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‘Do US Jews need a Jewish state for our safety?’ debate begins in wake of Netanyahu victory

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One good thing about the Netanyahu victory is that it promotes an American conversation that we have long called for on this site: Do you think Jews need a state? Leave aside the question of whether that state requires ethnic cleansing– do western Jews need a state of their own to be safe? I have stated for a long time that I don’t feel that need: that actually, American Jews need to extend the elements of our own lived American experience to others. The great principles of protecting minority rights and the separation of church and state are at the core of our incredible experience in the U.S., so let us pay that good fortune forward by promoting those ideas wherever we have influence.

But Zionists genuinely think we might need to be hidden some day, right here in America. And so we must do everything to protect a Jewish state.

That’s a powerful belief; and it needs to be expressed openly so that others can discuss it, and the good news is that Netanyahu’s endangerment of Israel’s future is finally forcing liberal Zionists who are in crisis to open their hearts.

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post comes out, at last. Netanyahu’s victory compels him to relate a personal story: 11 years ago, he went through the painstaking process of officially converting his daughter to Judaism (her mother is not Jewish) so if things ever go bad in the U.S., she will be accepted by Israel as a Jew: “If the Gestapo ever comes again, she and her descendants will have a place to go.” More:

“Folks… there is no place else to go, and you understand that in your bones. [Joe Biden once told Jewish groups] You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States . . . there’s only one guarantee. There is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the state of Israel.”

..[I]t’s true that Jews are safe and happy in the United States today — but that could change. This is why I plunged my baby in the mikvah. And this is why I was appalled by Netanyahu’s disavowal of a two-state solution.

Without two states, there won’t be even one Jewish state if — God forbid — my daughter or her progeny someday have no place else to go.

I applaud Milbank for his transparency about issues that he used to be coy about. So let’s discuss; is the response of this important columnist a rational one? Helena Cobban says it’s not. She compiles her tweets on the piece here. Excerpts:

To me, @milbank‘s piece is a reminder how deeply the worldview fostered by decades of Zionist argument are rooted in US pol/media elites.

maybe @Milbank cd try empathizing w/ a few other ppls whose fear of persecutn/exclusion = much more rational than his?

Seems clear @Milbank telling this story in this way had primarily performative aspect, 2 demonstr8 his loyalty to Zionist idea…

In all the main arguments of this v. troubling piece, he works hard to demonstr8 his loyalty to Zionist project.

I don’t think Milbank’s attitude is risible; I think it flows from the Holocaust, from having half of European Jewry exterminated. But being the result of trauma 70 years ago, that attitude is deluded and anachronistic, and does not reflect our real American lives. But countless elite columnists and politicians hold those views.

Peter Beinart also upholds Zionism’s raison-d’etre in a piece in Haaretz that calls on American Jews to resist the greater Israel crowd and save the Jewish state. Netanyahu’s victory and the resulting boost to the BDS boycott movement potentially mean:

the end of the one state in the world that has as its mission statement the protection of Jewish life. Those of us who still believe in such a state, alongside a Palestinian one need another way…

We know that if Israel continues on its current path, our children will one day live in a world without a Jewish state. We know that our grandparents’ generation of Diaspora Jews will be remembered for having helped birth the first Jewish country in 2,000 years, and that ours will be remembered for having helped destroy it.

Take out the word “destroy” and why is that a bad thing? Dismantling and reforming a state of Jewish privilege built on others’ suffering would be a great achievement, a light unto the nations. A couple of years ago Beinart told J Street that if we lose the Jewish state, American Jews will be stumbling spiritually through the rubble of that experience for decades to come. He is right; but what he fails to see is that the Jewish community is spiritually stumbling horribly now. Denying Israeli atrocities, denying the existence of apartheid, denying the existence of the Israel lobby– this work does a lot of damage to people’s sensibility and intelligence. Dana Milbank once smeared Walt and Mearsheimer as “Teutonic” — i.e. Nazis — just for questioning the power of the Israel lobby. This is a Jewish tragedy. Black people didn’t choose the Marcus Garvey option; many supported it for understandable reasons, but in the end it didn’t happen. Meantime, the Jewish community bought totally into the Marcus Garvey option, and now we have a situation where many in the American Jewish community are devoted 24/7 to protecting Israel and denying the persecution of Palestinians.

P.S. Beinart says that Diaspora Jews must organize to resist the Netanyahu government by boycotting the settlements, demonstrating against settler leaders, and so forth. “With Netanyahu’s reelection, the peace process is over and the pressure process must begin.” He wants American Jews moving to prevent Naftali Bennett from traveling and “joining and amplifying nonviolent Palestinian protest in the West Bank,” even while supporting Israel’s right to exist. Myself I don’t have a problem with that; I want 100 flowers to bloom; but the question is, Where are all those Freedom Riders? Nowhere. Last year, Beinart called on young American Jews to put their bodies on the line to fight the occupation and save Zionism. It didn’t happen. They don’t care enough. A generation and two ago, American Jews did put their bodies on the line for the Jewish state because they saw a need for it; the young ones don’t feel the need. The ones who do care about these issues are joining the BDS movement, imho.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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75 Responses

  1. just on March 22, 2015, 1:32 pm

    “Dismantling and reforming a state of Jewish privilege built on others’ suffering would be a great achievement, a light unto the nations. A couple of years ago Beinart told J Street that if we lose the Jewish state, American Jews will be stumbling spiritually through the rubble of that experience for decades to come. He is right; but what he fails to see is that the Jewish community is spiritually stumbling horribly now. Denying Israeli atrocities, denying the existence of apartheid, denying the existence of the Israel lobby– this work does a lot of damage to people’s sensibility and intelligence.”

    Spot-on!

