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Jeff Goldberg gets hit from right and left for suggesting Jews should leave Europe

on 62 Comments
Jeffrey Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg

We missed this, but lots of folks are talking about it. A week ago, two days after the Brussels Jewish museum killings on May 24, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote with singularly bad judgment on twitter:

This was days before anyone had any firm idea of who had committed the horrific murders, five days before the news that a French man who had become radicalized by serving in the Syrian rebellion was arrested.

The tweet is a reminder of Goldberg’s visceral understanding that Jews are unsafe in the west. “The fear of anti-Semitism is the forge on which” he built his identity as a young Jew, he wrote in his memoir, Prisoners. “I believed a red river of anti-Semitism ran under the surface of America.” Jews led “the dog’s life of the Diaspora. We were a whipped and boneless people.” The cure then was that Goldberg moved to Israel.

Max Blumenthal has responded to Goldberg:

The American Jewish Committee’s David Harris in Haaretz surely agrees in part with Blumenthal. He chides Goldberg:

Such reactions are not helpful. They take complex issues and reduce them to the level of simplistic slogans.

Should we be outraged by violent attacks on Jews? Absolutely.

Should we be concerned about the electoral success of extremist parties peddling anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism? Certainly.

The pugnacious Goldberg seems proud of his tweet.

More on Brussels, from the Telegraph report on the arrest of a French man who had reportedly served with jihadists in Syria for the murders:

Our message “to these jihadists is that we will fight them, we will fight them and we will fight them”, [French President Francois Hollande] said.
France announced new policies in April to stop its citizens joining the Syrian civil war, aiming to prevent young French Muslims becoming radicalised and posing a threat to their home country.
This is a growing worry in a country that is home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities.
Nearly 800 French nationals have travelled to Syria to fight alongside jihadists in the war-torn Arab state.

When Goldberg urges Jews to leave for Israel or the U.S., it raises the question, How safe are Jews in Israel? Everyone is worried about violence there for good reason; the Israelis are holding millions of people in occupation. And, the inevitable question: what is the contribution of Israel’s actions to fostering anti-Semitism?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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62 Responses

  1. Zach S on June 3, 2014, 2:35 pm

    I’m not seeing where Phil concluded that Goldberg “wants” Jews to leave Europe. He just thinks that it might not be safe for them any longer. The evidence supporting such a viewpoint has been compiling for quite some time now.

    But I get it: Goldberg is a Zionist and therefore must be attacked at every opportunity.

    I also notice Phil didn’t bother to point out Marwan Bishara’s reaction to Goldberg, namely that he “gives Jews a bad name” and that “Some Jewish humility is good for you.” Let me guess: more “legitimate criticism” of his point of view?

    • Woody Tanaka on June 3, 2014, 4:23 pm

      “I’m not seeing where Phil concluded that Goldberg “wants” Jews to leave Europe. ”

      Yeah, well, you couldn’t see the Zionist terrorists shooting the Palestinian boys, either, so I’d say the problem is you.

      • Kay24 on June 3, 2014, 7:31 pm

        Good response. :))

    • Justpassingby on June 3, 2014, 5:41 pm

      Of course you dont see it or will admit it like your idol Goldberg.

    • traintosiberia on June 3, 2014, 7:20 pm

      Zach S says…
      Goldberg is wondering when Jews would tell them to leave Europe ( time to get out ) but he does not want them to get out– am I missing something here?

      • Zach S on June 4, 2014, 1:04 pm

        Goldberg is wondering when Jews would tell them to leave Europe ( time to get out ) but he does not want them to get out– am I missing something here?

        Goldberg is simply asking how toxic the climate to Jews in Europe needs to be before their counterparts around the world begin openly discussing the possibility of mass emigration from the continent. I for one think it’s a legitimate question.

    • Palikari on June 4, 2014, 12:06 am

      I agree with you achi. Goldberg is a Zionist, so he gets attacked at every opportunity by the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic crowd.

      I don’t think Jews should leave Europe. They are free and safe there. Of course there is anti-Semitism, just like in the US or every other nation on Earth.

      • DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 7:23 pm

        not “like’ in the US at all. Get your facts straight. Of course Jew-hatred exists in the US but its almost entirely covert except for blogs. It rears its head once in a while when a kook comes out like the guy who shot up the JC in Kansas. In Europe the attacks are a lot more focused and with a distinct purpose and often if always linked to politics between Jews and Arabs/Muslims. Also-the US does not have the same history going back to the middle ages of jew-hatred so it naturally follows that the types of jew-hatred in the US are very different from EU. BTW-people all over the world have their own particular forms of hatred towards the ‘other’. nobody is getting a prize in this dept.

