Trending Topics:

‘Jewish ethno-nationalism is a poison’ — Crabapple and Goldman clobber Zionism in intellectual journals

US Politics
on 143 Comments

Two essays in highminded journals underline a simple new fact of American intellectual life: Zionism is no longer in good odor. The ideology of Jewish nationalism may still have a home in the New York Times, at NPR, and on CNN and MSNBC, and in countless thinktanks, too. But increasingly any young thinker on the left understands that Zionism is not defensible on liberal grounds and feels a need to distance him/herself from it in the age of Trump.

My evidence for this optimistic assertion is Nathan Goldman’s review of an Amos Oz book in the Baffler and Molly Crabapple’s frankly anti-Zionist inquiry, “My Great-Grandfather, the Bundist,” in the New York Review of Books. In both pieces, Zionism is simply a dead letter. Both these writers are young, appealing, and have a following; and they’re done with all the ideological hermeneutics of arguing about Zionism’s upside.

Goldman’s piece is actually more significant, because it is so dismissive of a liberal Zionist icon; but Crabapple’s is more searching, deep.

Nathan Goldman

Nathan Goldman

You must understand that Amos Oz is a god for liberal Zionists. They trot him out at Peace Now and J Street with garlands, and his relentlessly-repeated metaphor of We need a divorce between Israelis and Palestinians has become a mantra among liberal Zionists. People hush out of respect for him (I do myself, because I love Oz’s early novels).

Goldman couldn’t care less about all that hoopla, reviewing Oz’s book Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land (which seems to be a broken-record/sequel to his How to cure a fanatic of 16 years ago):

The fact is that Oz the humanist, Oz the liberal Zionist, Oz the democrat, is also Oz the ethnonationalist, because liberal Zionism—though to some it is anathema to say so—is ethnonationalism. He identifies himself as part of “the Zionist left, which opposes the occupation and refuses to rule over another nation, yet still believes that the Jewish people have a natural, historical, legal right to sovereign existence as a majority, if only in a very small democratic state.” But no state can control the demographics within it—that is, guarantee a Jewish majority—and still be “democratic” in any meaningful sense. Demographic control means restricting who can enter the state, who can procreate, and who can remain. It means policing the very notion of who is and is not Jewish. The humanistic, democratic Judaism Oz claims to espouse is fundamentally incompatible with the desire for a Jewish-majority state.

In the age of Trump and Netanyahu, the incoherence of this ideology has never been clearer. But there is a danger that—just as certain pundits have rushed to write off Trump as an aberration rather than an expression of the American idea in full, noxious bloom—liberal Zionists can write off Netanyahu as a departure from the redeemable values of Israel.

“Demographic control means restricting who can enter the state, who can procreate, and who can remain.” Zionism, as it has worked out anyway, has a racist core. (And as Scott Roth likes to say, liberal Zionists need Netanyahu, and he needs liberal Zionists).

Goldman’s ending steps off from parochial to the grand and stirring:

The obvious injustice of the occupation and the travesty of continued mainstream American Jewish support for it have led many younger Jews, often motivated by Jewish values, to question not only Israel’s actions, but the state itself. The movement that’s needed to realize a truly democratic vision, in which Israelis and Palestinians alike are free and equal, may seem, to Oz and other moderate middle-path seekers, overzealous. It might even seem fanatical. In a broken world, movements seeking justice usually do.

Now the Crabapple. Last month, the New York Review of Books published her article about rediscovering the Bundism of her great-grandfather, artist Sam Rothbort, who was born in 1882 in the Russian empire (a part that became interwar Poland) and emigrated as a young man to New York, where he died in 1971.

Molly Crabapple

Molly Crabapple (Photo: Comic Book Legal Defense Fund)

Crabapple is a young artist of some celebrity, and though the Bund is news to her, the New York Review of Books honors her epiphany about the “poison” of Zionism– surely because Trump’s nationalism has made anti-Zionism urgent business on the center-left. She writes, “Jewish ethno-nationalism is a poison like all ethno-nationalisms and, as they all do, it has continued to reap a harvest of repression and death.”

So our leading intellectual journal picks up a strain that it allowed to drop in 2003, after Tony Judt’s landmark piece calling for one state with equal rights because Zionism was an “anachronism” in an era of multiculturalism and multiple identities so upset establishment thinking.

Crabapple’s anti-Zionism is based in observations of Palestinian conditions. “Jews could never escape their problems by the dispossession of others.”

I visited Israel and its Occupied Territories once, as a reporter. I marveled at the beauty of Jerusalem, saw settlers hurling rocks in Hebron, and in Gaza listened to the shells landing around us. Despite Israel’s achievements, Jewish ethno-nationalism is a poison like all ethno-nationalisms and, as they all do, it has continued to reap a harvest of repression and death. The only way out is a solidarity that cuts across religion and race.

She explores the history of the Bund. Founded in 1897 in Vilna (Lithuania/Poland), it was by 1939 the most popular party in Poland, dedicated to doykait, the idea of here-ness. We will build our ideal society where we live.

Israel wants to bury that idea:

In Israel, the Bund has been either ignored or belittled. “[They] are perceived as individuals who stubbornly clung to an unrealistic solution for Jews’ persecution in Europe, with the ‘right’ solution being the one offered by the Zionists—immigration to Palestine,” Israeli human rights activist Elizabeth Tsurkov told me. Zionist ideologues have a self-serving motive for framing it this way. For Jews, there could be only two choices: march like a sheep to the gas chamber, or become a brave Israeli, bravely suppressing Arabs. Diasporic weakness is the necessary foil for sabra strength.

She recovers the Bund’s anti-Zionism, even after the Holocaust:

[W]hile Bundists and Communists battled in the streets [in the 1930s], the group’s main intellectual adversaries were the Zionists who saw their Eastern European home as exile from the promised land. Knowing that new nation-states were always created atop the blood of others, the Bund foresaw the fatal conflict involved in establishing Israel, which would lead to perpetual war with its neighbors and those it had dispossessed. “Zionism means a fight against the Arab masses,” wrote the Bundist intellectual Moishe Olgin in 1929. “They are to be deprived of their land, and the Arab working masses enslaved.”…

The Bund reconstituted itself as an international organization in 1947, with its base then in New York. That year, it called for an independent Palestine that would provide equality and self-government for both Jews and Arabs, for the resettlement of Jewish refugees in all free countries, and for Zionists to “renounce the goal of an independent Jewish state.” Immediately after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Bund demanded the right of return for Palestinian refugees that had been expelled by the IDF.

Such universalist humanism found fewer adherents after the Shoah. “Deeply grieved and shaken by the murder of six million of their brethren, the masses of the Jewish people became enveloped by strong nationalist tendencies, which… fanned by skillful Zionist propaganda, caused among the Jews a psychosis of Zionist and Messianistic illusions,” the Bund’s coordinating committee wrote in 1948. After all, had the civilized West not spent the preceding fifteen years slamming its doors shut to Jewish refugees on the pretext that they were not real Europeans? Would not Iraq, a few years later, force out more than 100,000 Jewish citizens on the pretext that they were Zionists?

I differ with some of Crabapple’s history; she downplays the role of Zionists as leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The uprising was not ideological; heroes Marek Edelman, a Bundist, and Yitzhak Zuckerman, a center-Zionist, worked side by side, and rescued a great number of Jews.

Crabapple’s overall point is consistent with what the noted historian Samuel Kassow said last week at a Yivo/Fordham lecture: in 1939 the Bund had achieved great cultural power and was poised to change Jewish relations with non-Jews in Poland. Then the Nazis occupied Poland, of course, and Bundism in Poland was meaningless. Today that spirit has lives in America, where anti-Zionists and assimilationist/integrationalist Jews are actually forging new relations between Jews and non-Jews. Crabapple represents that spirit here eloquently:

I return to do’ikayt, Hereness: a doctrine created by the godless Jews of the diaspora, written with mongrel words in Hebrew letters, then spread by itinerant troublemakers carrying forged passports, whose fundamental demand was the right to stay. What does Hereness mean in our age of mass migration? An attempt, I believe, to find the self in exile, to square homeland with the freedom to leave.

These pieces represent a trend that will transform the liberal discourse, including in the end Bari Weiss and Eliot Engel. OK, these are Jewish writers, apparently, and the problems with Zionism were evident to Palestinians a long time ago. We’re catching up slow. But as a catcher of straws in the wind, I say these are beams.

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

143 Responses

  1. annie
    annie
    November 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

    i love the way you think and write phil.

  2. Donald
    Donald
    November 20, 2018, 1:41 pm

    Joel’s article on Ben White is a good antidote to this characteristically optimistic Phil Weiss piece about how things are about to get better.

    You were using the term “the age of Obama” about ten years ago, meaning that somehow his Obamaness symbolized a new era where liberal humanitarian nonracist values would triumph over the old-fashioned oppressive ones. Didn’t work out that way.

    There is some progress–anti-Zionists are no longer automatically treated as the same as anti-semites in the press. Well, sometimes they are, quite often actually, but not always. Progress.

    • Keith
      Keith
      November 20, 2018, 6:00 pm

      DONALD- ” Didn’t work out that way.”

      Perhaps we should take a poll on which will disappear first, Zionism or Arctic sea ice. No contest. I predict that the Arctic sea ice will be gone in summer within a couple of years, 2025 at the latest. Change you can count on.

      • pabelmont
        pabelmont
        November 22, 2018, 7:26 am

        Keith — very apt point. “The nations” and especially the USA have been very slow or even retrograde in beginning to deal responsibly with the safety of the earth and its creatures (including the I/P human creatures) in face of global warming and consequent climate change (GWCC). Arctic and Antarctic ice is indeed melting quite fast. Some day — I pray that it may be during my rather limited remaining lifetime — “the nations” will surely get moving on GWCC, if appallingly late.

        And this will give the nations and their peoples practice in acting together for the common good. And that practice may even put them for a while in opposition to the stodgy corporate-driven USA.

        And that might just possibly give them — nations and peoples — that special oomph that has been lacking these last 50 years to hear the message of BDS and to view the horrible history of IP with active (rather than merely passive) compassion for the Palestinians.

