    Hostage
    February 15, 2014, 2:51 pm

    Skepticism toward Zionism used to be common.

    Contrary to the notions espoused by Roger Cohen, skepticism of Zionism is still very common. For example, the descendants of Sephardi Jews in Venezuela felt the need for a safe haven, but they turned to Spain, not Israel for a solution. After the details of the plan became public, the members of the Israeli Sephardi community began expressing an desire for the new European passports. As if the rabbis haven’t fucked-up the “Who is a Jew?” question badly enough, they have volunteered their services to decide “Who is Spanish?”:
    * The pursuit of European passports: ‘There’s somewhere to escape to’, The Spanish law allowing Jews to claim Spanish citizenship gives many Israelis a chance to dream, have a backup plan
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4486514,00.html
    * Jewish Agency chief says state must facilitate immigration for descendants of forced converts in Spain in the 15th century: Sharansky: Israel must ease conversion for crypto-Jews | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/sharansky-israel-must-ease-conversion-for-crypto-jews/
    * The rabbis will decide which Israelis get to be Spanish, says Amar: Former Sephardic chief rabbi sheds light on the process that led to Spanish decision to grant nationality to descendents of Jews expelled in 1492, says rabbis will determine who should be recognized as offspring
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4486621,00.html

    Note: Unlike the “Jewish state”, Spain has agreed to grant citizenship to descendants of refugees.

  8. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    February 15, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Just thought you should know that with all the sub-zero weather we’ve been having here in the Midwest Hell, Michigan DID freeze over!

  9. Talkback
    Talkback
    February 16, 2014, 10:22 am

    The Magnes Zionist (Charles H. Manekin): But don’t the Jews have a right, like other peoples, to a state of their own? No they don’t, and neither do other peoples. Self-determination, yes; statehood, that depends – and never at the expense of other people’s rights, in this case, the natives of Palestine.
    http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2014/02/roger-cohens-zionist-take-on-bds.html

    Exactly.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      February 16, 2014, 11:44 am

      Quite clear and honorable. A real humanitarian

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      February 16, 2014, 8:08 pm

      “No they don’t, and neither do other peoples.”

      Exactly. The Zionist tries to claim a right by pretending that others have the same right. But where is it established that others have that right?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        February 17, 2014, 9:26 am

        It’s even more ludicrous. Their interpreation of this right is ethnoreligious and abstract where in fact it is based on citizenship (or pre state denizenship) of a certain territory (and despite their ethnic or religious heritage).

        Even the citizens of Palestine habitually living in the Bersheeba disctrict would have had more rights to secede this district from Palestine than Palestinian citizens who happen to be of one ethnicity or faith.

  10. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 16, 2014, 11:43 am

    “Oppenheimer observes, “while there have always been anti- or non-Zionist Jews, today they cluster on the less observant end of Judaism, among secular or religiously liberal Jews.” But evidently these religious folks count more, because Zionism is (my contention) a religious ideology.

    The Times piece begins with Charles Manekin, whose site is the Magnes Zionist: “his Orthodox faith calls him to take stands against Israel.” Manekin lives part of the year in Jerusalem. You’d think that the Jerusalem bureau of the Times would have gotten to him a long time ago. No, they’re locked down in the conventional pro-Israel perspective of the Jewish community, echoing the Israeli government’s view that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic.”

    It really seems that the majority of Jews that I know religious or secular have directly or through their willful (knowing what was going on) silence have been supportive of Zionism. A huge distinction that has grown over the years seems to be the awareness that has grown among young Jews and the reality for older religious and secular Jews that the possibility for a two state solution has faded. That this reality has propelled folks into taking action.

