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‘NYT’ op-ed calls on Jews to abandon liberal Zionism and push for equal rights

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Antony Lerman

Antony Lerman

A hugely important piece in the New York Times this weekend is all over my inbox this morning. As it should be. It’s datelined London, not New York: and writer Antony Lerman declares “The End of Liberal Zionism: Israel’s Move to the Right Challenges Diaspora Jews.” (Yes we rang that knell here a few weeks back.)

Antony Lerman says that liberal Zionists are now a figleaf for rightwing Jewish supremacy in Israel and a dam on open discussion of equal rights in the United States. He celebrates the non- and anti-Zionist left– in the NYT:

Today, neither the destruction wreaked in Gaza nor the disgraceful antics of the anti-democratic forces that are setting Israel’s political agenda have produced a decisive shift in Jewish Diaspora opinion. Beleaguered liberal Zionists still struggle to reconcile their liberalism with their Zionism, but they are increasingly under pressure from Jewish dissenters on the left, like Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Independent Jewish Voices.

Along with many experts, most dissenting groups have long thought that the two-state solution was dead. The collapse of the peace talks being brokered by the American secretary of state, John Kerry, came as no surprise. Then, on July 11, Mr. Netanyahu definitively rejected any possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state. The Gaza conflict meant, he said, that “there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan” (meaning the West Bank).

Liberal Zionists must now face the reality that the dissenters have recognized for years: A de facto single state already exists; in it, rights for Jews are guaranteed while rights for Palestinians are curtailed. Since liberal Zionists can’t countenance anything but two states, this situation leaves them high and dry.

Liberal Zionists believe that Jewish criticism of Israeli policies is unacceptable without love of Israel. They embrace Israel as the Jewish state. For it to remain so, they insist it must have a Jewish majority in perpetuity. Yet to achieve this inevitably implies policies of exclusion and discrimination….

Here Lerman moves from analyst to organizer, and explains the urgency of these liberal Jews joining a movement for equal rights. Notice his emphasis on ethnic cleansing, and implicitly, a recognition of the right of return, as a premise for a rights-based movement that will allow two cultures to flourish:

Pushed to the political margins in Israel and increasingly irrelevant in the Diaspora, liberal Zionism not only lacks agency; worse, it provides cover for the supremacist Zionism dominant in Israel today. Liberal Zionists have become an obstacle to the emergence of a Diaspora Jewish movement that could actually be an agent of change.

The dissenting left doesn’t have all the answers, but it has the principles upon which solutions must be based. Both liberal Zionism and the left accept the established historical record: Jews forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes to make way for the establishment of a Jewish state. But the liberals have concluded that it was an acceptable price others had to pay for the state. The left accepts that an egregious injustice was done. The indivisibility of human, civil and political rights has to take precedence over the dictates of religion and political ideology, in order not to deny either Palestinians or Jews the right to national self-determination. The result, otherwise, will be perpetual conflict.

In the repressive one-state reality of today’s Israel, which Mr. Netanyahu clearly wishes to make permanent, we need a joint Israeli-Palestinian movement to attain those rights and the full equality they imply. Only such a movement can lay the groundwork for the necessary compromises that will allow the two peoples’ national cultures to flourish.

This aspiration is incompatible with liberal Zionism, and some liberal Zionists appear close to this conclusion, too. As Mr. [Jonathan] Freedland put it, liberal Zionists “will have to decide which of their political identities matters more, whether they are first a liberal or first a Zionist.”

Regrettably, there is a dearth of Jewish leaders telling Diaspora Jews these truths. The liberal Zionist intelligentsia should embrace this challenge, acknowledge the demise of their brand and use their formidable explanatory skills to build support for a movement to achieve equal rights and self-determination for all in Israel-Palestine.

Once again, American Jews are getting important information not from New York but London. As in the case of Walt and Mearsheimer (the lobby, published in the LRB) and Ilan Pappe (ethnic cleansing of Palestine) and Tony Judt (transplanted Brit calls for one state, back in 2001). This is a historic intervention, made possible because Lerman is Jewish. The piece suggests that we might even see equal rights within our own discourse: Palestinians getting to make their political case in the elite media. (“Palestinians may be encouraged to tell their ‘human story’ but they are seldom allowed to express their political views,” Samah Sabawi writes shrewdly, in Al Jazeera.)

The more important dynamic is not between the U.S. and England, though, but between Diaspora and Israeli Jewry. As I have complained often, Israeli Jewry are aliyah, meaning they are higher. While we are yoredim, lower. This religious distinction is engraved in Bill Kristol’s neocon heart when he says he won’t sit on the Upper West Side and cavalierly criticize Israel, and in Michael Walzer’s liberal Zionist ticker too, when he says he won’t sit in Princeton New Jersey and condemn the Gaza slaughter out of hand. It is past time that American Jewish liberals assign value to their long political experience here, and stop deferring to Jews who regard Palestinians as three-fifths of a human being.

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69 Responses

  1. just
    just on August 22, 2014, 11:09 am

    Finally. That long-awaited, cool drink of truthful waters on the parched landscape called justice. In print, in the MSM, in the NYT!

    Congratulations, world.

    Thank you MW– you are definitely a big part of this awakening.