    The pro- Israel as Jewish at any cost and racism evident in Israel is also in the US and in the rest of the Anglosphere~ actually almost everywhere where organizations have been created, funded, and nurtured that put Israel first. It’s really sad that the ‘organizations’ have also included every US government and congress since the beginning. I’m sure that this kind of thinking and behavior does not guarantee anything that is good.

    It’s a bit like trusting a wild drunk to drive you home in a jalopy with no headlights or brakes on a slippery & wet mountain road, abundant with hairpin turns.

    • JWalters on March 22, 2015, 7:31 pm

      Completely agree. “Dismantling and reforming a state of Jewish privilege built on others’ suffering” would be an example worthy of being called “a light unto the nations.”

  2. Mooser on March 22, 2015, 1:45 pm

    “I have stated for a long time that I don’t feel that need: that actually, American Jews need to extend the elements of our own lived American experience to others. The great principles of protecting minority rights and the separation of church and state are at the core of our incredible experience in the U.S., so let us pay that good fortune forward by promoting those ideas wherever we have influence.”

    My goodness, the flushiggener ideas you come up with.
    You want Jews everywhere to live like we do in the United States, with no government protection and worst of all no government recognition of Judaism! Why, I’m pretty sure the US government doesn’t even know who is Jewish, or half-Jewish, or one-quarter-Jewish, or one-eigth Jewish. How can they possibly protect us in the proper proportions?
    Also, the US government has not supported Judaism in any material way worth mentioning. Nor has it favored certain truer and more authentic forms and discouraged the rest, leading to creeping apostasy (we’ve got a bunch of it on our lawn and it’s impossible to get rid of!)

    Okay, Phil, if you want Jews in the rest of the world to end up like us, at least you’re honest about it! You want they should live in a place where every man, no matter what his color or ethnic extraction is a Jew’s equal? How could that possibly work? What bitter harvest could come from that?

  3. Stephen Shenfield on March 22, 2015, 2:27 pm

    Marcus Garvey didn’t think up the idea of resettling black Americans in Africa. He just elaborated it. The idea had already long been promoted by white racists (including Lincoln and other opponents of slavery) and was embodied in the new settler state of Liberia. The black American settlers and their white American backers did not treat the native people all that well, and the legacy of the experiment is still a factor in Liberia’s internal divisions.

    • a blah chick on March 22, 2015, 2:59 pm

      It has always surprised me why more anti-Zionist don’t use the creation of Liberia as an example. Here was a country settled by people who’s parents, grandparents or great grandparents came from Africa, nevertheless it was still a colonial movement. The African Americans who settled there lorded it over the “natives” and this, from what I understand, led to the turmoil that later engulfed the country.

    • RoHa on March 23, 2015, 5:42 am

      The British started settling freed slaves in Sierra Leone slightly earlier. That was not entirely successful, either.

  4. just on March 22, 2015, 3:09 pm

    “Do US Jews need a Jewish state for our safety?”

    “Israeli singer Achinoam Nini on Sunday wrote on her Facebook page that she was recently threatened at Ben-Gurion airport by people who called her an “Israel-hater” and said they would “take care of her like Geffen.”

    That reference was to the attack last week in which writer Yehonatan Geffen was attacked at his home near Netanya, when an intruder burst into his house, tried to hit him, branded him a leftist traitor and then fled.

    Nini’s message read, “I returned to Israel from Italy a few days ago. A nice welcome was waiting for me at the airport: ‘There’s Achinoam Nini!’ ‘Israel-hater,’ they shouted. ‘We’ll take care of you [like we did] Geffen!’ Nice, huh? Welcome to the nightmare we have woken up to.”

    Following last week’s Knesset election, Geffen posted an update on his Facebook page saying that March 17 – Election Day – should be declared “the Nakba Day of the peace camp.” (Nakba – “catastrophe” in Arabic – is the term used by Palestinians in refer to what happened to them when Israel was founded in 1948.)
    …….

    Nini, for her part, has previously said that she has paid a price in Israel for “being outspoken about peace and expressing left-wing political views.”

    Last year, she turned down an award from an Israeli recording arts association due to its decision to give a lifetime achievement award to Ariel Zilber, an Israeli singer known for his right-wing views.

    She also called Israel “a fascist state” after a left-wing teacher was questioned by school officials for trying to persuade students not to join the Israeli army.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.648270?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Perhaps some Israeli Jews need to try to come to the US for their safety.

  5. pabelmont on March 22, 2015, 5:08 pm

    OTOH, even if antisemitism seems pretty suppressed in the USA, mostly, racism (or racist-classism) is rampant. Witness the suppression of the (poor: people-of-color) vote by Republicans in many states (who seek, IMO, to preserve white privilege at the cost of democracy). It’s current and it’s here! Just like Bibi and the horrific prospect of a 20% Palestinian vote in Israel, though here the percent’d be higher I imagine.

    • JWalters on March 22, 2015, 7:23 pm

      Good points. It seems to me no coincidence that it’s the representatives of wealth who fan the flames of bigotry of all sorts. They are the ones who benefit from slavery and semi-slavery. And it keeps the ignorant distracted and disorganized.

      • Mooser on March 22, 2015, 9:15 pm

        Easy now. It was only a few years ago 50 years, since Americans were allowed to discriminate legally. Finally the principle of non-discrimination was written into our laws, and that brought a lot of nasty things to the surface. But at least non-discrimination is current established law.

    • MRW on March 23, 2015, 10:53 am

      Witness the suppression of the (poor: people-of-color) vote by Republicans in many states … It’s current and it’s here!

      So is Islamophobia, courtesy of Jewish neocons.

  6. Elisabeth on March 22, 2015, 6:01 pm

    Jews are safe in America, Jews are safe in Europe. The most dangerous place for Jews is Israel: Both psychologically (brainwashing), morally (shooting kids, fishermen etc.) and physically (getting raped in the army by your fellow soldiers if you are a woman, or straining your anckle runnig to the shelter because of a Gaza dud).

