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‘We understand why our young turn away from Israel in pain and anger’ — leading DC rabbi on ‘anti-Israelists’

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The neverending Jewish crisis. Rabbi Daniel Zemel of Temple Micah in Washington, D.C., gave a long sermon on Yom Kippur calling Israel’s government “anti-Zionist” (which was then echoed by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post. )

The Reform rabbi said that he loves Israel as the embodiment of Jewish values and hopes, and Zionism is the God that didn’t fail (a reference to Communism as the God that failed), but that Israel is not returning the love of American Jews.

Today’s government is deviant from all previous Zionist thought. The primary issue is that the current government of Israel has turned its back on Zionism. This is it in a nutshell. If the very heart of Zionism is Jewish peoplehood—the idea that we are a far-flung people with a spiritual center in Israel, the current government has cast that idea and that commitment asunder. This is, to my way of thinking, Israel’s first anti-Zionist government.

So: Israel is anti-Zionist because it has stopped listening to liberal American Jews.

Zemel goes on to tear down a lot of intolerant Israeli trends, and scarcely mentions Palestinians. Though he acknowledges that Israel is delegitimizing itself. Here’s his riff on the many anti-Israelists among us. They’ve scorned their birthright, he says; but he doesn’t call them anti-semites.

We… have to recognize a growing drumbeat around us that sees only an “apartheid regime” founded upon “racism,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “colonialist imperialism.” Zionism, anti-Israelists believe, can be neither defended nor corrected, because the very idea of a Jewish state in that region depends on the dispossession of others. This voice casts Israel as altogether illegitimate. The problem isn’t Israel’s alleged “crimes,” then, but its sinful essence. “A crime,” wrote Hannah Arendt, “is met with punishment; a vice can only be exterminated.””

We must recognize and confront this reality as well. It is real and it too is a threat and the Jews among those vehement anti-Israelists that say this have likewise despised and scorned the birthright they have inherited…

So Zemel doesn’t excommunicate the anti-Israelists. He suggests these vehement young people have a clue about Israel:

We therefore understand why our young people turn away from Israel in pain and anger. They see a government in Israel that has abandoned any semblance of a Jewish ethic, a Jewish norm.

Zemel ends by imploring Zionists to stand “on the principles of the great Zionist past” — “the narrow bridge of ethical Zionism forged by Herzl, Bialik, Ben Gurion, Jabotinsky, Begin and Rabin” (!) — and “fight the Zionist battle for the soul of Israel just as we struggle for America’s.”

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post

In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank extracts the political lesson from Zemel’s sermon. Writing that “America’s Jews are watching Israel in horror,” Milbank says that Israel is threatening its future by dividing American Jewry. Milbank struggles to maintain the Israel lobby that he once worked so hard to deny (calling Walt and Mearsheimer “two blue eyed men with Germanic names” who write about Jewish “cabals”). To wit:

For 70 years, Israel survived in no small part because of American Jews’ support. Now we watch in horror as Netanyahu, with President Trump’s encouragement, leads Israel on a path to estrangement and destruction…

Netanyahu, for his part, is dissolving America’s bipartisan pro-Israel consensus in favor of an unstable alliance of end-times Christians, orthodox Jews and wealthy conservatives such as Sheldon Adelson…

Milbank quotes Eva Illouz, the Israeli sociologist, writing in Haaretz, and agrees with her about the trend in the U.S. politically:

“Latinos and left-wing Democrats will become increasingly involved in the country’s politics, and as they do, these politicians will find it increasingly difficult to justify continued American support of Israeli policies that are abhorrent to liberal democracies. Unlike in the past, however, Jews will no longer pressure them to look the other way.”..

Milbank concludes with a stern warning: that “if the answer [to Hamas and Hezbollah] is an ultranationalist apartheid state, American Jews have a duty to tell Israelis that support cannot be sustained here — nor should it be.”

These two writings are significant of the change afoot in mainstream Jewish circles. Daniel Zemel (who Milbank says has Zionist pedigree as the grandson of a ZOA leader) is expressing far greater empathy to the anti-Israelists than David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, who wrung his hands last year and asked, What have we done wrong in our homes and schools that young people are turning against Israel? Zemel says it’s Israel’s fault.

Peter Beinart was semi-ostracized in 2010 for saying that Zionism is in crisis because of Israel’s conduct. Now this is conventional wisdom in liberal Jewish circles. These folks love Israel. Milbank once sided with his Israeli au pair and Netanyahu against Obama. But they must be listening to their children now, who are in turn listening to anti-Zionists like Avigail Abarbanel, and recognizing that Israel is a toxic brand losing American progressive support. And that is a political crisis for the Israel lobby, and Zionism.

Thanks to Ofer Neiman. 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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78 Responses

  1. JohnSmith on September 22, 2018, 12:56 pm

    Dear Rabbi Zemel,

    I have read about your concerns regarding young Jews and their “birthright” to Israel. Unfortunately, your logic is no better or more decent than that of the crusaders who believed that they, too, had a “birthright” to the “Holy Land.”

    You are a man of European descent and like most–probably all–European Jews you have zero genetic, ancestral connection to Israel. You are not a descendant of the ancient Jews. The Arabs, Jewish and Muslim, are.

    There was no flight from Egypt. There were no “Seven Tribes Of Israel.” This is all cultist hooey. What you have is the descendants of European converts going to Israel to kill and rule as a Master Race over people who are the Jews of the Bible. They never left. They are still there. And you treat them as your inferiors.

    Even if we were to believe the twaddle that your ancestors were from Israel, your logic is highly doubtful. My German ancestors lived for hundreds of years in what Hitler called “the Sudetenland” and believed he should take it over as part of his “birthright,” the “birthright” of the “German people.” Your logic is Hitler’s logic.

    I have no God-given right to live in “the Sudetenland,” and you have no God-given right to live in “Israel.”

    I guess I could try to tell you how God, Jesus, Mohammed, Confucius, Buddha, etc., are all blatant, obvious myths.

    But I’d be happy if you would just choose not to follow a racist, racial-supremacist Master-Race ideology.

  2. guyn on September 22, 2018, 6:06 pm

    “This is it in a nutshell. If the very heart of Zionism is Jewish peoplehood—the idea that we are a far-flung people with a spiritual center in Israel,”

    It is not a spiritual center, where is the evidence of that?

  3. inbound39 on September 22, 2018, 7:15 pm

    Rabbi Zemel talks about getting back to the Zionism of Herzl,Jabotinsky and Ben Gurion. All three spoke of the necessary removal of Palestinians. In Otherwords Ethnic cleansing and Genocide. How can any modern day humanitarian thinker of fair mindedness condone such criminal actions.

