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I quit my job at the Jewish Community Center over a pro-Israel rally and they called me an anti-semite

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When I found out that my local Jewish Community Center recently held a pro-Israel rally, I was disgusted. I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I didn’t want to think that maybe we were like everyone else, like the JCC in my friend’s town an hour away that hosted a rally in support of Israel that included “Memorial prayers for fallen IDF soldiers.” I thought we were better than that. I thought, my Jewish community doesn’t endorse violence. That’s not what being Jewish means to me. Being Jewish means being critical and anti-authoritarian. But, then again, maybe I didn’t have a traditional Jewish upbringing.

I grew up in a secular Jewish home in a town with no synagogue. To this day, I still don’t know if my parents believe in G-d. Growing up, my brother and I would regularly have Shabbos dinner with our rabbi grandfather and Holocaust survivor grandmother. Every Passover, my whole family would get together to debate and have a way-too-long Seder because that’s what you do. And, in the summertime, I would go to JCC summer camp in the next town over. There, I would make all the Jewish friends I didn’t get to have during the school year, and no one would tell me that challah and matzo and good ole Jewish tuna sandwiches were weird.

I’ve had somewhat of a rough time being Jewish, having lived in many places that I can confidently call anti-Semitic, but I’ve always considered the JCC where I grew up to be a safe haven. Even when I decided I would not be bar/bat mitzvah’d and later realized that I never believed in G-d anyway, I always felt welcome at the Jewish Community Center.

Sure, there were indications that I was associated with Zionists when I was interning in the JCC’s front office this past January and my supervisors were discussing SodaStream and Scarlett Johansson, painting BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) activists as not having a clue as to what actually goes on in Israel, arguing instead that Israelis and Palestinians work side-by-side in the promised land. Also, apparently, racism doesn’t exist in Israel. Of course, they also tried to convince me I needed to go on a Birthright-Taglit trip and spoke very highly of their children’s trips.

But after that, I worked with the children in the Elementary Department for four months without a problem. I proudly wore my blue staff polo and carried a clipboard and enjoyed the company of 3-10 year olds who felt very comfortable asking very personal questions.

It was as a concerned Jew and employee of the JCC that I called their front desk the Friday after I found out about the rally, after consulting some of my local comrades, and asked who planned the event and how I could talk to them. The receptionist transferred me to the Jewish Federation line and I talked to their receptionist. The receptionist said that their board of directors had planned the rally and I asked if my organization could meet with them. They asked what this was for and who my organization is. I replied that we’re a collection of like-minded individuals who would like to know more about the rally. I was then patched in to the voicemail of the person I needed, and I left a voicemail.

At this point, I was not actually sure how connected the Jewish Federation was to the Jewish Community Center. Yes, the rally had been held on the JCC campus, but was this action 100% endorsed by the JCC?

Monday afternoon, I decided to call again. This time, I spoke to the person who I left the voicemail for. She asked what my name was and what department I worked for. She said that we did not have an elementary department. I thought it was very odd that this person would deny this true fact right off the bat. I said, “Well, that’s what we call ourselves. I work in vacation camp, the after school program, and I’m a substitute in the pre-school.” Also, it says Elementary Department on my paychecks, but I didn’t mention that.

She asked why I needed to meet with the Jewish Federation and I expressed that I was very concerned about the recent pro-Israel rally. She said it was a solidarity event. I asked what the difference was. She asked why I was concerned. I said I did not want to associate myself with Zionists. She asked why, and I replied that Zionism is a racist institution. This was apparently a mistake, because what followed was a rant from the other end of the telephone that seemed to last forever, but my phone says we were only on the phone for 17 minutes total.

I was unfortunately not taking notes during this phone call because I didn’t think it would be such a hilarious, Zionist goldmine, with the person on the other side of the phone nearly shrieking their justifications at me. At one point, I was told that Israel is the only line of defense the United States has against the tyranny of the “terrorist” states in the Middle East. Apparently, if Israel falls, so do we (we, meaning, The United States), because “terrorists” hate “Western values.” I asked what Western values are, and they are, according to this person: freedom, democracy, education (education of women, especially), building hospitals – “Oh?” I asked, “Building hospitals? Then how do you justify Israel blowing up Palestinian hospitals?” Of course, this person had all the answers; Hamas is allegedly hiding missiles in hospitals. I asked how they can justify Israel killing an unfathomable number of civilians, and they said that “terrorists” are using women and children as “human shields.” I asked how she could lie like that and she told me to face reality; in war, there are always going to be civilian casualties.

At various points in the conversation, the person on the phone told me that she feels really sad for me because I do not have a home in the world. At some point, she told me that Palestine does not exist, that it is not an actual place, even though there are Palestinians. I said that, actually, my family was in Palestine before the creation of the state, and my grandfather was born in Jerusalem, Palestine. She told me that I will have nowhere to go if Israel does not exist and there is ever another Holocaust. I was absolutely appalled and told her that that was incredibly inappropriate.

After about 15 minutes of this back and forth, I said, “We’re clearly both getting very emotional. I’m just going to assume that you’re not willing to meet with me?” We scheduled a meeting for that Thursday, with me very ready to turn in my staff polo, quit my job, and sever ties with the JCC forever.

The morning of my meeting, I received a voicemail from the person I was meeting with, informing me that we would be meeting with two more people, including my former boss, in addition to her. I felt lucky that I was already planning on going to the meeting with a comrade from the local branch of the ISO (International Socialist Organization) who was well-versed in BDS and Palestinian solidarity; otherwise, I would have felt ganged up on.

As it turns out, three against two is still unfair. We arrived at the meeting and started out with innocent small talk before my boss arrived, but it quickly turned tense when he was many minutes late and everyone at the table had already picked their sides, quietly waiting for their turn to engage. He finally arrived, and what followed is a blur.

When I described how these three middle-aged adults talked to my comrade and me to a friend afterwards, he told me he was sorry I had to go through something so traumatic. “Traumatic” is a good word. These people are easily twice my age and were not afraid of making me feel the decades between us. They insisted that I do my research (How much more research do I have to do to conclude that Israel is an apartheid state?); they told my comrade, who is not much older than me, which is an important detail, that, in an Arab country, she would not be allowed to pursue her PhD (When she told them that that assertion was racist and xenophobic, they said that it was simply the truth.); and they told me I know nothing of Israel, Palestine, or the conflict. This last one really got to me; I have family in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, and I’ve been following this conflict for over twenty years, through no conscious choice of my own. When you’re part Israeli, you don’t get the luxury of not picking a side here. I really hope my boss, who I know for a fact is a Russian Jew, really appreciates the irony of being an Ashkenazi Jew with no business in the land of Israel, telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Oh yes, and they also called me anti-Semitic. Now, I may not be proud of the Israeli state, and I may have a tattoo, but I will always be proud of being Jewish. Jews have come a long way in this world and I am proud that we have survived, despite it all. But, to me, Jewishness is not a static, infallible thing that one should never question. On the contrary, Jewishness means questioning the status quo, which often means questioning other Jews, and living a life that does the least amount of harm. Just as I fight against the militarization of the police in the United States, so too do I oppose state-sanctioned Israeli terrorism against the innocent people of Palestine. Zionism may be carried out in the name of Judaism, but the Jewish thing to do, for me, will always be to oppose Zionism, just as it is our imperative to oppose all other racialized violence and injustice worldwide. I don’t think being a decent person is anti-Semitic.

