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I went from Bar Mitzvah to BDS at Temple Emanu-el

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I don’t remember the last time I attended services at Temple Emanu-el. Was it 14, 15 years ago? I recall the enormous space and the church-like choir hidden behind the ark; I remember hearing about Emanu-el’s history as one of the largest synagogues in the world and the first Reform congregation in New York City (its reputation for secularism earned it the nickname “Our Lady of Fifth Avenue”). If you had gone up to the 14-year-old version of me and told me that the next time I entered that building would be as a 29-year-old anti-Zionist journalist and pariah, I would have laughed in your face.

I returned to my former stomping grounds to hear an anti-BDS event innocuously titled “The BDS Movement.” It was held a week ago in a large auditorium in a building adjacent to the synagogue – the same building where I had once attended Hebrew school every Wednesday afternoon. The speakers were Israel lobbyist David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, Hillel Chief Campus Officer Hal Ossman, and a 22-year-old Israel-loving gentile named Lauren Rogers who had recently graduated from UCLA. Head Rabbi Joshua Davidson – a new addition since my time there – served as the moderator.

Temple Emanu-El in New York

Temple Emanu-El in New York

Ossman opened with a relatively mild defense of Hillel, which has recently been the focus of criticism from the Open Hillel campaign over restrictive standards that exclude supporters of BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. Touting the organization’s Israel advocacy on campus, he also encouraged parents to “teach [their children] about Israel before they go to college. They are not at college to be activists and supporters of Israel – they’re at college to get an education and grow as adults.” The subtext of this statement is that the college experience is not about using educational resources to develop an informed political stance, but rather to promote prejudices inherited from earlier generations. Wrapping up his opening remarks, Ossman warned:

If you remember one thing from tonight, if you share one thing with your friends and neighbors, your children and grandchildren, it’s to help students pick a school with a strong Jewish community. That is the best way to ensure that your students have a safe and fruitful experience on campus.

There’s that word: safe. The paranoid undercurrent running through Ossman’s remarks should be familiar to anyone who’s heard Netanyahu’s speeches: Jews can only be safe when surrounded by their own kind.

While the severity of Ossman’s stance was undercut somewhat by his low-key persona, Harris showed no such restraint. With the look of a man who was born to angrily wipe a whipped cream pie off his face, he cut an almost comically indignant figure, the outrage in his voice growing with every carefully crafted bit of rhetoric. Besides being stringently anti-intellectual in his approach (neither international law nor Zionist ideology received any consideration), he gave the overall impression of being the kind of guy who probably takes down the names of wait staff so he can report them to their managers for subpar service.

After some cursory remarks, Harris told a personal story that took place in his town of Chappaqua – the well-to-do New York suburb that is also home to the Clintons. In 2001, shortly after 9/11, the high school that his children attended invited a Muslim family to conduct an assembly on Islam for the students. Harris recounted the event as if it were a defining moment in his life:

There was one Muslim family that came to the attention of the school and they invited them to come up on stage in front of roughly a thousand students from roughly 9th through 12th grade…My wife and I were very concerned about this. What would the family say from the stage and what would the children hear? And with the school’s permission, my wife attended the event. In the course of the event, the family, on more than one occasion, told the children, “Repeat after me: Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.” And again. And when the program was over, my wife, completely incensed, went up to the organizer on the school staff and said, “How could you do this? Don’t you know that we’re in the middle of an intifada in Israel, and that those are the two words that are, more often than not, expressed before the suicide bombers unleash their deadly terror and try to kill my two sisters and their families?

“Allahu akbar” means “God is great.” Imagine, for a moment, an American Muslim lobbyist telling a story at a mosque about his children being forced to learn about the Star of David at school: “Don’t you know this is the symbol on tanks that destroy Palestinian villages?” Think about the breathlessness with which hypocrites like Harris would condemn this man, how quickly they would brand him an anti-Semitic supporter of terrorism and launch a campaign to destroy his career. And yet he saw no contradiction in his brand of pro-censorship Islamophobia; to him, publicly humiliating his neighbors for having the courage to share their religion (the Takbir is a central part of Muslim prayer) was somehow a noble act – one more righteous battle in a larger clash of civilizations.

Harris was followed by Lauren Roberts, a Tracy Flick-esqe young woman who spoke with the slow and deliberate enunciation of a kindergarten teacher reading aloud to her class. She talked about her fight against Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), whose divestment efforts struck her as unduly aggressive:

Shortly after my return from Israel, I was astonished when Students for Justice in Palestine brought forward an Israel divestment resolution to student council. BDS had arrived in full force at UCLA. Several of us on council had suggested a pro-peace, pro-dialogue alternative, but these anti-Israel groups wanted nothing to do with anything positive.

This notion – that a nonviolent movement seeking to replace colonialism and apartheid with democracy and equality is insufficiently “pro-peace,” is not new, but the fact that it raises so few eyebrows among Zionists is alarming.

The speakers, particularly Ossman and Roberts, spent a good part of their time vilifying SJP and taking college campuses to task for, essentially, extending freedom of speech to Arab and Muslim students. There was something very sad about this obsession with college kids – the sadness of people who know they’re fighting a battle they will eventually lose, and who can’t seem to see how ridiculous they’re making themselves look by wasting countless millions in the process.  Even more embarrassing, SJP – the organization described throughout the night as if it were an ISIS front group – is actually a national organization of politically savvy students (including plenty of Jewish members) who are committed to democracy and probably know more about Jewish tradition than the people attacking them do. Even an objective observer could see this battle for what it is: desperate, venal millionaires throwing money at a futile effort to suppress the constitutional rights of passionate young activists.

When it was time for the Q&A portion, I made my way down the aisle and tried to get a better feel for the room. The attendees, whom until then I had only seen from behind as a sea of bald spots and yarmulkes, appeared to have a median age of approximately 70. All the gray hair and bad comb-overs made me feel like I was on line for the early-bird special at a retirement home in Boca Raton.

A man at the front of the stage handed me a microphone. “I just wanted to mention I grew up in Emanu-el,” I began, “I had my bar mitzvah here. I went to Hebrew school right there. I went to the high holy days services.” A low, short-lived murmur of approval rose up behind me. I said that though I had heard a lot about BDS that night, I hadn’t heard much about the demands of BDS: equal rights for Palestinians, the right of return of refugees, and the end of the occupation. “As a BDS supporter,” I continued, “I just want to know what right you think you have to smear me as an anti-Semite and as a self-hating Jew, especially when not all of you are Jewish.” Another murmur arose, slightly louder and noticeably more hostile.