    • gracie fr
      gracie fr on August 22, 2014, 3:20 pm

      From an encouraging Ynet op-ed:
      Hamas is not a terror organization. It’s easier for us to call it that because the classification dwarfs it and aggrandizes us, and allows us to treat it as a pest that must be eliminated, rather than a political player that must be taken into account when examining the balance of power and fear in our neighborhood.
      It was easier for us to think this is a summer camp for martyrs, with a few hot-tempered Imams and some monstrous engineer, and that if we could only get rid of them, things would be better. We were wrong. We were also wrong in Lebanon when we failed to properly identify the cumulative power of the Palestinian organizations. This mistake marked the beginning of our sinking into the Lebanese quicksand. Are we going to be stupid enough to have to repeat this mistake?
      The governments of Israel throughout the years, our senior analysts, the best of our generals and whoever else, all flooded the public discourse with talk of a “terror organization” to the point that we became too blind to see.

      Firstly, we did not realize what we were doing when we encouraged the separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to weaken the PLO, and got a far worse foe. Secondly, we did not realize that the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, to the point of hearing maniacal laughter emanating from the rubble of Gaza at the sight of rockets rolling down the road in Tel Aviv.
      Thirdly, we failed in understanding Hamas’ own reality – because you don’t have to understand a terror organization, just eradicate it – and so we failed to understand the deep despair that is the very basis of Islamic fundamentalism, or the ideology that sanctifies a bloody dream over human life, the willingness to suffer lengthy periods of shortage and a hard siege for faith, and the choice of the promised future in paradise over the future you could build with your own two hands in this world.
      Years of a lack of understanding cannot be covered by any Iron Dome, and all the accurate military intelligence is worth nothing unless it comes with the understanding of what our target is. And this target can’t be to eradicate, crush or eliminate. On the other hand, it also can’t be to negotiate, because we allegedly don’t negotiate with terrorists. Then again, it also can’t be to rely on a mix of tangled international interventions that are as fragile as a spider’s web.
      During this pointless round of fighting, this government must realize it was wrong, learn from its mistakes and urgently change its tune before all of its symbols of sovereignty are damaged in this struggle and before it becomes clear that it has failed in its primary and most important mission: to guarantee that we can maintain normal everyday life here. Sort of……..,7340,L-4561056,00.html

    • Krauss
      Krauss on August 22, 2014, 5:54 pm

      In print, in the MSM, in the NYT!

      Yes, but it’s in the international NYT, the ones that Americans don’t read. So the significance is significant, but still subdued.

      Nevertheless, these days most people read the NYT online anyway.

  2. seafoid
    seafoid on August 22, 2014, 11:21 am

    Meanwhile Shavit holds the line for the forces of darkness in Ha’aretz. What a crock of avshit.

    “But none of Israel’s sins can justify the return of Israel-hatred. Winston Churchill bombarded Dresden, Franklin Roosevelt bombarded Tokyo and Harry Truman destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No decent man in the world thinks that because of these disproportionate acts these great leaders became war criminals. Bill Clinton attacked in Serbia, Tony Blair attacked in Iraq and Barack Obama attacked in Afghanistan. No honest person in the world believes that because of those strikes Britain and the United States are illegitimate.

    Only when Israel makes massive use of its power and only when Israel displays ugly fringe phenomena is the response a denial of its very right to exist. Only when Jews act like any other nation would act in similar circumstances is the result a rage at their very existence.

    Anti-Semitism creates certain obligations. First of all, it sets a challenge before the world’s nations – don’t go back there. Western culture will cease to be a culture if it allows the ancient hatred to make it lose its senses again. But anti-Semitism also sets a challenge before Israelis, from right and left. The nationalists among us must finally understand that we are not China or Russia; we’re not a superpower. Both because of our values and our circumstances, we don’t really have a prospect for living by our sword alone.

    The liberals among us must also understand that we’re not China or Russia, not a superpower. We’re a tiny minority-nation under attack, and sweeping criticism of this nation is like sweeping criticism of the black, gay or Yazidi minority. Despite the Zionist revolution and Israeli sovereignty, we’re still Jews. As Jews we must defend ourselves, and as Jews we must stand for justice.

    Justice is meaningless when basic rights are completely ignored.

    But there is good news
    “The army’s spending demands are so big that treasury officials fear that the budgets over the next three years will be subjugated to military needs at the expense of civilian spending. The problem is made worse by concerns that tax revenues will be smaller than expected amid signs that the economy is slowing. Those concerns become all the more acute if Israel enters into a war of attrition with Hamas, which would both debilitate the economy and increase defense costs.”

    • lysias
      lysias on August 22, 2014, 11:25 am

      “The army’s spending demands are so big that treasury officials fear that the budgets over the next three years will be subjugated to military needs at the expense of civilian spending. The problem is made worse by concerns that tax revenues will be smaller than expected amid signs that the economy is slowing. Those concerns become all the more acute if Israel enters into a war of attrition with Hamas, which would both debilitate the economy and increase defense costs.”

      Excessive military costs threatening the rest of the economy that played a big role in the collapse of the Soviet Union, apartheid South Africa, and white Rhodesia.

      • American
        American on August 22, 2014, 11:28 am

        In that case Congress will just give Isr more of our money. ..count on it.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 22, 2014, 11:34 am

        A housing crash in Israel is probably 40% likely. Higher if deflation takes over in the Eurozone.