    • wondering jew on September 22, 2018, 10:41 pm

      Please provide with link or quote regarding Jabotinsky. I doubt you can, but i could be wrong.

      • Talkback on September 23, 2018, 6:53 am

        @ wondering jew
        “Zionist historians, meanwhile, had charged that I had accorded the subject too much significance and that the pre-1948 Zionist leadership had never supported transfer. The newly available material shows that the Israeli critics were wrong: the Zionist leadership in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, from David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister, through Chaim Weizmann, the liberal president of the World Zionist Organisation, and Menahem Ussishkin and Zeev Jabotinsky, had supported the idea. In 1928, Frederick Kisch, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, told Weizmann that he had “always been hoping and waiting for” a solution of “the racial problem of Palestine” by way of a transfer of its Arabs to Mesopotamia. And, in 1930, he wrote that “it should not be impossible to come to an arrangement with [King] Faisal [of Iraq] by which he would take the initiative in offering good openings for Arab immigrants … There can be no conceivable hardship for Palestinian Arabs – a nomadic and semi-nomadic people – to move to another Arab country where there are better opportunities for an agricultural life.”

        On January 30 1941, Weizmann met with the Soviet ambassador to London, Ivan Maiskii, where they spoke of a possible solution to the Palestine problem. According to Weizmann’s account, Maiskii said “there would have to be an exchange of populations. Dr Weizmann said that if half a million Arabs could be transferred, two million Jews [from Europe] could be put in their place. That, of course, would be a first instalment … Mr. Maiskii’s comment was that they in Russia had also had to deal with exchanges of population. Dr. Weizmann said that the distance they had to deal with in Palestine would be smaller; they would be transferring the Arabs only into Iraq or Transjordan.”

      • RoHa on September 23, 2018, 8:46 am

        “Palestinian Arabs – a nomadic and semi-nomadic people”

        Which, of course they were not. Like nearly all Arabs, they were mostly city folk and farmers tied to the land.

      • wondering jew on September 23, 2018, 11:01 am

        Here is a quote of Jabotinsky (from the Iron Wall): “First of all, I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine. There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority … I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone. This seems to me a fairly peaceful credo.”
        Jabotinsky had the good fortune to die before the genocide in Europe and so he was never confronted with the situation that immigration would not suffice to establish the Jews as the majority, so he might have changed his mind, but nonetheless this quote is rather clear.

      • Mooser on September 23, 2018, 12:18 pm

        If Zionists outside of Israel are serious about supporting Zionism, they should simply make active Zionism on the part of offspring a condition of their wills. No Zionism, no pelf.

        But in spite of all the blather and wailing, they refuse to take this simple and effective step. Nor do Zionist leaders demand it, nor provide executors to see that it is carried out under the slogan ” Zionist, or zero”

      • Maghlawatan on September 23, 2018, 12:22 pm

        Here is another Jabotinsky quote. He never thought about Sumud

        « We cannot give any compensation for Palestine, neither to the Palestinians nor to other Arabs. Therefore, a voluntary agreement is inconceivable. All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population. Therefore, it can continue and develop only under the shield of force which comprises an Iron Wall which the local population can never break through. This is our Arab policy. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy.”

      • Talkback on September 23, 2018, 12:30 pm

        @ Wondering Jew

        He wrote the Iron Wall in 1923. Later he supported the idea of ethnic cleansing.

        “According to the historian Benny Morris, documents show that Jabotinsky favored the idea of the transfer of Arab populations if required for establishing a (still-proposed) Jewish state.”

      • eljay on September 23, 2018, 1:20 pm

        || wondering jew: Here is a quote of Jabotinsky (from the Iron Wall): “ … There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority … I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights … ” ||

        What an amusing quote!

        – “two nations …is good enough” – but only if “the Jews become the majority”.

        – “prepared to take an oath” – why not just take it?

        – “never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights” – except advocate Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in geographic Palestine.

        || … this quote is rather clear. ||

        Yes, it is very clear.

      • Mooser on September 23, 2018, 1:41 pm

        ” Zionist, or zero”

        Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the condition you live under, “WJ”, isn’t it?

      • jon s on September 23, 2018, 4:50 pm

        Talkback, in quoting Benny Morris in the Guardian, could have added the very next paragraph:

        “But this did not translate into an expulsion masterplan; there was no such plan or policy in 1948. Indeed, as late as March 24 1948, the high command of the Haganah had instructed all its units to recognise “the full rights, needs and freedom of the Arabs in the Jewish state without discrimination, and a striving for coexistence with freedom and respect”.
        In any case, the entire essay is worth reading.
        There also seems to be an error, which I don’t know how to explain. The Jewish Agency was established in 1929 , so Frederick Kisch could not have been its chairman in 1928. And he wasn’t chaiman of the Agency at a later date, either.

      • Boomer on September 24, 2018, 6:44 am

        re: Mooser “If Zionists outside of Israel are serious about supporting Zionism, they should simply make active Zionism on the part of offspring a condition of their wills. No Zionism, no pelf.”

        But how is the executor to assess the adequacy of the Zionism? Is lip service enough? Maybe posting Zionist arguments on Mondweiss? Surely not. The best, most objective criterion would be to move to Israel and renounce citizenship elsewhere.

      • Misterioso on September 24, 2018, 10:07 am

        @wondering jew

        A brief primer on Jabotinsky:

        Jabotinsky’s chauvinistic, militaristic, fascistic and authoritarian views appealed mainly to young Jews, including many in Europe, where he formed youth groups known as Betar whose practices, such as wearing brown shirts and using distinctive salutes were taken from Italian fascism. Revisionist Zionism became increasingly popular during the late 1920’s and Betar was established in Palestine.

