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Ron Lauder’s two-state epiphany elicits rage and condescension in Israel

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As we noted a couple of days ago, conservative Jewish leader Ronald Lauder’s op-ed in the New York Times warning that Israel is delegitimizing itself by its endless settlement project and its rightwing turn into a “semi-theocratic” state has sent shockwaves through the Jewish establishment. Lauder is getting angry pushback in Israel, and a lot of support from the liberal Zionist community in the U.S.

The promise in Lauder’s article is not that it will end the occupation, but that it marks a leftward shift in the U.S. establishment discourse on Israel– and the beginning of a civil war inside the organized Jewish community over Zionism, a civil war that began in the grassroots long ago.

Notice how condescending Israeli minister and settler leader Naftali Bennett, 45, is toward Lauder, 74, at this Israeli government conference on anti-Semitism on Monday night. I don’t know about you, but I would never address someone 30 years my senior in such a familiar, abusive manner. Ma’ariv reporter Yanir Cozin tweeted the clip of the exchange.

Bennett says, “What are you doing? What are you doing, Man? What are you doing?”

Lauder: “You are my inspiration.”

Bennett, angrily: “I’m your inspiration? If you say that, I’ll lose five seats in the Knesset. Shalom–” And he moves away.

This strikes me as reflective of the essential relationship between Israel and the lobby. We Israelis are on the front lines, risking our lives for world Jewry; you have to support us because you lead lives of comfort. (And Bennett often brags of his military service.)

Later Bennett spoke from the podium and attacked Lauder over the assertion in his op-ed that Israeli policies are fostering Jewish assimilation in the U.S. From the Jerusalem Post:

“Ron, I read your piece in The New York Times – not a great piece. I very much respect you, but I disagree. Assimilation in America in not a result of Israeli policies, assimilation is the result of prosperity in America, and it predates the Six Day War, it predates the intifada, and it is an ongoing trend that we have to fight back [against].”

Furthermore, Bennett said, he disagreed with Lauder’s placing Palestinian incitement and Israeli settlement construction in the same basket in his article, saying that there is no “moral equivalence between settlement building, what I call ‘building in our communities in our homeland,’ and Palestinian incitement. It is not the same thing.”

Ha’aretz reported that US Ambassador David Friedman clapped in approval.

The Jerusalem Post headline on the encounter was, “Don’t blame Israel for U.S. Jews assimilating.” Typically, many Jews are responding to the piece in navel-gazing terms: How does the occupation affect Jews? Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post on twitter:

Ronald Lauder in NYT: Jewish millennials distance themselves from Israel because its policies contradict their values, & says assimilation is one result. Really? Jews intermarry in US because Israel is building in Itamar? C’mon, not everything can be dumped at Israel’s doorstep.

(The Jerusalem Post also ran a California Chabad rabbi’s response to Lauder, ascribing assimilation to American sociological trends.)

Liberal Zionists are over the moon about the Lauder piece, hoping that it will spark some real change in U.S. or Israeli policy, thanks to the intervention by “Mr. Establishment,” as Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev calls Lauder: “the closest thing that world Jewry has to a senior statesman who can represent the consensus of the Diaspora as a whole.”

Dylan Williams of J Street:

Bennett can help himself to a piping hot mug of better-get-used-to-it… American Jews across the political spectrum understand the urgency of a two-state solution

Shalev writes that the piece is too little, too late, and also a “mea culpa.” Lauder enabled the Israeli colonization for decades; he “chose to look the other way.”

Lauder and the World Jewish Congress [which he heads] devote time and money to defending [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu, endorsing his policies and tactics and crying out against outside pressure that seeks to get Israel to change its ways.

In a reflection of how polarized the discourse is on Israel, Shalev notes that Lauder is suddenly on the anti-Israel team.

Lauder finds himself standing shoulder to shoulder with dissenters and critics that his former BFF Netanyahu routinely describes as traitors, defeatists and Israel-haters.

Guy Ziv of American University also cites the establishment politics:

What makes Lauder’s NYT op-ed even more interesting is that he was Netanyahu’s patron and ally up until 2011, after which their relationship showed signs of strain. Can’t imagine Bibi is happy about this, esp. since Lauder has Trump’s ear.

BTW, the letters to the editor the Times ran are all by Jewish Zionists, and a couple are sharply critical of Lauder.