        I don’t know what else could do it. All one can do is wait to see.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      November 21, 2018, 8:40 pm

      I appreciate the evidence for pessimism. But slavery was ended. And a “poison” is a much more serious problem than an “anachronism”. Crabapple and Goldman are focusing on the contradiction between the foundations of Zionism and universal human rights, which is our modern framework for justice. Zionism is another self-proclaimed aristocracy. As the human race moves forward, Zionism will inevitably be abandoned as the failed experiment it is. I see these very welcome articles as part of an “emperor has no clothes” movement. And once people see the emperor naked, the mythical invisible clothes lose their power.

      Very interesting to hear about the Bund people. Not surprising that they were defeated by “skillful Zionist propaganda”. They were also likely outspent, since the Zionists were being funded, as is well known, by the vast wealth of the Rothschild bank. e.g. http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

  3. philweiss
    philweiss
    November 20, 2018, 1:44 pm

    ha ha ha thanks annie!

  4. Liz
    Liz
    November 20, 2018, 1:56 pm

    Brilliant, Phil!

  5. hophmi
    hophmi
    November 20, 2018, 2:50 pm

    Always funny when Americans, who dispossessed Native Americans, talk about standing in solidarity with other beneficiaries of the dispossession of Native Americans to oppose dispossession in a small country of refugee halfway around the world. Very amusing, very silly, and very privileged.

    • amigo
      amigo
      November 20, 2018, 3:29 pm

      Hopknee , it is even more amusing when illegal squatter thieves living on dispossessed land in occupied Palestine accept 4 billion dollars annually from Americans .

      BTW , when is Israel going to give equal rights to those you dispossessed as did Americans to their native Americans.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 20, 2018, 4:36 pm

        Poor “Hophmi”. He really has fallen away, lately. Let us remember “Hophmi” in full spate.

      • catalan
        catalan
        November 20, 2018, 5:39 pm

        “Don’t worry, “catalan”, according to you Israel will still be there in case anybody forgets what we are like.” Mooser
        I trust Misterioso that Israel is doomed. I wish he would give us the end date though.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        November 20, 2018, 5:57 pm

        Amigo is quite right, as usual. The Americans whom we now hear talking have not dispossessed anyone, though they are maintaining a system which both results from it and has in many ways corrected the more grievous results of the past. There are no native Americans in refugee camps claiming right of return and none subject to American sovereign power but disfranchised it. If Americans support that kind of system as a step towards dealing fairly with problems of the past it would be entirely reasonable of them to support the same system in other cases where dispossession has occurred.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 20, 2018, 6:59 pm

        “I trust Misterioso that Israel is doomed. I wish he would give us the end date though.” catalan

        Why not ask your Christian zionist friends.They are more likely to know when “End Times” are due.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 20, 2018, 7:38 pm

        || catalan: … I trust Misterioso that Israel is doomed. I wish he would give us the end date though. ||

        But what does he know, right? According to Zionists, the “Jewish State” will last a Thousand Years!  So don’t worry – you’re good until 2947 (CE).

      • catalan
        catalan
        November 20, 2018, 11:18 pm

        “According to Zionists, the “Jewish State” will last a Thousand Years!” Eljay
        Which “Zionists” said that? Some Zionists? All Zionists? Is there a Zionist who speaks for all Zionists? Or a communist who speaks for all communists? Rest assured no Zionist, or conservative, or American, or anyone gets to speak for me. As I have told you, I am no nationalist or Zionist. But even if I were, why do you think all Zionists, or nationalists agree on everything?

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 21, 2018, 8:14 am

        || catalan: “According to Zionists, the “Jewish State” will last a Thousand Years!” Eljay
        Which “Zionists” said that? Some Zionists? All Zionists? Is there a Zionist who speaks for all Zionists? Or a communist who speaks for all communists? … ||

        The Zionists who said it are the ones who said it.

        || … Rest assured no Zionist, or conservative, or American, or anyone gets to speak for me. … ||

        I doubt anyone could.

        || … As I have told you, I am no nationalist or Zionist. … ||

        Yes, you have claimed not to be a Zionist but your on-going support for Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism contradicts your claim.

        || … But even if I were, why do you think all Zionists, or nationalists agree on everything? ||

        There you go again, making sh*t up. I do not believe and I’ve never said that “all Zionists, or nationalists agree on everything”.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 21, 2018, 10:25 am

        Eljay. There is a +/- factor involved.

        I suggest it is minus circa 950 years.That.s a conservative estimate.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        November 21, 2018, 10:42 am

        Arabs in Israel already have equal rights, and they’re doing a heck of lot better than Native Americans are in the United States. Which country tried to disenfrancise an indigenous people in their last election? Oh yes, it was the US.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        November 21, 2018, 10:42 am

        Mooser, as usual, has little to say.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

        “Mooser, as usual, has little to say.”

        And what is it I should say, “Hophmi”? After your “seminal essay” ‘The Phils Will Fall Away’( or ‘My Phil Weiss Problem- and Yours’) what’s left to say?

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 21, 2018, 2:34 pm

        “Poor “Hophmi”. He really has fallen away, lately.” Mooser

        Please Mooser , be kind to hopknee and leave Israel alone.

        let him run off to his basement and hum along to his favourite refrain.
        Can you not see , he is not well.

        LEAVE ISRAEL ALONE.

      • Rashers2
        Rashers2
        November 22, 2018, 2:08 am

        @eljay, “But what does he know, right? According to Zionists, the “Jewish State” will last a Thousand Years! So don’t worry – you’re good until 2947 (CE).” Odd that; I seem to recall something else that was supposed to last a thousand years. By the measure of the longevity of THAT enterprise, Israel’s already deep into borrowed time……

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 23, 2018, 9:47 am

        The mendacity of eljay is proven by his inability to argue his cause without constructing from whole cloth a lie- a quote without attribution- “the thousand years.” The inability of certain antizionists to argue without contaminating their words with lies is indicative that their arguments and hearts are not in the right place.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 23, 2018, 11:05 am

        || wondering jew: The mendacity of eljay is proven by his inability to argue his cause without constructing from whole cloth a lie- a quote without attribution- “the thousand years.” The inability of certain antizionists to argue without contaminating their words with lies is indicative that their arguments and hearts are not in the right place. ||

        y.f., I’ve previously defended the “thousand year” comment and if the Comments archive were still searchable I’d provide a link.

        But even a quick google will show just how desperately sad a sack you are:

        israelnationalnews.com:

        … Minister Ayelet Shaked … said that Israel is a Jewish state and will continue to exist for a thousand years as a Jewish state,

        “It was a Jewish state, it is a Jewish state, and it will continue to be a Jewish state, even for the next 1000 years, …

        jewishpress.com:

        … “There will not be a joint capital in Jerusalem for another thousand years,” Bennett told Army Radio, …

        middleeastmonitor.com:

        … Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked vowed Wednesday that Israel would remain in the occupied West Bank for “5,000 years” …

        “We’re not in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] in order to disappear one day”, Shaked said. “We’re here for 50 years already, and we will be here for another 5,000 years. …

        I accept your apology.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        November 23, 2018, 11:19 am

        @wonderingjew

        1. Eljay did not present it as a quote despite your fictional claim that he did.
        2. Your quote of ““the thousand years.” ” is actually incorrect. If you wish to quote someone it behooves you to do so accurately.

        The inability of certain zionists to argue without contaminating their words with lies is indicative that their arguments and hearts are not in the right place.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 23, 2018, 11:21 am

        || eljay: y.f., I’ve previously defended the “thousand year” comment and if the Comments archive were still searchable I’d provide a link. … ||

        Google just found it for me:

        Anti-occupation activists stand with Black Lives Matter as Jewish orgs attack movement over Israel criticisms:

        eljay   August 8, 2016, 3:07 pm

        || yonah fredman: eljay-the thousand year brag, link to it? or drop it, please. ||

        Drop it yourself. Here are just a few examples of the Zio-supremacist boast:

        Mikhael: Israel is here to stay as a Jewish state long after we are all ground to dust.

        NormanF: Its safe to say Israel will outlive [the Arabs] and the land will remain Jewish forever …

        MaxNarr: … 1,000 years is not forever, the Jewish people waited a lot longer than that to return to Israel. Maybe you should up it to 10,000.

        MaxNarr: … “West Bank” is a very recent and made up nomenclature, it’s been Judea and Samaria for thousands of years and this it will remain.

        Efraim Halevy: … The total of all our capabilities, both defensive and offensive, are such that we can be sure and assured, that the existence of Israel is assured for the next 1000 years….

        I accept your apology.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 23, 2018, 2:26 pm

        eljay- I should not be surprised by the idiotic things coming out of the mouths of Shaked and Bennett (ephraim halevy truly surprises me).

        Thank you for setting me straight.

        sorry.

        P.S. Have you read the article by Chaim Gans?

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 23, 2018, 3:51 pm

        || wondering jew: eljay- I should not be surprised by the idiotic things coming out of the mouths of Shaked and Bennett (ephraim halevy truly surprises me). … ||

        Zionists say the darnedest things.

        || … Thank you for setting me straight.

        sorry. … ||

        No worries.  :-)

        || … P.S. Have you read the article by Chaim Gans? ||

        Not yet, but I will.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 23, 2018, 6:26 pm

        || wondering jew: … P.S. Have you read the article by Chaim Gans? ||

        OK, I read it. Distill the verbiage and the point he makes is the same point any other Zionist would have made: People all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who choose / have chosen to embrace the religion-based identity of Jews are entitled to Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

        This proud paragraph nicely highlights his selective, supremacist take on things:

        … It is not the saving of life itself that underlies the justification for Israel’s establishment, but the creation of a possibility of Jewish life under conditions of governmental non-humiliation. This should have been secured then for Jews as human beings – not specifically as Jews – and it needs to be secured for them today as well. …

        Less-eloquently put: “Jewish life” matters more than non-Jewish life, so f*ck the non-Jews of Palestine.

        Neither “the saving of life”* nor “the creation of a possibility of Jewish life under conditions of governmental non-humiliation” justified or justifies the creation of a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

        What both of those situations call for is:
        – the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality; and,
        – respecting and upholding international laws and human rights.
        ________________
        (*I wonder how much flack Mr. Gans faces for dismissing one of Zionism’s main arguments for the creation of a “Jewish State”.)