Harris jumped in immediately: “So let’s take three words here: ‘end the occupation.’” As this point, someone from the crowd yelled out, “there is no occupation,” but rather than correct this factually inaccurate statement, Harris decided to go another route: “There’s a long line of people here, so I’m not going to go back and forth, but I’d like to know which occupation we’re ending here.”

Not sure if he was being rhetorical, I responded, “West Bank and Gaza.”

“That’s your interpretation, sir,” Harris snapped.

Walking back to my seat, I passed a middle-aged man in a Nike hat clutching a rolled up magazine. He turned in his seat as I walked by and hissed, “You are an anti-Semite.” That I would be called an anti-Semite for my advocacy of Palestinian rights was a sadly inevitable consequence of supporting BDS; but that I would be implicitly linked to the horrors of Nazism and the blood libel while surrounded by members of the congregation in which I was raised was too distressing to think about. When I reached my spot near the back of the auditorium and sat down, I noticed my heart was racing.

Harris rambled on, at one point misattributing a quote to Vladimir Lenin to imply that I was a “useful idiot” serving the goals of more “hardcore” BDS supporters. As Harris continued to equivocate and deflect (“Which occupation are you talking about?”), a man about 10 years older than myself and with an aura reminiscent of George Costanza slowly approached me. I tensed in preparation for a harangue about how I had betrayed my people, but instead he smiled, reached out his hand, and said, “I want to apologize for the way you were treated back there.” A wave of relief washed over me and for a second I thought I might cry.  “Thank you,” I said. He sat down and introduced himself – he was a dentist, about 10 years older than me, and he thought that my question was a good one.

Afterwards, Rabbi Davidson approached me and shook my hand as well, curious to hear more about my position. It was clear he didn’t know quite what to make of me. Before long, I was surrounded by a small semi-circle of about half a dozen attendees – most of them congregants, all of them significantly older – and they were eager to pick my brain. I answered their questions as best I could, but mostly I talked to the dentist.

I was left with the impression that the decade separating us marked the span of a generation, perhaps several generations. He reminded me of the old men at my family Seder growing up – warm, nebbishy, quick to laugh at his own jokes. It was hard not to like the guy, but I couldn’t quite get a handle on him. Did he want to be my friend? Change my stance on Israel?  Once he started talking, he was impossible to stop; one minute he was commending me for upholding an anti-Zionist tradition older than Emanu-el itself, the next he was making unclear points with obscure Torah references and telling me he was voting for Bernie Sanders (“don’t tell my patients!”). The more he talked, the more it was apparent that he wasn’t an anti-Zionist at all. He was a quasi-liberal with an abiding love for Israel as a Jewish homeland and an apparently genuine respect for the anti-Zionist tradition in American Judaism; in other words, he was confused. After several attempts to say goodbye, I managed to leave.

The night had left me wired. I tried to relax and collect my thoughts while heading north through the empty, brightly lit streets of the Upper East Side. Walking west across Central Park, I stopped at the top of the Great Lawn and looked south at the glittering lights of midtown’s skyscrapers. I remembered the day when, in 9th grade, I had walked with my friend and his mom across that same lawn but in the opposite direction, looking south at those very skyscrapers and seeing an enormous plume of smoke rising above them from further downtown, silent and ominous. I thought of Gaza’s streets soaked with blood and strewn with severed limbs, its towers reduced to rubble with no memorials to mark their absence.

On I walked, out of the park and down Columbus Avenue, contemplating whether my efforts at engagement had been pointless. Was my question anything more than bizarre performance art, the acting out of a lapsed Jew? Who was I trying to sway, exactly? I knew before I entered the auditorium that David Harris and Hal Ossman would never accept BDS, and even the friendly dentist and other liberal-leaning members of the congregation were unlikely to ever support the movement. Had it all been a waste?

As I approached the 72nd street subway station, my mind still racing, a sense of purpose slowly started to return. In 20 years, I imagined, most of the people in that auditorium would be infirm from old age, and progressive millennials like myself would be raising their children to believe in democracy and equality without exception. Perhaps there was hope down the line…but what about in the meantime? How many more settlements and checkpoints and price tag attacks would the Palestinian people have to endure before they reached freedom and equality? How many Cast Leads and Protective Edges would have to be launched? How many Mohammad Abu Khdeirs and Ali Dawabshes would have to be burned alive?

Perhaps that was the only thing to do – wait for the guard to change while supporting BDS as best I could in the meantime. I would refuse to bite my tongue when asked to pledge allegiance to a country I had never belonged to and whose ideology I rejected. I would listen closely to Zionist arguments, all the better to dismantle them. I would state the case for Palestinian liberation to anyone who would listen – Jew or gentile – and would do my best to make them see the horror of Israel’s racism and violence. If they still denied this horror, I would tell them that there are Jews like me who can’t help but stand against it, and that there are more of us than they think.

About Rob Bryan

Rob Bryan is a freelance journalist from New York City. Follow him on twitter: @rbryan86.

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76 Responses

  1. CigarGod
    CigarGod
    November 10, 2015, 11:54 am

    Beautifully written, Rob.
    Yes, it is very important to point out the racism and violence and be a voice for reason. Anti-zionists have all the tools to do so, while zionists have no intellectual tools to defend their actions.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      November 10, 2015, 12:02 pm

      “while zionists have no intellectual tools to defend their actions”

      You keep telling yourself that referring to your opponents as having “the look of a man who was born to angrily wipe a whipped cream pie off his face.”

      I mean seriously. BDSers have no self-awareness at all.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        November 10, 2015, 12:15 pm

        Gee, after working all day on a Pavlova just for you.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 10, 2015, 12:41 pm

        The description fits exactly the guy in the picture. Only a Hophmi would be too blind to appreciate it. By the way, calling “your opponents” criminals against humanity (not “our interpretation” but the Nuremberg Tribunal’s) as if this were simply an amicable debate is pure propaganda, Master Hophmi.

      • annie
        annie
        November 10, 2015, 12:46 pm

        how does the description of harris as having “the look of a man who was born to angrily wipe a whipped cream pie off his face” support your notion bryan has no self awareness? he not only explained harris was “stringently anti-intellectual in his approach” he quoted, offering an example of a completely anti-intellectual approach.

        re “no intellectual tools” i think he means the “safe” argument. as if jewish students will be in harms way by being exposed to israel’s apartheid policies, administrative detentions, mowing the grass and all that. personally i agree israel supporters are bereft of intellectual tools to support their activism and rely heavily on emotional arguments. this has been documented in the past.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        November 10, 2015, 4:13 pm

        Again, you seem to think it’s appropriate to judge people on their looks. BDSers, in my experience, usually look angry, and are, like that guy at Berkeley that led chants of “”We support the Intifada” and “Long live the Intifada.” He seemed really mad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuHb1ImoUT0

      • diasp0ra
        diasp0ra
        November 11, 2015, 6:16 am

        @Hophmi

        “you seem to think it’s appropriate to judge people on their looks. BDSers, in my experience, usually look angry”

        This must be a new record, you barely even got to end the sentence before you contradicted yourself.

