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‘Exalted anti-Zionists’ are now driving the conversation

on 48 Comments

Anti-Zionists are now driving the conversation about Israel and Palestine. We are the ones pushing the new ideas, and these ideas are beginning to show up inside the mainstream discourse: partition is dead; the battle is for civil and human rights not sovereignty; there should be one democratic state in Israel/Palestine; or a federated binational state. It’s not that these ideas are being accepted; but they are being discussed seriously at last. Even Tom Friedman at the Times is cognizant of them, while others, for instance the liberal Zionist rabbi Andy Bachman, are pushing back angrily against the ideas and granting their seriousness.

We are the “exalted anti-Zionists,” as Shlomo Sand said recently, with sarcasm. But our movement is forcing a simple political proposition: You cannot have a “Jewish democracy.” Let’s choose democracy over ethnocracy.

Here are several items that show the new presence of anti-Zionism in the U.S. discourse.

First, author David Harris-Gershon was a presenter at the recent Open Hillel conference in Cambridge. At Tikkun/Daily Kos, he explains that unending Israeli expansion has closed off two states and fostered a one-state movement inside the American Jewish community. Harris-Gershon seems to identify as “post-Zionist” in arguing that the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) is gaining traction inside the left:

[T]here has been no shortage of outrage and chest-thumping by major Jewish organizations over the BDS Movement, a nonviolent boycott movement against Israel which has an implicit bi-national, one-state vision, and which is gaining acceptance in the progressive Jewish community. Consensus in the institutional Jewish community is that BDS seeks to ‘destroy’ Israel with its bi-national vision, and most organizations have developed ‘red lines’ which effectively exile anyone who supports BDS….

Yet, with all this outrage over BDS due to the movement’s one-state vision, major organizations continue to say nothing over the rejection of Palestinian statehood and growing one-state support among Israeli politicians, which is translating to Israeli society as a whole. In fact, a poll last week showed that the majority of Israeli Jews now oppose the idea of a Palestinian state

Tom Friedman sees the same process at work. He writes that Israel is on the verge of the same struggle that so many other societies in its neighborhood are facing, civil war against ethnic dictatorship:

If Israel retains the West Bank and its 2.7 million Palestinians, it will be creating an even bigger multisectarian, multinational state in its belly, with one religion/nationality dominating the other — exactly the kind of state that is blowing up in civil wars everywhere around it.

And without the usual moralizing, Friedman says that Israel is delegitimizing itself.

Also, the longer this status quo goes on, the more the juggernaut of Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank goes on, fostering more Israeli delegitimization on the world stage.

Now here is Rabbi Andy Bachman, the outgoing rabbi at the big Reform synagogue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, writing an angry blogpost about Jewish Voice for Peace and its role in the recent affray at Barclays Center. Titled “JVP Doublespeak,” the piece is remarkable for its angry support for Jewish nationalism, and its concern about JVP’s growing reach. JVP failed to stand up for the Israeli army, “defending Israel’s borders by fighting in Gaza” last summer, Bachman writes.

During this summer’s war in Israel, several friends–Zionists and Israelis who live in Israel and vote in elections and support the two-state solution by voting for the left-wing parties that support territorial compromise, had sons, who also vote for those same political parties, defending Israel’s borders by fighting in Gaza.  One lost an eye in the ground invasion.  While JVP leaders were drawing protest posters with Sharpies in Brooklyn, other Jews, with other Jewish values, were both defending their right to live as Jews and taking the daily risk of working for peace, on the ground, in Israel and Palestine.  One such price of citizenship is service in the IDF, a people’s army, with soldiers who vote across the political spectrum…

Bachman says that JVP is not being honest about its agenda:

Does JVP support the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state?  Or is that only a quaint idea debated over drip coffee in a Brooklyn roasting joint?

He concludes that JVPs main Jewish value is “to undermine the right of Israel to exist.”

Bachman clearly distorts JVP’s agenda, which is not destructive. Still, the organization is not Zionist: it doesn’t believe that young people should die in the name of a Jewish state. There is obviously tremendous appeal in that idea, and Bachman must be concerned that it is catching on all over his Brooklyn neighborhood, among young Jews.

