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A place where Palestine doesn’t exist (Notes from a Zionist education)

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Until the age of eighteen, if you said the word Palestine, I’d cringe.

If you continued to talk, my stomach would drop, my head would cloud over, and I would be very confused as to why you were doing this to me. I would think that you didn’t like me because I loved Israel or worse, because I was Jewish. I’d be silent, patiently waiting for you to stop.

Unless the conversation was about the senseless hate and anti-Semitism of Arabs/terrorists. In that case, I would’ve been used to it.

Until the age of eighteen, everything I knew about Israel I learned at Jewish summer camp. I started going in 1999 at age eight, and have returned for twelve summers. I learned how to craft, canoe, and to love Israel as my home. We sang the Israeli national anthem every morning and admired our buff Israeli counselors who woke us up in the middle of the night for mock army training. I loved summer camp, so I loved Israel, too.

My love for Israel wasn’t an accident, but just one product of years of research and planning on the part of Jewish-Zionist camping professionals. In the words of the Camp Ramah Berkshires, “Building a camper’s connection with Israel is a central part of Camp’s mission,” a mission that is shared by many of the one hundred and fifty other Jewish camps around the country that serve over 70,000 young Jews every summer.

And it works, too. According to a study conducted in 2011 by the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Jewish summer camp alumni are 55% more likely to “feel very emotionally connected to Israel.” Some of these campers grow up to be politicians, like congressman Ted Deutch of Florida, a self-proclaimed “lifelong activist in the pro-Israel community,” who, when talking about his Israel education at Camp Ramah Poconos, has said, “I still feel that impact in the work that I do.”

I’m not sure about Rep. Deutch, but as I grew up and encountered the politics of Palestine, I quickly learned that an emotional connection to a place doesn’t necessarily mean you know much about it. I was taught to love Israel, not to understand the political situation of Palestine.

Instead, “Palestine” is a bad word at camp. It incites eye rolling and groans. It means you wanted to spoil everyone else’s fun. It is a world where Palestine doesn’t exist.

As a teen I became liberal youngster who was the first person to criticize injustices in every place around the world – except for the ones perpetrated by Israel. When it came to Israel, my politics were not based on knowledge of a political situation, but positive memories I made in a community that shunned any conversation that wasn’t extreme Zionism.

I was conditioned to ignore the bad news and to focus on Eretz Yisroel, the Holy Land. When confronted with information about Palestine, I would piece together arguments that felt right, while blatantly ignoring segments of history and politics that felt wrong.

The first time I confronted these gaps in my education was actually in Israel, on a Taglit-Birthright trip after my freshman year of college in 2010. Birthright is summer camp’s logical successor in a young Jew’s Zionist education; an immersive experience only for Jews that presents Israel as an apolitical dreamscape.

Looking back, there were plenty of moments on the trip where certain themes like “institutional racism” or “occupation” could have been explored, but Birthright’s goal is to have young Jews connect to Israel on an emotional level at the exact time they’re asking themselves the “who am I?” kind of questions. So instead of learning about a horrifying political situation, we drank on the beaches of Tel Aviv and made out with sexy IDF soldiers.

Towards the end of our trip, Daniel, an EDM enthusiast and one of the ten IDF soldiers on our trip, invited our group to a barbecue at his house in Oranit. At first glance, the hilltop suburb looked like where I grew up – all the houses were the same, centralized urban planning, nice water fountains on the back patio – but another glance would show the separation fence, cutting through the yellow hills of the West Bank.

At the time, a friend had pointed out the landmark and mentioned that we must be in the West Bank, yet at that time those words meant very little to me. No one had ever explained to me what a ‘green line’ was, or that this quaint looking suburb in the West Bank – established in 1985 in the midst of the rising tension that produced the First Intifada – is actually a settlement, illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, regarded as a human rights violation by the UN, and generally considered antithetical to the peace process.

At the time, none of those ideas meant anything to me. Upon my return to the United States, I began a three-year process learning what all those things meant, which began the painful unlearning of my Zionist education.

I started slowly, trying to figure out what I hadn’t been told, what the words flotilla, blockade, and occupation meant. Eventually I began listening to stories from real-life Palestinians, and found out that they’re normal people like you or me. But unlike me, they have been continuously marginalized and massacred by the Zionist project. A project that I had directly benefited from every day of my Jewish-Zionist life.

Acrovan, of Israeli acrobats, is announced at a Jewish camp

Acrovan, of Israeli acrobats, is announced at a Jewish camp

This process of realization was uncomfortable, but as I continued to listen I learned that this discomfort wasn’t simply because I was Jewish. Rather, it was because I had always been taught that sympathizing with Palestinians was something absolutely un-Jewish. And as I learned at summer camp, I love being Jewish.

In spite of this, I still love summer camp, and it pains me to think that the community that taught me my most cherished life lessons continues to perpetuate hate. This past summer, I returned to my camp in a management role with the goal of beginning an effective dialogue on Palestine.

At the beginning, there was a lot of debate, not dialogue. Like the time I ended an argument by calling a counselor and former IDF soldier a racist with no empathy, but only after she had called me naïve for referencing statistics published by the UN on quality of life in Gaza and before calling all Palestinians “liars” for reporting to Amnesty International that they didn’t have enough water to drink. It was unfathomable to me that someone who I had once respected could say some of the most violent and racist things I’d ever heard, yet her views were accepted in our community.

Midway through the summer and Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, it became clear to everyone that something was amiss in the Holy Land. Besides the intermittent all-camp prayers for the State of Israel and support group for IDF soldiers, the consensus on Palestine was silence.

After a summer of arguing and crying, I had one request to the camp administration: just say the word “Palestine” in front of our campers when we pray for Israel. I don’t expect summer camps to turn into a hotbed of political activism overnight, or that a ten year-old needs to understand the complexities of international law. However later that summer, when we prayed for Peace for both Palestinians and Israelis, we began a different conversation. We acknowledged, at its most basic level, that Palestinians aren’t just human shields, terrorists, or suicide-bombers, but people – a fact that Zionist ideology disputes.

Growing up I never knew any Palestinians, so I never noticed that these terms insist that Palestinians aren’t quite human. By teaching Israel by not teaching Palestine, we tell Jewish youth that Israel can exist without Palestine, that everything would be easier without Palestinians. That they deserve the violence Israel commits against them.

How could I respect and be proud of a community that not only condones the mass murder of thousands, but blames them for their own deaths? As I found out, I’m not the only Jew who’s asking these questions. Groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and the Open Hillel movement are breaking out of Jewish-Zionist mold and offering Jews a way to be proud of being Jewish while opposing the occupation, racism, and Palestinian dispossession.

The futures of our peoples are bound together. If the mainstream Jewish community wants peace, we need to treat Palestinians as people deserving basic human decency, rather than barbarians. Being Jewish shouldn’t imply complicity in hate and mass violence. It’s time to actualize our Jewish values and oppose the violence of Israel. For if not now, when?

