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Jews need to study the Torah in order to criticize Israel, Beinart says

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Peter Beinart has a well-deserved reputation for eloquence and bravery on the Israel Palestine question. The man who once addressed secret AIPAC gatherings to raise money for the lobby later turned on American Jewish organizations for their support of the brutal occupation in an important article and book, and was widely attacked in the Jewish community for doing so.

But Beinart is also a conservative, and his remarks at a forum at the Democratic convention last week demonstrate his limitations as a guide for progressives. Beinart said that Jewish critics of Israel need to study that week’s Torah portion before they criticize Israel so they can’t be accused of being self-hating Jews and that it is anti-Semitic to deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in Israel.

Beinart spoke at an event on the Unsustainable Status Quo held by the Arab American Institute, and was introduced by James Zogby, who said that he reads Beinart’s Haaretz column with admiration.

Here are Beinart’s statements. First on the need for Jews to be religious in order to criticize Israel:

Another crucial thing for American Jews is the fear that we will be excommunicated from our communities. You know, my friend Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum likes to say you can go into almost any synagogue in America, at least a non-orthodox synagogue, and come up to the rabbi and say I don’t believe in God and the rabbi will probably say fine, Please take your seat, please pay your membership dues. No big deal, right? They might say I don’t believe in God too! What you can’t do is say that I think what Israel is doing is immoral or I have questions about Zionism. That actually in some ways, that’s what’s been made kadosh, that’s what’s been made holy and sacrosanct. Which itself is a certain kind of idolatry.

So I think that then the challenge for American Jews and this is a challenge I feel in my own life very strongly– the challenge is to root ourselves and our children so deeply in our own Jewish identity that we cannot be excommunicated. When I teach the weekly Torah portion to my children I do it for a number of reasons, but one of the reasons I do it is so that if someone comes along and tells them they’re not really Jewish or they’re self-hating Jews because they’re critical of Israel, which people tell me very frequently, they can say to that person, “OK I am a self-hating Jew, you’re saying I don’t have Jewish identity. Do you know what the week’s parsha is? Do you know what book of the Torah we’re in? Do you understand basic elements of Jewish history and Jewish law? So don’t tell me that I don’t know what it means to be Jewish. I know a heck of a lot more about what it means to be Jewish than you, thank you very much.”

And I think it’s that self confidence that American Jews need in order to be able to criticize Israel. And to be able to suffer the rejection they are likely to feel from people in their own community who say you are therefore not really Jewish. [Applause]

Here is his statement about antisemitism.

Where I think [criticism of Israel] strays into antisemitism is when you deny the rights of Jews to live in dignity and security in Israel, and when you deny, and this may be more controversial, that we as Jews are a people. We are not simply deracinated. We are not simply a religion. We are a people. And we deserve self-determination, as do the Palestinians. And I think to reject that, I do think gets you closer to antisemitism.

To be fair, Beinart also expressed many progressive ideas. He commented on American Jewish power; he said that if Jews only saw the occupation and the rightlessness of the Palestinian people they would begin to identify with the Palestinian experience of having no power over an authority that could wreck your life. He said that the American Jewish organizations had built a “machine” to deny Jews visiting Israel this information, and politicians were taken in by that machine too. And when it came to antisemitism, he said that it was not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel harshly, to criticize Israel disproportionately, or to “question Zionism.”

But Beinart was also upfront about his conservatism. He commented that Daniel Patrick Moynihan had defined conservatism as a belief that culture was more important than politics; while liberals believe that “politics can change culture.” Beinart put himself in the Moynihan camp when he expressed his long-held view that there could not be one state in Israel and Palestine because the two peoples would be at each other’s throats ala Czechs and Slovaks, the Belgians, now the U.K., and so forth.

Some day maybe Israelis and Palestinians will achieve a “transformational identity” so they won’t be nationalist, but not now, he said.

Myself I have always found this conservative argument compelling because Israelis and Palestinians are so angry at one another that the place could become a bloodbath, ala Algeria; and I can well imagine some type of confederated/binational structure to protect national rights and identity. Where Beinart’s conservatism shows is that he really isn’t willing to do all that much to move the place out of a situation of grievous oppression because he hopes that Zionism can be magically redeemed. When the overwhelming evidence is that Zionism has only ever produced suffering for Palestinians, no Palestinians like the current arrangements including nearly 20 percent of the population of the Jewish state, and so forth.

The best answer to Beinart came from a 29-year-old Palestinian American named ‘Atef, who rose to say that the two-state solution everyone on the panel advocated was “unfeasible” because “Israeli leadership doesn’t have the political capital to dismantle” the occupation. So the “only approach” in ‘Atef’s view is a “rights based civil liberties based movement in Palestine” for equal rights for all.

‘Atef told me afterward that he spoke as a Californian who wants for Palestinians over there what people in America have: equal rights, not national rights. I would suggest that it is more progressive, and potentially “transformational,” to recommend our actual American experience and political values to Israel, rather than Samuel, Jeremiah, and Judges.

P.S. One other thing I noticed in looking at the video. Beinart said that while rightwing Jews make coalitions with non-Jews, progressive Jews don’t because they don’t trust non-Jews.

The truth is that American Jews at least the major American Jewish organizations are afraid and hostile about the idea of Christians becoming involved in this conversation, unless they’re rightwing evangelical Christians and this is partly obviously a political calculation but it is something deeper. The truth is that even among many progressive American Jews even if they hear an American Christian say verbatim the same thing that they have said it makes them uncomfortable. Even if it’s entirely rational. There is a deep anxiety and fear about motivations. And I actually think that limits the effectiveness of the progressive side. Because on the right the Zionist Organization of America– they have no problem bringing in whichever rightwing evangelical or Fox News loonytoon host. But on the left I think you see this tendency, we’re going to do it by ourselves.

Beinart called for the left to confront its anxieties and get to know Christians, because they have a right to speak out here.

This is a great insight, and a tender truth; the only miscalculation is that Beinart is a bit of a fogey. The left doesn’t need to do this work. Older Jews do. Leftwing Jews are making friendships and more with non-Jews and getting over their anxieties, and making coalitions with Christians and Muslims too.

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104 Responses

  1. otc
    otc
    August 2, 2016, 10:42 pm

    “I would suggest that it is more progressive, and potentially “transformational,” to recommend our actual American experience and political values to Israel, rather than Samuel, Jeremiah, and Judges.”

    I find the above sentence baffling.
    Who is suggesting that American Jews recommend “Samuel Jeremiah and Judges to Israel”? I’m not even sure what that means.

    Beinart suggests that American Jews learn the Torah portion, etc. as a rhetorical tactic, to demonstrate their interest in and knowledge of the religion in order to deflect criticism, not to recommend anything to Israel. If it helps, why not. Doesn’t sound very controversial.
    He is obviously offering this tactic to those who worry about “excommunication”.

    There is nothing in Beinart’s statement, as quoted here, to suggest that he is saying one shouldn’t criticize Israel unless you are religious.

    Which is what PW seems to be suggesting in the following sentence…
    “…First on the need for Jews to be religious in order to criticize Israel:”
    Is that what PW is suggesting?

  2. yoni
    yoni
    August 2, 2016, 10:59 pm

    You might as well name one organization that’s heavily involved in building interfaith coalitions: JVP!
    https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/interfaith/

  3. Sassy
    Sassy
    August 2, 2016, 11:07 pm

    “The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel.”

    “When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods.”

    “And the LORD said, ‘Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.'”

    She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will have no mercy on the house of Israel, or to forgive them at all.

    HOSEA

  4. RoHa
    RoHa
    August 2, 2016, 11:10 pm

    Fortunately, I’m not a Jew, so I can criticize Israel as it is, without having to look at the Torah.

  5. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    August 3, 2016, 1:19 am

    What’s this about reading the torah so as to root our children so deeply in our own Jewish identity that when we support justice for Palestine we cannot be excommunicated? Sounds like Peter Beinart is trying to shrink the ranks of pro-Palestinian/anti-Zionist Jews, because for many if not most Jews, nothing could be more onerous than having to discipline oneself so as to take in the gibberish of unknown authors from a bronze age culture. Get serious, Peter, cause it ain’t gonna happen. Excommunication or not, Jewish supporters of the Palestinian cause will not be deterred. Nor were white anti-apartheid members of the African National Congress deterred by the enmity directed at them by other whites.

    • David44
      David44
      August 3, 2016, 6:38 am

      Yourstruly:

      I don’t think you understand what Beinart is arguing here. He is not – repeat, NOT – claiming that only Jews who study Torah should be allowed to criticize Israel. He is saying that, in practice, IF a Jew wants to criticize Israel AND still remain actively Jewish and part of the US Jewish community, s/he needs to study Torah – because otherwise they will be ostracized and will have no plausible comeback. But if you don’t care whether or not you are actively Jewish or whether you are ostracized, then of course there is no reason why you shouldn’t criticize Israel without studying Torah.

      For what it is worth, I agree with Beinart wholeheartedly on this (though not on everything else he said on the panel – e.g. on the two-state solution, I am on the side of `Atef, as quoted by Phil here). And my own experience bears Beinart out. I’m not a public figure the way he is (and have absolutely no wish to be, which is why I comment here anonymously), but in my own community in New York there is no secret about my critical views on Israel and Zionism. And it is very hard for people who know me to accuse me of being a “self-hating Jew”, or to deny me a place in the community, when they know perfectly well that I am more observant of halacha and more knowledgeable about the Torah and Talmud than at least 90% of the rest of the community is.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        August 3, 2016, 12:26 pm

        That’s very interesting – I see the value of having people like you not just accepted in the Jewish community but taken seriously there. Mind you, if I were to be strongly at variance with most members of a Christian congregation on a matter of importance that was often discussed then I think alienation would one day set in, even if I did know quite a bit about the Acts of the Apostles and the Nicene Creed. They would begin to think that my studies were at best eccentric or I would become shocked that despite my knowledge of the faith no one was listening to me. The Beinart method wouldn’t work for ever. They would in the end want to shun me or I would think that I had to shake some dust off my feet.