        Punters are waiting for zero VAT – a very bad/good sign, depending on your stance on justice.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on August 23, 2014, 7:49 am

        Fox News replays an ad everyday, asking its audience to donate to a fund to aid starving Israelis who have had their government funding reduced or cut off as the price for fighting terrorism.

    • just
      just on August 22, 2014, 11:38 am

      Shavit proves his irrelevance again– a crank.

      The good news is indeed good news. BDS should help them further down their self-dug hole.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 22, 2014, 3:47 pm

        He’s an eminence grise of Zionism which translates to weirdo in Galut.

      • just
        just on August 22, 2014, 4:02 pm

        You are so amazing, seafoid!

        Ari speaks in dangerously dulcet tones , though. Doesn’t he? I’m reminded of this from Ira Glunts…video included. If you dare to see weirdo Shavit!

        ” Dan Margalit (host): If two peoples seriously intend to live in peace, the Palestinians shouldn’t have a problem with Ofra or Ariel staying where they are. Let’s say that we stole the land. Let’s say that we’ll pay for the land. We’re a people that pays for land – ever since the days of the Cave of Machpelah [i.e. the time of Abraham -trans.]…. That’s not the point. The point is your rejection of the very idea – not yours, maybe, Abu Mazen’s, Yasser Arafat’s – of the very idea that a Jewish community [Heb. “yishuv”] can exist in the heart of Palestine.

        Gideon Levy: Why? Would you allow the Arabs of Nablus to live in Tel Aviv?

        Margalit: What’s the connection?

        Levy: Ah, suddenly. What’s the connection?

        Shavit: You’re a total demagogue. They don’t recognise the state of the Jewish people. They don’t recognize the Jewish people and its right. That’s the issue. That’s what you’re ignoring. You always take this extreme part.

        Levy: You are the extreme right. I have nothing to discuss with you. You are a spokesman of the extreme right, masquerading.

        Shavit: Gideon, You want a secular, democratic state. You’re worse than the extremists among the Palestinians.

        Levy: Terrific. OK. Perfect. Anti-Semite.

        Shavit: And this is a kind of anti-Semitism, an unwillingness to recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.

        Levy: [Just] say Nazi.

        Shavit: No, this is an extreme anti-Israeli approach that you spread like poison around the world. And then you call it demagoguery. This is demagoguery of the worst kind, your demagoguery.

        Levy: I’m a little tired of Ari Shavit. Who tries to have it all. It is … I want to refresh people’s memory, once and for all. We came to a country inhabited by another people.

        Margalit: Oh, delegitimizing of Israel. We understand.

        Shavit: Then let’s leave. That’s why you’re not worried about Iran, because you agree with Ahmedinejad. You think we should go back to Austria. That’s what you’re saying.

        Levy: [Just say] Adolf Hitler.

        Shavit: When you talk like this, when you don’t recognize the right of the Jewish people, when you don’t want a national home for the Jewish people, you are a partner of the enemies of Israel [also “the Jewish people” – trans.].”

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 22, 2014, 4:13 pm

        He is fu$king nuts. A complete headcase. “We must defend ourselves and be just”. Why don’t you stop murdering children, Ari? Do you think it goes down well in Galut ?

    • Qualtrough
      Qualtrough on August 22, 2014, 1:55 pm

      I guess I am not a decent man, because I think Churchill, Roosevelt, and Truman definitely committed war crimes. To think otherwise is to make the designation meaningless. Fortunately they were on the winning side and thus escaped prosecution, as one of the principles, General Curtis LeMay, was quick to admit. In the end their deliberate terror bombings of civilians did very little if anything to win the wars against Germany and Japan.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 22, 2014, 2:39 pm

        Dresden was a war crime. Winners are never punished.
        One of the worst things the Brits did in 1945 was send back Russians who had fought with the Germans at bayonet point to Stalin’s soldiers and certain death.

      • Qualtrough
        Qualtrough on August 22, 2014, 11:30 pm

        Hi Seafroid-thanks for sharing that. The more you look at the ‘Good War’ the more you find that the ‘Good Guys’ weren’t always so good. I suppose I should qualify that by saying words to the effect that “But the Nazis were so much worse!” but I won’t. And here’s the thing.

    • Patrick
      Patrick on August 22, 2014, 2:11 pm

      “No decent man in the world thinks that because of these disproportionate acts these great leaders [Churchill, Truman, Roosevelt] became war criminals.”

      Actually, Noam Chomsky has argued that this is, in fact, the case. He’s not a decent man?

      (In the case of the Tokyo fire bombing, to which Shavit alludes, Robert MacNamara, who was involved in some of the planning of these attacks, has acknowledged that (a) this was a war crime, and (b) the reason he isn’t regarded as a war criminal for this is simply because the U.S. was victorious in the war.)

    • Citizen
      Citizen on August 23, 2014, 7:52 am

      “The liberals among us must also understand that we’re not China or Russia, not a superpower. We’re a tiny minority-nation” fully backed by the lone superpower in the whole world, from which we receive $8.5 million dollars per day (plus interest), plus nearly a million more for Iron Dome, plus the US underwrites Israel’s debt. And Israel’s conduct is diplomatically immunized by the US SC vote.

  3. American
    American on August 22, 2014, 11:26 am

    I agree that liberal zionism is nothing but a cover because it still insist and believes in ethnic Jewish rule and a ‘government enforced’ majority of Jews.

