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It’s Hanukkah, and what that means

Middle East
on 76 Comments

Happy Hanukkah, first of all.

This is known as the Festival of Lights. Often compared to the Christian Christmas, it is supposed to be about the light of renewal, birth, and a fresh start.

I like to think about how history is mythologized, and how it is translated into politics today. 

The story of it is based upon the Judean Maccabean revolt against the Greco-Syrian Seleucid Empire around mid-2nd Century B.C. The imperial faith was Hellenic, and the Second Temple in Jerusalem was said to have been altered into a Hellenic temple. There were also Hellenized Jews, and this also became a competition for religious dominance between Jews themselves. One of the central stories is how Matityahu the priest killed a Jew with his sword when the latter was about to offer sacrifice to the Greek Gods.

The more fundamentalist Maccabees revolted with guerrilla tactics, and over a few years managed to gain control over the Judean area, took over the temple and emptied it from the polytheistic Hellenic elements to re-inaugurate it as a monotheistic temple for what they perceived as the true faith based upon the one God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “Hanukkah” actually means “inauguration.”

But now you see, there are politics in there, in that history, and they are tightly connected to religion. And that leads us to today.

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Because nowadays, the Netanyahu and Trump supporting Jewish-Zionist casino-magnate billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has formed the Maccabee Task Force, or “Campus Maccabees”, which is a task force made ostensibly in order to tackle “anti-Semitism” on U.S. campuses, but really intended to stifle critique against Israel. The force seeks to fight those who take Israel to task for its violations, mostly the BDS movement, which is a peaceful grassroots movement working to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel until it complies with some basic clauses of international law and UN resolutions. Adelson is that Jewish-fundamentalist who sends (mostly American) Jews on “Birthright trips” to Israel and urges them to make “more Jewish babies,” in addition to his advocacies on attacking Iran with nuclear weapons. Adelson’s Campus Maccabees operation is now said to be running on a budget of about $10 million, in about 80 U.S. campuses, and extending to Canada. The task force’s most successful program is said to be recruiting of influencers on campus – including student leaders who might already favor BDS – sending them to Israel on “fact-finding” tours. Adelson wants to re-educate them with those tours, which Jewish “birthrighters” themselves are jumping off with increasing numbers. And now, Trump’s civil rights enforcer at the Department of Education is Kenneth Marcus, whose mission is “lawfare” against Palestinian rights activists on campuses. Before his new role, he was director of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, an Israel lobby group. The censored Al Jazeera documentary film on the U.S. Israel lobby featured him telling how “you have to show that [Palestinian rights groups] are racist hate groups.”

So you see, now it’s really about Zionism, and the Zionist state alignment is generally with a fundamentalist form of Jewish worship, which has a monopoly on religion in Israel. This has become very clear recently, when in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre – the most violent anti-Semitic event in modern U.S. history– the chief Israeli rabbi would not call the Tree of Life synagogue a synagogue, because it wasn’t Orthodox, it was Conservative. This is not even a question of monotheism vs. polytheism, but simply of an allowance of a certain pluralism in worship of the one God.

And it really is not about God as such. It’s really about pluralism. Because there are many Zionists who do not perceive themselves as religious, yet they can be quite fundamentalist about their Zionism, which involves a kind of Jewish preservationist vein. Hence, we get “liberal-Zionists” like the former left-leader Isaac Herzog (who is now head of Jewish Agency), saying that intermarriage is a “plague.” Herzog’s statement is the other side of Adelson’s “make lots of Jewish babies”.

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has already called out Zionism as Israel’s fundamentalist, racist religion. Nowadays we get people like former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni (a left-centrist), saying how “separation” between Israelis (read: mostly Jews) and Palestinians is like “separation between the yolk and the white” of eggs in order to make a good cake. That’s Zionist mainstream talk! 

For Zionists, this is the “fight” that the Jews need to fight in our times. They generally believe that Jews have really returned to this kind of promised homeland, after millennia of exile (although this exile doubtfully even happened en masse – most of the population in 70 A.D. would have remained, and many converted). Their belief (and this generally includes those who consider themselves secular), is that they have come back to inherit this land, from a people who were largely not even present or local, to supposedly reassert their “national self-determination” as Jews.

The amount of mythology in this modern day “religion” of Zionism is staggering, yet it is basically akin to other colonialist ventures, not least to the South African case.

These Zionists thus believe that ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population (most will not even recognize them as anything but “Arabs”), was just a necessary evil, if they even think it was evil. Most write it off as a result of war, even the historian Benny Morris, who alas suggests that the “expulsion” should have been total (and he defines himself a leftist).