Meantime, the Palestinian solidarity community says that nothing will come of Lauder’s intervention; the real battle is not for two states but for democracy in one state. Ali Abunimah pointed out that Zionism and democracy are incompatible:

No way to conceal that Zionism is straight up racism and apartheid when head of World Jewish Congress Ron Lauder writes that equal democratic and civil rights for all is an “unacceptable” outcome.

Simone Zimmerman notes that Ron Lauder has never really been on the side of young Jewish progressives:

Ronald Lauder, who attacks young ppl for speaking out against Israel’s destructive policies, speaks out to lament that young ppl are alienated by Israel’s destructive policies (that he defends &so wont name explicitly: occupation &right-wing extremism)🤦🏻

Again, though, from a Jewish establishment point of view, Lauder’s piece is a complete apostasy. The Jewish Press runs a screed by David Israel against Lauder. Note the vituperation and self-righteousness and racism. It’s as if he came out for boycott. This is Israeli society with its head stuck up its fundament, not a care in the world about how others see them:

The elderly trust fund boy assembled every last cliché ever conceived about the two-state solution in yet another effort by a diaspora Jewish macher to shove this wet sock into the mouths of those pesky Israelis who won’t listen to reason.

It’s a masterpiece of copy & paste blurbs that didn’t make sense back when they began to erode Israel’s safety, in the early 1990s – and they certainly make less sense today.

Lauder’s intervention surely defines the new center in the Jewish establishment. Even AIPAC is a supporter of the two-state solution now; though many rightwing Jewish organizations, and of course the Israeli ruling coalition, are against it.

JTA reports that the liberal Zionist group J Street is battling AIPAC for that centrist turf by inviting Ben Cardin to speak, the Maryland Zionist senator who tried to defeat the Iran Deal:

Ben Cardin, the Democratic senator from Maryland who is among the closest in his party to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, will speak at the annual conference of its liberal rival, J Street….

Cardin also is the lead sponsor of a bill that would criminalize some forms of compliance with the Boycott Israel movement. J Street objects to the legislation on free speech grounds, although it opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

So Lauder is the writing on the wall. Chuck Schumer is falling to the right of Lauder in this new discourse; he told AIPAC settlements are not an issue. Count on the senator to amend his position soon.

From a Peace Now petition to Chuck Schumer that has 2000 signatures– the new centrist line, Israel is jeopardizing its own future:

On March 5th, 2018, Senator Schumer stood before 18,000 AIPAC activists and told them what they wanted to hear: Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not an obstacle to peace. This ridiculous statement brought the AIPAC crowd to its feet, but it further damaged the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

As a seasoned politician, Senator Schumer must know the truth: settlements are a chief obstacle to peace. Yet he chose to misrepresent the facts in pandering to AIPAC. Unless settlements stop expanding and unless many are removed, Palestinians cannot have a viable state. That is, in fact, the objective of those who support and advance settlement construction. Without the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel risks becoming either a binational state and losing its Jewish character, or becoming an international pariah in which a Jewish minority rules over a disenfranchised Palestinian majority. As Schumer must know, either scenario jeopardizes Israel’s future. It’s time for him to tell the truth.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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51 Responses

  1. ckg on March 22, 2018, 1:53 pm

    BTW, the letters to the editor the Times ran are all by Jewish Zionists, and a couple are sharply critical of Lauder.

    Yes. I noticed that too. It reminds me of this Chomsky quote:

    The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

    But you already know that. The spectrum of “acceptable opinion” in the NYT runs from liberal Zionism to right wing Zionism.

  2. eljay on March 22, 2018, 2:03 pm

    The supportive friend tries to help the addict. The addict – wallowing in his addiction – screams in hate at the grotesque face he sees before him.

    The way things are going, Israeli Zionists – driven mad by their unrestrained ability to do evil – will be the death of the “Jewish State” project.

    • Misterioso on March 23, 2018, 10:48 am

      Although not exactly on topic, it is imperative that we take into consideration that John Bolton will soon be Trump’s National Security Advisor.

      Herewith, two links to articles about Bolton:

      “The Untold Story of John Bolton’s Campaign for War With Iran”

      “Everyone knows Bolton is a hawk. Less understood is how he labored in secret to drive Washington and Tehran apart.”
      By Gareth Porter, March 22, 2018 – The American Conservative.