        Palestinians knew that the Revisionists were fascists who intended to expel them, but unlike Weizmann and the Labour Zionists who had the same objective, (see Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians, pp. 30-38) they were up front about it. Jabotinsky did not mince his words: “We Jews, thank God, have nothing to do with the East….The Islamic soul must be BROOMED OUT [my emphasis] of Eretz-Yisrael.” (Ya’acov Shavit, “The Attitude of Zionist Revisionism towards the Arabs.” in Zionism and the Arab Question (Hebrew) p. 74)

        Nor did he hide his racism. For him, Palestinians were “yelling rabble dressed up in gaudy, savage rags” (Joseph Schechtman, Rebel and Statesman: The Vladimir Jabotinksy Story, the Early Years, New York: T. Yoseloff, 1956, p. 54) and in his view, the colonization of Palestine by European Jews would “push the moral frontiers of Europe to the Euphrates.” (Shlomo Avineri, The Making of Modern Zionism, p. 180)

        Racist to the core, Jabotinsky also considered Arab Jews or Sephardi as they where then known, to be inferior to those from Europe. In an article written in 1919, entitled “Jews of the East” “…he opposed mixed marriages with non-European Jews and the creation of a single Jewish people on the grounds that he did not know whether this would result in ‘a brilliant people or a dull race.’” He insisted that Ashkenazi Jews had to preserve their majority status in Jewish society in Palestine.” (Vladimir Jabotinsky, “Jews of the East,” 1919, quoted in Ha’aretz, 22 July 1983)

      • Maghlawatan on September 24, 2018, 10:19 am

        Zionism means Israel drunk or sober. Israel is pissed as a fart 24/7.
        Israël needs a new liver. Anyone who loves Israel would understood the need to stop pumping it with bourbon. People who really loved Israel would keep it away from so called friends such as Adelson and Bennett so that it can recover in the Hillel ward of the Beth Justice hospital.

      • Talkback on September 24, 2018, 11:30 am

        jon s: “Talkback, in quoting Benny Morris in the Guardian, could have added the very next paragraph.”

        Nope, the question was if Jebotinsky supported the idea of expulsion.

        Regarding the very next paragraph Morris contradicts his own findings when he writes: “‘cultured officers … had turned into base murderers and this not in the heat of battle … but out of a system [sic!] of expulsion and destruction; the less Arabs remained, the better; this principle [sic!] is the political motor for the expulsions and atrocities”.

    • jon s on September 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

      Inbound 39,
      In fact all three of those leaders envisaged realising Zionism without removing the Palestinians. They hoped for peaceful co-existence with the Arab population:

      Herzl in his utopian novel Altneuland envisions a state which is liberal and secular. From the plot:
      Löwenberg and Kingscourt spend the following twenty years on the island, cut off from civilization. As they stop over in Palestine on their way back to Europe in 1923, they are astonished to discover a land drastically transformed. A Jewish state officially named the “New Society” has since risen as European Jews have rediscovered and re-inhabited their Altneuland, reclaiming their own destiny in the Land of Israel. The country, whose leaders include some old acquaintances from Vienna, is now prosperous and well-populated, boasts a thriving cooperative industry based on state-of-the-art technology, and is home to a free, just, and cosmopolitan modernsociety. Arabs have full equal rights with Jews, with an Arab engineer among the New Society’s leaders, and most merchants in the country are Armenians, Greeks, and members of other ethnic groups. The duo arrives at the time of a general election campaign, during which a fanatical rabbi establishes a political platform arguing that the country belongs exclusively to Jews and demands non-Jewish citizens be stripped of their voting rights, but is ultimately defeated.

      Ben Gurion:
      WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.(from the Declaration of Independence. BG wrote the final draft)

      We do not wish, we do not need to expel the Arabs and take their place. All our aspirations are built upon the assumption — proven throughout all our activity in the Land — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.(from a letter to his son Amos, 1937)

      In our state there will be non-Jews as well — and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without any exception; that is: the state will be their state as well. …The attitude of the Jewish State to its Arab citizens will be an important factor—though not the only one—in building good neighbourly relations with the Arab States. If the Arab citizen will feel at home in our state, and if his status will not be the least different from that of the Jew, and perhaps better than the status of the Arab in an Arab state, and if the state will help him in a truthful and dedicated way to reach the economic, social, and cultural level of the Jewish community, then Arab distrust will accordingly subside and a bridge to a Semitic, Jewish-Arab alliance, will be built… (Ba-Ma’Araha Vol IV, Part 2, pp. 260, 265, quoted in Fabricating Israeli History, Efraim Karsh, p.67)

      Jabotinsky :

      And a happy Sukkot holiday to all those celebrating!

      • RoHa on September 23, 2018, 7:17 pm

        “We do not wish, we do not need to expel the Arabs and take their place. ”

        But they did.

      • eljay on September 23, 2018, 7:29 pm

        || RoHa: “We do not wish, we do not need to expel the Arabs and take their place. ”

        But they did. ||

        Sure, but:
        – “the Arabs” made them do it;
        – they cried the entire time they were doing it; and, anyway,
        – Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hellholes”, etc.

      • RoHa on September 23, 2018, 9:49 pm

        Fine words, but the Palestinians saw that the Zionists did not make common cause with them to establish a democratic state of Palestine, but set up an alternative society that excluded them.

        The actions spoke louder than the fine words. The parsnips were not just unbuttered; they were stolen.

      • Misterioso on September 24, 2018, 10:30 am

        @jon s

        To be brief:
        Herzl’s diaries not only confirm that his objective was the establishment of a “Jewish state” in Palestine, but that it would be an expansionist state. In the year of his death, 1904, he described its borders as being “…in the north the mountains facing Cappadocia [Turkey], in the south, the Suez Canal [Egypt] in the east, the Euphrates [Iraq].” (Theodor Herzl, The Complete Diaries, 11 p. 711)

        Even more revealing as to how Herzl and his fellow Zionists intended to deal with the indigenous Palestinian Arabs is the “Charter for Zionist Colonization of Palestine and Syria” which he drafted sometime between the summer of 1901 and early 1902. Much to his disappointment, however, he was denied the opportunity to present it to the Ottoman Sultanate. Article Vl of the charter called for Istanbul to grant the Zionists, in the form of the Jewish-Ottoman Land Company (JOLC), “complete autonomy, guaranteed by the Ottoman Empire” while Article III gave them in effect, the right to deport the native population to other areas of the empire. Article 111 “[pertained] to the Palestinian and other Arab owners and inhabitants of the three categories of land to be purchased/owned by the JOLC – the large and small private landholdings, the Sultan’s state domain, and the land for which there is no title.”