About David Orkin

David Orkin is a writer and educator with BorderLinks, based in Tucson, Arizona. He is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace - Tucson and the humanitarian and advocacy organization No More Deaths/No Más Muertes. Follow him on Twitter @_davidorkin_.

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74 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    February 15, 2015, 12:28 pm

    I truly appreciate this sharing of your experiences.

    I can only imagine how hard it is for someone to have to come to the realization that many of the “truths” one has learned are not truths at all. Perhaps so many Jewish Americans have a hard time dealing with Palestinians because the Zionist national narrative is based on so many fairy tales and myths. When faced with reality they have a hard time coping.

    • JWalters
      February 15, 2015, 8:21 pm

      I completely agree. This article is beautiful in its honesty, simplicity, and clarity.

      And it explains how educated people can ignore an entire realm of facts. They are emotionally manipulated, beginning as children. Their fears won’t let them go outdoors into reality.

      You mention myths, which are of central importance in keeping this whole thing going. For interested readers, here’s a good article debunking many Zionist myths, by an Israeli author.
      https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/03/israeli-founder-contests-founding-myths/

  2. lyn117
    February 15, 2015, 1:03 pm

    Not just treat Palestinians as deserving basic human decency, but also acknowledging they’re the indigenous people of what’s now Israel, and deserving of at least equal rights.

    Best of luck educating everyone, I appreciate your attempt.

  3. Tom Callaghan
    February 15, 2015, 1:26 pm

    “…we need to treat Palestinians as people deserving basic human decency…”

    When Netanyahu speaks to a Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3 he should make that statement. He should admit that, many times, his government has not treated Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and Gaza as people. And that Congress has enabled his government in dehumanizing Palestinians.

    If Netanyahu were to make that statement and commit to travel personally to the Occupied Territories and Gaza and say it face to face to the people he has brutalized and commit to a new effort to be a good neighbor then he would earn a standing ovation.

    Until then he has earned contempt.

    http://www.wednesdayswars.com

  4. just
    February 15, 2015, 1:28 pm

    Thanks David. I wish you luck with your continuing work and discovery.

    It is disheartening to know that this brainwashing in the form of education and recreation continues.

    I don’t know if you’ve had occasion to read Gideon Levy’s latest; it might be of use to you.

    “The most heinous crime in Israel is anti-Zionism”

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.642479

  5. pabelmont
    February 15, 2015, 1:55 pm

    Great essay. No-one who hadn’t been there would have imagined Jewish camps being this way. I’m reading a terrific thriller called “Zoo Station” by David Downing which is set in Nazi Germany about 1939. One of the recurring themes is the Nazi youth efforts: Hitler Youth, “jungvolk” and so forth. (Also a mandatory year’s service for 17 year-olds called arbeitsdienst]. See http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007820 and http://www.holocaust-history.org/questions/arbeitsdienst.shtml.

    So it cannot be said that Israel learned nothing from Germany in the bad old days.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      February 15, 2015, 6:41 pm

      Up to 1939 the Nazi regime allowed the German Zionists to run youth camps in Germany to train young Jews for aliyah under the Transfer Agreement. There were indeed many similarities between the Nazi and Zionist youth movements, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were copying one another. Rather, both had their roots in the broader European culture of romantic and militaristic nationalism that arose earlier in the century. There are also links to the British imperialist youth movement, the Boy Scouts.

      • talknic
        February 15, 2015, 11:33 pm

        @ Stephen Shenfield “Up to 1939 the Nazi regime allowed the German Zionists to run youth camps in Germany to train young Jews for aliyah under the Transfer Agreement”

        Best to include sources…

        “Approximately 50,000 Jews emigrated to Palestine under the Ha’avara, or Transfer, Agreement (August 1933), between the Jewish Agency and the Nazi regime which allowed them retain some of their assets by transferring them to Palestine as German export goods. In 1934, Youth Aliyah was created under the aegis of the Jewish Agency to rescue young Jews from Nazi Germany and train them in the building of the yishuv. Some 5,000 youth were brought to Palestine from Nazi-dominated Europe before the War and educated at Youth Aliya boarding schools.” http://www.nbn.org.il/news05/INA_122805.htm

      • Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 12:16 pm

        Stephen, you shook loose a memory from half-a-century ago! Holy Cow, I hadn’t thought of this in years!; It was the summer my parents were moving the family to another house, and they very sensibly decided I should go enjoy myself at summer camp, and come home to the new house (well, new to me) after. But something went wrong among all the mishegos and mangel-wurzel of moving, and what they thought was a YMHA summer camp turned out to be a YMCA camp!
        It was an interesting two weeks, maybe three before they kicked me out. It had to do with a beautiful Hymn called “There is a Balm in Gilead” (the camp director’s favorite, we sang it a crapola after dinner) .

  6. Giles
    February 15, 2015, 4:19 pm

    Kudos to the author.

    That sort of indoctrination is not easy to overcome. One is often frustrated by the inability of intelligent, progressive Jews to admit to the most obvious, common sense, facts regarding Israel and Zionism. Their inability to see how they apply one standard to Israel, another to those Israel calls its enemies, and yet another to everyone else.

    This sort of conditioning, beginning well before the age of reason, targets the old brain, the emotional center, which clearly trumps – or at least alters — the functioning of the brain that deals with rational thought. It allows one to see the oppressor as the victim and the victim of the oppressor. It is by no means unique in recent human history and is nearly always accompanied by a sense of belonging to a tribe. Other examples would be white Americans calling the Indians savages as they burned their villages filled with women and children, Manifest Destiny (using God and religion as an excuse for your crimes), the theory that black people were better off in bondage, and so on.

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2015, 12:04 pm

      “That sort of indoctrination is not easy to overcome.”

      And it’s probably not inexpensive, either. If you want to know how the summer camps were, before the “’67 war” they are very accurately delineated in the film “Dirty Dancing”.

  7. bintbiba
    February 15, 2015, 5:12 pm

    David Orkin….
    Welcome to the world…and to reality. Congratulations for your candour and honesty.

    You have joined the rest of humanity with all its foibles , insecurities and imperfections.
    Good luck… I wish you a good life. Be courageous…. be strong!

  8. tokyobk
    February 15, 2015, 8:02 pm

    Some of this was true at the Labor-Zionist Youth camp I attended in the late 70’s to the mid-80’s, though perhaps worse in the sense that there was no fight, no controversy, no mention of Palestinians ( meaning the native and ongoing inhabitants of Israel as opposed to Arabs as those other people, usually enemies). No particular hostility to, that is to say a complete erasure. There was much on anti-semitism from Europe, not just the Shoah but also pogroms and also I remember discussions of the Munich Olympics and other incidents like that in a conflict that was always David Israel and Goliath Arabs (not Palestinians). The politics otherwise were very liberal, on civil rights and we had some counselors from South Africa who introduced us to the Apartheid struggle and their role in fighting it. I remember we sang a Zulu freedom song taught to us by one, which of course in the context of I/P then and now seems ridiculous. While the author’s camp was held out by legend to be for spoiled rich kids (They have wall to wall carpets int heir cabins! and boating!) most kids at this camp were at least middle class, overwhelmingly white, there was me and a few other’s of some kind of mixture.
    Lastly I do remember quite a bit of tough-Jews romance about smuggling guns to Israel in the (of course) “War for Independence,” and our obsession with the wars some of the older counsellors and guests fought in.