Next, here’s Shlomo Sand piece in the Guardian, “I wish to stop being a Jew.” Let’s begin with his crack on exalted anti-Zionists:

I dare to hope that kindly philosemites, committed Zionists and exalted anti-Zionists, all of them so often nourished on essentialist conceptions, will respect my desire and cease to catalogue me as a Jew. As a matter of fact, what they think matters little to me, and still less what the remaining antisemitic idiots think.

I recognise today that my dream of an end to the occupation and the creation of a confederation between two republics, Israeli and Palestinian, was a chimera that underestimated the balance of forces between the two parties.

Sand used to believe in the two-state solution. The child of a rape deserves to live, he said (referring to Israel coming out of the Nakba). Now he dreams of a society that is blind to religious difference, a democracy between the river and sea.

we must first free ourselves from the accursed and interminable occupation that is leading us on the road to hell. In fact, our relation to those who are second-class citizens of Israel is inextricably bound up with our relation to those who live in immense distress at the bottom of the chain of the Zionist rescue operation. That oppressed population, which has lived under the occupation for close to 50 years, deprived of political and civil rights, on land that the “state of the Jews” considers its own, remains abandoned and ignored by international politics. I recognise today that my dream of an end to the occupation and the creation of a confederation between two republics, Israeli and Palestinian, was a chimera that underestimated the balance of forces between the two parties.

Increasingly it appears to be already too late; all seems already lost, and any serious approach to a political solution is deadlocked. Israel has grown used to this, and is unable to rid itself of its colonial domination over another people. The world outside, unfortunately, does not do what is needed either. Its remorse and bad conscience prevent it from convincing Israel to withdraw to the 1948 frontiers. Nor is Israel ready to annex the occupied territories officially, as it would then have to grant equal citizenship to the occupied population and, by that fact alone, transform itself into a binational state

Speaking of hell, Moshe Halbertal said a very similar thing to Tom Friedman: “We are setting ourselves on fire with the best of arguments.”

Back to the theme: anti-Zionists are driving the conversation. Here is Nathan Thrall in the London Review of Books, raising a criticism of anti-Zionism.

Curiously for a book so concerned with the legitimacy of Zionism, My Promised Land doesn’t make the most powerful and obvious arguments for the right of Jews to self-determination in what is now the state of Israel: the fact of its being enshrined in international law, in the form of UN Resolution 181, reaffirmed in the declarations of independence of both Israel, in 1948, and Palestine, in 1988. No matter the actions of their forebears, there are now more than six million Jews in Israel, 75 per cent of its population. And denying Jews their own country would be to seek redress for past injustices by creating new ones.

It’s a good point. But that is where Sand’s mental labors come in, and JVP’s too: convincing Jews that we do not need national self-determination. And maybe convincing Palestinians of the same.

Finally, here is Noam Chomsky speaking at the U.N. and taking issue with the exalted anti-Zionists; he says the only one-state outcome is going to be a Greater neocolonial Israel. I have a more hopeful view of the matter than Chomsky, but he’s Chomsky, and you should hear him out. And like the others I’ve cited, Chomsky is engaging a new idea that he says has become the conventional wisdom on the left. (Transcript from Democracy Now!)

The picture that’s presented is that there are two alternatives: either the two-state settlement, which represents an overwhelming international consensus, virtually everyone, and if that fails, there will have to be one state—Israel will take over the West Bank, the Palestinians will hand over the keys, as it’s sometimes said. Palestinians often have favored that. They say then they will be able to carry out a civil rights struggle, maybe modeled on the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, fight for civil rights within the whole one state controlled by Israel. … Those are the alternatives that are presented, overwhelmingly, hardly an exception.
My own opinion, which I’ve written about repeatedly—without convincing many people, apparently, but I’ll try to convince you—is that this is a total illusion. Those are not the two alternatives. There are two alternatives, but they’re different ones. One alternative is the international consensus on a two-state settlement, basically the terms of January 1976. By now, it’s virtually everyone—the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic States, includes Iran, Europe, Latin America—informally, at least, about everyone. That’s one option. The other option, the realistic one, is that Israel will continue doing exactly what it is doing right now, before our eyes, visible, with U.S. support, which is also visible….
Israel is taking over what they call Jerusalem, as I mentioned, a huge area, maybe five times the area of historic Jerusalem, Greater Jerusalem, big area in the West Bank, includes many Arab villages being dispossessed, destroyed, bringing settlers in. All of this is doubly illegal…
I don’t think Israel has any intention of taking over the Palestinian population concentrations, which are left out of this, these plans… They don’t want to have anything to do with them. If they leave, that’s fine. If they die, that’s fine. In standard neocolonial pattern, Israel is establishing—permitting the establishment of a center for Palestinian elites in Ramallah, where you have nice restaurants and theaters and so on. Every Third World country under the colonial system had something like that.
Now, that’s the picture that’s emerging. It’s taking shape before our eyes. It has so far worked very well. If it continues, Israel will not face a demographic problem. When these regions are integrated slowly into Israel, actually, the proportion of Jews in Greater Israel will increase. There are very few Palestinians there. Those who are there are being dispossessed, kicked out. That’s what’s taking shape before our eyes. I think that’s the realistic alternative to a two-state settlement. And there’s every reason to expect it to continue as long as the United States supports it.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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48 Responses