      • Walker
        Walker
        August 3, 2016, 12:27 pm

        IF a Jew wants to criticize Israel AND still remain actively Jewish and part of the US Jewish community, s/he needs to study Torah

        I’m not Jewish, and don’t have a dog in this fight. But it’s curious that later Beinart says:

        We are not simply a religion. We are a people.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2016, 2:00 pm

        “Mind you, if I were to be strongly at variance with most members of a Christian congregation”

        An analogy might be the dissident parishioner who does not think a Bake or Jumble Sale will accrue sufficient funds to finance the Church’s colonial project?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2016, 2:23 pm

        “But it’s curious that later Beinart says:

        We are not simply a religion. We are a people.”

        Ummm, sorry, Peter, but the non-Jews really let us down in that department.
        Almost everywhere in the world (oh, except “Israel”) being Jewish is a voluntary religious association a person may actualize or interpret in any way they please, or leave, or adopt, without affecting their rights as a citizen.
        Those darned non-Jews jerked the rug right out from under us on that “people” thing. I told you, you can’t trust ’em.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 3, 2016, 4:25 pm

        Walker,

        Horrifying as it sounds, those phrases are precisely the necessary and sufficient conditions for Zionism.

      • Mr.T
        Mr.T
        August 3, 2016, 4:53 pm

        “I’m not Jewish, and don’t have a dog in this fight. But it’s curious that later Beinart says:
        We are not simply a religion. We are a people. ”

        I don’t think that’s curious at all. The default thought about religion in the West is likely that it is universalist in nature, as the great religion of the West, Christianity, is universalist, as is the MENA’s great religion of Islam. Judaism is not, but is merely a tribal religion (although some branches have attempted to syncretize universalism). Compounding the issue is the fact that the religion is a key defining fact of the ethnicity (or “people” or “community”).

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2016, 6:24 pm

        “IF a Jew wants to criticize Israel AND still remain actively Jewish and part of the US Jewish community…”

        He’ll need nine other guys, and I think he will be able to find them.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 22, 2017, 1:20 pm

        “And it is very hard for people who know me to accuse me of being a “self-hating Jew”, or to deny me a place in the community, when they know perfectly well that I am more observant of halacha and more knowledgeable about the Torah and Talmud than at least 90% of the rest of the community is.”

        Doesn’t matter, if you are not in favor of redeeming all the land.
        Knowledge of Torah, Talmud is ever-increasing.
        Holy Land, they aren’t making any more of.
        All that religious stuff is fine, but the real question is, can we get and keep, for the Jewish nation, the ancestral homeland of Palestine! Keep your eye on the prize!

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      August 4, 2016, 7:51 am

      Studying Judaism includes Hillel The Elder; I wonder what Beinhart thinks about that school of Jewish religious thought?

      I took an elective class in “Jewish Culture Studies” in college in 1969. It was taught by a dynamic, handsome rabbi from the Spertus Institute in downtown Chicago; Weinstein was his name, if memory serves. Most of the students in class were Jewish, including some in orthodox dress. His framework dealt a lot with the works of Maimonides and Hegel, most especially Hegel’s spin-off from Vico; synthesis. One thing he repeated many times was that Judaism was “a portable culture.”

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 5, 2016, 7:04 am

        Hegel and Vico were Jews?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 22, 2017, 1:32 pm

        “One thing he repeated many times was that Judaism was “a portable culture.””

        Very true, and to make sure your “portable culture” doesn’t become a movable trefa banquet, try this 2011 Wildwood XLite 26BH with a kosher kitchen.
        (I wondered if there was such a thing, and there is!)

  6. Yakov Hirsch
    Yakov Hirsch
    August 3, 2016, 2:01 am

    “You know, my friend Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum likes to say you can go into almost any synagogue in America, at least a non-orthodox synagogue, and come up to the rabbi and say I don’t believe in God and the rabbi will probably say fine, Please take your seat, please pay your membership dues. No big deal, right? They might say I don’t believe in God too! What you can’t do is say that I think what Israel is doing is immoral or I have questions about Zionism…
    Do you understand basic elements of Jewish history and Jewish law? So don’t tell me that I don’t know what it means to be Jewish. I know a heck of a lot more about what it means to be Jewish than you, thank you very much.”
    And I think it’s that self confidence that American Jews need in order to be able to criticize Israel. And to be able to suffer the rejection they are likely to feel from people in their own community who say you are therefore not really Jewish.”

    I don’t think Peter Beinart understands what he is observing. The Jewish ethnocentrics religion, is not the God of the chosen people but the chosen people themselves. The “heresy” for the Jewish Jihadi’s is not defying the Jewish God. They don’t even believe in God. But they sure do believe in God’s chosen people. The “secularization of choseness” might be a good way of understanding it. The thing that’s verboten for these people is the crime of not being a blind ethnocentric Jew. It’s all well and good to educate yourself, but the “religious” fanaticism of a Dershowitz and Jennifer Rubin and Bret Stephens and Elliot Cohen and Marty Peretz and Rabbi Shmuely, .etal. are not impressed with your level of Jewish knowledge. You either are on their side or the side of their enemies. They are all PR agents for the Jewish people. Which ultimately means they are PR agents for themselves. No wonder they are so emotional. No wonder they take things so personally. And when the real world becomes even more threatening to their make believe fantasy world, they become even more delusional and fanatical. And with Israel becoming less western every single day the cognitive dissonance is wreaking havoc on their delicate tribal psyche. Of course there can never be any questioning of the always and forever Jewish “innocence”. That is heresy.
    Thus the “witch hunts.” The attempt to destroy, to ruin, anyone that threatens their “narrative” their “social construction of reality.”(Finkelstein, W&M, Hagel, Freeman, Sullivan, etal)
    Its also why they are all so shockingly unethical and almost proud of it. Because it really is all about the greatness of the Tribe. In a sense they’re “suicide bombers” for the Jewish people. They “sacrifice” their own morality, their own personal ethics, on the altar of tribal public relations, of destroying the enemies of the chosen people at all costs. That’s why these moral midgets prattle all day about “moral clarity.” I’m no psychiatrist, but they have brainwashed themselves to the degree, that almost seems impossible. They have done such a miraculous job of self delusion, of convincing themselves that coincidentally, whatever is “good for the Jews” also happens to be objectively Kantian good for all good people in the world. What’s good for the Jews happens to also always be good for the rest of humanity. Since the Jewish “interest” by definition is always on the side of the angels. Any opponents of that interest therefore must be evil, must be anti semitic, must have some reason to “obsess” about Israel when so much else is wrong with the world. And Jewish critics of Israel, MUST have “self hatred.” What other reason can they have not to be proud of their own choseness, of their own specialness ? “Live with it” you’re part of the chosen people, don’t feel guilty about it, don’t rebel against it, is exactly what Jeffrey Goldberg is badgering Glenn Greenwald about here,

    “I don’t know anything about Greenwald’s Jewishness. He could be a Marrano Chabadnik for all I know, though, based on the way he writes about Israel and American Jewish organizations, I often suspect that some really bad shit happened to him in Hebrew school. (I mean, worse than the usual soul-sucking anomie). But about what he writes: I do know that he evinces toward Israel a disdain that is quite breathtaking. He holds Israel to a standard he doesn’t hold any other country, except the U.S. ..
    (This is not to say I don’t admire some of his stands, including his forthright stance against torture — of course, this is a very Jewish position to take, if you ask me.)http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/01/more-on-glenn-greenwald-israel-firsters-and-idiot-editors-updated/251852/

    If Jill Stein is for BDS, well that demands an “explanation”. It’s so obviously “moral” to be a Zionist. She MUST have Jewish issues. She must feel guilty about being a member of the chosen people.

    https://twitter.com/JeffreyGoldberg/status/740389331978719236

    When Americans realizes how foreign Jeffrey Goldberg concerns are from theirs. How duplicitous he is, how contemptible he is. How much hatred he contributed to the world. How he is constantly working against American interests. He is going to have to go. He cant work as a Journalist in the MSM. If he wants to make aliya i’m sure he will be welcomed with open arms in Israel Hayom. But Goldberg working much longer for the MSM may very well threaten a Pogrom against American Jews before long. Jeffrey Goldberg got to go!

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 3, 2016, 2:57 am

      “convincing themselves that coincidentally, whatever is “good for the Jews” also happens to be objectively Kantian good for all good people in the world. What’s good for the Jews happens to also always be good for the rest of humanity.”

      Are you sure about this? It looks to me as though they have no real interest in what is good for the rest of humanity. They only want to use whatever tricks they can to get what is “good for the Jews”.

      “I often suspect that some really bad shit happened to him in Hebrew school.”

      This is a standard ploy. The trick is to attribute people’s ideas, beliefs, and attitudes to psychological and/or circumstantial factors, and thus suggest that the belief is not rationally founded and may be dismissed. I have written about it before. Unlike many of my earlier comments, so full of supernal wisdom, this one is still available.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/others-interview-blumenthal/#comment-725518

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2016, 12:44 pm

        “often suspect that some really bad shit happened to him in Hebrew school.”

        This is a standard ploy. The trick is to attribute people’s ideas, beliefs, and attitudes to psychological and/or circumstantial factors, and thus suggest that the belief…”

        And Goldberg, a Jewish Zionist is suggesting that Greenwald’s “problem” comes from being molested by a Rabbi or older student in Hebrew School?
        Wow, talk about taking one for the team… no, that’s more like handing one out for the team. Oh never mind. I can’t figure it out.

        Why is Beinart’s hair and beard so, uh, short?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2016, 1:02 pm

        Maybe Greenwald went to Hebrew School at ‘Dotheboychiks Hall ?

    • Yakov Hirsch
      Yakov Hirsch
      August 3, 2016, 7:51 am

      Are you sure about this? It looks to me as though they have no real interest in what is good for the rest of humanity. They only want to use whatever tricks they can to get what is “good for the Jews”.

