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Shocker: ‘NYT’ forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism

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Our website is 10 years old last month and I’ve always said the New York Times could put us out of business if it would just do the obvious journalism of the Israel/Palestine question. Today the newspaper takes a step in that direction: it has published a forum (spurred by the California Regents blunder) on the question, “Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?”

It is a good thing to have the term “anti-Zionism” mainstreamed. Though in fact the title is wrong. Based on what follows, the forum should have been titled, “Is Zionism bigoted?”

That’s the shocking news, three of the five pieces are anti-Zionist or at least seek to create space for anti-Zionism. Two of them state that Zionism is racism.

It is a stunning thing to read Omar Zahzah’s piece in the forum. “Zionism Justifies Discrimination and Oppression.” I don’t think I’ve seen such a bald description of the Nakba and the right of return in any composition that the paper itself commissioned.

There are two Zionist pieces, by Daniel Gordis, an Israeli rightwinger, and Benjamin Gladstone, a Brown student who says the criticisms of Israel are disproportionate. (And: “Jews are as entitled to a self-liberation and self-empowerment movement as any other people…”)

The hits. Sherene Seikaly of UC Santa Barbara and Jadaliyya has these good observations in a piece titled “Anti-Zionism Can and Should Be Anti-Racism”:

Zionism is a national political movement that began in the late 19th century as a response to anti-Semitism. Zionism was neither the only Jewish response to anti-Semitism nor the most popular until the Nazi persecution of Jews began in the 1930s..

Palestinian self-determination is a crucial step in ending the logic of racialization and civilizational hierarchy that produced anti-Semitism and genocide. This logic measures Palestinian life as less valuable than Israeli life. To say otherwise is to suggest that standing up for Palestinian rights is somehow anti-Jewish. Critiquing this logic is a moral responsibility.

Lisa Goldman seeks to make space for anti-Zionism; and makes these pertinent statements:

The most important element is neither God nor religion but the Holocaust, with its heavy legacy of trans-generational trauma. The lesson of the genocide, many believe, is that Jews need a safe haven. A state of one’s own.

In America, even regular participants in synagogue life can profess atheism or strongly criticize Israel’s policies. But openly identifying as a non-Zionist is anathema to Jewish communal life.

(Though she justifies American Jewish anti-Zionism by saying there are Israeli Jewish anti-Zionists. I’ve never based my politics on some foreign country’s.)

Finally, Omar Zahzah’s piece. “Zionism Justifies Discrimination and Oppression.” Make way for Palestinians! A graduate student at UCLA, Zahzah begins by describing the establishment of Israel as a time of ethnic cleansing, and links to the Nakba page of the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

My relatives were among the Palestinians displaced. They did not deserve to be expelled from their homes, nor do any of the Palestinians who are still being uprooted because of Israeli government policies.

Anti-Zionism is a principled anti-racist position. The notion that there should be freedom and self-determination for Palestinians leads me to call on Israel to respect the United Nations mandated right of return for forcibly displaced refugees and their families. It is my conviction of equality that compels me to speak out against Israeli apartheid, with over 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and render them second-class citizens…

Just as we speak out about other forms of racism, those of us who oppose the discriminatory practices of the Israeli state must likewise oppose Zionism as the modern ideology that justifies these practices.

The New York Times has been ravished by Zionists for years, from Judy Miller to David Brooks to Bill Kristol to Roger Cohen to Jodi Rudoren. This forum is another clear sign of the Zionist crisis, and of the mainstream inclusion of Palestinian solidarity voices. Zahzah is the clear leader in this forum. (Not long ago I wrote that the conflict won’t end until American Jews sign up to the statement, “Zionism is racism.” This forum suggests that I wasn’t smoking weed when I said so.)

 

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

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

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121 Responses

  1. Siegfried al-Haq
    Siegfried al-Haq
    April 4, 2016, 12:22 pm

    RE: “Finally, Omar Zahzah’s piece. “Zionism Justifies Discrimination and Oppression.” Make way for Palestinians!” — Sherene Seikaly is Palestinian…

  2. Krauss
    Krauss
    April 4, 2016, 1:05 pm

    Remember 2009-2011? During those years, the NYT took bold steps towards saying what had to be said, only to retreat into bigoted Jewish supremacism. Jodi Rudoren’s fawning portrayals of IDF generals ruling over a colonised population and her dismissals of Palestinians as “ho-hum” about the death of their children was the logical conclusion of the years that followed 2009-2011.

    We may now see the temporary reverse of shoot-and-cry Zionism, only for it to re-emerge as Clinton enters the WH and breaths life into the dead ghost of the 2SS. The puppetshow must then be re-enacted, and the NYT knows what role it has to play in order to defend Jewish Apartheid.

    Watch for the NYT to denounce any truthteller as a bigoted extremist for failing to be sufficienctly supportive of the Jewish Apartheid project in Israel.

    In the long run, I am an optimist. But let us not exonerate the NYT for its staunch and consistent support of Zionism, even when it was obvious to everyone of the deep racism and brutal colonialism that was apparent to anyone on the ground. The NYT wasn’t oblivious, it was actively covering up the crime out of ideological reasons, it’s a heavily Jewish paper and Zionism is seeped in American-Jewish culture.

    That institutional failure to rid itself of its racism has to be remembered and the NYT has to be held accountable. It never wavered on civil rights. It never trembled on Christian Apartheid in South Africa. So why did it defend Jewish Apartheid until the bitter end?

    These questions are uncomfortable, yet they need to be asked, over and over again, until they come clean. It has blood on its hands and it must be held accountable for supporting a historical crime.

  3. John Douglas
    John Douglas
    April 4, 2016, 1:17 pm

    Thanks for this, Phil. I admire your persistent optimism. Cynicism takes none of the energy and requires none of the courage of optimism. And too, I think that on most matters of human justice, and in the long run, persistent optimism is the closest stance to realism.

  4. amigo
    amigo
    April 4, 2016, 1:32 pm

    Whether or not the authors are pro Israel or anti Israeli policies is not the point.The point is , the discussion is out in the open and rightly so.That it appears on such a historically pro Israel rag is a bonus.

    Did anyone notice the “hasbara” talking points , populating the comments sections.That book must qualify for the best seller list.

  5. hophmi
    hophmi
    April 4, 2016, 1:42 pm

    Except that anti-Zionism is not a principled anti-racism position because the conflict isn’t a racial conflict, anti-Zionists do not condemn racism anywhere in the Middle East, and the fact that at a time when Iraqi Christians are being subjected to a genocide, and hundreds of thousands are dying in Syria, anti-Zionists are focused on Israel suggests that anti-racism is not what motivates anti-Zionists at all; what motivates them is support for a nationalist cause, and sometimes simple rejection of Jewish nationalism in the Middle East for the crime of being neither Muslim or Arab.

    • Donald
      Donald
      April 4, 2016, 3:58 pm

      “because the conflict isn’t a racial conflict” Irrelevant because racism isn’t necessarily about biological categories that a population geneticist would recognize. All you need are categories of people defined in whatever arbitrary manner and racism can begin. In this case, you have these two categories”Jew” and “Palestinian” and that’s enough.

      “anti-Zionists do not condemn racism anywhere in the Middle East ” As a group, they condemn it in Israel. By definition. In other places, individual anti-Zionists may or may not be morally consistent, like any other group of people.

      As for the rest, you actually find quite a few people here who get in very heated discussions about Syria. The heat has mainly a disagreement about Assad, because everyone who has posted condemns the genocidal crimes of the jihadists. Most people who are left leaning on the I/P conflict would agree. If you paid attention you could actually make a better accusation of double standards than you do, but you’re not paying close enough attention to the arguments people have had.

      You’re repeating the same arguments people made to defend apartheid SA—back then it was the claim that people really didn’t care about the rights of Africans because they focused on apartheid and not on the killings in Uganda or other places. It didn’t mean that apartheid wasn’t racist and that the anti-apartheid movement wasn’t an anti-racist movement. It just meant that some anti-apartheid activists were single-minded and some were inconsistent. Welcome to the world of politics. None of this gets either apartheid or Israel off the hook.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 4, 2016, 5:40 pm

        Well said, Donald.
        To your:
        “Irrelevant because racism isn’t necessarily about biological categories that a population geneticist would recognize. All you need are categories of people defined in whatever arbitrary manner and racism can begin. In this case, you have these two categories”Jew” and “Palestinian” and that’s enough”

        one could add that the only uncontroversial definition of “Jewish” is “born to a Jewish woman”.

        This is, I think, the absolute maximum of a characteristic by birth. It is pure racialism, no matter that there is no such “race”.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        April 4, 2016, 9:52 pm

        echinococcus: one could add that the only uncontroversial definition of “Jewish” is “born to a Jewish woman”
        —————

        Such a definition would be extremely controversial, if only for the fact that it excludes the possibility of conversion.

        (Not that I disagree at all with Donald’s points.)

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 5, 2016, 12:17 am

        Sibiriak,

        Kindly provide anything showing any significant conversions in modern times before the Zionist entity suddenly started needing cannon fodder. When it used to be strongly discouraged and disapproved by the tribe. One thing about conversion is sure: it never was uncontested. Au contraire.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        April 5, 2016, 2:03 am

        echinococcus: […] “Jewish” is “born to a Jewish woman”.

        This is, I think, the absolute maximum of a characteristic by birth. It is pure racialism”…
        —————

        A parentage aspect to group membership qualification is not necessarily “pure racialism”, although it can be.