  1. just on October 31, 2014, 1:31 pm

    Thanks for this, Phil.

    “the liberal Zionist rabbi Andy Bachman” and his comments further prove that there is no such entity as a liberal Zionist.

    • Citizen on November 1, 2014, 7:44 pm

      Double iron as he is a rabbi of a Reform synagogue.

      • Citizen on November 1, 2014, 7:45 pm

        Double irony.=iron?

  2. pabelmont on October 31, 2014, 1:38 pm

    Chomsky is partly right. Unless the power relations change, as they would with powerful international sanctions (the “S” in “BDS”) to compel something different, there is no possibility of a decent, democratic 1SS. Indeed, a power change would be necessary to get even to Chomsky’s 2SS. Without international coercion, Israel will maintain and increase without foreseeable limit the rigors of its occupation, its apartheid-1SS.

    As to Israelis “defending their right to live as Jews”, this formulation ignores that that’s not what Israel is defending. Rather, it is defending (say with its 2014 blitzkrieg on Gaza) its stranglehold on another people, its power (not a right) to maintain the ethnic cleansing which it initiated in 1947. In a way, Israel’s fighting, particularly by its grotesqueness, forces its friends outside Israel to make the every-day-more-difficult decision to ignore the horrors implicit and inseparable from Zionism or, as anti-Zionists and former-Zionists have done, to recognize them and join the fight for sanctions to roll-back Israel’s refusal to allow a “just and lasting” 2SS peace or a democratic 1SS.

    • Krauss on November 1, 2014, 9:37 pm

      Chomsky has moved steadily in the direction of (reluctantly) conceding that BDS is working. He was dead wrong from the getgo and continues to be wrong, which his shifting position reveals.

      As for Friedman, Phil, I just don’t see what you see. All I see is mumbling. We often ask ourselves what lib Zionists will do once the 2SS collapses not just in practice but also in terms of respectability. Friedman’s column may be an answer.

      He drones talks on a great deal about “talking to each other”. So basically the same kind of stuff that you criticized when you attacked “dialogue groups” that act as a valve for lib Zionists to salve their conscience. That’s what we will have. That, or outright migration to neocon principles(i.e. Goldberg, Dershowitz and the others).

      Friedman’s column was a good example of how to write a deal but not having said anything.

  3. ckg on October 31, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I think there is an unspoken reason that western governments have never supported a one-state solution with Palestinians enjoying full political rights: fear that such a nation with a powerful military and considerable nuclear arsenal could become hostile to the West or to the Gulf monarchies whose oil is needed. The U.S. especially has always supported stability over justice, human rights, and democracy. The reason that this sentiment is unspoken is because it is clearly racist, but I suspect it exists in the halls of Washington and London.

    • lysias on October 31, 2014, 2:30 pm

      Apartheid South Africa had that problem when it was about to end apartheid and create a situation where blacks would have political power, and it found a solution: it disarmed itself of its nukes before apartheid was ended.

    • on November 2, 2014, 8:31 am

      If Palestine were a democracy and not dominated by Zionists, it would no longer be allowed to have a “powerful military and considerable nuclear arsenal “. It would simply be s tiny state thousands of miles away with no oil and of no interest to the West.

  4. American on October 31, 2014, 2:10 pm

    ” Chomsky speaking at the U.N. and taking issue with the exalted anti-Zionists; he says the only one-state outcome is going to be a Greater neocolonial Israel. -”>>>>

    On this I agree with Chomsky.
    The One State would start out with an already entrenched Jewish Rule.
    And as we have found out in the USA democracy, voting and elections don’t guarantee you a damn thing because the entrenched by design system only gives you a choice of the chocolate or vanilla flavors in your entrenched.