Thus, the perception of Hanukkah from a Zionist perspective, has a modern-day parallel, as if the story is simply recurring, and that the “others” are simply changing versions of non-Jews.

So then there’s Jerusalem, and this year Israel got an early “Hanukkah” gift if you will – a recognition by the U.S. of its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem from 1967 (which expanded the borders of the annexed city more than tenfold).

The Third Temple is not yet built (upon the ruins of al-Aqsa), but government sponsored organizations and lawmakers are certainly envisioning it.

So there’s a political connection. It’s not all just spirit, light and happiness – and there’s a very dark aspect here.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word Hanukkah, is very close to another word: “hannikah” (although of a different root with kuf rather than kaf) – that means “strangling.” It is interesting how a supposed “liberation” can mean an actual strangling of others in colonialist paradigms.

Although not being religious as such, between the mono-idea of Judaism and the poly-idea of Hellenism, I prefer the latter. At least, I believe that pluralism can be an aspect of religious culture also for Jews. Jewish worship has to a great extent become a worship of the exclusivist, racist, fundamentalist, Zionist Jewish State of Israel. I’m certainly not going to worship that. And I think that Judaism desperately needs the pluralism that many Jews seek to promote, but that many others fight against. It is very much a question of whether Judaism is to be reduced to blood, or preserved as a spiritual faith or religious tradition. Zionism decided that it’s ultimately about blood – and I’m not there.

I’m really for the separation of church and state, a classical liberal notion, and something which Zionism, in its conflation of state, religion and nationality is ultimately against. So for all those wishing to celebrate Hanukkah as a religiously affiliated tradition, rather than a fundamentalist ethno-nationalist manifesto, I want to wish a Happy Hanukkah.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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76 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    December 5, 2018, 12:48 pm

    … So for all those wishing to celebrate Hanukkah as a religiously affiliated tradition, rather than a fundamentalist ethno-nationalist manifesto, I want to wish a Happy Hanukkah.

    And I would like to echo this sentiment.  :-)

  2. jon s
    jon s
    December 5, 2018, 2:44 pm

    Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating!

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      December 5, 2018, 4:34 pm

      Chag Urim sameach, Jon. (the first time i heard that i thought they said chag purim sameach and thought that they were making a joke.)

  3. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    December 5, 2018, 4:11 pm

    Likewise!

  4. amigo
    amigo
    December 5, 2018, 4:29 pm

    “These Zionists thus believe that ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population (most will not even recognize them as anything but “Arabs”), was just a necessary evil, if they even think it was evil.”

    We have a few of those posting here.

    Take Wandering Jew , aka Yonah Fredman for example.

    • Naftush
      Naftush
      December 9, 2018, 9:24 am

      On recognizing them as “Arabs” — so they recognized themselves up to 1948 and long after, as in the Mufti’s “Higher Arab Committee.” Exceptions were those who self-identified as Syrian, in a nod to the pre-WWI Ottoman alignment that had Damascus as the area’s capital. For the Jews, the country was Eretz Yisrael, as in the initials that they persuaded the Mandate authorities to place on its coins. That says a lot about indigeneity.

      • eljay
        eljay
        December 9, 2018, 2:25 pm

        Naftush: … That says a lot about indigeneity. ||

        What it says about indigeneity is that Jews (and non-Jews) living in and up to n-generations removed from geographic Palestine were indigenous to the region. The rest were not.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        December 9, 2018, 4:25 pm

        Being an Arab is compatible with being a Palestinian. The idea, a rather wicked one, is around that Palestinians have no right to be in Palestine specifically,, even if born there to a family there for generations, only in the Arab world generically. This is like saying that English people may belong in England but definitely don’t belong in East Sussex, even though the reason for assigning them to any part of the country is the same. Illlgical as well as wicked, unless we are to say that normal rights are overruled by a right even more special and sacred. In the end the claim to a divine mandate is never more than just below the surface of all these arguments.

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        December 9, 2018, 6:44 pm

        @MHughes976, Being an Arab is compatible with being a Palestinian.

        This is a ridiculous claim, even by Mondoweiss standards. Here is is the opening line of the 1964 Palestinian National Charter:

        “We, the Palestinian Arab people, …”

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        December 10, 2018, 1:32 am

        MHughes: Being an Arab is compatible with being a Palestinian.

        mondonut: This is a ridiculous claim,…

        I don’t understand.

        Being a Palestinian does not exclude also being an Arab. (“We, the Palestinian Arab people, …”) Being an Arab does not exclude also being Palestinian.

        Why do you say MHughes’ claim is ridiculous?