        In the February 1919 issue of the League of Nations Journal, Israel Zangwill, the influential Anglo-Jewish essayist and Zionist, proposed that the Palestinians “should be gradually transplanted” in Arab countries and at a public meeting in the same year he remarked that “many [Palestinians] are semi-nomad, they have given nothing to Palestine and are not entitled to the rules of democracy.” (Jewish Chronicle, Dec. 12 1919, quoted by Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians…, p. 14)

        In 1920, Zangwill proposed in The Voice of Jerusalem, that there should be an “‘Arab exodus’…based on ‘race redistribution’ or a ‘trek like that of the Boers from Cape Colony,’ which he advocated as ‘literally the only way out of the difficulty of creating a Jewish State in Palestine.’” He continued: “We cannot allow the Arabs to block so valuable a piece of historic reconstruction….To fold their tents and silently steal away is their proverbial habit: let them exemplify it now.” (Zangwill, The Voice of Jerusalem, p. 103, quoted by Nur Masalha, EOTP pp. 13- 14)

        In 1918, Polish born, David Ben-Gurion (nee David Gruen) described the future borders of the Jewish state as: “to the north, the Litani River; to the northeast, the Wadi’ Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into the Sinai at least up to Wadi al-`Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan.” (Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs, pp. 34-34; cited by Nur Masalah, Expulsion of the Palestinians, …, p. 87)

        In 1930, when despite ever increasing immigration, Jews privately owned only about four per cent of Palestine, Arthur Ruppin, a pivotal figure in political Zionism wrote that displacement of Arab farmers was inevitable because “land is the most necessary thing for our establishing roots in Palestine. Since there are hardly any more arable unsettled lands in Palestine, we are bound in each case of the purchase of land and its settlement to remove the peasants who cultivated the land so far, both owners of the land and tenants.” (Rashid Khalidi, in Blaming the Victims)

        In a letter to his son in 1937, Ben Gurion stated that “[w]hen the Jewish state comes into being, we will expel the Arabs and take their places.” He also declared in a speech to the 20th. Zionist Congress, on Aug. 7, 1937 : “In many parts of the country new Jewish settlements will not be possible unless there is transfer of the Arab peasantry…. The transfer of the Arab population is what makes possible a comprehensive [Jewish] settlement plan.”

      • Misterioso on September 24, 2018, 10:49 am

        Speaking of Ben-Gurion:

        A Canadian friend just sent me the following copy of a letter to the editor of the Charlotte Town Guardian newspaper written in response to the announcement that a memorial to Polish born David Ben-Gurion (nee, David Gruen) is going to be erected in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

        “Dear Editor

        “It is with surprise and sadness that I read in the Guardian, Saturday September 22, the article glorifying David Ben-Gurion and then the shock that Windsor, Nova Scotia is going to establish a memorial to him. Windsor is going to memorialize the man who was the main driver of the collective dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people during the Nakba of 1948. The man who drove the Zionist invaders to ethnic cleanse Palestine with statements such as:

        “’We must use terror, assassinations, intimidation, land confiscations and cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of the Arab population.’

        “’We will expel the Arabs and take their place. In each attack a decisive blow should be struck resulting in the destruction of homes and the expulsion of the population.’

        “’We must do everything to ensure they (the Palestinians) never do return… the old will die the young will forget.’

        “Ben-Gurion is a part of history and his actions cannot be undone. I encourage everyone to study his life and his actions there are many good biographies. Please do not in naivety assume that this man is a person who should be held in honor on Canadian soil.

        “We have corrected the misconceptions of the past by removing the Cornwallis statue from Halifax because of his mistreatment of the Indigenous people of Canada. Why are we now on Nova Scotia soil establishing a memorial to a man who has caused the suffering of millions of indigenous Palestinians.”

        Jim Wicks
        Islanders for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel
        United Network justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel

      • jon s on September 24, 2018, 3:46 pm

        Regarding Herzl, there’s no question that he sought to establish a Jewish state, and we can assume that he wanted it to be as large as possible. He sought a “charter”- which he never achieved- to enable the Zionists to administer the country. All of which does not imply expelling anyone.
        Zangwill and Rupin may have made statements that are indefensible. It wouldn’t be too difficult to produce opposite quotes from other middle-tier Zionist leaders, advocating peaceful co-existence.
        As to Ben Gurion, the falsified quote from the letter to his son has been debunked.
        The “we must use terror, assassinations…”quote is also bogus.

        With all due respect to History -and I make a living from History- I think that instead of concentrating on who said what a hundred years ago, we should focus on how to achieve peace today, how to ensure a better future for our two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians.

      • Maghlawatan on September 24, 2018, 4:12 pm


        We have to understand the thugs who built Zionism in order to understand the ideology now. Flannel from you about « our two peoples » is nonsense. Israel never wanted peace.

        Gaza is where you lose it. same as most Sabras.

      • gamal on September 24, 2018, 4:29 pm

        “As to Ben Gurion, the falsified quote from the letter to his son has been debunked.
        The “we must use terror, assassinations…”quote is also bogus.

        With all due respect to History”

        what’s the superlative for irony or has that been debunked too

        “I think that instead of concentrating on who said what a hundred years ago”

        ” I make a living from History”


        “a better future ”

        I am sure we are all interested in your response to Fathi Nemer, should be an interesting debate.

        Unless you left your mojo in Reubens (on Baker St, it can be quite depressing)

      • Keith on September 24, 2018, 7:03 pm

        JON S- “All of which does not imply expelling anyone.”

        If you are going to pretend that you have a democracy, you need to have a substantial Jewish majority to have a “Jewish” state. If you do not need to pretend you have a democracy, then you can simply disenfranchise the non-Jews, but that was not a viable option at the time. And then, there is the Judaization of Zionism whereby Israel becomes the “sacred soil” of the Torah, non-Jews not welcome at all. It is this last part which prevents Israel from becoming one state with nominal equal political rights for all while maintaining economic control of the political economy. So, yes, the political reality requires expulsion to attain a substantial Jewish majority, with the Jewish religious not content with ANY Palestinians in the land of Israel. And, of course, this implies expulsion which, in fact, was carried out.

      • RoHa on September 24, 2018, 8:37 pm

        ” And, of course, this implies expulsion which, in fact, was carried out.”

        The Palestinians understood this early on, of course. They saw Zionists drive tenant farmers from their farms. They saw Zionists set up “Jews only” institutions. It was clear that the Zionists intended to take the land and expel or subjugate the Palestinians.

        But you must remember that all their protests, from the 1920s onwards, were driven by anti-Semitism, by the innate, irrational Jew-hatred that all Gentiles share. Nothing else.

      • RoHa on September 24, 2018, 8:47 pm

        “we should focus on how to achieve peace today, how to ensure a better future for our two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians.”

        So you are a supporter of the One State proposal?

      • RoHa on September 24, 2018, 8:58 pm

        I really need more history lessons. I didn’t know Ben Gurion was born in Windsor, and rescued millions of poor, oppressed, Nova Scotian Jews from the brutal pogroms of the Canadian Government.