Of course, there are definitely anti-Semitic ways to oppose Zionism, and they will always be wrong. There is a lot of anti-Semitism in the contemporary anti-Zionist movement, and it makes me uncomfortable, to say the least.

As our meeting drew to a close, I gripped the blue polo sitting in my lap. If I wasn’t prepared to quit my job already, this meeting certainly convinced me. I don’t remember exactly what I said as I handed my boss the polo and told him I had to resign, but I remember losing my composure as I expressed that I felt a profound sense of loss, that I felt my local Jewish community was abandoning me and its self-professed ideals of peace, and that, by severing ties with the JCC, I would be cut off from a community I had relied on for over fifteen years. I don’t think the peers I left behind at the JCC will ever understand how very betrayed I feel by the community, and I don’t think my white, Christian friends will ever understand how much I am losing by taking such a political stand. In this time, it is very important to keep my anti-Zionist Jewish friends close. We have to build and maintain community, because we’re definitely a minority.

Moving forward, I encourage all of my friends, Jewish or gentile, to live in a more Jewish way. That is, always question authority. Remember that laws can be unjust. Remember that your silence does not do any good. And remember that Zionism is not Jewish. Zionism is an abomination.

Charlie Stern
About Charlie Stern

Charlie Stern is a non-binary transgender anti-Zionist Mizrahi Jew who self-identifies as a feminist and a radical, but not a radical feminist. Charlie is a stand-up comedian, a poet, an accordion player, and a student. Their activism includes work with Mountain Justice, anti-police brutality groups, and Food Not Bombs.

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80 Responses

  1. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz on September 4, 2014, 11:39 am

    Charlie, it was a very valiant thing to do. It takes a real civil courage to stand up to your friends and members of your community. This is why shunning in the religious communities and in the cults is so very effective.

  2. seafoid
    seafoid on September 4, 2014, 1:39 pm

    US politics my ass. This is the ongoing Jewish crisis as are the other 2 articles highlighted in this section.

  3. seafoid
    seafoid on September 4, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Very impressive stuff from Charlie . Not easy to stand up to madness when most people are mad.

    Regarding “you do not have a home” and “another Holocaust ”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/840c2ac4-2d27-11e4-8105-00144feabdc0.html

    “Sir, Your editorial “Anti-Semitism is a menace to us all” (August 23) rightly condemns the conflating of criticism of the state of Israel’s policies with anti-Semitism.

    But what you fail to acknowledge is the extent to which the Israeli government itself goes to conflate the issue by claiming that Israel is the nation of the Jews and representative of their collective identity. Of course this claim is demonstrably untrue, with most Jews being loyal citizens of their respective homelands, living outside Israel.

    In addition, you fail to acknowledge the racism implicit in the claims of the Israeli state ideology of Zionism, which views the Jewish citizens of Israel as being uniquely politically privileged in relation to all other ethnic groups, including the original Palestinian inhabitants, and as eternal outsiders everywhere else. In fact it is Zionism that anticipates and perpetuates anti-Semitism by placing Jews as the other, everywhere separate and eternally in danger.

    Loay AbdelKarim, Boston, MA, US “

  4. Atlantaiconoclast
    Atlantaiconoclast on September 4, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Would someone please tell me what exactly is the criteria for something being “anti Semitic”? Does this mean that one cannot make claims about Jewish supremacism, or discuss evidence for Israeli involvement in a variety of false flags? Does it mean we aren’t allowed to point out that Jewish tribalism sometimes leads to nefarious deeds? I really don’t get this “anti Semite” charge, or this “blood libel” charge. Yes, there have been false accusations made about Jews, and many other groups, throughout history, but forbidding accusations of Jewish supremacism seems too high of a standard to me. To me, someone is anti Jewish if he or she simply hates “the Jews,” and makes collective judgments about Jews based on the actions of only a portion of Jews. What do the rest of you think?

  5. Talkback
    Talkback on September 4, 2014, 2:32 pm

    “That’s not what being Jewish means to me. Being Jewish means being critical and anti-authoritarian.”

    There we go again. ‘Jewish means this’ vs. ‘Jewish means that’. The whole discussion is never about what it means to be a mensh.

    Is it Jewish, or is it not?!? The question is pathetic and beyond any universal morality.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on September 4, 2014, 4:41 pm

      There are those who would say that the primary use for the term “Jewish” is to enable Israel to make that differentation. And that is, at this time, all we can do by using it.
      Anotherwords, no matter what we do, the simple fact of calling ourselves “Jews” validates Zionism’s contention that there is such a thing, and from there it’s just a short step to Zionism defining (or not defining) a “Jew” in their own interest. As long as everybody agrees there is such a thing as a “Jew” Zionism wins!

      They thought that part of it out pretty good, huh? Nice little trap they set.

      • Pixel
        Pixel on September 4, 2014, 5:15 pm

        .
        The Zionist enterprise is brilliantly diabolical

        …and we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.

      • Philemon
        Philemon on September 5, 2014, 8:56 pm

        Underestimating the enemy is no good, but so is overestimating ’em.

        I don’t think the Zionists thought it out that far in advance. They just went with the Nazi definition, which they had helped with, and it worked in their favor for eliciting sympathy, and good PR, for the time, and made some of them nice money from gulling the marks. So, why not go with it? After all, by the time the whole idea of Jews as a race fell apart and people realized it was bogus, they would have long since got their slice.

        No, I don’t have a high opinion of the people who started this nightmare. Crooks, conmen, and cranks to a man.

        Now, the only problem is that there are so many entrenched money interests in the status quo, and naturally they don’t want to be exposed.

        They’ll cut their losses, eventually, though.

    • Raksha
      Raksha on September 5, 2014, 11:10 am

      There we go again. ‘Jewish means this’ vs. ‘Jewish means that’. The whole discussion is never about what it means to be a mensh.

      Silly me. I always thought being Jewish meant you at least try to be a mensch. But then I was raised Reform, so what do I know?

      Is it Jewish, or is it not?!? The question is pathetic and beyond any universal morality.

      Right, because any morality that isn’t universai is no morality at all. To have one set of standards for “our” group and another standard for “them” is hypocrisy by definition.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 5, 2014, 3:06 pm

        I don’t see any reason why a sense of one’s self as a Jew, in whatever way, needs to be associated with a requisite racism. And I hope mine isn’t. In fact, I would hope everything I know about being Jewish militates against racism.