    But I am lerry of how one state would work without a long period of apartheid going on and a internal war for Arab/Muslim equal rights. A state and society like Israel is not going to give up jewish rule and supremism in a one state solution.

  4. seafoid
    seafoid on August 22, 2014, 11:32 am

    All of the spin coming from Hasbara central- whether Isis is Hamas, the Palestinians are evil,. they are backward, we love gays, we repair the world, Bar Refaeli is to die for- ignores the key issue of Palestinian rights.

    If the only way Israel can exist is by denying Palestinian rights, Israel has no future. And it really doesn’t matter how many twinks are in the IDF, frankly.

  5. RoHa
    RoHa on August 22, 2014, 11:35 am


  6. Sycamores
    Sycamores on August 22, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Norman Finkelstein interviewed by Fair Observer’s Manuel Langendorf and Abul-Hasanat Siddique

    it became more and more difficult for Jews as an ethnic group to reconcile their liberal credo, principles and values with the way Israel carried on.

    It has taken a long time for sure — about 25 years — but you now see rifts opening up in the American Jewish community, especially under this lunatic government [in Israel]. Ideologically, with the right-wing drift in Israeli society, American Jews find it more and more difficult to reconcile their liberal convictions with the way Israel behaves, and this is the most significant change that has occurred.

    Jews are highly educated as an ethnic group. I think 95% of American Jews go to college. If you go to college, you might read and take courses on the Middle East. Often, you read the new serious scholarship on the topic. The Palestine cause is very popular on college campuses. By far, it is the most popular political cause in American universities. Between all of these influences, within and outside the classroom, young Jews are exposed to the Palestinian cause.

    So, there is no question that there has been a significant change in public attitudes, in general, and in Jewish attitudes, in particular, when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    the intreview is informative, Finkelstein talks about AIPAC not as a representitive of American Jewry in general but an elite organized segment that is supportive of Israel. the chasm between public opinion and political impact.

    • American
      American on August 22, 2014, 12:46 pm

      Zionist lie to everyone….liberal zionist lie to themselves.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 22, 2014, 2:40 pm

        “They lie to us and then they lie to themselves about lying to us”


    • seafoid
      seafoid on August 22, 2014, 3:03 pm

      “but you now see rifts opening up in the American Jewish community, especially under this lunatic government [in Israel].

      “Here’s an abridged version of the events of the past week. Security cabinet member Tzipi Livni, the justice minister, stated that carrying on negotiations with Hamas in Cairo was a mistake: “We need to go on deterring the Palestinians,” she averred. Another member of the cabinet, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, used his Facebook page to lash out at the policy being dictated by the prime minister: “If we are talking seriously about the security of Israel’s inhabitants, we need to understand that there is no other possibility than a determined Israeli move with one aim – to vanquish Hamas.”

      In the midst of the Cairo talks, yet another cabinet member, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, called for an “immediate halt” to negotiations in the Egyptian capital, in favor of adoption of the approach he is promoting, which he calls “unilateral enforcement.” Under this scheme, Israel will be very generous on the humanitarian side, and at the same time will batter Hamas relentlessly, using the “lawnmower” method, as he put it.

      In reaction, Lieberman mockingly said Bennett is “a minister who suffers from amnesia.” And Bennett, after being scolded by Netanyahu in the security cabinet meeting on Wednesday of last week, and afterward in a press conference, issued a terse statement to the media: “One does not conduct negotiations with a terrorist organization. Period. My opinion on this will not change.” “”

    • JeffB
      JeffB on August 22, 2014, 7:53 pm

      AIPAC not as a representitive of American Jewry

      Finkelstein is right. AIPAC however is representative or Jewish Republicans which is about 15% of the Jewish population. This isn’t an elite group. Jews are disproportionately liberal while roughly 20% of the population is liberal roughly 50% of Jews are. Finkelstein tends to like to ignore the other 50% entirely as if they didn’t exist and tends to exaggerate how liberal the 1/2 that are liberals are. J-Street does a pretty good job of representing the broadly where that leftmost 50% are on the issues.

      The Palestine cause is very popular on college campuses. By far, it is the most popular political cause in American universities.

      Baloney. Cost of college / college loans and the jobs situation score way higher than anything else higher than just about everything else combined. Then come gay rights / same sex marriage, marijuana legalization, environmental issues (drilling, fracking, global warming)… I’d be shocked if Palestine made the top 20 in surveys of college campus voters. I’ve never seen it make a top 10 list in any poll.

      But let’s flip the question around to something that actually matters to politicians:
      What percentage of Jewish Liberals offended by Israel would be willing to vote for, campaign for or donate to an anti-Israel Republican? I would bet the number is 0%.

      OTOH Jewish moderates have a long track record of doing the opposite.

  7. tree
    tree on August 22, 2014, 12:46 pm

    Small correction,

    “Israeli Jewry are aliyah, meaning they are higher,” should read “Israeli Jewry are olim …”

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on August 22, 2014, 3:59 pm

      A Jew who moves to Israel is an oleh. Jews who move to Israel are olim.

      There is a term that I am guessing is Mishnaic, called aliya laregel, which refers to the going up to Jerusalem on the three major holidays (mentioned earlier in the bible than all other holidays, mentioned in the book of Exodus) Passover, Pentecost and Sukkot. There is a commandment to go to Jerusalem on those holidays and because Jerusalem was uphill from most of the rest of the land, the term “aliya” seemed most apt and inferred a spiritual rather just a topographic journey.