        For example, parentage is a qualifying element, one of several, for membership in the group “American people”, a non-racial, non-ethnonational construct.

        On the other hand, parentage is a qualifying element for membership in the group “African-American”, which IS a racial construct.

        In the case of Jewish identity, a parentage group membership qualifying element doesn’t imply “pure racialism”. As you well know, the group “Jews” comprises multiple ethnicities, so clearly a matrilineal membership element doesn’t create a single racial or ethnic group (the conversion element I mentioned previously being a primary factor in Jewish multi-ethnicity).

        Critically, parentage as a membership qualification element doesn’t necessarily imply that anything relevant to the group membership is transmitted genetically, i.e. it doesn’t imply inherited characteristics.

        It does for “racial” or ethnic groupings like “African-American”, but not non-racial/ethnic groups like “American”. There are no “American” characteristics transmitted genetically– yet American parentage is an qualifying element (one of several) for being an American.

        Of course, it is true that some people have believed that Jews are a race or ethnicity with genetically inherited “Jewish characteristics”–but that view is in no way a necessary for a concept of Jewish identity.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 5, 2016, 3:49 am

        Sibiriak,

        Sophistry. We are talking about uterine production of a member of a tribe mythically descended from direct inhabitants of some hills in a circumscribed area in Palestine. Necessarily, because they claim ownership. Not anything to do with citizenship jus sanguinis in the modern sense, so that does not come into play at all.
        So yes, it is pure racism even if there is no race here, and how. Especially considering that women are not relied upon not to miscegenate with Goys, how the hell can anyone consider this criterion anything but extreme racist?

        By the way, acquiring religion by conversion, mentioned elsewhere by you, is by the same token totally invalid for the purposes of even the Zionist land and sovereignty claim criteria for bestowing illegal citizenship on aliens.

        As for

        Of course, it is true that some people have believed that Jews are a race or ethnicity with genetically inherited “Jewish characteristics”–but that view is in no way a necessary for a concept of Jewish identity.

        that’s not my invention. That necessity is what the book says and what the most authoritative rabbies say and what Mrs. Goldsilber next door firmly believes. Or so it was until 1950 at any rate. Otherwise there was no need for the 12 tribes and a tribal god and the whole hoopla.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 5, 2016, 11:03 am

        ” of some hills in a circumscribed area in Palestine.”

        Yup, people made that same joke about Seattle when they did the Denny regrade. Said it was the longest bris ever.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 5, 2016, 2:30 pm

        “Critically, parentage as a membership qualification element doesn’t necessarily imply that anything relevant to the group membership is transmitted genetically, i.e. it doesn’t imply inherited characteristics.
        It does for “racial” or ethnic groupings like “African-American”,

        Okay, so would you mind telling us what the “inherited characteristics” of a “racial”… groupings like “African-American” is? Or are?
        Especially the ones which are relevant to this conversation. So you can leave out the darker skin, people have skins of all different colors.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 8, 2016, 3:02 pm

        “Jewish” is “born to a Jewish woman”.

        Oy vagelt get it right. It’s “unto”. You gotta be “born unto” . “To” won’t cut it. There’s a big long explanation of why, which I didn’t get, but trust me, that’s the way it is, you gotta be “born unto” not just “born to”. I know this is a sensitive subject.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 8, 2016, 8:27 pm

        Mooser,

        No matter all the gnashing of teeth, RoHa certainly has improved our diction. Mine unfortunately excepted, as shown by unto.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 8, 2016, 11:04 pm

        ” RoHa certainly has improved our diction”

        The difference between “to” and “unto” isn’t grammatical, it is theological.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 9, 2016, 5:40 am

        Yes Moose, so is appropriate diction.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      April 4, 2016, 5:13 pm

      @hophmi

      You have no clue or idea what individuals, who are anti zionist, do or don’t support or condemn.

      Just more of the made up baseless slurs and slanders made up by hophmi a tiny pathetic little whining excuse of a human.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 5, 2016, 11:46 pm

        @og

        . Well, philosophically, you also have not a single clue what individuals who are zionist and pro-israel do or don’t support or condemn.

        just more ignorant, uninformed and naive insults made up by ogz and his comrades who may very well be tiny (or fat) pathetic little ( or big) whining excuses for human beings.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 4, 2016, 11:41 pm

      Iraqi Christians are being subjected to a genocide because of their religious faith. Syria is a civil war, now infiltrated by diverse foreigners seeking a power base there. Neither conflict has anything to do with racism which is why nobody discussing such conflicts ever brings up Jim Crow or apartheid South Africa, but Zionism as practiced by Israel and defended by Zionist rhetoric and ideology rhymes with both.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 6, 2016, 12:00 am

        @c

        So, because the technical definition of racism is not met by the conflict in Syria and Iraq nobody is discussing it as anything at all like a conflict where people are slaughtered for there origins as Yazidi, Coptic, druze, Sunni, shia, Jew, and so on,

        But because Israel, which has absolutely no laws pertaining to race. Has every racial group and every creed, colour, religion represented I it’s gov’t and public institutions ( supreme court judges, heads of hospitals, generals, police commanders, politicians, mk’s and on and on you have the sensibility to decide that the period of u’s. Jim crow (along with completely different South African apartheid is the most helpful and pertinent way you can help Palestinians gain their own nation along with reparations for what they lost in wars and occupation.

        You my worldly ctz are a genius. Why hasn’t anybody else figured out your brilliant strategy for bringing a solution to a 60+yr conflict to a conclusion. Stunning. Regular mw commenters like you never cease to amaze me. In fact, for you I’ll go off my hasbara clock and put down my meth pipe ( you know how hysterical funny man moosr gets when he thinks narcotics explain zionist thought) and make this comment I the house.

    • Yossarian22
      Yossarian22
      April 5, 2016, 12:51 pm

      “anti-Zionists do not condemn racism anywhere in the Middle East,”

      Citation needed. Actually, scratch that; the claim is categorically false. Every anti-Zionist I know fiercely abhors, for instance, Bahrain’s oppression of its Shia populace or the vicious sectarian violence in Syria. It’s just we don’t succumb to the fallacy of believing that human rights abuses in Syria justify human rights abuses in Israel.

      “,…anti-Zionists are focused on Israel suggests that anti-racism is not what motivates anti-Zionists at all”

      This was the same argument that South Africa’s supporters used. It hasn’t aged well. Just like Idi Amin’s Uganda or Seko’s Zaire didn’t excuse South African apartheid, human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia or Syria don’t excuse apartheid in Israel.

      • Boris
        Boris
        April 6, 2016, 1:42 pm

        Can you direct me to a website which exclusively focuses on opposition to Bahrain’s policy of oppression of Shia Muslims?

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 6, 2016, 2:43 pm

        || Boris: Can you direct me to a website which exclusively focuses on opposition to Bahrain’s policy of oppression of Shia Muslims? ||

        Bahrain Center for Human Rights
        Defending and promoting human rights in Bahrain

        But of course that’s beside the point. Neither BDS nor MW’s focus on Israel absolves the “Jewish State” of its colonialism, past and on-going (war) crimes or supremacism.

      • amigo
        amigo
        April 6, 2016, 2:55 pm

        “Can you direct me to a website which exclusively focuses on opposition to Bahrain’s policy of oppression of Shia Muslims?” Boris

        boris , press on the left side of your mouse (he won,t squeak) , then use the cursor to select the content of your post.Next press the right hand side of your mouse and right click on “search Google” .Bon voyage.

    • Qualtrough
      Qualtrough
      April 6, 2016, 3:19 am

      @Hopfmi – I don’t agree with you on anything related to Zionism, but despite that I recognize that you are an intelligent person despite your flaws. Why then do you persist in using whataboutery rather than arguing the facts? No matter what the topic, as soon as anyone reads something like “Yeah, but country/people X are far worse and you don’t have anything to say about them!” it is immediately apparent that the writer has conceded the point by default and is now employing a diversionary tactic. Distraction may work with magicians, but it doesn’t work very well with arguments, especially when it is used over and over.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        April 6, 2016, 11:29 am

        It’s not a concession of the facts of your argument. It’s an exposing the hypocrisy of your argument and the peculiarity of your priorities, which reflect a less-than honorable purpose.

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 6, 2016, 11:41 am

      || hophmi: … anti-Zionists do not condemn racism anywhere in the Middle East … ||

      You deliberately lie. I am anti-Zionist and I have stated numerous times that I believe in the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.

      || … and the fact that at a time when Iraqi Christians are being subjected to a genocide, and hundreds of thousands are dying in Syria, anti-Zionists are focused on Israel suggests … ||

      …that Zionism is a problem in Israel, not in Syria or Iraq.

      There’s nothing unjust or immoral about protesting Injustice Z without also protesting Injustices A-Y.

      But there’s nothing even remotely just or moral with how you Zio-supremacists use Injustices A-Y to advocate, justify and defend your Injustice Z.

  6. eljay
    eljay
    April 4, 2016, 1:54 pm

    … “Jews are as entitled to a self-liberation and self-empowerment movement as any other people…” …

    Okay, so go ahead and have a “self-liberation and self-empowerment movement”.

    But nothing – not self-identity, self-determination, self-liberation or self-empowerment – entitles…
    – people who choose to hold the religion-based identity of “Jewish”; or
    – any other people,
    ..to any type of supremacism (religion-based or otherwise) in any type of supremacist state (religion-supremacist or otherwise).