        Keep it up, maybe next time you can put two contradictory ideas in the same sentence. I believe in you.

  2. hophmi
    hophmi
    November 10, 2015, 11:56 am

    “The paranoid undercurrent running through Ossman’s remarks should be familiar to anyone who’s heard Netanyahu’s speeches: Jews can only be safe when surrounded by their own kind.”

    Actually, it should be familiar to anyone who has been on a college campus recently, where the dialogue is all about safe spaces, whether they’re for African-Americans, Hispanics, South Asians, or sexual assault victims. See, this is the problem with BDS. Its campus adherents all talk in terms of safe spaces, but then reject that concept when it comes to campus Jewish communities.

    “Lauren Roberts, a Tracy Flick-esqe young woman”

    Wow. I guess you allow misogyny here.

    “Even more embarrassing, SJP – the organization described throughout the night as if it were an ISIS front group – is actually a national organization of politically savvy students (including plenty of Jewish members) who are committed to democracy and probably know more about Jewish tradition than the people attacking them do. ”

    LOL. SJP students are not political savvy in my experience. Most of them know very, very little about the Middle East, other than the propaganda BDS members circulate on campus, and have little intellectual curiousity; otherwise, they’d actually be interested in learning about all sides of the story, rather than one side. As far as knowing about Jewish tradition, that’s just ridiculous. The vast majority of the Jews involved with the BDS movement have little to no Jewish education whatsoever; they’re there because of their left-wing politics, not because of their Judaism.

    And Rob, it doesn’t do much for your argument when your intellect is too weak to do much but refer to the looks of the panelists.

    “This notion – that a nonviolent movement seeking to replace colonialism and apartheid with democracy and equality is insufficiently “pro-peace,” is not new, but the fact that it raises so few eyebrows among Zionists is alarming.”

    Why? BDS isn’t pro-peace, Rob. BDS leaders don’t claim to be pro-peace. They’re supporting the Palestinian cause. The Palestinians are one party to the conflict.

    • annie
      annie
      November 10, 2015, 12:10 pm

      “Lauren Roberts, a Tracy Flick-esqe young woman”

      Wow. I guess you allow misogyny here.

      please explain. how is association w/ flick misogynistic? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracy_Flick

      smart, ambitious high school student, whose quest to win a school election is nearly derailed by her own ruthlessness and desperation…..The character has since become an icon, as her driven, focused personality and unpopularity among her peers have led to comparisons with many real-life public figures, particularly female politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

      SJP students are not political savvy …. Most of them know very, very little about the Middle East …. have little intellectual curiousity

      and you’re familiar with “most of them” how?

      The vast majority of the Jews involved with the BDS movement have little to no Jewish education whatsoever

      source please.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        November 10, 2015, 12:32 pm

        “please explain. how is association w/ flick misogynistic?”

        It’s a way of smearing confident, ambitious women. No one would ever say something like this about an ambitious male.

        I’ve seen Lauren Rogers speak. There’s nothing ruthless or desperate about her; she . Rob was clearly intimidated by her.

        “and you’re familiar with “most of them” how?”

        I’ve had enough experience with them both here and in my work on campus to know that political savvy is not a term I’d use to describe them. They’re OK with coalition building on campus; building activist coalitions on campus is like shooting fish in a barrel. But they have no clue about life outside of the college bubble.

        “The vast majority of the Jews involved with the BDS movement have little to no Jewish education whatsoever”

        You can go over the Pew study. There’s a direct correlation between Jewish educational attainment and attachment to Israel and to Jewish institutions. But it’s really just common sense, Annie. People who have a connection to their fellow Jews and see themselves as a part of a Jewish community don’t launch boycotts of the world’s largest Jewish community. That’s not to say that there aren’t Jews in the BDS movement with Jewish educational backgrounds; there certainly are. But they’re a small minority. Most are like Phil – they don’t particularly like religion, and they’re uncomfortable with Jewish identity insofar as it suggests something other than the secular universalism to which they aspire, and fighting against the idea of a Jewish state is part of that struggle.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        November 10, 2015, 12:32 pm

        “As far as knowing about Jewish tradition, that’s just ridiculous. The vast majority of the Jews involved with the BDS movement have little to no Jewish education whatsoever; they’re there because of their left-wing politics, not because of their Judaism.”

        Since we are flinging around anecdotal impressions, most of the Jews I know know very little about Judaism. And I am sure I know many more Jews than Hophmi knows BDS supporters.
        And some of the best educated Jews I know are supporters of BDS.

        Still, what I report cannot possibly be true because, by definition, a good Jew does not support BDS.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 10, 2015, 5:30 pm

        “Since we are flinging around anecdotal impressions, most of the Jews I know know very little about Judaism.”

        Why do they need to know a whole lot? A little knowledge, as they say, is a dangerous thing, and the rest, you can make up as you go along.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 10, 2015, 5:44 pm

        “Most are like Phil – they don’t particularly like religion, and they’re uncomfortable with Jewish identity insofar as it suggests something other than the secular universalism to which they aspire”

        Wow, “Hophmi” you really are learning to like ol’ Phil, he’s not such a bad guy. It was only a few short months ago, this was your analysis of Phil:

        ” …the Phil has internalized anti-Jewish hatred, and like those secularist Jews in Europe who looked down upon their brethren or converted to Christianity to escape their Judaism, Phil adopts the classic tropes of the self-hater.” “Self-hatred is a disease. It is a sad disease borne of many generations of persecution, but it is a disease. And Phil is afflicted with it, as many Jews have been in the past. And it is usually the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community, precisely because of how small it is.” “The Phils will fall away, as they always do.” “Hophmi”- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/hophmi?keyword=fall+away#sthash.Ov0DHUX2.dpuf

        What changed, “Hophmi”? Now, instead of being one of “the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community” all Phil is doing is plumping for “secular universalism”. Is that better, or worse?