        But when the fact, just the mere fact that I do call myself a Jew, becomes (for whatever reason) an andjunct in any way to racism, gives an assist to the conceptual framework of Zionism, then I have a problem. And what, if anything I can do about it. I gotta ask myself : “Is there anything I can do as a Jew which can eliminate the harm engendered by making that distinction about myself, since acknowledging the validity of the differentiation between “Jews” and an ‘other’ is what maintains Zionism.
        It’s a good question, which (if you’ll excuse my saying so) a lot of commenters have been trying to express, and one I couldn’t express either.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 5, 2014, 3:12 pm

        “I don’t see any reason why a sense of one’s self as a Jew, in whatever way, needs to be associated with a requisite racism. “

        But of course, I was born in America, and did not have the same experiences of persecution, the same terrible choices, and the same social pressure from within and without which may have shaped the views of the Jews who were caught up in persecution.
        And I’m sorry, I simply have no capacity for pretending otherwise. Makes me feel both foolish, phony, and disrespectful toward the Jews who did suffer. to do so And that’s three things, not just both.

    • lyn117
      lyn117 on September 7, 2014, 12:52 pm

      I think we should get away from deciding for anyone else what their religious or ethnic identity means to them. It’s not up to me to decide for any Jews what being Jewish means to them.

      That aside, I do notice that Jewish culture at least in the U.S. is pro-intellectual and pro-education, as opposed to a lot of pop culture that’s sort of anti-intellectual, and I do think that the anti-authoritarian and critical strain is stronger among intellectuals (I suppose the tea party with their anti-government philosophy might also be considered anti-authoritarian if uncritically so). So Charlie’s belief that being Jewish means being critical and anti-authoritarian has good grounds.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 9, 2014, 12:02 pm

        “That aside, I do notice that Jewish culture at least in the U.S. is pro-intellectual and pro-education, as opposed to a lot of pop culture that’s sort of anti-intellectual, and I do think that the anti-authoritarian and critical strain is stronger among intellectuals”

        The US is a pretty big place. Big enough to have several Jewish cultures. Some of them aren’t even aware of the existence of the others, and would probably even deny they exist.

        Remember, there’s a huge, huge difference (and goddamnit, I wish somebody would acknowledge it, instead of all this “Jewish community” nonsense) between being a Jew (or anything else, for that matter) in a situation in which people outside yourself have the power to define what “Jew” is and how separate they must be and how they deal with the rest of the world, and the situation which exists when “Jewish” is a voluntary association.
        Because Zionism uses that confusion to its advantage, constantly.

  6. John Douglas
    John Douglas on September 4, 2014, 2:44 pm

    Charlie Stern,

    I admire you very much for your strength and moral concern. I wish you every good thing.

    John

  7. a blah chick
    a blah chick on September 4, 2014, 2:51 pm

    I’m not surprised that the Russian born Jew had no problem telling the Israeli born Mizrahi that she didn’t know what she was talking about. The Europeans just assume that they have the right to speak for everyone, including others of their community who don’t agree with them, Mizrahi, Palestinians in Israel, poor women, gays. They even know what is best for the people of Gaza! It is the arrogance of the Euro-centric mind and it needs to be squashed.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones on September 5, 2014, 3:03 am

      It’s interesting that she is Mizrahi. That must mean that she is basically Middle Eastern, right? (Although I suppose it includes elsewhere in Africa and Asia too.) Perhaps that meant her parents were not really typical in comparison with others?

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty on September 7, 2014, 7:28 am

      “It is the arrogance of the Euro-centric mind and it needs to be squashed.”

      OMG! You must be kidding. It’s the USA that plays world police and sends killer drones around the world to commit mass murder of Muslims. It’s the USA that protects the criminal, settler-colonial state of Israel from punishment by the UN. So, it’s US arrogance and Zionist settler-colonialism that need to be squashed.
      This Jew’s problem isn’t his Europeanness but his Zionism. Zionists are evil or deluded, no matter where they come from. Besides, the mere fact that Charlie happens to be Mizrahi or partiallly Israeli doesn’t automatically make her an expert on Zionism. A lot of Israelis are very ignorant.

  8. ckg
    ckg on September 4, 2014, 3:46 pm

    They told Charlie that education (education of women, especially) is a Western value. As a point of fact Birzeit University’s student body is 64/36 is female/male. 64.5% of the undergraduate students and 63.1% of the graduate students are women. It offers 45 Bachelor’s degree programs and 23 graduate studies programs.

  9. seafoid
    seafoid on September 4, 2014, 4:21 pm

    Joan Rivers has died. RIP. A reminder that Zionism needs to win the loyalty of the generations that follow.
    And prolly won’t.

    • just
      just on September 4, 2014, 5:07 pm

      Yes, I just read that…too bad the last words I heard her utter were terrible ones.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/rivers-coverage-insane.html

      (as an aside, Governor and Mrs. McDonnell just got convicted for multiple counts of corruption, fraud, and bribery.)

      • seafoid
        seafoid on September 4, 2014, 5:15 pm

        Her twitter had something like “a girl with a dream of going to New York”. Very much in the Cosmopolitan mode. For all those women “who try so hard to break out of their little world” .
        And she could never break out of her Zionist mind lock.

  10. on September 4, 2014, 4:34 pm

    Charlie, you really rocked the boat. Well done. These people do not think about their irrational tendencies. You do. You are a thinker. I am so proud of you and wish you all the best.

  11. on September 4, 2014, 4:45 pm

    “I’ve had somewhat of a rough time being Jewish, having lived in many places that I can confidently call anti-Semitic”.

    As a non-Jewish white of 60 years of age who has lived most of my life in Boston, I have heard numerous racist comments directed at black people, Muslims, Arabs, and brown people. And some at Asians. And at gays — although much more in the past than today. And some criticism of Israel.

    But I honestly don’t recall ever having heard an anti-Semitic comment.

    Is it possible that some Jewish people see anti-Semitism where it does not exist? Do they realize that making fun of some unusual food one is eating is not really anti-Semitism?

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones on September 5, 2014, 4:15 am

      Giles,
      Racism happens occasionally, but fortunately nowadays it’s not the norm. For example, anti-black racism isn’t usually open or seen as socially “respectable” or polite, but now and then it happens, like you said. People can get in trouble at a lot of workplaces for making racist comments at people, and practicing discrimination is illegal.

      I think the ADL’s antisemitism index was exaggerrated because of the way two questions were phrased, but in any case the US scored 9% for antisemitism. Of course, it would be better if it was 0, but it’s not that huge either.

      Anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian sentiment is unfortunately far more serious like you said. Mondoweiss just put up a list of people who suffered for being pro-Palestinian just this summer.

  12. Pixel
    Pixel on September 4, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Charlie,

    Thanks so much for writing this piece, for your activism, and for being just who are – a young person who’s “awake,” and making a difference in the world.