      • eljay on September 25, 2018, 8:27 am

        || jon s: … we should focus on how to achieve peace today, how to ensure a better future for our two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians. ||

        Zionist “peace” means that Israel:
        – remains a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”;
        – keeps most of what it has stolen, occupied and colonized;
        – is absolved of its obligations under international law (incl. RoR); and
        – is absolved of responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes.

        We should focus instead on achieving peace based on justice, accountability and equality.

      • jon s on September 25, 2018, 3:55 pm

        Essentially, I’m peace-oriented. I’ll support the path which has the better chance of achieving a peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians. Convince me that One State will do the job, and I’ll support it. As things stand at present, the two state solution is the only path that is both politically practical (just barely…) and morally sound. There’s no real alternative.

      • Mooser on September 25, 2018, 4:17 pm

        “Essentially, I’m peace-oriented.”

        Sure! You just expect the sabras and Mizrahi to do the fighting for you.

        And if they fail you, you just go back to the US. You are the worst thing for Israel.

      • Mooser on September 25, 2018, 4:45 pm

        “and I’ll support it.”

        Sure you will, as long as it’s guaranteed you will give nothing up nor be inconvenienced in the process. No one is gonna ethnic cleanse you!

      • Talkback on September 26, 2018, 5:40 am

        jon s: “As things stand at present, the two state solution is the only path that is both politically practical (just barely…) and morally sound. ”

        When you say “morally sound” which kind of moral needs to keep people expelled? Are these some kind of Jewish “values” according to you?

      • RoHa on September 26, 2018, 6:02 am

        The two-state idea isn’t morally sound, and probably not practical any more. But since you are actually there, on the spot, I’m sure you work hard at persuading other Israeli Jews to accept the idea.

      • Marnie on October 3, 2018, 1:59 pm

        jon s “With all due respect to History -and I make a living from History- I think that instead of concentrating on who said what a hundred years ago, we should focus on how to achieve peace today, how to ensure a better future for our two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians.”

        I’m way late in the game to reply here but have to say that I stopped in my tracks reading this. You of all people saying telling anyone but specifically WRT palestinians to forget about something that happened in fairly recent history (100 years ago) when you spend a great deal of energy and posts talking about the ‘historical homeland of the jews’ and base that assumption on the bible? You can’t have it both ways but that’s the behavior of an israeli jew who sees himself as a ‘liberal’ – you can see both sides as long as your side is on top. I hope any and all holidays you and yours celebrate are fucking miserable you insufferable asshole!

      • Mooser on October 3, 2018, 3:35 pm

        “You can’t have it both ways…”

        Hey, you know “Jon s”. As a Zionist, he has a deep and abiding faith in the world’s philosemitism, and is sure the world wants to privilege Jews. It comes from studying Israeli History.

      • inbound39 on October 8, 2018, 6:57 pm

        Well…what can I say….other than I have yet to meet a zionist Israeli that knows anything about history. History to them is all about creating a fairytale that makes them look good and covers their crimes….jon s seems to fit the bill.

      • inbound39 on October 8, 2018, 7:13 pm

        Efraim Karsh is former IDF and linked to the Zionist site that peddles Zionist fairytales by cherry picking statements from different time frames to prove a point. Nothing on their site fits actual fact. They also got caught rewriting Wikipedia information to fit the Zionist fairytale.

      • Marnie on October 9, 2018, 7:40 am

        jon s ‘I make a living from History’.

        jon s: Revisionist history to innoculate zionist larvae. “It’s a living!”

      • jon s on October 10, 2018, 11:04 am

        I don’t expect either side to forget their history , but I do think that it’s futile and counter-productive for either side to try to convince the other side that their narrative is the historic truth . Instead, we should focus on the present and the future. It’s worked before. When peace treaties were signed with Egypt and Jordan and when agreements were reached with Palestinian representatives there was no need to agree about the history and it would have been futile to try.

        As to the history that I teach, it’s certainly not any kind of “revisionist ” version. What I teach is the conventional, mainstream, account.

        And regarding your style, that’s your choice.

      • eljay on October 10, 2018, 12:07 pm

        || jon s: I don’t expect either side to forget their history , but I do think that it’s futile and counter-productive for either side to try to convince the other side that their narrative is the historic truth . … ||

        We have always been at war with Eastasia.

        || … Instead, we should focus on the present and the future. … ||

        And maybe even on Zionist “peace”. But never, ever focus on – or even quickly glance at – justice, accountability and equality.

        || … As to the history that I teach, it’s certainly not any kind of “revisionist ” version. What I teach is the conventional, mainstream, account. … ||

        We have always been at war with Eastasia.

    • Avigail on September 23, 2018, 4:53 pm

      @inbound39 — Spot on! The drivel that comes out of the likes of Zemel is beyond me. These people are delusional.

  4. wondering jew on September 22, 2018, 10:51 pm

    It was interesting to hear Avigail Abarbanel, but I would not present her as an exemplar of where a mainstream antiZionist Jew would want antiZionist youth to turn. She is against the Jewish religion, quite clearly, and has little or nothing in common with Jews who consider Jewishness something more than a burden that must be tossed off in order to start anew unencumbered by history and trauma. She has evolved her own story to preserve her sanity and strength and maybe she is onto something regarding the necessity of tossing Jewishness and Judaism into the garbage can. But to propose her as the alternative to Zionism is to equate anti Zionism with anti Judaism and that seems in general against Phil Weiss’s attitude.

    Why do i find her more goading than Isaac Deutscher? First, because Deutscher connects me to the missing millions and she does not. Second- because, though not as antagonistic as Gilad Atzmon, she is on that part of the map regarding Jewishness and Judaism and Deutscher, for all his praise of Karl Marx and ignoring Marx’s anti Jewish bias, was really not biased himself against Jews.

    So, though it was useful to hear her voice, to cite her as the alternative to Zionism encourages viewing antiZionism as a form of anti Jewishness.

    • annie on September 22, 2018, 11:15 pm

      yonah, i really appreciate Avigail Abarbanel’s articles and her wisdom, but i think i know what you mean. she had a hard childhood and relationship with her mom (as i recall). i ask her a question once, something about judaism which i can’t recall, and she didn’t answer me. even tho i am not religious i know there are good people in all religions (let’s excluded satanism etc) and so much relies on interpretation. what judaism stands for today — i don’t really understand. but i know there are ways to bring out the positive, via interpretation. i respect people who use their religious values to make the world a better place, and that would included young people finding good faith via their interpretation of judaism. while i would encourage all youth exploring anti zionism to read Abarbanel (she’s essential) i don’t think of her as a model for anti zionism for the reasons you mention.