      “In my reporting on U.S.-Israeli policy, I have tracked numerous episodes in which the United States and/or Israel made moves that seemed to indicate preparations for war against Iran. Each time—in 2007, in 2008, and again in 2011—those moves, presented in corporate media as presaging attacks on Tehran, were actually bluffs aimed at putting pressure on the Iranian government.

      “But the strong likelihood that Donald Trump will now choose John Bolton as his next national security advisor creates a prospect of war with Iran that is very real. Bolton is no ordinary neoconservative hawk. He has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic, calling repeatedly for bombing Iran in his regular appearances on Fox News, without the slightest indication that he understands the consequences of such a policy.”

      In response to Bolton’s appointment, Professor Lawrence Davidson has distributed an article he wrote about him in 2015:

      “Donald Trump has finally given John Bolton (a man who apparently believes that war is the answer to all foreign policy problems) a job. Bolton wanted a good job with this administration right from the start but Trump resisted because he didn’t like JB’s mustache (that is not a joke). Obviously, the president has shed that bias. To mark this audacious appointment of a real life ‘Dr. Strangelove’ to high office, I offer a repost of my November 2015 analysis, ‘John Bolton’s Love of Bombs.'”
      “John Bolton’s Love of Bombs – An Analysis” (31 November 2015) by Lawrence Davidson

      Part I – 1968: “No Innocent Civilians”
      “The year was 1968. I had just earned a master’s degree in history at Georgetown University, where I had also helped found the university’s chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Unfortunately, there was no time to celebrate, because within days of getting the degree I was on U.S. Army bus, along with about 30 others, heading from Washington, D.C. to Fort Holabird in Baltimore. At that time there was a military draft induction center there, and according to my low draft lottery number, my time had come.

      “At Holabird we piled into a classroom-like setting and were given a lecture by a rather over-muscled middle-aged sergeant with buzz haircut. He told us (I am paraphrasing from memory here) that ‘the Vietnam war was absolutely necessary. If the commies got their way the domino effect would see all of Southeast Asia go Red. There was no way you could negotiate with Hanoi and so it was time to increase the intensity of bombing over North Vietnam.’
      I remember that he ended by telling us that ‘there were no innocent civilians in Vietnam – when they call their soldiers part of a people’s army, they mean it.’ Only later did I realize he was extrapolating on the position laid out by the infamous General Curtis ‘Bomb Them Back to the Stone Age’ Lemay. When the sergeant had talked himself out, he began distributing the written intelligence and aptitude tests that were part of the pre-induction process. As he was doing so he asked if there were any questions. I was the only one who raised his hand.

      “You have to keep in mind that I was 23 years old, a radical, and not afraid of authority figures. So I asked him, ‘Why should any of us here believe a word you say about this war when all you have given us are opinions standing in for facts?’ He looked at me in a murderous way and said. ‘What is it about these forms that you don’t understand?’ A good number of the boys (I was the oldest among the prospective inductees) in the room laughed – at me. What the heck can you expect from cannon fodder?

      “I eventually beat the draft and forgot about the above incident. That is, until I read John Bolton’s 26 March 2015 op-ed “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” in the New York Times (NYT).

      “Part II – 2015: Bolton’s Bombs”
      “John Bolton is a neoconservative veteran of the George W. Bush era. His claims to fame, besides a real talent for temper tantrums, include serving as President Bush’s Under Secretary of State for Arms Control. In this capacity he undercut international efforts to limit such things as biological weapons. He also served as Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations. It would appear he was chosen for this post mainly because he despised the UN. Under George W. Bush the times were truly Orwellian. Finally – and this is what took me back to 1968 – Bolton’s op-ed demonstrated that he can’t tell the difference between his own opinion and fact.”

      • genesto on March 23, 2018, 12:19 pm

        Left unsaid is the ‘when’ and the ‘why’ we will now be going to war with Iran, if not North Korea as well. The ‘why’ is because Trump is sinking under withering attacks from many sides and needs a war to deflect and distract, and remain in power. After all, it worked well for incompetent George Bush, who even extracted a second term since he was a ‘war president’ that couldn’t be removed in the middle of the conflict.

        The when is probably within the next three months, since Trump is fast running out of time!