    “These people are easily twice my age and were not afraid of making me feel the decades between us.” Ah, yes, playing the age card, were they? No doubt. But that’s the good news and the bad good news: you’re young and they’re not. (Joan Rivers, may she rest in peace.)

    I’m being completely serious when I suggest that you may want to rethink that Birthright-Taglit trip. I’ve long felt that those trips present an interesting opportunity for some great underground resistance. Think about it. It could become it’s own ice bucket challenge throwing cold water on that travel package of Zionist propaganda.

    The numbers are bigger but I’ll use 10 as an example. You can extrapolate from there.

    Assuming $3,000 per trip, if you and 9 like-minded comrades signed up for Birthright and did nothing but have a “great” time, that, in and of itself, would remove $30,000 from the Zionist propaganda coffers. It would also save ten other young people who might have gone in your place from being brainwashed or further brainwashed, in whole or in part, by the experience. In some cases it could literally save lives on all sides. “Solidarity With Israel” A Birthright trip convinced an American with shaky Hebrew that he was ready to die for another country By Allison Benedikt.

    All 10 of you would have to be great actors and never break character, each so committed to the cause that they understood that silent resistance was a very powerful tool After you got back, you’d challenge 10 more to go and so it would move forward.

    Beating them at their own game is an exciting challenge. Like Kung Fu Panda, using an aggressor’s strength against them, is an art form. But I digress. I’ve been talking about simply going and doing nothing else.

    There’s are additional options. While you guys would have to be really careful, I can’t imagine that there might not be some opportunities along the way for active resistance. Playing dumb and then asking well-placed provocative questions (with 100% sincerity) could be fruitful. The goal would simply be to have the other 40 kids in the group understand that there even – were – questions. Hey, you might even successfully recruit a few others in your travel cohort along the way.

    Think White Rose.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones on September 5, 2014, 3:48 am

      Pixel,

      There are people who go on Birthright trips and who think a bit like the way you do. They try to ask tough questions, but they basically get shut down and are told that Birthright is apolitical, although in fact it’s mainly political.

      You can ask people who go on birthright trips what happens when tough questions are asked.

      Imagine if you are in the military and ask tough questions to your sergeant. I’m not saying Birthright is the same as that, though.

    • globalconsciousness
      globalconsciousness on September 6, 2014, 2:55 pm

      I am curious – do Birthright trips enable one to go to the West Bank and see occupation first hand?
      If one intends to stand in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, then surely boycotting events that privilege the rights of one group over another is the correct path…

  13. seafoid
    seafoid on September 4, 2014, 5:19 pm

    It is not easy to turn your back on a community and go in the direction of what you think is right . But special people have always done this. This is a song about it , based on an Irish poem from the 10th century .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ8kR05mvKU

    The Pilgrim Anon. 10th Century. Translated By Kuno Meyer.

    “Shall I go, O King of the Mysteries, after my fill of cushions and music, to turn my face on the shore and my back on my native land?

    Shall I be in poverty in the battle through the grave of the King, a King who does not fail, without great honour or a famous chariot, without silver and without a horse?

    Without heady drink that intoxicates a throng, without a stout tribe, without retainers to protect me, without a swift shield or any weapon, without cup, ale, or drinking horn?

    Without soft clothes that are pleasant to look at, without cushions which are no friend of any saint, but beech-twigs of virtue under a hard quilt for my body?

    Shall I say a long farewell to the great island of the sons of proud Mil? Shall I offer myself under Christ’s yoke before I cross the waters of the Red Sea?

    Shall I cut my hand with every sort of wound on the breast of the wave which wrecks boats? Shall I leave the track of my two knees on the strand by the shore? Shall I take my little black currach over the broad-breasted glorious ocean? O King of the bright kingdom, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?

    Whether I be strong or poor, or mettlesome so as to be recounted in tales, O Christ, Will you help me when it comes to going upon the wild sea?”

  14. wondering jew
    wondering jew on September 4, 2014, 8:43 pm

    The idea that Ashkenazi Jews have no place in Israel, whereas a Mizrahi Jew does have a place in Israel is progress over the idea that no Jew (Ashkenazi or Mizrahi) has a place in Israel, but is still retrograde. The Jewish connection to Israel goes beyond race and ethnicity and is part of the Jewish religion. To oppose Zionism is one thing, to oppose the connection of Ashkenazi Jews to Israel is an entirely separate thing. And Charlie Stern does not differentiate between the two ideas.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on September 4, 2014, 9:51 pm

      Yonah, did you ever try making sense? So Jews have a religious connection to Israel, so goddam what? The world is supposed to give us everything we demand, and let us murder people, too? What are you, nuts?

      Why do you think the entire world has to bend over and take it from us? Cause our religion says so? Are you daft? Are are you buying Israel with the six-million-dead dollars?

      Or is Jewish might so great?

    • Mooser
      Mooser on September 4, 2014, 9:51 pm

      ” The Jewish connection to Israel goes beyond race and ethnicity and is part of the Jewish religion. “

      So what?

    • annie
      annie on September 5, 2014, 1:35 am

      yonah, i have a connection to you through mondoweiss, does that mean i have a right to take your house and land?

      here’s google’s definition, possibly representing the most common usage

      con·nec·tion

      1.
      a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

      2.
      North Americaninformal
      a supplier of narcotics.

      Origin
      late Middle English: from Latin connexio(n-), from connectere (see connect). The spelling -ct (18th century) is from connect, on the pattern of pairs such as collect, collection .
      Translate connection to Use over time for: connection

      so, for russian/european jews we can scratch out origin use over time, cuz overwhelmingly they didn’t. that leaves 1 or 2. i think 2 clearly applies to ziocaine! it’s a winner!

      but i don’t think anywhere is says “connection: rights to deed of trust.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 5, 2014, 11:17 am

        Annie, it sounds like you won’t be buying any bridges or desert beachfront property from Yonah.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 5, 2014, 3:25 pm

        “2 clearly applies to ziocaine! it’s a winner! “

        Although teams of researchers, mostly consisting of me, postulated, hypothesized and theorized, often all at once,that the Ziocaine Syndrome arose from chronic chemical intoxication, (thus giving rise to the name) further research, conducted by four-out-of-five dentists who chew gum, indicates it is entirely of behavioral origin, a nervous complaint, with psycho-somatic symptoms.
        I would advocate a treatment with ash-tree derivatives, but there’s no clinical proof that works either.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on September 5, 2014, 5:14 pm

        Here is the quote from Charlie’s post: “I really hope my boss, who I know for a fact is a Russian Jew, really appreciates the irony of being an Ashkenazi Jew with no business in the land of Israel, telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. ”

        An Ashkenazi Jew has no business in the land of Israel according to Charlie. I disagree. Whether that business extends to kicking out the palestinians, is obviously a sore point here, but I think I can disagree with the gist of charlie’s statement without endorsing the Nakba. Charlie’s statement is anti Ashkenazi Jew. It is anti Judaism.