    • Sumud on June 4, 2014, 9:23 am

      The evidence supporting such a viewpoint has been compiling for quite some time now.

      Then you’ll have no trouble citing some of this evidence then – please, go ahead.

      • just on June 4, 2014, 9:40 am

        Like this Pew poll that I found via Richard Silverstein’s site that actually disputes Goldberg/Zach/etc. ?

        “Chapter 4. Views of Roma, Muslims, Jews

        Many people in the seven European Union nations surveyed express negative views about minority groups in their country. In particular, negative attitudes toward Roma (sometimes also known as Gypsies) are common, while many also give Muslims unfavorable ratings. Negative attitudes toward Jews are less pervasive, although substantial minorities express an unfavorable opinion about Jews as well, especially in Greece where nearly half the public hold this view. Negative sentiments about all three groups are consistently more common among people on the ideological right.”

        (of course, it is just a Pew Poll… not Sir Goldberg)

        The linked- to charts are more informative than the quote.

      • DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 7:25 pm

        quoting Dick Silverstein on Jewish/Zionist polling data is akin to polling David Duke on inter-racial marriages in the deep south. Try another unbiased source.

      • Zach S on June 4, 2014, 9:53 am

        Hi Sumud, I would be happy to:

        I think that should start you off. I eagerly await the minimization, denial, and victim-blaming that so readily enters every conversation about anti-Semitism on this website.

  2. Ecru on June 3, 2014, 3:51 pm

    Ahh yes because obviously the French and Belgians are so “anti-semitic” that they not only never allowed a Jewish museum to operate on their soil, they didn’t even bother investigating the killings. Despicable! And all those European laws on Equality and Non-Discrimination, well we all know every single one contains the clause “except for the Joos!

    I wonder if the ADL would like to follow up their (cooked) survey on European “anti-semitism” with one on Jewish “anti-Europeanism?”

    • RoHa on June 3, 2014, 7:59 pm

      You are right, Ecru. Europe is ferociously anti-Semitic. How many Jews in Europe have ever been Presidents or Prime Ministers? How many have ever become High Court Judges or leading academics or prominent figures in the arts or finance or industry, eh? Eh?

      • DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 7:29 pm

        Yes. But that means so little when you consider how many Jewish Officers and soldiers were decorated as German veterans of WW1. It meant absolutely squat after the putsch and the burning of the reichstag. Then, all of a sudden….it was almost too late. So, what are people going to say? it could never happen again?

  3. German Lefty on June 3, 2014, 4:28 pm

    what is the contribution of Israel’s actions to fostering anti-Semitism?

    Exactly! Instead of telling Jews to leave Europe, Goldberg should tell Israel to stop committing crimes in the name of the Jews.
    However, it’s not solely Israel’s fault. The national Jewish organisations, such as the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) and the Central Council of Jews in Germany, bear part of the blame. They keep defending Israel’s crimes and lead non-Jews to believe that all French/German Jews are Zionists.
    The national mainstream media are responsible, too. By ignoring the existence of anti-Zionist Jews, they contribute to the false impression that all Jews are Zionists.
    So, non-Jewish Europeans are not just misled by Israel but also by the main Jewish organisations and the MSM.

    By the way, very good response by Max.

    • DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 7:33 pm

      OMG! Do you even know how old that argument is? Its at least as old as when the Jews were living on their land called Israel (or Judea, Samaria, whatever) and the surrounding empires were intermingling with and trying to deal/conquer the Jews. Sheesh!

  4. Nevada Ned on June 3, 2014, 5:43 pm

    Goldberg should urge Israeli Jews to move to the US.
    That’s what he did, after all.

    In the 1950’s, Ben-Gurion urged American Jews to move to Israel. It didn’t happen on any large scale. Most American Jews never visit Israel, not even once.

    • just on June 4, 2014, 8:52 am

      Goldberg was born in Brooklyn. But that didn’t stop him from serving in the IOF:

      “He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Pennsylvanian.[5] While at Penn he worked at the Hillel kitchen serving lunch to students. He left college to move to Israel,[6] where he served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a prison guard during the First Intifada.[7] He later returned to the United States to continue his journalism career, and now lives in Washington, DC….”


  5. DICKERSON3870 on June 3, 2014, 6:18 pm

    RE: “When Goldberg urges Jews to leave for Israel or the U.S., it raises the question, How safe are Jews in Israel?~ Weiss

    APPARENT ANSWER: Not very.*

    * AVNER GOLOV & URI SADOT (an Israeli Air Force veteran and a protege of Elliott Abrams):

    For Israelis, their country is too small to comply with existing mutual-deterrence models, because only two or three bombs are what it would take to wipe out their entire country.
    Nuclear deterrence theory requires a “stable nuclear dyad”.