  3. on March 22, 2018, 2:33 pm

    Ali Abunimah: ‘No way to conceal that Zionism is straight up racism and apartheid when head of World Jewish Congress Ron Lauder writes that equal democratic and civil rights for all is an “unacceptable” outcome.’

    That sums it up. So inserting Chomsky’s “but allow very lively debate” is disingenuous: there is no lively debate on the central issue — Zionism is racism. That’s a debate that’s never happening of course because to be superior isn’t to be racist.

  4. JLewisDickerson on March 22, 2018, 8:05 pm

    RE: Bennett can help himself to a piping hot mug of better-get-used-to-it… American Jews across the political spectrum understand the urgency of a two-state solution ~ Dylan Williams

    MY COMMENT: I agree that the situation is extremely urgent, but I can assure you that Bennett and his ilk (like David Friedman) will be so ladida, so ladida.
    They’ll be so ladida, so ladida.
    And the G.O.I. will be making all the promises that
    No one never keeps
    To the sound of hilltop youth complaining
    We got nowhere left to go


    • JLewisDickerson on March 27, 2018, 10:42 pm

      ■ Richard Butler (singer)
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –

      [EXCERPT] Richard Lofthouse Butler (born 5 June 1956) is an English singer, songwriter and painter.

      Butler’s music career spans more than 30 years. He came to prominence in the early 1980s as lead singer of the rock band the Psychedelic Furs and went on to found the alternative rock band Love Spit Love in the early 1990s, during a hiatus of the Psychedelic Furs. Butler began his solo career in 2006, while still a member of the Psychedelic Furs, releasing the eponymous album Richard Butler. . .

      ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂ ✂

      ■ WestBam
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~

      Maximilian Lenz (born 4 March 1965), known by his stage name WestBam, is a German DJ and musician from Germany.[1] He is the co-founder of the record label Low Spirit.

      Lenz started his musical career in 1978 in the punk scene of his birth town Münster under the moniker Frank Xerox.[2] He then played bass, drums and synthesizer.[2] Together with Andreas Bleckmann (alias Sally), he founded the band Anormal Null in 1979. Afterwards he founded Kriegsschauplatz, who were active until 1983.[2]

      The origin of his DJ moniker Westbam is a homage to Afrika Bambaataa, thus Westphalia Bambaataa. He started his career as a DJ in 1983 in the Odeon club in Münster. In 1984 he moved to his friend and mentor William Röttger in Berlin where he released his first record called 17 – This Is Not a Boris Becker Song, which was coproduced by Klaus Jankuhn. WestBam, his brother Fabian Lenz, William Röttger, Klaus Jankuhn and Sandra Molzahn later founded their own label Low Spirit.

      In 1985 Westbam published his influential text “What is Record-Art?”, in which he described DJ techniques and characterized the DJ as a musician that composes tracks with records.[3] In 1988 the Goethe-Institut sent Westbam as part of the German art show Kunstdisco to the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. . .

  5. oldgeezer on March 22, 2018, 9:26 pm

    ” saying that there is no “moral equivalence between settlement building, what I call ‘building in our communities in our homeland,’ and Palestinian incitement. It is not the same thing.””

    First time I agreed with that little rat bennett. What he calls building is a flat out war crime punishable by death when other countries have done it. T

    he incitement is a call to arms by the victims trying to rebuff an evil oppressor and criminal state.

    No comparison at all.

    Lauder…. Hope the criminals in Israel keep kicking him. He’s facilitated massive crimes against humanity and deserves to be in front of the ICC. A nasty racist pos through and through. He’s being treated like any useful idiot is treated by a criminal gang. So very well desrved and assuming he isn’t totally senile he may have some inkling of the evil he supported and nurtured.

    Friedman? No self respecting dog, male or female would have him. Another thug with the morals of a racist criminal.

    Meanwhile the sales of Depends has gone up as they iof wet their pants over the thought of being slapped by a Palestinian teenager.

    • genesto on March 23, 2018, 12:21 pm

      Yes, and Lauder even called Naftali ‘my inspiration’!

      That says all you need to know about Lauder!

      • ritzl on March 23, 2018, 8:54 pm

        Where the conversation should start, not dance around. These are really bad people discussing how to get away with another 70 years of violent subjugation and zero-sum self-interest.