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 23, 2018, 9:59 pm

        eljay- Thanks for reading the article. I’m reading a book by him called “A Political theory for the Jewish people” and he comes as close as anyone i’ve read to the judah magnes type ideal. He is not a supremacist, but asserts the validity of the urge towards nationalism and I agree with him. I don’t think nationalism is the highest cause, but i believe it is at times a very valid cause. How can you stand up for your social class if you don’t stand up for your people, is how one zionist of the early days stated on the issue. and though i do not use the term social class that often and i am the grandson of merchants rather than laborers, i believe that pride of nation is a natural expression that is healthy. except when it’s not healthy, which is plenty often in the case of most nationalisms. there needs to be a stern balance: pro pride but against chauvinism and it is not a common or an easy combination.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 23, 2018, 10:02 pm

        I question what kind of strength of personality it takes for mister gans to assert his views. i also wonder how different people deal with a political reality so much at odds with their ideals. I guess one has to take a long view.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 24, 2018, 2:26 am

        “How can you stand up for your social class if you don’t stand up for your people”

        How do you decide who “your people” are?

        ” i believe that pride of nation is a natural expression that is healthy.”

        What do you mean by “pride of nation”, and why is it healthy?

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 24, 2018, 9:28 am

        || wondering jew: … He is not a supremacist, but asserts the validity of the urge towards nationalism and I agree with him. … ||

        He’s a Zionist and you’re a Zionist so I’m not surprised that you agree with him.

        || … How can you stand up for your social class if you don’t stand up for your people, is how one zionist of the early days stated on the issue. … ||

        Zionists want Jews to stand up for people in and of all nations who happen to share the same religion-based identity.

        That flies in the face of standing up for “your social class” or “your people” (fellow citizens) within a nation.

        But assuming that it doesn’t, Zionists are hypocrites (yet again) for expressing outrage at non-Jewish Israelis (a.k.a. “Arabs”) who stand up for their “social class” and their “people”.

        || … i believe that pride of nation is a natural expression that is healthy. except when it’s not healthy … ||

        Pride in an inclusive, secular and democratic Israel of and for all Jewish and non-Jewish people living in and up to n-generations removed from Israel may be healthy.

        Pride in a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews is not healthy.

        Naturally as a Zionist your pride lies with the latter.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 24, 2018, 12:05 pm

        “What do you mean by “pride of nation”, and why is it healthy?”

        “RoHa” no need to make “WJ” go through a long explanation.

        Here’s what you do: Go to any “white pride” or “white identity” site, and simply substitute the word ‘Jewish’ or ‘Jew”.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 24, 2018, 1:23 pm

        “How do you decide who “your people” are?”

        “WJ” is at pains to tell us who his people are:

        “and though i do not use the term social class that often and i am the grandson of merchants rather than laborers”,

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 24, 2018, 5:13 pm

        The nationhood of Ashkenazi Jews living under the czar in 1881 was of an entirely different order of magnitude than the feeble American Jewish identity of 2018 and thus the question posed, how do you decide what people you belong to? which is a question today was not a question then.

        I did not grow up in a typical American Jewish family, we kept shabbos, my father was a rabbi, the most religious son of his father, who was the most religious son of the brothers who had emigrated from under the czar (or the czar’s successors) to the shores of america.

        the suggestion of national self dissolution is tantalizing as something to discuss, but i’d prefer a bottle in front of me to a frontal lobotomy, so i’ll skip it.

        jewish nationalism, no matter how odious to some, is quite natural to a large fraction of the jews alive today. nationalism is not the highest calling, but when someone denies their class or their family quite often there is something stinky about it. assimilation takes generations and that is what we have today, but quite often those who made the major leap from the old world to the new paid a heavy price in soul to sell out the old and embrace the new. there is no perfect model of the perfect process of change.

        if forced to choose i would choose rationalism over romanticism, although romanticism is the movement that recognizes nationalism. i think the world of multiple facets is quite dazzling (in a good way) and rationalism when taken to extremes envisions a homogenized future, much poorer than the world in which we live in terms of depth and variety.

        i was raised to believe in rationalism, but also in the torah and in all that torah implied to a jew born in 55. so rationalism takes a back seat in the milieu where i was raised and in the milieu where my siblings and nieces and nephews dwell. thus my belief in rationalism must share the floor with the nationalism and torah that is the second nature and first home of my nieces and nephews.

      • annie
        annie
        November 25, 2018, 2:35 am

        The nationhood of Ashkenazi Jews living under the czar in 1881 was of an entirely different order of magnitude than the feeble American Jewish identity of 2018 …..when someone denies their class and their family .. quite often those who made the major leap from the old world to the new paid a heavy price in soul to sell out the old and embrace the new. there is no perfect model of the perfect process of change.

        a couple questions. was “the nationhood of Ashkenazi Jews living under the czar” the same nationhood as baghdadi or yemenite jews? if so how so? what did one even know about the other? when you say “denies their class” what do you mean? would that be similar to installing plumbing and having running water in ones household? isn’t that like denying the daily trek to the town well? is that denying ones class? if not why not? is it a shonda — in the span of 137 years, between 1881 and 2018, lots of families change their “class”. in fact it’s quite normal for parents to want their children to live better lives than that which their own parents could afford them. it’s somewhat unusual for families not to change over 137 years. yet the amish still use a cart and buggy.

        the vast majority of jewish folks around the world live very different lives than they did 137 years ago. but you’d rather have a lobotomy. and who exactly are you to claim some standard of american jewish life? who are you to call it “feeble”? and when the standard of american jewish life is supporting a corrupt genocidal oppressive political structure 1/2 way around the world, which many consider a threat to humanity, certainly a threat to palestinian life and society, let’s pray a process of change occurs. whether it’s “perfect” or not, is irrelevant under the dire circumstances.

        so if you and your family wish to remain in a mindframe of jews living under the czar in 1881, so be it. as long as you understand your ‘nation’ is massively oppressing others who had nothing whatsoever to do with whatever suffering your family experienced under the czar 137 years ago. don’t you feel a tad guilty about that? or does that require “national self dissolution” to bring about change? is your nation so feeble you need to thrive off another suffering culture to change. i’d rather have a lobotomy than to sustain myself through the suffering of others. apparently, for many in your “nation”, the kids are having none of it, thankfully. and that’s not feeble, it’s quite the opposite.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 24, 2018, 6:53 pm

        “The nationhood of Ashkenazi Jews living under the czar in 1881 was of an entirely different order of magnitude than the feeble American Jewish identity of 2018 and thus the question posed, how do you decide what people you belong to? which is a question today was not a question then”

        Shorter “Yonah”: ‘I miss the Tsar! He made sure Jews stayed together as a group! We Jews can’t do it, but the Tsar can’

        “Yonah” I need a punchline for this joke, inspired by your comment:

        Q. “How many Zionists does it take to screw in a Jewish State?”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 24, 2018, 7:08 pm

        “assimilation takes generations”

        Yeah, it took Jews a long time to decide if civil rights, constitutional protection, and equality was really for us. Finally, we decided we would honor the US with our participation.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 24, 2018, 7:35 pm

        || wondering jew @ November 24, 2018, 5:13 pm ||

        So what you’re saying is that in any given country:
        – Jews are a “people” unto themselves;
        – they represent themselves and their Jewish “social class”; and, therefore,
        – it’s acceptable and not the least bit “stinky” or anti-Semitic for the non-Jews around them to “deny” Jews.

        Huh. I swear that with Zionists as friends Jews don’t need any enemies.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 24, 2018, 11:16 pm

        ““RoHa” no need to make “WJ” go through a long explanation.”

        Mooser, don’t forget I used to be a philosophy lecturer. Although I am no longer paid (and it was only a pittance when I was) to teach people how to think, I still have the urge to do so. Thus, I ask these sort of questions to try to get WJ to sort out what he means by these vague terms, and what the implications are.

        Admittedly, I haven’t had a lot of success, but I persevere.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 24, 2018, 11:39 pm

        “i was raised to believe in rationalism, but also in the torah and in all that torah implied to a jew born in 55. so rationalism takes a back seat in the milieu where i was raised and in the milieu where my siblings and nieces and nephews dwell. thus my belief in rationalism must share the floor with the nationalism and torah that is the second nature and first home of my nieces and nephews.”

        And you cannot step away from your upbringing? You cannot continue to care for your family without sharing their ideas?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 25, 2018, 10:59 am

        Annie- Your attack on me was as disorganized as my presentation. So let me try to tighten up my presentation and deal with one idea at a time.

        So let me deal (at least initially) with “feeble Jewish identity of 2018”. The quote that I was referring to was that of Julius Martov, in which he said or wrote, “a working class that is content with the lot of an inferior nation will not rise up against the lot of an inferior class. The national passivity of the Jewish masses therefore is also a bar to the growth of its class consciousness. The growth of national and class consciousness must go hand in hand.”

        i had to dig into old notebooks to find the quote and now that i’ve found it and looked up martov on wikipedia it seems that not only was he not a zionist, he was opposed to the Bund and its advocacy of Jewish autonomy, so there is little question that I am using the quote for its words rather than for the role it played in Martov’s own political evolution.

        My interpretation of his words is that national consciousness is natural and necessary for those who are oppressed nationally and to oppose that oppression is natural and good. To deny one’s nation is to accept the national oppression and such a personality cannot be counted on to resist the class oppression, which was Martov’s emphasis.

        When I offered this idea, it was promptly attacked by Roha, “How do you determine what people you belong to, in order to determine what pride of nation you should have?” (paraphrase)

        To which I answered that such a question was based upon a 2018 perspective of those living in multicultural societies (American in my case, Australia in Roha’s case), but not reflective of the conditions of 1881 (I don’t know the exact year of the quote, probably closer to 1905 than to 1881 seeing that martov was born in 1873.) in 1881 the majority of Jews alive in the world lived under the rule of the czar and the vast majority of them spoke a Jewish language- Yiddish and those who were literate were literate in Hebrew (and Yiddish) and aware of the Jewish texts and of the Jewish holidays and the Jewish customs. To ask them: what nation do you belong to would have been a ridiculous question. They would have answered, we are jews living under the czar, their identity was Jewish.

        In 2018 in America, the vast majority of Jews do not speak a Jewish language, are unfamiliar with the texts, are familiar with certain holidays and vaguely familiar with certain customs. Their Jewish identities compared to the Jewish identities of the Jews of 1881 are feeble. Their dedication to tikkun olam might be anything but feeble and a handful of them are able to connect their dedication to changing the world to the jewish identity, but for the most part their jewish identities are indeed quite feeble compared to those who spoke a Jewish language and lived in homes of Jewish traditions, as the jews under the boot of the czar saw themselves in 1881.