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        December 10, 2018, 12:44 pm

        Thanks, RoHa – I really can’t see what Mondonut means. ‘Palestinian Arab’ is a meaningful phrase, conveying the generally recognised point that many Palestinians are Arabs and many Arabs, though certainly not all, are Palestinians.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        December 11, 2018, 2:04 am

        “The idea, a rather wicked one, is around that Palestinians have no right to be in Palestine specifically, even if born there to a family there for generations, only in the Arab world generically. ”

        Yes. There seems to be an implication that there is no wrong done if Palestinian Arabs are pushed into to some other part of the Arab world. Arabs are, apparently, fungible. No doubt they all look alike.

  5. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    December 5, 2018, 4:38 pm

    Personally, I don’t really dig Chanuka. It is a pale imitation of Christmas. The fact that it begins on the 25th of kislev makes me think that it is in imitation of the goyishe holidays that begin on december 25th whether sun worship or jesus adoration.
    the tunes are nice and the candles are nice, so it is a great kids’ holiday. plus the bonus of gelt, latkes and if you are lucky and rich, lots of presents.
    we used to go to the stores after christmas and see if there was anything left on the shelves. answer: not.
    i used to dig the christmas tree. not in homes, but on the street forlorn unbought on the 24th. and there is nostalgia of youth passing a christmas tree sales spot on the streets of nyc, the smell and the aura. rhymes with hora and torah.

  6. Mooser
    Mooser
    December 5, 2018, 8:45 pm

    “Jewish worship has to a great extent become a worship of the exclusivist, racist, fundamentalist, Zionist Jewish State of Israel”

    Doesn’t that make sense? If Judaism can alienate Jews not on board with Zionism, they can make Judaism 100% Zionist.

  7. jon s
    jon s
    December 5, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Yonah,
    On xmas tree envy:
    https://youtu.be/VyJWIDwZcdI

  8. Boris
    Boris
    December 6, 2018, 1:32 pm

    Hanukkah commemorates the re-establishment of a Jewish state some 2100 years ago.

    It was a minor holiday until the establishment of Israel. It serves as another proof of Jewish links to the Land of Israel, aka Palestine. It is also a reminder of the Jewish struggle for Independence and self-rule in Jewish ancestral land.

    • Jonathan Ofir
      Jonathan Ofir
      December 6, 2018, 3:54 pm

      Boris, but then the area was taken over by various other empires with various religious affiliations. I would have thought, that a modern liberal democracy as Israel claims to be would hold separation of church and state as a prime principle value. But this would be anathema to its existence, of course. Israel under the Zionist notion cannot but be a ‘Jewish state’ and it has to play that zero-sum game. Such things just take us back thousands of years – a time and state wherein I do not wish to dwell.

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 6, 2018, 4:16 pm

        Jonathan,

        Being Jewish is no longer just a religious affiliation. First and foremost it is genetic.

        I had it written many time here – I am an atheist, was born in the USSR in Ukraine. Because both of my parents – like their parents – were Jews, my internal passport stated that I was a Jew.

        However, antisemites could always figure out that I am a Jew without looking in my papers – I look Jewish, as 6 million who were identified as Jews, and not beqcuse they were wearing a kippah.

        Recently I signed up at 23andme without identifying as a Jew. The result said that I am 98.5% an Ashkenazi. My genes are similar to people from Lebanon. It is not religion – it is science.

        So, just like Native Americans, Jews want to come back to our ancestral land – regardless of each individual religious affiliation.

        And we have history and science behind our claim to the Land.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 6, 2018, 4:37 pm

        ” Hanukkah commemorates the re-establishment of a Jewish state some 2100 years ago.”

        And how did that “re-establishment” of the “Jewish State” some 2100 years ago go for us? And how long did it take to fall apart under the corrosive pressure of lunatic sectarian religious in-fighting?

      • eljay
        eljay
        December 6, 2018, 5:25 pm

        || Boris: Being Jewish is no longer just a religious affiliation. … ||

        But Jewish is still entirely a religion-based identity that can only be acquired by:
        – undergoing a religious conversion to Judaism; or
        – being descended from someone who underwent a religious coinversion to Judaism.

        || … Recently I signed up at 23andme without identifying as a Jew. The result said that I am 98.5% an Ashkenazi. My genes are similar to people from Lebanon. … ||

        So for all anyone knows you and everyone who is Ashkenazi are actually Lebanese.

        || … So, just like Native Americans, Jews want to come back to our ancestral land … ||

        Most if not all Native Americans come from America. Over the past 2,000 or so years:
        – the vast majority of Jews have not come from “Jewish State”; but,
        – far more non-Jews than Jews have come from “Jewish State”.