  7. JLewisDickerson on March 22, 2015, 6:03 pm

    RE: “Without two states, there won’t be even one Jewish state if — God forbid — my daughter or her progeny someday have no place else to go.” ~ Milbank

    MY COMMENT: That’s why we need a “backup Israel”, and perhaps a “backup, backup Israel”. Because, you never know! You just never know!

    • crone on March 22, 2015, 6:36 pm

      Bravo Dickerson… Bravo!

    • JLewisDickerson on March 22, 2015, 11:39 pm

      P.S. The incredibly insightful James Baldwin once wrote that the monstrous violence visited by white Americans on the world is due to their having opted for safety over life.

  8. JLewisDickerson on March 22, 2015, 6:19 pm

    RE: “I don’t think Milbank’s attitude is risible; I think it flows from the Holocaust, from having half of European Jewry exterminated. But being the result of trauma 70 years ago, that attitude is deluded and anachronistic . . .” ~ Weiss

    RAINER MARIA RILKE (link to en.wikipedia.org):

    “What’s important is to remember,
    forgetting is even more important.”

    RABBI MICHAEL LERNER:

    [EXCERPT] . . . It is going to be a tough struggle to keep the U.S. out of a war with Iran, given the pressure inside the Democratic Party from AIPAC and others trapped in Holocaust-PTSD and unable to see that the best interests of the Jewish people lies in peaceful accommodation with its neighbors rather than war against them. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/22626

    • lysias on March 22, 2015, 6:23 pm

      “Forgot nothing” was half of Talleyrand’s criticism of the Bourbons: “They learned nothing and forgot nothing”.

      • JLewisDickerson on March 22, 2015, 6:43 pm

        FROM answers.com:

        What does the quotation “They learned nothing and forgot nothing” mean?

        It is a quote by Tallyrand about the Bourbons (the rulers of France) of how they learned nothing from the events leading up to, during, and after the French Revolution and Napoleonic Empire, but forgot nothing when they returned to power and immediately put their old cronies back in charge and did all in their power to humiliate and impoverish those that turned them out.

    • JLewisDickerson on March 22, 2015, 7:11 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Benjamin Netanyahu’s Fantasy World”, by Michael Lerner, Tikkun.org, March 3, 2015
      Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was brilliantly deceitful because it played to the fantasies that Israeli propaganda and right-wing militarists in the United States have been popularizing for the past thirty years.

      [EXCERPT] . . . In my book Embracing Israel/Palestine based in part on research I did while living in Israel and doing research at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I describe the devastating consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the capacity of those who have suffered extreme stress or oppression to make rational decisions for themselves. The PTSD is most acute in both the Israeli and Palestinian population, but far less so among Iranians who have never suffered in the past 70 years the way Jews and Palestinians have. So if we have any worries about possession of nuclear weapons, that concern should direct us to seeking nuclear disarmament from Israel. But as for the impact of PTSD, having those 200 nukes should have yielded Israel a payoff in feeling secure. Instead, Israel continues to live under the cloud of the seventy-year-old trauma of the Holocaust, and the Prime Minister of Israel comes to the U.S. to shout “Never Again.” But that slogan was originally meant to be a slogan concerning all peoples – so that no one should ever suffer what Jews suffered. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/benjamin-netanyahus-fantasy-world

    • JLewisDickerson on March 22, 2015, 7:39 pm

      P.P.S. AND SEE: “Israel 60 Years Later”, by Michael Lerner, Tikkun Magazine, May/June 2008

      [EXCERPTS] . . . When I look back and watch the irrational and self-defeating behavior of both sides, and when I interview people on both sides of this struggle, one concept shouts out to me: PTSD—Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The trauma on both sides has led people to be unable to think rationally about what is in their own best interests. For the Palestinians that trauma led them to reject the proposal of a two-state solution that was offered them in 1947, and to encourage the surrounding Arab states to reject every offer made by Israel in subsequent decades even after those states were decisively defeated in the 1967 War. In later decades, starting in the 1980s, it was the Jews who rejected reasonable offers for peace, and instead imagined that their military might would allow them to crush the Palestinian national movement. Illusion after illusion after illusion.

      Even today, Israel has been faced with an offer by the Arab states for full recognition and peace if Israel would simply return to the pre-1967 borders. However, Israel will not accept, though it knows full well that in the negotiations the Palestinians would allow the Jews to hold on to the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and would even consider trading some close-to-the-border land to allow some of the major Israeli settlements if Israel gave an equal amount of land back to the Palestinians and made a credible and serious offer to provide reparations for Palestinian refugees. If Israel were to approach this kind of offer in a spirit of open-heartedness, it could soon work out details that would provide Israel with adequate security.

      Arrogance of power? Subordination to the religious messianism of the West Bank settlers? Sure, those play a role. But in my view, it is PTSD that is decisive in keeping Israelis from looking at their actual situation: a tiny minority in a world surrounded by Arab and Muslim states whose power will only grow in the coming decades and whose anger at Israel grows in intensity as they watch the state that claims to be the representative of the Jewish people act in horrendous and cruel ways toward Palestinians. Any rational assessment would lead Israelis to accept the terms being offered to them, and to do so in a way that manifested a spirit of generosity and caring for those whom it had hurt, tortured, falsely imprisoned, killed, or wounded. Similarly, it is PTSD that can best explain how Palestinians would embrace Hamas or Hezbollah and fantasize that they could eventually destroy Israel . . .

      . . . The problem with PTSD is that it deprives people of the capacity to think about long-term survival and instead focuses them on the perceived (and usually unrealistic) immediate threats to such an extent that they are unable to act rationally.