  9. Bornajoo
    February 15, 2015, 8:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing this David.
    My nieces and nephews all went to Israeli summer camps (the youngest still goes and goes again this June). I did notice just how intensive the brainwashing was because every time they came back they were very emotionally attached to Israel and more emotionally unattached to the Palestinians who were more or less invisible to them. I felt there was a dual process at work; emotional attachment and dehumanisation

    And add regular trips to Auschwitz and holocaust museums…

    They live in inner London but they only have Jewish friends, they only feel secure with other Jews, they love Israel unconditionally and they have no idea how racist, ignorant and bigoted they have become. We no longer speak or have any relationship. They see me as a traitor (not sure if that’s the right word). I see them as lost and damaged. And I despise the Zionist machine that does this to young people

    It’s not something you can reconcile very easily and just pretend everything is OK. It’s a deep fundamental issue and it can drive a deep wedge into relationships with family and friends. When you disagree on something that huge you can’t really agree on very much else. That’s my experience. So I know how hard it must have been for you on that level

    I hope that one day people in my family will also wake up, like you, and begin to see the Palestinians as equal human beings who have been greatly, massively wronged. But I fear that the brainwashing/programming is very deep so I’m not optimistic at all

    Good luck with everything you do

    • Kay24
      February 15, 2015, 9:30 pm

      David Orkin and you are stating exactly what I suspected, that young Jewish kids are being sponsored on these “birthright” trips to Israel, for special reasons – to be brainwashed and to make sure their loyalty will remain forever with Israel, even against their own nations. Millions of dollars are donated by wealthy zionist loyalists, to sponsor these freebee trips to young minds, to a nation that still keeps begging for aid and pretends it is poor, yet put in so much for these brainwashing campaigns. From this article you can see why it can be called major brainwashing, and your first hand experience in seeing relatives get more and more obsessed with Israel each time. They must be lectured on the past, and that they HAVE to make sure that NEVER AGAIN, should it happen, and that these young people must stay devoted to Israel, and obligated to make sure they support it, even as adults.
      It must be Israel right or wrong, and that Israeli crimes against humanity, is justified, and right.

  10. Neil Schipper
    February 16, 2015, 3:01 am

    Imagine a world where most people belonged to one of two mutually hostile tribes. One tribe insists that water boils at 99.4C; the other, that water boils at 99.7C. Each tribe promotes its own “narrative” and strictly enforces taboos against entertaining the narrative of the other.

    The claims appear incompatible, but, with a properly enlarged perspective, it turns out both claims are constituents of a larger truth. Internalizing the larger truth requires some serious study.

    Tribes have to prepare their youth for productive participation in society. There are constraints: on time, on intelligence and curiousity, on empathy. It’s costly and risky for either tribal leadership to expend the resources necessary to enable the larger truth to take hold broadly.

    Complex social organizations, in order to endure, need machinists and nurses, and they need them to be loyal.

    They also need specialists in geopolitics, which remains a fairly amoral undertaking, and suitable for only particular kinds of personalities.

    So you’ve penetrated a bubble of tribal indoctrination. That can make a person feel heady, as if having taken flight, as if they now see the way the world is. It can make one resent the tribal leaders for disincentivizing the pursuit of the knowledge that reveals the severe incompleteness, or even the outright falsehoods, of the indoctrination.

    One may be tempted to embrace, in a facile manner, the opposing tribe’s narrative:

    .. they have been continuously marginalized and massacred..

    .. these terms insist that Palestinians aren’t quite human..

    One may become a moral peacock, disconnected from the actual responsibilities that must be borne to maintain a measure of security in a harsh world.

    One also might try to learn about the opposing tribe’s indoctrination story, along with its omissions, distortions and fabrications; that tribe’s taboos, and how they’re enforced.

    It’s a lot to learn, and it’s made difficult with many liars, professional and amateur, working hard, like settlers, to occupy real estate in your brain.

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2015, 10:31 am

      “It’s a lot to learn, and it’s made difficult with many liars, professional and amateur, working hard, like settlers, to occupy real estate in your brain.”

      Oh my, you are right, Neil, the people who write articles in Mondo are just like the settlers. Twins, practically.

      So let’s get down to a simple question: Why has Israel been unable to stay with in the areas it self-determined to be the state?

      “One also might try to learn about the opposing tribe’s indoctrination story, – “

      ROTFLMSJAO! Yes, we Jews are mysterious, exotyic bunch, aren’t we, very hard for outsiders to understand?

      Neil, we’ve been around for a while. We are pretty much a known quantity,bubelle. Or are we just too deep for Gentile minds? ‘Splain it to us, Neil. Make sure to look real serious, knit your brows, and talk about the “harsh world”

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2015, 12:26 pm

      “Internalizing the larger truth requires some serious study.”

      Oy gevalt! What a mayhven this “Neil Schipper” is! He linked to a graph showing that water boils at slightly different pressures, depending on air pressure.

      Because air pressure and ambient temperature are never taken into account when calculating the boiling point of water thus leading to harsh-world-wide confusion and a lot of badly cooked eggs! (Oh, I’m sure parts of the egg aren’t bad, Vicar)

      Neil, ever hear of “standard temperature and pressure”? Or maybe even heard the words “at sea level”? I guess the only scientific term you know is sui generis

      • Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 1:41 pm

        “water boils at slightly different pressures,”

        Should be “boils at slightly different temperatures“, of course, but I was laughing too hard.”

        Je suis Generis”!!

      • Stephen Shenfield
        February 16, 2015, 8:49 pm

        This fascinating scientific digression could be avoided by following Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and having the two tribes differ on which end they break open eggs. Are you a big ender or a little ender?

      • Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 9:52 pm

        “and having the two tribes differ on which end they break open eggs.”

        You are right, Mr. Shenfield, the entire thing becomes clear if we simply substitute a real difference for a false difference.
        I should have suggested that.

    • talknic
      February 16, 2015, 8:42 pm

      @ Neil Schipper “Imagine a world where most people belonged to one of two mutually hostile tribes”

      One party, after having been given completely gratis 56% of an area for a state in 1948, is now in breach of hundreds of UNSC resolutions for having illegally acquired by war a further 50% of what had remained of the original area. The 1st party has missed hundreds of opportunities for peace by failing to adhere to the binding International Laws, the UN Charter articles and relative conventions those resolutions re-affirm and emphasize. Instead it has continued to illegally annex, illegally settle and to make demands of the second party that have absolutely no legal basis

      The 2ndr party asks only for its legal rights afforded under the laws the 1st party agreed to uphold in order to gain recognition and admittance to the UN. The 2nd party are not required by any law to forgo or to negotiate away any of their legal rights for the 2nd party’s benefit. They are not required by law to recognize the 1st party or to relinquish any of their rightful territory for the defense of the 1st party.