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      April 4, 2016, 4:52 pm

      Thank you eljay. Specifically and generally.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 4, 2016, 9:22 pm

        || ritzl: Thank you eljay. Specifically and generally. ||

        I don’t deserve that, but thanks and right back atcha! :-)

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      April 4, 2016, 5:57 pm

      Well put. I see no basis for believing one’s own liberation justifies a catastrophic cost to innocent people, other than believing one’s own life is inherently superior and more valuable. What other justification could there possibly be? A person making this argument might as well wear a button saying, “I’m a bigot for God”.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 6, 2016, 12:15 am

      @ej

      How profound. So “nothing” .. Not any of those lofty causes you mentioned “entitles” anybody who identifies as any particular religion to a state that holds that religion ‘supreme’.

      (Assuming there are no laws passed in this ‘said’ religious supremicist state preventing any persons of any other said religions from practicing their religion in any matter they see fit with access to their holy sites such as the way Christians and Jews were prevented by law to pray in they’re temples or churches in Jerusalem when Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria from ’48-’67.

      . Or the way Jews,/ Christians are not permitted to pray in KSA. Or, how the small number of Jews that are left in Iran ,,(20k down from over 150k) have many restrictions placed on what jobs, how much money, how many Jews allowed in parliment,[one btw] where they can practice and more severely..what they can say publicly)

      So, obviously your not referring to Israel either and probably mean Iran, KSA, or some of the other more severe Islamic republics which absolutely consider Islam supreme- to other Judaic religions and more so, the non abrahamic faiths.

      I wonder just which nation your referring to considering your criteria.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 6, 2016, 11:44 am

        || aar: @ej How profound. … ||

        If you say so.

        || … I wonder just which nation your referring to considering your criteria. ||

        Any state – such as Israel and Islamic State – that meets the criteria. Duh.

  7. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    April 4, 2016, 2:00 pm

    Words matter, and “equating” Zionism with racism, is as imprecise as “equating” criticism of Israeli policies with Anti-Semitism.

    Can some form of Zionism exist, consistent with Palestinian rights? If so, then labeling all of Zionism as racism is a political conflation. It feeds into (by opposition) Israeli hasbara that criticism of Israeli policies constitutes an existential threat.

    One can oppose specific policies of the Israeli government, without denying all of Zionism, and without denying Israel’s right to exist, with a predominately Jewish people and culture.

    The American ideals of an informed public, equal rights, limited government periodically elected, with various checks and balances on power, is designed to survive and correct incompetence and corruption, in part by minimizing the harm any one person or group or movement can inflict.

    This kind of reckless conflation of terms on the side of the Israeli establishment appears designed to escalate harm and the appearance of the threat of harm, in service of those trying to manipulate fear for propaganda purposes, in order to allow continued oppression and land-seizure. The Palestinian cause expressed by ZahZah below avoids that trap, but your headline falls into:

    “Palestinian self-determination is a crucial step in ending the logic of racialization and civilizational hierarchy that produced anti-Semitism and genocide. This logic measures Palestinian life as less valuable than Israeli life. To say otherwise is to suggest that standing up for Palestinian rights is somehow anti-Jewish. Critiquing this logic is a moral responsibility.”

    • lyn117
      lyn117
      April 4, 2016, 3:09 pm

      @David Doppler,

      Were all the people who form the indigenous population of what’s now Israel to live there, it would not be a state with predominately Jewish people. Any ideology which seeks to exclude the native people of its land from life in in that land and participation in its government is by nature racist. There might be some minute form of Zionism that supports the right of return for exiled Palestinians. You are arguing Zionism isn’t racist because only 99.99999% of Zionism is a form of racism?

      And why do you think that a state which denies its indigenous population the right to live there has any “right to exist?”

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 4, 2016, 3:50 pm

        Congratulations to Phil on 10 years’ anti-racist work.
        I would be interested to see a definition of Zionism that corresponded in any way to what has happened and that acknowledged Palestinisn rights in any significant way.
        I understand Z as the belief that people who are Jewish (of that religion or descended from ancestors of that religion) and they only, have an inherent right to a share of sovereignty over the Holy Land. This is not rational, therefore is prejudiced in favour of a group defined by an ancestral feature, in this case religion, and thus prejudiced against those of different ancestry, therefore is prejudice related to ancestry, that is to race, therefore is ‘racist’ in my understanding of that term.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 4, 2016, 6:39 pm

        And why do you think that a state which denies its indigenous population the right to live there has any “right to exist?”

        Precisely. Before getting there, though, one must ask
        “why do you think that a state which has no right to even be there has any right to exist?”

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 4, 2016, 3:31 pm

      || David Doppler: … One can oppose specific policies of the Israeli government, without denying all of Zionism, and without denying Israel’s right to exist, with a predominately Jewish people and culture. … ||

      Zionism is about Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine. There’s nothing about that ideology that should not be denied.

      As for Israel, it exists and should continue to exist as a secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

      Israel has no right to exist as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” primarily of and for – and with a legally-enshrined, permanent-majority status for – Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 4, 2016, 9:38 pm

        ” without denying Israel’s right to exist, with a predominately Jewish people and culture.”

        Naturally, he means ‘a predominately Ashkenazi-Orthodox Jewish people and culture.’ Sephardic, and Secular and Reform have to take a second place.

        Anyway, we will have to normalize some form of Judaism for once and for all, to assure the predominance.

    • Emory Riddle
      Emory Riddle
      April 4, 2016, 3:39 pm

      Words matter, and “equating” Zionism with racism, is as imprecise as “equating” criticism of Israeli policies with Anti-Semitism.

      Bullspit. The former is true, the latter a lie.

      “Can some form of Zionism exist, consistent with Palestinian rights?

      Of course not. Seventy years experience tells us this. Along with the insistence that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people.

      “If so, then labeling all of Zionism as racism is a political conflation.”

      But its not so.

      “It feeds into (by opposition) Israeli hasbara that criticism of Israeli policies constitutes an existential threat.”

      So what. They will continue to fear monger the Jewish people and label non Zionists as racists unless they get everything they want. Time to stop enabling the crazies.

      “One can oppose specific policies of the Israeli government, without denying all of Zionism, and without denying Israel’s right to exist, with a predominately Jewish people and culture.”

      How absolutely racist of you. A predominantly (Euro) Jewish people and culture — on a land that is not European and for millennia has had a Jewish population of less than 5% of the overall population (until the creation of Zionism).

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 4, 2016, 9:45 pm

        “on a land that is not European and for millennia has had a Jewish population of less than 5% of the overall population (until the creation of Zionism).”

        “Emory” the sense of sheer entitlement is breathtaking, isn’t it? Not just ready to impose it on others, but more than ready to impose it on Jews, too!

        “a predominately Jewish people and culture”

        Dig out the costumes and props from “Fiddler”!

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      April 4, 2016, 5:19 pm

      Doppler,

      Can some form of Zionism exist, consistent with Palestinian rights?

      Only somewhere else than Palestine. By definition, Zionism is bound to sovereignty over some territory.

      If it were somewhere else, though, it would necessarily be negating some other people’s rights.

      The South Pole may be the only place on earth where no people’s rights are violated. Why don’t the Zionists and supporters commission a study on that?

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        April 5, 2016, 4:51 am

        A cultural Zionism that included living in/visiting Palestine (as legal residents and tourists) speaking Hebrew etc.. could be consistent with the rights of all citizens of I/P including returnees. That is clearly not what most Zionists want now or where the movement went (inevitably) but that does answer the question about “could.”

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 5, 2016, 7:36 am

        || echinococcus: … The South Pole may be the only place on earth where no people’s rights are violated. Why don’t the Zionists and supporters commission a study on that? ||

        Antarctica: A land with only penguins for a people kicked out of the land they stole.

        Needs a bit of tweaking… ;-)

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 6, 2016, 1:24 am

        Eljay,

        Global warming might make it into hot real estate.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 6, 2016, 10:57 am

        || echinococcus: Eljay, Global warming might make it into hot real estate. ||

        Maybe even desert-like, and Zio-supremacists will no doubt make it bloom.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      April 4, 2016, 6:15 pm

      David Doppler, this isn’t intended as a “gotcha” question so please don’t take it that way. I’m just genuinely curious about how reasonable people get from “here” to “there.”

      If you had to choose between two blanket polar opposites of supporting Zionism as practiced in Israel or supporting the contention that Zionism is racism, which would you choose?

      I know that’s pretty much an artificial choice but your answer/reflection on the comparative attractiveness of those poles to someone like you (who genuinely agonize over these types of questions) would be insightful imo.

      Cheers.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 4, 2016, 6:57 pm

        @DD As a gesture of sincerity, I’ll give my own answer. I (obviously) gravitate to the “Zionism is racism” blanket pole because only with that realization and the resulting deconstruction of Zionism can one sift through the wreckage to find (and reconstitute?) any good bits that (as you say) may exist.

        FWIW

      • David Doppler
        David Doppler
        April 4, 2016, 8:07 pm

        My whole point is that choosing between two polar opposites isn’t necessary. I don’t condone at all the racism and oppression practiced in Israel. But I also don’t condone at all the notion that Israel has to cease to exist. Should America cease to exist because it incorporated slavery into its founding constitution, and engaged in ethnic cleansing? Everyone other than the Native Americans go back to where their ancestors came from? Or can societies improve over time, become more perfect?

      • gamal
        gamal
        April 4, 2016, 8:50 pm

        “Or can societies improve over time, become more perfect?”