      What can one do with such a reality? Psychotherapy has proved of only limited impact with PTSD clients, but it has some chance. Not so when trying to build a mass psychology of healing for a whole society, particularly when the society has not elected to undergo therapy! Those of us who know healing is necessary are far from being empowered to develop societal strategies that could begin the healing process. For us, part of the problem is to get the society to recognize that it could benefit from therapy. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/israel-60-years-later

      • Walid on March 22, 2015, 10:55 pm

        “But in my view, it is PTSD that is decisive in keeping Israelis from looking at their actual situation: a tiny minority in a world surrounded by Arab and Muslim states whose power will only grow in the coming decades and whose anger at Israel grows in intensity as they watch the state that claims to be the representative of the Jewish people act in horrendous and cruel ways toward Palestinians.” (Lerner)

        JLD, there’s a bit of wishful thinking on the part of Lerner about Arab anger towards Israel growing in intensity, most probably to dovetail with Israeli paranoia. In actuality, over the past 20 years, anger towards Israel has diminished gradually in mostly all Arab states except for a few such as Iraq, Sudan Libya and Syria that are being broken up into insignificant pieces and whose leaders were either liquidated or are in the process of being so. There is no such anger being manifested in North Africa or in the Gulf states. but rather a semi-covert effort toward normalization with Israel.

    • RockyMissouri on March 23, 2015, 11:28 am

      NO WAR WITH IRAN! They have done NOTHING.

  9. lysias on March 22, 2015, 6:25 pm

    It’s becoming increasingly hard to understand how Ziosupremacism in Israel advances — rather than hurting — Jewish safety.

  10. JWalters on March 22, 2015, 7:13 pm

    The American experiment is proving to be a better safe haven for Jews than the Israeli experiment. Ultimately, it seems to me that outlawing official bigotry will work better than officially sanctioning bigotry. This is because it will lead to peace, and the full utilization of all its people. Ethnic supremacism, on the other hand, is a primitive, barbaric illusion. It only benefits those who benefit from conflict.

    In a world that increasingly bans bigotry for the injustices it creates, official bigotry will inevitably collapse from the cognitive dissonance and emotional stress required to maintain it.

  11. Bandolero on March 22, 2015, 11:13 pm

    Phil,

    though I’m not jewish I do strongly believe that you mix two important questions into one. You ask “Do US Jews need a Jewish state for our safety?” However you don’t ask “Is the zionist state in Palestine a ‘Jewish state’ which (US) Jews need for their safety?” I think the difference between these two questions is enormous – it can make the difference in the answer. I personally would like to offer my hometown Berlin and the surroundings up to the Baltic sea as part of a just compensation for what jews suffered by the hands of Germans, and I think Germans would understand what crimes Germans have done to jews so they are obliged to give that, however, I nevertheless believe Palestinians didn’t do these crimes and therefore the Zionists built their state in the wrong place.

    PS: This your statement I find just ugly:

    “I have stated for a long time that I don’t feel that need: that actually, American Jews need to extend the elements of our own lived American experience to others. The great principles of protecting minority rights and the separation of church and state are at the core of our incredible experience in the U.S., so let us pay that good fortune forward by promoting those ideas wherever we have influence.”

    My comment on this: there is nothing to be proud of for immigrants into America in almost exterminating the indigenous people of America. The people adherent to the European misculture have a penchant for exterminating people they define as others far away or close by. Europeans did such genocidal crimes in Africa, Asia and America, and later in Europe, too, but that should be a source of shame, nothing to be proud of, and at the very least the ideological foundations should be nothing to be exported into the world.

    And as everyone who checks the twitter hashtags #blacklivesmatter or #Gitmo can see, rights of powerless minorities are not well protected in the US. Looking back at histoy the US state is based on European massacres and genocide against indigenous people. I sincerely hope that the US comes to peace with the popultion it has now, but I also sincerely hope, the US stops promoting it’s flawed ideas wherever it has influence. I don’t like to see such mass murderous efforts to promote ideas of the US anywhere anymore. I have seen enough of the results of these efforts in Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and other places to be deeply fed up with any and all US promotion of any ideas in foreign countries.

    • OyVey00 on March 23, 2015, 12:34 am

      I personally would like to offer my hometown Berlin and the surroundings up to the Baltic sea as part of a just compensation for what jews suffered by the hands of Germans, and I think Germans would understand what crimes Germans have done to jews so they are obliged to give that

      LOL, are you for real?

      You know, I’ve met lots of Germans with an excessive guilt complex, but this really tops it. Pathetic.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 3:01 am

        why pathetic? that is what should have happened all along.

      • RoHa on March 23, 2015, 5:45 am

        Annie, how would turning a chunk of Germany into a Jewish state compensate for anything, let alone for being dead?

      • just on March 23, 2015, 7:41 am

        +1 Annie!

        Bandolero, you make some very fine points. Thank you. I was reading some comments in Anshel Pfeffer’s article (‘Netanyahu stoked primal fears in Israel. Now my country is divided as never before’) in The Guardian yesterday, and this one made me cringe so much that I can’t stop thinking of it:

        “… I’m with Bibi…
        But let me apologize first. I’m a gentile, not a Jew. And I don’t live in Israel.
        But in a manner of speaking, I know what it’s like–
        … About 400 years ago, a small group of religious dissenters [called, “Puritans”] left England , first for the Netherlands, where they commissioned a leaking sieve of a ship called, “the Mayflower,” then thrust out into the treacherous North Atlantic, toward what they were absolutely sure was, “the Promised Land.”
        When they finally anchored off what is now the State of New Hampshire [“Plymouth Rock”], all that was waiting was a narrow strip of sand backed by an impenetrable wall of trees, and nothing else…
        During the first and second winters they almost starved. The natives were friendly at first. Then trouble began. The trouble never ended. But for the Pilgrims, there was no turning back. It was, “fight for what is ours, or be pushed into the sea.” [my caption]
        So it was, for the next two hundred fifty years, that those who are now called, “Americans” continued pushing–ever westward, this time over land, carrying few if any possessions, but armed to the teeth with guns and their own peculiar religion–to claim what was theirs.
        … Has it been any different, anywhere, for anyone, at any time…?
        Like the Pilgrims, the leaders of the new Israel were and are far sighted, wildly optimistic, and willing to push forward with an aggressive agenda that they think and I think will guarantee their future in the Promised Land.
        … And as Prime Minister Netanyanhu knows full well, you can never stop pushing…”

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/22/netanyahu-snatched-victory-defeat-playing-peoples-fears

        I had hoped that this was sarcasm and the clue was that the person ‘confused’ NH with MA, and maybe it is. I sure hope so.