      Crazy or crazy like a fox. the answer is Its all about ethnocentrism. You can learn everything you need to know by going through a few months of @Yair_Rosenberg twitter feed. This isn’t a devious Netanyahu or Jeffrey Goldberg or Dermer youre looking at. What you see is what you get. He is a halfwit. He is a zombie who spouts out the Jewish ethno centric narrative on command. He even tries to be ethical when he writes unlike the execrable Lake or Kirchick. But dont make the mistake of thinking of what Rosenberg says as hasbara!! That a big mistake. Thats the trap. I promise you he believes every singe word. The whole warped pernicious ethnocentric social construction of reality. Its all there. If you want to know what Jeffrey Goldberg believes about the world about Jews about antisemites don’t read Goldberg he is very sneaky. Read Rosenberg there is no deceit to that boy. Much less work. The best way of understanding him and people like him is that they are so ethnocentric they cant imagine anyone else can be ethnocentric. They believe what motivates the Palestinian national movement based on Jew hatred. See the difference between Beinart and Rabbi Sacks here. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.713040
      It is an ethnocentrism that the outsider cant imagine. But as you see its an “illness” of a very specific group of people. The difference between JJ Goldberg and Jeffrey Goldberg is between an angel and a devil. Jeffrey does everything he can to hide that fact.

      “I often suspect that some really bad shit happened to him in Hebrew school.”
      This is a standard ploy. The trick is to attribute people’s ideas, beliefs, and attitudes to psychological and/or circumstantial factors, and thus suggest that the belief is not rationally founded and may be dismissed. I have written about it before. Unlike many of my earlier comments, so full of supernal wisdom, this one is still available.

      I respectfully disagree. There is a drumbeat in Jeffrey Goldbergs head that never ever stops. From the moment he wakes up til he goes to sleep. (see Yair)This drumbeat will last til his last breath. JEWS JEWS JEWS JEWS NAZIS HITLER ISRAEL HOLOCAUST HAMAS LENI RIEFENSTAHL GEORGE HABASH ENTEBBE DAVID DUKE SANDY KOUFAX HITLER HITLER MUNICH MARK SPITZJEWS JEWS JEWS BDS PAT BUCHANAN IDF NEO -NAZIS.
      You get the idea
      He is so crazy he doesnt realize this stuff is not going on in other peoples heads. Certainly he thinks it HAS to be going on in every Jews head. If theyre Jewish and not crazy like him they must be “fighting it.” Goldberg believes Greenwald “knows” hes chosen but he fighting that ethnocentricity. He cant accept that Greenwald not a “crazy Jew” like him. that Greenwald “happens” to be a Jew. Not obsessed with it like Goldberg is.
      look at Rosenberg. All the mysteries and riddles are answered once you know that Yair Rosenberg will pass a lie detector test on whether he honestly believes all his propaganda. He will pass that test with flying colors.

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      August 3, 2016, 11:04 am

      Thanks Yakov. I dont understand this as deeply as you do, but what upset me about Beinart’s comments is that he accepted the “Jewish community” as constituted by Zionists and does not seem to recognize a Jewish community that is being reconstitued by non-Zionists, seculars, moderns, anti-Zionists etc.
      He will then say, What provision are you making for Jewish continuity, Phil? And of course he has me on that. I have no kids, but I married out and am watering the tribe in many ways. I regard this as my Jewish destiny and cant speak to a generation or 2 from now, but I am absolutely certain that Zionist Jewish identity is hurting the world and hurting Jews and I am doing my part to counter it.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 3, 2016, 12:06 pm

        Phil- I believe you are sincere in opposing Zionism, but you and Beinart are on two different pages. He wants to increase the communication of the dissenter with the “community”. You want to decrease the communication of the dissenter with the community. Even in this piece your disdain for Samuel, Jeremiah and Judges (as representatives of the essence of Jewish learning) is apparent. How does that increase the communication between yourself and the community? It doesn’t. It is just one more instance of playing to the choir and your choir (here in the comments section at least) really does not begin to think about caring about two generations hence, and in fact disdains Hebrew both ancient and modern, Yiddish, both spoken and written, and Torah both written and oral. Beinart is about building bridges between the Jewish present and the Jewish future and between the anti Zionist community and the Zionist community. That is not your thing whatsoever. Let the democratic party implode. Let one more language disappear, what do I care? You are not on the same page or involved in the same struggle as Beinart.

      • David44
        David44
        August 3, 2016, 12:17 pm

        Phil:

        Of course you are right: there is such a community as you describe, and I regret (in my comment above) that I spoke of “the US Jewish community” as if it were a monolithic entity which does not include such groups.

        What I would, however, say is that this community has little to offer me (or, I suspect, Peter Beinart – though of course I can’t speak for him), since for myself I cannot imagine being part of a Jewish community which was not primarily constituted through Jewish religious traditions (even if not everyone in the community is strictly observant of those traditions). And if one wishes to find a space for oneself as a critic of Israel in _that_ community, and not be ostracized from it, then it is essential that one does so from a solid basis of Torah and tradition.

      • Mr.T
        Mr.T
        August 3, 2016, 4:55 pm

        “You are not on the same page or involved in the same struggle as Beinart.”

        No, it appears that Phil is attempting to approach these issues which honoring his principles. Beinart has said that if push came to shove he would jettison his supposed principles if they conflicted with his desire for Israel to be an ethno-religious supremacist state.

      • Yakov Hirsch
        Yakov Hirsch
        August 3, 2016, 6:33 pm

        Phil, I of course agree with your critique of Beinart here. I am making the narrow, but i believe important point, that Beinart doesn’t seem to understand his Jewish opponents to his Jewish right. Beinart’s under the illusion that being a “good jew” in Jeffrey Goldberg’s mind is studying Torah and being interested in Judaism.
        But that just aint so. It means nothing to Jeffrey Goldberg that Rabbi Michael Lerner is more knowledgeable than him about Judaism, or more observant. A traitor to the Jewish people is a traitor to the Jewish people. Lerner is giving succor to the enemies of the Jews. For Goldberg you’re either “you’re with us or against us.” Its good vs evil. Take a side. Jeffrey Goldberg obsession with the “enemies of the Jews” might even be more pathological than his obsession with Jews, with himself. Though of course at the end of the day it is the same obsession. Good vs Evil. With Jeffrey Goldberg and his people always playing the good role. So my comment was expressing surprise that Beinart doesnt seem to understands, that being immersed in Jewish stuff, wont be getting you any brownie points with Goldberg, if its makes BDS supporters, or J street or the “neo Nazis happy.”

    • Keith
      Keith
      August 3, 2016, 11:27 am

      YAKOV HIRSCH- “It’s all well and good to educate yourself, but the “religious” fanaticism of a Dershowitz and Jennifer Rubin and Bret Stephens and Elliot Cohen and Marty Peretz and Rabbi Shmuely, .etal. are not impressed with your level of Jewish knowledge. You either are on their side or the side of their enemies. They are all PR agents for the Jewish people. Which ultimately means they are PR agents for themselves.”

      Nicely put. The essence of Judeo-Zionism is self-serving tribal solidarity, belief in a deity optional, anti-Semitism redefined to include virtually anything which interferes with the tribal agenda which, nonetheless, is proclaimed as Jew-hatred, some level of anti-Gentilism inherent in the ideology of victimhood.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2016, 4:02 pm

        Not to mention the “sacralization of history” (which Eliade talks about as a device inaugurated by Judaism), and which is always a self-serving process.
        And very, very dangerous. Think how dangerous, “Keith”; the idea that spirituality, God, religion, is not something which exists and is available out side of or in spite of history, no, history is the sacred event, and to ‘lose’ a mark of God’s disfavor. A terrible idea.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 3, 2016, 4:19 pm

      “The “heresy” for the Jewish Jihadi’s”

      Uh, Yakov, why don’t we just call them “sicarii “? “Zealots” might work. How about “Zionist kapos“?

      I don’t think Muslim doctrine or tradition concerning ‘Jihad’ inspired them in any way.

      • gamal
        gamal
        August 4, 2016, 9:41 pm

        “why don’t we just call them “sicarii “ ”

        because there is nothing lower than a Muslim, and i am all in with that.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 11:37 am

        “because there is nothing…”

        Yup, seemed a bit thoughtless to me. Besides, they would be insulted. “We’re not no Muslim Jihadis” they would say, “we’re MacCabees, inspired by the Scottish struggle!”

  7. JWalters
    JWalters
    August 3, 2016, 2:17 am

    “it is anti-Semitic to deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in Israel.”

    Does Peter Beinart teach his children the Torah story about Jews being favored by God above all other people? Because is that not the part of the Torah that justifies the “right” of the Jewish people to the land of Palestine/Israel?

    Further, what impact does he think that idea of Jewish superiority has on non-Jewish neighbors? And especially the idea (held by some) that Jews have the right to treat “goyim” as not fully human, i.e. as subhuman livestock, which in practice can mean not honoring business deals and even killing them for convenience? Does he think this might cause fear, distrust, and even resentment among those “goyim” neighbors?

  8. Raphael
    Raphael
    August 3, 2016, 3:09 am

    I think the reason, why, is because after Christ died; they rewrote religion to not include the prophets of Israel.

    It became a nation of rabbinic laws. I think he has it wrong though… the socialists that had originally been in Israel opposed to the rabbinic way, by even calling themselves Hebrews. that formula might have worked if they had better leaders that were not eugenic oriented in philosophy.

    What American Jews need to do is make aliyah, and become more prophetic; that is by developing their own counter-stories by becoming prophets, and poets. Israel has no art, as well… probably as a result of being a militaristic state; so Israelis need to be more pacifistic, as well too counter the conservatism, and the idolatry of money (the golden calf) and war.

    It is actually easy to make aliyah. Once a citizen; after three months of living there; then fly back to the US; and lobby…start out by lobbying for overseas voting, then vote the conservatives out of office. Start a petition plan to have Debbie Wassermann Schultz to make aliyah to start out; think of all the free publicity, such a thing would be for American Jews, and Israeli Jews. Most there know some English so; the language difference is not much a issue. There are currently 400000 Israelis living overseas; many of them are in the US; they no doubt would welcome being able to vote in elections, in Israel.

  9. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    August 3, 2016, 4:20 am

    From a practical point of view, Israel needs to change its policy towards the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank and inside Israel, as well. If this argument can be made (I think it can be made, but it is not clear cut, particularly when the extent of this “change” is not yet clear, and particularly at this moment of Middle East turmoil), then obviously the person arguing this point of view deserves the attention of those who support Israel, no matter that person’s identity. (If someone shows you a good chess move, you examine the utility of the move through analysis, not by saying, “you’re not on my side.”) when the practicality of the move is not provable, then clearly doubt is present and it is more likely (human) to say, “are you on my side or not?”