      Idiots write thousands of words trying to justify the unjustifiable position of the 1st party. Their crappy analogies and stupid arguments and outright lies failing time and again for one very simple reason. They are wrong!

  11. W.Jones
    February 16, 2015, 3:58 am

    It’s interesting how different people’s experiences are between Jews and Palestinians and their communal education in the US. In college I attended a 4 day “camp” hosted at the dormitory for the main Arab Christian denomination in the US. There was basically nothing taught about Palestine, and having attended two of their churches for several months I can tell you that people in those churches rarely discuss Palestine as part of their church life.

    In whatever Palestinian summer camps there are in the US, I am sure that there would hardly be anything taught in the way of militarism. There is such a strong contrast between the way of thinking of their two communities in the US, and yet ironically the public perception in the US is probably a reversed reality and the US public doesn’t even know that Palestinian Christians exist in serious numbers.

    • W.Jones
      February 16, 2015, 4:07 am

      What I mean is that there is an extremely strong contrast between: (A) the way of thinking and level of activism of the pro-Israeli community and (B) that of the Palestinian Christian community in the US when it comes to nationalism and militarism.

      I am not that familiar with the Muslim community here in the US, but highly doubt that there is much openly militaristic about them, and anyway it would probably be prosecuted if there were.

    • W.Jones
      February 16, 2015, 4:33 am

      The reason I think is that they don’t see Palestine as being part of their religion. So there is no need to talk about it at their churches or religious camps. They don’t have a religious-based need to “teach Palestine”. It’s not that people don’t have an opinion on the issue. They would of course agree with the non-Zionist human rights ideas of JVP. It’s just a totally different mentality in the institutions of the respective pro-Israeli and Palestinian communities. Obviously, at a Palestinian cultural camp, Yes, they would talk about Palestine, but there would certainly be no militarism taught (like 12 AM boot camp style wake ups).

      • Accentitude
        February 16, 2015, 5:58 am

        Hi, Christian Palestinian-American here. Draw 3 giant circles on the ground that overlap and firmly try to plant both feet in all three simultaneously. That’s what it’s like for us – belonging to 3 distinct groups but not completely being accepted as a member of any one of them.

        From my experience, growing up as a Christian Palestinian in the United States, I can tell you that Palestine was a very important component of my religion. We were taught that Palestine is the Holy Land, Bethlehem in the West Bank is where Jesus was born, the biblical town of Ephraim, where my ancestors are from and where I currently re-established my roots, is where Jesus retreated, and so on and so forth…the Bible is pretty much a roadmap for the many adventures of Jesus Christ. So it is an important component of our religion.

        As far as how often or even if Palestine is ever mentioned in church, I suppose that is up to the church community and their leaders. In my church, Palestine is mentioned quite frequently.

      • Walid
        February 16, 2015, 10:42 pm

        “…the Bible is pretty much a roadmap for the many adventures of Jesus Christ. : (Accentitude)

        After having stolen the country, the water, the zaatar, the falafel, the humus and just about everything else, the Zionists also stole the Jesus roadmap and have been using it since 2009 as a tourist attraction of where Jesus walked. A couple of trails in the Galilee have been established for Christian tourists that begin in Nazereth and that end in various kibbutzes, of course.

        About the “Jesus Trail” that Israel set up, from the BBC:

        “Walking with Jesus in the Galilee
        Much more than a Christian pilgrimage, the 65km Jesus Trail in northern Israel encourages travellers to tread carefully.

        By Dan Savery Raz

        Instead of asking “what would Jesus do?”, travellers from all walks of life are now asking “where did Jesus walk?”.

        Founded in 2009, northern Israel’s Jesus Trail is fast-becoming one of the world’s great hikes. More than a Christian pilgrimage, the trail is designed for anyone interested in archaeology, history or nature and encourages hikers not to leave an ecological footprint.

        The 65km hike in the Galilee also offers travellers a chance to soak up the regional landscape where it is said Jesus grew up. Spread over four days, with around 15km of hiking per day, the trail starts in the town of Nazareth and ends at the ruins of Capernaum, stopping for reflection at many important Christian sites and passing through local Arab and Jewish villages. In contrast to the usual whirlwind coach tours of the region, the Jesus Trail was designed for slow travel, summed up by their motto, “Jesus didn’t take the bus”.

        The Holy Grail of trails
        The hike has proved to be very popular, and not just with Christian pilgrims. “Not everyone who hikes practices Christianity,” said Maoz Inon, an Israeli tourism entrepreneur who co-founded the Jesus Trail. “Some are just regular hikers who have been to the Appalachian Trail or the Himalayan Trail and are now enjoying a hike in the Galilee.”

        But how can we know exactly where Jesus walked? Although there is little to no archaeological evidence connected to Jesus himself, historians can pinpoint certain places mentioned in the Bible. Variations of place names for Nazareth (sometimes called Natzrat or Nazara), Capernaum (Kapharnaum) and Tzippori (Sepphoris) appear in biblical texts and in the Talmud, an ancient Jewish rabbinical scripture written in Hebrew and Aramaic. “The trail also crosses an old Roman road from the time of Jesus,” Inon said, “So the chances are that Jesus travelled from Nazareth to Capernaum on these very same stones.”

        Inon is a man on a mission. Aside from co-founding the Jesus Trail, he is also the founder of the Israel Hostels Network, owner of Jerusalem’s Abraham Hostel and Nazareth’s Fauzi Azar Inn. For many hikers, the Fauzi Azar Inn – a 200-year-old Arab mansion that is now a gorgeous hostel – is the starting point of the Jesus Trail.

        For Inon, tourism can create more than just income, building bridges between different communities. “We want to promote the Middle East as one destination – like Southeast Asia or South America,” he said. “My hostels give a free night to any traveller who passed through Syria, Iran, Iraq or Lebanon. Why? Because we believe they are real hardcore travellers.”

        … The trail was approved by Israel’s Society for Protection of Nature and blazed in the run-up to now-retired Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the country in 2009. The Pope, then 82, did not hike the Jesus Trail but did perform a mass with thousands of congregants atop the nearby Mount Precipice. In 2011, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair walked the first section of the Jesus Trail with Maoz Inon, along with photographers and TV camera crews…

        For the full scam:

        http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20130517-walking-with-jesus-in-the-galilee

      • W.Jones
        February 19, 2015, 3:37 pm

        Dear Accentitude,

        Thank you for writing! It is nice to hear about how Palestine played a big role in your views and background, and it’s neat to hear that your family came from the Biblical Ephraim. Do you live in California? They have more Palestinian and Arab churches there than here on the East Coast, and perhaps things are different there.

        Also, what do you mean by Palestine being “mentioned”? Like parishioners just “mention” it to each other, or maybe a few times a year the priest mentions it at a meeting?

        I am not implying that Palestinian Christians’ approach to their homeland is “wrong”, it just seems to me that in the institutions described by the author of this Mondoweiss article, focus on religious political nationalism is more focused, militaristic and dogmatic than in Arab American churches. Do the churches have monthly “Celebrate Palestine” classes and “Palestine Programming” committees? I would be shocked if there was a Palestinian militant camp counselor who woke the kids up at 12 AM for drills.