      • OyVey00 on March 23, 2015, 8:23 am

        @Annie

        So you want to correct the displacement of a people by displacing another people for crimes allegedly commited 70 years ago and hundreds of kilometers away by a tiny fraction of Germans? Did I understand you correctly? Wait, that almost sounds like… collective punishment? No, nevermind. It’s not collective punishment, it’s ethnic collective punishment. Some people also call this genocide.

        But I give you the benefit of the doubt, Annie, since I believe you haven’t thought this through properly.

        As for why that guy is pathetic: He advocates to give land away that he does not own, expel millions of people for crimes they haven’t commited, just to quelch his own narcissistic guilt and make himself feel better. That is pretty much the definition of pathetic.

        Look, I don’t care if you want to hate yourself for being born German, but please keep this kind of self-serving grovel to yourself and don’t try to make other people as miserable as you are.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 2:14 pm

        don’t play rhetorical games with me. you called bandelero’s offer (“I personally would like to offer my hometown Berlin and the surroundings up to the Baltic sea as part of a just compensation for what jews suffered by the hands of Germans ) “pathetic” .

        i said “why?”. and then i expressed it should have happened all along. and of course, it should have. the reason why it should have is because if ashkenazi jews needed a homeland (they were, for the most part, already safe in the arab world prior to zionism and by all indications there would not have been any expulsions nor emigrations out of arab lands had zionsim not imposed itself on palestine to begin with) or deserved land or a state as compensation for the holocaust it should have been accommodated during the reshuffling of populations that went on after ww2 in that region as those people were europeans, not middle eastern. plus, israel is a relatively tiny country and germany could have accommodated the land loss much easier than palestine.

        so, from there you launch into a question, hypothetically answer it for me yourself, and then proceed to make conclusions and accusations based on my supposed agreement with you imposing an assumed answer of your own question?

        try harder #FAIL.

        He advocates to give land away that he does not own, expel millions of people for crimes they haven’t commited [sic]

        so what? israel was created by giving land away that was not owned and expelling millions for crimes they haven’t committed. And, israel jews very much DID and DO commit the crime of ethnic cleansing of palestine and the ongoing nakba. so your hypocritical whining falls on deaf ears.

        and p.s. i am not promoting ethnic cleansing or forceable transfer, but the offer is anything but pathetic. the offer makes an abundance of generosity and common sense.

        plus, if there was a sliver of land offered to jews in europe, not only would diaspora jews who wanted to live in a jewish state have the option of going there, as oppose to being part of the crime of apartheid taking place in historic palestine, or israeli jews who wanted to emigrate away from israel and end their complicity in ethnic cleansing but still live in a jewish state, they could do so elsewhere, like some place in germany.

        i predict a decent amount of jews would abandon israel voluntarily under these circumstances and those who remained would have to learn to get along with the indigenous palestinian people.

      • MHughes976 on March 23, 2015, 1:39 pm

        Most people support the idea of basic individual rights, which must be basic rights equally possessed by all – but all – individuals and think that these rights include enfranchisement, the right to come and go from one’s home and the right to life and tenure of property except by well-defined and proper legal process. This set of rights excludes collective punishment, where individuals have no way of defending their own record by their own argument. It also excludes punishment for crimes not defined either by a written law or by principles so basic that all humanity consents to them. I believe I’m following the general lines of argument so well set out by Locke in chapter 16 of his Second Treatise, which ‘everyone should read’.
        At this rate it could not have been right to treat the non-Jewish inhabitants of Berlin as the Palestinians were treated by excluding them as a collective from their former homes. It could not even have been right to say that the only enfranchised citizens of Berlin should be Jewish: this would not have been following the consensus of humanity but departing from it by making civil rights in a certain place not for everyone normally ‘of that place’ but only for those of a certain race.
        Locke rightly says on the basis of his principle that the consequences of crimes attendant on war should be visited not on collectives but only on those with some legally recognisable form of personal responsibility. It is equally true by roughly the same reasoning that compensation should be rendered not to collectives but to individual victims and in the case of identifiable property to their heirs. If someone could show – though this sort of thing becomes nearly impossible amid time and change – that in a clearly recognisable way (s)he was still suffering loss from the events surrounding the St.Bartholomew Massacre perhaps some compensation would be due. But I can’t say that simply since I’m a Protestant the French for ever owe me.
        The best way of being secure in one’s own right is to make sure that, as far as may be, the same security extends to everyone everywhere, not to call all rights, including one’s own, into question by overriding those of others or claiming rights for yourself that others don’t have. MLK’s ‘injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere’ is very true.

      • OyVey00 on March 23, 2015, 2:24 pm

        @Annie

        So you in all honesty approve of ethnic cleansing (what you euphemistically call “reshuffling of populations”) when the victims are Germans, and not Palestinians?