    It is clear that Phil Weiss is on the side of Jefferson and MLK rather than Jeremiah and Samuel as he puts it. (All of a sudden, Hillel disappears from relevance and it is only the Old Testament Jews that are relevant or to be more precise irrelevant compared to good old American values.) But aside from Zionism in what way is Phil Weiss on the side of the Jews. (more precisely to be read: aside from antiZionism in order to save the Jews of America from association with evil Israel, in what way is Phil Weiss on the side of the Jews.)

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      August 3, 2016, 10:46 am

      http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-1.734309

      “Stop living in denial, Israel is an evil state” by Gideon Levy,
      Haaretz, July 31, 2016

      EXCERPT:
      “Israel may not be Nazi, nor even a fascist state. Yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. Just consider these acts of evil perpetrated by the state…”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2016, 5:00 pm

        “Stop living in denial, Israel is an evil state” by Gideon Levy,”

        Does Gideon Levy still not know that Zionism has absolutely no need to worry about how “evil” it is, or whether it is “evil” at all.
        Zionism is only as evil as the anti-semites arrayed against Jewish self-determination force it to be.
        And once that anti-Semitic pressure, which both necessitates and excuses the evil response is gone, Israel will return to purity and goodness.
        It’s all their fault.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 3, 2016, 12:36 pm

      “But aside from Zionism in what way is Phil Weiss on the side of the Jews.”

      Uh, “Yonah” in what way are you “on the side of the Jews”?

      Never seen you give a rip if anything you do or say is good for the Jews. As long as it makes “Yonah” happy, you’ll say it.

      “i think that antisemitism is a bit deeper than that and those who hate judaism are antisemites. which puts critics of judaism or those alienated from the strict observance of their parents wishing to water down judaism in the boat of being slightly antisemitic.” “Yonah Fredman” http://mondoweiss.net/profile/wondering-jew/?keyword=boat#sthash.ch4XzCz5.dpuf

  10. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    August 3, 2016, 9:50 am

    “Where I think [criticism of Israel] strays into antisemitism is when you deny the rights of Jews to live in dignity and security in Israel, and when you deny, and this may be more controversial, that we as Jews are a people. We are not simply deracinated. We are not simply a religion. We are a people. And we deserve self-determination, as do the Palestinians. And I think to reject that, I do think gets you closer to antisemitism”

    So I am eg a Welsh Baptist and my forebears have lived in Wales for hundreds of years. I convert to Judiaism ergo I racinate myself into a Jew and I have the automatic right to live in dignity and security in a sliver of land in the Levant stolen from the native population and thousands of miles away from those lovely Welsh valleys.

    OMG if I say this is absolute c..p and reject it as being illogical drivel does it mean I am getting ever closer to anti – semitism ?

  11. Elizabeth Block
    Elizabeth Block
    August 3, 2016, 11:21 am

    For Jews who are afraid of being ostracized by the Jewish community, sure. Study the Torah so that they can’t criticize you.
    But if you’re not afraid of that, if you’re not afraid of being called a self-hating Jew … well, all you really need to know is (to quote Jeff Halper) that Israel can only sustain its character as a Jewish state by suppressing the Palestinians, and that the Palestinians can never accept permanent subjugation, which is all Israel can offer. And that treating other people the way Jews were treated for so long is despicable.
    As for working with Christians, I do that. Not with Christian Zionists, obviously!

  12. weiss
    weiss
    August 3, 2016, 11:42 am

    Is this a Litmus Test ???

    Knowing Jewsh History Taught ME that the Persecuted have now become the Persecutors….

    This what brutal Israeli Apartheid looks like…

  13. inbound39
    inbound39
    August 3, 2016, 1:43 pm

    There is absolutely no need whatsoever to read or understand the Torah in order to understand or comprehend that what Israel is doing is wrong on so many levels. Our own sense of compassion and empathy for our fellow human beings tells us it is wrong as does our inbuilt sense of right and wrong. If watching something cause us to experience knots twisting in our gut and causes us to have tears filling our eyes then it is wrong. When it reflects visions of the recent past in our modern history and we see repeat performances of past behaviour that cost the lives of millions we know its wrong. We do not need to read the Torah to tell us those obvious and apparent things. The most glaring image that tells us what is happening is wrong is when we see children being brought lifeless from the rubble of burning buildings. No words are necessary to tell us that is wrong. Children are our messengers to the future. We need to take great care in the message we give them to take forward.

  14. eljay
    eljay
    August 3, 2016, 9:25 pm

    … Beinart said that … it is anti-Semitic to deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in Israel. …

    People who choose to self-determine as Jewish should be permitted that choice in Israel or Palestine or anywhere else in the world. The choice to self-determine as Jewish does not include a right to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in Israel or Palestine or anywhere else in the world.

    It’s not anti-Semitic to deny Jews a right they do not have.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      August 3, 2016, 10:23 pm

      The right of self-determination on a non-territorial basis, or on a religious basis, to determine the fate of territories strictly and entirely belonging to other people, is purely a Zionist invention. It describes the commission of several crimes against humanity.

      To repeat: there cannot be a right to self-determination as “Jewish”, this word not applying to anything but a religious congregation outside of well-defined territorial and cultural groups. These being several groups (as in the main acception of “several”, ie excluding a common identity that can be recognized), one wonders what brings them together, outside, of course, religion for the religious among them.

      Second, who the hell gifted you the territory this “self-determination” should apply on?

      It is not the right to a religious-or-racial-supremacist state that is in question.
      It is the right to anything on other people’s territory.
      Including the right to be there.

      Again, this an either/or situation. You cannot acknowledge any right at all of the Zionist invaders without justifying their presence anywhere. In my pedestrian, boring, unrefined syllogism-based logic I cannot understand how you defend one thing and its diametrical opposite at the same time.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 4, 2016, 10:54 pm

        || echinococcus: … To repeat: there cannot be a right to self-determination as “Jewish” … ||

        If you say so. I’m not going to be the one to tell people who wish to be Jewish that they cannot be Jewish.

        || … Second, who the hell gifted you the territory this “self-determination” should apply on? … ||

        No-one gifted anything to me. And self-determination as “Jewish” does not require territory.

        || … It is not the right to a religious-or-racial-supremacist state that is in question.
        It is the right to anything on other people’s territory.
        Including the right to be there. … ||

        IMHO, the solution to the injustice and immorality of the Zio-supremacist “Jewish State” project is justice, accountability and equality (two secular and democratic states plus a Free City of Jerusalem; respect for and fulfillment of obligations under international law; accountability for (war) crimes committed, etc.). The solution is not to dismantle the state of Israel and ship all of its non-indigenous inhabitants – whatever that means after 70 years of habitation – to other parts of the globe.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 5, 2016, 11:37 am

        Eljay,

        Diverting away again. Their problem, for the Nth time, is not that they call themselves Jewish –they can call themselves Detroit Steelers or Lemmings for all I care. They are determining things on other people’s land. Territory that exclusively belongs to those other people. On which their presence is illegitimate (which you acknowledged from the other side of your mouth.)

        Self-determination of peoples, as a concept of international policy, absolutely requires a territory over which to exert it –and it better be the own territory belonging to the people voting on it, as a question of elementary law. Not some recent, illegal conquest. So don’t deflect with nonsense.

        As for what the solution is, you and I are not entitled to decide, and the PLO puppets are not either. The necessary plebiscite has not taken place. So what kind of citizenship and residency is to be the rule is still nothing you or I can decide. The owners of the country have a perfect right to ask for expulsion. As much of a right, at least, as the Czechs and Poles when they expelled the German settlers brought by the Nazi.

      • annie
        annie
        August 5, 2016, 12:06 pm

        Diverting away again.

        everyone who doesn’t agree with you is not diverting echi. and just because you frame your opinion as fact doesn’t make it so.

        Self-determination of peoples, as a concept of international policy, absolutely requires a territory over which to exert it

        here’s wiki:

        The principle does not state how the decision is to be made, nor what the outcome should be, whether it be independence, federation, protection, some form of autonomy or full assimilation.[5] Neither does it state what the delimitation between nations should be— nor what constitutes a nation. There are conflicting definitions and legal criteria for determining which groups may legitimately claim the right to self-determination.[6]

        so i am not sure it “absolutely requires a territory over which to exert it” vs within a territory in which to pursue it. here’s another definition http://www.unpo.org/article/4957

        Essentially, the right to self-determination is the right of a people to determine its own destiny. In particular, the principle allows a people to choose its own political status and to determine its own form of economic, cultural and social development. Exercise of this right can result in a variety of different outcomes ranging from political independence through to full integration within a state. The importance lies in the right of choice, so that the outcome of a people’s choice should not affect the existence of the right to make a choice. In practice, however, the possible outcome of an exercise of self-determination will often determine the attitude of governments towards the actual claim by a people or nation. Thus, while claims to cultural autonomy may be more readily recognized by states, claims to independence are more likely to be rejected by them. Nevertheless, the right to self-determination is recognized in international law as a right of process (not of outcome) belonging to peoples and not to states or governments.

        either way, i am not so sure you’re correct that there is no “right to self-determination as “Jewish”” and i am also not so sure that self-determination as “Jewish” requires territory. i think self determination can be fulfilled by having full rights of equality and citizenship within whatever sovereignty one resides.

        and clearly there are limits to any peoples or persons self determination. iow, ones self determination cannot trample the rights of others. but then, eljay is not making the case it can.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 5, 2016, 12:17 pm

        || echinococcus: Eljay,

        Diverting away again. … ||

        Nope, not diverting.

        || … Their problem, for the Nth time, is not that they call themselves Jewish … ||

        It sure seems to be.

        || … They are determining things on other people’s land. … ||

        And I disagree with that.

        || … Territory that exclusively belongs to those other people. On which their presence is illegitimate (which you acknowledged from the other side of your mouth.) … ||

        Not sure which side of my mouth that is, but I acknowledge that the “Jewish State” project is illegitimate. Israel, however, exists and has existed for almost 70 years. IMO, it must be reformed into a secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally. Obligations must be fulfilled; criminials must be held accountable.