        All this was mentioned in the context of Chaim Gans’s Haaretz rejoinder to Shlomo Sands and in the context of Chaim Gans’s philosophy of egalitarian Zionism, which would be comfortable with a binational state in Israel/Palestine but would not be comfortable with a civic nationality in Israel/palestine that ignores the Jewish urge towards national identity.

        Of course the ruling power in Israel and among supporters of Israel and the overwhelming opinion of the Jews living in Israel would not be comfortable with referring to the place where they live as Israel/Palestine. They do not subscribe to egalitarian zionism, not just on practical grounds but on philosophical grounds. They believe the land is theirs (ours) and the Palestinians should adjust to that fact or leave. It is the rejection of proprietary Zionism (as Gans labels it) that is at the core of his explanation of egalitarian zionism. Also at its core is its rejection of post Zionism which rejects any nationalistic Jewish thoughts particularly regarding Palestine, but in fact as in the case of Shlomo Sands, rejects any thoughts of Jewish identity that are other than diasporistic in nature.

        I have only learned of Gans’s philosophy the last few weeks and so it is difficult to say that I subscribe to it at this early moment, but I do tend in that direction. In fact I do not live in Israel and am primarily reactive in my Jewish identity, reacting both in America to the Trump administration, the Pittsburgh massacre and in Israel to the ruling zeitgeist of proprietary zionism as expressed by Netanyahu and those who favor a continuity of the status quo. As such compared to my nieces and nephews who embody Netanyahu’s nationalism by their place of residence (and their voting patterns) and compared to other nieces and nephews who embody an allegiance to Torah by eschewing all or most contact with Jews who do not keep the Torah, my national identity is also feeble. As such I don’t know how much difference my subscription to Gans’s philosophy will make.

      • annie
        annie
        November 25, 2018, 11:46 am

        thank you for your elaboration yonah!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 25, 2018, 12:38 pm

        “who exactly are you to claim some standard of american jewish life? who are you to call it “feeble”?”

        “Annie”, you should be careful. If you want to play umpire for our favorite Jewish indoor sport, religious backbiting, you need to study the rules first.

        “In fact I do not live in Israel and am primarily reactive in my Jewish identity” “WJ”

        As goes the Right, so goes the allrightnik.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 25, 2018, 1:09 pm

        “As such I don’t know how much difference my subscription to Gans’s philosophy will make.” “WJ”

        You mean your current farce of trying to reverse-engineer Zionism out of Socialist dialectic?

        I don’t think it’ll make much difference. Not to a reactionary.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 25, 2018, 1:14 pm

        “to other nieces and nephews who embody an allegiance to Torah by eschewing all or most contact with Jews who do not keep the Torah” “WJ”

        Nothing wrong with that. After all, Judaism is a non-proselytizing religion. Can’t let tribal unity overcome differences in religion.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 20, 2018, 5:53 pm

      || hophmi: Always funny when Americans, who dispossessed Native Americans, talk about standing in solidarity with other beneficiaries of the dispossession of Native Americans to oppose dispossession in a small country of refugee halfway around the world. Very amusing, very silly, and very privileged. ||

      Never funny when supremacist American Jews, who dispossessed Native Americans, actually stand in solidarity with other beneficiaries of the dispossession of Native Americans, to support and facilitate the on-going dispossession of non-Jews in a geographic region halfway around the world. Very hateful, very immoral and unbelievably privileged.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        November 20, 2018, 11:58 pm

        The recent elections in the u.s. disenfranchised the voting rights of native americans in north dakota because they didn’t have a proper address, which is blaming the victim for the actions of the government who imposed the reservation system upon them. It was never meant for them to be equal. Amerikkka and israel are evil twins.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        November 21, 2018, 10:45 am

        American Jews didn’t dispossess anybody, Eljay. But thanks again for showing that you can blame Jews for the sins of Christians like most antisemites do. Maybe you also blame Jews for the slave trade like anti-semite Louis Farrakhan does. What I said was that people who live in American comfort are the beneficiaries of dispossession, and yet they criticize a refugee people who fled persecution.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 21, 2018, 11:35 am

        || hophmi: American Jews didn’t dispossess anybody, Eljay. But thanks again for showing that you can blame Jews for the sins of Christians like most antisemites do. … ||

        You wrote: “Always funny when Americans, who dispossessed Native Americans … ”

        But now you’re saying that American Jews are not Americans. How very anti-Semitic and Zionist of you.

        || … What I said was that people who live in American comfort are the beneficiaries of dispossession, and yet they criticize a refugee people who fled persecution. ||

        That’s what I said, too.

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye
        November 21, 2018, 6:37 pm

        Hophmi, what right do you take upon yourself to write American Jews (and Jews elsewhere in time and place)*out* of history in which they are known to have participated? And just because your own ancestors may have been jonny-come-lately’s *doesn’t* mean you don’t also ‘own’ the history of your country.

    • Keith
      Keith
      November 20, 2018, 6:15 pm

      HOPHMI- “Very amusing, very silly, and very privileged.”

      Very interesting. In honor of your return to Mondoweiss from the Big Rotten Apple, I have a quote and a link to a must read article on Wall Street and the global financial system.

      “One of the first lessons I was taught on Wall Street was, “Know who the fool is.” That was the gist of it…. “Know who the fucking idiot with the money is and cram as much toxic shit down their throat as they can take. But be nice to them first”…… in ‘93, Japanese customers….were considered the fool……By the turn of the century many of those customers had collapsed, partly from the toxic waste we sold them, partly from all the other crazy things they were buying…..The launch of the common European currency, the euro, ushered in a period of European financial confidence, and we on Wall Street started to take advantage of another willing fool: European banks. More precisely northern European banks.” (Chris Arnade) https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/16/irelands-new-president-other-european-fools-and-the-abyss/

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        November 21, 2018, 5:02 pm

        The Trump regime is very busy tearing down and diluting the bank reforms made after the 2008 debacle. They offer no data to justify this siege, but claim it’s needed in the name of more efficiency. But what they are doing is steadily greasing the way to play risky proprietary gambles with Joe Blow’s bank account and, ultimately, his tax money too. The relevant federal agencies are too weak to stop this. The MSM is silent, except CSPAN had a panel discussion obliquely addressing this issue, speaking in their code–efficiency, efficiency…resolution, resolution, etc.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      November 21, 2018, 11:36 am

      @hophmi

      To be brief:
      Your analogy is utterly absurd. Yes, as was common practice around the world during and prior to the 19th century, indigenous peoples were occupied, dispossessed, slaughtered, brutalized and expelled at the hands of foreigners, e.g., the British, French, Spanish, Belgians, et al. However, while crimes against native peoples still occur, civilized countries, for the most part, adhere to international law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention), which came about in large measure as a result of WWII. They do not emulate the entity known as “Israel” created by Zionist Jews of foreign origin who during the past 70 years through force of arms, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation have dispossessed and expelled well over one million indigenous Palestinian Christian and Muslim Arabs, created millions of destitute refugees, and established an undeniable fascistic, racist, expansionist, ethnic cleanser, brutal occupier entity between the River and the Sea that also illegally occupies Syria’s Golan Heights and portions of southern Lebanon.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        November 21, 2018, 5:08 pm

        All true; Trump just declared the Golan Heights is Israel’s proper domain.

  6. Mooser
    Mooser
    November 20, 2018, 3:23 pm

    “Always funny when Americans, who dispossessed Native Americans, talk about standing in solidarity with other beneficiaries of the dispossession of Native Americans…”

    “Hophmi” your comment really looks like an absurdly clumsy blackmail attempt.

    So, if Americans don’t support Israel, will you tell them they are not living up to the spirit of America’s best days and genocidal accomplishments?

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      November 21, 2018, 10:51 am

      “So, if Americans don’t support Israel, will you tell them they are not living up to the spirit of America’s best days and genocidal accomplishments?”

      No, I’ll just tell them that their hatred for Israel is based on nonsense, which is largely true if, like Nathan Goldman, you pine for socialism and can’t defend your position and you actually believe that Jews are better off as minority group standing with other minority groups, as if standing in solidarity with other groups and supporting a Jewish state were mutually exclusive.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        November 21, 2018, 11:42 am

        @hophmi

        Sigh.
        Give it up. You’re only digging your hole deeper.

      • annie
        annie
        November 21, 2018, 1:13 pm

        his argument is just another revamped version of the zionist lament:

        no fair you guys got to genocide a people 200 years ago but judge us for wanting to do it now!!!

        but instead of the inherent whine in the presentation of that argument it’s framed as

        ‘”always funny” how you’re hypocrites’.

        queried about the moral depravation in promoting genocide all he can come up with is some gobbledygook about hatred of israel and Jews better off as minority. what a waste of time.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 21, 2018, 2:06 pm

        ” and you actually believe that Jews are better off as minority group standing with other minority groups” “Hophmi”

        Yeah, what a stupid idea, now that we are no longer a minority group. Much better to identify Jews with right-wing white identity politics.

      • pabelmont
        pabelmont
        November 21, 2018, 2:37 pm

        hophmi — Wouldn’t it be wonderful (to say nothing of convenient) if people who support Israel were merely “supporting a Jewish state”?

        But of course they can no more merely support a (or the or this or this particular at this point in time) Jewish state than a certain Jew in literature could cut out a Christian heart without also shedding a drop of Christian blood. Israel is not merely a Jewish state — it is also a serial expeller, dispossessor, thief, oppressor, etc. of Palestinians. It is never one thing, but always two things. Even if the one thing (a Jewish state) were admirable, the second thing is an abomination. And the two are joined at the hip, inseparable, from birth.

        Some Zionists understand this duality to be necessary and boast of it. The most militant ethnonationalists.

        Some Zionists wish this duality were not a self-evident truth and deny parts or all of it (some so-called liberal Zionists).

        Some Jews (even in Israel) recognize this duality and feel/believe that their Jewish nature (or perhaps merely their human nature) requires them to denounce Zionism and its creation, the diseased-duality Israel.

        So, if you are going to speak of support for a Jewish State, be honest and say — support for a Jewish State and all the horror that that implies.