        You disappoint me.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 3:47 pm

        whether i approved of it after the war or not is beside the point and not relative to the conversation. it happened. policies of germany’s population transfers were reversed after the war. germans were expelled from areas germany had annexed before the war, areas that no longer were part of germany’s empire. this is not an area of history i am that familiar with but it happened. and kicking foreign people off foreign land their leader annexed is not ethnic cleansing. no more than kicking the settlers out of occupied territory is ethnic cleansing. even if some of those setters had children who were born in the territory.

        get it? this is past tense. you’re wearing me thin with your reality reconstruction and twisting my words. reshuffling populations is not a euphemism, and it’s illegal. but it happened during that time and if anyone was going to be giving away anyone else’s property, as what happened in palestine, that would have been the time to do it..and in the region the crime took place, not in some far off land which ended up destabilizing and entirely different region of the world after the war.

        and speaking of disappointments, i deleted you racist comment about every non jew being racist. watch yourself. my disappointments hold more weight around here that yours, and sometimes a lot more consequence.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 2:35 pm

        how would turning a chunk of Germany into a Jewish state compensate for anything

        things of value are commonly awarded to crime victims as compensation. referenced as punitive damages.

        let alone for being dead?

        RoHa, you can’t ever compensate dead people. courts rarely do it. compensation primarily goes to the heirs, for their loss.

      • OyVey00 on March 23, 2015, 4:01 pm

        @ Annie #3

        Maybe you should go and read a history book then. The areas Germans were expelled from after WWII had been populated by Germans for hundreds of years. See http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Prussiamap.gif

        You accuse me of posting racist stuff for making a sarcastical comment about the Jewish obsession with anti-semitism, but isn’t it rather you who displays a blatant hatred of Germans here? I’d call that anti-germanism.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 4:23 pm

        oyvey, as i already explained to you, i’m not debating your reality reconstruction of how this conversation started which was a current offer by bandelero of his hometown. there is no mention of force here, in the present day. it was framed as an “offer”, a gift.

        secondly, i didn’t advocate a population transfer of germans, i said, if they were going to giveaway an area after the war they should have given away part of germany, not palestine, at that time.

        if you think this “displays a blatant hatred of Germans or anti-germanism”, so be it. i don’t care.

      • lysias on March 23, 2015, 4:02 pm

        It was not just areas that the Germans had recently occupied that they were expelled from in the last months of World War Two and the couple of years following. They were also expelled from places where they had been for centuries: East Prussia, West Prussia with Danzig, Silesia, Pomerania, Sudetenland, just to name the most prominent of them.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 4:36 pm

        thanks lysias. my point was, during the period of time this was going on (which i didn’t advocate) would have been the opportune time to take a small county from germany (the size the UN allotted for israel in ’47) and offered it for the future jewish state – instead of palestine.

      • lysias on March 23, 2015, 4:45 pm

        As you perhaps remember, Annie, I have in fact suggested much the same thing on this forum in the past: the Jews could have been given East Prussia, or at least the northern half of East Prussia around Koenigsberg, what is now the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. Most of the Germans in East Prussia had already abandoned their home province, fleeing from the advancing Red Army, in the last months of the war. And it was already planned that East Prussia would be divided and given to the USSR and Poland, as then happened.

        The Soviet Union was interested in getting the Kaliningrad Oblast because that would have given them an advanced naval base. They could have gotten that base even if the Kaliningrad Oblast had been made an autonomous Jewish republic of the Soviet Union.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 4:58 pm

        thanks lysias. i didn’t recall specifically you had written that but i certainly did recall it discussed here (and elsewhere) before and didn’t think my idea (or comment) was original in the least or even that controversial. it just makes all the sense in the world for european jews to be offered a state in europe, if a jewish state was to be offered. and i don’t think it would have created near the upheaval in europe that israel created for the entire middle east region. sure, some arab jews may have chosen to immigrate there but they would not have emptied out of arab countries, not that i can imagine.

      • just on March 23, 2015, 4:45 pm

        OyVey00~ could you please stop with your ridiculousness?

        Nobody needs “sarcasm detecting glasses!”

        If you are being “sarcastic”, you could designate it as such… not pathetically and retroactively.

      • OyVey00 on March 23, 2015, 4:55 pm

        @lysias

        There is already a Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia. It’s just that no Jews actually want to live there. Funny, huh?

        @just

        Nobody needs “sarcasm detecting glasses!”

        You are the perfect example of someone who apparently does.

        Using a “sarcasm tag” defeats the purpose of using sarcasm in the first place. Of which a big part is laughing at those who don’t get it.

        I mean, have you ever seen someone seriously invoking the “mysteries of the universe”?

      • ckg on March 23, 2015, 6:36 pm

        OyVey00–If you routinely make outrageous-but-sincere comments on this forum, you can’t expect anyone here to recognize your outrageous-but-sarcastic comments, if they are indeed such. None of us have special glasses.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2015, 6:57 pm

        Look, I don’t need a whole country, but if somebody wants to give an apartment or maybe a nice house in Berlin, that would be really cool.

      • annie on March 23, 2015, 7:12 pm

        LOL!!!

      • RoHa on March 23, 2015, 7:25 pm

        How would creating a state compensate the victims or their heirs?

      • ckg on March 23, 2015, 8:53 pm

        OyVey00–You say your anti-gentile comment was sarcasm. We are all so confused about your use of sarcasm. Was your admission of “anti-jewish sentiment in my posts” comment sarcasm too?

      • Bandolero on March 25, 2015, 9:53 pm

        Sorry for dropping a comment and then not coming back for a long time to reply.

        Of course, I’m real. And let me say I’m neither in love with a jewish Zionist state nor with a German Aryan state, and not with any other racial, ethnical or religiously exclusive artificially built states. If Christian, Islamic or Jewish is a desciption of a state, I’m fine with that, but if has something like a cleaning or converting agenda to achieve it, I’m totally opposed.