        You want to tear down Israel and ship off all non-indigenous inhabitants. Who are the non-indigenous inhabitants? That’s still not clear.

        || … Self-determination of peoples, as a concept of international policy, absolutely requires a territory over which to exert it … ||

        I agree. And that’s why I don’t believe that the “Jewish people” are entitled to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine or anywhere else.

        || … So don’t deflect with nonsense. … ||

        It only seems like deflection to someone with your particular obsession.

        || … As for what the solution is, you and I are not entitled to decide … ||

        I know. I’ve previously stated that I have no power to influence anyone.

        || … So what kind of citizenship and residency is to be the rule is still nothing you or I can decide. … ||

        I know. See above.

        || … The owners of the country have a perfect right to ask for expulsion. … ||

        If you say so. Although first the decision will have to be made as to who “owns” Israel. But maybe you’ve already made that decision and can simply proclaim it to the world and enforce it. Best of luck with that.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 1:04 pm

        .” IMO, it must be reformed into a secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally. Obligations must be fulfilled; criminials must be held accountable.”

        If that can be achieved, or even gotten close to, that process should do a fairly good job of selecting who has to leave, and who might stay. And who will hurriedly pack their bags and disappear into the wind.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 5, 2016, 1:34 pm

        Nicely written, Annie. But see, it all boils down to one thing only: property of the sovereignty on Palestine, without which no population can determine jacksh|t about Palestine, period. All the rest is extra details, ie fluff. As you clearly say yourself:

        iow, ones self determination cannot trample the rights of others

        Precisely. You hit your head squarely on the nail.

        but then, eljay is not making the case it can.

        Au contraire, my reading of his last post is that he finally acknowledges that in his mind the post-1879 Zionist invaders do have territorial rights in Palestine:
        “|| … They are determining things on other people’s land. … ||
        And I disagree with that.”
        also:
        “Who are the non-indigenous inhabitants? That’s still not clear”

        I finally got an answer to my simple question, with heartfelt thanks, and I can now stop pestering him. He states that the presence of Zionists in Palestine is legitimate and assumes that it is probably legitimate to impose it on the Palestinians by disposing the conditions in their name. So one can reinterpret his earlier statements about the illegitimacy of any Zionist state as opposition to a racial-supremacist domination only.

      • annie
        annie
        August 5, 2016, 2:05 pm

        He states that the presence of Zionists in Palestine is legitimate

        actually, he didn’t reference zionists. it would be helpful (imho) if you’re going to be making declarations regarding what he stated, if you could use his words while you’re doing it. because he did not state that the presence of Zionists in Palestine was legitimate. because one could argue his very statement here implies the opposite (because it deligitimizes the idea of an ethnic nationalist state):

        it must be reformed into a secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

        whether i agree with his opinion is beside the point, i just think it’s disingenuous to argue against your own interpretation of what you think someone suggested vs what they said. in fact they have a name for that, it’s called a strawman argument. one could also claim, by your own standards, that you were diverting.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 5, 2016, 2:44 pm

        || echinococcus: … I finally got an answer to my simple question, with heartfelt thanks, and I can now stop pestering him. … ||

        I don’t know what you think you got, but I doubt you’ll stop pestering me.

        || … He states that the presence of Zionists in Palestine is legitimate … ||

        No, the presence of Israelis in Israel, Palestinians in Palestine and Jerusalemites in Jerusalem is legitimate. “Jewish State”, however, is illegitimate, as is its on-going campaign of occupation and colonization.

        To recap (which I’m sure will cause you to pester me once again):
        – Partition-borders Israel should be the secular and democratic nation state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees (CIERs), equally;
        – Partition-borders Palestine (if that’s what it is to be called) should be the secular and democratic nation of and for all of its Palestinian citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally;
        – Partition-borders Jerusalem should be the secular and democratic Free City of and for all of its Jerusalemite citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally;
        – whether these three entities choose to remain apart or to join together should be up to the democratic will of the CIERs of Israel, Palestine and Jerusalem;
        – Israel must honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees and reparations);
        – all Zio-supremacist and other (war) criminals must be held accountable for their respective past and on-going (war) crimes.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 5, 2016, 2:56 pm

        || Mooser: … If that can be achieved, or even gotten close to, that process should do a fairly good job of selecting who has to leave, and who might stay. And who will hurriedly pack their bags and disappear into the wind. ||

        I prefer to see people freely choosing to remain in an inclusive and democratic state or to leave an inclusive and democratic state rather than be mass-murdered in it or ethnically-cleansed from it.

        Some folks, it seems, prefer the latter.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 3:41 pm

        “I prefer to see people freely choosing to remain in an inclusive and democratic state “

        That would be one heck of a former IDF man who retired, (after doing God-knows-what for the IDF) and started a business with stolen Palestinian assets, who would stick around to be investigated, arrested, and his assets seized. Or simply meet up again with a lot of Palestinians he’d, uh, rather not see under these more democratic circumstances.
        A real mensch, a sterling fellow he would be to do that.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 5, 2016, 4:34 pm

        || Mooser: … That would be one heck of a former IDF man who retired, (after doing God-knows-what for the IDF) and started a business with stolen Palestinian assets … Or simply meet up again with a lot of Palestinians he’d, uh, rather not see under these more democratic circumstances.
        A real mensch, a sterling fellow he would be to do that. ||

        Assuming, of course, that he hadn’t:
        – been tried, found guilty and thrown in jail for committing (war) crimes; or
        – “hurriedly pack[ed his] bags and disappear[ed] into the wind”.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 5, 2016, 9:00 pm

        Eljay,

        Thanks for answering at good last, that you see the Zionist invaders as legitimate inhabitants, and that you recognize them a right of ownership. As long as they can self-discipline and do not call it “Jewish state”, eh?

        But then, I see things over and above the call of loyalty here:

        Israel, however, exists and has existed for almost 70 years

        Yeah, that. The Colchidians were still bellyaching after Byzantium had been alive for 1,300 years, way after everyone was dead, and guess what, they were still right.

        IMO, it must be reformed into a secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally. Obligations must be fulfilled; criminials must be held accountable.

        If I get it right, you are writing a prescription here that does not consider for a split second the will of the owners of the place –you wouldn’t, as you just introduced a right to sovereignty for the invaders. Which also authorizes you to heavily insult the Palestinians by calling them “Israeli” (Unclear if you mean the pre-67 anyway, the other having no rights; now that we disposed of sovereignty why heed anything but our own liberal conscience?)

        What I can see you concocting over there in the absence of a full Palestinian and only-Palestinian plebiscite sounds much like the US after its successful genocide. Now that the owners are eliminated, let’s give the couple survivors US citizenship.

        Only that was happening before the end of the 19th C., while you want to have it in the 21st.

        Your problem may be in the following:

        I acknowledge that the “Jewish State” project is illegitimate

        Acknowledging does not show your intentions with regard to an injustice; your readiness to overturn it is the only objective criterion.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 6, 2016, 12:57 am

        Annie, when a state is established on a territory, it will affect everyone who lives in that territory. This seems a pretty good reason for suggesting that, if “the right to self-determination” means “the right to establish a state”, it is a joint right of all the people resident in the territory, and not a right of any other “people”.

        (If the Beast From The Pit had not devoured our archives I would refer you to my brilliant and lengthy arguments on the topic.)

        When “the right to self determination” has other meanings, each meaning has to be considered separately.

        “everyone who doesn’t agree with you is not diverting”

        ?

        Do you mean “not everyone who doesn’t agree with you is diverting”?

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 6, 2016, 4:30 am

        eljay: You want to tear down Israel and ship off all non-indigenous inhabitants. […]

        * * * * *

        […] Best of luck with that.
        ————–

        I don’t think you give echinococcus enough credit for achieving moral purity, regardless of a lack of positive effects it might have on Palestinian well-being.

        Cf. “Taiwan president apologizes to aboriginals for suffering” (Aug. 1, 2016)

        Taiwan’s president on Monday apologized on behalf of the government to the island’s aboriginal peoples for 400 years of conquest and colonization, saying the facing of difficult historical facts was necessary for society to move forward.

        Tsai Ing-wen said her government wished to “take a further step” and offer its “fullest apology.”

        “If we wish to declare ourselves as a country of one people, we need to face these historical facts. We have to face the truth. Most importantly, the government must truly reflect on itself and that is why I’m standing here today,” Tsai said at a ceremony at the presidential office building in the capital, Taipei.

        A “justice and historical justice commission” would be established to deal with the problems of the past, Tsai said. She was speaking on Taiwan’s official aboriginal people’s day before representatives of the island’s 16 officially recognized native tribes. […]

        http://bigstory.ap.org/article/6be48c66d2d34d33af82ea8d1706f7b0/taiwan-president-apologizes-aboriginals-suffering

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 6, 2016, 9:34 am

        || echinococcus: Eljay, … ||

        True to your empty promise, you continue to pester me. No surprise there.

        || … Thanks for answering at good last, that you see the Zionist invaders as legitimate inhabitants … ||

        If you say so.

        || … If I get it right, you are writing a prescription … ||

        You do not get it right. I’m expressing my opinion, not “writing a prescription”. You attribute to me a power of influence I do not possess.

        You need to pester the Israeli and American governments and tell them you want all people not indigenous to Palestine since 1897 expelled from Palestine. Best of luck with that.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 6, 2016, 10:01 am

        Sibiriak,

        That patronizing “moral purity” talk returns, conveniently, every time that some of non-existent Zionist claims on Palestine must be protected from questioning.

        Moral purity my *$$. There are different views among the Palestinian population, of course, about the solution to work for, from the Pétains and Quislings and the overwhelmed survivalists already marked for the slaughter all the way to the different resistance members and parties. This is about what should be strived for in strict justice, not about what will effectively be done, or what is more diplomatic or more easily achievable.

        At the end of the day, world events, imperialist intervention, occupier cruelty and popular rage will change what happens anyway. Just imagine that the FLN in Algeria had a very tolerant program –the people overturned that.

        My position is that only the representative Palestinian popular will has any right to decide on these matters, certainly not unrelated people from Brooklyn, Kishinev or Siberia –especially if they call themselves Jewish– or their invader offspring (that solution has been tried and found rather wanting.)

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 6, 2016, 10:20 am

        Eljay,

        I did stop pestering you to finally answer my questions –I got the answers (which you still did not do directly, but we’ll pass.)