  7. catalan
    catalan
    November 20, 2018, 3:48 pm

    I think that there will be almost no Jews left outside of Israel within 50 years. Basically most Jews will intermarry and have kids with no Jewish identity. In the meantime, the total global population will probably double in this time to 15 billion people (mostly in the Islamic world, Africa, India). This won’t stop people from obsessing about Jewish control: we see that Poles still can’t stop talking about Jews when there are two thousand mostly elderly Jews left there. So even as Jews disappear, the obsession of folks like Eljay, Annie or Keith continues. It will be like a legend, where there was this evil group called the Jews that lived among us and hoarded all the money and were selfish. The interesting thing will be to watch whether the disappearance of the Jews and the advent of socialism will bring indeed this new world of brotherhood and peace. I am sceptical but looking forward to being surprised.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      November 20, 2018, 4:56 pm

      At a stretch Israel is at best Jew-ish. Another 10 years should remove the last traces from the system so Israel can move to full worship of Moloch .
      With the Jewish world concentrated in Israel expect to see the global centres of shatnez and dhimmi research moved there. At some point Hasbara will have to be revamped and maybe even become reality based.

    • Keith
      Keith
      November 20, 2018, 5:47 pm

      CATALAN- “So even as Jews disappear, the obsession of folks like Eljay, Annie or Keith continues.”

      Buzz off, vile troll.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        November 21, 2018, 11:44 am

        @Keith

        Well said!! Catalan and his ilk are becoming increasingly desperate to make a “point” and only make fools of themselves.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 20, 2018, 6:05 pm

      || catalan: I think that there will be almost no Jews left outside of Israel within 50 years. … ||

      I think you’re mistaken. Jewish is a religion-based identity. As long as there are people…
      – willing to undergo a religious conversion to Judaism; or
      – who are descended from people who underwent a religious conversion to Judaism,
      …there will always be Jews outside of Israel.

      I’m OK with that. But maybe you Zionists won’t deem them to be sufficiently Jewish. That smacks of anti-Semitism. Go figure.

      || … So even as Jews disappear, the obsession of folks like Eljay … ||

      I believe in the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.

      You have publicly threatened to do evil unto me:

      … I am however interested in doing evil, but not unto all others, but just you. … It’s people like you I truly wish I could do evil unto. That, sadly, would feel good. …

      As far as obsessions go, yours is infinitely more disturbing and worrisome.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 20, 2018, 6:35 pm

        || eljay: … You have publicly threatened to do evil unto me … ||

        I will correct myself: You haven’t actually threatened to do evil unto me – you’ve only publicly expressed your obsession with doing evil unto me.

        Regardless, your obsession remains infinitely more disturbing and worrisome than my belief in the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.

  8. Mooser
    Mooser
    November 20, 2018, 4:39 pm

    ” It will be like a legend, where there was this evil group called the Jews that lived among us and hoarded all the money and were selfish.”

    Don’t worry, “catalan”, according to you Israel will still be there in case anybody forgets what we are like.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      November 21, 2018, 3:38 pm

      Mooser — what we are like? “We” ? I am not sure I was ever “like” (today’s) Israeli-Jews (Zionist). Maybe as an infant? You? Do they have your sense of humor?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 21, 2018, 4:50 pm

        ” Do they have your sense of humor?”

        They might. All I’ve got is misty water-colored memories of the way we were.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 25, 2018, 1:41 pm

        I think it’s called “The Streisand Effect” but I’m not sure.

  9. bcg
    bcg
    November 20, 2018, 5:40 pm

    @Catalan: so if you had something to say about the human rights issues this article brings up, what would it be?

    • catalan
      catalan
      November 20, 2018, 9:37 pm

      “so if you had something to say about the human rights issues this article brings up, what would it be?” Bcg
      Well all this endless analysis of what happened 70 years ago is just irrelevant. I think the choice has been made. Most Jews who want to go to Israel have done so. Although there will probably be a few more waves from France and the UK. Most American Jews will stay here because this is our home. Nothing to do with human rights just life. I personally don’t see myself ever living in Israel as I am very individualistic. The view of the conflict as one of “human rights” is delusional. It’s just a fight over land and power.

      • bcg
        bcg
        November 21, 2018, 8:24 am

        @Catalan: Ok, we’re delusional. Why not let us wallow in our delusions? Or to put it differently, just exactly what dog do you have in this fight?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 21, 2018, 2:11 pm

        ” I personally don’t see myself ever living in Israel as I am very individualistic” “catalan”

        Oh, you did look up the Jewish Nation-State requirements, and got the bad news, huh? So now those grapes are sour.

  10. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    November 20, 2018, 6:15 pm

    The ideology of Jewish nationalism may still have a home in the New York Times, at NPR, and on CNN and MSNBC, and in countless thinktanks, too.

    In Mondoweiss, too. What kind of trick presentation is this, trying to equate Jewish nationalism with Zionism, which is only the wing of Jewish nationalism that advocates for a Jewish state. Jewish nationalism, on the other hand, is affirming that there are non-religious Jews. Period. As opposed to various unassimilated cultural groups.

    But increasingly any young thinker on the left understands that Zionism is not defensible on liberal grounds and feels a need to distance him/herself from it in the age of Trump.

    What the hell has this got to do with left or right, liberal or illiberal, Obama or Trump? Can you explain?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 21, 2018, 3:43 pm

      “What kind of trick presentation is this, trying to equate Jewish nationalism with Zionism, which is only the wing of Jewish nationalism that advocates for a Jewish state”

      While the rest of “Jewish nationalism” advocates something more insidious indeed, a Jewish State of Mind.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 21, 2018, 6:27 pm

        I love that, Mooser. Can I use it (with proper attribution to author, natch)?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 22, 2018, 12:20 pm

        “I love that, Mooser. Can I use it?”

        Sure why not? It just used you, and turnabout is fair play.

        “proper attribution”

        It’s a song by Billy Joelson

  11. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 20, 2018, 9:17 pm

    Oz says (see Goldman article) : “The Jewish people have a natural, historical, legal right to sovereign existence as a majority, if only in a very small democratic state.”

    Well, nice to see someone other than myself assert the possibility that “very small” might be a recipe for a satisfactory Israel. Maybe the size (or twice the size, say) of New York City, either very small size quite a bit smaller than Israel-48.

    • Nathan
      Nathan
      November 21, 2018, 6:31 am

      pabelmont – When Amos Oz speaks of “a very small democratic state”, he means Israel in the Green Line – and he means a Jewish state. You’re getting carried away if you understand him as being in agreement with you that “very small” means twice the size of NYC. You didn’t say that your “recipe for a satisfactory Israel” would be a solution to the conflict – but assuming that you have in mind an end-of-conflict proposal, you are again getting carried away. The idea of a Jewish state only in the area of greater Tel-Aviv is also unacceptable from the Palestinian point of view (and from the point of view of the anti-Israel crowd). Any end-of-conflict proposal that allows for a Jewish state as a permanent fact of life – even the size of a postage stamp – will be rejected.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 21, 2018, 10:33 am

        || Nathan: … Any end-of-conflict proposal that allows for a Jewish state as a permanent fact of life – even the size of a postage stamp – will be rejected. ||

        And rightly so. No end-of-conflict proposal should allow for a supremacist state of any kind – Jewish, Islamic or other – to be a “permanent fact of life”.

      • pabelmont
        pabelmont
        November 21, 2018, 10:40 am

        Nathan, of course I am carried away by my own thoughts, but not by any idea that Oz used the term “very small” to mean anything smaller than he was used to — i.e., all of Israel-48. But for that (rather large) territory he should not have said “very small” unless to tend to the feelings of the nationalists who think Israel “is” (or should be) “the works” — including Golan, West Bank, Jordan — in comparison with which perhaps I-48 is “very small”. Or maybe he used “very small” not as a size indicator but as a measure of regret — perhaps even his own regret — at relinquishment of someone’s outsized dream.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 21, 2018, 11:48 pm

        “The idea of a Jewish state only in the area of greater Tel-Aviv is also unacceptable from the Palestinian point of view (and from the point of view of the anti-Israel crowd).”

        In the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, I will suggest that there are degrees of unacceptability. While it is certainly wrong to allow even a tiny ethnic-supremacist state, the amount of actual harm done by such a state would be far less than the harm done by the current large ethnic-supremacist state.

        If the offer were made to the Palestinians, I think they would be very happy to agree.

        “Any end-of-conflict proposal that allows for a Jewish state as a permanent fact of life – even the size of a postage stamp – will be rejected.”

        Of that there is no manner of doubt —
        No probable, possible shadow of doubt —
        No possible doubt whatever.

        The end-of-conflict proposal endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 at the Beirut Summit (and re-endorsed at the 2007 Arab League summit and at the 2017 Arab League summit) allowed for a notably larger Jewish state, but it was firmly rejected by the Israelis.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 21, 2018, 1:44 pm

      “Well, nice to see someone other than myself assert the possibility that “very small” might be a recipe for a satisfactory Israel.”

      I agree with that, and will go further: no outside agency, the US, UN, whatever, must ever prevent Israel from shrinking to its natural size.
      Israel should never be forced into the burdens of administering overlarge, non-self-sufficient, indefensible, illegally occupied territory.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      November 21, 2018, 4:06 pm

      “a very small democratic state” — my idea of an (extremely) very small Jewish democratic state developed with the idea of finding a way for the v-s-J-d-s to be, in fact, Jewish and democratic and non-discriminatory (all the good stuff) and still contain all of today’s Israel’s Jewish (Zionist) folks. And, oh yes, to allow Palestinian return.

      How could this be?

      Here’s how. You position the extremely-very-small territory (say twice the size of NYC, maybe around Tel Aviv) somewhere, move all of Israel’s (Zionist) Jews there (never mind any others) and then allow Palestinians from 1948 (plus progeny) to return there if (but only if) the original exile came from that very small place. Palestinians already living there would be allowed to remain.

      This business of moving all the Zionist Jews there is obviously OK with them; because they all agreed to move to Palestine (or Israel) in the past, so moving is OK, and anyway they also thought very well indeed of moving all the famous 750,000 Palestinian out of Palestine in 1947-50, so, again, moving folks around is just dandy with them!