      • W.Jones
        February 19, 2015, 3:53 pm

        Personally, I think that Palestinian churches should have more classes on Palestine because it’s their culture and religious background like you described. But I don’t think that they should go overboard with it like making modern politics a key religious doctrine, waking kids up for army drills at a church camp, etc.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 20, 2015, 1:29 am

        what do you mean by Palestine being “mentioned”? Like parishioners just “mention” it to each other, or maybe a few times a year the priest mentions it at a meeting?

        w.jones, i have not been to a church in a few years since i moved back to california. but when i was in seattle there was a little methodist church around the corner from where i lived (it was not an “Arab Christian denomination”) and sometimes i would go to services around the holidays, i liked the music and the vibe. they talked about bethlehem and palestine in the sermons. it was where jesus was born. so of course it was more than just mentioned. palestine is the holy land, it’s integral to the church. and my relatives were ministers in the church. my great-grandfather (a preacher) went to palestine and wrote about it in his memoirs. christianity began in palestine. it’s central to the religion. it’s the holy land.

      • W.Jones
        February 20, 2015, 3:43 pm

        Annie,
        It was neat to read your words that:
        “my great-grandfather (a preacher) went to palestine and wrote about it in his memoirs.”
        It would be exciting to hear more about that.

        Maybe you could even write an essay with excerpts from it, talking about how times have changed or about how his trip conflicted with “Orientalism” or other prejudices.

        You made good points too about how the sites and events that occurred in the Holy Land are important for Christianity. It’s also common for Christians of all denominations to make a pilgrimage once in a lifetime or more to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. On the other hand, there are those in Reform Judaism- and it may be the prevalent view- that see Biblical “Redemption” and “Salvation” not in terms of salvation from sin and death, but rather as a national political liberation. Perhaps this might lead to a stronger emphasis on nationalism and modern politics.

  12. wfleitz
    February 16, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Very appropriate photographs with all the fences around….

  13. Pixel
    February 16, 2015, 4:55 pm

    Thanks, David.

    Wow. 2010.
    That’s massive personal growth (and action) in only 5 years.

    “For if not now, when?”
    Indeed.

    • Pixel
      February 16, 2015, 5:26 pm

      ps. except that they’re IDF, the photo with this piece is hysterical.

      Speaking of hysterical… Mooser, that you were accidentally sent to to the wrong camp is funny as heck.

      The thought of little Mooser sitting cross-legged in shorts and a YMCA t-shirt, toasting marshmallows on a bent twig in front of the campfire, singing “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” is PRICELESS!!!



      • just
        February 16, 2015, 5:33 pm

        LOLOLOLOL~ little Mooser!

        (I am glad you brought up the picture, Pixel. It’s been bugging me since I saw it… they look so innocent and fun, eh? It’s part of the lies that these kids are being told; perhaps the young IOFers believe that they are still innocents, too! Recruit ’em young!))

      • Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 6:53 pm

        I’m cudgeling my memory as I speak, trying to remember that episode a half-century ago, without, of course, interpolating this by mistake.

        I think I was in a cabin with other non-fitter-inners, because it was our counselor who must’ve cooked up the idea of us all hitting the dining-hall table and yelling “BOOM!” after the words “There is a balm…” in the old Hymn. I had no idea what “balm” was, I for all I knew, those Gentiles were serious about bombing Gilead. I didn’t start really appreciating Hymns til later.

        Man, I hadn’t thought about for decades til Stephen knocked it loose.

      • just
        February 16, 2015, 6:58 pm

        {{{Mooser}}}

        lol, too.

  14. Mayhem
    February 16, 2015, 6:11 pm

    Somehow the anti-Zionist mentality believes that when an anti-Zionist JEW in particular speaks out it adds special credibility to their case. To get a Jew to denigrate Israel is worth much more in the war of words than a non-Jew, who can always be fobbed off as an anti-semite. This is nothing more than a Jew demonstrating his disconnection from his own identity; a Jew who succumbs to the propaganda of the delegitimization, slurring campaign against Israel, to which he has now become complicit.

    taught that sympathizing with Palestinians was something absolutely un-Jewish

    This assertion is plainly false as Jews have been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed. On the other hand our ‘Palestinian’ counterparts have truly adopted a narrative that will not entertain any accommodation to the Jewish predicament, as is most evident in the anti-normalization movement and the bigotry of Holocaust deniers. Any ‘Palestinian’ who empathises with the concerns of the Jewish people is destined to become an outcast. This cynical, blind double standard demonstrates the hypocrisy behind the ‘Palestinian’ cause.

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2015, 8:14 pm

      “as is most evident in the anti-normalization movement”

      This is atrocious, Mayhem! Palestinians have sunk to this! Listen Mayhem, we won’t let this stand! We’ll get a “Kick-starter” or “Fund-me” thing going, and get in touch with “Doctors Without Borders”.
      We’ll make sure Jewish kids get all the necessary they need to become “normalized”! All those abnormal Jewish kids, they need help. Not feeling “normalized” can be disabilitating!

      If I have to donate my own flesh and blood, I’ll see those kids are made “normal” again! I’m with you, Mayhem, having an abnormality is no fun.

      • Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 8:18 pm

        Everybody else better be nice to Mayhem, too! You gotta make allowances, the guy doesn’t think he’s normal (that’s a bad scene) and he’s waiting for somebody to “normalize” him.
        Imagine being caught in a bind like that!
        So look, just for me, treat Mayhem like he is normal. You can see he’s very sensitive about it.

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2015, 8:30 pm

      “This cynical, blind double standard”

      Good malapropism, Mayhem! Love the way you have transmuted “double-blind study”.

      ” This is nothing more than a Jew demonstrating his disconnection from his own identity; a Jew who succumbs to the propaganda of the delegitimization, slurring campaign against Israel, to which he has now become complicit.”

      Mayhem, I’d take you to any contest judging Equus africanus asinus and come home a winner. You are one prize ass, buddy.

      Oh, sorry, Mayhem, I forgot how seriously Zionists believe there are too many Jews, and bunches of them don’t make the grade. That’s fine, Mayhem, you kick out the stragglers, leaving the few, the proud, the Jews!

    • eljay
      February 16, 2015, 8:36 pm

      || Mayhemeee: To get a Jew to denigrate Israel is worth much more in the war of words than a non-Jew, who can always be fobbed off as an anti-semite. This is nothing more than a Jew demonstrating his disconnection from his own identity … ||

      Your identity as a Jewish person may be fragile without an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of (Greater) Israel to bolster it, but you really shouldn’t project your insecurities on every other Jewish person in the world.

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2015, 8:39 pm

      “On the other hand our ‘Palestinian’ counterparts have truly adopted a narrative that will not entertain any accommodation to the Jewish predicament”

      You know, that’s pretty much how the US treated us, and that worked out OK. Stop whining. What are you abnormal, you need an “accommodation to your Jewish predicament”

      “Accommodation”? Wow, civil right, the rights of the disabled, a Zionist will pimp anything for Zionism.