        If you are so adamant that only begging the Zionist monster or the US gov is likely to be of any use and you are totally powerless, as you say, why do you discuss anything in a discussion group, expressing your indignation at a racial-supremacist government and/or defending permanent rights for the invaders?

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 6, 2016, 12:27 pm

        || echinococcus: Eljay,

        I did stop pestering you to finally answer my questions … ||

        And the pestering continues.

        || … If you are so adamant that only begging the Zionist monster or the US gov is likely to be of any use … ||

        I’m not adamant about that since I never said that.

        || … and you are totally powerless, as you say … ||

        I have no influence on matters in the M.E. or elsewhere, correct.

        || … why do you discuss anything in a discussion group, expressing your indignation at a racial-supremacist government … ||

        I’m discussing in this discussion group because it’s a discussion group. I was not aware that having the same mindset as you was a prerequisite for discussing in this discussion group.

      • annie
        annie
        August 6, 2016, 12:59 pm

        Sibiriak, thanks for the taiwan presidents apology link.

        echi: If you are so adamant that only begging the Zionist monster or the US gov is likely to be of any use and you are totally powerless, as you say, why do you discuss anything

        more strawmanning since eljay said nothing of ” begging the Zionist monster or the US gov” or “rights for the invaders?”, but on a similar note, if your position is that “only the representative Palestinian popular will has any right to decide on these matters” why do you discuss anything in a discussion group, expressing your indignation?

        can’t you go harp somewhere else for awhile? your redundancy is annoying.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 6, 2016, 4:02 pm

        SIBIRIAK- (AP Quote)- “Taiwan’s president on Monday apologized on behalf of the government to the island’s aboriginal peoples for 400 years of conquest and colonization, saying the facing of difficult historical facts was necessary for society to move forward.”

        While an apology by itself may do little to right a historical wrong, nonetheless the replacement of myth-history with actual history can influence future actions. Misrepresenting reality is standard for empires. A classic example is the US failure to honestly describe the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ending the war and saving lives is pure crap. Letting the USSR see that we had doomsday weapon and were willing to use it even when it was not necessary, and field testing these new weapons were the primary reasons. The Hiroshima bomb had a uranium core whereas the Nagasaki bomb had a plutonium core. Both bombs were dropped in the middle of the cities to test their effect, even though both had American POWs. Immense war crimes and terrorism, pure and simple. When will this be acknowledge and Harry Truman be mentioned alongside Josef Mengele? Shining city on the hill my you-know-what. A quote from John Pilger on the official narrative followed by Diana Johnstone on the reality. How many Mondoweissers are even aware of this?

        “A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”….” (John Pilger) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45196.htm

        “The atom bombs were not dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘to save lives by ending the war’. That was an official lie. The bombs were dropped to see how they worked and to show the world that the United States possessed unlimited destructive power.
        ….
        The decision to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a political not a military decision. The targets were not military, the effects were not military. The attacks were carried out against the wishes of all major military leaders. Admiral William Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his memoirs that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…” General Eisenhower, General MacArthur, even General Hap Arnold, commander of the Air Force, were opposed. Japan was already devastated by fire bombing, facing mass hunger from the US naval blockade, demoralized by the surrender of its German ally, and fearful of an imminent Russian attack. In reality, the war was over. All top U.S. leaders knew that Japan was defeated and was seeking to surrender.”
        (Diana Johnstone) http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/05/hiroshima-the-crime-that-keeps-on-paying-but-beware-the-reckoning/

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 6, 2016, 7:35 pm

        || Annie Robbins: … if your position is that “only the representative Palestinian popular will has any right to decide on these matters” … ||

        … I’d like to know why Palestinians have not yet reclaimed geographic Palestine. The way he tells it, it’s as simple as:
        – proclaiming who are the owners of geographic Palestine;
        – having the owners agree that Israel must be dismantled and that all people not indigenous to geographic Palestine since 1897 must be expelled;
        – dismantling the state of Israel and expelling from geographic Palestine all people not indigenous to it since 1897; and
        – returning geographic Palestine to its proclaimed owners.

        It’s so simple. What are Palestinians waiting for?

      • annie
        annie
        August 6, 2016, 7:58 pm

        it’s a real mystery eljay.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 6, 2016, 9:14 pm

        || Annie Robbins: it’s a real mystery eljay. ||

        Aye, Annie, it is. :-)

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 4, 2016, 1:40 am

      “It’s not anti-Semitic to deny Jews a right they do not have.”

      It probably is. Most things are.

      It is certainly anti-Semitic to deny Jews a right they want, even if such a right does not exist, and is a logical impossibility.

      Logic is anti-Semitic, too.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 4, 2016, 9:56 am

        || RoHa: … It is certainly anti-Semitic to deny Jews a right they want, even if such a right does not exist, and is a logical impossibility.

        Logic is anti-Semitic, too. ||

        I keep forgetting just how (literally) unbelievably pervasive anti-Semitism is.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 12:15 am

        “It probably is. Most things are.”

        No wonder I’ve had so much trouble in my life. I guess it can’t be helped. I’m thankful it wasn’t worse.

  15. RoHa
    RoHa
    August 3, 2016, 9:47 pm

    “it is anti-Semitic to deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in Israel. ”

    I suppose it is still anti-Semitic even if I deny that any “people” – including the Palestinian “people” – has a right to self-determination when “self determination” means “the right to set up a state in a particular territory” and “people” means anything other than “the total legitimate resident population of the territory”.

    But I don’t care.

  16. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    August 4, 2016, 2:14 am

    Traditionally a place at the table for adults (which meant men in the eastern european jewish communities) was reserved for the men of means and the men of learning. For learning of texts to be an entrance ticket to the table today hearkens back to that earlier time.

    The survival of the Jews despite the persecutions, is an early indicator of the changing identity of the Jews, that is: it is no surprise that secular Jewishness and secular Jews, played a major role in the history of the world in the last century or so. The case of Karl Marx is not exemplary, i don’t recall at what age Karl was dunked in the baptismal font, and his antisemitism that was expressed later, puts him in his own file of self hating Jew, (post baptism). The cases of Freud and Einstein on the other hand: 2 of the most famous personalities of the early twentieth century- and the persistence of Jewish identity in these two figures, although their place of origins: Germany and Austria and the eventual cataclysm of German Jewry might put them in a special file of their own, but nonetheless, all those who deny the existence of secular Jewishness who don’t deal with Ziggy and Albert, sound like a bunch of know nothings.

    Einstein compared Jewishness to the snail and its shell. Even though the snail is known by its shell, even after it sheds its shell it still maintains its snail-ness. So the Jew and his religion, even after it sheds its shell, its religion, some basic Jew-ness remains (which Einstein defined in a tikkun way).

    Freud’s secularism was self evident (establishing a new religion might not be a secularistic activity, but nonetheless) and his attachment to Jewishness can be denied if you wish, but is self evident to me.

    So spouters of the nonexistence of Jewish secularism are prima facie (?) spouting nonsense to me. Now, of course 2016 Brooklyn and 1938 Vienna are two different situations. The self evident need to define oneself in 1938 Vienna when a storm is approaching that made no difference between Torah knowledgeable Jews and Jews who converted to Christianity is self evident. (poorly constructed tautology, but still…) How is a Jew who has no affinity for religion in 2016 Chicago say, supposed to relate to the Jewish identity of his parents and grandparents and great grandparents. obviously the key phrase there is “supposed to”, whereas in fact there is no “supposed to”, there are different human reactions to different situations, different sets of parents, grandparents and great grandparents, different ways of relating to Christmas and Christianity and nonJews in a society that has been secularizing away from traditional Christianity to humanism as expressed by the culture in various forms. So there is no “supposed to”. But those who dictate: if you don’t believe in Torah, you may not call yourself a Jew and if you call yourself a Jew that means that you are a racist and ethnocentrist and partaking in the imperialistic urges of America and Israel, well, chill, guys, stop telling me what I can call myself or how I am allowed to relate to the history of the world as it effected a small corner of it: my siblings, my peers, my parents, their parents and their great grandparents. And the evolution of my knowledge of myself and Americans of my age group and the knowledge of the history of American Jews, certainly allows me a different perspective than the one limited by my immediate family, but certainly when someone comes along and says, “Thou shalt not call thyself a secular Jew!” I know that person is f***ed up and is part of the dark side.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      August 4, 2016, 12:40 pm

      @yonah

      So help me understand this from your perspective.

      On another thread there were references to Christian/Catholic Jews. jon s stated that it was not possible that such people existed as they followed a belief in Jesus while Jews do not and believe in a single god (my parphrase). I asked, but didn’t get a response to what he thought of the term secular Jew.

      I know that if I ask 12 million Jews I’ll get 18 million answers but what is your take on Christian Jews as an identification? I’m guessing you will be ok with their self identification given your last sentence but what is your personal take on it.

      I admit I find the term secular Jew to be conflicting in terms of what it represents. I was raised in a Chrstian household but my views are atheist and I haven’t attended a church service in over a half century. As a non believer to be referred to as a secular Christian would be mind boggling to me. Granted I confess I participate in some Christian holidays such as giving chocolate to my granddaughters and gifts at XMas to friends and family. Those dates have no significance to me other than a good excuse for festivities. So maybe I could be referred to as a secular Christian even if I think it’s a contradiction.

      So … Having rambled on… Do you think classifications such as Christian/Muslim/Catholic Jew can be a valid label? Or are any/all self indentifications fair game?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 4, 2016, 5:14 pm

        old geezer- simply put – a Christian jew or a Muslim jew is a strange category to me and I must admit I am uncomfortable with these blurred lines, much moreso than the blurred lines of secular jew. Still my discomfort does not stop me from wondering about my fellow neighbor’s sense of identity. I would be interested in asking the person how they define themselves and why they call themselves jewish? Here are some possible answers: 1. Christianity is an extension of judaism and my Christianity is how I best practice judaism. 2. Jewishness describes my social background, the culture I was raised in, the books I read, the movies I like, the foods I like, the politics I like, and Christianity is my belief system, totally independent from my culture. 3. Listen, to the nazis I still belong in the gas chambers, so even though I accept jesus as the son of god, they still want to exterminate me for being a jew, so screw them, I am a jew, hated by the nazis for my dna for the blood that flows in my veins, so if the nazi calls me a jew, then damn straight, I’m a jew.