        I suppose they could…whats the rush…”more perfect” ..says it all.

        “A day in the life of a young black male engineering “coding” student.”

        https://storify.com/rodneysampson/adayinthelife

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 5, 2016, 12:42 am

        Doppler,
        My objection is that invaded and dominated peoples seem to never give up on their request of justice –short of a genocide. The only happy examples proposed are from times when no reliable records can be expected (like Roman Gaul…) Look around you. It took 1,000 years, genocide and then completion by forced expulsion and population exchange for Turkey to start feeling legitimate… in non-Kurdish areas only. That is not an exception. I would imagine that Palestinians are not an exception either, no matter all the overgenerous proposals made in their name by puppets, no matter the extreme desirability for all of ramming a compromise down their throat (if, that is, Zionists were to ever accept any compromise…)

        That is precisely why the Zionist entity, both its religious and Labor factions, is hellbent on displacing and disappearing Palestinians.
        Tells me that no matter all the peaceful good intentions, there is no negotiating partner for any of these anyway.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        April 5, 2016, 8:34 pm

        Eljay:
        “Antarctica: A land with only penguins for a people kicked out of the land they stole.”

        Three of Israel’s Prime Ministers including its founder were born in Poland (David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir). If they had moved down to Antarctica they could all have been South Poles in succession.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 6, 2016, 10:58 am

        || Elliot @ April 5, 2016, 8:34 pm ||

        :-)

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 6, 2016, 12:30 pm

        The analogy I had in mind was not so much post-agreement remorse as failing to make enough of the agreed future payments for goods received now.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      April 4, 2016, 9:11 pm

      @David

      I could echo many other posters general thoughts if not their words. I will save the typing and try not to repeat what has been said.

      Where is Israel’s right to exist? Where is the right of any state to exist? Does Israel accord this right to the Palestinians? Does Israel recognize this right in other countries when it occupies and controls their territories for decade or outright steals and colonize it? Does Israel recognize it when Nutty publicly opines Syria should be Balkanized? Is this to be some Jewish state only right? I think arguably it could be read into the UNITED Charter but Israel is in violation of that as well.

      From my understanding zionist used to be desire and belief in a Jewish homeland. I would be hard pressed to not sign onto that. In practice it has become support for Israel which was a racist colonialist operation from the start. To the extent that zionism is support for the state of Israel as it is constituted and as it operates today then yes zionism is racism.

      You want to allay the fears of zionist. .. this sounds like the textbook LZ argument of let’s give them hugs and tell them how wonderful they are and they will stop behaving so badly. I am not buying it. Decades of attempting that have led to the current state which is now secure and comfortable in openly discussing and perpetrating crimes against humanity.

      Israel is a rogue outlaw state. It’s supporters operate without morals. The only guiding principles are promoting and solidifying racist goals regardless of the millions of people they tread on in the process.

      • just
        just
        April 4, 2016, 10:01 pm

        Thank you.

        (You are a good ‘oldgeezer’ that I would dearly like to meet one day. 1S1P1V!!! Justice will, and must, happen in our lifetime.)

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 4, 2016, 11:13 pm

        @just

        LOL no thanks needed. There are many people here I would enjoy meeting for sure and you are one. I think I could even enjoy a face to face with a couple of the Israel supporters (only a couple mind you).

        I have learned far more from the people here than I could ever contribute beyond my desire and belief in the equality of mankind and justice for all.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 5, 2016, 8:27 am

        OG,

        The Palestinians through their “sole and legitimate representatives” have recognized Israel’s right to exist.

        September 9, 1993

        Yitzhak Rabin
        Prime Minister of Israel

        Mr. Prime Minister,

        The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era in the history of the Middle East. In firm conviction thereof, I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments:

        The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

        The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

        The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.

        The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators.

        In view of the pormise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.

        Sincerely,

        Yasser Arafat
        Chairman
        The Palestine Liberation Organization

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 5, 2016, 9:08 am

        || Jon66: OG, The Palestinians through their “sole and legitimate representatives” have recognized Israel’s right to exist. … ||

        But that wasn’t enough for Zio-supremacists, who want:
        – Israel recognized as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine;
        – absolution of their past and on-going (war) crimes; and
        – absolution of their responsibilities under international law (incl. RoR of refugees).

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 5, 2016, 9:21 am

        @ Jon66 April 5, 2016, 8:27 am

        “The Palestinians through their “sole and legitimate representatives” have recognized Israel’s right to exist”

        Uh huh. Let’s see

        September 9, 1993

        Yitzhak Rabin
        Prime Minister of Israel

        Mr. Prime Minister,

        The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era in the history of the Middle East. In firm conviction thereof, I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments:

        The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security”

        Seems you missed a bit.

        All states are obliged to have ” respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”

        Israel has disrespected and invaded ALL of its neighbours within their recognized boundaries. None have invaded any recognized Israeli territory. All of Israel’s wars have been fought in territories outside the state of Israel.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 5, 2016, 9:45 am

        @jon66

        I’m well aware of that jon. Not sure what your point is. The right to exist in peace and security is part of the UN Charter. You know… That document that zionists have trashed for other peoples and from that organization that zionists regularly trashed.

        I’m also aware how the perfidious zionists, having acheived that from the plo came up with a new demand for the Palestinians to recognize the right of the Jewish state of Israel in order to further push peace down the road so they could continue on with their criminal enterprise.

        Who could forget Ya’alon tweeting a picture of himself with a broad grin and holding a sheet of paper which read … the threat of peace is off the table.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 5, 2016, 10:11 am

        This was the question, “Where is Israel’s right to exist? Where is the right of any state to exist? – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/shocker-nyt-forum-on-anti-zionism-tilts-toward-equating-zionism-with-racism/#comment-164676

        The answer is the Palestinians amongst others.

        I’m unclear what the rest the points have to do with this specific question.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 5, 2016, 11:00 am

        @jon

        The Paslestinians are not a “where”. They are a people,a group, a “who”but then I don’t expect zionists to recognize that as they make

        Point me to any agreed upon set of rights which says states have a right to exist.

        Again… show where any state has a right to exist. Show me where Israel has a right to exist.

        Your answer had nothing to do with the question. I could recognize Israel as the land of purple people. That doesn’t mean that purple people exist. Israel does exist and it does have a right to exist in peace and security. A right which does not trump the rights of others and which it effectively forgoes when it denies those rights to others.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 5, 2016, 11:12 am

        The Palestinians have often indicated readiness for a 2ss, with a peaceful and secure Israel. However, they cannot be taken to have made this commitment in such absolute and overriding terms, so totally bound to whatever interpretation Israel sees fit, that there is no reciprocal right for themselves if Israel sees the slightest risk to its peace and security in granting it. Their commitment has to be understood as conditional on some reciprocity, and the only logical form of reciprocity would be Israel’s readiness to offer and keep on offering some form of tangible 2s arrangement. But all we have now is Isrseli insistence that the status quo, including ever expanding colonisation, will continue indefinitely. If someone makes a commitment because, as it turns out, (s)he has been in effect lied to and practised upon that commitment cannot be binding.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 5, 2016, 11:24 am

        In my most humble and uninformed opinion:

        The only way a state should emerge is through real self-determination by the democratic majority consent of the indigenous population of a geographic region.

        And even then, it should not emerge as anything other than a secular and democratic state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

        Israel was carved out of Palestine against the will of its indigenous population and established as a religion-supremacist state. Major fails right off the bat.

        But it exists and, so, should continue to exist. But not as a supremacist state, not as colonialist state and not as a (war) criminal state. It must be transformed, it must be held accountable and it must honour its obligations.

        Over time – one-state solution or two – the damage done can be undone democratically and through real self-determination by the inhabitants of the state(s).

        Zio-supremacists know this, which is why to preserve Israel as a “Jewish State” they insist at a bare minimum on special / different rules such as:
        – preferential immigration for people who hold the religion-based identity of “Jewish”; and/or
        – a legally-enshrined, permanent majority status for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 5, 2016, 11:31 am

        OG,

        ‘Where is the right to not self incriminate? It’s located in the Fifth amendment of the U.S. constitution.” That doesn’t imply that Americans are not people.

        Where is Israel’s right to exist? It is in the agreements signed by the Representative of the Palestinian people for example.

        I said, “The Palestinians through their “sole and legitimate representatives” have recognized Israel’s right to exist. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/shocker-nyt-forum-on-anti-zionism-tilts-toward-equating-zionism-with-racism/#comment-164676
        How is that a failure to recognize them as people? I don’t see how it’s an insult in any objective manner.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 5, 2016, 11:39 am

        Hughes,

        There was reciprocity. In exchange for the recognition of Israel and the renunciation of violence, Israel recognized the PLO and began negotiations with them. There was an agreement of the terms and an exchange of something of value to each side. The Palestinian commitment to recognize Israel was reciprocated by Israel recognizing the PLO. You may have a case in terms of the Oslo accords, I am not that familiar with them, but the recognition was a fair exchange.

        “September 9, 1993

        Yasser Arafat
        Chairman
        The Palestinian Liberation Organization

        Mr. Chairman,

        In response to your letter of September 9, 1993, I wish to confirm to you that, in light of the PLO commitments included in your letter, the Government of Israel has decided to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and commence negotiations with the PLO within the Middle East peace process.

        Yitzhak Rabin
        Prime Minister of Israel

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 5, 2016, 10:13 pm

        @ Jon66 April 5, 2016, 11:31 am

        “Where is Israel’s right to exist?”

