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On Alice Walker, Judaism, and Palestine

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I want to comment on the discussion of Alice Walker and her conclusions about Judaism.

And I am linking to her poem in question that has been highly quoted.

This is not a defense nor an attack, but rather an attempt to understand what is happening, why, and what it means.

Like many of us, Walker has tried to understand the source of Israeli cruelty, violence, self-righteous racism, and supremacy ideology. She has risked her life for Palestinian liberation on the Flotilla, and has been in deep confrontation with the Israeli state for years. Being in that place is shocking, it reveals behaviors and beliefs of the Israeli state that are almost impossible to comprehend.

There are many different ways to think about why and how one group of people justify the domination and destruction of another- which is a global phenomenon. Religious and racial groups all over the world claim supremacy and use violence and genocide to destroy other human beings. Just as cliques, families, and communities, and even individuals often use whatever power they can amass to “destroy” (shun, exclude, trash) people who are different, think or feel differently, and whose presence disrupts the perpetrators’ self-concept as superior. In both scenarios most people are tragically and hypocritically bystanders.

The case of Israel stands out from many of these other on-going examples of extreme violence, cultural erasure and illegal cruelty because the perpetrators, who are Jewish, were profoundly victimized in recent memory along similar ideological lines – and contemporary extremist movements are increasingly blaming Jews. While Zionist ideology uses those brutal murderous events to justify repeating racial supremacy theory, apartheid, murder and erasure — other Jews who oppose the policies of the Israeli state see those very same events as evidence of why Occupation, Expulsion, Separation and murder are wrong and must be dismantled.

How some Jews – given our recent historical experience-could do these crimes is a question many people in the world struggle to understand. I know that I do.

Alice Walker, who has made profound contributions to American life – not only through her novel The Color Purple, but also through her rejuvenation of Zora Neale Hurston, is also an individual who subscribes to conspiracy theories and is inspired by that literature. And she has turned to those simplistic tropes for the answer to these legitimate complex questions.

Unfortunately she is grounding her understanding of Israeli brutality in Judaism itself, and her interpretation of the Talmud. And this, I believe is where she is being both simplistic, paranoid, and wrong – confusing religion itself with the Jewish religion.

I have always believed that heaven and hell take place on earth, and denying that leads us to indulgences of cruelty and justifications of brutality. In my view, all religions are basically ridiculous, while simultaneously offering some pathways to positive understanding. The idea of God or Gods literalized is where the problems start. Judaism as a religion is no more contradictory than any other religion and its holy books hold deep insights as well as extremely disturbing concepts.

By looking to the Jewish religion as the source of Israeli cruelty, Walker is making two significant errors. 1. Pathologizing Judaism itself, instead of the larger problem of religions in general and how they are used to justify supremacy ideology. and 2. Ascribing religion as the central motive for apartheid when many Jews who support the Zionist state are not religious, and many Jews who stand with Palestine are religious.

Of course it is disappointing and difficult that someone who does so much good has taken this direction, which is destructive and won’t help anything. But she is not alone. There are many intellectuals, politicians, artists, healers, creators and caretakers who are racist, anti-Arab, Islamaphobic, who draw faulty connections in their thinking- who we embrace everyday. Almost every Democratic candidate for president supports Israeli brutality in one way or another, as did Obama-who many of us would vote for again.

That Alice Walker has chosen conspiracy theory tools to address important questions discredits some of her thinking. But it does not discredit all of her thinking. Sometimes people who do good things also do bad things. And that can be disappointing, or devastating, but that is life and here we are. Most of us who fight hard fights stand in coalition with all kinds of people in all kinds of ways if we are committed to change – and this is always a struggle.

Sarah Schulman
About Sarah Schulman

Sarah Schulman is the author of 17 books, most recently THE GENTRIFICATION OF THE MIND : Witness to a Lost Imagination (U of Cal Press), TIES THAT BIND: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences (The New Press) and the novel, THE MERE FUTURE (Arsenal Pulp Press.) She is co-founder, with Jim Hubbard of his film UNITED IN ANGER: A History of ACT UP, and the ACT UP Oral History Project (ww.actuporalhistory.org) Sarah is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island.