      • annie
        annie
        November 10, 2015, 9:29 pm

        It’s a way of smearing confident, ambitious women. No one would ever say something like this about an ambitious male.

        what a bunch of BS!!!

        from the same wiki link i referenced earlier:

        Roger Ebert began his review of Election by noting, “I remember students like Tracy Flick, the know-it-all who always has her hand in the air, while the teacher desperately looks for someone else to call on. In fact, I was a student like Tracy Flick.” He goes on to compare Tracy to Elizabeth Dole: “a person who always seems to be presenting you with a logical puzzle for which she is the answer… She is always perfectly dressed and groomed, and is usually able to conceal her hot temper behind a facade of maddening cheerfulness. But she is ruthless. She reminds me of a saying attributed to David Merrick: ‘It is not enough for me to win. My enemies must lose.'”[1]

        A 2006 profile of the character in The Washington Post called her “wonderfully monstrous.” “In [director Alexander Payne]’s study of her pathologies, Tracy’s will is so fiery and her perfection so total that no one dares stand against her in her goal.”[2] The Stranger wrote, “Like Humbert Humbert, the Reverend Harry Powell, and Baby Jane Hudson before her, Tracy Flick is a real and lasting contribution to the cinematic understanding of the villain, and the feather in Witherspoon’s cap.“[3]

        there’s nothing the least bit misogynistic about the description.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 10, 2015, 10:39 pm

        “No one would ever say something like this about an ambitious male.”

        You are right, “Hophmi” nobody ever compares a male like that to, say, the character “Gordon Gekko”. You’d think they would, but they never do. Must be a disappointment to Mike Douglas. He put a lot into the role.

    • Kris
      Kris
      November 10, 2015, 12:35 pm

      @hophmi: “The Palestinians are one party to the conflict.”

      The rape victim is one party to the rape.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        November 10, 2015, 4:14 pm

        No one is raping Palestinians, except maybe Syrian soldiers in Bashar Al-Assad’s army.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        November 10, 2015, 4:51 pm

        Hophmi is so transparent.
        You immediately can tell when he admits defeat…by diverting.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      November 10, 2015, 6:26 pm

      The tree of peace grows in the soil of justice.

    • Irfan
      Irfan
      November 11, 2015, 10:28 am

      Hophmi writes:

      “Actually, it [a paranoid undercurrent of thought] should be familiar to anyone who has been on a college campus recently, where the dialogue is all about safe spaces, whether they’re for African-Americans, Hispanics, South Asians, or sexual assault victims. See, this is the problem with BDS. Its campus adherents all talk in terms of safe spaces, but then reject that concept when it comes to campus Jewish communities.”

      That’s a big generalization. I’m a university professor, and though I’m moderately pro-BDS, I’m fervently against the ‘safe space’ phenomenon. I sympathize with the aims of BDS, but I have both quarrels and quibbles with it. By contrast, the ‘safe space’ phenomenon strikes me as a pretty uncontroversial assault on free speech for which I have nearly zero tolerance. So I’m an exception to your generalization. I doubt I’m the only one.

      In any case, there’s no incompatibility there, and in fact no relationship between the two things–a person could without contradiction be 100% against the ‘safe space’ phenomenon and 100% in favor of BDS. Certainly that was the standard position I encountered when I taught at Al Quds University this past summer.

      I’m not aware of the BDS movement taking any position on the safe space phenomenon, and given pro-Israel group’s exploitation of ‘safe space’ rhetoric, I’m very skeptical that pro-BDS people would be inclined to go the safe space route. By the way, if you put ‘safe space’ into the search engine at the BDS Movement website, you get all of 2 hits, neither of them endorsements of ‘safe spaces’.

      So your ascription of a double standard sounds completely fabricated. If you have any evidence of BDS-support-for-safe-spaces, feel free to produce it, but so far you haven’t.

      I discussed the topic on my blog this past June, going out of my way to criticize the safe space phenomenon in all of its manifestations, expressing some qualms with BDS, but also expressing support for its overarching goals:

      https://irfankhawajaphilosopher.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/thinking-about-bds-1-infantilization-safe-spaces-and-threats-to-discourse/

  3. eljay
    eljay
    November 10, 2015, 12:06 pm

    I offer you my respect, Mr. Bryan.

  4. Les
    Les
    November 10, 2015, 12:28 pm

    Temple Emanu-el’s sponsorship of this anti-BDS event put it at risk of losing its tax exempt status.

  5. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 10, 2015, 12:33 pm

    What occupation? How about the occupation of American Jewry by triumphant-no-back-talk-Zion?

  6. Scott
    Scott
    November 10, 2015, 12:38 pm

    Rob, This was one of the most fun to read posts I’ve seen in a long time. I would really love to have been at that event. Your description of the scrum surrounding you after your intervention reminds me of something which still seems to be basically true (to the extent I can see, as a gentile not hanging around with all that many Jews these days): probably at the center of the community is a sense that though they “love Israel” they realize that something is deeply wrong with it, and want somehow to make it right. And are looking to you to help resolve the perhaps irresoluble contradictions. Not sure if this sentiment is strong enough to be politically useful, and lead to liberation of Palestine (and of Israelis too).

  7. Xpat
    Xpat
    November 10, 2015, 12:46 pm

    Rob,
    I second CG’s praise. Thank you for an interesting read. You brought your experience to life. It’s great that you stayed through the evening and succeeded in starting a conversation.

  8. olive52
    olive52
    November 10, 2015, 1:14 pm

    While its admirable that you stand against Palestinian violence Rob, perhaps you are so detached that you are unaware that the Israelis are subjected to Palestinian violence on a daily basis as well.

    • Chu
      Chu
      November 10, 2015, 2:09 pm

      What Israeli has been evicted by a Palestinian in the last decade?

      I can only imagine getting booted from my home, with children
      and dog to boot, so some greasy settlers could squat in my crib,
      all sanctioned by the Israeli terrorist government.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      November 10, 2015, 3:11 pm

      Oh dear. Those poor Israeli shtetlers, getting a booboo when the naughty Palestinians object to having their land stolen…or fight back against the armed thieving sh!tes as they try to steal the land.

      They are NOT in Israel.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 10, 2015, 10:42 pm

        Bumblebye- Using the term shtetlers to refer to the settlers, what is that about? Are you trying to say that they are Jewish and just poking fun of them by using a Jewish term to describe them, (something akin to calling them settlerovitzky’s or settlerstein’s). Otherwise, I assume that you consider the settlers to be evil. Were those who lived in the shtetl evil? So in effect you are making the settlers less evil by calling them shtetl’ers. Or is there in fact no useful point here other than the fact that you are juvenile, thinking yourself a comedian?

      • talknic
        talknic
        November 11, 2015, 4:09 am

        @ yonah fredman “Are you trying to say that they are Jewish”

        Indeed they are. Israeli Jews

        ” and just poking fun of them by using a Jewish term to describe them, (something akin to calling them settlerovitzky’s or settlerstein’s)”

        Seems Bumblebye was indeed deservedly poking fun at them

        “Otherwise, I assume that you consider the settlers to be evil.”