        State don’t have a right to exist. People have the right to determine their state. It’s called self determination.

        Israel was such a case proclaimed ” as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947,” http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf

        No territory outside of that boundary was or has ever been officially recognized as Israeli and by default what remained of State of Palestine Palestine. Put simply , if it was the territory of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan or, Egypt or Israel, it was Palestinian!

        Once a state does exist, Palestine existed in 1922 (see the LoN Mandate Article 7), other states have a legal obligation to have ” respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” http://wp.me/PDB7k-6r#unscresolution242

        ” It is in the agreements signed by the Representative of the Palestinian people for example”

        No it isn’t buddy. It’s in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel and the Israeli Government’s subsequent plea for recognition

        “I said, “The Palestinians through their “sole and legitimate representatives” have recognized Israel’s right to exist.”

        Indeed you did. But like any pukemeister for Israel’s illegal expansionism, you had to cherry pick. IOW you LIED! Why?

        Lying and bearing false witness is against the basic common sense tenets of Judaism. Ignoring the basic tenets on behalf of the ‘Jewish’ state is quite simply bizarre

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 5, 2016, 11:52 pm

        Talknic,

        You say,”State don’t have a right to exist.”

        The PLO, on behalf of the Palestinians, said, “The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security. ”

        So, the Israelis and Palestinians both think Israel has a right to exist, but you insist that they don’t have the ability to assert that right.
        I have no idea what this has to do with expansionism. It’s really straightforward and there is no lying involved. Just the presentation of the original documents in full.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 6, 2016, 12:44 am

        And the point of that signing was Arafat, as leader and sole representative of Palestinian people declared that the conflict would be resolved. Not, ‘ ok, we accept the right of Israel to exist in peace and security. We will negotiate the issues of reparations, land and refugees. Jerusalem too. ‘ and then the next day in Arabic -that NO western msn outlet deemed important enough to cover- told his people that all of Palestine belongs to the Palestinian people. From sea to river. And blah Dee dah. Always the same, one thing to the western powers, the opposite to his people.

        Arafat’s intention was ALWAYS to accept what treaty he could get and then continue the conflict thru either the UN, other world bodies and the threats that, at the time, no other Arab neighbor was offering an END to the conflict. They may have been offering terms of ceasing hostilities in return for land but NEVER agreed to an end to all outstanding issues. Israel, or any other nation for that matter would have to be insane to return the strategic land I return for a half assed agreement to cease the ‘technical’ state of war.

        Even if I was not a staunch Zionist as a neutral unbiased observer I would never advice one party to a hostile belligerent state of war to give up their main advantage unless they received an iron clad treaty that ALL outstanding issues and hostilities are over. Done. Finito. Period

        If the Palestinians intend to sign a treaty and then continue to press for more land, ror, and so on in other international venues – and theoretically use the excuse of these outstanding issues to continue to press for violent or legal intifada then there isn’t really much point I Israel signing. Sht.

        I’m sure the dipshts here will lay into this basic, simple exercise in common sense with all sorts of historical revision, twisted facts, irrelevant anecdotes but this is mw afterall, so go for

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 6, 2016, 11:28 am

        I thank Jon for his comments on the reciprocity of the Oslo days, which are quite true. I remember a very cheerful conversation, full of hope that all would now be well, with a Jewish colleague just after it was announced. How wrong!
        I still think that the Palestinians, the PLO and its heirs cannot be held to what they promised then if the appearance of reciprocity has proved illusory, which it has, I would say.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 6, 2016, 11:47 am

        Hughes,
        I agree that the Oslo accords didn’t turn out as planned. But the recognition was not conditional on the accords. The recognition was a mutual recognition of the legitimacy of each side. Israel continues to recognize the PLO/PA and so they must recognize Israel.

        I’m sure Russia was not happy when oil was discovered in Alaska but sellers remorse doesn’t allow you to renege on a deal. Both sides had hopes at the time, but the recognition and commitment to peaceful resolution was not dependent upon a final agreement.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 6, 2016, 12:04 pm

        We might express the idea that there is no right to seize power or property by force simply for one’s own gain by saying that every state not itself constituted by invaders and marauders without a later accord and restitution of peace ought not to be attacked for the gain of others and has a right to exist in that sense.
        There can’t be a right to exist in the sense of to stay as at present constituted, without significant reform. That would be a right to ignore rights.
        Liberal interventionists say that, because disregard of rights anywhere concerns everyone everywhere, it may be right to use impose human rights partly by force on foreign countries, though the record of such attempts is very daunting, to say the least, and the self- interest of the interventionists raises serious problems of hypocrisy and conflict of interest.
        Liberals who are activist rather than interventionist say that campaigns for rights across frontiers are important and just but must be limited to words and non-violent means.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 6, 2016, 1:19 pm

        Hughes,
        I’m responding to the earlier thread.
        I don’t believe that these sets of agreements were exchanged for future concessions. The recognition of the PLO by Israel was a huge step for Israel to take. I think they stand alone. The commitment of recognition and peaceful negotiations cannot be dependent on either side achieving their goals. If that were the case, all you would need to do to win concessions is threaten violence. the agreement to pursue recognition and peaceful approaches is the foundation for talks.

      • annie
        annie
        April 6, 2016, 1:59 pm

        jon, couple things:

        Talknic,

        You say,”State don’t have a right to exist.”

        The PLO, on behalf of the Palestinians, said, “The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security. ”

        So, the Israelis and Palestinians both think Israel has a right to exist

        i don’t think that sentence can be chopped up wrt rights. the right to exist in peace and security is not the same as a “right to exist”. as talknic pointed out, israel does exist already. and i think the meaning is that since it exists – it therefore has a right to live in peace. that’s what it means. there are no ‘rights to exist’ per se — and you very well know that or else you’d be linking to them.

        The commitment of recognition and peaceful negotiations cannot be dependent on either side achieving their goals. If that were the case, all you would need to do to win concessions is threaten violence. the agreement to pursue recognition and peaceful approaches is the foundation for talks

        i don’t agree. while peaceful negotiations can’t be dependent on either side achieving their goals, when you say the agreement to pursue recognition is the foundation for talks — if that recognition is israel recognizing the PLO (since you think that’s so huge) is the trade off for Israel being recognized as a jewish state — this is not a decent foundation (as it will never happen). been there done that — israel wanted recognition as a state and then they just upped the ante. it makes no sense for palestine to enter into negotiations (peaceful or otherwise) without the understanding israel recognizes a palestinian’s right to a state (either separately or as an equal citizen of israel — neither of which israel has ever recognized). so if one accepts israel will not ever grant palestinians full citizenship then there’s only one alternative — a palestinian state. and it’s my presumption palestinians have previously entered into negotiations in the past w/israel numerous times and what became clear (especially during the last negotiations) is israel will not put a proposal on the table for 2 states, w/border etc. and in the earlier negotiations they would not put up a proposal either. after the fact of agreement to negotiate israel wanted negotiations changed, to come up for a framework to negotiate instead — which israel then failed to offer a proposal for a state under the framework after 9 months. so what incentive does palestine have to enter into an “agreement to pursue recognition”? palestinian have already recognized israel. where’s israel recognizing palestine’s right to exist in peace and security? that should happen — before — agreeing to more negotiations. and to prove the integrity of their intent israel should have the decency to come up with a proposal that includes borders before negotiations start. this is the foundation for talks.

        the quartet requested proposals from both israel and palestine back in 2011 — israel refused. http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/europe-asks-wheres-israels-proposal/ and they are still refusing. until israel places a proposal on the table there’s simply no incentive for palestinians to waste their time on more negotiations w/israel, they should be turning to the international community.

        see “It’s the borders, stupid” … http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/the-borders-stupid/

        Did we learn anything from the Palestine Papers? We know why these negotiations keep failing. There’s no point in keeping talks alive once we realize Israel has no intention of ever even presenting a proposal for their own, or Palestinian, borders.

        And you wonder why people support one state? Because, thus far, that’s all that’s ever been on the table. Own it, and let the chips fall where they may.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 6, 2016, 4:06 pm

        @annie

        Talknic is of course correct.

        However, even if the PLO had simply stated that Israel has a right to exist this is not the same as stating that there is “a right for states to exists” or an actual right which has been codified that states have wrt to existence.

        jon knows this. He’s either playing dumb or just doing his derailing of topics which has been his focus the last couple of weeks.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 6, 2016, 4:10 pm

        “jon knows this. He’s either playing dumb or just doing his derailing of topics which has been his focus the last couple of weeks.”

        Yes, he’ll need time to regather his forces. He was a little shocked and disoriented when he found out that illegal Jewish settlers aren’t “protected persons” under the Geneva Conventions.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        April 6, 2016, 5:24 pm

        Annie, OG

        I’m not claiming some universal right of state existence. Frankly I don’t know if there is or is not such a thing.

        I think the clarification of peace and security in Arafta’s letter is in addition to the general recognition of the right of Israel to exist. Prior to this letter, the PLO did not recognize the establishment of Israel and denied its right to exist. The purpose of the letter was a recognition by the PLO that Israel was a legitimate state and had a right to exist in peace and security. Prior to this, the PLO position was, “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.”

        The current demands for the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish” state came much later than the exchange of letters. That has become BN’s position, but was certainly not the position of Rabin. i don’t think Israel has any basis in these original letters to demand a qualified recognition. I agree that it’s a stall tactic. The quartet and everything after the letters, including Oslo do not have direct bearing on the mutual recognition of the parties.