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206 Responses

  1. Barry2
    Barry2 on December 26, 2018, 5:23 pm

    Alice Walker’s antisemitic writing isn’t just “wrong”, as Sarah Schulman characterizes it; it’s downright dangerous. To speak about it without condemning it in the strongest terms is to accommodate and enable it. Mondoweiss is a testament to the ability of people to strongly condemn Israel and its supporters without resorting to antisemitism or race hatred or stoking the flames of violence. Are the people who write for Mondoweiss not capable of holding others to the same standard?

    Yes, people are complicated. Yes, people guilty of the worst prejudices against Jews, Muslims, and other groups can be great people in many other respects. But when someone like Alice Walker crosses a line that she herself would presumably strongly enforce if the slander were about a group that she supports, there’s no reason to hold back on the criticism. Let Alice Walker worry about how the criticism will affect her and her legacy. Our job is to worry about the people who get hurt when antisemitism and race hatred go unchecked.

    • Xpat
      Xpat on December 26, 2018, 11:59 pm

      Barry2, thank you for your straightforward clarity. Sarah Schulman eventually gets there but buries it all under a mountain of tortured words. (Danaa – I’m surprised that you are blind to Alice Walker’s racism).
      People can be a mass of contradictions. Alice Walker is a perfect example. She’s a literary giant, a leader in anti-racism, a woman of color who peddles in vile racism.
      She has used her fame and stature to support and amplify the deranged effusions of a dangerous crackpot. Icke produces the most bizarre racist tripe from extra-terrestrial, monster-sized lizards to very old and boring Jew-hatred that is straight out of the old Christian playbook. While the New Testament is one big statement of love – the Jew-hating verses of that Holy Book notwithstanding – the Talmud is accountable for every uninspired jot no matter the historical context. Per Walker’s hero, Icke, all Jews to the end of time are imbued with the worst of the Talmud no matter how they live their lives, what they believe and what their actual ethical commitments are.

      It’s not complicated: the great Alice Walker promotes vile, racist ideas and has done so for years. What is disturbing is how all her writings and appearances were public and yet she escaped scrutiny until an anti-BDS writer went after her in The Tablet.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan on December 27, 2018, 2:29 am

      Judaism has been hijacked by motherfuckers who bet the farm on Zionism. Societies cannot be Spartacised and survive long term. The adoption of violence as the core driving process is dystopian and destabilising. Israelis hate Palestinians, hate Muslims, hate lefties and worship war, cruelty and racism. The Talmud is not a suitable text on which to base a society but the settlers are not fussy. The clusterfuck has of course been influenced by Judaism – the idea that the tribe is special, that god cares, the lobbies, the refusal to accept outside help- but the biggest influence is WW2 trauma. Israel was always doomed.

      http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/brzezinski-the-syria-crisis-8636

      “But in the long run, a hostile region like that cannot be policed, even by a nuclear-armed Israel. It will simply do to Israel what some of the wars have done to us on a smaller scale. Attrite it, tire it, fatigue it, demoralize it, cause emigration of the best and the first, and then some sort of cataclysm at the end « 

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 27, 2018, 8:46 am

        @Maghalawatan – “The Talmud is not a suitable text on which to base a society.” Right you are. And nobody did. That’s where Alice Walker’s ignorance and crackpot racism come together. For the good people who are rushing to her defense, why don’t you read her nonsense and the hateful loony ravings of her racist here before commenting.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso on December 27, 2018, 10:37 am

        @Maghlawatan, et al

        As predicted by many eminent and scholarly Jews and now blatantly obvious, racist/fascistic Zionism has proven to be Judaism’s curse. It’s only going to get worse, an ever increasingly heavy burden for Jews. The world is aghast and disgusted at the well documented monstrous crimes Zionism has and continues to inflict against the defenseless indigenous Arab Christian and Muslim inhabitants of historic Palestine.

        For the record:
        On June 4, 2009, the Israeli daily Haaretz published an editorial by mainstream liberal politician and long time Knesset member Shulamit Aloni in which she quotes a letter Lord Rothschild sent in 1902 to Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement. In the letter, Rothschild explained why he could not support a Jewish state in Palestine. He wrote that he “should view with horror the establishment of a Jewish colony pure and simple; such a colony would be Imperium Imperio; it would be a Ghetto with the prejudice of the Ghetto; it would be a small petty Jewish state, orthodox and illiberal, excluding the Gentile and the Christian.”