        Taking the connection or the “business in the land of Israel” and turning it into the right to exile the indigenous is a wild leap that unfortunately Ben Gurion made and that those who endorse the status quo regarding June 4, 1967 are endorsing as well. Fair enough. But Ashkenazi Jews have no business in the land of Israel is just poppycock and anti Jewish. The ability to be anti Zionist without being anti Jewish is difficult, but Charlie has not succeeded.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 6, 2014, 4:41 pm

        “The ability to be anti Zionist without being anti Jewish is difficult, but Charlie has not succeeded.”

        Yup, Yonah, glad you agree with me. Zionsm uses Jews amnd Judaism, as its ‘human sheild’. You might enjoy being used that way, but a lot of people don’t.

        And since Zionism is pretty much Jewish, you just better get used to the fact that people who are anti-Zionist will end up disliking some Jews in some way. You are too weird of a guy to see this ( I mean, c’mon, a guy who enjoys being a human shield? That’s wierd) but that is not actually a point in Zionism’s favor, in fact, the reverse.

        You’ve got to remember, that unlike you, we American Jews, for the most part, aren’t being paid by Zionism. They are paying for Zionism, and it’s turning out a lousy deal.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on September 5, 2014, 11:16 am

      Yonas: The Jewish connection goes beyond …

      … time, space and common sense. We allready know.

      But beware! I heard about a group of extraterristials, who feel connected to our Planet, because they claim that their God promised this planet and they therefore had a right to return and expell and massacre us to secure an “alien democracy” with a clear alien demograph. ‘It’s not a dream, if we will it’, says their ideological leader Thotocrot Hothzl (that is just a rough transliteration, it sounds like vomiting). The Intergalactic Union is allready debating to let them take more than half of the planet without any consequence. And if we resist, we are intergalactic terrorists. Oh the humanity …

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty on September 5, 2014, 5:10 pm

      “The Jewish connection to Israel goes beyond race and ethnicity and is part of the Jewish religion.”

      So what? The Bible is not a land register. Besides, there are also a lot of non-religious people who self-identify as Jewish for whatever crazy reason. What’s their connection to Israel?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 8, 2014, 2:23 pm

        “What’s their connection to Israel?”

        Simple! By calling ourselves Jewish, we aid Israel in making the distinction between Jew and not-Jew. And you know what they do to the not-Jews.

        And whether we like it, or not, calling yourself Jewish means helping them with that, unless one is willing to make plain and visible at all times one opposes it. Sorry, it’s a shitty situation, I didn’t make it, and wanted to believe for years it wasn’t true.
        But when I began seeing that when I called myself a Jew, people most often saw me as Zionism wanted them to see me brought it home to me.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on September 8, 2014, 3:54 pm

        MOOSER – “By calling ourselves Jewish, we aid Israel in making the distinction between Jew and not-Jew … unless one is willing to make plain and visible at all times one opposes it.”

        I agree! If I were a Jew, I wouldn’t dare to be visibly Jewish for fear of being mistaken for a Zionist and being berated for Zionist crimes. I would only mention my Jewishness in the same breath with my anti-Zionism. However, I am glad that I am spared from such a situation. I think that Zionism turned being Jewish into a burden. I already mentioned this in one of my previous posts, but on a YouTube show some German Jews complained that one of the first questions they get when coming out as Jewish is, “What’s your opinion on Israel?” Obviously, they don’t want to hear this question because they are Zionists and find it increasingly hard to come up with excuses or justifications for Zionist crimes. They even claimed that asking a non-Israeli Jew about his opinion on Israel is anti-Semitic.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 9, 2014, 12:09 pm

        “I agree! If I were a Jew, I wouldn’t dare to be visibly Jewish for fear of being mistaken for a Zionist and being berated for Zionist crimes. “

        Gee, could you come up with a more insulting or patronizing interpretation of what I said?

        And what on earth does “being mistaken for a Zionist” mean. Nobody, no matter what offer of gain or acceptance is contingent on it, has ever “mistaken me for a Zionist”. If they do, I set ’em straight, fast and vociferously. In fact, I can’t stop myself from doing it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 9, 2014, 12:11 pm

        “Being visibly Jewish”

        A few people do mistake the palmate antlers for devil’s horns. It happens. Apart from that, what are the signs of being “visibly Jewish”. (Owww, I hope it’s custom-made Italian or English suits and bespoke shoes.)

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 9, 2014, 9:01 pm

        “If I were a Jew, I wouldn’t dare to be visibly Jewish”

        Oh, it doesn’t matter what I look like, as soon as I open my mouth, people know.

    • bryan
      bryan on September 6, 2014, 4:30 am

      Yonah, have I got this right? People who share the same religion as that practised by the majority in Palestine 2000 years ago have an automatic right of return (even though most of those who campaigned for this concept were secular or even outright atheists) while hundreds of thousands (and now millions including their direct descendants) who were born, lived, worked and owned property in Palestine were expelled in 1948 and 1967 and even later but have absolutely no right of return. Many of those expelled and with no RofR are in all likelihood descendants of the original Jewish population of Palestine who were subsequently converted to Christianity and Islam, whilst those colonisers with an automatic RofR are in all likelihood descendants of Pagans who were subsequently converted to Judaism in diverse areas like Yemen, North Africa, Italy and Khazaria. Please explain your absurdly warped logic.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on September 6, 2014, 4:23 pm

        bryan, I have never communicated with you before, so hello.

        i did not say anything about an automatic right of return. i did not say anything about the jewish connection preempting any other connection and specifically above in response to anne stated that my statement did not follow that line of logic.

        so please read all of my response spread out over a number of responses before you demand an explanation of my warped logic. or before you condemn my logic as warped.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 6, 2014, 4:44 pm

        Yonah, do you believe people calling themselves “Jews” (for whatever reason) have the right to dispossess the native population of Palestine? Yes or no?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on September 7, 2014, 4:26 pm

        mooser, no. they don’t have that right. but once they do seize the territory, what follows then?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 8, 2014, 2:27 pm

        “mooser, no. they don’t have that right. but once they do seize the territory, what follows then?”

        Yonah, I don’t want to shock you, I know you are a Zionist, but people very often have to give stolen property back. Sometimes even the thieves descendants have to make restitution.

        Or do you think the Zionists have all the power in the world? Better get that Israeli birth-rate up!

  15. annie
    annie on September 5, 2014, 12:56 am

    no one would tell me …. good ole Jewish tuna sandwiches were weird.

    can someone tell me what a jewish tuna sandwhich is? is something extra added? like pickles or relish? i make mine w/chopped green onions and of course lettuce. yum.

    charlie, thank you. great read. find a jvp!

  16. W.Jones
    W.Jones on September 5, 2014, 3:03 am

    This is a good narrative.