        Here in Berlin with my friends I recently had a very similar discussion. The argument is, that after all the crimes that Germans did to jews, isn’t it understandable if jews say they get psychologically ill if they have to sit with the racist and murderous gentiles in the same state always fearing the next racist gentile massacres will get them soon and to protect against that jews need their own state – just like women beaten by their men shall be offered shelter in women houses? If so, isn’t it morally the right thing to do to support the one and only “jewish state” – the Zionist state of Israel?

        Well, and that’s it. I think, regarding the first question: yes, it’s understandable and because of the German crimes it would be morally right to support that desire. But the answer to the second question is “no” – it was wrong and it is still wrong to support building a Zionist state in Palestine because Germans did the most ugly crimes to jews – because it completely violates and denies the rights of Palestinians, who did not such crimes against jews as the Germans did. So, if the establishment of a Jewish state was morally the right thing to do because of German crimes where should it be built? The answer is clear: on German territory. And the Germans accepted huge losses of territory after WWII, because the Germans understand what crimes they did so they had to give that. And the Germans also accepted that they had to leave ethnically most mixed areas in eastern Europe, because their neighbors didn’t want to live together with the German monsters anymore. So why didn’t jews get a chunk of Germany after WWII, just like the four allied powers all got a chunk of Berlin? It’s not because the Germans wouldn’t have given that but because the Zionists were not interested in a chunk of Germany, they wanted Palestine. And that’s still the situation, even when one considers that cleaning a chunk of Germany today would be much more difficult than after WWII.

        Just imagine some very rich countries like Germany were fed up with the Palestine conflict and willing to build a brand new Israel on newly to be created territory won by making land from the open sea so that Israel would no more built on robbed Palestinian land and the conflict in Palestine thereby baseless. Would the Zionists take it? They wouldn’t, even if the newly built land would be much nicer, because they want Jerusalem. I think beside Zionist rightwing chauvinism it’s mainly jewish mythology what drives that conflict in Palestine – and that what makes that conflict so difficult. It’s hard to find a rational solution for a myth.

  12. TwoRedDogs on March 23, 2015, 1:51 am

    The question should be:

    Why would American Jews, or any other American minority, need to worry about NEEDING a state to escape to in 21st century?

    My point is, WHAT will have to happen to bring us to that point of hatred for one another, and WHY will it happen? If we assume that antisemitism is not a major issue in US, why will that change?

    I think those are the questions that should be asked and answered.

    Do Greeks-Americans, Italian, Irish, Armenian, German-Americans etc., sleep better knowing they have a state to run to if need be? Or is that irrelevant because they are Christians? How about the Muslim-Americans from various countries, do they feel they may have to escape one day to the safety of their own state? If not, why do Jews feel one day it may be unsafe for them, given there is far less antagonism towards Jews here than say towards Muslims?

    I’m not arguing there should or shouldn’t be a Jewish state. I’m wondering why Jews have to worry about escape from US when no other group worries about it.

    • talknic on March 23, 2015, 7:58 am

      @ TwoRedDogs agreed … however “Do Greeks-Americans, Italian, Irish, Armenian, German-Americans” the Muslim-Americans from various countries “etc., sleep better knowing they have a state to run to if need be?”

      They don’t have a state to run to unless they hold dual citizenship.

    • ckg on March 23, 2015, 11:06 am

      Because anti-semitism is a virulent disease of the mind all gentiles are infected with.

      OhVey00, you have written

      I’m neither a Jew…

      and written

      But it’s pretty shocking that you allege me to be a zionist when the anti-jewish sentiment in my posts should’ve literally slapped you in the face by now.

      Not all gentiles are infected.

    • eljay on March 23, 2015, 11:27 am

      || OyVey00: Because anti-semitism is a virulent disease of the mind all gentiles are infected with. ||

      That’s a very hateful and bigoted statement – the kind that a Zio-supremacist would make – and, of course, it’s entirely untrue.

    • RockyMissouri on March 23, 2015, 11:39 am

      Just: And others say: “April showers bring May flowers.. Mayflowers bring smallpox.”

    • just on March 23, 2015, 12:16 pm

      How very wrong can one person possibly be?

    • TwoRedDogs on March 23, 2015, 2:42 pm

      “Because anti-semitism is a virulent disease of the mind all gentiles are infected with. As to why, that is one of the unsolved mysteries of the universe. ”

      That’s either a silly comment, or a convenient excuse.

    • annie on March 23, 2015, 3:19 pm

      i’d like to know how or why OyVey’s racist comment even made it thru moderation.

      so, i’m deleting it –retroactively.

      • OyVey00 on March 23, 2015, 3:31 pm

        Did you forget your sarcasm detecting glasses today?

      • Mooser on March 24, 2015, 2:35 pm

        “Did you forget your sarcasm detecting glasses today?”

        Glasses? It would take an electron microscope to find the sarcasm in your comments!

  13. RoHa on March 23, 2015, 6:32 am

    There are several things wrong with this “Israel as a safe haven” thesis”.

    First, most importantly, is the outrageous sense of entitlement. The safety of Jews from possible injustice is more important than the actual injustice being afflicted on the Palestinians. The Palestinians have to be sacrificed as an insurance policy for foreign Jews. This grotesquely immoral claim should be exposed and protested every time it emerges.

    Far less important is the silliness of establishing a safe have in such a way as to guarantee the continual hostility of the neighbours. (Not that the founding Zionists were thinking in terms of a safe haven.)

    Finally, the key issues for all refugees (not just Jews) are those of being able to escape, and having somewhere to escape to. There is no reason why Jews should get special treatment here.

    It might be possible to make an agreement with the Palestinians that, in a unified Socialist People’s Republic of the Holy Land, foreign Jews who are fleeing persecution can freely enter.

    Jews who are simply fleeing war or disaster will have to take their chances with the other refugees.