  6. JWalters on March 22, 2018, 10:12 pm

    Bennett embodies the blind arrogance of Zionism. He also reiterates Theodor Herzl’s stated purpose for a Jewish state, to provide a safe haven from assimilation, i.e. to preserve the Jews’ alleged God-given superiority over the rest of humanity.

    Nathan Rothschild, recently looking back at the Balfour letter to his uncle Walter, stated that Israel was funded solely for “that sacred goal, the return of Israel to its ancestral homeland” (8:50 in video).

    • genesto on March 23, 2018, 12:29 pm

      Look, simply stated, assimilation occurs once a group frees itself of the fear, born of ignorance, of creating deep relationships with those outside of their group. And the more people interact with those outside their ethnic, racial and national group, the more likely they are to intermarry.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 12:54 pm

        You don’t think maybe the “outside group” has a voice in this process?

      • genesto on March 23, 2018, 2:32 pm

        @Mooser: Certainly the ‘outside group’ has a voice in this process – a voice that can be heard once the ‘inside group’ is open to it.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 4:17 pm

        ” a voice that can be heard once the ‘inside group’ is open to it.”

        Exactly. Tribal unity is in inverse proportion to the willingness of others to allow the tribe to assimilate.

        And then comes the awful moment when the willingness-to-accept becomes so prevalent that Judaism has to think about offering something besides the barriers of non-Jews as an organizing principle.

      • genesto on March 23, 2018, 5:04 pm

        — or maybe Judaism just disappears, along with all the other religions, and we have one less barrier to assimilation!

    • on March 23, 2018, 7:10 pm

      someone needs to do a scholarly objective expose on the history of the Rothschild family up until current times. I have a feeling there are many skeletons in many closets.

  7. Maghlawatan on March 23, 2018, 8:07 am

    Israelis are educated to hate so they think the status quo is perfect. They have nothing in common psychologically with diaspora Jews such as Lauder.

  8. catalan on March 23, 2018, 9:23 am

    Israel has no choice but to continue the occupation of the 1967 lands. If it retreats, this will strengthen the BDS movement which will be convinced that its tactics work. The new Palestinian state will arm itself with Iranian weapons and start terrorizing Tel Aviv. The new goals will be the partition borders and the return of all refugees. Israel will be facing the same military and economic pressures but from a weaker position. Retreat would mean suicide basically.

    • MHughes976 on March 23, 2018, 10:08 am

      I’m not a great 2state fan but are things really, from a 2ss point of view, as bad as that, Catalan? I’d have thought that any independent-ish Palestinian state would be subject to very strong deterrence if it thought of terrorising TA.

      • catalan on March 23, 2018, 12:02 pm

        “I’m not a great 2state fan but are things really, from a 2ss point of view, as bad as that, Catalan?” MHughes
        Hi Martin,
        in the heat of discussion, we are all prone to exaggeration. But the truth is, I kind of do see things that way. You have Turkey (completely ruthless), Iran (certifiable), Russia (who knows?), Saudi (pre-revolution) ; I just don’t see happily ever after if Israel is smaller and more exposed. Gaza is severely overpopulated and likely to remain extremist. The West Bank would at best have a weak economy (like Jordan) and at worst become another Gaza as resources diminish and population increases. Then you have the whole BDS movement, a part of which at least detests Jews and any state they would have (be it as perfect as a state can be). It’s not my choice to make (I am more interested in Math and currently listening to a course on the Late Antiquity). But if I were an Israeli, that’s how I would see it. Incidentally, I much prefer to live in New Mexico, and observe the tragedy (or comedy?) of humanity from my little perch. And may I just say, I admire England, I like your posts and I think you are pretty awesome. Actually, several key people here in our government are from England. Everyone respects Englishmen.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 1:15 pm

        “catalan” , the Uriah Heep of Zionist commenters. Specializing in an stereotyped and insulting obsequiousness.

    • Misterioso on March 23, 2018, 10:15 am


      Have another drink. It will clear your head!!

      • Misterioso on March 23, 2018, 12:55 pm


        To be brief:

        Notably, in your strange response to MHughes976, you make no mention of the root cause of the Zionist-Palestinian/Arab conflict, i.e., the fact that the apartheid/racist entity known as “Israel” is a belligerent, illegal and brutal occupier of Palestinian and other Arab lands, an ethnic cleanser, and a serial/escalating violator of hard won international humanitarian law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute, which are binding on all UN member states.) Nor do you note that between late 1947 and 1967, by force of arms, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation, Jewish militias of foreign origin and the IDF dispossessed and expelled well over one million Palestinians, the indigenous inhabitants of the lands between the River and the Sea.