        Even the most basic Zionist math clearly shows that if anyone has a right to “return” to “Jewish State”, it’s non-Jews.

        In the words of your brother-in-Jewish-supremacism: “Hard cheese”.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 6, 2018, 5:25 pm

        “”Being Jewish is no longer just a religious affiliation. First and foremost it is genetic.”.”

        And you have won the genetic lottery of life, and are entitled to coco-nut, lady’s fan or one of the smaller stuffed animals.
        Where did you get this strange idea that a cheap, unverified, unreliable, mail-order ‘genetic test’ (whooppee, it shows you have genes!) entitles you to something? (Well, besides maybe free carrier testing)

      • eljay
        eljay
        December 6, 2018, 5:45 pm

        || Boris … we have history and science behind our claim to the Land. ||

        Neither history nor science supports the Zionist claim that geographic Palestine is “the Land” of every person in the world who chooses to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish.

        The most history and science can say is that the religion-based identity of Jewish originated in geographic Palestine when some part of the inhabitants of that region at that time underwent a religious conversion to Judaism.

        But it wasn’t the first and it wasn’t the last identity to originate in geographic Palestine.

        “Hard cheese.”

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 6, 2018, 6:09 pm

        The corrosive pressure?

        It is ridiculous! Greeks had placed a Zeus’s statue in the Temple. Romans wanted to have a statue of their emperor.

        Yes, you can argue that it was Jewish Taliban that had won the war with Greeks and fought with Rome. But this is our history.

        And unfortunately for our ancestors, Rome was a very powerful empire. Infighting or not, Jews would have lost.

        But they did put up a very good fight. Roman won only by essentially depopulating the country. And they were so pissed with the Jews that they had renamed it.

      • amigo
        amigo
        December 6, 2018, 6:43 pm

        “Jonathan, Being Jewish is no longer just a religious affiliation. First and foremost it is genetic.”boris

        Can you supply a list of the leading Geneticists who support this claim so we can report them to the society they are members of.

      • Keith
        Keith
        December 7, 2018, 10:35 am

        BORIS- ” I look Jewish, as 6 million who were identified as Jews, and not beqcuse they were wearing a kippah.”

        More Zionist BS. The identification of Jews in Nazi Germany was an elaborate process involving both the Jewish leadership and IBM. In the multicultural US, there is little to physically differentiate Ashkenazi Jews from European descended non-Jews.

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 7, 2018, 11:56 am

        Keith,

        First of all, the murder of Jews was not limited to Germany. The identification of Jews in the East was done strictly personally in the face-to-face situation.

        Yes, some Jews lacked outright Jewish facial feature. Men were often identified as being circumcised.

        And, yes, I agree that many Italians and Arabs “look Jewish”.

        I don’t know what 23andme tells them about their ethnicity and ancestry.

        Would you share?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 7, 2018, 12:13 pm

        “23 and me”

        The story of your affair with Benjamin Harrison?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        December 8, 2018, 2:59 am

        “Being Jewish is no longer just a religious affiliation. First and foremost it is genetic.”

        Yes. These guys look Jewish.

        https://www.impactmagazine.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ethiopiankess.jpg

        So do these.

        https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/19081/chinese-jews-arrive-in-israel

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 8, 2018, 1:06 pm

        “First and foremost it is genetic.” You said it, “Boris”.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 9, 2018, 12:27 pm

        “Can you supply a list of the leading Geneticists who support this claim so we can report them to the society they are members of.”

        Once again, there are lot’s of geneticists who find genetic patterns in Jewish people.

      • catalan
        catalan
        December 9, 2018, 1:11 pm

        “Once again, there are lot’s of geneticists who find genetic patterns in Jewish people.” Mooser
        That’s correct. It’s kind of amazing that my wife was identified as 100 percent Jewish despite her family originating in Poland. Also interesting that Sephardi Jews are actually very similar genetically to Askenazi but with a lot more Italian and Middle Eastern patterns. The fact that this can be done with a blind genetic test is remarkable and does confirm that Jews in Europe were fairly reclusive and that there was not as much rape and sexual violence as I expected. There were not virtually any conversions to Judaism in Europe in the last one thousand years. The Jews are a people whatever that means; how much of modern Jews DNA is Levantine vs Germanic, Slavic or Turkic is a different question.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 9, 2018, 5:20 pm

        ” The Jews are a people whatever that means”

        And if we re-dedicate ourselves to strict endogamy, our genes will get purer and better!