    I think I have met and talked with Alissa Weiss. Not totally sure but remember the Rabbi at Hillel in Athens, Ohio 12 or so years ago was from Cinci and looked like Alissa. I spent an hour talking with her after she stated that my dear friend Art Gish was “anti semitic” I asked her at the beginning of our conversation “what has Art said or done which would make you claim that he was anti semitic.” She responded “he said Shalom to me” I responded “come on that is ridiculous you have to have something more substantive than that to throw out such a harsh label. You are Jewish and you are a Rabbi is that not an appropriate greeting?” That is when we walked and talked for almost two hours. Wonder if this is the same young woman?

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel
      February 16, 2014, 11:59 am

      I think I have met and talked with Alissa Weiss. Not totally sure but remember the Rabbi at Hillel in Athens, Ohio 12 or so years ago was from Cinci and looked like Alissa.

      I doubt it. She was only ordained in 2009 (Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia).

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 16, 2014, 12:51 pm

        Yeah I wondered. But the young Rabbi I met serving at the Athens Ohio Hillel was from Cinci and looked like Alissa. Wish I could remember her name.

  11. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 16, 2014, 11:53 am

    “There is no question that Charles H. Manekin is a rarity. Not because he is an Orthodox Jew who keeps the Sabbath, refraining from driving, turning on lights, even riding in elevators on Saturdays. Rather, this philosophy professor at the University of Maryland is rare because he believes that his Orthodox faith calls him to take stands against Israel.”

    “rarity”….”rare” key words.

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel
      February 16, 2014, 12:00 pm

      “rarity”….”rare” key words.

      Almost as important as “better late than never”.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 16, 2014, 12:49 pm

        Yes

  12. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 16, 2014, 2:33 pm

    “I’ve always told Adam we’ll have to shut this site down when the mainstream media begin doing their job”

    Your site and positions are safe. A huge service to the public.

  13. Krusty
    Krusty
    February 16, 2014, 6:01 pm

    A couple of points:

    a) I really doubt one can fairly state at this point that there is a MSM blackout of anti-Zionist opinions, particularly at this stage of the game (as was alleged on this site less than a week ago.) Between the ASA, SodaStream, Kerry’s mention of the Boycott, and now this, I really don’t see how anyone can make an honest argument about censorship.

    b) “But evidently these religious folks count more, because Zionism is (my contention) a religious ideology.”

    Honest question: I’m really curious as to how you came upon this? Israel was founded largely by explicitly atheist leadership. Tel Aviv remains the most secular and hedonistic locale in the Middle East. Zionism (the Jewish right of self-determination expressed through national sovereignty) is an explicitly ethnonational cause. Obviously, there is a rising tide of religiosity throughout Israel that does no favors, particularly to the welfare state, but I’m curious as to how one can see Zionism as per se religious.

    One last bit, and quoting at length from the posted article because I genuinely want your response as to how this meshes with a religious view:

    “Skepticism toward Zionism used to be common. Before World War II, Reform Jews tended to believe that they had found a home in the United States, and that Zionism could be seen as a form of dual loyalty. Orthodox Jews generally believed, theologically, that a state of Israel would have to wait for the Messiah’s arrival (a view some ultra-Orthodox Jews still hold). In the 1930s and ’40s, the persecution of European Jews turned many American Jews into Zionists. Major organizations, like the American Jewish Committee and Hillel, the Jewish campus group, turned toward political Zionism after the war.”

    c) This Times piece is important for another reason entirely (and to be clear, I’m not at all casting this aspersion): it demonstrates anti-Zionist opinions which clearly aren’t anti-Semitic. To be clear (as though it wasn’t already?), I’m a liberal Zionist. If there is to be an attempt to advocate an anti-Zionist position (which may well be the sort of thing that leads to a reasonable PM like Herzog [or even Livni or Lapid], which would actually make the Zionist project safer long-term), articles like these are far more likely to do yeoman’s work than repeating dirty old tropes which are baseless and self de-legitimising.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      February 16, 2014, 11:38 pm

      a) I really doubt one can fairly state at this point that there is a MSM blackout of anti-Zionist opinions, particularly at this stage of the game (as was alleged on this site less than a week ago.) Between the ASA, SodaStream, Kerry’s mention of the Boycott, and now this, I really don’t see how anyone can make an honest argument about censorship.