        In sum, I believe that the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist whether or not there is any such universal right of States. If the Palestinians believe that they have the ability to recognize the right of Israel to exist, why do you think you can deprive them of this? i don’t understand the thought process OG. I don’t think there needs to be some general right in order for the Palestinians to grant this right to Israel. The events which followed such as the demand for recognition as “Jewish” and the collapse of negotiations don’t have any bearing on the mutual recognition as they were not conditions to the recognition.

      • annie
        annie
        April 6, 2016, 6:22 pm

        I’m not claiming some universal right of state existence.

        since there is no such recognized right — not for any state, including israel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_exist

        and you just keep referencing “right of Israel to exist” “its right to exist” and “I believe that the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist” — 3 times in your last comment.

        hence, it’s like talking to a brick wall. If the Palestinians believe that they have the ability to recognize the right of Israel to exist, why do you think you can deprive them of this?

        again, i think your interpretation is skewered. and how can i deprive something that doesn’t exist? there is no recognized right of existence for states (see wiki link) hence, i can’t deprive them of something they do not have.

        i recognize they exist tho, so be happy w/that.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 6, 2016, 7:02 pm

        @jon

        Enough of your foolishness.

        The only people depriving the Palestinians of anything are Israelis and their supporters. If the Palestinians want to recognize the right of Israel to exist then that’s their call and I’m not questioning it.

        That does not mean that such a right actually exists. I even support the right of people or people(s) to declare that the spaghetti monster is real.

        I questioned the actual existance of such a right, which in fact does not exist for any state, and YOU are the one who dragged the Palestinians and that letter into it. Nothing you have posted shows the existance of such a right.

        I’m not wasting anymore time on this as I don’t think you are quite that stupid. I could be wrong but take it as a compliment anyway.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        April 6, 2016, 8:43 pm

        jon66 : There was reciprocity. In exchange for the recognition of Israel and the renunciation of violence, Israel recognized the PLO and began negotiations with them.
        ——————–

        Israel began negotiations in bad faith–using them as a stalling tactic and cover for continued expropriation of Palestinian territory and imposition of an apartheid occupation regime.

        The bottom line is: Palestine has recognized Israel as a state; Israel refuses to recognize Palestine as a state.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 6, 2016, 9:06 pm

        @ Jon66 “The PLO, on behalf of the Palestinians, said, “The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security. ”

        So, the Israelis and Palestinians both think Israel has a right to exist, but you insist that they don’t have the ability to assert that right.”

        1) A blatantly false accusation against me. How interesting. Trying to show readers how f&cked up you are?

        2) You originally wrote this “The Palestinians through their “sole and legitimate representatives” have recognized Israel’s right to exist. “ (it’s still there Jon66 – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/shocker-nyt-forum-on-anti-zionism-tilts-toward-equating-zionism-with-racism/#comment-164676 ) Now you’ve changed it to “The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security. ”

        Why is it you and your kind need to continually lie, fabricate, alter what was said?

        All states have a legal obligation to have

        “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;” http://wp.me/PDB7k-6r#unscresolution242

        “I have no idea what this has to do with expansionism”

        Israel has for 67 years been claiming territories outside of its proclaimed and recognized borders and you, a history teacher are ignorant of the fact? WOW! Isn’t it a teacher’s duty to at least try to first educate themselves? http://wp.me/pDB7k-l5#israels-intentions

        “It’s really straightforward and there is no lying involved”

        You cherry picked and made a claim that isn’t true. It’s called LYING!

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 7, 2016, 12:00 am

        Oooops mixed up the surgeon with the teacher. Apologies

    • Yossarian22
      Yossarian22
      April 5, 2016, 1:02 pm

      “Can some form of Zionism exist, consistent with Palestinian rights? If so, then labeling all of Zionism as racism is a political conflation. ”

      Here’s the thing; what-if-isms are interesting but not very pertinent. Yes, if history had followed a different path, a Zionism could have formed that was not racist. But that’s not how it turned out; Zionism doesn’t mean like it once could a belief in forming a Jewish spiritual community or colonizing land which had been obtained legitimately(ie, through the consent of the former inhabitants.) But it didn’t. In today’s world, Zionism means support for the current state of Israel as an apartheid state(ie, as a state that uses its power to maintain the racial privilege of one group over others)

      “One can oppose specific policies of the Israeli government, without denying all of Zionism, and without denying Israel’s right to exist, with a predominately Jewish people and culture. ”

      Considering that Israel created its “predominately Jewish” demographics by ethnically cleansing between 750, 000 and a million Palestinian civilians then refusing their fundamental right to return to their land, how exactly can you support the “right” of Israel to maintain a Jewish demographic majority through the denial of Palestinians’ rights without being racist? Jews in Israel have a right to live there in safety and with equal protection and rights under the law as do the Palestinians and the region’s Druze and Bedouin but neither they nor any group have a right to form a state’s demographics to their liking through ethnic cleansing.

  8. Keith
    Keith
    April 4, 2016, 4:29 pm

    SHERENE SEIKALY QUOTE- “Zionism is a national political movement that began in the late 19th century as a response to anti-Semitism.”

    Partly true, however, a primary motivation was to prevent assimilation and preserve Jewish tribalism. Zionism always was about preserving the Jewish people, never about saving individual Jews.

    LISA GOLDMAN QUOTE- “The most important element is neither God nor religion but the Holocaust….”

    The Holocaust is a core component of Zionism. If Herzl was the father of Zionism, then Hitler was the accidental midwife to the birth of Israel.

    LISA GOLDMAN QUOTE- “But openly identifying as a non-Zionist is anathema to Jewish communal life.”

    Communal life? Multicultural communal solidarity and kinship?

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      April 4, 2016, 5:17 pm

      Partly true indeed but there are other causes. Christian Zionism was already 2 centuries old when it began, with Akexander Keith’s Scottish mission around 1840 and resulting publicity, at last to look like a practical possibility. as the Ottoman Empire was clearly becoming unable to resist Western pressures for certain changes. One of the problems was that few Jews were interested. The philo-Judaism of Daniel Deronda and the Blackstone Memorandum played its part, as well as anti-Semitism, in changing the atmosphere among both Jews and Christians.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      April 5, 2016, 12:59 am

      Keith: , a primary motivation [for Zionism] was to prevent assimilation and preserve Jewish tribalism
      —————

      For some Jewish Zionists it was, for others, not so much. Some Jews were not opposed to “assimilation”, but felt the society they lived in prevented it. Others personally “assimilated” and saw few obstacles in doing so in their country, but recognized that other Jews in other countries were prevented from assimilating.

      But you are absolutely right: for many Jews, Zionism was conceived of as a way to strengthen Jewish identity and Jewish self-esteem.

      And MHughes976 is right as well to emphasize the different motivations of non-Jewish Zionists.

  9. Citizen
    Citizen
    April 4, 2016, 11:55 pm

    US and Israel rewrite history of UN resolution that declared Zionism is racism
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/11/resolution-declared-zionism/

    • Boomer
      Boomer
      April 5, 2016, 8:51 am

      From the article that Citizen linked to, an article about the UN resolution that declared Zionism to be racism: “Herzog claimed the measure was “based on hatred, falsehood, and arrogance,” insisting it was “devoid of any moral or legal value.”

      What a perfect example of the projection and reversal of reality that is so characteristic of Zionism. The Zionist rhetoric is so often like a mirror of reality, in the sense that it reflects an inverted image.

  10. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    April 5, 2016, 12:41 am

    Phil Weiss:

    “This forum suggests that I wasn’t smoking weed when I said so.”

    So, why would that have made your point any less valid?

    I don’t smoke weed, but recognize it can serve to open ones eyes to seeing through layers and layers of bullshit. Or not.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      April 5, 2016, 4:04 am

      Weed or not, Phil was absolutely right when he said

      the conflict won’t end until American Jews sign up to the statement, “Zionism is racism”

      but the justification for saying so is based, yet again, on his particular optimism and a single swallow without spring following. The NYT has had surprisingly good single episodes in all these years –all forgotten and isolated.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 5, 2016, 9:38 am

        @ echinococcus April 5, 2016, 4:04 am

        ” Phil was absolutely right when he said

        the conflict won’t end until American Jews sign up to the statement, “Zionism is racism” “

        You’re fooling yourself. Racist, bigoted, illegal, evil, the Zionist Federation’s colonization of Palestine pyramid scheme hasn’t got a conscience. It only has an appetite for its lifeblood without which it will fail. More and more land to sell to willing or gullible Jews, so more and more settlements and relevant infrastructure contracts can be issued, so more taxes can be collected for more and more security to protect the ‘investment’

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 5, 2016, 11:15 am

        The hope is that enough of Israel’s Western supporters have a conscience to make a difference to the outcome. This hope is not beyond the reach of many kinds of doubt, I agree.

  11. tokyobk
    tokyobk
    April 5, 2016, 4:38 am

    Like many I am sure, Phil, I first thought of you and the others here without whose efforts over the last decade, the NYT would surely not be moving.

  12. RobertHenryEller
    RobertHenryEller
    April 5, 2016, 8:15 am

    Zionism did not have to be racism. That Zionism is racism is a choice.

    The silence and suppression of criticism by the New York Times, on the other hand, is what I would call anti-Semitism. Because I believe the policies of the New York Times in fact do harm Jews and Judaism.

    If the New York Times actually cared about Jews and Judaism, they would rescue the facts and the truth.