  5. Kay24 on October 31, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Tonight at 10pmET Al Jazeera America will be showing a documentary called “The Day Israel attacked America”, and I am guessing that it is about the USS Liberty.

    It should be interesting . It is a shame that the American people do not know much about this.

    • just on October 31, 2014, 2:41 pm

      it’s about time.

      thanks, Kay.

      • Citizen on November 1, 2014, 7:51 pm

        Yes, it’s about the USS Liberty. Yesterday morning Algemeiner web site attacked it hard as a product of conspiracy nut jobs through the mouth of a former Israeli ambassador who said essentially that everyone knows it was just a “tragic mistake.” Anybody see it? I fell asleep before it came on. Today, I see no mention of it in the US main media.

    • Horizontal on November 2, 2014, 2:55 pm

      Haven’t seen this documentary, but can recommend this book Attack on the Liberty by James M. Scott, son of one of the surviving crew members.

      Attack on the Liberty

      And I agree, the level of ignorance that most Americans have of their history & the history of Israel.

  6. DaveS on October 31, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Chomsky is surely correct that Israel is quite comfortable with the status quo and is unlikely to yield to any significant change without considerable pressure. Surely the one state solution is not right around the corner (though the Soviet empire and apartheid did disappear only a few years after appearing to be virtually permanent). But why does he think that the two-state solution is more achievable? Israel has managed to perpetuate the current situation, even make it increasingly worse, despite the “international consensus” that has been in place for decades. Simply because this consensus exists does not make it more feasible to compel Israel to comply.

    There are three major problems with the 2ss. First, because of the hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers, it would be impossible to draw reasonable boundaries for the Palestinian state, even with territory swaps. Chomsky has elsewhere proposed that Israel could force removal of settlers by announcing that they no longer will be protected by the IDF after a certain date. (So has Norman Finkelstein.)That strikes me as unrealistically optimistic. There will be at the very least tens of thousands of settlers who refuse to budge, well-armed with both weapons and the unshakable conviction that God wants them to use those weapons to protect Jewish sovereignty over their land. If Israel abandons these people to their fate in a new Palestine, armed conflict between the new government and the armed settlers who refuse to abide by Palestinian rule will quickly ensue, and Israel will step in to protect its recalcitrant “expatriates.”

    Second, Israel will insist on some degree of control over a Palestinian state. It will not allow two equal, independent states for two peoples any sooner than it will allow a one-state solution of equality for all citizens. The Palestinians will not accept this loss of sovereignty. Does Chomsky’s international consensus include Israel’s right to control security in a future Palestine?

    Finally, even in the extremely unlikely event that the two state solution is implemented despite the problems discussed above, the inability of a Jewish State to provide equality to its non-Jewish citizens will be a blemish that refuses to fade. At some point, more and more people around the world will be intolerant of this ethnic discrimination that at best is not as bad as apartheid was in South Africa. While there has been more and more discussion of this thorny problem, like Rula Jebreal’s op-ed in the NY Times, the only reason that more attention is not paid to it is because Israel’s oppression of Palestinian non-citizens is so much worse. But ending the occupation and creation of a genuine Palestinian state, as unlikely as it is, will highlight this affront to 21st century principles.

    Still, while I think Chomsky is wrong about this, I agree with Phil that “he’s Chomsky, and you should hear him out.” I am not one to join the Chomsky-bashing bandwagon. I can’t see how any reasonable person cannot be awed by his intellect and integrity and energy.

    • Mooser on October 31, 2014, 9:09 pm

      You know Dave, I hadn’t thought of that, the fact that a “two-state solution” no matter what other virtues it may have, does nothing for the Jim Crow-like conditions in Israel. Nowhere have I ever seen any suggestion that it would, should or could, either.

    • irishmoses on November 1, 2014, 3:37 pm

      Great analysis David.

      I think what we’re seeing is the final attempt to justify a Zionism that has always believed in Jewish supremacy in the post 1967 single state of Greater Israel. Jewish self-determination has always meant Jews get the final vote because Greater Israel, after all, is the state and homeland for the Jews not the Arabs.