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        December 14, 2018, 11:08 am

        @Boris
        “I look Jewish, as 6 million who were identified as Jews, ”

        I’m open to alternative cultures but keeping it in your pants is an alternative.

    • zaid
      zaid
      December 6, 2018, 5:43 pm

      What science!
      It is over , Ancient genetics (study of ancient skeleton genes) settled the questin of the origin of Jews. and it is not Palestine.

      Check this :

      “The non-Levantine origin of AJs is further supported by an ancient DNA analysis of six Natufians and a Levantine Neolithic (Lazaridis et al., 2016), some of the most likely Judaean progenitors (Finkelstein and Silberman, 2002; Frendo, 2004). In a principle component analysis (PCA), the ancient Levantines clustered predominantly with modern-day Palestinians and Bedouins and marginally overlapped with Arabian Jews, whereas AJs clustered away from Levantine individuals and adjacent to Neolithic Anatolians and Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Europeans.”

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478715/

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 6, 2018, 11:41 pm

        https://www.timesofisrael.com/prominent-scholars-blast-theory-tracing-ashkenazi-jews-to-turkey/

        Shaul Stampfer, a professor of Soviet and East European Jewry at the Hebrew University, in an email to JTA said of Elhaik’s research: “It is basically nonsense.”

      • zaid
        zaid
        December 8, 2018, 6:15 am

        A professor of history responding to a geneticist who studied DNA of ancient remains!

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 8, 2018, 7:37 pm

        The subject of Elhaik’s thesis :

        ” (1) the historical meaning of the term “Ashkenaz;” (2) the genetic structure of AJs and their geographical origins as inferred from multiple studies employing both modern and ancient DNA and original ancient DNA analyses; and (3) the development of Yiddish. ”

        So, there is more emphasis here on history and linguistics, and not on genetic research.

        Elhaik’s DNA arguments in his previous papers, which were strictly DNA related also debunked. He confused Armenians and Khazars.

      • annie
        annie
        December 9, 2018, 3:47 pm

        boris, don’t you mean refuted? how can a demographer and a historian “debunk” a scientific study such as this?

        also, i fail to see how refuting the earlier analysis pertains to the more recent research that was published a year after your TOI article, which claims “failure to compare DNA of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews” and yet this more recent study stated

        These relationships prompted Das et al. (2016) to address the question of Yiddish origin by analyzing the genomes of Yiddish-speaking AJs, multilingual AJs, and Sephardic Jews using the Geographical Population Structure (GPS), which localizes genomes to where they experienced the last major admixture event.

        So, there is more emphasis here on history and linguistics, and not on genetic research.

        the preceding sentence that you cut out was “We discuss how these findings advance three ongoing debates concerning”, hence, you listed the 3 ongoing debates, that emphasized history and linguistics. as for genetic research, that would be the “findings” DNA, so i am not sure how one could come to your conclusion, especially given the section directly after your quote:

        We provide additional validation to the non-Levantine origin of AJs using ancient DNA from the Near East and the Levant. Due to the rising popularity of geo-localization tools to address questions of origin, we briefly discuss the advantages and limitations of popular tools with focus on the GPS approach. Our results reinforce the non-Levantine origins of AJs.

        that said, are you familiar with any geneticists who have conducted any studies debunking this more recent work? that might be interesting.

      • Naftush
        Naftush
        December 9, 2018, 9:40 am

        The MW version of the genetic debate has reduced itself to one of those Israel-only “tests,” like the right-to-exist “test,” the gotta-be-perfect “test,” and the you-promised-in-your-Declaration-of-Independence “test”. Since Hasmonaean times and really long before, you find Jewish continuity at the national level even in dispersion — in language, law, literature, even cuisine, and very much in consciousness of the Jewish national homeland and its borders, its climate, its topography, and all the rest. All of which concurrent with and part of religion. This is really what the Palestinians are up against — professing a superior national identity to the world’s champions in national identity.

      • annie
        annie
        December 9, 2018, 12:05 pm

        the world’s “champions in national identity”? dude, relax.

      • zaid
        zaid
        December 9, 2018, 11:55 am

        Judging by your respond Boris you obviously never read his studies.

        His findings are now mainstream and the ancient DNA studies are by several geneticist and they all agree that the Arab nations including Palestinians now living in the ME represent a genetic continuation of the population that lived in the regions for millennia .

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 9, 2018, 12:12 pm

        “the world’s “champions in national identity”

        Talk to the JGDC .

        I’m not sure bragging about how inbred we are is a good thing to do,” Naftush”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 9, 2018, 12:36 pm

        “Since Hasmonaean times and really long…”

        Oh God, ROTFLMSJAO! Carry me back to Old Hasmonea!