    A friend just posted a Thomas Sowell quote on Facebook: “When you want to help others, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell others what they want to hear.”

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      April 5, 2016, 10:05 am

      RobertHenryEller: Zionism did not have to be racism.
      ————-

      Perhaps not, but once Palestine was chosen as the territory for the Jewish state, an inescapable logic demanded at the minimum complete indifference– or complete blindness– to the plight of the Palestinians.

      Zionism required a Jewish super-majority; a Jewish super-majority required ethnic cleansing; ethnic cleansing required massacres and terror.

      Could one not add: ethnic cleansing, massacres and terror required racism?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 5, 2016, 11:31 am

      “Zionism did not have to be racism. That Zionism is racism is a choice.”

      The Zionists really had no choice, no choice at all. By the time Zionism was well established, and the State of Israel declared, the fate of the Jews in the United States was quite clear! The almost complete dissolution of the Jews as a people!
      Can we really ask the Zionists to sit and watch the same thing happen in the Histrionic Homeland?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 5, 2016, 11:33 am

      “A friend just posted a Thomas Sowell quote on Facebook”

      Thomas Sowell is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. And he’s always good for a laugh.

  13. RobertHenryEller
    RobertHenryEller
    April 5, 2016, 8:20 am

    I posted the following comment in response to Daniel Gordis’ piece in this “debate:”

    [Begin comment]

    “Israel was created to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people. Rejecting it constitutes an assault on Jews.”

    This is true. But too many Zionists are threatening that safety and flourishing.

    Anti-Zionism is not against the existence of Israel. Anti-Zionism is against the policies of occupation and apartheid. And don’t tell us about Palestinian terrorists. You’d as soon entertain a critique of the Warsaw Ghetto fighters.

    Anti-Zionists include many Jews who are concerned about the fate of Israel as a Jewish State. They see Zionist policies as the greatest threat to that State. Jewish Israeli treatment of Arab Israelis and Palestinians is not congruent with the teachings of Rabbi Hillel. I don’t care what Jewish rituals you practice. If you’re not a good human, you’re not a good Jew.

    Israeli Jews have always had a choice: They could erect their own ghetto, which seems to their choice (We know ghettos worked so well for Jews in Europe.). Or they could create a state where Arabs and Palestinians thrived as most Muslims do not throughout the Muslim world, making them the envy of that world.

    But most Zionists have chosen otherwise. I feel bad and angry about the treatment of Palestinians. But as a Jew, I truly hate and fear Zionism creates among non-Jews. Anti-Semitism is historically unreasonable. Zionism as practiced is making anti-Semitism seem less unreasonable.

    Treat Palestinians collectively, and don’t complain when you are treated collectively.

    [End comment]

    I received a decent number of recommendations on the comment, which was encouraging. New York Times readers are ahead of the New York Times on this issue, but that is not unusual.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      April 5, 2016, 12:21 pm

      Well said. Israel does exist. Israel will continue to exist. A democratic Israel in the middle east without it’s racist trappings and expansionist policies, and with equality for all it’s citizens would be a great benefit to the planet. It’s the zionists who are intent on preventing this and running Israel into the ground. Israel would be able to keep it’s Jewish character without it’s Jewish supremacy.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      April 5, 2016, 2:43 pm

      “Israel was created to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people. Rejecting it constitutes an assault on Jews.”

      ROFL. It’s all about Jews, Jews … Jews. They are obsessed with Jews.

      Israel was created by an assault on the native people and rejecting the country’s territorial integrity, its independence and majority ruling.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 5, 2016, 2:54 pm

        || Talkback: “Israel was created to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people. Rejecting it constitutes an assault on Jews.”

        ROFL. It’s all about Jews, Jews … Jews. They are obsessed with Jews. … ||

        And so the Zio-supremacist Jews…
        – established their “Jewish State” by means of terrorism and ethnic cleansing (’cause that sort of thing never causes blowback);
        – in a region where everyone supposedly hates Jews and wants to wipe them off the map and push them into the sea (WTF were they thinking?!);
        – and expanded it by stealing, occupying and colonizing land outside of its / Partition borders (’cause that sort of thing never causes blowback);
        – and spent the next few decades committing (war) crimes and undermining international law and human rights – the very protections they will one day need and claim they are entitled to (is there no end to their evil stupidity?);
        – and made sure they will take with them as many non-Zionist Jews by incessantly conflating Jews, Jewish and Judaism with their unjust, immoral and supremacist project (why do they hate Jews so much?!).

  14. James Canning
    James Canning
    April 5, 2016, 1:07 pm

    If a Muslim in Israel, who is an Israeli citizen, converts to Judaism, is that person still discriminated against?

    • Jon66
      Jon66
      April 5, 2016, 1:55 pm

      Take a look at the Adalah database and judge for yourself.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      April 5, 2016, 2:50 pm

      No, as soon as he changes to the side of holiness his DNA changes immediately and he will loose all impurity. And then he’s allowed to execute Nonjews without impunity, too.

  15. genesto
    genesto
    April 5, 2016, 2:14 pm

    FINALLY!!!

  16. Dan From Away
    Dan From Away
    April 5, 2016, 3:04 pm

    Three significant actions have taken place within the last few days and all have powerful ramifications for the campaign to debunk the conflation of Zionism with antisemitism and/or anti-Zionism with antisemitism:

    1) The NYT published “is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?”:
    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/04/04/is-anti-zionism-anti-semitism

    2) “Israel Matters” an exhibit of Zionist posters opened at UN Headquarters in NYC:
    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/special-collection/israel-matters-exhibit-un-headquarters-2016

    3) Mondoweiss publishes “Zionism is nationalism, not Judaism” an interview with Tziva Thier:
    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/zionism-is-nationalism-not-judaism-a-former-hebrew-school-teacher-explains/

    I consider this a unique, and positive, convergence in terms of the American discourse on Palestine. I hope this marks the blossoming of a permanent, inclusive and deeper public conversation on the definitions of terms such as “Zionism”, “antisemitism”, “anti-Zionism” and a host of other key words and terms related to the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. It is long overdue.

    Three comments:

    1) As to the NYT “Room for Debate” format: that this subject has finally been recognized by the NYT tells us much about how Palestine is becoming a legitimate topic of conversation in polite society here in the USA and Mondoweiss can rightfully take much of the credit for this development.

    Mondoweiss would do the world a service by seizing on this opening and perhaps make it a permanent feature of the site with its own heading? Developing it into a pedagogically-oriented resource designed specifically to grant American students, teachers and the general public permission to engage, as equals, in the conversation on US Middle East policy would be a boon to open discourse.

    Perhaps Mondoweiss can sponsor an annual award/ceremony for university-level papers on the conflations of Zionism-with-Judaism and Anti-Zionism-with-Antisemitism? Mondoweiss’ leveraging of the NYT forum might be an opportunity to move the discourse into the American classroom (it is already a feature of Israeli and Palestinian classrooms) and a way to redress the current, and historical, paucity of such content in US high school and university-level history books.

    2) The Israeli-sponsored exhibit at the UN Headquarters is, in a word, hasbara. I will return to it soon in follow up posts but for now let’s consider the latent pedagogical value of just one of the posters featured in the exhibit and use it to demonstrate how Zionist-published posters can provide the basis for stimulating student discussion and critical-thinking:

    Note: This poster was today removed from the list of three (out of thirteen) that were previously blocked by the UN from the exhibit “Israel Matters” meaning, I suppose, that the UN now considers it “appropriate”:

    Zionism – The Return of An Indigenous People
    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/zionism-the-return-of-an-indigenous-people

    Questions for Student Discussion:

    Does this Zionist-published poster, which celebrates the return of indigenous people to historic Palestine mark a new evolution in Zionist thinking … one that legitmates the Right of Return of indigenous Palestinians to historic Palestine?

    3) Phil Weiss’ interview with Tziva Thier’s article shines a bright light on the conflation of Zionism-with-Judaism … a subject few American ever have an opportunity to learn about let alone discuss. Tziva speaks in a natural voice and this cannot be understated. She is knowledgeable, unthreatening, humane, courageous…and her courage is gift to Palestinians, Israelis and Americans. I urge Mondweiss to consider producing a series of pedagogically-oriented videos with Tziva wherein she speaks directly to American students and teachers with the specific intention of addressing their fear of being labeled “antisemitic”. These videos would ideally address specific historical issues but as importantly or maybe even more importantly they would create a “comfort zone” and grant permission for American students and teachers to engage subjects such as BDS, settlements, AIPAC, US aid to Israel, Congressional vassalhood-to-Zionism in their own natural voices.

    While watching the videos I was put to mind of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

    Mad respect to Mondoweiss.

  17. Dan From Away
    Dan From Away
    April 5, 2016, 6:32 pm

    My error:

    In my post of 3:04 I wrote:

    “Tziva speaks in a natural voice and this cannot be understated.”

    What I meant to write was:

    Tziva speaks in a natural voice and the value of this to the discourse cannot be overstated.

  18. Xpat
    Xpat
    April 5, 2016, 8:40 pm

    tokybk:
    “A cultural Zionism that included living in/visiting Palestine (as legal residents and tourists) speaking Hebrew etc.”

    Jews have always visited Palestine as an act of pilgrimage and have lived there alongside other peoples under a non-Jewish government.
    What I love about Hebrew is how older layers are intertwined with the neologisms and new grammar (which I am told is essentially Slavic). But that literary Hebrew is rare and getting more rare. That beautiful was the hallmark of the first generation of Hebrew writers who received a traditional Jewish education and brought that into the new language they helped create. Modern Hebrew is really not enough to justify a whole movement.