      During pre exile times, when there was a temple, there were a whole slew of commandments that could be fulfilled in Israel (the land) and not elsewhere in the world, mostly agricultural commandments and also the sacrifices that were burnt on the altar in Jerusalem. The land, as in the land that is the unreached destination in the story of the Children of Israel leaving Egypt and heading towards the land, is a central part of the Chumash, the five books of Moses, also called the Torah, considered to be word for word dictated by God to Moses, and that this is one of the major elements in the story of the book whose words were uttered by God, kind of puts the land in a special status to Jews who believe.

      But in fact the major developments of Judaism occurred outside the land: in Babylonia among the refugees and children of exiles from Jerusalem and later in north africa and places in the middle east and in europe where the hundreds and thousands of years of Jewish experience accrued to the experience that underlies any devotion to texts and laws.

      Still, any Jew who values the traditions, meaning Jews who don’t mouth off and say, “Oh, the Talmud is bullshit,” has to deal with the primacy of the land in the Jewish tradition. Statehood and an army aside. Any Jews who values tradition cannot ignore the traditional emphasis on the land.

      (Other words and thoughts that were edited out of the things that are put aside, because they didn’t really belong in the context: and going against the will of the nations and the decree of the Creator embodied in the destroyed temple and the 9th of Av, all that aside.)
      The crisis created by the acts of Israel, including if not the actual exile of the Palestinians in 47-49, then certainly the delay in dealing politically with the facts of that exile, but emphasizing the 1967 conquest of the west bank and gaza and the desire to annex these territories but the refusal to do so because of a desire for the land and not for the people, that crisis is the major thing. That is where the politics is and where the thoughts of people belong. And those who wish to undo the “aliya” factor of Judaism, meaning the factor that places importance on Jerusalem and the land, better come from a place that respects tradition in some form, and not from the school of “oh, the talmud is bullshit” if they want to be taken seriously.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 23, 2014, 1:18 am

        Yonah, haven’t I told you about standing in a corner muttering, and playing with yourself. Isn’t it about time you stopped?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 23, 2014, 1:21 am

        “Still, any Jew who values the traditions, meaning Jews who don’t mouth off”

        There’s your Aliyah! “Don’t mouth off!”

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on August 23, 2014, 2:22 am

        phil wants to be free to say, “talmud is bullshit,” and also to reform Judaism to exclude any semblance of continuity vis a vis the central part the land plays in the tradition. of course he is free to do so. It’s his blog and this is america. He is free. but i don’t see where he has the credibility to reform judaism.

        of course we all know there are rabbis who said that shrimp is kosher or kosher is treif or something like that. or as woody allen’s rebbe puts it.

        chasid: rebbe, why is pork forbidden?
        rebbe: It is? uh-oh.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 23, 2014, 7:57 am

        ” He is free. but i don’t see where he has the credibility to reform judaism. ”

        Are you hinting that Phil may be a crypto-Catholic? You never know with all the pillow talk.

  8. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride on August 22, 2014, 12:49 pm

    Aren’t these memes and themes of “higher” and “lower” grounded in Old Testament/Torah notions of chosen people exceptionalism?

    • Mooser
      Mooser on August 22, 2014, 3:02 pm

      “Aren’t these memes and themes of “higher” and “lower” grounded in Old Testament/Torah notions of chosen people exceptionalism?”

      Oh, absolutely, I guess. But don’t worry, Sean there will a lot of people excepted from the chosen before it’s over.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 23, 2014, 8:07 am

        ” But don’t worry, Sean there will a lot of people excepted from the chosen before it’s over.”

        Don’t give Sean any false hope, Mooser, JW’s would tell you that according to the NT, only 144,000 will be chosen.

        Revelation 7:4 …’And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.’

        Revelation 14:1 …’And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with The 144000him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.’ ..

      • RoHa
        RoHa on August 23, 2014, 8:12 am

        And they will have to be virgins as well.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on August 23, 2014, 2:26 am

      seanmcbride- question. in the new testament. why does jesus go to jerusalem. why didn’t he stay home? answer: because that’s where jews went on passover. question: where do christians come off pretending that going up to jerusalem was not valued by jesus. answer: because once jesus was dead, the gig was up and judaism was recalibrated. the new calibration: whatever paul and the nicene creed crowd could come up with. this way: we are the truth and the old testament is darkness.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 23, 2014, 7:32 am

        ” because that’s where jews went on passover. ”

        Not at all; Jesus went to Jerusalem and entered it on the back of a donkey’s colt (among people rejoicing his entry on what became the event of Palm Sunday, shouting “Hosanna”) in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 that in 520 BC said:

        “… “Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey – even on a donkey’s colt.”

        The arrival, stay, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus went as prophesied in the Old Testament. Looks like you’re not very familiar with the Old Testament, Yonah.

      • just
        just on August 23, 2014, 7:48 am

        dagnabbit Walid– he’s is very certain in his worldview of what WAS and IS.

        it’s not ok to disrupt it!

      • Walid
        Walid on August 23, 2014, 8:09 am

        Sorry, just.

      • just
        just on August 23, 2014, 8:28 am


      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on August 23, 2014, 2:34 pm

        Walid- Christians have been distorting the old testament for thousands of years and thus you consider the christian reading of the old testament to be accurate. It is not. It is distorted.