    • Kris
      February 16, 2015, 8:50 pm

      @Mayhem: “… On the other hand our ‘Palestinian’ counterparts have truly adopted a narrative that will not entertain any accommodation to the Jewish predicament…”

      What is the “Jewish predicament,” Mayhem? I found this: “These three books illustrate a problem that has faced many Jews in the century and a half since the ghetto walls fell—that of the quest for a faith to replace Jewish orthodoxy, which is essentially the religion of the segregated community.” http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/28th-september-1951/22/the-jewish-predicament

      This doesn’t seem to fit in with what you say, since what Israel wants is to be a “segregated community.” Could you please explain what you’re talking about?

      This may seem like a stupid question to you, but I know from experience that when I don’t understand something, there are almost always lots of other people who are wondering about the same thing, but don’t like to ask. So please, could you explain what the Jewish predicament is, and what Palestinian “accommodation” to the “Jewish predicament” would look like?

      Thanks in advance for your help with this. #ThereAreNoStupidQuestions

    • talknic
      February 16, 2015, 8:59 pm

      @ Mayhem” Jews have been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed.”

      Uh huh. Israelis on the other hand have been occupying, denying the rights of and oppressing Palestinians for 67 years and Zionists have been colonizing Palestine for over a hundred years!

      “On the other hand our ‘Palestinian’ counterparts have truly adopted a narrative that will not entertain any accommodation to the Jewish predicament”

      Except to agree to cede Israel 78% of the Palestinians rightful territory for peace http://pages.citebite.com/e9p5s8u2yhcd

      Your drivel is cute, another meaningless attempt to excuse Israel’s breaches of International Law, the UN Charter and relevant conventions

    • RoHa
      February 16, 2015, 9:34 pm

      “This is nothing more than a Jew demonstrating his disconnection from his own identity”

      What is his “identity”? How does he become “disconnected” from it.

      I think of “identity” in either philosophical terms (I wrote a book about that)

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/person-i/
      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-personal/

      or in legal terms of DOB, Nationality, etc.

      But with both those types of identity, I can’t see that anyone (Jew or not) can have any other identity than his own, and I can’t see how anyone can be disconnected from it.

      “This assertion is plainly false as Jews have been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed. ”

      And there are Jews prominent in movements for the rights of the Palestinians.

      “On the other hand our ‘Palestinian’ counterparts have truly adopted a narrative”

      What narrative? Palestinians have taken the line that Jews should live in Palestine as equals, not as overlords.

      “that will not entertain any accommodation to the Jewish predicament, as is most evident in the anti-normalization movement and the bigotry of Holocaust deniers.”

      What predicament is that, and why should Palestinians concern themselves with it?

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2015, 9:39 pm

      “Somehow the anti-Zionist mentality believes that when an anti-Zionist JEW in particular speaks out it adds special credibility to their case. To get a Jew to denigrate Israel is worth much more in the war of words than a non-Jew, who can always be fobbed off as an anti-semite.”

      Oh, I get it, Mayhem. I guess those anti-Zionists don’t understand, that for some reason nobody can explain, the Jewish religion is full of dirty little sneaks who will turn on their religion, their community, their own family, their upbringing, at the drop of a hat, and they are always looking for an opportunity to do just that! So nobody should listen to anything they say, you are right.

      But gee, why are there so many Jewish turncoats like that? Anyway, Mayhem, don’t tell the Gentiles, please! They think we got lots of tribal unity. Why, if they knew how shot through with mosers the place was, they’d never be frightened of us no more!

    • Kay24
      February 16, 2015, 10:42 pm

      “This assertion is plainly false as Jews have been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed”.

      Have they now? Then they have failed very BADLY when it comes to those they occupy and blockade. They failed when they bombed UN shelters where helpless women and children took refuge there, they failed to minimize the number of civilian casualties last year, when 60 percent of the 2000 killed were women and children. Israel is not consistence, but selective, in how they choose to fight the rights of minorities and the oppressed. If it were not so serious, that would be funny.

      • Mooser
        February 17, 2015, 4:00 pm

        “false as Jews have been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed.”

        Hey, can’t argue with that “Jews have”! Sure, some Jews have. But have “the Jews” ” been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed”?
        Oh, and I’ll give you this, Mayhem, I am willing to define “the Jews” in this case as equal to the number and actions of those Jews supporting and enacting Zionism. You can leave all the kapos out.

    • oldgeezer
      February 17, 2015, 2:52 am

      @Mayhem

      “This assertion is plainly false as Jews have been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed.”

      What kind of racist claptrap is that. Your suggestion that because Jews have been in the forefront of popular movements worldwide in the fight for equality and human rights is actually no different than those who would denigrate Jewish people based on a selection of Jews with negative attributes. There is no moral difference between those who would ascribe positive attributes to a group based on a few individuals than those who would ascrive negative attributes to a group based upon a few. The same bigotry is at play.

      What the heck have you done besides attempt to justify and support the suppression of basic human rights for millions of individual humans?

      “Any ‘Palestinian’ who empathises with the concerns of the Jewish people is destined to become an outcast.”

      As is any Jewish person who empathises with the Palestinian plight. Even when that individual deals with specific facts such as Goldstone. Do you really feel you have any moral difference? If you do then you are either deluded or in denial.

      “This cynical, blind double standard demonstrates the hypocrisy behind the ”

      zionist cause and hasbara.

      Seriously, what have you done to further universal human rights. Neither you nor Israel have any basis or right to wrap yourself in the accomplishment of individuals. They are not to the credit of either the state nor Jewish people. They are due credit on their own merit. You want to wrap yourself in the advancement of human rights fought for by Jewish people? Stop supporting the denial of same to millions. Stop supporting a philosophy that denies those rights to millions.

      Lift yourself out of the gutter where the high ground you seek is nothing but a floating turd and actually try to recognize the value of all human right. All humans.

      There is not much more hypocritical and vile than a right wing zionist. And left wing zionists are probably worse as they will spin to defend the right while pathetically pretending to have higher values.

      • justicewillprevail
        February 17, 2015, 6:12 am

        old geezer: applause. old and wise.

      • bintbiba
        February 17, 2015, 6:58 pm

        @ oldgeezer….

        Thank you… brilliant comment !
        !

    • Bornajoo
      February 17, 2015, 5:42 pm

      @Mayhem
      “This is nothing more than a Jew demonstrating his disconnection from his own identity; a Jew who succumbs to the propaganda of the delegitimization, slurring campaign against Israel, to which he has now become complicit.”

      here you go again. Telling other Jews what they must think and what they must believe. No other thoughts allowed for Jews except those that wholeheartedly and unconditionally support Israel and Zionism which you are claiming is what Jewish identity is all about.