      • Maghlawatan on September 23, 2018, 12:27 pm

        Yonah doesn’t like Avigail because her words cut too close to the bone. Modern official Judaism is like the GOP – it is extremist and a long way from the center, from reason. There is no easy way to defang Israel or put it on a sustainable path. Prophets are usually ignored by their people as well.

      • Avigail on September 23, 2018, 5:05 pm

        @annie — thank you for your comment. But like you say, you really do not know Judism that well or at least the version of it taught by Israel. Jewish identity myths never question the settler-colonialism of Ca’naan by Joshua — a hugely important myth, which is central to Jewish identity. It also forms the blueprint for Zionist settler-colonialism in Palestine.

        Because the morality of the Biblical story (albeit not real history) is never questioned, it was/is possible to repeat the very same act in modern Palestine. It was justified then in the name of the ’survival of the people’ and it was justified in the same way in the modern world. If people were less precious about looking at this, both Zionism and its creation Israel would be much better understood. I know people have issues with critiquing religions, especially Judaism. But it is necessary to do this. In Judaism it is not about interpretation. It is what the religion actually teaches and the kind of identity it creates at least in Israel and among Zionist supporters of Israel. No one questions so much that needs to be questioned and so much that is shaping the very identity of Zionism and even of modern Israel. It’s high time we talk about this. Please do listen to my interview.

        My problem with Israel is not caused by my abusive childhood. But my abusive childhood helped me develop a much needed perspective on my entire culture.

      • wondering jew on September 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

        maghlawatan- If you were capable of a conversation (herein defined as a volley, like a tennis volley of at least 7 shots each) then I would allow you to tell me what or what does not cut too close to the bone. but you are incapable of conversation: slap, slap, run away, run away, cutting remark, run away, run away, that’s your style. maybe capable of conversation, but unwilling to show off your capabilities. Plainly, I do not view you as a role model of antizionism either, but at least you say, zionism does not measure up to piety, or simply piety without worrying for the stranger is not what the torah is really about. but ms. abarbanel says, I was raised by israeli judaism and israeli judaism stinks therefore i am proud to call myself a former jew, if only they would let me. i wish i could denounce my jewishness, she implies.

      • Boomer on September 24, 2018, 6:34 am

        Re Avigail “I know people have issues with critiquing religions, especially Judaism.”

        That is true, at least in the U.S. I won’t try to generalize about other countries. As someone reared to take religion seriously and respectfully, it’s an issue I can relate to personally. What makes it significant socially and politically of course is that the taboo is widely shared. There are people who aggressively attack religion, either in general or in more focused ways, but they don’t get a lot of traction. Religion can be a powerful force; sometimes for good. But not always.

        In thinking about the Middle East, I find it surprisingly difficult to decide the extent to which religion matters. One can talk about policy with respect to the Palestinians with appeals to basic human intuitions about fairness and reciprocity and empathy, without specific or explicit religious reference. From one perspective, religion hardly seems relevant. From another perspective, of course, things look different.

      • jon s on September 24, 2018, 4:28 pm

        Jewish sources are a virtual ocean of words and include different -even opposite-traditions and values. The Bible commands the people to annihilate the Cannanites and Amalekites, but also tells us to regard all people as equal. Jewish sources, including the Bible and Talmud contain expresions of chauvinism and supremacism but also of tolerance and equality.
        Just a few days ago, on Yom Kippur, Jews all over the world read the Book of Jonah, a remarkabe little gem in the Bible, in which all the non- Israelite characters behave in an exemplary way, while the one Israelite in the story, Jonah , is the one whose conduct is problematic.
        There have always been different trends competing for the Jewish and Israeli soul, so to speak. Your way is to walk away from it all: Israeli citizenship, Zionist ideology, Jewish identity.
        Doesn’t work for me.

      • Mooser on September 24, 2018, 6:57 pm

        “Doesn’t work for me.” “Jon s”

        Besides, you can bug out on your US passport and cit. any time the settlers and righties make it necessary. Or you can stick around and pay for their mistakes. That should be fun.

      • annie on September 25, 2018, 3:20 am

        Avigail, thanks for your response and sorry for my late reply. i should have been clearer, i don’t know judaism at all, nor have i read the bible or the quran. for the most part i stay out of religious conversations out of respect for the religious, it’s the way i was raised. both my parents came from religious (christian) families, i imagine a bonding between them was rejection of religion. rarely my mom would let slip a few words of utter distain (towards christianity), other than that it was radio silence. just, no mention. mostly i know religion through actions of the religious. good things like charities and bad things like war. but you mentioned a word in your interview, “cult”. this mostly capsules my impression.

        currently i am traveling. maybe we can catch up later.

    • Avigail on September 23, 2018, 4:59 pm

      @wondering jew — I am not “biased against Jews”. I am biased against Jewish identity as defined by and as given to me by the state of Israel and as understood and fully accepted by many Zionists and supporters of Israel.

      Please do explain to me how you can live comfortably with the morality/ethics, or rather lack-thereof in some of the identity myths I mention in the interview that are a part and parcel fo Jewish religion. Please explain to me how you can live comfortably with the hypocrisy of being taught that we must resist oppression in every way possible (e.g. the story of Samson I mention in the interview) yet crushing completely and demonising Palestinian resistance to Israel’s oppression. By your sweeping statements and lack of engagement with specific points I make you are risking showing a very weak moral position here.

      • wondering jew on September 23, 2018, 5:55 pm

        Avigail- I’ll worry about my weak moral position later. Did you say anything positive about any aspect of Jewish identity in the interview?

        My point was not personal, it was addressed to Phil Weiss. If he wants to align with anti Jewish anti zionism then he’s right on. If he wants to allow Jews to remain Jews but become antiZionists, then he is on the wrong track mentioning your name. Period.

      • wondering jew on September 24, 2018, 12:09 am

        Avigail- I am not comfortable with all of Judaism and all its myths and I wonder sometimes if Jewishness or Judaism can evolve so as to put those myths out of its mind (or in the relic section of their mind) and move onwards. My priority is not antizionism like yours is. My priority is the hope that there will be young Jews who can find the positive in Judaism and their past and use those Jewish myths that help them move towards a positive future. Because those in control of Israeli policy do not share this priority, these same young Jews will have to figure out some way to exist as a dissenting voice, but still as a Jewish voice. It is not easy to be a dissenter and still consider oneself part of the Jewish people. But that is not what you are about at all. You are about- Judaism (as I, Avigail was taught it) is a burden and a racist colonialist destructive ideology and the only way to free oneself is to flush it down the toilet and to stop being Jewish and to consider oneself human and finito. well, good for you. if that’s what you need and if that’s what works for you, whatever gets you through the night.
        but no, that is not my viewpoint. Yes, the book of Joshua is evil and a poor blueprint for moving forward and yes, the Holocaust is a thorny legacy, but no, Judaism should not be flushed down the toilet. And those who cite you as an exemplar of the way forward for Jews are pointing in a specific direction that might be useful to individuals who have decided to flush it, but those Jews who are not ready to flush it, but wish for an evolution , those are the Jews that I am concerned about and rooting for.