      • just
        just on August 23, 2014, 2:38 pm

        Are you an expert on the subject?

      • Walid
        Walid on August 23, 2014, 3:32 pm

        yonah, Christians didn’t distort the OT, they constructed their narrative around the prophecies of Isaiah 53 beginning with the resurrection-ending that was actually a beginning and filled in the blanks backwards towards the nativity. Islam wasn’t much different since it picked and chose from both. The OT was itself a re-treading of Assyrian mythology assimilated during the captivity. Just ask ziusudra.

      • Marnie
        Marnie on August 24, 2014, 6:41 am

        You seem distorted and the opinions you express here are offensive, but then you already know that. Don’t presume to be the final word on christianity because there is as much diversity there as there is among jews as there is among muslims as there is (you’re getting this now, right?). Shoot, I thought folks like you knew everthang.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on August 23, 2014, 9:46 am

        yonah fredman,

        You will achieve enlightenment when you come to the realization that all human ideologies, both religious and secular, are arbitrary human inventions, in a state of perpetual flux and reinvention, and that there is no good reason for your mind to be bound by any of them.

        People who are in the grip of ideologies invented by others are underwater — they are not awake — they are essentially bots, under the thumb of self-appointed priesthoods.

        Most ideologies are invented to advance the interests of their inventors in competition against other groups — to serve as rationalizations for predatory behavior.

        Ideologies deindividualize and mechanize their followers, keep them in a permanent hypnotic trance, by means of the repetition of formulaic expressions.

        How would you characterize the demeanor of the Abrahamic believers and cultists who have waged endless wars in “the Holy Land” for thousands of years until the present day?

        Free your mind.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on August 23, 2014, 1:59 pm

        An attempt at understanding Jesus’ relationship with Jerusalem by the late Professor Sean Freyne:
        ‘He too was [in my view] committed to Judean claims about the divine presence in Jerusalem…even when his interpretation of how that presence should function …varied considerably from that of the…establishment. Not everyone [agrees with me at this point]…John Dominic Crossan writes that Jesus probably only visited Jerusalem once and that he was so incensed by what he encounteres there that he launched the protest against the temple and the holy city that would eventually lead to his death…[Indeed] the emphasis in recent scholarship…has given rise to a serious danger of a non-Jewish Jesus [the product of nineteenth century anti-Semitism] emerging in another guise.
        ‘The Jesus Movement and its Expansion’ 2014 p.135.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 23, 2014, 2:32 pm

        “John Dominic Crossan writes that Jesus probably only visited Jerusalem once …”

        Crossan appears to know the Bible even less than Yonah Fredman. The dictate in these days, had Jewish men visit Jerusalem on 3 festivals during the year, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles; (Ex 23:14-17; 34:22-23; Deut 16:16), but by the first century around the time of Jesus, the rule was relaxed to one compulsory Passover visit because of the lengthy travelling time. So by the time Jesus reached the age of 33, you can assume that he, as a good Jew, had visited it quite often,

        In the New Testament’s Luke, it’s recorded that Jesus at age 12 on his return from the annual Passover trip to Jerusalem, a 3 day trip, he disappeared from his parents’ view (women and children travelled separately from the men and probably how Jesus was lost)and was eventually found at the temple discussing religion with the elders.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on August 23, 2014, 2:57 pm

        MHughes- I appreciate your scholarship and knowledge. I would assert that anyone who reads the synoptic gospels and considers Jesus discontinuous with the Pharisaic rabbis of his day (not innovative, but discontinuous) is reading those three books with extreme and unnatural bias. Many have tried to detach Jesus from his roots. These are not attempts to reach the truth, but attempts to avoid dealing honestly with Jesus’s roots.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on August 23, 2014, 3:03 pm

        seanmcbride- Let me summarize the chronology of our discussion. Phil cited the words “aliya” and “yordim” to castigate Zionism. You wrote (essentially)- Why stop at condemning Zionism. You should condemn Judaism as well. Your comment was essentially anti-Judaic and pro Christian.

        Now when I reacted to your statement, you write me to Free my mind. Let me answer you by noting that Christians have been telling Jews to free their/our minds for hundreds of years. Fortunately your call for me to free my mind is not accompanied by the previous Christian threats of slaughter or exile or being burnt at the stake. This is a great improvement. But nonetheless, in a discussion of Old Testament versus New Testament, when the NT person comes up with “free your mind” I view you in the context of that history.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on August 23, 2014, 4:23 pm

        yonah fredman,

        Your comment was essentially anti-Judaic and pro Christian.

        No it wasn’t — I am not a Christian and I wasn’t promoting Christianity.

        I urged you to be skeptical and to think critically about all ideologies, both religious and secular, and to understand that they are human inventions, driven by human agendas, that are in a state of perpetual revision and reinvention.

        Your reply makes it clear that you didn’t understand a word I said — and that you are in fact underwater — unable to rise above your own narrow ideological indoctrination.

        You said this Walid:

        Christians have been distorting the old testament for thousands of years and thus you consider the christian reading of the old testament to be accurate. It is not. It is distorted.

        Texts mean whatever human beings choose them to mean — readings are creative inventions — and religious Jews themselves have interpreted their own texts in endless and contradictory ways — “accuracy” and “distortion” have little to do with it.

        Readings of texts tell us who the readers of those texts were at particular moments in time and space. The readings keep changing and evolving. I never read the same text today in the same way that I read it yesterday.