    • bilal a
      bilal a on September 5, 2014, 3:28 am

      this is a better narrative:

      “the fiendish monstrosities of the “entertainment industry” mourn the death of that evil bitch, Joan Rivers. Before slipping into a coma, a life lived far too long, she advocated the slaughter of Palestinian children, claimed the first lady of the United States was a transsexual and accused President Obama of being as gay as his predecessor.

      Rivers was a monster, our biggest concern at this time is to make sure she is still dead.

      Her talent, for those who have seen her stage performance in Las Vegas is smut and fart jokes. At her best, she was boorish, tasteless and vile.

      She got worse. She became a hate ridden monster, a freakish Zionist advocate of mass murder, a purveyor of continual lies, smears, filth and depravity. Everything wrong about Hollywood …is what Rivers represents.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 5, 2014, 11:24 am

        Hey, we’re living in a new kind of society in America, ever since the Reagens. America is a senile dementocracy now.

  17. W.Jones
    W.Jones on September 5, 2014, 3:54 am

    Hello, Charlie.

    You wrote a good narrative, and added:

    I don’t think my white, Christian friends will ever understand how much I am losing by taking such a political stand.

    I think you are a good writer and gave a sense of what it was like o go through the resignation process after discussing with them how you and they felt about the conflict. I’m a white Christian myself, and admire your commitment to social justice. While I might not understand fully what you are losing, I am convinced that if you write another essay like his one about how you feel, what you are giving up, and what it means to you, people who are truly your friends will understand.

    You are a wonderful person, and there are people who care and sympathize. Please remember that.

  18. Pretext
    Pretext on September 5, 2014, 9:11 am

    Charlie,

    Thank you for your courage and sacrifice. It’s a difficult line to walk to respect and cherish our tribes and yet still putting our moral values ahead of groupthink. That you do both is a testament to your character.

    Since I don’t have a community like yours, I can never fully appreciate the loss involved in making your stand, but your words at least can offer a hint of what the JCC meant to you. I think Annie was right on in suggesting that you check out your local JVP. I’m sure it’s not the same, but perhaps it can offer some feeling of community.

    As a parting thought. The JCC did not come out of the mind of Zeus into the world a fully formed thing. Someone had to take the bold step to start it. Since you know how a JCC functions in bringing the community together, perhaps you can form a similar community-building organization, one that respects Jewish values and traditions apart from Zionism.

  19. seafoid
    seafoid on September 5, 2014, 9:15 am

    Charlie’s story fits into a much larger narrative of the punishment of those who dare criticize organized Jewish orthodoxy on the subject of Israel and eternal devotion to same.

    Amira Hass spoke to a contact in Gaza in July

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.604704

    ” T related – “We should all remain together, in one room. If a missile comes, we’ll all be killed so none of us is left alive, alone.””

    Organised Judaism says listen instead to the US ambassador

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/dermer-idf-deserves-nobel-peace-prize-for-unimaginable-restraint/

    “Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes,” Dermer said. “But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”

    Brzezinski says Netanyahu is a moron

    http://www.sott.net/article/282810-Brzezinski-Netanyahus-war-on-Gaza-endangering-Israels-longer-range-future
    “When Hamas in effect accepted the notion of participation in the Palestinian leadership, it in effect acknowledged the determination of that leadership to seek a peaceful solution from Israel — with Israel. That was a real option. They should have persisted in that. Instead Netanyahu launched the campaign of defamation against Hamas, seized on the killing of three innocent Israeli kids to immediately charge Hamas with having done it without any evidence, and has used that to stir up public opinion in Israel in order to justify this attack on Gaza which is so lethal.

    I think he is isolating Israel. He’s endangering its longer-range future and I think we ought to make it very clear that this is a course of action which we thoroughly disapprove and which we do not support and which may compel us and the rest of the international community to take some steps of legitimizing Palestinian aspirations perhaps in the U.N.”

    Organised Judaism says everything is moral and above board

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.606302

    “Gantz spoke of the need to persevere in carrying out missions and of the moral duty to defend the citizens of Israel without inflicting unnecessary harm on enemy civilians. The pressure on him and the government is mounting. There is enormous sensitivity in Israel to losing soldiers in combat. Paradoxically, it is greater than the sensitivity to the loss of civilian lives.”

    Thinking people see that the US props up the system

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/07/229550.htm

    “MS. HARF: At the same time, the President – first of all, nothing that Hamas is doing has any justification at all, period. Even bringing it up in that context is offensive. ”

    Organised Judaism says this is proof of anti-Semitism

    How long more can the charade last ?

  20. German Lefty
    German Lefty on September 5, 2014, 4:11 pm

    “Being Jewish means being critical and anti-authoritarian.”
    -> Really? Apparently I am Jewish, too. If that’s actually your definition of being Jewish, then you seem to believe that non-Jews are uncritical and pro-authoritarian.

    “I’ve had somewhat of a rough time being Jewish, having lived in many places that I can confidently call anti-Semitic.”
    -> I highly doubt this. I can’t take such a statement at face value anymore. Perhaps you are one of these people who automatically attribute every negative experience to anti-Semitism!? Can you give some examples of the “anti-Semitic incidents” that you experienced?

    “I will always be proud of being Jewish.”
    -> Being proud of a happenstance is stupid.

    “There is a lot of anti-Semitism in the contemporary anti-Zionist movement.”
    -> A lot of!? You must be kidding. And I have always thought that only Zionists are paranoid when it comes to anti-Semitism.

    “Moving forward, I encourage all of my friends, Jewish or gentile, to live in a more Jewish way. That is, always question authority.”
    -> Non-Jews should live in an Jewish way? Seriously? Stop equating “being Jewish” with “questioning authority”. That’s an insult to non-Jews. And using the term “gentile” is insulting, too. You are way too Judeo-centric.

    “And remember that Zionism is not Jewish.”
    -> Whether you like it or not, Zionism is Jewish. That’s a fact. During an interview in Germany, Judith Butler stated that “Zionism belongs to Judaism”.

    • Keith
      Keith on September 5, 2014, 7:32 pm

      GERMAN LEFTY – “And I have always thought that only Zionists are paranoid when it comes to anti-Semitism.”

      Let me begin by saying that your comment motivated me to actually read Charlie’s post. Something about it doesn’t sit well with me nor the favorable responses to it, yours being the exception. It seems that anyone criticising Zionism is taken to Mondo’s bossom, all other factors ignored. Having said that, I disagree with your observation about only Zionists being paranoid about anti-Semitism. For many Jews, perceived victimhood is an essential part of their identity which binds them to other Jews. This is true for anti-Zionist Jews as well, some of whom can best be described as tribal anti-Zionists. We have had a number of them comment on Mondoweiss, always quick to label comments/actions as anti-Semitic, and to place undue emphasis on anti-Semitism as a problem. M.J. Rosenberg is an extreme example of this phenomenon of reckless accusations intended more to intimidate than to discuss. I would suggest thet Charlie can also be described as a tribal anti-Zionist.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield on September 6, 2014, 2:54 pm

        Keith: ‘Anyone criticizing Zionism is taken to Mondo’s bosom…’ Yes, it’s a matter of uniting against the main enemy. Or prioritizing the most urgent goal. Doesn’t that make sense (within limits)? Jewish tribalism may be objectionable in itself, but it would be much less dangerous if it did not have a powerful nuclear-armed state at its disposal.