    • bryan
      bryan
      April 6, 2016, 6:31 am

      “Jews have always visited Palestine as an act of pilgrimage”

      Not true – Shlomo Sand (can’t remember whether it was in his “The Invention of the Jewish People” or “The Invention of the Land of Israel” but more likely the latter) has an excellent chapter showing that for centuries Jews were positively indifferent to Palestine. It was medieval Christianity that was far more attached to the Holy Land, and generated far, far more pilgrimages.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        April 6, 2016, 11:26 am

        Shlomo Sand isn’t an historian; he’s a polemicist, so maybe you shouldn’t rely on him for historical knowledge. It is certainly the case that Jews have made pilgrimage to the Land of Israel for many hundreds of years.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        April 6, 2016, 1:09 pm

        bryan –
        I have to agree with hophmi on this one. I suppose Sand (if he said this) meant there was an uptick in Jewish pilgrimage along with Christian pilgrimages. But that doesn’t mean to say Jews did not make religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land for centuries from both Christian and – more commonly – from Muslim lands. We have records from antiquity through the Middle Ages to modern times of such pilgrimages. From the Amoraim of Talmudic times to Maimonides in the 12th century to Benjamin of Tudela etc etc.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 6, 2016, 1:42 pm

        @elliot

        The problem is that what hophmi claims does not in any way negate what sands says. That some Jews made pilgrimages does not mean that Jewish people were positively indifferent to Palestime.

        It’s the same type of argument that because some Jews have always lived in Palestine then (all) Jews have a right to live in Palestine because they are indigenous.

        Sand is of course a highly qualified historian regardless of whether hophmi likes what he says or not. And even highly qualified historians can be wrong.

        It’s just another typical slur on hoppy’s part (shout out to duhbaker… ease up on the alcohol).

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        April 6, 2016, 1:43 pm

        Sand doesn’t say there were no pilgrimages before, but that Jewish interest in pilgrimages to the Holy Land was certainly spurred and heightened by Christian and Muslim attitudes (as others have asserted, particularly by the Crusades, Saladin’s conquests, and the Muslim practice of ziyāra). This is historical fact, confirmed by historians even Hophmi wouldn’t call “polemicists”, such as Joshua Prawer, Elchanan Reiner and I. J. Yuval.

        Jews never lived in a self-referential vacuum, and (as Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin has written) there is no such thing as “pure” culture.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 6, 2016, 1:50 pm

        || oldgeezer: … It’s the same type of argument that because some Jews have always lived in Palestine then (all) Jews have a right to live in Palestine because they are indigenous. … ||

        Some Jewish people ate hummus, therefore all your hummus are belong to us.

      • bryan
        bryan
        April 7, 2016, 9:59 am

        Thanks for your comments, but I’ll stand entirely by what I originally said:
        (1) Hophmi – “Sand isn’t a historian”. He most certainly is (BA in History from Tel Aviv, MA and PhD from Paris, has taught history continuously at Tel Aviv, since 1982, as well as at Berkeley and Paris). He may have originally been a specialist in French history, but that certainly does not disqualify since skills in Modern History are far more transferable than skills between Ancient / Medieval / Modern. His fluency in numerous languages (Yiddish, Hebrew, English, French, German, etc) ideally equip him to study the area he has settled upon.
        (2) Hophmi – “he’s a polemicist”. That usually means someone you disagree with – fair enough, but I defy you to name me an interesting and influential historian who has not also brought a strong ideological bent or (weltanschauung) to their researches (e.g. Gibbon, Macauley, Trevelyan, Christopher Hill, E.P. Thompson, von Ranke, Zinn, Hobsbaum, Hilberg, etc).
        (3) Sand makes a clear and irrefutable case (in my opinion):
        (a) in the millennium from 135 to 1099 “we know of no attempts by the followers of rabbinical Judaism to make pilgrimages to the Holy City”
        (b) Judaism (cf Christianity, Islam) had no concept of pilgrimage to holy places – the earlier prescribed ritual of visiting the temple on prescribed holy days was made impossible by the destruction of said temple, and later the prohibition from entering the area where it had once stood.
        (c) for long periods during the millennium Sand refers to, Jerusalem was as accessible to Jews as to the many Christians that flocked to the region; internal constraints (Sabbath observance, eating Kosher and forming a minyan) were formidable obstacles.
        (d) Rabbinic Jews later copied (or absorbed) the Christian practice, but “it never reached comparable dimensions” and was not “an institutional practice”. (cf honorific titles Jerusalemite and Haji for Karaites and Moslems who completed pilgrimage, Indulgences for Christians). “Few Jewish pilgrims set out to the Holy Land between the 12th and 18th centuries” e.g. Halevi attempted to but died on route; Maimonides visited Acre, and very briefly Jerusalem and Hebron, but preferred to settle in Egypt; Benjamin of Tudela and Pethahiah of Regensburg went, not as pilgrims, but more as travel writers; Rabbi Akiva visited Jerusalem to raise money for his yeshiva in Paris; Nachmanides briefly visited Jerusalem before finding Acre more salubrious and later regretted deserting his family. Sand cites the existence of 30 texts describing Jewish pilgrimages compared with 3500 describing Christian visits during the period approx. 135-1878. There was in fact more encouragement for Jews to visit Palestine since many of the surviving accounts indicate how welcoming of the visitors were the Moslem population and how respectful they were to a people of the book who observed religious practices so similar to theirs – especially compared with European Christian hostility.
        (e) Sand concludes: “Ultimately, Jewish thinking focused much more on prayer and diligent study of Jewish religious law than on pilgrimage to an unknown territory”.

  19. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    April 6, 2016, 2:55 am

    Zionism = racism against Palestinians
    anti-Zionism = anti-racism against Palestinians

    & since Judaism does not = Zionism
    anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      April 7, 2016, 4:27 pm

      Bryan –
      Your (d) and (e) are crucial.
      You still have not made the case set out in your (b).
      ” Judaism (cf Christianity, Islam) had no concept of pilgrimage to holy places – the earlier prescribed ritual of visiting the temple on prescribed holy days was made impossible by the destruction of said temple, and later the prohibition from entering the area where it had once stood. ”
      That’s simply not the case.
      1) In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Temple, Rabban Gamliel considered retaining the temple worship at the site of the temple.
      2) In rabbinic tradition, there is a ritual for visiting the site of the temple including rending one’s garments and saying a special blessing.
      3) The case of Maimonides and others that you cite proves this point. They came on pilgrimage to see the holy sites and then left.
      4) The traditional ideas that you reference of not entering the Temple Mount supports this as does the ancient principle of the Four Holy Cities: Tiberias and Safed in the north, Jerusalem and Hebron further south.

      It’s fair to say that the Biblical requirement of “pilgrimage” (three times annually to the temple in Jerusalem) passed with the destruction of the temple. But the idea of pilgrimage in the sense we use it today lived on plus the emotional connection to specific sites and the Holy Land in general nurtured through study, prayer and ritual.

      • bryan
        bryan
        April 8, 2016, 6:24 am

        Elliott – thanks for the response and I am very happy to accept your points. I will merely point out that they in no way invalidate (1) my original contradiction of your argument that “Jews have always visited Palestine as an act of pilgrimage”, nor (2) of my assertion that “for centuries Jews were positively indifferent to Palestine” nor (3) my citing of Sand that in the millennium from 135 to 1099 “we know of no attempts by the followers of rabbinical Judaism to make pilgrimages to the Holy City”

        Your references to Gamliel and Maimonides of course fall outside of this period. Thus I guess you can agree with me that for a very long period Jews did not attempt to visit Palestine, and I can agree with you that on occasion they did. But I guess Hophmi who is sufficiently well-read in history to instantly dismiss Sand as a charlatan can inform us otherwise.

        There were of course Jews who remained in Palestine, prior to the vast majority converting to Christianity and Islam, but I am not aware of any evidence that they continued visiting Jerusalem, though I am sure they must have, though perhaps not for worship. Converted Jews and their descendants would certainly have visited Al-Aqsa in order to pray. Would you consider that under the rubric of Jewish pilgrimage? Some I assume would argue this on the basis that peoplehood or nationhood comprises a genetic component that entitles Jews to reclaim the land of their fathers; others would virulently deny the claim, pointing out that a Jew who converts to an another religion immediately sacrifices his Jewishness, which is purely a religious construct. Where then does this leave those Jews (perhaps a majority) who have abandoned their faith? Not quite in the same position as those nominal “Christians” who view the bible as an interesting collection of stories and who buy Christmas trees and Easter eggs, since that population long ago abandoned the sense of communal solidarity which once created the concept of Christendom.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 8, 2016, 2:44 pm

        The Bordeaux Pilgrim of 333 mentions (para.591) that Jews would congregate annually, presumably on the Ninth of Ab, to lament the Temple. This may or may not qualify as pilgrimage. Philip Alexander (Targum of Lamentations, 2007) p.84 opens a discussion – which I have not followed! – of how Mourning for Zion was adopted, reluctantly at first he thinks, into rabbinic Judaism.
        It is perfectly understandable that many forms of Judaism would have wished to lament for the Temple. This gives contemporary Jews a perfect right to maintain a theology in which is distinctive and which assigns the Restored Temple a central role in the finale of the drama of Gid’s dealings with this world. But it hardly gives them political rights in contemporary Palestine.

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