    But Israelis see themselves as faced with not a single enemy that can be deterred, but rather with a broad league of states and nonstate entities who are out to get them. ~ from “Why Israel Fears Containment of a Nuclear Iran”,, 5/2/14

    SOURCE –

    • traintosiberia on June 3, 2014, 7:33 pm

      AVNER GOLOV & URI SADOT says in 2003, Israeli fears about Saddams ideas of the use of nuclear threat were confirmed from the seizures of the materials. But they dont say that in 1973 Israel was threatening US that unless militray supplies were delivered to Israel to roll back the Egyptians , Israel would nuke the Arabs.
      Let’s not forget that war came after repeated requests and warning for dialogue and return of the lands , from Sadat. Le’ts not forget that Egypt was looking for limited war to regain the lost land and to force Israel to negotiations.
      The response from Israel- no negotiations, and when under threat of losing to conventional war- threat of nuking !
      As always they rebrand ,conflate,mask the factss and then distill the products of those maneuvers as a truth that then has to be accecpted by other as historically valid conclusion.

    • DICKERSON3870 on June 5, 2014, 10:14 am

      P.S. RE: “For Israelis, their country is too small to comply with existing mutual-deterrence models, because only two or three bombs are what it would take to wipe out their entire country.” ~ Avner Golov & Uri Sadot

      MY COMMENT: This appears to suggest that Israel does not consider its nuclear weapons arsenal to be of any use in deterring other nations having nuclear weapons from launching a nuclear attack against it. If that is indeed the case, then it would be interesting to know of what use Israel considers its nuclear weapons arsenal to be.
      It is frightening to think that they might have enough first strike capability to see one use as making a pre-emptive nuclear strike against some nation (like Pakistan, for instance) because they suspect them of preparing to carry out a nuclear attack on Israel that would be so devastating due to Israel’s small size that the Israeli’s have no choice but to defend themselves by taking advantage of the first strike capability of their nuclear weapons arsenal.
      The only other use I can think of that Israel might possibly see for its nuclear weapons arsenal, would be the even more frightening one of “massive retaliation” by Israel using nuclear weapons (sometimes referred to as The Samson Option).

  6. Shmuel on June 3, 2014, 6:24 pm

    At what point do the Jews of America and the Jews of Israel tell the Jews of Europe that it might be time to get out?

    Would that be all of the Jews of Europe? Just the Francophones? Just the ones with Muslim neighbours? And do we Jews of Europe have any say in the matter, or will you Jews of America and Jews of Israel just work it all out between yourselves and let us know what you’ve decided?

    Thanks in advance,
    A Jew of Europe

    • just on June 3, 2014, 6:28 pm

      Sadly, I am rotflmao.

      Well done, Shmuel.

    • bintbiba on June 4, 2014, 7:34 am

      Shmuel … As always , witty, to the point, with integrity ….and ever a favourite of this old woman!

      • eljay on June 4, 2014, 7:58 am

        >> Shmuel … As always , witty, to the point, with integrity …

        Shmuel is most definitely not Wit…oh, wait a minute, you wrote “witty”. Never mind. ;-)

      • bintbiba on June 4, 2014, 2:07 pm

        gotcha, eljay!!! ;-)

  7. wondering jew on June 3, 2014, 6:34 pm

    “This was days before anyone had any firm idea of who had committed the horrific murders, five days before the news that a French man who had become radicalized by serving in the Syrian rebellion was arrested.”

    Weiss doesn’t allow that he, Weiss, was here speculating some thriller fiction theories about what was at the basis of the murders at the Jewish museum and gives himself license for his own faulty speculations based upon “there was no firm idea”, but in fact even without a firm idea, some people were right in their speculations- like Derfner and Jeff Goldberg, and some were wrong, like Phil Weiss and Amir Oren.

    Because a handful of Jews get killed every year by jihadis in Western Europe, therefore they should leave? Goldberg , on target with his speculation, is wrong on his prescription. If Jews want to leave Europe for Israel or America, they will make their own decisions and the tweets of a Bloomberg columnist are not going to help them. These jihadis are dangerous, but it is not Germany 32, these jihadis are not taking over, although even a handful of murdered people requires some sort of a response from the authorities and Jewish thinkers. But Goldberg’s Twitter advice joins the blogs of speculation that turned out to be dead wrong, to indicate that- our collective I.Q. keeps dipping as the number of outlets for stupidity increases.

    • Xpat on June 3, 2014, 7:51 pm

      Just because your theory happened to be right doesn’t make the other guy’s theory worthy of ridicule. At least you guys were trading in theories. Netanyahu was flinging around accusations as if he had all the facts before anybody knew anything for sure.