      To concede equality to the non-Jews of Greater Israel would be to destroy Zionism and Jewish self-determination and abandon Greater Israel as the state and homeland of the Jews. A democratic single state Greater Israel (as opposed to the current less than democratic version) would need to allow the return of some 2 million diaspora Palestinian refugees, and allow the free mingling and internal migration of all Palestinians (at least 8 million total) throughout a democratic single state of Greater Israel. Scarier yet, there would be 8 million Palestinians voting against 6 million Jews. Those numbers make the democratic single state option a nonstarter for Zionists.

      This is the hard-nosed calculation that’s been made by today’s neo-Zionists (an apt description coined by Ilan Pappe in his newest book, The Idea of Israel), which include not only the hard line Likud Zionists but also reformed liberal Zionists like Avi Shavit, Benny Morris, and others (maybe the majority of Israilis). Ironically, it’s the same assessment made by Jabotinsky in 1923: Zionism is either right and necessary or it is not. If it is, then Zionists must be willing to take any steps necessary to insure the creation and survival of the Jewish state and Jewish homeland.

      The single state democratic option would be the death knell of Zionism and Jewish nationalism hence it’s unthinkable. Jabotinsky has come full circle. You’re either with us or against us. To the neo-Zionists there is no longer a liberal Zionist option. A democratic Israel-Palestine is simply not in the cards. That is the essence of Ari Shavit’s book, My Promised Land, that we did a lot of horrible things, but we did what we had to do to preserve Jewish nationalism, Jewish self-determination, the Jewish state, and the Jewish homeland. So get over it. What’s done is done. Move on.

      A two state solution is a little more palatable to the neo-Zionists but only if the vast majority of West Bank, and all of East Jerusalem settlements and settlers remain within the boundaries of what I’ll call Area C Israel which would include all of expanded Jerusalem and 60-75 percent of the West Bank. This option is of course a non-starter for the Palestinians.

      However, it may well be the option that Israel ultimately forces on the Palestinians because of its benefits to Greater Israel: Preservation of West Bank settlements and settlers, isolation and domination of Greater Jerusalem, acquisition of West Bank water, oil, and natural gas resources, isolation of Palestinian Arabs into separate cantons on the West Bank and in Gaza, and elimination of the Palestinian diaspora refugees’ right of return to Israel proper and Area C. It could also be couched as a regrettable by acceptable “solution” to the conflict forced on Israel by decades of Palestinian intransigence. I think this will happen if Abbas successfully pushes the UN option.

      I suspect the US and John Kerry’s only remaining possible solution is some version of the Area C option, knowing that’s all Israel would accept, and hoping that the Palestinians, out of desperation, would also agree. Hopefully Abbas is made of sterner stuff and is willing to forego the luxuries of Ramalah in favor of demanding Palestinian rights through the UN and the international community.

      So, I agree with David and Chomsky’s conclusion, Israel and Israelis are too comfortable with the status quo and won’t change without significant pressure being applied, except that it will need to be massive pressure, economic and political. I wish I could see that in the cards. I can’t.

      So I think the existing apartheid-like single state of Greater Israel will continue and in time will be recognized as no better and no worse than other successful countries like China and Russia, who oppress internal minorities and avoid the uncomfortable requirements and restrictions of democratic values.

      • Citizen on November 1, 2014, 8:00 pm

        The neo-Zios are betting on your conclusion, Irishmoses. Knowing American politics, I wouldn’t bet against them.

      • Horizontal on November 2, 2014, 3:39 pm

        I think it may be beneficial to remember that not all Zionists came in the same flavors years ago when the project was just taking shape. There was a faction on Zionism which favored a more European-like bi-national state where Jews and Arabs would both share equally in the government and in the social sphere. These Zionists were inspired by the 19th century Socialist movements that were in vogue at that time.

        Envisioning a democratic Israel that was not a Jewish State still fulfilled the idea of a homeland for Jews according to these Zionists; unfortunately, they lost out and are now all but forgotten, but maybe we should start resuscitating some of these earlier ideas.

      • irishmoses on November 2, 2014, 5:45 pm

        Horizontal said:
        “I think it may be beneficial to remember that not all Zionists came in the same flavors years ago when the project was just taking shape. There was a faction on Zionism which favored a more European-like bi-national state where Jews and Arabs would both share equally in the government and in the social sphere.”

        I’ve read quite a bit about those folks but ultimately what influence did they have? Judas Magnes, Ruppin, Buber, et al were voices in the wilderness. Jabotinsky made the issue very clear for most. If we want a Jewish state we need to get rid of all the non-Jews.