      Oh please, the media has generally condemned the ASA boycott resolution or treated it as a First Amendment story. There’s been little or no mainstream analysis about the the lack of academic freedom, and the routine Israeli violations of the right of Palestinian educators to work and enjoy freedom of movement or the right of Palestinian students to an education at home or abroad. The SodaStream kerfuffle didn’t highlight the struggle for equal rights in Israel or the right of refugees to return there. It barely addressed the problems caused by illegal settlements and illegal industrial zones.

      The media reported reactions to Kerry’s very brief remarks. But that’s not the same thing as providing on-going analysis or routine editorial commentary on the subject. Anti-Zionist views and Palestinian views are seldom included in daily news coverage or talk show panel discussions done by the major networks. The ratio of pro-Zionist analysis to anti-Zionist analysis on television and online & print newspapers and magazines still vastly favors the pro-Zionist positions. People in the USA are still afraid of losing their jobs for speaking out about Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      I’m curious as to how one can see Zionism as per se religious.

      On the day he introduced the Law of Return and the Nationality Laws, during the 160th Sitting of the First Knesset, the leading atheist, David Ben Gurion, said that Israel was the revival of the ancient Jewish State, which was a theocracy. He quoted the Jewish historian Josephus whose “Antiquities of the Jews” was a abridged version of the Tanach. He also said: “These two laws determine the special character and destiny of Israel as bearer of the vision of the redemption of the Jewish Nation. . . . On 14 May 1948 the Jewish State was established not as something completely new but as the restoration of our ancient glory, 1813 years after our independence had been destroyed, supposedly forever, at the time of Bar Kochba and Rabbi Akiva. . . . Neither can the revival of the Jewish State be understood without knowing the history of the Jewish people during the period of the First and Second Temples, the history of Jewish prophecy, spirit and vision, the history of the Jewish diaspora and the concept of messianism, and its various manifestations, the incessant attempts of the wandering nation throughout the generations to return to its land and the history of the eternal culture which was forged in this land and its influence on the Jews and the rest of the world.” The motives for unconditional immigration to Israel that he cited were “yearning for redemption, ancient memories, religious sentiments and love of the homeland”. He said “The Law of Return is one of the State of Israel’s Basic Laws. It encompasses one of the central missions of our country, “the in-gathering of the exiles.” – which is a biblical, messianic mission.
      — See Lorch, Netanel (ed), Major Knesset Debates, 1948-1981, Volume 2, JCPA/University Press of America, 1993, pp 611 – 613 (pdf pages 142-143) http://www.jcpa.org/text/KnessetDebatesVol2.pdf

      The national religious Zionist movement was never troubled by the presence of unbelievers. Solomon used conscripted Canaanite idolators to build his Temple, Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the Temple with a congregation of Sabbath-desecrators and covenant breakers who had taken foreign wives. Herod who remodeled and enlarged the Temple complex was an unbeliever and a despot too. The national religious movement is not a recent development. The first Chief Rabbi of Mandate Palestine, Abraham Isaac Kook (1865–1935) established the movement in Palestine.

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 17, 2014, 7:12 am

        There are all sorts of things that never make it in to the discourse,

        “Before the establishment of Israel, Egyptian Jews “attained an inordinately high number of respectable positions in finance, commerce, industry and the professions” in post-World War II Egyptian society, according to Selma Botman’s The Rise of Egyptian Communism, 1939-1970. As the Encyclopedia Judaica recalled:

        In 1947 most Egyptian Jews (59%) were merchants, and the rest were employed in industry (18%), administration, and public services (11%). The economic situation of Egyptian Jewry was relatively good; there were several multi-millionaires, a phenomenon unusual in other Jewish communities of the Middle East…There were no restrictions on accepting Jews in government or foreign schools.