        Then Secretary of State for India and the British cabinet’s only Jewish member, Lord Edwin Montagu’s response to Prime Minister Lloyd George following issuance of the illegal 1917 Balfour Declaration: “All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto. You want to force me back there.”

        Henry Morgenthau Sr., former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history…. The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.” (Quoted by Frank Epp, Whose Land is Palestine? p. 261)

        Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: “I cannot…I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state….It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

        In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people. Despite the great wrong that has been done us [in Europe], we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.” (Einstein and Zionism by Banesh Hoffmann, in General Relativity and Gravitation, eds. G. Shaviv and J. Rosen, Wiley, 1975, p. 242)

        Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

        Erich Fromm, social psychologist: “The claim of the Jews to the Land of Israel cannot be a realistic political claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse.”

        Primo Levi, writer and Auschwitz survivor: “Everyone has their Jews. For the Israelis they are the Palestinians.”

        Marek Edelman, last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw uprising: Edelman wrote a letter in support of the Palestine resistance, comparing them to ZOB, the Jewish fighters in Warsaw. He opened with, “Commanders of the Palestine military, paramilitary and partisan operations – to all the soldiers of the Palestine fighting organisations.”

        Isaac Asimov, novelist: “I find myself in the odd position of not being a Zionist. I think it is wrong for anyone to feel that there is anything special about any one heritage of whatever kind. It is delightful to have the human heritage exist in a thousand varieties, for it makes for greater interest, but as soon as one variety is thought to be more important than another, the groundwork is laid for destroying them all.”

        I.F. Stone, US journalist: “Israel is creating a kind of moral schizophrenia in world Jewry. In the outside world the welfare of Jewry depends on the maintenance of secular, non-racial, pluralistic societies. In Israel, Jewry finds itself defending a society in which mixed marriages cannot be legalized, in which the ideal is racial and exclusionist.”

        Uri Avnery: “What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints.”

        Henry Siegman, Rabbi and director of the U.S./Middle East Project: “Israel has crossed the threshold from ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ to the only apartheid regime in the Western world.”

        Richard Cohen, US columnist:
        “The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake … the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.”

        Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine:
        “If a Jew today goes into any synagogue in the U.S. or around the world and says, ‘I don’t believe in God or Torah and I don’t follow the commandments,’ most will still welcome you in and urge you to become involved. But say, ‘I don’t support the State of Israel,’ and you are likely to be labeled a ‘self-hating Jew’ or anti-Semite, scorned and dismissed.”

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 27, 2018, 8:59 pm

        Misterioso – thanks for the list of references and quotes!

    • Keith
      Keith on December 27, 2018, 6:33 pm

      BARRY2- “Alice Walker’s antisemitic writing isn’t just “wrong”, as Sarah Schulman characterizes it; it’s downright dangerous.”

      Alice Walker’s writing is neither anti-Semitic nor dangerous. Assuming that you and Xpat identify (at least publicly) as anti-Zionists, then you two are perfect examples of what I describe as neo-Zionists. You may not support Netanyahu’s Israel, but you guys are into Jewish peoplehood defined by the same anti-Gentile assumptions of the Zionists which, in turn, are significantly informed by the anti-Gentilism of Classical Judaism and the Talmud. Spare us the “Alice Walker is the new Hitler” BS.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 28, 2018, 8:48 am

        I’m not sure where your comment is coming from, Keith. Walker’s poem is clearly antisemitic, and antisemitism of this kind is clearly dangerous. Ever read up on Jewish history? However, I never said that Walker was Hitler. I’m just saying that there are dangerous consequences to spreading certain types of lies about Jews in particular (since that’s who we happen to be talking about), and any group of people in general. That’s why this type of lie was created in the first place; it’s good for stirring up hatred and putting people’s safety in jeopardy. As for my being a “neo-Zionist”, fat chance of that. I’m not looking for a kinder, gentler Zionism.

      • Keith
        Keith on December 28, 2018, 3:38 pm

        BARRY2- “Walker’s poem is clearly antisemitic….”

        No it isn’t. Are you defending all of the anti-Gentile statements in the Talmud in order to smear Alice Walker?