  14. piotr on March 23, 2015, 6:38 am

    The security of a smallish ethnic/religious group is an interesting question. Some of us know that of historic Hebrew tribes most are “lost”. How they got lost? Jewish version is a bit strange: they were exiled at the same time as the Jews (Judah, Benjamin and fragments of priestly tribes), never to return, but some folks forcibly settled in their region converted to an imperfect version of Jewish religion. I is safe to assume that this is merely bad-mouthing of “heretics”. In fact, Samaritans, as they were called later, remarkably stayed put, there is scant evidence of a wide diaspora. Later, they did not join rebellions against Rome, so they were not exiled. However, Byzantines tried to convert them to Christianity, leading to rebellions and support of Persia in 6-th century. Eventually, except for a small group, they converted to Islam.

    One observation is that possession of statehood is a very feeble method of ethnic survival, because small states have a bad survival record. By the way of contrast, diasporas, especially those with trading networks, did well. A certain dash of persecution helps. In XVI century there were roughly equal numbers of Armenians and Jews in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, later the percentage of Jews increased several times while there are hardly any Armenians left. Top tier of Armenian got assimilated by Polish nobility, and lower tiers presumably got assimilated with lower classes.

    As a matter of survival in suddenly anti-Semitic USA, I would guess that emigration to Canada or Brazil would be a better bet. Israel, deprived of its powerful sponsor, would be less safe — even now security is a concern.

    • Memphis on March 23, 2015, 2:45 pm

      That’s brilliant, Piotr. If anti-semitsm ever becomes so vile and rampant in the US. It is more than likely the aid and US security guarantee would end. Israel would become very vulnerable making it a dangerous place to live. It’s an illogical argument for US jews to make. I wonder if they ever thought about it that way.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2015, 7:02 pm

        If anti-semitism ever comes to the United States, fairness demands that people are persecuted only as much as they are Jewish. For instance, if you are half-Jewish, you will be persecuted only half as much, one-quarter Jewish only 25% anti-semitism will be applied.

  15. talknic on March 23, 2015, 7:53 am

    Of course they do. What if the US suddenly heeds the Israeli apologists call for the US to give back all that territory to Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, (despite the fact that they were all legally annexed with the agreement of their inhabitants) or, return the bulk of the USA to the American Indians?

    Same for Australia and Israel’s apologists calls to return the land to the Aboriginals.

    We’d all be clamoring to go live in Israel, a state that illegally annexes, illegally settles, illegally dispossesses, is continually at war because it continues to occupy other folks territo …

    Hey wait a minute … I just noticed … there’s something weird

  16. Boomer on March 23, 2015, 7:57 am

    re: “I don’t think Milbank’s attitude is risible”

    Nor do I. I think it is pernicious: pernicious for the individual American who holds such a belief, for the group that cultivates such a belief, for the nation in which that group is powerful, and–most of all–for the Palestinians.

  17. eljay on March 23, 2015, 8:05 am

    Dana Milbank: Without two states, there won’t be even one Jewish state if — God forbid — my daughter or her progeny someday have no place else to go.

    So what? Should your American daughter and her American progeny ever need “some place else to go”, they can become refugees, the same as any other Americans who need “some place else to go”.

    Being Jewish doesn’t entitle you, your daughter or her progeny to a supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine.

    What you and she and they need – what everyone in the world needs – is the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.

    What the world does not need is supremacist states, not even a Jewish one.

    • MRW on March 23, 2015, 11:05 am

      Yeah, what’s he doing living in the US if he thinks the country can’t protect him?

      Drama Queen.

      If he’s worried about his daughter and progeny’s future, he ought to be stopping Victoria Nuland and her POS warmongering husband from threatening the lives of all of us:
      “Top Russia Scholar Stephen Cohen: War between NATO and Russia a Real Possibility”
      http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/20/4761
      Scroll down and listen to the man.

    • RockyMissouri on March 23, 2015, 11:40 am

      A MOST EXCELLENT COMMENT! Thank you for it.

  18. Keith on March 23, 2015, 5:20 pm

    PHIL- “I don’t think Milbank’s attitude is risible; I think it flows from the Holocaust, from having half of European Jewry exterminated. But being the result of trauma 70 years ago, that attitude is deluded and anachronistic, and does not reflect our real American lives. But countless elite columnists and politicians hold those views.”

    Do you really believe that Dana Milbank and Peter Beinart are suffering some sort of trauma regarding the Holocaust? Seriously? Do you also think that they are stupid? Israel needs the Diaspora more than the Diaspora needs Israel, except for the Jewish Zionist elite who profit from the group solidarity manufactured by Zionist ideology. Based upon your readings and observations, do you believe that either of these guys are truly living in fear of a future Holocaust? Are they afraid because of all the unarmed Jews who have been gunned down by racist police? Is the wildly disproportionate number of Jews incarcerated in our prison system their cause for concern? Is it the exclusion of Jews in government, business, finance and academia? Perhaps the unfavorable treatment of Jews in the media?

    Come on Phil, this talk of a potentially unsafe future is Zionist hasbara, perhaps believed by the faithful followers, but intended both to justify support for Israel and to imply de facto eternal, irrational anti-Semitism, the mother’s milk of Zionism. This is an intrinsic part of Zionist ideology which has replaced Classical Judaism as the unifier of the Jews. And it has worked well, hasn’t it? Who can deny that Jewish “kinship” (nice euphemism) has contributed to Jewish success? Not the only thing, but significant nonetheless. So, the new WASPs are fearful for their future? Afraid of a peasant revolt? I doubt it. They know that they have little to fear and, in fact, act rather fearlessly in their quest for power. Besides, Israel could hardly be a refuge, something for which it was never intended. No, they repeat their Zionist mantra because it has worked so well for them.

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