        They are at the Israeli Government’s encouragement in breach of laws largely adopted because of the ghastly treatment of our Jewish fellows under the evil Nazis.

        “Were those who lived in the shtetl evil?”

        They weren’t in breach of International Law or illegally dispossessing the rightful inhabitants

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye
        November 11, 2015, 10:34 am

        Bugs you, doesn’t it yonah? You’ve asked this before. These aren’t normal people living in normal neighborhoods, towns, villages. They’ve built themselves ethnically exclusive enclaves on stolen land, walled themselves off from their victims – who would *never* be permitted to live among them.
        A more “Jewish term” is highly appropriate since they claim to be Jewish, since they *are* in effect and deed an evil in the land of Palestine and to its indigenous people. Nothing comic about that.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 11, 2015, 10:49 am

        “Bumblebye- Using the term shtetlers to refer to the settlers, what is that about?”

        Well “Yonah” you are watching the Israeli present change the Jewish past! You like it? “Yonah” if you think this is fun, just wait until you realize how the Zionist present is changing the Holocaust, without changing a single number or denying a single fact. You’ll get a real kick out of that!

        And why shouldn’t, given Zionism’s big boast of being “Jewish” people assume that settlers are, in fact just like the people in a Shtetl? Why shouldn’t they assume the Shtetls got there the same way the settlements did?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 11, 2015, 1:45 pm

        “Were those who lived in the shtetl evil?” “Yonah Fredman”

        “Yonah” why don’t you tell us how the shtetls got there? You know the “Pale of Settlement” in Russia, the Czar all that. It should be a very instructive story, and promote a lot of empathy. Finish off with a chorus of “Anatefska, Anatefska”.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 11, 2015, 9:23 pm

        bumblebye- you wish to use history to confuse matters and not clarify. clarity is rare and confusion is rife. congrats with adding to the mix in a negative fashion.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 11, 2015, 10:34 pm

        “bumblebye- you wish to use history to confuse matters and not clarify.”

        “Yonah” how many times do I have to tell you: “The present changes the past”, before you get it? If you happen to be a person who depends very much on the past being perceived in a certain way,, you better take care of the present!! Make sure your present validates (or at least accommodates!) the perception of the past that you depend on.

        Now, why don’t you set us straight on how the shtetls got there, and we can see if the real “Shtetlers” in Russia and their relation to Russia is more like “settlers” in Palestine, or more like the Palestinians in relation to the Zionists?

      • Kris
        Kris
        November 11, 2015, 10:41 pm

        @yonahfredman: “bumblebye- you wish to use history to confuse matters and not clarify.”

        Bumblebye’s use of the term shtetlers to refer to Israeli Jewish squatters is obviously ironic, given the parallels between the miseries of Jewish life in the villages (shtetls) in the Pale of Settlement, and the miseries Jewish Israelis have been imposing on the Palestinians. This time around, the Palestinians are the persecuted people in the shtetls, though their lives are even more severely restricted than the lives of the Jews in the Pale were.

        The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited. … Jews were, however, excluded from residency at a number of cities within the Pale, while a limited number of categories of Jews were allowed to live outside it….

        Jewish life in the shtetls (Yiddish: שטעטלעך‎ shtetlekh “little towns”) of the Pale of Settlement was hard and poverty-stricken….The concentration of Jews in the Pale made them easy targets for pogroms and anti-Jewish riots by the majority population…

        The tribulations of Jewish life in the Pale of Settlement were immortalized in the writings of Yiddish authors such as humorist Sholom Aleichem, whose stories of Tevye der Milchiger (Tevye the Milkman) in the fictional shtetl of Anatevka form the basis of the theatrical (and subsequent film) production Fiddler on the Roof. Because of the harsh conditions of day-to-day life in the Pale, some 2 million Jews emigrated from there between 1881 and 1914, mainly to the United States….
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement

        Who can forget the grief of the Jews as they left Anatevka? Probably much like the grief of the Palestinians who were/are driven from their homes by the Zionist Jews. Of course, the Jews of Anatevka weren’t facing massacres as they were dispossessed, unlike the Palestinians

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 11, 2015, 11:21 pm

        thanks, Kris.

        Oh no, now I’m weeping.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 10, 2015, 4:37 pm

      “that the Israelis are subjected to Palestinian violence on a daily basis as well.”

      Then maybe, just for a start, since Palestinians are so dangerous THE ISRAELIS SHOULD GO BACK TO – ISRAEL!! If the Israelis go back TO ISRAEL and the Palestinians attack them, well, maybe you’ll have a case.

      Why does the Israeli government keep sending Jews into these occupied areas?

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 10, 2015, 8:53 pm

        “Israelis should go back to Israel”? Where is that? Outside Palestine? How could it exist when it’s expressly forbidden by the very UN charter and the absence of any agreement by the owners of the land and sovereignty? Why does the worldwide Zionist organization keep sending illegal immigrants to Palestine? No one cares if they are Jews or not.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 11, 2015, 1:39 pm

        “Israelis should go back to Israel”? Where is that?”

        You are right. Well, for a start, they might look at the relevant documents, and maps, and make an informed decision about where it most probably is, and head that way. I am sure even a few mile’s progress in that direction would be very, very welcome.

  9. eljay
    eljay
    November 10, 2015, 1:50 pm

    || olive52: … perhaps you are … unaware that the Israelis are subjected to Palestinian violence on a daily basis as well. ||

    I hear you, olive52. Sure, the victim chained in the rapist’s basement is routinely beaten and raped, but the rapist is subjected to violence from her as well: She’s constantly punching, scratching and biting him!

    Why can’t she just lie back and enjoy it, right?

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      November 10, 2015, 2:07 pm

      Heh. That was a good description of the situation. It is amazing why some people will not analyze the situation, and try to find out WHY occupied people react so strongly to the occupier and the stealing of lands. Why the heck do they expect?

      • Kris
        Kris
        November 10, 2015, 6:06 pm

        Historically, people have readily accepted being occupied by foreign troops, being controlled by quisling governments, and having their property stolen by citizens of an occupying power.

        That is why there were no resistance movements in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, Norway and Poland during WWII.