        And in addition to the relatively prosperous Egyptians of Jewish religious background who lived in Cairo prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in Palestine, there were also “many poor Jews living in the Haret al-Ya Hud section of Cairo who were completely indistinguishable from their Muslim counterparts” in Egypt.

        And, “with the exception of their adherence to religious belief, they ate, spoke, dressed, and lived in virtually identical ways” as the Egyptians of Islamic religious background, according to The Rise of Egyptian Communism, 1939-1970.
        Zionism was considered an alien ideology to most Egyptian Jews.

        So, not surprisingly, although only about 20 percent of the people of Jewish religious background who lived in Egypt were officially considered Egyptian citizens in 1947, “Zionism was generally an alien ideology to most Egyptian Jews,” prior to 1947, according to The Rise of Egyptian Communism, 1939-1970; and the Jewish League to Combat Zionism (al-Rabita al-Tsrailiyya li Muk afahat al-Sahyuniyya), founded in the mid-1940s by an Egyptian named Marcel Israel, included Egyptian “leftists and communists alike,” according to the same book.

        Egypt’s mid-1940s Jewish League to Combat Zionism had the following four objectives, according to The Rise of Egyptian Communism, 1939-1970: 1. “working against Zionism;” 2. “strengthening ties between Egyptian Jews and the Egyptian people in the struggle for independence;” 3. “lessen[ing] the gap between Jews and Arabs in Palestine;” and 4. “solving the problem of the Wandering Jew.”

        But since the Egyptian monarchical regime’s prime minister in 1947, al-Nuqrashi, was being backed by some Egyptian Jews who were sympathetic to the Zionist movement (and who also wished to discourage Egyptians of Islamic and Jewish religious backgrounds from uniting in opposition to UK special influence in Egypt), al-Nuqrashi suppressed the Jewish League to Combat Zionism in 1947.

        Yet when the United Nations voted to partition Palestine — despite the objections of most people then living in Palestine and other Arab counties and many rank-and-file members of Egypt’s Democratic Movement for National Liberation [DMNL] — the leftist DMNL group’s leadership — like the Soviet Union — endorsed the partition plan.

        But in its al-Jamahir party newspaper, the DMNL also clarified its late 1947 unpopular political stance on the issue of Palestine’s partition in the following way:

        We do not want to take Palestine away from the Arabs and give it to the Jews but we want to take it away from imperialism and give it to the Arabs and Jews…Then will begin the long struggle for rapprochement between Arab and Jewish states…

        [Bob Feldman is an East Coast-based writer-activist and a former member of the Columbia SDS Steering Committee

        From Bob Feldmans Peoples History of Egypt

        http://www.theragblog.com/bob-feldman-a-peoples-history-of-egypt-part-12-section-2-1947-1948/

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 17, 2014, 8:13 am

        @Gamal

        I read somewhere that the lingo used by the traders in the Gold market in Khan al Khalili in Cairo still has lots of words that originated with the Jewish community.
        But under Zionism there were never Jews in Egypt. The countries were always enemies and from AD 70 to AD 1948 there is a just a hole of nothing.

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 17, 2014, 10:31 am

        I hadnt heard that, I will ask some one. Some of my family are language obsessives, its not always safe to ask, my father had endless debates about such things as, he claimed, an old usage of Leil, as in Leila, meaning beautiful rather than night, but in Egypt we know how to use what few words we have to good effect, so in awe of the paragon Tharwat Attallah I link to:

        http://youtu.be/TX4RK8bj2W0

  14. jayn0t
    jayn0t
    February 17, 2014, 12:24 am

    Another way of looking at this is “who are the ‘anti-Zionists’ whom the NYT has published profiles of?” Surely it is likely that they are harmless, or worse. Jewish Voice for Peace? Being profiled positively in the NYT is hardly a compliment.

    Hell hasn’t frozen over.

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