      There would be lots of Jews and very few Palestinians in the v-s-J-d-s.. So the place could be democratic and non-discriminatory to beat the band and still have a Jewish majority. My guess? The very few Palestinians would after a while prefer to live outside this quasi-ghetto. So it’d be perfect! And a human-rights paradise! And little problem of intermarriage! Wow!

      Now is this realistic? No Way! No room for an army, border guards, police, prisons for Palestinians-only, desert concentration camps, weapons testing areas, etc. Wouldn’t be Israel anymore. No sense of expansiveness. Too clearly a ghetto. Have to move all the universities. No provinces with Biblical names. Just awful!

      So, sadly, this near perfect “solution” is unlikely to come to fruition. Darn!

  12. RoHa
    RoHa
    November 20, 2018, 10:33 pm

    Oz says (see Goldman article) : “The Jewish people have a natural, historical, legal right to sovereign existence as a majority, if only in a very small democratic state.”

    Any hint, anywhere, on the basis for the alleged right? Any arguments for it?

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      November 21, 2018, 8:04 am

      And damn, I made the popcorn too soon. I’m pretty sure the Jons ‘s’ or ’66’ will answer your call RoHa.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 21, 2018, 8:21 am

        || Marnie: And damn, I made the popcorn too soon. I’m pretty sure the Jons ‘s’ or ’66’ will answer your call RoHa. ||

        I think they’ll non-answer his call.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      November 21, 2018, 10:54 am

      Yes. Jews are indigenous to the region and have been there for thousands of years, and Jews returned to region because they were discriminated against and then slaughtered by countries with huge Christian majorities and no one has questioned their right to be states with Christian majorities, just like no one questions the right of Islamic states to have Muslim majorities, even though they use those majorities to discriminate against non-Muslims all the time.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 21, 2018, 11:43 am

        || hophmi: … Jews are indigenous to the region and have been there for thousands of years, and Jews returned to region … ||

        Jews and non-Jews are indigenous to geographic Palestine and have been there for thousands of years.

        Jews and non-Jews who have been in other parts of the world for thousands of years are not indigenous to geographic Palestine. They did not – because they could not rightly – return to a place from which they did not come.

        || … no one has questioned their right to be states with Christian majorities, just like no one questions the right of Islamic states to have Muslim majorities … ||

        There’s nothing wrong with a secular and democratic state having a Christian majority, a Muslim majority or a Jewish majority.

        There is everything wrong with any state being a supremacist “Christian State”, “Muslim State” or – like Israel – “Jewish State”.

      • pabelmont
        pabelmont
        November 21, 2018, 12:28 pm

        eljay — “Jews and non-Jews are indigenous to geographic Palestine and have been there for thousands of years. ”

        I’ve never read a history of Jewish/non-Jewish residence in Palestine, but my sense is that a large Jewish presence 2000 years ago or so dwindled pretty soon to an insignificant minority later (say during the 500 years of Ottoman rule). Dwindled how? Moved away? Killed off? Became non-Jewish as they joined other cultures during 2000 years of invasions and changes of regime? I don’t know. But there seemed to be few around 1900.

        A parable: If I take too many antibiotics, there may well be a die-off of various (susceptible) populations of my intestinal biome — but the die-off is never complete and the old balance of biotic populations usually reestablishes itself naturally. By contrast, the reintroducing of Jews (mostly non-religious) to Palestine after 1920 was an invasion followed by a violent kill-off (so to speak, by a dose of another and violent antibiotic) of the greater part of Palestine’s “biome” after 1946, not a natural reestablishment. Just saying.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 21, 2018, 1:04 pm

        || pabelmont: … my sense is that a large Jewish presence 2000 years ago or so dwindled pretty soon to an insignificant minority later … But there seemed to be few around 1900. … ||

        And those few were as indigenous to Palestine as the non-Jews (Christians, Muslims, etc.) around them.

        Zionists seem to think that:
        – the indigenous status of those Jewish Palestinians magically applies to every Jewish person in the world; but, for some (supremacist) reason,
        – the indigenous status of those non-Jewish (Christian, Muslim, etc.) Palestinians does not magically apply to every non-Jewish person (Christian, Muslim, etc.) in the world.

      • hai_bar
        hai_bar
        November 21, 2018, 1:57 pm

        Or it could be that many of these 2000-years-ago Jews are now Muslims or Christians, or still Palestinian Jews, or maybe Mizrahi Jews who moved, like all people sometimes do, to other places around Geographic Palestine in the past.

        However, I find it really odd and hard to believe, that a European looking person pretending to be from this Geography, who left 2000 years ago or so, and is returning now. It would be much healthier just to admit that it’s a damn colony. Now the reasons behind this colony can be discussed, was it an easy solution to flee the European Christian persecution of Jews? Was it a compromise between European Christians and European Jews to expand Colonialism in a more up-to-date manner? These questions keep me up a lot of times…

      • hai_bar
        hai_bar
        November 21, 2018, 2:03 pm

        Or maybe better said – European Jewish Zionists*, im not sure anymore …

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 21, 2018, 11:20 pm

        These days, in the morning I start scrolling through the 100 most recent, from bottom to top. I see comments by Nathan, Hophmi, etc., and start thinking of responses.

        Then I see that Eljay, Pabelmont, Bcg, and others have already responded, and made the points I intended to make.

        I have trained you well.

        So the following verges on the superfluous.

        1. Descent from people indigenous to a territory does not, per se, give a right to establish a state in that territory.

        There are plenty of people in the Americas who are descended from the indigenous people of Wales. Those people do not have a right to go to Wales and establish a state there. They certainly do not have a right to drive out the people currently living there, even if those people are recent immigrants from Pakistan.

        If you disagree, present an argument.

        2. Being discriminated against and slaughtered does not give a right to sovereign existence as a majority in a state.

        If you disagree, present an argument.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 23, 2018, 8:13 pm

        ” discriminated against and then slaughtered by countries with huge Christian majorities” “Hophmi”

        Okay, “Hophmi”, get back to us when the Jews have a “huge majority” in the world, and we’ll plan a slaughter.

        But make it soon, we aren’t getting any huger.

      • annie
        annie
        November 23, 2018, 8:55 pm

        mooser, war with iran would be a slaughter of mass proportions, and jewish billionaires don’t need a majority to plan that. not as long as they can count on our president and the US military to do their bidding. https://lobelog.com/three-billionaires-paved-way-for-trumps-iran-deal-withdrawal/

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 23, 2018, 10:33 pm

        ” they can count on our president and the US military to do their bidding.”

        Perhaps they can. The US military is usually eager to make war.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 21, 2018, 2:21 pm

      “Any hint, anywhere, on the basis for the alleged right? Any arguments for it?”

      When Chaim Weizman was asked that same question (by Lloyd George?) he answered, God help us: “Memory makes right”.

    • Nathan
      Nathan
      November 21, 2018, 2:34 pm

      RoHa – All these ideas of political rights or ideological positions are totally abstract concepts; i.e. they exist in the thoughts of people. Likewise, the justification for these rights (and the opposition to these rights) are totally abstract. Amos Oz thinks that the Jewish people has the right to statehood, and the Palestinians claim that there is no Jewish people (they maintain that the Jews are only a religious community, hence they do not have a homeland). No one has to prove such positions. Ideologies are abstract concepts, not something that can be demonstrated or refuted in a laboratory experiment.

      In the end, the real essence is that the Jews succeeded in founding the State of Israel, period. The Jewish people has the right to sovereignty simply because sovereignty was achieved. That’s the way of the world.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 21, 2018, 3:28 pm

        “The Jewish people has the right to sovereignty simply because sovereignty was achieved..”

        And “the Jewish people” can keep their “sovereignty” as long as they can afford it and have the power to maintain it. That’s the way of the world.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 21, 2018, 3:38 pm

        || Nathan: … In the end, the real essence is that the Jews succeeded in founding the State of Israel, period. … ||

        Zionists – and not “the Jews” – founded Israel. You Zionists seem incapable of refraining from anti-Semitically conflating Zionism with all Jews and all Jews with Zionism.

        || … The Jewish people has the right to sovereignty simply because sovereignty was achieved. … ||

        Israel exists and sovereignty belongs to all Israelis – Jewish and non-Jewish.

        “The Jewish people” were not and still are not entitled to have a supremacist state or to be supremacists. No “people” are entitled to that.

      • bcg
        bcg
        November 21, 2018, 4:02 pm

        @Nathan: “The Jewish people has the right to sovereignty simply because sovereignty was achieved. That’s the way of the world.”

        Sure, might-makes-right is a perfectly consistent and defensible position to take, but it’s like nuclear weapons: once you use it it’s hard to go back to anything weaker. The Holocaust? Might-makes-right. The Occupation? Might-makes-right. Suicide bombings? Might-makes-right. BDS? Might-makes-right.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 21, 2018, 11:29 pm

        ” Likewise, the justification for these rights (and the opposition to these rights) are totally abstract. ”

        I would still like to see those justifications.

        But, as my diligent pupils have noted, your “might-makes-right” position simply renders all ethical thinking otiose.

        The strongest arm and the loudest voice gain what they want, and all society’s attempts at restricting them are worthless. That leads to disaster.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        November 23, 2018, 1:48 am

        @mssr

        yeah, not like your wishing you’ll live long enough to witness a painful comeuppance that you can wag your finger at and say you told them. Nietzsche.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 23, 2018, 2:22 pm

        ” Nietzsche.”

        Didn’t he invent painless irredentistry?

  13. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    November 20, 2018, 11:23 pm

    ” (And as Scott Roth likes to say, liberal Zionists need Netanyahu, and he needs liberal Zionists).”

    I’m not sure what you or Scott Roth mean by this. Obviously Netanyahu needs the support of liberal Zionists, as cover, but why do liberal Zionists need Netanyahu?

    (Actually in these days, Netanyahu is better than most other Israeli politicians vis a vis not going to war against Gaza and better than the more right wing Zionists: Lieberman and Bennett. But I doubt that’s what you mean.)

    (I am reading Chaim Gans’s book, “A Political Theory of the Jewish People” and his assertion of “egalitarian Zionism” as substantially different from proprietary Zionism or hierarchical Zionism. (And certainly different from post Zionism or antiZionism.) Maybe I am too close to his egalitarian Zionism to be considered a liberal Zionist anymore, but i believe that I am a liberal Zionist and as such, I do not feel that I need Netanyahu. I wish Rabin had not been shot on that sad night and it is a hope for a politician who can assert Gans’s egalitarian Zionism that I need and not Netanyahu.