        Free your mind — don’t permit it to be controlled by the ideological inventions of others. Think for yourself.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on August 23, 2014, 4:59 pm

        At least I didn’t say, though I was tempted, that Jesus, in Crossan’s view, visited Jerusalem only once ‘prolly’.
        I presume that Crossan, whose book I have not read, thinks that the visit by the 12-year old Jesus, recorded by Luke only, is fictional, written for the theological purpose of establishing whom Jesus meant by ‘my father’. For what it’s worth, I think that Freyne’s book is quite good and brings us reasonably up to date with the discussion, though is maybe a bit conservative: I believe he gave up the Catholic priesthood for an academic career, though retreated to the pews at the back of the church rather than into unbelief. A scientifically objective account of the career of Jesus (if there was a Jesus; this is denied by some) is agonisingly difficult to find. That the subject has been caught up in the Jewish-Christian debate for near 2 millennia makes it an outlying, though not irrelevant, part of the problems we discuss here on Mondoweiss.

  9. ckg
    ckg on August 22, 2014, 3:00 pm

    Since David Samel has the #1 Readers’ Pick comment, I’ll take the liberty to reprint here:

    David Samel New York, New York 4 hours ago
    In the 21st century, a state that doles out rights, privileges and status based upon ancestry and religion should be an anachronism. Although Israel’s non-Jewish citizens have the right to vote and hold office, the government openly discriminates against them by law and practice. The far more numerous Palestinians in the occupied territories have no citizenship rights at all even though their lives are entirely subject to Israeli control.

    In apartheid South Africa, whites genuinely feared that transition to a one-person one-vote rule would result in their persecution and/or expulsion, as they were vastly outnumbered by the black population. Israeli Jews are in a much better position to ensure their rights in an egalitarian political system, as they constitute about half the population from the river to the sea.

    Israeli Jews have tried domination and subjugation of the native non-Jewish population for many decades, and it has not brought them true peace and never will. Eventually, they will have to accept the principle of equality that we in the U.S. hold to be inviolable. In the meantime, every life lost is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy.

    • just
      just on August 22, 2014, 4:05 pm

      Bravo David! Thanks ckg.

    • DaveS
      DaveS on August 22, 2014, 11:14 pm

      thanks ckg! Gratifying to see it resonate with Times readers

    • Peter in SF
      Peter in SF on August 23, 2014, 2:03 am

      Right now, David Samel’s comment is still the #1 Readers’ Pick and has been recommended 128 times. You have to go all the way down to the #11 Readers’ Pick to find a pro-Zionist critique, by B. from Brooklyn, recommended by readers 38 times. I’m surprised that the Hasbara brigades can muster only 38 accounts on the website of America’s newspaper of record, just to press a button, not even to copy talking points. How long can this last? All AIPAC has to do is ask each one of its employees to click on “Recommend” for the likes of B. from Brooklyn, and then B.’s comment will beat out David Samel’s handily. Are the Hasbarists deliberately holding back?

      • DaveS
        DaveS on August 23, 2014, 9:26 am

        Are the Hasbarists deliberately holding back?
        Peter, if they are, they have been doing it for a long time. I regularly look at readers’ picks in Times articles and opinion pieces that accept comments, and the ranking is almost always similar – the top ones are very critical of Israel. A few weeks ago, I was quite surprised to see a comments section that was very different, and thought that the “Hasbara brigades” had decided to make an effort to skew the results, but for some reason, that article was an anomaly. To my knowledge, there is no organized effort on the part of any Palestinian rights entity to galvanize members to support like-minded comments, and I believe that these consistent comments rankings indicate that the Times readership is a helluva lot more critical of Israel than its editorial and journalistic staff.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on August 23, 2014, 10:08 am

        David Samel,

        I started commenting on the strange disconnect between New York Times articles and comments about Israel among Readers’ Picks back in October 2013:

        The comments on this New York Times article are overwhelmingly anti-Israel — and express views that are systematically censored within the pages of the New York Times. We are looking at an untenable situation from the standpoint of the Times — it is radically out of sync with its own readers.

        The top Readers’ Pick comment on that day (October 10, 2013):

        That cheap blustering Netanyahu. Use your own money Bibi. Stop the settlements Bibi. Obey international borders Bibi! In other words take responsibility for YOUR problems!”

        Congratulations on your comment being pushed to the top of the picks by the best minds among the New York Times’ readership. One wonders if the management of the New York Times understands that it is sitting on an erupting volcano.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on August 23, 2014, 9:58 am

        Regarding David Samel’s superb comment at the New York Times:

        Quite a few Mondoweiss writers and commenters are more impressive thinkers and writers than the New York Times’ stable of approved (and stale) pundits.

        I have repeatedly noticed that New York Times comments are often more valuable than the articles on which they comment.

        Thank God for the Internet in kicking out the jams and opening up intelligent conversations about everything. May it ever be free and open.

        And thanks to Phil Weiss for having had the courage and determination to buck the entire corrupt and mediocre system that the New York Times has worked so hard to enforce over the last few decades.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 23, 2014, 11:23 am

        The NYT is McDonald’s compared to Mondo which is at least a 1 star Michelin.

        NYT info content is less than 15%. Like beef fed on GM corn and antibiotics.
        Rudoren is a complete joke.

        Israel’s world is slowly falling apart and the NYT is serving up hasbara dated to at last 1977.