      • Talkback on September 24, 2018, 11:21 am

        Avigail: “Please explain to me how you can live comfortably with the hypocrisy of being taught that we must resist oppression in every way possible (e.g. the story of Samson I mention in the interview) yet crushing completely and demonising Palestinian resistance to Israel’s oppression.”

        Did he respond to that?

      • wondering jew on September 24, 2018, 2:41 pm

        Samson is not my role model. If he were, then I would be hard pressed to differentiate between Samson and suicide bombers. Samson, after his haircut is pathetic. Interesting literary character, but no role model.

      • Mooser on September 24, 2018, 4:22 pm

        “If he wants to allow Jews to remain Jews but become antiZionists, then he is on the wrong track mentioning your name.”

        “Yonah”, you’re letting the parsing sink into the blubbering, again.

      • dionissis_mitropoulos on September 24, 2018, 8:55 pm

        Hi there Dr Abarbanel.
        Recently i responded to you in some other article, but i didn’t know at that time that “Avigail”, i.e. your screename, meant Avigail Abarbanel, the psychotherapist who had written those wonderfully penetrating and psychologically insightful articles that i had been reading in mondoweiss — i have read nothing in the literature, but everything you were talking about in two articles of yours relevant to trauma were highly resonating with me; your insight about the harm of being forced by circumstances to become a fighter was a thought that i had thought myself in more or less the same way. Had i known it was you, i would have tried chatting about psychology, not about how to insert emoticons in Firefox, as i did 😊

        I haven’t listened to your interview yet, but i just read the comment thread, and I wanted to applaud your anti-tribalism stance. As a Greek who has repudiated his Greekhood, I think I empathize with part of your motivation, this sense of having an extra moral obligation to criticize your own culture/tribe, as I did with mine. I am convinced that if I were Jewish I too would have been anti-Zionist. Generally, I think we humans would be better off without attachments to national, ethnic, or ethnoreligious identities, even if these identities didn’t have the moral flaws that i identify in Greek identity and the ones you identify in Zionist identity — Greek identity is very supremacist, by the way. And I think that people from each group who see this truth about freedom from such identities are the most “qualified” to speak to their own people about it. Obviously, to make this demand of oppressed people, like the Palestinians, is out of the question. People can only think of overcoming tribalism if, like us Westerners, British, Greeks, Israelis, they have the luxury of living free from oppression and free from poverty, and free from illiteracy etc. It’s only the privileged that have this capacity to overcome tribalism. A big part of the harm of oppression consists, i think, in preventing the oppressed from developing the capacity to let go of tribalism, and i see this letting go as essential to flourishing.

        Anyway, it was nice talking to you. And i just skimmed through your most recent article, and there’s another insight of yours that resonated with me, the one about the danger of those who look nice but are not nice — i was only very recently thinking that very thought, my example being Tom Friedman as being more dishonest and more dangerous and somehow more morally repulsive than Daniel Pipes, even though the latter holds more extreme views than the former. This is the sort of observation that deserves both experiential/introspective understanding and philosophical analysis.

        P.S. I share your passion for kindness. I am indifferent with regard to potential 😊

      • Mooser on September 25, 2018, 4:40 pm

        “My point was not personal, it was addressed to Phil Weiss.”

        Good old “Yonah”. Always ready to serve up pretension on the half-shell.

  5. annie on September 22, 2018, 11:33 pm

    The Reform rabbi said that he loves Israel as the embodiment of Jewish values and hopes

    this reminds me of something an ex (my first real heartbreak) said to me a long time ago. i was having a hard time with our break up. he said ‘you miss the idea of who we were, not who we were’. (paraphrasing, i can’t recall) and he was right.

    on this note, i think the rabbi loves his idea of “Israel as the embodiment of Jewish values and hopes”. because, for one thing, if Israel was the embodiment of Jewish values and hopes — i would be the first to proudly state i was an antisemite. the very thought that what is going on over there is “the embodiment of Jewish values and hopes ” is abhorrent. i feel sorry for people who placed all these hopes and dreams (and money) in this basket that’s manifesting in this global nightmare, but don’t limit yourself to thinking this is “jewish values”. the religion and people have been around for a long long time. certainly they stand for more than this gruesome apartheid state.

    on a separate note. a jewish person has massively rescued me from a very difficult situation most recently. he’s not religious (very or otherwise), but maybe it was his jewish values part who stepped forward. don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. don’t judge jewish values by what israel does. that would be a very big mistake.

    • oldgeezer on September 22, 2018, 11:59 pm


      “but maybe it was his jewish values part who stepped forward. ”

      I would hope not. I would hope that it was actually due to his human values. That we can all share those values regardless of religion or lack thereof.

      No quarter for fascists or racists.

    • RoHa on September 23, 2018, 12:49 am

      I see your point, Annie, but isn’t is a bit countersemitic or something to suggest that a Rabbi doesn’t have a good grasp of what Jewish values and hopes are?

      • Donald on September 23, 2018, 9:16 am

        “but isn’t is a bit countersemitic or something to suggest that a Rabbi doesn’t have a good grasp of what Jewish values and hopes are?”

        Probably someone would call it antisemitic, but after the IHRA definition, what isn’t? But if we go by the old fashioned definition where it means Jew hatred, no. There is a similar thing in Christianity. You have warmongering racists and people who are the opposite, all claiming to be examples of what Christianity is all about. There was a split in several American Protestant denominations over slavery in the 1800’s.

    • Maghlawatan on September 23, 2018, 10:59 am

      « The Reform rabbi said that he loves Israel as the embodiment of Jewish values and hopes« 

      The sensitive side of Hannibal Lecter

      • Avigail on September 23, 2018, 5:34 pm

        @Maghlawatan — Interesting analogy. Hannibal Lecter is a psychopathic character who lacks the capacity for empathy. To support settler-colonialism by anyone is to lack empathy toward the victims of settler-colonialism. In our case here, the Palestinian people, the victims of Zionist settler-colonialism.