      • wondering jew on June 3, 2014, 9:25 pm

        When predictions fall flat and are then discussed openly, there is no room for ridicule. When predictions fall flat and they are treated as yesterday’s news, but not a topic for today, then this entire attitude deserves ridicule. We have been told how the Arab Spring meant x, y and z. We have been told that Phil bets that Netanyahu is going down (literally will not be in office past a certain point). We have been told that this was not a hate killing. We have been witness to poor knowledge of the region and poor bets based upon poor instinct based upon poor knowledge and no discussion of what went wrong with yesterday’s predictions and this deserves ridicule.

      • Xpat on June 3, 2014, 10:06 pm

        Thanks for changing your position. So you now agree in this instance there is nothing ridiculous in suggesting that this may have been yet another Israeli assassination.

      • wondering jew on June 3, 2014, 10:34 pm

        I thought that the suggestion was that this was a Hezbollah operation rather than Israel killing its own. No, viewing the videotape and then hearing that these Israelis were government and possibly Mossad, all types of thoughts occur. But this was not a professional hit and while some took the presence of a camera as a sign of professionalism, I took it as a sign of cowboy’ism. One judges based upon what one sees and I saw a hate killing and not a professional spy rub out. One judges with one’s eyes and one’s experience. It’s not a particularly pleasant topic to watch someone engage in murder, which is what watching the videotape was. NO, I didn’t watch the people die. but yes, I was watching a murder.

    • DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 7:38 pm

      EXACTLY. Sorry I didn’t scroll down and read this before I posted much of the same.
      A little like the arsonist reporting on the shocking damages the fire caused after he couldn’t collect on the insurance policy. I mean, at least a mention if no admission of any wild speculation. But to just gloss over and ignore it? I guess slandering Netanyahu is fine since the belief seems to be he is guilty of something anyway.
      Israel has little history of wild speculation on matters like this. It , (and I will go so far as to say that its primary enemy now, Hezbollah, is equally circumspect in this respect) either admits to some degree to operations gone awry or remains silent and of course there is a military censor but aims to disclose as much as possible w/o giving up details. If this was a botched Mossad operation I seriosly doubt wether Netanyahu or any Israeli official would have said much of anything. period.

  8. W.Jones on June 3, 2014, 6:58 pm

    a French man who had become radicalized by serving in the Syrian rebellion was arrested.

    Is that another sad case of the Western/Israeli-backed freedom fighters coming home to roost?

    We were a whipped and boneless people.”

    Nowadays, Israeli prison guards are performing actual whippings, with canes and electric cords, on actually scarred Palestinian schoolchildren:

    At one screening, [MIRAL’s filmmaker] says, Barbra Streisand questioned the film’s account of a whipping Jebreal received [as a schoolgirl for going to demonstrations]. “You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to pick up [Jebreal’s] shirt and show her her back,” he says.

  9. Keith on June 3, 2014, 6:58 pm

    What chutzpah! Zionists like Victoria Nuland and Bernard-Henri Levy cheer the Ukrainian neo-Nazis while Jeffrey Goldberg complains about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe! Connection? What connection? This isn’t the first time that Jewish Zionists have collaborated with the Jews’ worst enemy. Then as now, it was predicated upon supporting Israel and Zionism. These empire Jews are engaged in sinister machinations.

  10. Shuki on June 3, 2014, 8:21 pm

    the inevitable question: what is the contribution of Israel’s actions to fostering anti-Semitism?

    It’s an absurd question, not an inevitable one. Jews have suffered pogroms, genocide, persecution and discrimination for centuries… long before the State of Israel was declared. In fact, I seem to recall a rather horrific time they had just 70 years ago. The notion that now, after centuries of being persecuted, the existence of Israel keeps the remaining vestiges of anti-semitism alive is absurd.

    Goldberg is right… the statistics don’t lie: Europe is being flooded with muslims and hate-crimes against Jews are on the rise. European Jews were all but exterminated just a few decades ago… how bad does it need to get before you can see the need for a Jewish homeland through your insanity?