        BARRY2- “… antisemitism of this kind is clearly dangerous.”

        Your claim of anti-Semitism is false and defamatory. Your claim of danger ludicrous, not supported by any empirical data whatsoever. Any honest comparison of Jewish safety versus Gentile safety based upon incidence of violence per 100,000 will likely show that the average Jew is as safe or safer than the average Gentile, and will likely remain so, this “dangerous” poem notwithstanding.

        BARRY2- ” Ever read up on Jewish history?”

        I believe that I, more than any other commenter, have tried to get my fellow commenters to become at least somewhat knowledgeable on Jewish history. Real Jewish history, not that Zionist myth-history which folks like you spew forth. That is why I have repeatedly encouraged my fellow commenters to read “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” by Israel Shahak.

        BARRY2- “As for my being a “neo-Zionist”, fat chance of that.”

        You told a whopper there, partner! You wear your tribal solidarity on your sleeve. Your comment history indicates that, as I write, you have a total of four comments, all smearing Alice Walker. You began commenting specifically to smear Alice Walker. I sense a pattern here. Back in 2012, you JVP type neo-Zionists came out of the woodwork to smear Greta Berlin based upon some bogus charges of anti-Semitism. Greta survived, but the Free Gaza Movement suffered as a consequence of this attack. An attack, I might add, which demonstrated that to tribal anti-Zionists, kinship solidarity took precedence over helping the Palestinians. Who next? Not satisfied with smearing Greta, JVP went after Allison Weir for associating with anti-Semites. Yet another Gentile woman smeared for failure to kowtow to neo-Zionist definitions and diktats. And now you are going after Alice Walker. Shame on you! And shame on your Judeocentric tribalism! If you were really concerned about anti-Semitism, you would focus on the American individuals and organizations which provide the support which enables Israel to behave the way it does. AIPAC, Allan Dershowitz, etc. But going after power isn’t rewarding is it? And then there is the fact that when it comes to Gentiles, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and the value of Jewish kinship, you and the Zionists are on the same page. I doubt that there is a Zionist commenter on Mondoweiss that disagrees with anything you have posted so far.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 28, 2018, 7:55 pm

        Keith, I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with people in this conflict who say one thing when they clearly mean something else, but I’m not like that, and despite what you think, I haven’t given you any reason to think otherwise. I’m not out to discredit Alice Walker; her writing on this subject does that all by itself. I’m just saying it’s wrong to pretend that it doesn’t. And it doesn’t make me think less of Walker that her dealings with Zionists have made her wonder what kind of values they were being taught as Jews. I just expect her to do a better job of evaluating sources and recognizing slander. It’s not as though Zionists have any shortage of real crimes to account for; there’s no need to spread lies.

        As for antisemitism, I’m not sure we’re even referring to the same thing when we discuss whether Walker is engaging in it. I’m referring to the belief in and/or spreading of false information that’s either paranoid or opportunistic. And I’m calling it dangerous because if someone believes it, it can make them respond violently. This has nothing to do with how well Jews are doing now in a particular society in comparison to non-Jews. Nor would I be saying anything different if we were discussing libel against black people, LGBT people, Latino people, or any other group. It’s just dangerous to say that any group of people is taught that it’s OK to molest children.

        As for Israel Shahak, I did indeed look him up, and I see that he was quite the interesting guy and that he did valuable work. I also see that at least one of his claims, the denied-telephone incident, has been disputed. Still, it’s interesting stuff. But I’m not sure why we have to analyze Jewish history or religion so deeply in order to understand the crimes of Zionism. My understanding is that it’s 19th-century European nationalism being supported by indoctrination in religious settings – most strikingly among Jews, but also among many Christians. Some Jewish characteristics help support Zionism, while others work against it. I’m not saying that any problems with Jewish history or religion should be swept under the rug. I just don’t see Zionism as being hard to explain without some carefully hidden knowledge from the pre-Zionist period. I’ve certainly come across bad stuff from the Zionist period that many Zionists don’t even know about, but I haven’t seen any suggestion of hidden stuff from the pre-Zionist period that would enhance my understanding of what’s going on now.

      • Keith
        Keith on December 29, 2018, 11:36 am

        BARRY2- “I’m not out to discredit Alice Walker….”