    Maybe you are referring to people who call themselves liberal Zionist, but in fact are not willing to give up the Temple Mount, something that must be given up, or at the very least: shared. (As in: the Old City would have to be patrolled not by a Zionist army, but either by a 3rd party or by a joint Palestinian-Zionist force.) Maybe it is the liberal Zionist who is not willing to make concessions on the Old City that you and Scott Roth are referring to.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 21, 2018, 1:49 pm

      ” I wish Rabin had not been shot on that sad night…” “WJ”

      Very generous of you to change your mind on that “WJ”. It speaks well of you.

      Oh, BTW, any Palestinians you’d rather “had not been shot”?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 21, 2018, 10:17 pm

        Mooser- a constant liar.

        Meanwhile this inane quote from goes unexplained.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 22, 2018, 12:31 pm

        “Mooser- a constant liar.”

        Okay, okay, you’re not sorry Rabin got shot that night. Whatever you say.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        November 22, 2018, 5:19 pm

        WJ

        Mooser doesn’t drink the Kool Aid

        I figured out the problem with Zionism.
        It came to me while I was thinking about Brexit

        link: https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-baudrillard-9/

        « Hyperreality is a special kind of social reality in which a reality is created or simulated from models, or defined by reference to models – a reality generated from ideas. . too perfect to be true »

        Israel is a Jewish fantasy. Even the prayers in Eretz Israel are holier.
        If Israel was a woman in the Jewish imagination it would be Lara Croft. Impossible to engineer in reality.

        People like us just see the gore.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 22, 2018, 9:25 pm

        ” Even the prayers in Eretz Israel are holier.”

        And Israel has, wonder of wonders, united the Jewish people religiously again. In Israel, there’s only Orthodox Jews, some of which are more observant than others. There are even secular Orthodox Jews.

    • hai_bar
      hai_bar
      November 21, 2018, 2:18 pm

      I’m sure you wish Rabin wasn’t shot – he was doing the same Job but slower and quieter, I’m sure “liberal” Zionists prefer this kind of action. I’m not sure even how “liberal” and “Zionist” can even be used together, it doesn’t make much sense that a group that started their Project by massacres and killings can be called liberal, or maybe that’s just me.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 21, 2018, 10:34 pm

        hai bar- Indeed Rabin did not subscribe to the egalitarian Zionism described by Gans and to subscribe to him the eventual “agreement” between Beilin and Abd Rabbo requires a leap of faith unwarranted by the evidence.

        The Zionist project was a project that was designed to give a helpless people a home, the home that they attributed to their collective past. (And indeed the Jewish religion, no matter its wanderings, was formed with Jerusalem as its focus.)

        Gans’ egalitarian Zionism sees it equally as the home of the Palestinians. If practical he would accept a binational state. (This is different from post Zionists who would accept a state that ignores the Jewish urge towards nationalism on that turf.)

        Unfortunately a binational state is impractical. Most of the Zionist thinkers of the 1929 to 1948 period and certainly in the 1948 to 2018 period did not and do not subscribe to egalitarian Zionism but rather to proprietary Zionism. Some proprietary Zionists mitigate their belief in “the land belongs to us” based upon practicality and therefore propose a two state solution, whereas egalitarian Zionism makes concessions to proprietary Zionism based upon practicality and therefore proposes a two state solution.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

        ” proprietary Zionism.”

        The Palestinian territory is ours by right-of-purchase?

  14. dsowd
    dsowd
    November 21, 2018, 10:47 am

    There’s actually somebody named “Crabapple”? I thought that was only on “The Simpsons”!

  15. tony greenstein
    tony greenstein
    November 21, 2018, 10:48 am

    Yes both essays are extremely good in particular the depth of Molly Crabapples.

    I am though perplexed by Phil’s comment that ‘I differ with some of Crabapple’s history; she downplays the role of Zionists as leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. ‘

    I don’t think she does. Indeed I would go further. The Zionists certainly played their part, but not as Zionists. By taking part in the resistance they had effectively put their Zionism to one side. Their organisations, Hashomer Hatzair in Palestine, sent orders for them NOT to fight and to try and survive. Mordechai Anielwicz, the first leader of ZOB stated that he regretted the time they had wasted on Zionist political affairs (running Kibbutzim on Polish farms whose workers had been deported as slave labour to Germany).

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      November 21, 2018, 12:05 pm

      Tony Greenstein — I found the Crabapple essay ( https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/10/06/my-great-grandfather-the-bundist/ ) marvelous, full of feeling.

      Thanks also for pointing up the role of Zionists as people (but not “as” Zionists) on the Warsaw ghetto. The horrible inhumane role of Zionists during and after WWII — rejecting the saving of Jews except as immigrants to Palestine, and even then, only for the young and strong — is well known.

      • Keith
        Keith
        November 21, 2018, 4:52 pm

        PABELMONT- ” The horrible inhumane role of Zionists during and after WWII — rejecting the saving of Jews except as immigrants to Palestine, and even then, only for the young and strong — is well known.”

        Well known to the general population? I doubt it.

  16. jon s
    jon s
    November 21, 2018, 3:34 pm

    Phil’s description of the Bund is incomplete, to put it mildly. The Bund was a Socialist-Autonomist party. In other words they were dedicated to the idea of Jewish autonomy in the framework of a socialist society. (Trotsky cynically dismissed the Bundists as “Zionists afraid of sea-sickness”.)
    The Bund was indeed a significant movement in Poland, with a parliamentary faction, labor union, youth movement , newspaper, and a commitment to Yiddish language and culture. All of which were destroyed by the Nazis. It’s not that they “lost the argument” : they were physically annihilated.
    As Phil notes, the Bundists took part in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, alongside Jews of all other affiliations. Artur Zygielboim, Bund representative to the Polish government in exile in London , took his own life to protest the apathy towards what was unfolding in Poland:

    http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Zygielbojm_Shmuel_Mordkhe

    • Keith
      Keith
      November 21, 2018, 5:04 pm

      JON S- “In other words they were dedicated to the idea of Jewish autonomy in the framework of a socialist society.”

      Indeed, the strong Jewish orientation of the Bund is frequently downplayed or ignored.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 21, 2018, 6:12 pm

        Keith,

        What is much more widely ignored is that the Bund was Yiddish, i.e. Ashkenazi and Yiddish-speaking, not “Jewish”, which is a mistranslation. It never had that Pan-Jewish nonsense nationalism so characteristic of the Jewish nationalists. It was ethnic, of course, in that it was ethnically and culturally Ashkenaze, in addition to being socialist and non-religious. But not “Jewish” (which would be intentional misuse of the shortcut, in English at least, for the Ashkenaze, as the latter were the only variant of “Jewish” known historically on the Eastern Seaboard.

      • Keith
        Keith
        November 22, 2018, 10:43 am

        ECHINOCOCCUS- “What is much more widely ignored is that the Bund was Yiddish, i.e. Ashkenazi and Yiddish-speaking, not “Jewish”, which is a mistranslation.”

        Are you saying that the “Yiddish” membership of the Bund did not consider themselves Jews?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 22, 2018, 2:02 pm

        “In other words they were dedicated to the idea of Jewish autonomy in the framework of a socialist society.”

        Socialism with special privileges for Jews? I bet I could sell that- to Jews.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 22, 2018, 3:56 pm

        Keith,

        Where there is no people of non-Ashkenazi origin, people who say they are “Yiddish” (translated to English as Jewish) may only mean Ashkenazi. In fact, they certainly did, in the Bund.
        Of course, there may have been rare instances of religious Bund people who would have been also legitimately Jewish.
        That’s a little similar to the concept of “Jewish” as cultural so-called identity in places like New York, where it is equal to Ashkenazi. The Zionist hat-trick is to apply that to anyone with historically Jewish ancestry anywhere and confuse a well-defined culture and ethnos with what’s only a religion, for the religious only, then speak of a “Jewish culture”, Jewish ethnicity” including all non-Ashkenazis who have zilch, nada, Kelvin-zero in common with each other as if there were a Jewish people, and so on to fully-fledged Zionist propaganda.

        Even just accepting the idea that there may be a non-religious Jewish identity is 100% racism. The “Jewish-identity” people who say they aren’t Zionist should finally learn to say “Ashkenazi”. Or the name of any other of the groups with a particular culture/language.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      November 21, 2018, 6:18 pm

      … dedicated to the idea of Jewish autonomy in the framework of a socialist society

      Distortion. Not “Jewish”, Yiddish. Which was a culture and an ethnic group. “Jewish” is a strictly religious characterization for many groups that have nothing in common but religion. But of course, Zionist criminals will always distort everything.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      November 23, 2018, 10:01 am

      Chaim Gans, Haaretz, nov. 22. without paywall:

      “Suppose the Exodus from Egypt had never occurred. Suppose the Romans never exiled the Jews. Suppose also that there had been no Jews in antiquity. Even then, the justification for establishing their nationhood in Israel would be valid along the lines I tried to explain in my article “From rabid Zionism to egalitarian Zionism” (November 9, 2018).

      Shlomo Sand’s response to my arguments (“The twisted logic of the Jewish historic right to Israel,” November 16, 2018), misses that central point. In this sense he’s like Naftali Bennett. The education minister carries an ancient coin in his pocket in order to prove Jewish ownership of the land since antiquity. Sand’s understandable revulsion at the Jewish-national implications of Bennett’s version of nationalism, based on that coin, leads him to reject Zionism in its entirety.

      The justification I tried to provide for this ideology frees us both from Bennett’s coin and from Sand’s contentions against it. It’s anchored not in the history of the Jews in antiquity, but rather in two pivotal facts regarding their history in modernity.
      Fact 1: A major component of the Jews’ social profile in modernity, in their own eyes, and in the eyes of their surroundings, is that of group originating in Palestine in antiquity. It doesn’t take a historian to recognize this fact. Suffice it to read the Passover Haggadah, be a tourist in Florence or listen to the “Passions,” preferably Bach’s.