        That theme resounded from Herzl on. Many tried to soften it a bit by suggesting land tracts could be purchased in Iraq or Syria or Jordan and the unwanted Arabs could be paid to transfer voluntarily. I think today’s liberal Zionists are part of that crowd, wanting to be seen as reasonable, two-staters, but of course we’ll have to keep all the large settlements as well as total control of all of Greater Jerusalem, and we absolutely couldn’t tolerate a high percentage of Arabs in a new, post agreement democratic Israel.

        As to resurrecting and resuscitating some of those old binational state ideas, are you suggesting that a truly democratic binational state is workable and would work for you? Remember, it would mean the existing 6.2 million Palestinians in the WB, Gaza, and Israel plus an open right of return to about 6 million diaspora Palestinians half of whom are still refugees. If only 30 percent return, there would be 8 million Palestinians competing economically and politically with 6 million Jews throughout this idyllic single state. I can’t imagine Zionists, liberal or otherwise, ceding that kind of power voluntarily. That, IMHO, is why the single state “democratic” solution is a non-starter, and why the existing apartheid-like single state of Greater Israel will likely continue.

        The only alternative solution I can see would require massive international economic and political pressure on Israel to return to and accept a 1967 borders permanent solution. That’s not going to happen unless Israel does something so outrageous it causes the international community to come together and act on a massive scale.

      • Horizontal on November 2, 2014, 7:17 pm

        irishmoses ~

        I can’t really argue against the logic of your points, although I’m hoping that with the younger generation may come a seismic shift in the landscape that could produce just the kind of international responsibility and pressure that today is lacking; something on the order of the Berlin Wall falling or the American recent experience with gay marriage.

        Given those two events, ten or twenty years can yield remarkable results, especially when age demographics are factored in.

      • MHughes976 on November 3, 2014, 2:31 pm

        There can be ‘life without a solution’ for a long time, but not for ever. It is not satisfactory to Zionist principles that the Palestinians be there, even if held in subjection, when they should know by now that God or existential necessity or something grand like that implies that they have no right to be. The one and only solution compatible with Zionist ideas about who has a right to be there is that the Palestinians should leave. What is missing so far is a resettlement plan and the money, which would be a lot even if violence and compulsion were liberally used, to pay for it.

  7. Shmuel on October 31, 2014, 3:22 pm

    What’s an “exalted anti-Zionist”? (Could he have meant “exalté“, which is not quite the same as “exalted”?)

    Bachman: defending Israel’s borders by fighting in Gaza

    A more precise characterisation would have been ‘taking part in a “war” of choice and possibly committing war crimes’. How these soldiers or their parents vote is entirely irrelevant.

    More Bachman: defending their right to live as Jews

    Melodramatic nonsense. That is not what Bib’s massacre and the long and short-term events that led up to it were about — not even close.

    And more: working for peace, on the ground

    I’m not sure what kind of “working for peace on the ground” Bachman is referring to specifically, but it seems rather futile if you are then going to shell civilian neighbourhoods and bomb hospitals and schools sheltering the displaced.

    • irishmoses on November 2, 2014, 6:05 pm

      Shmuel said: “What’s an “exalted anti-Zionist”?

      I think he is being sarcastic and dismissive of all those looking for some compromise other than a democratic single state solution. He says:

      “I dare to hope that kindly philosemites, committed Zionists and exalted anti-Zionists, all of them so often nourished on essentialist conceptions, will respect my desire and cease to catalogue me as a Jew. As a matter of fact, what they think matters little to me, and still less what the remaining antisemitic idiots think. ”

      I even get a sense that he believes the entire group (philos, committeds, exalted antis included) harbors more than a few antisemites. i.e. he says “the remaining antisemitic idiots” which implies there are more antisemites than just the idiot ones.

      He sounds pretty disillusioned and bitter to me. I suspect that’s happening a lot these days as liberal Zionists confront the horrible reality of what Zionism has become.

      • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 10:44 am

        “I dare to hope that kindly philosemites, committed Zionists and exalted anti-Zionists, all of them so often nourished on essentialist conceptions, will respect my desire and cease to catalogue me as a Jew.”

        Oh, really Schlomo, if one’s ideas and conscience are clear concerning Zionism and Israel, it’s hardly such a bad thing to be.