        And that wasn’t enough of a lesson about Jewish nationalism?

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        December 9, 2018, 2:53 pm

        I am very ready to believe that the set of ancestors alive in 1 CE and living in Judaea/Galilee for anyone a) alive now and b) recognised as Jewish is rather greater in size than the set of ancestors from that time and place for anyone a) alive now in Europe or North America but b) not recognised as Jewish – me, for instance – though I’d be very surprised if I have no ancestors at all who qualify. I would be quite surprised if the relevant set of ancestors for Palestinians now alive is not larger still, since they must be the current descendants of the population that has churned around the provinces of the region for millennia, receiving a large genetic contribution from first century J/G and bringing to birth in every generation people who would live in the former J/G for at least some of their lives.
        Not that any of this gives any political rights to anyone.

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 10, 2018, 4:11 pm

        I have no doubt that some Palestinian Arabs have Jewish ancestry. I remember watching a report on an Arab clan which is called “yahud” by it’s neighbors because they had converted from Judaism to Islam in more or less recent memory.

        And I have no doubt that many people in the world have “Jewish” genes – after all, Jews have been around for some time.

        However, this is not the point. The point is in percentage of these genes.

        Many Jews had left the Jewish nation under immense pressure. The descendants of these Jews married non-Jews and over a few generations their genetic and cultural uniqueness had disappeared. Many nations had disappeared in similar situations. But my ancestors stuck to their beliefs and retained the national identity.

        Yours, 976, did not.

        As the matter of fact, Israel recognizes a person as a Jew, if s/he had a Jewish grandparent – 25% Jewish blood. This is not unlike how many Native Americans tribes figure out their membership.

        So, check out your DNA, and, who knows, maybe you a Zionist after all.

      • annie
        annie
        December 10, 2018, 4:14 pm

        check out your DNA, and, who knows, maybe you a Zionist after all.

        zzzzzzzz

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        December 12, 2018, 5:02 am

        We can all stipulate definitions of words but there are strange results from saying ‘I define as ‘Jewish’ those who a) meet a genetic test, say by reaching a score of n% on the relevant genetic scale used by reputable scientists. or b) have at least one grandparent who met that test, even narrowly’.
        It is then possible, depending on who gets together with whom, that some children of Jews by the a) standard will score n/2% and their children n/4%. If two of these n/4s marry then it is possible that these two Jewish parents – Jewish by standard b) – will have children that are not Jewish in either stated way, since neither they nor any parent or grandparent have reached n%.
        This strange result shows, I think, that we are not dealing with a test that is strictly genetic. It does, I admit, have an essential genetic component but that component can be overridden by tests that are legal, cultural or religious. One minute the genetic n% standard must be reached, the next it needn’t be. And the only reason why the genetic element is considered important is the status conferred on the bloodline by law, culture and above and beyond all else by religion.

      • catalan
        catalan
        December 12, 2018, 8:52 am

        “If two

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 12, 2018, 12:18 pm

        There is definitely a religious component and Israel does recognize conversions – but only by Conservative Rabbis.

        These rabbis actually try to talk a candidate out of conversion. Then they make sure that the person follows all the prescribed religious guidelines. Not like with Reform Jews where anyone can become a Jew in a day.

        This process insures that only the most stubborn can join the tribe. After all, we are the stiff-necked people
        :-) .

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 12, 2018, 2:52 pm

        “Israel does recognize conversions – but only by Conservative Rabbis.”

        Gee, that’s funny, I remember the Israel Chief Rabbi reminding us that Conservative Jews are not frum and Conservative Temples are not Jewish religious institutions. The Chief Rabbi thought it was very important for us to know this in light of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shootings.

        I think you mean “Orthodox”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 12, 2018, 3:01 pm

        “Not like with Reform Jews where anyone can become a Jew in a day.” “Boris”

        It never fails. Every Zionist thinks there are too many Jews, and the number ought to be reduced!

        Of course, it was inevitable. There’s only so much Zion to go around, and only so much Judaism, and only those who really deserve it are entitled to the benefits.

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 12, 2018, 4:23 pm

        Thanks for correcting me, Mu-mu.

        Conservative, Orthodox – same Taliban to me.

        As far as there being too many Jews, I remember there was an article in New York Times about a McDonald family, I think in Georgia, who had joined a Reform synagogue, and they were upset that there was too much talk about Israel. All they wanted was to discuss their Judaism. Who needs Jews like these? Only mosers…

      • annie
        annie
        December 12, 2018, 4:40 pm

        This process insures that only the most stubborn can join the tribe

        that’s not true. for most people who join the tribe, all they have to do is be born into it. requires no stubbornness at all.