        Of course you are, and obviously so. And your latest comment is basically a restatement of your previous allegations using softer language to sound more reasonable, hence, more salable. And you totally ignored my comment. No real surprise there.

        The bottom line, Barry, is that you and your tribal anti-Zionist ilk are using intimidation as a form of de facto censorship. Also, your exaggerated emphasis on anti-Semitism provides a certain internal bonding for you neo-Zionist Jews. Mythologized Gentile anti-Semitism provides the ideological justification for the psychological separation of Jews from non-Jews, and for the Jewish kinship which is so rewarding. Having removed Zion from Zionism, what is left? So you go on your recurring witch hunts. Greta Berlin. Alison Weir. Alice Walker. Who will be the next uppity Goyim you smear? The next poem of mass destruction? It is very sad that people like you have this kind of power.

        “Hostility towards Jews, as measured in opinion polls, has dropped to what some social scientists consider a virtual zero point….
        ….
        By contrast, the percentage of Jews who tell pollsters that anti-Semitism is a “serious problem” in America nearly doubled during the course of the 1980s, from 45 percent in 1983 to almost 85 percent in 1990.”
        (p6, “Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment,” J. J. Goldberg)

        “It became apparent to me, as drawing on knowledge acquired in my youth, I began to study the Talmudic laws governing the relations between Jews and non-Jews, that neither Zionism, including its seemingly secular part, nor Israeli politics since the inception of the State of Israel, nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora, could be understood unless the deeper influence of these laws, and the worldview which they both create and express is taken into account.” (p1, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Israel Shahak)

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 29, 2018, 1:51 pm

        Keith, Occam’s Razor says that I mean exactly what I’m saying. There’s no need to look for hidden meaning or motivation. As for your latest response, you quote an old book saying that antisemitism no longer exists, yet there was recently a highly publicized mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It’s hard to have a discussion with someone like you who doesn’t seem to let evidence get in the way of his conclusions, but if you ever want to seriously consider what I’m saying, feel free to respond.

      • Keith
        Keith on December 29, 2018, 3:43 pm

        BARRY2- “… there was recently a highly publicized mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.”

        Let us not place too much emphasis on one incident. Mass shootings are hardly a rarity anymore. How does this compare with the larger society? What is the incidence of murderous violence against Jews per 100,000, including the Pittsburgh shooting, versus the incidence of murderous violence against non-Jews per 100,000? You are the one who ignores empirical data and engages in sweeping generalizations, usually relying on ad hominem attacks. Are you saying that the Pittsburgh shooter was motivated by reading Alice Walker’s poem? Your comments indicate to me that you began commenting on Mondoweiss specifically to smear Alice Walker. What gives you the right to act as a de facto censor to tell Alice Walker what she should write and who she can read and recommend? Who gave Jews that right? What arrogance! What abuse of power!

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 29, 2018, 5:31 pm

        Barry2 Walker’s poem is clearly antisemitic, and antisemitism of this kind is clearly dangerous.

        I think this statement encapsulates the essence of the disagreemets here, though I come perhaps from a somewhat different direction than Keith.

        The problem is not Alice walker’s selective quotes from the Talmud – what she quoted was there, even if she did not do full justice to the many commentaries that took on and interpreted and reinterpreted some of the more problematic pronouncements in such a vast document. Others on these pages pointed out why Talmud quotations – for better or for worse – may not be the best tool to use in a fight against the zionist religion of Israel (which is becoming for all intents and purposes a “religion” if a secular one, putting aside for a moment the 35% religious part of the population). Using the Talmud as a battering ram to illustrate an “innate” cruel streak in the Jews of israel is not a winning argument on the best of days, since, as i said before, for every bad thing stated in the talmud somewhere, others can bring you 20 good things (the reverse is also true, of course).

        Smart people on either side of the fence (pro-, anti-zionists) – who have been through the ebates forward and backward – have learnt that weaponizing the Talmud is not going to work on the battlefield of narratives. I doubt even Shahak would have wanted to use it that way (other than as an exclamation mark at the end of some other argument). So Alice walker has not yet processed that lesson, which is where I would have criticized her, were I inclined to do so.