        “will respect my desire and cease to catalogue me as a Jew”

        Wow, you have a great knowledge of human nature, don’t you? Try dressing British, it worked for Fred Astaire. Besides, wouldn’t you rather be known as “a Jew” instead of an Israeli?

      • Citizen on November 3, 2014, 11:09 am

        @ Mooser

        Astair was born to a Lutheran German mother & Catholic Jewish father.

      • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 11:47 am

        Of course, I’m being smug. As an American, all I had to do was avoid Zionism, Sand was nearly born into it, or born in a place a DP camp after WW2, and took what he thought was the choice open to him. He would have to escape it, not just disdain it.

      • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 4:04 pm

        “Astair was born to a Lutheran German mother & Catholic Jewish father.”

        Thank you, thank you, thank you! I didn’t know Fred Astaire had any Jewish in him at all. But he had a Catholic Jewish father!
        Fred Astaire has always been a hero of mine. If I could be anybody I wanted, I would be him, just the way he looks tonight. Of course, how a 1500 lb ungulate with palmate antlers could do “The Continental” is problematic, but who cares, I’d look great in the “top hat, white tie, and tails.”
        Thanks for the info about him.

      • RoHa on November 3, 2014, 9:17 pm

        “Astair was born to a Lutheran German mother & Catholic Jewish father.”

        I knew there were Orthodox Jews and Reformed Jews, but I didn’t know there were Catholic Jews. How about Brahmo Samaj Jews? Huayan Jews?

      • Mooser on November 4, 2014, 12:03 pm

        “I knew there were Orthodox Jews and Reformed Jews, but I didn’t know there were Catholic Jews. How about Brahmo Samaj Jews? Huayan Jews?”

        Good Lord, RoHa, what are you going to say next? That he couldn’t dance? Couldn’t sing or act?
        That he couldn’t wear the top hat, white tie and tails? Outrageous.

      • Mooser on November 4, 2014, 12:06 pm

        Anyway, if there are Sufi Surfers, there’s got to be Catholic Jews.

    • irishmoses on November 3, 2014, 12:27 pm

      I agree, the only hope rests with the upcoming generations. That could be a sea change and could have a significant effect in just a few years. Let’s hope.

  8. Donald on October 31, 2014, 8:39 pm

    The Friedman piece you cite is awful. Yes, he says that Israel is heading down a dead end, but you’ll notice that he also says that Israel is heading down that dead end with “strong arguments”. What are those strong arguments? Well, here’s the extended quote, followed by what I think Friedman is up to–
    “The Israeli right today, led by Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, has some really strong arguments for maintaining the status quo — arguments that in the long run are deadly for Israel as a Jewish democratic state.

    “It is the definition of tragedy,” said the Hebrew University philosopher Moshe Halbertal. “You have all these really good arguments for maintaining a status quo that will destroy you.”

    What arguments? Israel today is surrounded on four out of five borders — South Lebanon, Gaza, Sinai and Syria — not by states but by militias, dressed as civilians, armed with rockets and nested among civilians. No other country faces such a threat. When Israeli commanders in the Golan Heights look over into Syria today, they see Russian and Iranian military advisers, along with Syrian Army units and Hezbollah militiamen from Lebanon, fighting jihadist Sunni militias — and the jihadists are usually winning. “They’re much more motivated,” an Israeli defense official told me.

    That is not a scene that inspires risk-taking on the West Bank, right next to Israel’s only international airport. The fact that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and Hamas took over there in 2007 and then devoted most of its energies to fighting Israel rather than building Palestine also does not inspire risk-taking to move away from the status quo. Israel offered Hamas a cease-fire eight days into the Gaza war, but Hamas chose to expose its people to vast destruction and killing for 43 more days, hoping to generate global pressure on Israel to make concessions to Hamas. It was sick; it failed; and it’s why some Gazans are trying to flee Hamas rule today.


    Friedman is clearly doing his best to portray Israel in the best light possible–he defends Israel’s conduct in the Gaza War, blames Hamas for the deaths, and doesn’t mention that the “concessions” Hamas wanted was the end of the blockade that hurt all Gazans.

    Friedman clearly thinks that it is more important to lie about these things than to tell the unvarnished truth. He’s trying to appeal to hardline ZIonists by adopting their view (which is probably close to his anyway) while urging them to accept the sort of solution Kerry would shove down the throats of Palestinians, if only Israel would go along. Friedman is upset because if the Israelis were a bit more rational, they could still keep all the land they’ve stolen, including big chunks of the West Bank they already have. And if the Palestinians rejected this deal, then Friedman would gladly join the entire American political class in blaming them for the conflict.