      Even if Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon, who were reclining in Bnei Brak in the second century C.E., weren’t actually reclining there, and even if baby Jesus, who was presented at the Temple by his parents, never existed, and even if Jews didn’t play a part when that same Jesus was tried by Pilate as a grown-up – the Haggadah tells the first story, Renaissance artists painted the second and the Passions related to the third.

      theJews and the communities of Europe among which they have existed in modernity, are nourished by these stories in the modern era. They and their surroundings understand Judaism and identify Jews on their basis. The stories are about Jews who lived in the Land of Israel in antiquity, and who then shared a territory, a language and a culture.

      Whether nationalism and modern nations are a modern phenomenon, as modernist theoreticians of nationalism maintain, or whether national groups are not only modern but ancient, as primordialist theoreticians argue, the Jewish way of life in antiquity, as imagined in the Haggadah, in Renaissance paintings and in the Passions, was a quasi-national existence. It was such even if there were no Jews in antiquity, just as a unicorn’s existence is that of a unicorn and not of a duocorn, even if unicorns exist only in fairytales.

      Sand asks me to read the distinguished Jewish, non-Zionist writers Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig, and informs me about the Talmudic ban on collective Jewish immigration to the Holy Land, as if they weaken my arguments. But they do the opposite: If the Jewish masses were not viewing themselves (in part) as a collective originating in the ancient Land of Israel, the Talmud would not have had to impose the ban, and Cohen and Rosenzweig would not have had to bolster their diasporic Jewish ideology with the argument that the Judaism of the ancient Land of Israel was only one type of Judaism.

      These talmudic and ideological anecdotes weaken mainstream Zionism’s claim that the Jews never ceased to be a nation and strove throughout the generations to regain the Land of Israel. But the argument I was making for a very modest version of Zionism, as opposed to mainstream Zionism, does not presuppose an unbroken Jewish nationhood since Antiquity and an undeviating striving of the Jews in every generation to return to the Land of Israel. It only assumes that the social profile of the Jews of modernity is one of a nation that originated in Palestine of antiquity. Sand doesn’t seem to have noticed the distinction.

      Fact 2: The social profile of the Jews in modernity, that of a group originating in ancient Palestine, constituted a central element in shaping the attitudes toward them adopted by surrounding communities – at times great sympathy, at times cruel persecution. This time it’s a real fact, not one about whose reality (also for the purposes of my argument) one can be indifferent.

      The persecutions in question continued through the second millennium C.E. persistently and intensely. Their persistence became decisive when they continued despite the Emancipation of European Jewry; that their intensity has no competition incontestable by the fact of the Holocaust.

      Here questions arise that are not of historical fact, but rather of political morality. These are even less within the purview of Sand’s expertise than is Jewish history. For example, the question of whether it is morally justified for members of the persecuted group – because it is perceived to belong to a different culture and territory – to organize in order to prevent their continued humiliation and the threat to their lives. Is it justified for them to act in this way by attempting to transform the group into a full-fledged nation in that other territory, even though it is inhabited by others?

      After he diminishes my extensively qualified “yes” response to these questions by the rhetorical device of describing it as a “last desperate attempt to justify the Zionist enterprise retroactively,” Sand tries to refute it. As befits the concreteness of his thinking as a historian, he does so by making such brute assertions as, “Zionism failed utterly to rescue Europe’s Jews.”

      Should I respond by arguing the opposite, namely, that Zionism did in fact rescue some of Europe’s Jews? And that it’s possible that many of those it did not rescue, perished because they did not accept Zionism? And that if they had accepted it, they would have been rescued? But I wish to stress a different point. It pertains to the way I understand the urgent Jewish necessity to which Israel has been, and still is, a response.

      At issue is not the necessity faced by the concrete individuals who initiated Zionism and established Israel to save their and their fellows’ skin. At issue is the need to make it possible for them, and more importantly for their descendants, to live (or to die, if there’s no alternative) under conditions of non-humiliation. In this sense, Israel is important as an embodiment of Jewish self-rule not only for its own Jews, but for world Jewry as a whole, and for many generations. This underpinning of Zionism is immune to the anti-Zionist argument, also made by Sand, that stems from the fact that the great majority of Eastern European Jews chose not Zionism but America to rescue themselves from the horrors of persecution.

      It is not the saving of life itself that underlies the justification for Israel’s establishment, but the creation of a possibility of Jewish life under conditions of governmental non-humiliation. This should have been secured then for Jews as human beings – not specifically as Jews – and it needs to be secured for them today as well. Only Israeli right-wingers such as Bennett and Netanyahu compete with anti-Zionists of Sand’s ilk in their imperviousness to this, each from his own side: Sand is impervious to the Jews and their history of humiliation; Bennett and Netanyahu are impervious to the interest non-Jews have in living under conditions of non-humiliation. To Sand’s credit, it should be noted that his imperviousness stems only from miscomprehension, and not from heartlessness as well.”

      Chaim Gans

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 23, 2018, 2:24 pm

        “Chaim Gans, Haaretz, nov. 22. without paywall:”

        “Without paywall”? Gee, that means that any Israeli or Zionist can read it. Such a bargain.

      • Boris
        Boris
        November 23, 2018, 3:01 pm

        Humiliation of the Jews did not start out of nothing.

        Romans were humiliated by the small Jewish nation and it’s continuous rebellion, especially after the Judean war. It was thus their policy to humiliate the Jews. This policy had successfully continued when the Romans accepted Christianity and Jews were accused of deicide, and it became the policy of the Church. As the matter of fact, it was one of the selling point for the Christianity to show Jews suffering for the death of Jesus.

        So, one way or another it is all going back to history.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

        “Humiliation of the Jews…/…history.”

        I guess nobody loves us. Everybody hates us.
        Are worms kosher?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 24, 2018, 2:23 am

        I may have misunderstood Gans, but what I extracted was the following.

        Fact 1. Modern Jews see themselves as, and are seen as by others, a “nation” that originated in Palestine of antiquity.

        Fact 2. Jews have been persecuted because of this view.

        Claim 1. It “is morally justified for members of the persecuted group – because it is perceived to belong to a different culture and territory – to organize in order to prevent their continued humiliation and the threat to their lives.”

        Claim 2. It is “justified for them to act in this way by attempting to transform the group into a full-fledged nation in that other territory, even though it is inhabited by others…”in order to ensure “the creation of a possibility of Jewish life under conditions of governmental non-humiliation”.

        And it is claim 2 that I have doubts about. It seems to presume that Jewish life (and not just the lives of Jews) is more important than the safety and non-humiliation of other people.

        This seems outrageous to me. If Jewishness can only be maintained by the subjection and dispossession of other people, then it is better for Jewishness to be abandoned.

        But I see that Gans refers to “egalitarian Zionism” and condemns Bennett and Netanyahu for being “impervious to the interest non-Jews have in living under conditions of non-humiliation. ”

        How can there be a full-fledged Jewish state that does not impose humiliation on its non-Jewish residents? Does Gans have an answer?

      • Boris
        Boris
        November 26, 2018, 10:51 am

        Jews managed to live with humiliation for centuries by adopting a notion that life is more important.

        If an Arab girl is raped, her family kills her as in their view they were humiliated. If a Jewish girl is raped none of this happens. Furthermore, if she has a child as the result of this rape, the child is brought up as their own.

        Zionism was the answer to the change from humiliation to murder – pogroms in Russia and, eventually, the big H.

      • Boris
        Boris
        November 26, 2018, 10:55 am

        Muslims in general and Arabs in particular see the very existence of Israel as humiliation – a Jewish control over a formerly Islamic / Arab territory.

        There will be no peace till this perception is changed.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 26, 2018, 11:46 am

        || Boris: Muslims in general and Arabs in particular see the very existence of Israel as humiliation – a Jewish control over a formerly Islamic / Arab territory.

        There will be no peace till this perception is changed. ||

        Zionist Jews see the very existence of their religion-based identity as a justification for:
        – Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine; and
        – whatever “necessary evil” is required to secure it.

        There will be no peace – or justice, accountability or equality – in I-P till this perception is changed.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 26, 2018, 11:49 am

        || Boris: Jews managed to live with humiliation for centuries by adopting a notion that life is more important. … ||

        Then Zionist Jews came along and replaced that moral notion with an immoral, supremacist one: “Life is more important, but Jewish life is the most important.”

        The deliberately and unapologetically colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel is a product of that immoral, supremacist notion.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 23, 2018, 7:40 pm

      “WJ” I read the article, and I do agree, Jews live with more “governmental humiliation” in Israel than almost any other place.

  17. CHUCKMAN
    CHUCKMAN
    November 23, 2018, 2:48 pm

    My view is that re-created Israel has never made much sense, no matter which perspective you use – ethnicity, religion, history, etc. Jews live better, much better, in many other places.

    I think it fair to say that 1948 was a mistake, born out of horrendous realities and fears and painful emotions of course, but still a mistake, one today serving no good purpose and indeed creating almost endless conflict as it tries desperately to make sense of itself and to push others to accept terms and definitions which are often meaningless.

    For example, to have others accept it as “the Jewish state.” Sounds simple for a second, but any reflection and you understand the many ways that those words make no sense, starting with the simple fact that, overwhelmingly, most Jews do not live there and likely never will.

    Still, I think we can all accept Israel, even if we regard its re-creation as having been a mistake, if only it can live as a nation which follows the rule of law. It simply does not do so, and in dozens of different ways. That is an unacceptable reality, as is the constant violent bullying it engages in to ignore laws and rules and practices everyone else on the planet is expected to honor.

    I have thought about this matter a good deal over the years and written some analysis readers may find interesting:

    https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/the-paradoxes-of-israel/

    https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/cutting-the-middle-easts-gordian-knot-why-israel-cannot-survive-in-its-present-form/

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      November 23, 2018, 3:36 pm

      I agree. Israel is a failure. Any country where the kids are systematically brainwashed is.
      Maybe it could only have ever been a failure. Settler colonialism in this day and age is not a rational model. The tail risk is huge.

    • Boris
      Boris
      November 26, 2018, 10:43 am

      Jews live better, much better, in many other places.

      Yes, Jews may live “better” in other places.

      Until they don’t.

      Live any more.

      German Jews before WWII is a good example.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 26, 2018, 11:06 am

        || Boris: Jews live better, much better, in many other places.

        Yes, Jews may live “better” in other places.

        Until they don’t.

        Live any more.

        German Jews before WWII is a good example. ||

        Other good examples include homosexuals, the disabled and Roma.

        Being gay, disabled, Roma or Jewish doesn’t comprise a right to a supremacist state.

Leave a Reply