      • Maghlawatan on September 24, 2018, 4:50 am


        I was listening to “the man’s too strong” by Dire Straits. It’s about a warmonger but it also reminded me of Israel. Maybe Adelson is the man. Israel has some kind of group psychopathy. Shooting and crying and a deep well of heartlessness.

        “I’m just an aging drummer boy and in the wars I used to play
        And I’ve called the tune to many a torture session”

        >Israel tortures Palestinians systematically

        “Now they say I am a war criminal and I’m fading away
        Father please hear my confession
        I have legalized robbery, called it belief”

        >Israel never paid compensation to the refugees

        “I have run with the money, I have hid like a thief”

        >Israel never paid for the water or land it stole in the West Bank
        Plus the US veto

        “Rewritten history with my armies of my crooks”


        “Invented memories, I did burn all the books”

        >Hebrew was introduced and Yiddish was dumped along with most of the Ashkenazi communal memory . It was easy to brainwash Yossi Israeli

        “And I can still hear his laughter and I can still hear his song
        The man’s too big, the man’s too strong
        Well I have tried to be meek and I have tried to be mild
        But I spat like a woman and I sulked like a child”

        >Shooting and crying

        “I have lived behind walls, that have made me alone
        Striven for peace, which I never have known”

        >You can take a Zionist out of the shtetl but you can’t take the shtetl out of the Zionist

        If Israel had a god it would be the god of war.

  6. pabelmont on September 23, 2018, 10:50 am

    Annie writes, of a romantic breakup, “‘you miss the idea of who we were, not who we were. ” And this is always a possibility, not only after a breakup but (maybe more importantly) instead of a breakup. The Rabbi has an “idea” of what Israel/Zionism was, and that idea excludes a lot, a really big lot, of easily ascertainable horrible (to some observers) reality. Sure, you can love anybody and anything if you ignore all the horrible parts of the reality.

    If the Rabbi cannot or will not give a sermon on the removal of the 85% of Palestinians in 1948 from the territory that became Israel-48, then he is ignoring reality. Today’s young people — Hispanics, blacks, whites, Jews, all of them, if idealistic (read: decent) are learning past history and present-day facts that they interpret correctly — perhaps because they had never previously fallen in love with an unreality.

    • Maghlawatan on September 23, 2018, 11:47 am

      You could argue that 48 was a moment in time when choices ., bad ones , were made. But the occupation is 50 years old and the treatment of Gaza is consistently evil. At every juncture Israel had a choice and chose evil. Israel is a nightmare. The state of Judaism in the US reflects this.

  7. Maghlawatan on September 23, 2018, 12:01 pm

    « Peter Beinart was semi-ostracized in 2010 for saying that Zionism is in crisis because of Israel’s conduct. Now this is conventional wisdom in liberal Jewish circles. These folks love Israel. « 

    Previously the bots screamed antisemitism and blue murder at Carter and Walt and Mearsheimer for spelling out the truth.Israel
    continued the sick iterations and no PR can fix it now.

    • Avigail on September 24, 2018, 6:53 pm

      @Maghlawatan — Thanks for the lyrics. What song and really spot on!

  8. Misterioso on September 24, 2018, 11:00 am


    Canada’s Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) upcoming conference in Toronto, October 12-14, 2018.

    “10 years have passed since IJV was founded. Join us in a celebration of this milestone and join our growing movement! Whether you’re Jewish or not, an expert or just curious, this will be a great opportunity to connect, learn and organize together.”

  9. bcg on September 24, 2018, 11:12 am

    My response to Rabbi Zemel (the words of author Grace Paley):

    Paley expressed her remove from religious Judaism, and her belief that the Jews belong in the Diaspora, where they can remain “a splinter in the toe of civilizations,” rather than in Israel (she was writing this in the late 1950s), where, “once they’re huddled in one little corner of the desert, they’re like anyone else.”

  10. Avigail on September 25, 2018, 5:58 pm

    @dionissis_mitropoulos — Thank you! I’m blushing 😊 Interesting to learn something about your journey with your culture. A sense of superiority comes from our primitive mammal survival instinct. It makes us competitive and it has helped our species survive on a hostile planet filled with predators and other dangers. We did too well in fact and have become by far the dominant species to the detriment of countless others.

    But nature doesn’t care if we’re happy or fulfilled or if we’re kind fair or moral. Only that we survive. It sets us against one another, but thankfully we also have the capacity for much more.

    I love cultural diversity. We’re all human but also have interesting cultural differences. In my upcoming booklet on relationships I explain how equality isn’t sameness. Being equal isn’t the same as being identical. We can be different, well, we are different, but need to recognise that we are equal in value. Unfortunately Zionism and Zionists are pawns in nature’s hands and they don’t even realise it. It takes a lot of development and gradually getting rid of fear to join the human race and accept that all humans are equal and our particular group isn’t more worthy than any other.

  11. Avigail on September 26, 2018, 7:08 am

    @dionissis_mitropoulos — forgot to mention it’s not Dr, only Ms. But call me Avigail anyway. :)

    • dionissis_mitropoulos on September 30, 2018, 8:10 pm

      Hi Avigail, i just saw you reply. I had been checking the thread in the past days in case you responded, but it didn’t occur to me to look below the thread.

      The “Dr” was referring to you as a medical practitioner, as a therapist. I guess it was my tribal self trying to bribe a hypothetical tribe’s therapist with appellations expressive of respect sufficient to get me preferential treatment at the expense of other members of the tribe in case of competition for the therapist’s time during emergencies when therapy is urgently needed 😊

      If in talking about letting go of national identities i gave the impression that i was expressing a wish for cultural homogenization i regret it. What is salient in my mind when i think about post-nationalism is the political, not the cultural aspect; my utopia consists in the United States of planet Earth, a sort of hope for a No Borders situation where people mature and consent to let go of borders — consent to, not are forced to. And by “mature” I have in mind something very much like what you said, that no group inherently deserves preferential treatment. And also that I have no greater prima facie moral obligation to my fellow Greek than to a non-Greek. In my Utopia, people think like this and can mix with everybody else thanks to the absence of political borders, and that’s pretty much all the content of my conceived post-nationalist Utopia – as a bonus, it will save us (humans) an inordinate amount of money spent on military weapons.

      I trust that mondoweiss will let us know when your booklet on relations is published – on the assumption that by then your booklet won’t have been banned by a newly added stipulation in the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism explicitly forbidding “works by Avigail Abarbanel” 😊

      It was nice talking to you.

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