        By the same token however, hurling the accusation of anti-semiticism for a citation or mention of unwholesome wording somewhere in the Talmud is equally ineffective and will only serve to act as a boomerang upon the hurlers.

        If someone wants to take on walker for either citing those passages in the context she had (ie implying that the Talmud is evidence of a cruelty streak in those who inherited that document whether they ever opened it or not) they have plenty of arguments and points they can advance. Including the ones I made, namely, that the seculars in israel have had little familiarity or use for the Talmud in the first place. Many of them managed to become quite cruel and heartless without a word from the Talmud urging them to be so. Indeed, I’d even urge walker to pay more attention to the Old testament itself which IS a “document” Israelis have to study from an early age, be they secular or otherwise. I would further argue that the teaching of the Tenach the way it is taught in israel – with next to no spiritual nuance (which the Christians do tend to do, Btw, or some denominations at least) is extremely dangerous and does and did contribute to the “cruel streak” by effectively normalizing and rationalizing it – orders of magnitudes more effectively than study of the Talmud could ever did.

        But instead of taking Walker’s point head and on, and perhaps engaging in a more fruitful debate, she gets accused of some ‘anti-semitism”, which in turn rests on attribution of some irrational hatred of jewish-everything lurking deep in the depths of her soul. To me, this accusation – right off the bat – is more problematic than her citing passages from a dusty old document as evidence of unwholesome streaks in the jewish soul.

        IF Walker can be accused of “weaponizing” the talmud, you can be equally accused of weaponizing the Antisemitism claim. Except you are guiltier, because her weapon – if that’s what she used – may be readily blunted with a couple of good arguments. But yours can never be blunted because by definition anti-semitism is there by the say so, no counter-arguments accepted. Therefore I’d say that your accusation is, in fact, far more dangerous than anything Walker said, rightly or wrongly, because you leave no room for rebuttals, or anything other than tarring and feathering.

        Mind you, this is not an invitation to debate whether anti-semitism, as something different than mere antipathy to a an identifiable group of people, exists or not. That’s something for another time and another place. I am just pointing out that it is a weapon you are using, that it will be taken as such, and that it will be countered.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 29, 2018, 6:12 pm

        Danaa, I appreciate your suggestion to recognize the connotation and power of words like “antisemitism” and to use them sparingly. However, Keith won’t even admit that a mass shooting at a synagogue is evidence of antisemitism. So I’m not going to back down on my use of the word in its textbook context, and I’m not going to pretend that I’m not seeing antisemitism when I am. True, I have no reason to think that it’s the “irrational hatred of jewish-everything lurking deep in the depths of her soul” that you suggest. But that’s not the meaning of antisemitism. Don’t you think that Alice Walker would be justified in calling me a racist if I let the anti-Black bias I’ve been exposed to my whole life guide my words or actions? And do you really think she would reserve the word “racism” for people who have an irrational hatred of Black-everything lurking deep in the depths of their souls?

        I’m not going to coddle someone of Walker’s stature. She might like it in general if I held back on my criticism of her, but I don’t think she would want me to do it because I didn’t take her intellect, knowledge, and experience seriously enough to hold her to account for her actions.

      • Keith
        Keith on December 29, 2018, 8:24 pm

        BARRY2- “However, Keith won’t even admit that a mass shooting at a synagogue is evidence of antisemitism.”

        That is a bald faced lie. Of course it is evidence of anti-Semitism. But to what extent are American Jews physically in danger compared to non-Jews? That is something you don’t want to deal with, hence, the ongoing lies about what I said. And the ongoing orchestrated effort to smear Alice Walker of which you are a part. Greta Berlin, Alison Weir, and now Alice Walker. Who next for the tribalist hit squad of which you are obviously part. Zionists to the right, neo-Zionists to the left, and uppity Goyim better hold their tongues or else.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 29, 2018, 10:38 pm

        @Danaa –

        I don’t agree with your characterizations of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a set of false, effective, dangerous ideas. What lives in the depths of Alice Walker’s soul is not the issue. It’s highly unlikely she harbors “some irrational hatred of jewish-everything lurking deep in the depths of her soul” as you put it. She is a writer. What matters is not the essence of her soul but the words that she writes. She can still cause harm by repeating anti-Semitic lies and promoting others who advance these ideas.