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 12, 2018, 5:03 pm

        Pushkin wrote that you should never argue with a woman, but let me try.

        You see, Ann, the key word is ‘join’. JOIN.

        The ones born into a tribe don’t have to JOIN it.

        Do you know why? Because, duh, they are born into it.

        On the other hand, these Jews also inherit from their parents that stubbornness gene. It is like natural selection – because it was tough for Jews to be Jews, only the most stubborn remained Jewish – did not intermarry, retained their cultural and ethnic identification, etc.

        I must admit that Torah sometimes is very prophetic.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 12, 2018, 6:22 pm

        ” Who needs Jews like these?”

        That’s the way, “Boris”! You will be a leader in Jewish de-prostelytizing.

        Just think how powerful Judaism will be with 80% fewer people!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 12, 2018, 6:35 pm

        “On the other hand, these Jews also inherit from their parents that stubbornness gene.” “Boris”

        Thanks for the information, Trofim Denisovich!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 12, 2018, 6:58 pm

        “- because it was tough for Jews to be Jews,”

        Yeah, every other religion, Catholic, Protestant, whatever was eager for all the Jewish converts they could get. Wanted more than anything to assimilate us. Took real determination to stay Jewish. And they all wanted to marry us. I mean, what do you think antisemitism is all about?

      • Boris
        Boris
        December 12, 2018, 7:49 pm

        … they all wanted to marry us. I mean, what do you think antisemitism is all about?

        What a moron!

        Well, Pushkin also suggested not to make fun of a fool.

        I think this time I am going to follow his advice.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        December 14, 2018, 11:35 am

        @ Boris
        “Join” merely means
        become linked or connected to–there’s no requirement of intent. Annie is correct. If born a Jew, no need to do anything. it’s like infant circumcision aka mutilation of baby boys, not customarily done in any Western civilized country except USA.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 14, 2018, 4:46 pm

        Maybe “Boris” can tell us what it is we get from these special Jewish genes besides a greater chance of genetic defects or diseases?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        December 14, 2018, 6:34 pm

        ” in any Western civilized country except USA.”

        Don’t feed me easy ones.

    • Phoenixia
      Phoenixia
      December 10, 2018, 1:32 am

      Boris, you wrote: “Recently I signed up at 23andme without identifying as a Jew. The result said that I am 98.5% an Ashkenazi. My genes are similar to people from Lebanon. It is not religion – it is science.”

      What are you raving about? Lebanese DNA is not Yiddish (aka Ashkenazi). Lebanese genetic ancestry is 90%+ Canaanite (aka Phoenician).

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        December 10, 2018, 9:11 am

        And he lied again, that dear tovarischch Boris.

        He said that that fake-science snake oil outfit had hit it exactly right (no matter the revolting inadequacy of the method) and written to him that he was 98.5% Ashkenazi.

        Tovarisch Boris wrote to us that he had been identified as “Jewish”. Not at all, then, the 23 1/2 guys had him under the absolutely correct label! They hadn’t identified him as a foaming-at-the-mouth mythonationalist invader, though.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 12, 2018, 3:08 pm

        Again, “Boris” has a truly Lysenkoist grasp of genetics. He’s got it backwards.

    • Danaa
      Danaa
      December 14, 2018, 7:18 am

      Boris, I wonder whether the genetic tests also compared to tmodern day georgians and others who lived around the Black and caspian sea.

      The debate is not about Ashkenazi as a group per se but about how much of their origins are middle eastern vs central asian. There were studies for example that showed more commonality between Palestinians in Israel and Mizrahi Jews than between the latter and Ashkenazi jews. I have the link somewhere – the study was very thorough and made quite a splash.

      As for this “Lebanese” tid bit – I am curious why they would say that. The lebanese are known to be an extremely mixed lot, made of at least 10 distinct ethnicities. Some are Turkic, some are Arabic, some are Central Asians and some come from the regions of Iraq and/or Iran as well as further north around the Black sea.

      So the fact they quoted to you “lebanese” rather than eg., Iraqi or Syrian or palestinian or Turkic, is a bit of a give away that the test results are “politicized”. not that they are wrong, but the presentation may not be objective in some cases.

      Also, if you come from galizia area of Ukraine, I am not sure what it means to “look Jewish”. Most Ukrainian jewish people I met looked well, Ukrainian.

  9. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    December 6, 2018, 3:56 pm

    @jons
    “Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating!”
    I wish a Happy Hanukkah,Christmas,New Year to all those moral Jews in Israel and in other countries who are speaking out and fighting against those racist thieving murdering Zionists in Israel and their supporters abroad who have polluted and defiled Judaism. To the latter I wish only zero happiness and painful rewards in due course for their revolting crimes against the native Palestinian people.