    • pjdude on June 4, 2014, 7:16 pm

      it can never be bad enough because religions don’t need homelands. yes jews have had bad incidents in their history they have also been treated better than most other minorities at times. you need to quit pretending jews are the only people who have ever suffered in the entirity of history. every time i see crap like “Jews have suffered pogroms, genocide, persecution and discrimination for centuries” it makes me want to retch as its it feels like the person see is daring the reader/listener to compare other people’s suffer. when ever i hear a zionist say this i can just see the script in there heads thinking of others with mental snear with the thought think you have suffered this is what suffering is. the contempt involved toward other’s suffering is paltable. the difference between other groups and jews it seem everyone else chooses to heal jews is seem choose to keep the wounds open. it always feels like a scoreboard when i hear this. hate crimes against jews aren’t on the rise. their falling like all hate crimes

    • DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 8:05 pm

      “the inevitable question: what is the contribution of Israel’s actions to fostering anti-Semitism?”

      basic Nietzsche 101. ho-hum. The Jews are hated because they stand apart from christian white[caucasions]. Because they stand apart from christian whites they bring on hatred. Because they bring on hatred for sticking together and standing apart, they are forced to stand apart which brings Jews even closer together and and causes them to be more hated by the christian whites. (who have structured their society based on the body of christ with no place in this ‘corpus’ for Jews anyway except on the outskirts as money, rag and sundry merchants(all the unchristian-like professions).

      So europe is different now but then again, it really isnt different but it is. Its all a circle and now that the Jews have gotten out of it-their going to be harassed because once again- because those crazy jews are sticking together in Israel its causing us all kinds of grief from immigration problems to oil . So back to hating the Jews for basically getting the f out but…you know what? Europe doesnt know wtf to do with itself in regards to jews. never did and never will. They better pray that Israel stays exactly where it is. After just 66yrs of self sufficiency nobody in europe really wants to deal with another ‘jewish problem’. They already have their hands full with other ‘problems’

      The Islamic history of jew-hatred is a different nutshell and much more tribal imo then religious but that has changed since the birth of Israel, also imo.

    • eljay on June 4, 2014, 8:38 pm

      >> … how bad does it need to get before you can see the need for a Jewish homeland …

      The answer to injustice is justice and accountability. Always.

      There is never a need for a supremacist state, regardless of whether it’s an Aryan, homosexual, battered women, abused children or “Jewish homeland” state.

  11. wondering jew on June 3, 2014, 9:21 pm

    Off topic: Here is an interesting Haaretz article on what language Jesus spoke. It contends that in teaching contexts the use of Hebrew was quite present in the first century in the land.

  12. JustJessetr on June 3, 2014, 11:23 pm

    “what is the contribution of Israel’s actions to fostering anti-Semitism?”

    Israel’s actions only give Jew-hatred an excuse. Jew-hatred is an irrational, seemingly self-replicating hatred that is based on nothing, existed before Zionism, and would exist with or without Zionism. And no clever backtalk or moral equivalency can move that fact.

    • LeaNder on June 4, 2014, 3:16 pm

      Israel’s actions only give Jew-hatred an excuse. Jew-hatred is an irrational, seemingly self-replicating hatred that is based on nothing,

      How about redefining “irrational” and “nothing” too? Especially since your first sentence contains action.

    • Keith on June 4, 2014, 7:48 pm

      JUSTJESSETR- “Jew-hatred is an irrational, seemingly self-replicating hatred that is based on nothing….”

      Spoken like an irrational, Gentile hating Jewish chauvinist.

    • RoHa on June 4, 2014, 8:01 pm

      “Jew-hatred is an irrational, seemingly self-replicating hatred that is based on nothing”

      So you believe that millions of people, in different ages and living in different circumstances, all decide (without any reason) to hate someone, and then (again without any reason) all happen to pick the Jews as the someone to hate.

      Holding that belief is totally irrational.

  13. Palikari on June 3, 2014, 11:51 pm

    I am a Zionist Jew but… I don’t know why should European Jews leave Europe. OK, there is anti-Semitism, just like everywhere, but they are free and safe there. They are not much more unsafe than American Jews (remember Kansas shootings?). Those who think Jews should leave Europe are absolutely wrong.

  14. gamal on June 4, 2014, 6:20 am

    but what of Jews who are fleeing Israel, like Lev Tahor?

    “In addition, Couillard had special words for Lev Tahor which he said threatened “social destruction”:

    “To those who come here and take advantage of our freedoms and democracy to then attack them and ultimately destroy them, we are saying loud and clear: ‘You are not welcome here, we will fight you, we will go after you’.”

    Again, Couillard held out Lev Tahor as an example of unacceptable behaviour.

    Why? Who has been threatened by Lev Tahor? What makes them “unacceptable” and to whom? Why chose to focus the spotlight on them?

    In the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, a committee presented allegations of some of the most atrocious abuses of children of what some speaking to the committee called “a sadistic cult“

  15. Nevada Ned on June 4, 2014, 9:05 am

    The distinguished British historian, Eric Hobsbawm, writes that as of the 20th century, no Jew had used Hebrew for thousands of years for ordinary purposes. I.e., Hebrew was used only for religious ceremonies. Jesus spoke Aramaic.
    Hebrew was like Latin in the Catholic Church: used only for religious purposes but not for ordinary purposes.
    Netanyahu had it wrong. The Pope had it right. Even an idiot (and anti-Semite) like Mel Gibson had it right, in The Passion of the Christ. Jesus spoke Aramaic.