        “by definition anti-semitism is there by the say so, no counter-arguments accepted. Therefore I’d say that your accusation is, in fact, far more dangerous than anything Walker said, rightly or wrongly, because you leave no room for rebuttals, or anything other than tarring and feathering.”

        Why? anti-Semitism is a set of ideas that can be debated and questioned. This entire thread is proof of that. I don’t see Alice Walker as “tarred and feathered.” It would take very little for her to move beyond this. Just because the Israelis and Zionists have weaponized spurious ‘anti-Semitism’ doesn’t mean they own it and we can’t talk about it. And just because those who attack BDS supporters have criticized Alice Walker doesn’t mean we can’t either.

        In the meantime, this conversation has got me interested in Alice Walker as a writer. I just got three books of hers from my local public library.

    • Danaa
      Danaa on December 27, 2018, 9:10 pm

      Our job is to worry about the people who get hurt when antisemitism and race hatred go unchecked

      I beg to differ – our job is to defend the people who get hurt when unjustly accused of “Anti-semitism”, the latter defined as whatever soem jews don’t like somewhere.

      I think it’s an extremely cowardly accusation and if you chance to get a push-back from those you accuse then you have no right to be surprised (upset, yes. But not surprised).

      This accusation flung everywhichway IS the ultimate problem, because that’s what gives Israel cover to do anything they want.

      If (or I should say, when) the day comes and the Palestinians of Gaza have finally “disappeared” (however Israel accomplishes that) and the palestinians of the west bank herded into ghettos and batustans, and the Arabs and Christians of israel acquire – officially – the status of dhimmis – when that day comes, it’s not just Jews who’ll have to answer for the crimes against humanity.

      It’s also Judaism that will go down in history as an example of an ideology that justified and excused man’s inhumanity to man, because – antisemitism, etc etc. was used as an excuse to prevent evil from taking over. And all the beautiful texts, and all the beautiful songs, and the writings, and all the prayers in the world, will not save it from the fate of eternal opprobrium. When that day comes, you can be sure that the “Judeo” part of “Judeo-Christian civilization” will be excised.

      And comments like yours will be framed as cause for why such a fate has befallen a once illustrious religion.

      Though yes, there’s still time. to save the day….but not much, I think.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 28, 2018, 2:00 am

        As far as I can recall, the “Judeo” part wasn’t attached until recently.

        Perhaps I didn’t notice, but I don’t remember seeing “Judeo-Christian” in any context until well into the final third of the twentieth century.

      • Eva Smagacz
        Eva Smagacz on January 2, 2019, 5:59 am

        Roha, you said:

        “As far as I can recall, the “Judeo” part wasn’t attached until recently.

        Perhaps I didn’t notice, but I don’t remember seeing “Judeo-Christian” in any context until well into the final third of the twentieth century.”

        I can find when it appeared – its in Wikipedia, but I cannot find anywhere what it means .

        It is one of those phrases that have been deliberately disseminated to create cosy and fuzzy feeling of brotherhood between Israel and the West

        As in:
        – Israel can’t have possibly done any of the things they did – we share ideology with Christians and it would be so un-Christian – therefore ipso facto accusations are rotten Pallywood lies . –

        – We, Judeo-CHristians SHARE an enemy:

        – all them Ayrabs, especially Pals, who are all dirty Musulmans (enter Bernard Lewis to the sound of trumpets) and bad/bloodthirsty/anti-semitic/child molesters/etc, etc…. -.

        192/207

  2. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson on December 26, 2018, 6:08 pm

    RE: “By looking to the Jewish religion as the source of Israeli cruelty, Walker is making two significant errors. 1. Pathologizing Judaism itself, instead of the larger problem of religions in general and how they are used to justify supremacy ideology. . .~ Schulman

    FOR EXAMPLE:
    The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking The Domination Code

  3. Danaa
    Danaa on December 26, 2018, 7:39 pm

    By looking to the Jewish religion as the source of Israeli cruelty, Walker is making two significant errors. 1. Pathologizing Judaism itself, instead of the larger problem of religions in general and how they are used to justify supremacy ideology. and 2. Ascribing religion as the central motive for apartheid when many Jews who support the Zionist state are not religious, and many Jews who stand with Palestine are religious.