      Message to all Jews worldwide – The Zionist thought police are here.

      what you are saying that Zionism/Israel is the truth, the light, the spirit of goodness which has never, nor is, doing anything wrong. Therefore if any Jew decides that he doesn’t agree with that statement it must only be because they have been completely brainwashed by anti-Israel propaganda. Because there can be NO REASON on this earth to ever criticise Israel/Zionism for anything it has ever done. That is what you are saying. Everyone else who doesn’t agree with that is BAD and the worst ones are the self hating Jews like the chap who wrote this article (oh and me of course)

      When I was younger I had that identity. I grew up with it and I believed it because most people in my family and social circle believed it. I really had no choice. I was brainwashed. But that’s understandable for a youngster who knows no better. I had no other information to work with so it was not really possible to form an objective opinion. I had never heard of ‘the left’ or ‘anti-zionism’ or anything remotely like that. Those concepts did not exist in y wold at that time. Nobody around me ever criticised Israel and there was no anti-israel propaganda that I had ever heard of.

      But as soon as I saw the facts on the ground for myself I realised it was all a crock of shit, mythology and lies. And I worked out all by myself that I wanted to have nothing to do with it because it completely messed up with my idea of RIGHT AND WRONG. It was incompatible with the very concept of right and wrong. You could say that I was faced with a choice; carry on believing and supporting this sick ideology and this rogue state or choose to be a normal human being with a proper sense of right and wrong.

      David, who wrote this article also worked out from his own research that something was wrong and that something was simply not compatible with what he was being taught at summer camp. He was brave enough to confront it, admit it and change his previous views which was a result of continual brainwashing. He has learned that he can “….be proud of being Jewish while opposing the occupation, racism, and Palestinian dispossession.” But to you he is some kind of traitor for saying those words

      But I’m willing to admit Mayhem that your programming is so deep it’s unfortunately, probably irreversible.

      • bintbiba
        February 17, 2015, 7:05 pm

        Bornajoo…. +100 !!

    • talknic
      February 18, 2015, 8:33 am

      @ Mayhem ” To get a Jew to denigrate Israel is worth much more in the war of words than a non-Jew, who can always be fobbed off as an anti-semite. “

      Uh huh! You sure have a way with words. “fobbed off” falsely accused

      “This is nothing more than a Jew demonstrating his disconnection from his own identity; a Jew who succumbs to the propaganda of the delegitimization, slurring campaign against Israel, to which he has now become complicit”

      Whatever drivel you need to convince yourself buster. Israel delegitimizes itself by being in breach of the UN Charter, International Law and relevant conventions as reaffirmed and emphasized in hundreds of UNSC resolutions giving Israel the opportunity to adhere to those laws, the Charter and conventions.

      “This assertion is plainly false as Jews have been amongst the most prominent in popular movements worldwide that have fought for the rights of minorities and the oppressed”

      Strange then that if they fight for Palestinians legal right under the laws Israel obliged itself to uphold, but hasn’t, they should be called self-hating Jews by pricks like … uh oh!? Tch tch tch

      ” On the other hand our ‘Palestinian’ counterparts have truly adopted a narrative that will not entertain any accommodation to the Jewish predicament …”

      Is that why they offered the Jewish state more than half their rightful territory for peace .

      The official records show that almost everything you spout, is complete bullsh*te

      “Any ‘Palestinian’ who empathises with the concerns of the Jewish people is destined to become an outcast”

      Is that why they offered the Jewish state more than half their rightful territory for peace .

      “This cynical, blind double standard demonstrates the hypocrisy behind the ‘Palestinian’ cause”

      No it shows the lies you and your kind are willing to tell. Say … lying is against the most basic of Judaism’s tenets. Why do Israel’s apologists lie so often on behalf of the “Jewish” state.

      • Bornajoo
        February 18, 2015, 8:57 am

        “Say … lying is against the most basic of Judaism’s tenets. Why do Israel’s apologists lie so often on behalf of the “Jewish” state.”

        +10 Talknic!

        Mayhem and his kind are deeply programmed, deeply disturbed liars and hasbarists with no sense of humanity. A very nasty and dangerous recipe. Horrid humans.

      • just
        February 18, 2015, 9:08 am

        Peter Beinart has a piece up about Elie Wiesel that goes to lies…

        “The tragedy of Elie Wiesel

        Why does such a great man keep apologizing for a government that betrays his ideals?

        …….. If the Book of Esther offers a haunting warning of the violence Jews can suffer, why does it not also warn us of the violence Jews can inflict? And if Wiesel is so alarmed by threats of nuclear annihilation, why does he keep embracing his former patron Sheldon Adelson, who in 2013 urged the United States to drop an “atomic weapon” in the Iranian desert, and then, if the Iranians don’t halt their nuclear program, drop one “in the middle of Tehran” so the Iranians are “wiped out.”

        This tendency to whitewash Jewish behavior is a feature of Wiesel’s previous statements on Israel too. In 2010, when the Obama and Netanyahu governments tussled over settlement growth in East Jerusalem,Wiesel wrote a public letter celebrating Jewish control over Jerusalem because “for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city.”

        Wiesel’s motivations for believing the best about Jewish control of the holy city may have been commendable. But his claims were blatantly untrue. In a detailed rebuttal, Daniel Seidemann, a lawyer specializing in Jerusalem land claims, noted that one-third of East Jerusalem and almost all of West Jerusalem is “state land,” available for residence only to Israeli citizens and Diaspora Jews eligible to become Israeli citizens. And since the “Palestinians of East Jerusalem, with rare exception, are in neither of these categories…Wiesel may purchase a home anywhere in East or West Jerusalem, [but] a Palestinian cannot.” Seidemann also dismantled Wiesel’s claims about religious access, noting that, “due to Israeli restrictions, today it is easier for a Palestinian Christian living just south of Jerusalem in Bethlehem to worship in Washington’s National Cathedral than to pray in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Today a Muslim living in Turkey has a better chance of getting to Jerusalem to pray at the Old City’s Al-Aqsa mosque than a Muslim living a few miles away in Ramallah.”

        Again and again, Wiesel takes refuge in the Israel of his imagination, using it to block out the painful reckoning that might come from scrutinizing Israel as it actually is. “I can’t believe that Israeli soldiers murdered people or shot children. It just can’t be,” Wiesel said in 2010. But these are not questions of faith. Israel is a decent country composed of decent young men and women who, in the West Bank, are obliged to police people who lack basic rights. And in such circumstances, decent people do indecent things. “We are making the lives of millions unbearable,” declares one former Shin Bet head, Carmi Gillon, in the film “The Gatekeepers.” In the West Bank, Israel has become “a brutal occupation force,” notes another, Avraham Shalom. A third, Yuval Diskin, calls the occupation a “colonial regime.” These men don’t hate Israel; they have dedicated their lives to protecting it. But unlike Wiesel, they are discussing the real Israel, not the one they have constructed in their minds.