    What’s weird is that the revival of the Hebrew language is an actual accomplishment that would not have happened without the establishment of Israel in the 20th century. Netanyahu was so eager to “prove” that Jews have spoken Hebrew forever that he denigrated this actual accomplishment.
    I seriously doubt that Netanyahu actually believes this. He just pretends to believe it.
    If it suits his purpose, Netanyahu would be perfectly willing to claim that Jesus spoke Yiddish!

    • W.Jones on June 4, 2014, 1:41 pm

      I am not sure where you are going with this. I think that the revival of Hebrew is nice, because I like the Bible. But the revival of Aramaic would also be nice, since it’s the language of Jesus, and for that matter, the Talmud and Mishnahs. Best of all, naturally, would be if the millions of suffering Palestinian refugees could also be “revived” and return to their homeland.

      • RoHa on June 4, 2014, 7:48 pm

        I like the epic of Gilgamesh, but I don’t think the revival of Sumerian would be nice. It would just burden us with another language.

      • W.Jones on June 4, 2014, 11:44 pm


        This is subjective on my part. The Bible is a major book for me. Also, if the Irish all learned and spoke Gaelic it would be nice as a way to be more independent from the British past of colonialism.

        But Yes, I see that there is a trade off. I don’t have any plans to become a fluent Gaelic speaker, and in practical terms it would be a burden.

        I think it would be nice if Sumerian could be at least known as a language and preserved in some way for archeological and anthropological purposes. It is not really important to me if there is a Sumerian speaking community. The Bible is more important for me for its spirituality, however I would agree that I am not sure having a population speak Hebrew is a spiritual necessity. At best, it’s inspiring and appealing, perhaps a part of national redemption and prophecy. At the worst, it’s not just unnecessary, but divisive and isolating, since it more deeply separates them from other nations and cultures, which don’t speak Hebrew, thus making international communication and cultural exchange harder. That kind of division makes things more difficult. Yiddish had the virtue of being close to German and having slavic influences, thus allowing its speakers to interact more closely with the neighboring peoples.

        When I read the story of ancient Israel in the Old Testament, it’s inspiring and appealing to me. The idea of the people’s return and use of Hebrew is attractive too. However, I do say “Old” Testament, and doubt that it’s a necessity. Further, I am against segregating Jews from Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land in a political and deep organizational sense.

      • W.Jones on June 4, 2014, 11:57 pm


        I would be happy continuing this discussion elsewhere. Continuing some ancient Jewish rituals, culture, language, and the people’s return are appealing, if not inspiring concepts for me. However I am against segregating people in the sense of a sharp social and organizational sense. From a secular, progressive sense you may argue that “Separate is inherently Unequal”, while from the Christian POV, there is no longer a reason to divide believers into Jewish vs. gentile Christians. Christian Zionism is a form of segregation that has nothing to do with Christianity, except that its adherents are Christians who may misuse Christian verses. For its part, the traditional rabbinical POV is not demanding a nationalist political movement either.

    • DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 8:21 pm

      even I agree that bibi looked like an idiot on this and should have known (and should have said he was ‘sorry’ for the slip). He was dealing with an unpretentious but scholarly man who now happens to be pope (and still much to everybody’s shock and disbelief, as if they are waiting to discover what the trick is. I don;t think this pope has any tricks which is his charm . Hope he’s pope for a long time. If I were a catholic-I would finally be breathing easier about those of my creed that want to be involved with the church and be proud of its leadership.

      p.s. There is no shame in the fact that aramaic mixed with hebrew was spoken in the land. Jesus was a devout jew who eveidently had a big problem with the corruption he saw. Is it so surprising that the big church at the time before christianity and Islam existed that there were corrupt officials on the mount and around the temple?
      What is surprising is that the PA and the waqf can actually state that the temple mount has “no historical connection to the Jews” and get away with it. Had Bibi told the pope there was no real christian connection to Jerusalem he would have been pilloried. While I have always known there is very little if any actual physical proof that Jesus was alive the story-told down through the past 2000 years is compelling and utterly believable so there is little reason to doubt. Even Josephus mentioned a crazy guy calling himself the ‘messiah’ who cold have been Jesus. But for any person-be they Arab, muslim or whatever to claim the city as having no real historical connection-just shows the utter disdain there is for the people who made the city the religious center of at least half of the earth if not more.

      • annie on June 4, 2014, 9:45 pm

        But for any person-be they Arab, muslim or whatever to claim the city as having no real historical connection

        the city has a “connection” to jewish history.. who argues it doesn’t? can you provide a source of who you are referring to please.