  10. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    November 10, 2015, 1:56 pm

    RE: “I thought of Gaza’s streets soaked with blood and strewn with severed limbs, its towers reduced to rubble with no memorials to mark their absence.” ~ Rob Bryan

    I AM REMINDED OF:

    “The first crusade; the accounts of eyewitnesses and participants” | Krey, August C. (August Charles), 1887-1961 | Princeton Princeton University Press

    CHAPTER VII

    The Capture of Jerusalem

    3. Final assault and capture. (July 15, 1099.)

    [EXCERPTS] (Gesta.) At length, our leaders decided to beleaguer the city with siege machines, so that we might enter and worship the Saviour at the Holy Sepulchre. They constructed wooden towers and many other siege machines. Duke Godfrey made a wooden tower and other siege devices, and Count Raymond did the same, although it was necessary to bring wood from a considerable distance. However, when the Saracens [Saracen was a generic term for Muslims widely used among Christian writers in Europe during the later medieval era. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saracen (J.L.D.)] saw our men engaged in this work, they greatly strengthened the fortifications of the city and increased the height of the turrets at night. . .

    . . . One of our knights, named Lethold, clambered up the wall of the city, and no sooner had he ascended than the defenders fled from the walls and through the city. Our men followed, killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles.

    Count Raymond brought his army and his tower up near the wall from the south, but between the tower and the wall there was a very deep ditch. Then our men took counsel how they might fill it, and had it proclaimed by heralds that anyone who carried three stones to the ditch would receive one denarius. The work of filling it required three days and three nights, and when at length the ditch was filled, they moved the tower up to the wall, but the men defending this portion of the wall fought desperately with stones and fire. When the Count heard that the Franks were already in the city, he said to his men, “Why do you loiter? Lo, the Franks are even now within the city.” The Emir who commanded the Tower of St. David surrendered to the Count and opened that gate at which the pilgrims had always been accustomed to pay tribute. But this time the pilgrims entered the city, pursuing and killing the Saracens up to the Temple of Solomon, where the enemy gathered in force. The battle raged throughout the day, so that the Temple was covered with their blood. When the pagans had been overcome, our men seized great numbers, both men and women, either killing them or keeping them captive, as they wished. On the roof of the Temple a great number of pagans of both sexes had assembled, and these were taken under the protection of Tancred and Gaston of Beert. Afterward, the army scattered throughout the city and took possession of the gold and silver, the horses and mules, and the houses filled with goods of all kinds. Later, all of our people went to the Sepulchre of our Lord, rejoicing and weeping for joy, and they rendered up the offering that they owed. In the morning, some of our men cautiously ascended to the roof of the Temple and attacked the Saracens, both men and women, beheading them with naked swords; the remainder sought death by jumping down into the temple. When Tancred heard of this, he was filled with anger. {Raymond.) . . .

    . . . Then the Count quickly released the long drawbridge which had protected the side of the wooden tower next to the wall, and it swung down from the top, being fastened to the middle of the tower, making a bridge over which the men began to enter Jerusalem bravely and fearlessly. Among those who entered first were Tancred and the Duke of Lorraine, and the amount of blood that they shed on that day is incredible. All ascended after them, and the Saracens now began to suffer. I Strange to relate, however, at this very time when the city was practically captured by the Franks, the Saracens were still fighting on the other side, where the Count was attacking the wall as though the city should never be captured. But now that our men had possession of the walls and towers, wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands, and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one’s way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are ordinarily chanted. What happened there ? If I tell the truth, it will exceed your powers of belief. So let it suffice to say this much, at least, that in the Temple and porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of the unbelievers, since it had suffered so long from their blasphemies. The city was filled with corpses and blood. Some of the enemy took refuge in the Tower of David, and, petitioning Count Raymond for protection, surrendered the Tower into his hands. Now that the city was taken, it was well worth all our previous labors and hardships to see the devotion of the pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchre. How they rejoiced and exulted and sang a new song to the Lord! For their hearts offered prayers of praise to God, victorious and triumphant, which cannot be told in words. A new day, new joy, new and perpetual gladness, the consummation of our labor and devotion, drew forth from all new words and new songs. This day, I say, will be famous in all future ages, for it turned our labors and sorrows into joy and exultation; this day, I say, marks the justification of all Christianity, the humiliation of paganism, and the renewal of our faith. . .

    SOURCE (PDF, KINDLE, ETC.) – https://archive.org/details/firstcrusadeacco00kreyuoft

    • RockyMissouri
      RockyMissouri
      November 11, 2015, 11:00 am

      Perfectly ghastly, then, and now.

      • Zaghlul
        Zaghlul
        November 11, 2015, 7:54 pm

        I remember reading this account as a college student, more than 25 years ago. But when Obama mentioned the Crusades, the Right Wing reacted as if he had blasphemed. Too many are ignorant of the history of the region or too lazy to learn; this is the age of instant gratification and short attention spans. Why bother with history when I’m just a click away from discovering what the Kardashian’s wore on such and such an occasion?

  11. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    November 10, 2015, 2:01 pm

    @hophmi
    “Most are like Phil – they don’t particularly like religion, and they’re uncomfortable with Jewish identity insofar as it suggests something other than the secular universalism to which they aspire, and fighting against the idea of a Jewish state is part of that struggle.”

    I think your Hasbara supervisor must have been leaning over your shoulder on this one. It`s a peach.

    So what poor old Phil is actually all about is secretly trying to achieve “secular universalism” – God I have heard some bullshit terms in my life but this really takes the biscuit. Sorry just going to the loo I am predictably about to p.. with laughter. OK I`m back. Where was I ? Oh yes “secular universalism” and Phil being against the idea of a Jewish State. So his condemnation of apartheid in Israel,the cold blooded slaughter of hundreds of innocent Palestinian children in Gaza, the extra judicial killings at checkpoints , the burning alive of Palestinians , the 3.00 am raiding and trashing of Palestinian homes , the detention without trial of Palestinian teenagers – all that is just a front for his secret drive for “secular universalism”.

    Yup definitely sounds like “The Protocols of the Elders of Universalism”

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 10, 2015, 4:17 pm

      “secular universalism”

      “Ossinev”, I think it’s even worse than that. “Secular humanism” is one of the terms used as an anti-semitic slur to associate liberal Jews and atheist communists. And as one of the avenues through which Jews would impose (shudder) “multi-culturalism” on unsuspecting Americans.

      But I see that a lot, things which were formerly used as right-wing insults to deprecate liberal or left-wing Jews, to make the left appear to be a product of Jewish perfidy, are now adopted by right-wing Zionists, to tar non-Zionist Jews. Very funny. Sad, but funny.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      November 10, 2015, 4:17 pm

      “So what poor old Phil is actually all about is secretly trying to achieve “secular universalism” – God I have heard some bullshit terms in my life but this really takes the biscuit.”

      Why? Do you need it explained to you? Phil’s written about how he views his Judaism at great length.