        Why is Elie Wiesel, one of the world’s great champions of human rights, denying the human rights abuses to which even Israel’s own former Shin Bet chiefs have testified? Because the occupation – Israel’s control for almost 50 years of millions of human beings who lack the basic rights proclaimed by its own declaration of independence – stains everything it touches, not only in Israel but across the Jewish world. It turns organizations founded to fight bigotry into apologists for it; it forces rabbis to choose between obeying their conscience and keeping their job; it leads gentiles of goodwill to fear that if they criticize Israel they’ll be called anti-Semites. And in an inversion worthy of the Kotzker Rebbe, it turns Elie Wiesel’s great love of the Jewish people and the Jewish state into public relations for a prime minister whose policies defile the ideals Wiesel has spent his life championing.

        “You belong among those who speak the truth, even to Jewish power,” wrote Hertzberg. More than a quarter-century later, Elie Wiesel still does. Were he to speak forcefully about the injustice Israel is perpetrating in the West Bank, many others would find their voice. On moral questions, Elie Wiesel speaks louder than any Jew alive. Which makes his silence loudest too.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.643037?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

        Never mind that Beinart and I disagree about his assessment of Wiesel as a “great man”…….

  15. dannyrab91
    February 17, 2015, 10:26 am

    IDF, thank you for all you do to defend the land of Israel. G-D bless the IDF, one of the strongest militaries in the world.

    • Mooser
      February 17, 2015, 10:34 am

      “G-D bless the IDF, one of the strongest militaries in the world”

      ‘And G-d, I pray to you, if I am a good boy for a month, can I get out of burnt-offering Fluffy and Fido?’

      (I think it’s the same kid Phil talked to,( he was 15 yrs. old, right?) the one that wants to steal people’s pets and sacrifice them like they do in the old-time religion.)

      Say, “dannyrab91” would you like to add, ‘and an international Jewish conspiracy to rule the world’ to that “strongest army” stuff? Why not double down?
      Take some salt tablets, Danny-boy, I think you’re getting heat-stroke at summer-camp.

    • just
      February 17, 2015, 10:37 am

      Just a question.

      Your bio: “22 year old student Binghamton University. President of SJP.”

      Are you employing sarcasm, or are you dishonest on your bio?

      • just
        February 17, 2015, 1:24 pm

        Lerner, via Rania Khalek:

        “Full house in #IDFs first ever international conference on the Laws of Armed Conflict ”

        https://twitter.com/raniakhalek

        Wonder who’s doing the presentation(s)? My guess is it’s not dear Hostage, nor any credible/widely respected source. Maybe Professor Wiggle Rheum or Scooter Libby or Luis Moreno OCampo or Dershowitz or …

        Either way, it’s too little, too late. Can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube and try to point to this “education” of the IOF and claim “respectability” @ the Hague.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 17, 2015, 2:39 pm

        thanks just, when danny tried to respond he busted himself. posters should really read the comment policy here:

        5. No imposture. You can use any pseudonym you like, but if you represent yourself as someone you’re not, you’re outta here.

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/policy#sthash.0mW1PQp2.dpuf

        oh, and tony..go read #2. the repercussions are not just having a comment trashed, it’s a banning offense.

      • just
        February 17, 2015, 3:13 pm

        That’s bloody awful.

        (I had hoped it was poorly employed sarcasm…) Thanks, Annie.

    • eljay
      February 17, 2015, 3:10 pm

      || dannyrab91eee: IDF, thank you for all you do to defend the land of Israel. G-D bless the IDF, one of the strongest militaries in the world. ||

      You must be new: You forgot the bit about “most moral army”. :-P

      Anyway:
      – The IDF enforces oppression, theft, occupation, colonization, torture, murder and supremacism. No person who cares about justice, accountability and equality should thank such an organization.
      – It is an evil gawd (a devil, perhaps) that blesses such an organization.

    • talknic
      February 18, 2015, 8:00 am

      @ dannyrab91 “IDF, thank you for all you do to defend the land of Israel. G-D bless the IDF”

      Bravo. Now about Israel’s ongoing illegal facts on the ground in non-Israeli territory supported by the IDF.

      “.. one of the strongest militaries in the world”

      Uh huh

  16. Mooser
    February 17, 2015, 4:03 pm

    Welcome to the egress, “dannyrab!” Or “Tony”?

    There’s something happening here, but I don’t know what it is, do I?
    Probably better I don’t.

  17. eljay
    February 17, 2015, 6:07 pm

    || Mooser: Welcome to the egress, “dannyrab!” Or “Tony”? ||

    What’s in a name? That which we call eee
    By any other name would be equally Zio-supremacist.

    (with apologies to Bill S.)

  18. PilgrimSoul
    February 18, 2015, 4:32 pm

    Absolutely one of the best things published on this website in some time. The entire issue of political indoctrination of young people is extremely important. For those interested in my account of indoctrination in a “progressive” Hebrew school in the 1960s, see this at the following link:

    http://pilgrimsoulblog.com/2014/08/12/the-hebrew-school-the-holocaust-and-why-the-kids-rebelled/

    The one big difference is that the kids in the Hebrew school in which my children were enrolled objected strenuously–despite the fact that they were quite young–to the anti-Arab racism that they were being indoctrinated with…that, and the fact that in our situation in San Francisco the Holocaust was used very aggressively to justify racism in the Hebrew-language instructional materials.

    • Mooser
      February 18, 2015, 10:04 pm

      “PilgrimSoul”s story about his kids Hebrew school in San Francisco and the reactions to the material being used has it all over my wrong-camp story. Very interesting. I’m glad I went and read it at the link he gives.

      Yup, puts my wrong camp story right in the shade, and it should. His is better written, too.

      Sort of disheartening, too, cause I thought the kind of racist Zionist indoctrination described didn’t get started in the US til after the 67′ war. But I guess not. It was going into place much earlier.

    • oldgeezer
      February 19, 2015, 12:17 am

      Fascinating reading. It’s a different perspective which will take some time to digest. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Bornajoo
      February 19, 2015, 3:55 am

      @PilgrimSoul
      Thanks for the link to your blog which I just read. It does remind me of what happened to my brothers and I when we had our fling with firstly orthodox Judaism and then later Israel and Zionism. I’ve also watched my nieces and nephew go through a similar brainwashing procedure and they’re all severely damaged today

      You are right that so few are aware of how early this systemic indoctrination began. I’m sure you’ve seen Yoav Shamir’s film, Defamation (available for free on YouTube) who exposes these methods when he accompanies a group of Israeli children on their school trip to Auschwitz. What many don’t realise is that the same thing is happening to many Jewish kids outside of Israel too, as per David’s article and the experiences of my own immediate family.

      Kudos to your kids for understanding it for what it was at that time. It’s a testament to the values you taught them before they got to that awful school. But it worked 100% on my nieces and nephew (still ongoing with the youngest one who will still go to Israel summer camp this summer) who have grown up to be paranoid racist bigots and extremely damaged human beings. In other words very good zionists

      • bintbiba
        February 19, 2015, 4:57 am

        Brilliant kids, Pilgrimsoul…..

        Kudos to you and your wife.

    • just
      February 19, 2015, 6:30 am

      You did well, PilgrimSoul. You are doing well. You will do well. It is indeed a tribute to you and your family that questions were posed and answers were sought.

      @ your link is a tremendous essay of searing recollection. Thank you for sharing your story.

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