      • RoHa on June 4, 2014, 9:46 pm

        “While I have always known there is very little if any actual physical proof that Jesus was alive the story-told down through the past 2000 years is compelling and utterly believable so there is little reason to doubt.”

        With a bit of critical examination, the stories about Jesus turn out to be highly unbelievable, like so many of the other stories from the early Christian fantasy fiction factory.

        “Even Josephus mentioned a crazy guy calling himself the ‘messiah’ who cold have been Jesus.”

        He mentioned quite a few of them.

      • W.Jones on June 5, 2014, 12:23 am

        Svetlana Alliluyeva:
        In father’s library, among the other books, there were a few tomes of “Christ”. It was history of Christ, written by the “vox populist” Morozov. I said to my father: “But Christ didn’t exist!” and he answered: “Oh no, Christ, certainly, existed.”

        ‘May I sit down?’ the foreigner asked politely, and the friends somehow involuntarily moved apart; the foreigner adroitly sat down between them and at once entered into the conversation:
        ‘Unless I heard wrong, you were pleased to say that Jesus never existed?’ the foreigner asked, turning his green left eye to Berlioz.
        ‘No, you did not hear wrong,’ Berlioz replied courteously, ‘that is precisely what I was saying.’
        ‘Ah, how interesting!’ exclaimed the foreigner.
        ‘What the devil does he want?’ thought Bezdomny, frowning.
        ‘And you were agreeing with your interlocutor?’ inquired the stranger, turning to Bezdomny on his right.
        ‘A hundred per cent!’ confirmed the man, who was fond of whimsical and figurative expressions.
        ‘Amazing!’ exclaimed the uninvited interlocutor…

  16. Feathers on June 4, 2014, 10:18 am

    for what it’s worth —

    Boris Pasternak was “partly Jewish” — his parents were assimilated Russians who “belonged to the cultivated Jewish milieu of Odessa,” [Jabotinsky was from Odessa but had very little involvement with the Jewish community, cultivated, religious, or otherwise]. But, Pasternak wrote:

    “I was baptized as a child by my nanny, but because of the restrictions imposed on Jews, particularly in the case of a family which was exempt from them and enjoyed a certain reputation in view of my father’s standing as an artist, there was something a little complicated about this, and it was always felt to be half-secret and intimate, a source of rare and exceptional inspiration rather than being calmly taken for granted. I believe that this is at the root of my distinctiveness. Most intensely of all my mind was occupied by Christianity in the years 1910-12, when the main foundations of this distinctiveness — my way of seeing things, the world, life — were taking shape…”

    Thus, in his writing, especially Dr. Zhivago,

    “Pasternak . . .preferred to present a wholly RUSSIAN image, identifying himself solely with Russian literary and cultural tradition [similar to Jabotinsky], and with the Russian Orthodox Church [unlike Jabotinsky]. On more than one occasion conversations in the novel refer disparagingly to the Jews’ wish to keep their own identity and destiny sacred and apart . . .”

    His references to Russian Jews was not, however, unsympathetic, and the word “disparagingly” might be too harsh. Judge for yourself, from these passages from Dr. Zhivago.

    First, Pasternak lays the foundation of the concept:

    ” “You come across talented people,” said Nikolai Nikolevich. “But now various circles and associations are the fashion. Every herd is a refuge for giftlessness, whether it’s a faith in Soloviev, or Kant, or Marx. Only the solitary seek the truth, and they break with all those who don’t love it sufficiently. Is there anything in the world that merits faithfulness? Such things are very few. I think we must be faithful to immortality, that other, slightly stronger name for life. We must keep faith in immortality, we must be faithful to Christ! Ah, you’re wincing, poor fellow. Again you haven’t understood a thing.”

    “M-m-yes,” grunted Ivan Ivanovich, . . . whose little beard made him look like an American of Lincoln’s time. . .

    “I said we must be faithful to Christ. I’ll explain at once. You don’t understand that one can be an atheist, one can not know whether God exists or why, and at the same time know that man does not live in nature but in history, and that in present-day understanding it was founded by Christ, that its foundation is the Gospel. And what is history? It is the setting in motion of centuries of work at the gradual unriddling of death and its eventual overcoming. Hence the discovery of mathematical infinity and electromagnetic waves, hence the writing of symphonies. It is impossible to move on in that direction without a certain uplift. These discoveries call for spiritual equipment. The grounds for it are contained in the Gospel. They are these. First, love of on’e neighbor, that highest form of living energy, overflowing man’s heart and demanding to be let out and spent, and then the main component parts of modern man, without which he is unthinkable–namely, the idea of the free person and the idea of life as a sacrifice. Bear in mind that this is still extremely new. The ancients did not have history in this sense. Then there was the sanguinary swinishness of the cruel, pockmarked Caligulas, who did not suspect how giftless all oppressors are. They had the boastful, dead eternity of bronze monuments and marble columns. Ages and generations breathed freely only after Christ. Only after him did life in posterity begin, and man now dies not by some fence in the street, but in his own history, in the heat of work devoted to the overcoming of death, dies devoted to that theme himself.”