        Having been raised in a Christian society, I m far more familiar with jews who have accepted jesus or jews who have mixed Jewish and Christian parents, so even though theologically islam is far more similar to judaism in terms of one god who has no body or physical offspring, I am far more practised in the attempts to decipher or imagine a Jewish Christian mixed identity rather than a Muslim Jewish identity, but I don’t think my imagination would vary much from the Christian Jewish examples offered above.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 4, 2016, 11:40 pm

        “Listen, to the nazis I still belong in the gas chambers,”

        “Yonah”, I personally promise you I will not let them do that, even if I have to defeat the entire Third Reich to make sure it doesn’t happen!
        You can count on me.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 4, 2016, 11:54 pm

        ” so if the nazi calls me a jew, then damn straight, I’m a jew.”

        I don’t know, “Yonah”. In the reality based world, only “Yonah Fredman” can tell “Yonah Fredman” if he is a Jew or not. The Nazis are gone. Does that tear a big hole in your Jewish identity?

      • talknic
        talknic
        August 5, 2016, 12:15 am

        @ yonah fredman August 4, 2016, 5:14 pm

        ” simply put – a Christian jew or a Muslim jew is a strange category to me … “

        It’s quite simple. Jewish by birth and Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist or whatever belief by religion.

        No one is born believing or observing a religious system such as Judaism or Christianity or Islam

      • silamcuz
        silamcuz
        August 5, 2016, 3:57 am

        Talknic

        Unless you could identify a dead baby’s religion from examining its corpse, there is no such thing as a born Jew or Muslim or Christian.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        August 5, 2016, 6:56 am

        @yonah

        Thanks for the response. I appreciate it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 10:15 am

        “Unless you could identify a dead baby’s religion from examining its corpse, there is no such thing as a born Jew or Muslim or Christian.” “Silamcuz”

        What on earth are you talking about “Silamcuz”? Everybody knows Jews are born without a foreskin. Why, there’s hardly a trace of it. Every other mammal in the goddam animal kingdom has one, but not us!
        So it’s easy to tell.

      • Raphael
        Raphael
        August 5, 2016, 12:22 pm

        old geezer- simply put – a Christian jew

        Modern Jewish history scholarship has the following excellent books etc., and there are other articles about the social, political and religious roles of the non Jewish Jews throughout history:

        Jewish opposition to intermarriage is well known. Yet a million couples in the United States alone stand under the intermarried chupah. To those couples we pose the following question:

        Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Samson, Joseph, Esther, Salomon.

        What do they al have in common?

        They are intermarried.

        Strange Wives: The Paradox of Biblical Intermarriage – December 15, 2014
        by Ph.D Stanley Ned Rosenbaum (Author), Rabbi Allen Secher (Author)

        Amos Elon, The Pity of it All; a Portrait of the German Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933, 260

        Fredrick S. Roden, Recovering Jewishness, Modern Identities Reclaimed, 2016, 18

        Come Out My People!”: God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond – October 1, 2010
        by Wes Howard-Brook

        Israelis are a religiously diverse people who live in close proximity to one another. But when it comes to marriage, they rarely cross religious lines – not only between Judaism, Islam and Christianity, for example, but also across the country’s four major categories of Jewish identity. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/04/religious-groups-in-israel-keep-to-themselves-when-it-comes-to-marriages-and-friendships-2/ April 4, 2016 By Carlyle Murphy

        One of Israel’s most famous spies (Sylvia Rafael Schjødt) is a half Jew. Her father was Jewish.

        http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Sylvia-goes-to-Cannes-450422

        Israel’s legendary spy returns to the European cinematic spotlight – in a documentary about her life.

        “One day when true peace comes, they will write books about her, name streets after her and make movies of her life,” wrote Eitan Haber, former defense correspondent and close associate and adviser to former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in Yediot Aharonot in 2005, following the funeral of top Mossad agent, Sylvia Raphael at Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh.

        Sylvia Rafael Schjødt
        Born near Cape Town in 1937, she was the daughter of a Jewish father. Although her mother was not Jewish, Rafael immigrated to Israel in 1963, where she lived on a kibbutz, later working as a teacher.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Rafael

      • annie
        annie
        August 5, 2016, 12:58 pm

        One of Israel’s most famous spies (Sylvia Rafael Schjødt) is a half Jew. Her father was Jewish.

        raphael, interestingly none of your links reference her as jewish. in fact one of them (jpost) calls her not jewish:

        Page 3 of The Jerusalem Post regarding a funeral that had taken place the previous day, a few kilometers north of my home city of Kfar Saba.

        It revealed that the deceased was a South African, that she had been a Mossad agent convicted of a botched assassination in Norway connected with the 1972 Olympics Games Munich Massacre. It also seemed to hint at her not being Jewish…..

        My first question was why would a woman, not Jewish, dedicate the best years of her life, risking life and limb, to a foreign cause – the survival of the Jewish state?

        can you find any links referencing her as jewish? just curious. i wonder if she self identify as jewish.

        do you even know if she was israeli because the jpost article said she was south african and implied she was a foreign agent. after she served her conviction she didn’t go back to israel, she went back to her native south africa — where she lived until she died. i’m just curious why you used her as an example of “the country’s four major categories of Jewish identity”?

        they recruited her for a high stakes foreign mission and after serving her prison term for assassinating and innocent person she didn’t return to israel.

      • annie
        annie
        August 5, 2016, 1:53 pm

        Israelis are a religiously diverse people who live in close proximity to one another. But when it comes to marriage, they rarely cross religious lines

        that would probably be the case here too if the state didn’t allow civil marriages and religious courts controlled/determined who could marry who. just thought i’d mention — as did the pew article you linked to:

        All marriages in Israel — whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Druze — are conducted within religious courts and according to religious law. It is not surprising, then, that intermarriage is rare and that nearly all Israelis who are married or living with a partner say their spouse or partner shares their religion.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 1:08 pm

        “Yet a million couples in the United States alone stand under the intermarried chupah. To those couples we pose the following question:”

        Pose all you want. That’s all you’ve been doing so far.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 2:31 pm

        . “But when it comes to marriage, they rarely cross religious lines”

        “Raphael” is trying to tell us that’s a good thing. We are supposed to admire the Israelis for that.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2016, 2:35 pm

        “who are married or living with a partner say their spouse or partner shares their religion.”

        Spouse or p-p-partner? Now I’m all confused. You can get a get to shack up?

      • lysias
        lysias
        August 5, 2016, 3:49 pm

        If her mother was not Jewish, then by Halakhic standards she was not a Jew. Doesn’t matter what her father was.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        August 5, 2016, 3:57 pm

        @Raphael

        And thanks to you too.

        ———————————————————-

        We often hear that Jewish is a race, ethnicity, religion, nation, people, etc.

        I confess that as of this point in time I don’t accept it is anything other than a religion. One which I can respect as much as any others.

        It isn’t a race. You can convert. It isn’t an ethnicity as Jewish people have a variety of ethnicities. Just as there are many ethnicities which have Christian adherents.

        If it was a race or ethnicity there is no reason why a Christian Jew, for example, wouldn’t be quite probable and logical.

        I’m not sure appealing to Hitler as the basis for a definition is a sound foundation although I do understand the apprehension that another deranged madman, like him, could come along.

        People will self identify as they please and provided that it’s primarily sane then what’s the problem with that. It would be ludicrious for me to self identify as a black man given the fact I make the man from glad look dark skinned.

        I don’t accept that self indentification entitles one to special rights. I don’t accept that religious identification entitles one to special rights either.

        So where does that leave me? In the same position I’ve always been I guess. I just wanted to understand some viewpoints as some identifications made no sense to jon s. Never hurts to try to understand.

      • Mr.T
        Mr.T
        August 5, 2016, 4:14 pm

        “If her mother was not Jewish, then by Halakhic standards she was not a Jew. Doesn’t matter what her father was.”

        I think, first, you need to demonstrate why anyone would want to apply such a reality-defying standard. Sure, for purposes inside a group, a group can apply whatever standard they want, regardless of whether it’s rational or not. But that’s not what you’re doing here. So the standard applied inside the group is irrelevant.

      • Raphael
        Raphael
        August 5, 2016, 4:21 pm

        One of Israel’s most famous spies (Sylvia Rafael Schjødt

        I do research into how the media reports news.; and language corruption. And, it seemed like a interesting story to me; because Sylvia Rafael has a Jewish father… but a non Jewish mother.

        The same story as me…I have a Jewish father, and a non Jewish Christian mother.

        When I read the book about her it appears that she was scapegoated by the mossad. Obviously, the book written by a “Mossad” agent had some sort of official PR brainwashing mechanism as the ultimate goal…. he seemed to me that he had a agenda to cover up the scapegoating of her, by writing about her. That is my interpretation of the book about her anyway.

        I’m also interested, because, I’m now a Israeli, and a American, so I like to read about how others that made Aliyah experience their life in Israel, as Israelis.

        Sylvia Rafael
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        Born near Cape Town in 1937, she was the daughter of a Jewish father. Although her mother was not Jewish, Rafael immigrated to Israel in 1963, where she lived on a kibbutz….

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Rafael

      • talknic
        talknic
        August 5, 2016, 8:46 pm

        @ silamcuz August 5, 2016, 3:57 am

        “Unless you could identify a dead baby’s religion from examining its corpse, there is no such thing as a born Jew or Muslim or Christian”

        Babies are not born with religious beliefs. Religion is a belief system acquired through indoctrination.

        They can however be born within a group of people who might practice certain rituals such as circumcision, believing it has some religious significance for males

        The ritual and subsequent physical and possible psychological damage of circumcision doesn’t impart any religious beliefs to the baby. Religion and religious significance is learned by the victim

        Circumcision doesn’t tell us who is Jewish because it is practiced by other than Jews for a lot of reasons including cosmetic appearances and it doesn’t include Jewish females

        Being Jewish has two basic meanings. They’re separate issues, both governed by belief. One being a logical belief the other a religious belief
        1) Jewish by birth to a Jewish mother.
        a. the inheritance of DNA which dictates certain physical characteristics of the mother and b. only a mother can be 100% certain she is the parent.