      “So his condemnation of apartheid in Israel,the cold blooded slaughter of hundreds of innocent Palestinian children in Gaza, the extra judicial killings at checkpoints , the burning alive of Palestinians , the 3.00 am raiding and trashing of Palestinian homes , the detention without trial of Palestinian teenagers – all that is just a front for his secret drive for “secular universalism”.”

      No, I think his calls for an end to Jewish day school education and an end to circumcision, and his conspiracy theories about powerful Jews, which echo antisemitic tropes, all of which is amplified by the readership here, all point to his preference for secularism over Judaism, and his preference that Judaism disappear through assimilation.

      • WH
        WH
        November 10, 2015, 5:16 pm

        “his conspiracy theories about powerful Jews, which echo antisemitic tropes”

        That’s right – Adelson, Saban, Foxman and AIPAC do not exist.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        November 10, 2015, 6:06 pm

        I think his calls for an end to Jewish day school education

        Almost all Jews outside of the Orthodox community have rejected Jewish day school education. Public schools in Jewish areas around the country are so full of Jews they all shut down for the High Holydays.

        and an end to circumcision,
        If the rabbis declared circumcision to be as irrelevant today as animal sacrifices and stoning Sabbath desecrators, how many Jews would care? Have you ever been to a bris and watched the faces of the family and friends while the deed is being done?

        and his conspiracy theories about powerful Jews, which echo antisemitic tropes

        Hannah Arendt and many other Jews who are honored today by the Jewish establishment have written extensively about powerful Jews. So, you are left with the anti-Zionism that makes Mondoweiss anti-Semitic. Nothing else.

        his preference for secularism over Judaism

        To paraphrase you, who are you to set up Judaism and secularism as opposites?

      • italian ex-pat
        italian ex-pat
        November 10, 2015, 6:48 pm

        @ hophmi

        (referring to Phil Weiss): ” . . his preference for secularism over Judaism . . . ”

        And how is that a bad thing? Personally, I’d like to do away with all religions. Especially those that encourage in their followers a belief of self-exceptionalism and superiority, from the time of birth onward.

        I doubt Phil has ever proposed to put an end to circumcision, which is practiced in most of the civilized world as a matter of health, not religion. Possibly he condemns the ‘religious’ custom of the rabbi sucking the blood from the baby’s freshly cut flesh – which I understand ultra-Orthodox parents insist on, in spite of the obvious risks of infection. That is the Judaism you are so concerned will disappear through assimilation? Or the dietary laws, abstaining from physical activity on the sabbath, the separation of the sexes in public, just to mention a few. As a gentile, I am baffled that such customs, ancient as they may be, can even be considered a religion.

        As for day school, I fervently wish that the teachers at any so-called institution would make it their mission to instill into the young, malleable minds in their charge the belief that all human beings are created equal and are entitled to the same human rights, in spite of what they may hear from their elders at home. Then, perhaps, there would be hope for future generations.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 11, 2015, 10:51 pm

        ” and an end to circumcision”

        Uh, “Hophmi”, you may want to dial that back. We could make much, much better choices about circumcision, without even abandoning the practice. And I’m not talking about that blood-sipping nonsense, not even counting that.

  12. Chu
    Chu
    November 10, 2015, 2:02 pm

    Great tale Rob. I appreciate the wit and your lack of b/s – it really comes through here.
    I wish I was in Emanu-El to hear that question. A you-tube moment, that was surely
    missed, and I could only imagine the tension.

    I hope that as we progress the elderly holocaust generation, that gets completely bonkers at the slightest criticism of Israel, will be finally phased out, as they are like scattered clouds that obscure the light, even if they think they mean well.
    Much of the fervor for Jews supporting Israel today is likely compounded from all the latent pressure that aunts & uncles, etc. apply to their next Jewish generation. Good that you stood up, even if it were all seniors. Who knows, it could have evoked some delayed reaction in some of them, where in a half year they’ll see it differently. I’ve noticed the elderly don’t move too quick in thought or action.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      November 10, 2015, 3:22 pm

      I don’t understand this obsession with the new generations. In fact, finding antizionists among the earlier generations should be much easier. For one, there were a lot of Bundists among those who grew up during the war, and these were almost to a man fiercely antizionist. Also, many who are now in their sixties and older grew up antizionists, as they were already formed by the time of the big mass delusion of 1967. Very many others couldn’t give a rat’s ass if they were Jewish or Buddhist or Futurist and totally took themselves off the books.
      Of course, none of these were likely to make regular appearances in synagogues and many were likely to skip bar mitzvahs or any other religious observances. Also, I have no idea of the relative incidences but one thing seems sure: these generations were not educated under the iron fist of post-1967 Zionist conformism.
      Uniform zionist indoctrination seems to be a characteristic more of the post-67; I just can’t understand why the older generation, where rejection of Zionism and of Judaism was more likely, should be perceived as more conservative than the reactionary youth.

      • Chu
        Chu
        November 11, 2015, 9:35 am

        ‘finding antizionists among the earlier generations should be much easier’

        Where are they now if they exist? But the established power since 1967 has been Zionism, where Bundism AZ’s were cast aside. They probably lost the debate and had little media influence to counter the Zionists (even though it’s still largely taboo to discuss). And similar to when Sephardic power dwindled in Europe and the new Eastern European Jewish power had taken the reigns. Either way, someone needs to press on and stand up to Zionism, but the willing AZ ranks this last decade have been unimpressive, i.e. JVP sideshow. Money rules all in this war.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 12, 2015, 1:20 am

        “Where are they now if they exist?”
        The elderly survivors took themselves totally off the fake “community”, as far as I can judge from those I know. “Jewish” is not an “ethnic” category, remember, and religious people among them are bound to be an infinitesimal fraction anyway. The religion-besotted revivalists are a newish fad, just as also the idiocy of defining oneself in religious terms such as “Jewish” instead of referring to one’s geographic and secular-cultural roots.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      November 10, 2015, 6:09 pm

      That’s “don’t move too quickly“, you impudent young whippersnapper.

      • Chu
        Chu
        November 11, 2015, 9:39 am

        Old Zionists are very set in their ways. The get agita at the mere mention of Israel. They are often insufferable on the topic which is why so many younger kids try to ignore the reality of Zionism, to not upset uncle Lenny.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        November 11, 2015, 10:00 am

        It is getting close to that time of year when I visit my uncle lenny and the rest of my zionist relatives. Going to be another good one this year with stabbings, shootings and flooding tunnels to talk about. Once I get them all yelling at me at the same time, I pull a yonah and ask them what they are doing celebrating a gentile holiday anyway. Ahhh…delicious silence except for the sound of knives furiously cutting thru turkey into the china.