        Bear in mind also that those of us who had an intensive Jewish upbringing tend to go through a certain sequence of stages. At the first stage it is natural for us to separate ourselves from Zionism by using the intellectual tools at our immediate disposal — that is, to borrow or try to create a specifically Jewish anti-Zionism, which may still be tribalist in some ways. Later on many of us are able to rethink that stance as we broaden our perspective.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 6, 2014, 4:52 pm

        “Bear in mind also that those of us who had an intensive Jewish upbringing tend to go through a certain sequence of stages.”

        So tell me Shenfield, what does that make me. I had a pretty normal Reform Jewish upbringing, and, as the song says “I Enjoy Being a Jew” got Bar Mitzvahed, but I rejected Zionism as soon as I knew what it was. Thought it was probably the stupidest, least likely to be successful response to our problems ever, and it was pretty obviously gravy for the inside guys, and everybody else gets shafted.
        And that was before I could grasp what they did, and do to the Palestinians.
        So how do I fit in? Without a conversion-to-anti-Zionism story of my own, I haven’t got much to contribute. And the story of how my public-school civics education for one thing, made me reject Zionism while I was still in my teens, would only be embarrassing.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on September 7, 2014, 6:34 am

        KEITH: “M.J. Rosenberg is an extreme example of this phenomenon of reckless accusations intended more to intimidate than to discuss.”

        Right! But he’s not an anti-Zionist. He’s a “liberal” Zionist. That’s why his paranoia regarding anti-Semitism doesn’t surprise me. In Charlie’s case, it does. If she’s rational enough to see that Zionism is unjust, she should also be rational enough to see that anti-Semitism has almost died out and that – to the extent that it exists – it is mainly caused by the crimes of the self-declared “Jewish state”. So, if there’s anyone to blame for anti-Semitism, then it’s the Zionists.

      • Keith
        Keith on September 7, 2014, 4:29 pm

        GERMAN LEFTY- “But he’s not an anti-Zionist. He’s a “liberal” Zionist.”

        Oops! The way everyone at Mondo was singing his praises when he first appeared on Mondo I incorrectly assumed that he was anti-Zionist. Okay, scratch him. This leaves me with bit of a problem as I have other examples but am reluctant to name the names of less famous Mondo commenters, some of whom I rather appreciate in spite of this factor. Okay, one more name. MaxAJL who used to comment (and contributed posts) was rather quick to play the anti-Semitism card, perhaps due to his Marxist outlook where the world consists of bourgeois and proletariat and not much else. He considered any mention of Jewish power and influence as anti-Semitic by definition. Pity, I thought that he brought a certain capitalist critique which helped to provide balance, however, he was somewhat hot-tempered and I wound up having a couple of acrimonious exchanges with him. I think that this may be true for many tribal Marxists who adopt a philosophy of pure economic determinism as a defense against any discussion of Jewish power. To the MaxAJLs of the world, Sheldon Adelson is just a capitalist businessman out to make a buck and nothing more. I would suggest that anti-Gentile chauvinism and a sense of Jewish victimhood is hardly the exclusive province of Zionists, and that a good many anti-Zionist Jews feel this way as well.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on September 8, 2014, 4:30 pm

        KEITH – “MaxAJL who used to comment (and contributed posts) was rather quick to play the anti-Semitism card. He considered any mention of Jewish power and influence as anti-Semitic by definition.”

        I haven’t heard of that dude before, so I can’t comment on him.
        Since (1) Zionism belongs to Judaism, (2) Israel is a “Jewish state”, and (3) many wealthy Zionist donors to US politicians are Jewish, Zionist power is also Jewish power. Without Jewish power and influence, Zionism wouldn’t be as successful as it is now. Pointing out this fact isn’t anti-Semitic. It would only be anti-Semitic if someone blamed ALL Jews for Zionism. How can people have an honest discussion about Zionism when they shy away from mentioning Jewish power and influence, one of Zionism’s secret to success? Therefore, it doesn’t make sense that there are anti-Zionists who demonise any mention of Jewish power and influence as anti-Semitic.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 9, 2014, 9:08 pm

        Charlie is, I’m pretty sure, much younger than us, and reading his post, it seems to me that he expresses himself in terms that a lot of younger activist people have adopted. I could quibble with a lot of it, or I could learn to listen to it and hear it. I’d rather do the latter.

    • globalconsciousness
      globalconsciousness on September 6, 2014, 3:22 pm

      German Lefty – these are exactly all the criticisms I have about this article- thank you!

      Whilst I applaud Charlie’s bravery and appreciate how difficult it must have been for a young person to meet with the devils in her community; she loses this respect when she goes on to make these sweeping statements – and many of us just plainly refuse to be labelled gentile or goy or even non-Jew and whatever othering that seems to be accepted within the jewish community.
      And how do black christians differ from white christians or are her friends only white christians? This just throws up too much uncritical stuff, which she clearly needs to examine regarding her own prejudices /uncritical assumptions against those whom she does not deem to be part of her tribe or community…

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield on September 6, 2014, 7:02 pm

        Mooser: I was too schematic. I should have worded my point more carefully. Of course there are all sorts of permutations.

        There may also be a generational factor. You and I grew up at a time when Zionism and Judaism had not yet been effectively fused, so it was relatively easy for us to sense the difference. It is more difficult for the new generation who are presented with an apparently seamless package.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on September 7, 2014, 6:57 am

        GC – “Many of us just plainly refuse to be labelled gentile or goy or even non-Jew and whatever othering that seems to be accepted within the jewish community.”
        -> I don’t mind being referred to as “non-Jew”, but only if it’s relevant to the context. The words “gentile” or “goy” are unacceptable in any case. When Charlie condescendingly refers to non-Jews as “gentiles” and tells them that they need to behave in a more Jewish way (because the non-Jewish way is apparently inferior), then it’s no wonder that people react negatively. And then Charlie misinterprets these negative reactions to her comments as “anti-Semitism”. That’s why there’s so much anti-Semitism in her opinion.