      • on March 23, 2018, 5:13 pm

        I think it would be better if he rolled one up instead or hit the pipe

    • genesto on March 23, 2018, 12:33 pm

      catalan: Either you are joking or so thoroughly brainwashed that you have no idea what you are saying.

      This is the type of Zionist nonsense we all have to continue the fight to dispel before any real progress can be made.

      • Lillian Rosengarten on March 23, 2018, 1:20 pm

        Your post disgusts me. You are truly ignorant . I need to say once again, the illusion of a two state solution has been dead for a long time. Also, I do not understand the constant reference to “liberal Zionists.” Who can they be? The dream of a Jewish state for Jews only cannot exist born out of a Nationalistic, racist and occupying power that has used terror, brutal force and a seven decades of insufferable and brutal occupation in their attempt to destroy Palestine and Palestinians.

      • annie on March 23, 2018, 1:45 pm

        Also, I do not understand the constant reference to “liberal Zionists.” Who can they be?

        lillian, personally i think the term is an oxymoron, something i’ve expressed before. but i think using the term “liberal” makes people feel more warm and cozy about their self identity and here’s why

        open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.
        “they have more liberal views toward marriage and divorce than some people”
        (of education) concerned mainly with broadening a person’s general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training.
        synonyms: wide-ranging, broad-based, general
        “a liberal education”
        a person of liberal views.

        co-joining one’s stance w/”i’m open” and “i’m concerned” is a form of posturing. ‘i’m a flexible open zionist w/concern for all people or “both sides”‘. see how nice that sounds? no one likes to think of themselves as rigid and unbending. a perfect example is avi shavits in his book promised land — Lydda

        Do I wash my hands of Zionism? Do I turn my back on the Jewish national movement that carried out the destruction of Lydda? No. Like the brigade commander, I am faced with something too immense to deal with. Like the military governor, I see a reality I cannot contain. When one opens the black box, one understands that, whereas the massacre at the mosque could have been triggered by a misunderstanding brought about by a tragic chain of accidental events, the conquest of Lydda and the expulsion of Lydda’s population were no accident. Those events were a crucial phase of the Zionist revolution, and they laid the foundation for the Jewish state. Lydda is an integral and essential part of the story. And, when I try to be honest about it, I see that the choice is stark: either reject Zionism because of Lydda or accept Zionism along with Lydda.

        One thing is clear to me: Mula Cohen and Shmarya Gutman were right to be angry with the critics of later years who condemned what they did in Lydda but enjoyed the fruits of their deed. I will not damn the brigade commander and the military governor and the 3rd Battalion soldiers. On the contrary. If need be, I’ll stand by the damned, because I know that if not for them the State of Israel would not have been born. If not for them, I would not have been born. They did the filthy work that enables my people, my nation, my daughter, my sons, and me to live.

        see how caring he is while he condones genocide? that’s a true liberal zionist.

      • MHughes976 on March 23, 2018, 2:51 pm

        The prospect of a 2ss may be dead or never alive but the illusion of it seems lively enough. I think the great majority of influential people in the Western world cherish it, rather hypocritically perhaps. I stick to my view that ‘Lib Z’ is a convenient Mondoweiss term for 2ss supporters.
        What Catalan says used to be said all the time in earlier decades – no Palestinian state because of Israel’s security needs. It has not been common to say this so unequivocally in recent times because the goodwill of the Lib Zs has been needed – but maybe Catalan says what Israeli public opinion really thinks. I don’t think that the problem really is security in foreseeable circs – Israel could deter any likely attack at least as well if a Palestinian client state existed as it could if the status quo persists. I think it’s that the bald faced (another MW term) objective unfairness of the 2ss makes it seem unstable, as if it could never be the end of the story. Even more the deep problem that any Z must have in accepting the idea that the Palestinian presence is rightful, not just a concession.
        I must thank Catalan for his kind words but I think that the really popular people round here are the Finns.