      • Chu
        Chu
        November 11, 2015, 10:35 am

        Ha. Do you mean Thanksgiving? Is that Gentile or American- at least you’re past the 2015 high holy holidays.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        November 11, 2015, 10:37 am

        Yep. Thanksgiving.
        I guess American gentile.
        I should do video of it.

  13. mcohen.
    mcohen.
    November 10, 2015, 3:05 pm

    Rob Bryan would happen to know what the Jewish equivalent word is for intifada
    Well it is antifarta

    Makes the smell go away

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 10, 2015, 3:53 pm

      “Makes the smell go away” “Steve Grover”

      Shorter ‘mcohen”: ‘I’ve got it all! A bottle in front of me, and a frontal lobotomy!’

      BTW, don’t forget to tell “infartada” joke to your good friends, Rabbi Kedar, Eric Fingerhut, and Hoffman. They will be so proud to be associated with you.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        November 10, 2015, 4:16 pm

        Too late, Mooser.
        He already asked them to pull his finger.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 10, 2015, 6:23 pm

        I mixed up “mcohen” and “Steve Grover”, didn’t I?
        “mcohen”, I’m very sorry, I apologize. And not a single ellipse, too! That may be a first! No periods or commas, either, but why tempt yourself?

  14. pgtl10
    pgtl10
    November 10, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Isn’t Lauren Roberts the one who got full paid trips to Israel? I remember hearing about the student council getting lobbied a while back.

  15. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    November 10, 2015, 6:50 pm

    @hophmi
    “So his condemnation of apartheid in Israel,the cold blooded slaughter of hundreds of innocent Palestinian children in Gaza, the extra judicial killings at checkpoints , the burning alive of Palestinians , the 3.00 am raiding and trashing of Palestinian homes , the detention without trial of Palestinian teenagers – all that is just a front for his secret drive for “secular universalism”.”

    “No, I think his calls for an end to Jewish day school education and an end to circumcision, and his conspiracy theories about powerful Jews, which echo antisemitic tropes, all of which is amplified by the readership here, all point to his preference for secularism over Judaism, and his preference that Judaism disappear through assimilation.”

    So back to Chapter One in the manual again. It`s all about ” anti – semitic tropes ” and “conspiracy theories about powerful Jews” and “an end to circumcision ” etc etc ad nauseam. He is not apparently the least bit concerned about ongoing ISRAELI atrocities and how the Pro-Israel lobbies in the US and elsewhere either deny or sidestep these. – he just uses them as a convenient smokescreen for his messianic drive towards “secular universalism”.

    You didn`t insert the dreaded “self loathing”. I get the impression that Hasbara Central has put out a circular on that one advising a temporary suspension of its (over) use. I thought that “anti – semitic” was similarly being sidelined.Perhaps you just couldn`t resist going off script.

    No comments from you about the aforementioned atrocities then – in your mind of course they didn`t happen , aren`t happening and could never happen given the” light” that Israel has been holding up to nations for the last 67 years.

    And great to see that same light in glorious action in the refusal to allow entry into the Land of Creation of a member of a Jewish family and her Muslim husband and children fleeing the horrors of Syria because she had married a Muslim and converted to Islam. Only fully certified Jews apparently are worthy of compassion in your miracle state.The light glowed brightly in the heart of the compassionate Syrian American Jew who saved them but true to form it turned to the usual darkness when the Jewish Agency stepped in to “evaluate”. But then they were only following orders.

    Interested to know what you identify as “amplification ” in my comments and BTW keep up with your Hasbara revision – it makes compulsive reading.

  16. Katie Miranda
    Katie Miranda
    November 10, 2015, 7:59 pm

    Wonderful article. The pessimist in me agrees with you that Zionism may have to die out and I have been talking about this with people. Optimistically though, you never can tell when the moment of truth is going to come. No one could have predicted the end of apartheid in South Africa when it happened so we may be nearer to that tipping point than we think.

  17. kalithea
    kalithea
    November 10, 2015, 8:04 pm

    I’m so glad that Rob stayed and graced that event with his presence. He’s so refreshing; so genuine. I’m so proud of him! I feel like he secretly earned the respect of someone in that hall; someone who did not dare confess that he or she was actually moved by the courage and moral integrity of this anti-Zionist Jew who stood up for justice and humanity in an auditorium full of Zionists. What a beautiful image I have in my mind; what an example to set. Thank you for the hope.

    Now, I don’t like addressing the likes of hophmi; but you know that when he poops all over a thread it’s because Zionism just lost something it’s never getting back and no matter how he spins it; how insignificant in the large scheme; it’s gone.

    So had it all been a waste? Hell no!

    Nice.

  18. Pixel
    Pixel
    November 11, 2015, 8:41 am

    This past weekend, I counseled a couple who are planning to marry. Typically, couples who seek me out are in their 30’s and 40’s. This couple was surprisingly young, 22, yet surprisingly mature. They said a lot of people tell them that.

    Both self-identified as “not religious”. Their families?

    Him: While his mother had converted prior to her wedding, neither family had been accepting of his parents mixed marriage. The Catholic/Protestant union had caused a lot of strife over the years, on both sides.

    His parents had become perfunctory Protestants, while both sets of grandparents remained ardent and active in their respective religions.

    Her: She described her parents as secular, non-practicing Jews. She said that her grand-parents on both sides, originally from Europe, remained active and ardent in their Judaism. “Further back,” she said, “they died”. What she did not say was anything about the Holocaust.

    Her omission was truly stunning to me because it had never happened before in my life. I felt her omission was conscious, made in the nanosecond before anything more came out of her mouth. If I’m correct about that, and I think I am, there could be many complex reasons why. The sense I got was that she stopped herself because she didn’t think it mattered.

    Post-gay. These days, a younger generation of gay men, if they even think about it at all, consider themselves “post-gay”. They don’t define themselves by their sexuality; they don’t think it matters.

    Given what this bride-to-be had not said to me, I wondered whether she and other young folks like her, consider themselves “post-Jewish”.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 11, 2015, 11:01 am

      “Further back,” she said, “they died”.

      Absolutely. There is something very offensive, to me, about Jews who brag of long genealogies.
      If I was lucky enough, indeed, to have one, (mine’s about the same as hers, only shorter), I sure as hell wouldn’t brag about it, out of consideration, for others.

  19. Zaghlul
    Zaghlul
    November 11, 2015, 7:45 pm

    God bless you, Rob, and keep up the good work.

  20. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    November 12, 2015, 4:41 am

    How I tire of this ‘self-hating Jew’ bs! By this logic it would mean that those fighting against Hitler, were self-hating Germans. Of course, by now we know that Zionists are allergic against the truth.

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