        GC – “And how do black christians differ from white christians or are her friends only white christians?”
        -> Right! I found this mention of her Christian friends’ race really weird, too. People who put so much emphasis on race creep me out. I am suspicious of them.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 7, 2014, 11:38 am

        “There may also be a generational factor. You and I grew up at a time when Zionism and Judaism had not yet been effectively fused”

        See what I mean, Elliot? Of course, it couldn’t be anything about <ime which did it, it was just that they hadn’t made the propaganda effective enough. Nope, the only valid anti-Zionist is sorta like the only serious objections to the Iraq war, they must come from people who were for it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 9, 2014, 12:19 pm

        “There may also be a generational factor. You and I grew up at a time when Zionism and Judaism had not yet been effectively fused, so it was relatively easy for us to sense the difference. It is more difficult for the new generation who are presented with an apparently seamless package. “

        You are right, Mr. Shenfield! You are right. I am not facing the full extent of what has happened.
        You are right. I hadn’t thought about that “seamless package”.
        And yes, my religious education was pretty much pre-67.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on September 9, 2014, 12:15 pm

      “Being Jewish means being critical and anti-authoritarian.”
      ” Really? Apparently I am Jewish, too.”

      Shalom! Welcome to Judaism. Glad to have you, and bring some of your friends.

  21. andrew r
    andrew r on September 5, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Then how do you justify Israel blowing up Palestinian hospitals?” Of course, this person had all the answers; Hamas is allegedly hiding missiles in hospitals.

    Along with the trope that Palestinian children are encouraged to confront Israeli soldiers (and throw stones at them), people who defend Israel assume a moral highground that’s on shaky foundation. When the Zionist armed groups – Haganah, Etzel and Lechi – didn’t have military bases and had to operate underground, they didn’t behave any better than Hamas supposedly does. This writer on 972mag admits she was recruited by Etzel (Irgun) as a teenager and underwent training at a kindergarten (!). The Haganah had a youth organization called Gadna (Youth Battalion) which dug trenches and built fortifications in Jerusalem during May 1948.

    All three paramilitary groups hid grenades, machine guns and mortar shells in schools, synagogues and kibbutzim. (I haven’t found any examples of hospitals being used, but put up the links, I’m collecting these.) Lechi used the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv while Irgun stashed rifles in the Hurva Synagogue of the Jewish Quarter (which weren’t discovered until recently). Kibbutz Nahalal even invites visitors to look at the big hole in the ground used for an arms cache.

    So I for one am a little tired of hearing about the barbarism of Hamas while people remain ignorant of these facts.

    http://972mag.com/a-letter-to-the-israeli-government-from-a-retired-terrorist/95720/
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/jews-just-like-arabs-hid-weapons-in-immoral-places-1.339432

    Hebrew:
    http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%92%D7%93%D7%A0%22%D7%A2
    http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A1%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%A7

  22. Accentitude
    Accentitude on September 7, 2014, 2:16 am

    There is a major problem in this on-going conflict and that is that Israel has successfully linked Jews and Israelis making them essentially synonymous with each other. Whether you believe in ones Jewishness in terms of his/her religion only or whether you believe its rooted in one’s culture, none of this is enough anymore. You now have to be deeply compliant with the Zionist agenda and loyal to the state of Israel and its actions without question lest you be branded an anti-Semite even if you are Jewish. If you question Israel’s murder of 2000 civilians, or its theft of 1000 dunums of land outside its borders, you are anti-semite. You are anti-you…the “you” that Israel claims to represent and protect from anti-semitism.

    What needs to be done is to separate Jews from Israelis. Israel is not the homeland of the Jews as it claims. A Jew’s homeland is the land he was born in. The homeland of American Jews is America. The homeland of Russian Jews is Russia and so on. Israel is the homeland of Israelis not Jews. It could be the homeland of Jewish Israelis but not Jews. The process of making the distinction between Jews and Israelis needs work. It isn’t just in names or titles. There needs to be a major clash of cultures here. We need more Jews to speak up and refute the claim that Israel speaks in their names or represents them.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on September 7, 2014, 11:45 am

      “What needs to be done is to separate Jews from Israelis.”

      I don’t think we can count on Israel, or Zionism, to do that for us, or even acknowledge such a differentiation exists.

      “A Jew’s homeland is the land he was born in.”

      Allow me to cite the words of the ancient Hbrew prayer:

      I’m just a stranger here.
      Traveling through this world of woe!
      Lord, give me grace, just to run my Jewish race,
      To a building not made by hand.”

  23. Linda J
    Linda J on September 7, 2014, 7:37 pm

    Charlie, I admire your courage in giving up employment on principle.

    But I was a little shocked to hear from you that there is a lot of anti-semitism in the anti-zionist movement. As a solidarity activist for Palestine for over ten years, I have not seen much anti-semitism. In fact, if anything I have seen Palestine solidarity groups bend over backwards trying to avoid being labeled as such by Zionists.

    Could you explain a little more about this very disturbing charge?

  24. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield on September 8, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Keith: True, Adelson is not just a capitalist out to make money. That is only one of the two crucial facts about him. The other is that he is a Zionist. The problem is wealthy Zionists who use their money to support Israel. But the fact that he is also a Jew is NOT crucial because (a) there are Jews, even wealthy Jews, who are not Zionists; and b) there are Zionists, even wealthy Zionists, who are not Jews. Wealthy Zionist Christian fundamentalists are a significant part of the problem. So I object to the term “Jewish power” because it is inaccurate (the problem is Zionist power), because it unfairly implicates me and others like me who are Jewish without having significant power, and because it is associated with the classical anti-Semitic theory of a world Jewish conspiracy (though I acknowledge that not everyone who uses the term believes in that sort of theory).

    • Mooser
      Mooser on September 9, 2014, 12:26 pm

      “So I object to the term “Jewish power” because it is inaccurate (the problem is Zionist power), because it unfairly implicates me and others like me who are Jewish without having significant power,”

      I think, I’m not sure, that the only way to call myself a Jew these days is to make sure that all who know me as a “Jew” know that I despise Zionism. Otherwise, to simply say one considers themselves “Jewish” lends credence to the idea that there is a differentation (between Jews and not-Jews) on which statehood can be based. All I have to do is say “I’m a Jew” and they take it from there.

      Not a nice spot. Not a thing a religion should ask of people.

    • Keith
      Keith on September 9, 2014, 10:00 pm

      STEPHEN SHENFIELD- “But the fact that he is also a Jew is NOT crucial….”

      Do I understand you to mean that the Jewishness of these Jewish Zionists fat-cats, and the Jewishness of the Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations, etc., and the Jewishness of the founders of the Jewish State is mostly irrelevant? No significant connection between Jewish history/ideology and Zionism? Are you serious? Zionism has been the highly successful organizational dynamic uniting organized Jewry following the splintering of religious Judaism. Zionism and Jewish success/power are inexorably interlinked. Unfortunately, non-Zionist Jews have foolishly taken it upon themselves to attack any discussion of these critical organizational factors as “anti-Semitic,” thereby providing de facto support for organized Jewish Zionism. I might add that Phil continues to emphasize the importance of turning American Jewry away from Zionism.

  25. Mooser
    Mooser on September 9, 2014, 12:28 pm

    Sorta like a website that doesn’t give you chance to correct your tags and spieling! Just like that!

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