        2) Jewish by religion thru indoctrination

      • silamcuz
        silamcuz
        August 6, 2016, 1:46 am

        Talcnic

        Being Jewish has two basic meanings. They’re separate issues, both governed by belief. One being a logical belief the other a religious belief
        1) Jewish by birth to a Jewish mother.
        a. the inheritance of DNA which dictates certain physical characteristics of the mother and b. only a mother can be 100% certain she is the parent.

        2) Jewish by religion thru indoctrination

        You make zero sense in both points.

        1. There is no such thing as a Jewish set of DNA passed down by the mother or anything in that nature. This is absolute pseudoscientific bullcrap. Genetics no matter how finely you look into it, would not present someone’s faith. You could probably draw some sort of hypothesis predicting a person’s faith by examining the circumstantial evidence including DNA but it would remain forever as speculation only.

        2. Indoctrination is not permanent, and often wears off once the person reaches adulthood and start perceiving reality with reason and rationality. At this stage, people consciously choose to believe and do whatever the hell they want, including BS like Jewish DNA and dispossessing non-Jewish folks of their land.

        Once you start to consciously adopt a belief system and behavioral sets, you are obligated to be held accountable for any consequences stemming from your beliefs and behavior. If you want to believe Jews are collectively superior to Palestinians, or Jews have the right to dispossess land of Arabs, you have every right to do so. Just don’t complain when people choose to (violently) disagree with you as a reaction to your actions fueled from this belief.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        August 6, 2016, 11:15 am

        @Talknic

        In logic isn’t Jewish by birth (mother’s dna) merely a belief also?

        If a Christian woman converts and subsequently gives birth to children then they would fit the Jewish by birth category. Yet the dna that was passed on doesn’t have the same lineage as dna through the maternal line in a family which has been Jewish for thousands of years.

        I don’t see how it can be anything other than a belief although it is no worse, or better, than any other belief..

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 6, 2016, 3:37 pm

        “doesn’t tell us who is Jewish because it is practiced by other than Jews”

        Uh, unfortunately, no. “Circumcision” covers a lot of ground, anything from a little ritual nick (to prevent phimosis?), to a complete and brutal removal of the complete foreskin with all it’s consequences.
        So yes, somebody familiar with different circumcising, uh, ummm, techniques, yeah that’s the ticket “techniques”, could tell.

        It’s not, from what I can gather, like going to the barber. You don’t look at some pictures of models, point, and say: “Cut it like this”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 6, 2016, 4:09 pm

        “old geezer- simply put – a”

        You know what, “Yonah”? You are just re-hashing all the same drivel you dispensed as “Wondering Jew” .

        “Having been raised in a Christian society”

        Yeah, forced you to go to church, didn’t they, and memorize, on pain of beatings, their catechism. Forced you to undergo Christian rituals, and dictated who you would marry. Never allowed you any Jewish identity at all, did they.
        Yes sir, “Yonah” it was that “Christian society” which formed your sterling character and granite ethics, too.

        “Yonah” you are an insult to every Jew who has ever suffered antisemitism.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 6, 2016, 5:14 pm

        “Silamcuz” you are completely wrong when you say “There is no such thing as a Jewish set of DNA passed down by the mother or anything in that nature” and religion cannot be inherited

        Let me quote the words of a well-known expert on the inheritance of behavioral characteristics:

        “You behave the way you do because your mom gave birth to you in a country that prerequisites a certain set of values and behavioral attitudes, along with the genes that are responsible for the way your brain reacts external stimuli such as interaction with family, friends and colleagues as well as random strangers in your life. You also had no choice in neither the fact that you were born and raised where you were, or the specific DNA set that formed the basis of your personality and behavioral traits you inherited from your parents when you were conceived in your mother’s uterus.

        You will have no choice on the circumstances that may affect you in the future, nor would you be able to choose your response to the circumstances”
        http://mondoweiss.net/profile/silamcuz/?keyword=uterus#sthash.NCoWSPfH.dpuf

        Don’t contradict the expert, “Silamcuz”!

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 4, 2016, 5:08 pm

      “but certainly when someone comes along and says, “Thou shalt not call thyself a secular Jew!” I know that person is f***ed up and is part of the dark side.”

      Gee, “Yonah” is that why you said this?:

      “and those who hate judaism are antisemites. which puts critics of judaism or those alienated from the strict observance of their parents wishing to water down judaism in the boat of being slightly antisemitic.” – “Yonah Fredman” http://mondoweiss.net/profile/wondering-jew/?keyword=boat#sthash.63UfmhOq.dpuf

      Did that one come from “the dark side”, “Yonah”? I sure think so. According to “Yonah” about 85% (certainly no less than that) of Jews are antisemitic!

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 4, 2016, 7:48 pm

      Yonah, if I promise never to say “Thou shalt not call thyself a secular Jew!”, will you promise to learn and apply at least the basics of English punctuation?

      Had your comment been on paper, I would have worn out a couple of red pens on it.

      Also, it should be “affected” in that context.

    • Raphael
      Raphael
      August 5, 2016, 8:42 pm

      My first question was why would

      When I read the news about her; it seems that they recruited her to be a assassin. It could be any number of reasons why she wanted to be a agent. My theory is that she could have been a scapegoat; they gave her a surrogate family; to deal with personal psychological issues…perhaps biopolar issues.

      And, because she looked Jewish, sort of, she could deal with the day to day stuff of being a Israeli. I think I read that she was intelligent, and out going… so they I’m guessing brainwashed her to work for them. What if she was a drug addict? What if they simply paid her a million dollars? Spies have been known to not be the most “moral” people in the world.

      It just seemed to me that they used her, to increase their own agendas by the use of the scapegoat mechanism, regardless of her personal reasons, whatever, they may be.

      • annie
        annie
        August 5, 2016, 10:05 pm

        raphael, i asked you 2 questions and you answered neither of them.

        a) can you find any links referencing her as jewish?

        b) i’m just curious why you used her as an example of “the country’s four major categories of Jewish identity”?

        and here’s a bonus one:

        why did you mention her in a post about intermarriage in israel?

        btw, i read today: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.735303?v=036836DE6B2A2A7743800117B75C4315

        A legal prohibition on civil and non-Orthodox weddings is preventing 660,000 Jewish Israelis – including 364,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union (or their children) from marrying, because one or two of the partners in the union does not conform biologically to the rabbis’ definition of Jewishness, since the mother is not Jewish.

        that’s over a million jewish israelis. so that probably goes a long way explaining why, unlike american jews, “when it comes to marriage, they rarely cross religious lines”.

      • Raphael
        Raphael
        August 6, 2016, 5:46 am

        raphael, i asked you

        When I read the book about Sylvia Rafael; I think I recall she was not Jewish; that she never converted. But, I personally don’t believe anything that is said by the Mossad, that they would say publicly, in a book, about one of their agents.

        I don’t think there are any Jewish laws that say a person has to publicly say they are Jewish, if she did convert.From what I do know, Judaism is a communal society that could be secular or religious. And, from what I read from media stories non-Jews have it easier when they convert in the IDF. And, the whole conversion debate between Israeli and American Jews is a whole other story.

        Well, the intermarriage Pew polls show the difficulties for non-Jewish, Jewish Christians, to live in Israel if there is no American style democratic community for them to live in.

        For example, when I went to Mass in Israel, it was not a community of other Jewish Christians like at around the time of Christ. But, was mostly communities of third class citizens or resident workers that work in Israeli communities that don’t want to have Arabs as workers. Such as Philippine Christian communities, and Indian religious services .And, Latin language religious services for the traditional conservative Christian tourists.

        I think what I read from modern Jewish scholars; that the whole debate over intermarriage was over money. When Ezra came back to Israel; they had to compete in a economy with the Israelite Israelis that were multicultural that were living there; so they came up with a religious excuse, to kick out the non Jewish wives of Jewish husbands. It seems to me that it is not much different today.

      • Raphael
        Raphael
        August 6, 2016, 8:14 am

        De Swaan’s thesis is thus startling: Civilization breaks down when one group inside the collective body starts over-emphasizing its own cohesiveness and unity, thereby excluding other groups, isolating them, spatially and symbolically. It is an excess of unity that facilitates dis-identification from other groups, and thus encourages violence (immediately after the Brexit vote, England saw expressions of such breakdowns in codes of civility and in verbal violence against Polish or Latvian migrants).
        read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.735303

        It seems to me that group thinking lets the ones that are in the group to erase the individual consciousness of the individual…. by becoming members of the group, or club makes one a good soldier.

        As I think about my Jewish side of my family, it is shocking to me that the idolatry of a nation, religion or money can influence even family members to turn on their own family members. Even though they and me are basically literally twins of each other. But, I the mischlinge, become, because, my mother is a non Jew I thus become Abel) and one of the the others…. Us vs.Them ; but they are the heroes (Cainites ); even though they did nothing to deserve the title of hero, for a nation, or even a people called Jews, Hebrews or Israelites.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 6, 2016, 3:59 pm

        “when it comes to marriage, they rarely cross religious lines”.

        “Raphael” here a riddle:

        Q: ‘Why was the mohel so happy when a baby almost bled to death after a bris?
        A: It showed him the campaign against out-marriage was succeeding brilliantly!’

  17. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    August 6, 2016, 2:46 pm

    @Raphael
    “England saw expressions of such breakdowns in codes of civility and in verbal violence against Polish or Latvian migrants”

    Rubbish. There was no “breakdown in codes of civility” amongst the English population. What happened was that there was a mini surge in verbal violence from the usual British National Front type right wing Nazi orientated thugs ( a miniscule proportion of the population – their JSILI counterparts are the right wing mobs marching through the Arab quarter in Jerusalem shouting “Death to Arabs”) Even our own home bred Nazi types wouldn`t shout “Death to Poles ” or “Death to Latvians” or “Death to Lithuanians”
    There are racism laws and law enforcement agencies in the UK which address and police racist acts. Unlike in the dear old Chosen Land where the Chosen People can shout”Death to Arabs” and their right to do so is protected by the JSILi “Law Enforcement” agencies and is encouraged by the Fascist freaks who govern the colony.

    BTW You should really get over this fixation/depression about your mother not being Jewish. My mother wasn`t an Atheist but it doesn`t bother me in the slightest.

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