      • echinococcus on March 23, 2018, 2:58 pm

        Ms Rosengarten,

        I do not understand the constant reference to “liberal Zionists.” Who can they be?

        A shining example of a representative is right here: Catalan. The oeuvre is on display at

        If you don’t enthusiastically join after that, you surely would be an antisemite.

      • ckg on March 23, 2018, 3:22 pm

        Perhaps one place to understand the so-called “liberal Zionist” is this 1990 LA Times review of a book written by a self-described “liberal Afrikaner” who writes of “anguish” as he explores the “complexities” of the South African conflict. He “wears his heart on his sleeve” and talks of his “fear” of black people. He’s worries his mostly leftist friends will think him a racist for discussing at length “the record of violence that blacks have perpetrated against whites and a soul-shaking depiction of the atrocities he says are committed by black against black.” He captures his country’s “problems in all their complexity, a book in which there are crimes on all sides.”

    • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 12:52 pm

      “Retreat would mean suicide basically.” “catalan”

      And if Israel retreats, it is because you chose an easy life in the US over the national struggle of your people.
      You might even call it your own personal form of BDS, “catalan”. Denying Israel what it most needs.

      • Lillian Rosengarten on March 23, 2018, 2:25 pm

        “see how caring he is while he condones genocide? that’s a true liberal zionist.”


      • echinococcus on March 23, 2018, 2:49 pm

        Denying Israel what it most needs

        More “Catalan”s?
        Wholeheartedly agreed.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 4:22 pm

        “Wholeheartedly agreed.”

        When Zionism fails, it will not be because of any opposition*, it will be because Jews did not embrace and act on Zionism with an indomitable will, ready to sacrifice all their resources.

        *what opposition could stand against US backing?

    • catalan on March 23, 2018, 12:55 pm

      “Either you are joking or so thoroughly brainwashed that you have no idea what you are saying”. genesto
      I was not joking so I am probably brainwashed. It must be the calculus that is doing this to me. Either way, can you please explain, what specific points you don’t agree with. Perhaps you think that if Israel were to retreat to 1967, somehow the demands for further territorial concessions would go away? You feel that it is perfectly possible for Israel to accept 8-10 million refugees without any social and economic problems? Or you perhaps think that an independent Palestinian state would have a thriving economy and peaceful relations with Israel?
      I am not in any position of power or influence on this issue (or almost any other issue). Assuming I have been brainwashed, or I am just dumb, or even evil, this still doesn’t bring you a step closer to anything you want to achieve. I am just saying, if you want to influence Israelis, you are kind of gonna have to address these questions. Or maybe you don’t need to convince anyone at all in which case my opinion doesn’t matter by default (I am not an Israeli, do not speak Hebrew, and have no plans at all to move or even travel there). I wouldn’t mind learning some Hebrew but right now I am much more interested in Italian.

      • genesto on March 23, 2018, 2:45 pm

        First of all, you’re coming from a position of fear and ignorance. All indications are that, as happened in South Africa, the freeing of millions of Palestinians from an apartheid existence won’t threaten the existence of the Jewish people. Further, when polled some years ago about right of return, the great majority of diaspora Palestinians made clear that they wouldn’t up and leave their current home nations – ones they’ve lived in for generations in most cases. They all DO want acknowledgement of, and some sort of compensation for, having their land stolen and, in a number of cases, having family members killed or maimed in the process.

        I’m afraid that it will take a seismic shift in the mentality of Israeli Jews for just peace to happen. But, the consensus before the end of apartheid in South Africa, was that Afrikaners would never accept sharing of political power with Blacks. So, anything is possible.

      • hank on March 25, 2018, 5:55 pm

        In what universe does restoring to its prior occupants land taken, occupied and colonised in contravention of international law and universal public opinion constitute a “territorial compromise?”

      • hank on March 25, 2018, 6:15 pm

        Correction: In my comment, Catalan’s quoted expression should read, “…territorial concession.” The two are equally odious.

  9. annie on March 23, 2018, 1:09 pm

    you were right phil, if this isn’t proof positive lauder’s article was “huge” i don’t know what is. what seemed to me more of an “everybody’s saying it .. more handwringing” .. because of who lauder is, his article really hit a nerve where it counts. thanks for the awesome recap of the fallout.

    and what, pray tell, is the big big big deal about assimilation? why would anyone think it would be anything but normal for jews who live in america to assimilate with other locals? i mean, what is the point of living in some cloistered world and not mingle w/other americans? it doesn’t mean you can’t still be jewish. crazy. people (including jews) don’t think israel is a rogue state because of their association w/other americans, people think it’s a rogue state because — it’s a rogue state!