    • amigo
      amigo
      December 6, 2018, 6:38 pm

      Hear , Hear .

      Btw , two lots of good news from Ireland.

      1, Ireland tabled a motion at the UN condemning the Illegal Settlements and supporting the 2SS.

      The motion passed with 156 nations voting in favour with circa 26 abstentions and the usual suspects –USA/ISRAEL/AUSTRALIA and a couple of tinpot Islands voting against.

      2, The USA tabled a motion condemning Hamas but could not hobble together the necessary 2/3 majority to get it over the line.

      Even Israel,s new Best best friends Saudi Arabia voted against.

      Along the same lines the Irish TD,S voted to have a full vote in the Dail to outlaw goods coming for Occupied Palestine. It should be noted that Fine Gael ,(The party Alan Shatter–Ireland,s top zionist apologist) tried to prevent the vote.

      A positive day for the good guys and conversely a s—-y one for the baddies.

      Ireland is so full of Antisemites.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      December 7, 2018, 9:30 pm

      Hear, hear!

      The particulary agregious zionists are those of the left wing who pretend they care about Palestinians, say they don’t agree with all of their government’s policies but then defend the state at every opportunity. Not a single harsh word about their governments policies when the topic is about those who are hurt by them.

      At least the overtly racist right wingers make no pretense about their beliefs and goals.

  10. aloeste
    aloeste
    December 6, 2018, 7:19 pm

    JO-

    you know very well that the anti-judaism of the pre-48 zionists [ akin to the virulent anti-judaism that lives on this website] could not be fully manifested to the Peel Commission .
    the Old Yishuv of haredi israelis then would have pleaded the commission against partition, if not for the compromise with the Old Man [ben gurion ] to guarantee a jewish state, official shabbat, and military exemption for yeshiva students in return for their behaviour in testifying. Additionally , there could not be a separation of shul and state: it was part of the bargain…..

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      December 7, 2018, 5:38 am

      It must be a sign of the times that so many people start a conversation claiming the person they are speaking to ‘knows’ whatever the point that the aggressor was attempting to make to be fact, which is mostly not what the POV taken by the person being disparaged. You provide nothing to back up what you claim Jonathan or anyone else for that matter, ‘knows’. It reminds me of so many bloviating bags of gas (#45, netanyahoo, for example), who make a statement, no matter how ridiculous (ex., regarding the alt-right/right supremacists/nazis and those protesting them – ‘some are very good people’ then stating to press ‘I know it and you know it’. He was talking shit and no one called him out in real time. They do it all the time. They state lies as facts, claim everyone ‘knows it’ or ‘gets it’ and accepts no responsibility or works in any meaningful way to prove his point (if he even had one to begin with).

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      December 7, 2018, 12:04 pm

      ” Additionally , there could not be a separation of shul and state: it was part of the bargain…..”

      Shhhh! Don’t talk about that, “aloeste”. What if non-Jews caught on to the incredibly efficient and productive and just idea of combining church (so to speak) and state?

      • jon s
        jon s
        December 7, 2018, 2:44 pm

        Marnie,
        What “tone and sentiment” are you referring to?
        AllI I did was add a “Happy Hanukkah” on a thread that begins with a Happy Hanukkah from Jonathan Ofir.
        In any case, Marnie, have a happy Hanukkah yourself.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 7, 2018, 7:07 pm

        “What “tone and sentiment” are you referring to?”

        The one you are so sure will impress everyone with your piety and good intentions. Sort of a Uriah Hebrew act.

  11. Marnie
    Marnie
    December 7, 2018, 2:49 am

    Hanukkah is a non-holiday but no disrespect to observers, except jon s, yonah, boris and other zionicks. With the regular blowing of his shofar, jon s announces the arrival of any jewish holiday with a tone and sentiment that truly makes me nauseous, much like the picture of mike pompeo and the blue boobie, the blue boobie and boobette with ivanka and jared. For hanukkah I can only wish you boobs walk in ‘the other’s’ shoes for a week – try strolling Shuhada Street for a start………

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      December 7, 2018, 12:20 pm

      ,” jon s announces the arrival of any jewish holiday with a tone and sentiment that truly makes me nauseous”

      They could bottle “Jon s’s” holiday greetings as ‘Dead Sea Ipecac’.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        December 7, 2018, 2:34 pm

        ‘Dead Sea Ipecac’
        Shoot and Hurl
        Hag Sameayech

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