    Friedman recognizes that Netanyahu is stupid, but he’s not a friend of Palestinians. Not in the slightest. He’s practically begging the Israelis to be smarter, that’s all.

    • Mooser on October 31, 2014, 9:12 pm

      “He’s practically begging the Israelis to be smarter, that’s all.”

      I don’t know why Friedman thinks the Israelis are holding out on us. I think they are being as smart as they can, and giving the problem the benefit of all their intelligence.

      • Citizen on November 1, 2014, 8:06 pm

        It’s not like Bibi N did not grow up with the American privileged establishment, soaking in its milieu. The elite rule America, money rules.

  9. Mooser on November 1, 2014, 5:19 pm

    “The child of a rape deserves to live, he said”

    Of course it does, Schlomo, but the question is whether the rapist should get parental rights, custody, and a big share of Mom’s inheritance.

    • Horizontal on November 2, 2014, 3:45 pm

      “The child of a rape deserves to live, he said

      Bravely spoken by someone who has no fears of getting raped.

      YOU raise the kid — he’s spoiled, relies on handouts, constantly lies & is violent, to boot.

      • michelle on November 4, 2014, 11:15 am

        “The child of a rape deserves to live, he said”
        this doesn’t excuse ‘him’ if in turn he becomes a rapist
        G-d Bless

  10. ivri on November 2, 2014, 11:57 am

    The Sand and alike phenomena are also a sign of a movement coming of age. At the revolution/birth phase such ideas are never raised since seen dangerous to “the cause” and its holders are shunned and forced to quit “the group”. But as a movement gains strength and confidence it is ripe to deal with any idea and even the most provocative ones are tolerated, even become “trendy” – they do not seem as posing a threat to “the project” itself. Israel is so strong now, a light year away from where it was just half a decade or so ago, so the field has been open to intellectual experimentation.

    • Mooser on November 2, 2014, 4:42 pm

      “a light year away from where it was just half a decade or so ago, so the field has been open to intellectual experimentation.”

      Oy such a country is Israel. All that progress and they keep the ‘lawn mowed’ too, even in a tough neighborhood!
      And oh, the “intellectual experimentation” going on, concerning the Temple Mount and Jerusalem! Such intellects they have there, in Feiglin and Glick!

      Now if only they could find a way to live inside their own declared borders, everything would be perfect!

      “ivri”, your entire post reminds me of nessage in Morse Code: “SOS” Same Old Shit. Or are you writing a “Political Zionism for Ten Year Olds” book?

      • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 11:50 am

        That’s how it goes, I lob a nice slow one, right over the plate, thinking “ivri” will knock it out of the park, and he won’t even swing at it! And with Israel “so strong now”!

    • irishmoses on November 3, 2014, 12:34 pm

      You have to be kidding me. You’re the type who would be humming the last bars with the band on the Titanic, smiling at the fools that don’t realize the great liner is unsinkable until the icy cold water shakes your very foundations but too late for you to do anything but drown.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 6:30 pm

        nah– he’d be in a lifeboat.

      • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 9:58 pm

        “nah– he’d be in a lifeboat.”

        Waving his US passport high, wide and handsome.

    • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 10:04 pm

      “open to intellectual experimentation.”

      Psst, “ivri” look, you really don’t want to mention “experimentation” in regard to Israel. Sorta wanna keep away from that. Don’t want to encourage invidious comparisons.

    • michelle on November 4, 2014, 11:24 am

      Germany was ‘strong’ once too
      maybe there’s an underlying reason strong rhymes with wrong
      if it’s too easy take extra care
      just because ‘you’ can
      doesn’t mean you should
      G-d Bless

  11. michelle on November 4, 2014, 11:41 am

    the thief is reveiled
    why is ‘justice’ trying to appease the thief
    shouldn’t ‘justice’ be seeing to the rights of the victim
    isn’t that what was done after ww2
    G-d Bless

  12. ivri on November 4, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Right, but the converse is also true: just because you lost does not mean you are right – villains can lose too.

  13. Mooser on November 5, 2014, 9:00 pm

    ” just because you lost does not mean you are right – villains can lose too.”

    “ivri” there’s that squelching sound. You just stepped in it, deep in it.

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