  10. Chu
    Chu on August 22, 2014, 3:20 pm

    Good piece. Although there’s always this sense that it has to be done for a sub-group – i.e the diaspora are getting the shaft, so let’s unite. I guess he’s trying to motivate and/or herd the cats – tough challenge against Zionism’s allure to diaspora Jews and all the money that trickles toward its coffers.

    David Samel is top Comment*.

  11. globalconsciousness
    globalconsciousness on August 22, 2014, 4:05 pm

    Yes, the comments section was welcome and impressive for a change; usually when Friedman and Cohen write, I can begin to feel my veins popping! Still a number of zionists with their talking points, notably from Brooklyn; wonder what this means?!!!

  12. seafoid
    seafoid on August 22, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Things have changed a lot since 1974 when Kinky friedman wrote “they ain’t making Jews like Jesus anymore”
    “He says, i ain’t a racist but aristitle onassis is one greek we don’t need
    And them niggers, jews and sigma nus, all they ever do is breed.
    And wops n micks n slopes n spics n spooks are on my list
    And there’s one little hebe from the heart of texas is there anyone I missed ?

    Well, I hits him with everything I had right square between the eyes.
    I says, i’m gonna gitcha, you son of a bitch ya, for spoutin’ that pack of lies.
    If there’s one thing I can’t abide, it’s an ethnocentric racist;
    Now you take back that thing you said bout aristitle onassis.

    No, they ain’t makin’ jews like jesus anymore,
    We don’t turn the other cheek the way we done before.”

    And ethnocentric racism doesn’t really suit Judaism either

  13. lyn117
    lyn117 on August 22, 2014, 5:18 pm

    “… liberal Zionism not only lacks agency; worse, it provides cover for the supremacist Zionism dominant in Israel today.”

    Liberal Zionism always provided cover for supremacist Zionism.

  14. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on August 22, 2014, 5:31 pm

    RE: “Liberal Zionists must now face the reality that the dissenters have recognized for years: A de facto single state already exists; in it, rights for Jews are guaranteed while rights for Palestinians are curtailed.” ~ Antony Lerman

    MY COMMENT: I hate to find fault with Lerman’s excellent op-ed, but (rightly or wrongly) I can’t agree that “rights for Jews are guaranteed” in the de facto single state that already exists between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. I do more or less agree that Israeli “Jews” (as currently defined by Israel’s Nuremberg-type laws) have certain rights that generally are not curtailed (as they are de jure and and even a bit more de facto to varying degrees for “non-Jewish” Israelis). Unfortunately, Israel failed to take advantage of its best opportunity to “guarantee” these rights when it pretty much blew off the commitment made in its declaration of independence to formulate and adopt a formal constitution no later than 1 October 1948.
    Although some constitutional provisions are contained in Basic Laws passed by Israel’s Knesset, there is no clear rule determining the precedence of Basic Rules over regular legislation, and in many cases this issue is left to the interpretation of the judicial system.
    Consequently, at this point, it is far too much of a stretch to say that “rights for Jews [or anyone else] are guaranteed” in the de facto single state. Considerably to the contrary, the current government of Israel is committed to having the Knesset pass a Basic Law subverting Israel’s democratic identity to its identity as the state of the Jewish people.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on August 22, 2014, 6:43 pm

      And Israel differentiates among Jews by a weird system of its own invention. Some Jews are, indeed, more equal than others.

  15. Les
    Les on August 22, 2014, 5:59 pm

    Note the difference in these NY Times headlines to help us understand who are the evil doers.

    Israeli Strike Hits Family of Hamas Leader

    Gazans Suspected of Aiding Israel Are Killed

  16. on August 22, 2014, 6:57 pm

    When I started to read Mondoweiss more than 12 months ago it was difficult to express my sympathies for the Palestinians cause without being called a nut or an anti-Semite i.e. “The love that dare not speak its name”. But huge changes have taken place in the past year. So many readers are now expressing all my feelings and conclusions. It is very heartening and encouraging to feel vindicated after so many years of suppression and obfuscation. Thank you Mondoweiss for leading the pack in this critical area. This piece by Lerman is stunning, because as Phil says, we are close to witnessing “Palestinians getting to make their political case in the elite media”.

  17. eGuard
    eGuard on August 22, 2014, 9:03 pm

    So NYT publishes another liberal-Zionists-are-moved piece. Well, that convinces me.

    Most convincing is: second paragraph opening with the “Never do liberal Zionists feel more torn than when Israel is at war,” wrote Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian’s opinion editor and a leading British liberal Zionist statement (the lib-Zio real tornment is having to shoot & cry at the same time, of course). Actually, Freedland is a warmonger for Israel as we learned already in 2008/2009. But, luckily for all of us: he is a liberal warmonger. This time, the Guardian — Freedland at the wheel — re-published Elie Wiesel’s racist bigoted intolerant ad that even the London Murdoch Times had refused.

  18. Gregory Wonderwheel
    Gregory Wonderwheel on August 23, 2014, 5:53 pm

    I found this bit to be most telling:
    “The only Zionism of any consequence today is xenophobic and exclusionary, a Jewish ethno-nationalism inspired by religious messianism. It is carrying out an open-ended project of national self-realization to be achieved through colonization and purification of the tribe.”
    Thus there is no such thing as “liberal” Zionism, and probably never was.

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