    [ This is where the zionist project started out tragically wrong: as Howard Sacher wrote in 1919, zionism sprang from the determination to avenge the Roman conquest of the Jews in 70 CE. Sacher and those zionists took the wrong model; they admired the “boastful, dead eternity of bronze monuments and marble columns,” which Christ and the earliest Jews who were part of the early Christian communities disdained as “giftless.” -ed]

    Later, Zhivago and Misha Gordon (Zhivago’s Jewish friend) reflect on a scene they had witnessed in which an elderly Jewish man was tormented and humiliated by a Cossack, and discuss “peoplehood” as distinguished from “personhood”, —

    [Gordon:] “That Cossack mocking the poor patriarch, along with thousands of cases like it, is, of course, an example of the most elementary baseness, which should occasion, not philosophizing, but a punch in the nose, that’s clear. But to the question of the Jews as a whole, philosophy is applicable, and then it turns its unexpected side to us. . . .

    [Zhivago]: ” ‘What is a people?’ you ask. Must we make a fuss over it, and doesn’t he do more for it who, without thinking of it, by the very beauty and triumph of his deeds, raises it to universality and, having glorified it, makes it eternal? Well of course, of course. And what kind of peoples can we talk about in Christian times? They’re not simple peoples, but converted, transformed peoples, and the whole point is precisely in the transformation, not in faithfulness to old principles. Let’s remember the Gospel. What did it say on this subject? First, it wasn’t an assertion: this is so and that is so. It was a a naive and timid suggestion. The suggestion was: Do you want to exist in a new way, as never before, do you want the blessedness of the spirit? And everyone accepted the suggestion, caught up for the millennia.

    “When it said that in the Kingdom of God there are no Greeks and Jews, did it merely mean to say that everyone is equal before God? No, there was no need for that; the Greek philosophers, the Roman moralists, the prophets of the Old Testament knew that before. But it said: in that new way of existence and new form of communion, conceived in the heart and known as the Kingdom of God, there are no peoples, there are persons.”

    Goldberg has not read Pasternak, or has rejected Pasternak’s challenge to be a “solitary thinker” rather than part of the “giftless herd.”

    And judging from Obama’s speech in Poland, neither he nor his advisors have taken George Kennan’s advice and immersed themselves in Russian literature in order to understand the Russian people. Obama’s advisors may be leaders of their “herd,” but that does not make them any less “giftless.”

    • W.Jones on June 4, 2014, 2:07 pm

      You shouldn’t have to read Pasternak to decide not to try to dominate people.

  17. DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 7:06 pm

    “this was days before the arrest…..”

    Yes, your site was too busy ridiculing Netanyahu for supposedy ‘jumping the gun’ and ‘assuming’ the murders were directed at Jews by a Jew-hater. In fact-didn’t a read a whole section on drumming up a conspiracy theory by one of MW’s editors (or a theory the editor embraced) about how the murdered Jews were ‘agents’ and it was an ‘inside’ job ordered by ‘mossad’? Hoo-boy. When you guys step into it-you really plod deep. But a retraction, or at least a small statement acknowledging the incorrectness of the assumptions is sop for most reputable news/commentary blogs and sites. Too much to ask for I suppose.

  18. DaBakr on June 4, 2014, 7:17 pm

    Who exactly in the authors mind is fretting about the safety of Jews in Israel? We know there is the constant threat of an attack should we let our guard and defensive systems down but the climate in Israel is totally different and I would say placid compared with anything going on in urban areas of certain EU countries. People feel safe walking around Israel and while there are occasional racist and/or ethnic attacks (going both ways) there has always been a general sense of security and peace for Arab and Jew alike within Israel. One can argue its because we have a ‘security state’ but I couldn’t say for certain that applies to neighborhoods in the Galilee and Northern coastal towns) whatever. Does anybody really take the likes of the J.Goldbergs, T.Friedmans, Nicolas Christofs, Rosenbergs, R.Cohen,Gideon Levy and others seriously any longer? (I add GLevy only because he is a shondie(lol). But certain left leaning Israeli extremists like to lick his boots and do take him seriously-even when he writes up stories that turn out to be based on lies such as his Israeli apartheid poll which was a total sham and ‘disgrace’. At the NYC? He would have been sacked years ago.)

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