    • genesto on March 23, 2018, 2:49 pm

      My wife (Jewish) and I (Arab) are living proof of what you said, Annie, i.e. that she can be, and certainly is, still Jewish while I’m still Arabic. We just embrace those aspects of our respective cultures that are positive and accepting – not to mention fun and delicious!

      • annie on March 23, 2018, 3:58 pm

        sounds wonderful genesto! i wish you all the happiness in the world, forever!

      • genesto on March 23, 2018, 5:09 pm

        Thanks, Annie. I’m not saying our relationship is perfect by any means. But, being completely open to, and accepting of, each others cultural heritage has certainly made it stronger than it otherwise would have been.

      • on March 23, 2018, 6:45 pm

        Same – we have Jewish Palestinian unions in our family. Not an issue at all. My half Jewish relatives believe in nothing shy of equality and peace for all people. We also have Muslim relatives who share the same values.

        My maternal grandmother’s family are Jewish converts to Christianity (interesting that they are the most pro palestinians in our extended family) and my paternal grandmother’s family are Muslim converts to Christianity – all converted in the 1700 and 1800s.

        Blondes, redheads, blue eyes, green eyes and all the rest of it can be found among my relatives. Palestine was a true crossroad and for that reason I believe Palestinians are a tolerant bunch but a bunch that loves their land and will never part from it – ever. Those of us who have left continue to dream of returning.

      • Kaisa of Finland on March 23, 2018, 7:50 pm


        ” a bunch that loves their land and will never part from it – ever..”

        And isn’t it interesting, the bond to a place?? Like I have left so many times, but always come back. I’ve liked many places, but still in the end, always keep coming back.

        And that is why there are many who do understand, that the land can not be taken away just like that or to be switched to another. And we will do what we can to support the Palestinians in this matter.

  10. James Canning on March 23, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Naftali Bennett has difficulty grasping the fact the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal. Full stop. And what rubbish, that the occupied West Bank is his “homeland”.

  11. Ossinev on March 23, 2018, 3:46 pm

    ” I am just saying, if you want to influence Israelis,”

    Sorry but I`m afraid that the point has been reached where the overwhelming majority of Israelis are uninfluencable. They live in a parallel “Historical Homeland” universe either blind to or turning a blind eye to the oppression and brutality and deprivation of rights which they are visiting on a weak and virtually defenceless native population. The only thing which will drag them out of this weird Zionist world will be South African standard Apartheid boycotts when the reality of trade embargoes and financial,travel and sporting travel restrictions kick in. Israel is careering arrogantly and happily towards that scenario all the while believing naively that American diplomatic support and American high tech weaponry is all that it is needed to maintain the status quo.

    • annie on March 23, 2018, 4:06 pm

      ossinev, i don’t think that line of catalan’s can be fully appreciated without the extension:

      if you want to influence Israelis……Or maybe you don’t need to convince anyone at all

      as if the choice is between convincing israelis or, basically no one else! as if israel is this little island sustaining itself in isolation, as if the rest of the world, or public opinion, is irrelevant!
      this is why bds freaks the heck out of israel and they are scurrying to pass all these laws and make it illegal. because they know, as any person with common sense knows, public opinion matters!

  12. Ossinev on March 23, 2018, 5:45 pm

    “this is why bds freaks the heck out of israel and they are scurrying to pass all these laws and make it illegal. because they know, as any person with common sense knows, public opinion matters!”

    I agree with you that BDS is freaking the heck out of Israel largely because they can`t knock it (and its supporters) out with F15`s and precision bombing.All they can do is scream “Anti – Semitism” and all the while they do that particular currency is hyperinflating into oblivion.

  13. on March 23, 2018, 7:28 pm

    I truly wonder how this internal battle between Zionists is going to play out – would love to figure out a way to fan the flames and make the discussions/debates public. How wonderful would it be to get these racists discussing just how racist they should be.

    Given the above, it will be interesting to see what the next Israeli government will look like – Bibi may have to see it from his cage – inshallah.

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