    I deeply disagree with both the gist and substance of this comment, and frankly, consider this to be an excellent example of the kind of gatekeeping way too many Jewish American and Jews in the world make.

    Unfortunately, you CANNOT separate Judaism from israel, no matter how hard you – or other apologists (and yes, I mean it when I say apologists) try. Israel may have been founded by socialists from eastern Europe who were secular to the bone. The founders and the earlier arrivals in israel in the 40’s were indeed keep to discard much of the “baggage” of Judaism, including its reactionary shtetl culture. And yes, many, like myself, grew up in a secular israel where the Talmud was considered a serious anachronism, a pointless boring set of arcane and archaic, rather primitive bit of mumbo-jumbo. Furthermore, the ones who were raised in israel – that earlier israel of the 50’s to ’70s, actually did not even like to think of themselves as Jews. They were, to their own minds, Israelis.

    Still, that ultra-secular israel of ben Gurion et al, saw fit to have the halacha – adocument every bit as archaic as the Sharia – part of the law of the land. That as time went on, israel became more and more wedded to religion is hardly surprising, given the ill-considered beginnings which failed to separate church and state. making Israel a very very un-American kind of place.

    When I first arrived in the US and met Jewish Americans I felt next to no kinship. They were, to me, basically Americans, who had something to do with a jewish history (most of which I had, by then, mercifully forgotten, since it was – again, to me – an unbelievably boring history. I was much more interested in learning about Vikings and the early Russ and the Cowboy culture). Some would even go to synagogs, places to which I had no more affinity than I had to churches (ie, pretty paintings and painted glass are fine. Choral music too).

    But, later it became clear that the jews of the US have a strange affinity to that shetetl mentality, which we the israelis, have put behind us (or so we thought. Or rather, i thought). The invented something they called “Tikun Olam” as a foundational belief principle, which frankly, to me was simply a cultural appropriation of some deeply Christian notion. I grew up with no notion of Tikun or much respect for the “olam” part.

    I now, after some decades, and further study of what judaism was (a subject I was supposedly taught, if only i cared to pay the slightest attention to dusty old tales of some rabbis) came to the conclusion that yes, Judaism IS and DOES bear responsibility for the cruelty Israel commits and the atrocities they visit upon humans in their midst day in and day out. Judaism, that vague thing I tried very hard to ignore while growing up, did have a streak of contempt towards non-Jews. It just did. The contempt and spite towards the non-Jewish is the LEADING THEME of the Old testament. The prohibitions upon “mixing” with the “pagans” or “indigenous populations’ of biblical times were the over-arching theme of nearly ALL the prophets. And the “never mix” part was also a dominant theme and a very important reason jews did not even try to leave the shtetls, even when opportunities were there (which were, if one cares to read history honestly rather than through the lens of eternal persecution).

    That “prophetic judaism” American jews sometimes like the talk about and wave as a “humanistic flag”? it was not there, not in the original hebrew/Aramaic, and not in the Talmudic interpretations. people Like marc Ellis bring up that “tradition”, and I have no quarrell with reinventing a tradition and ascribing to it meanings that were never there. heck, all religions do that, and there’s no harm in adapting old words to new times. But to maintain that humanism, as we understand it, was a dominant theme in Judaism is nonsense. That it wasn’t, though there were plenty of admonitions to be nice to other jews, and if possible exercise what I now call “political correctness’ when dealing with gentiles.

    Humanism WAS introduced into judaism, starting in the 18th century (and please don’t tell me about maimonides!), just as it was being introduced into Christianity, as part and parcel of the enlightenment. That enlightenment was fashioned, described, promulgated, and eventually adopted by non-Jews. That’s a historical fact, even if one wants to bring up a Moses Mendelsson or a Spinoza.

    So, having gone off on this little tangent, I’ll take up again Schulman’s points:

    1. pathologizing Judaism does have a historical basis in jewish history, in the sense, that yes, it did teach supremacy and yes, this is what jews believed up until the exit from the rabbi-controlled shtetls. Enlightenment has greatly softened these pathological elements,but deep in the soul of many jewish people – and woven through the entirety of Israel’s Jewish conciousness – is the belief that yes, we are superior, even if we can’t admit the existence of the belief even to ourselves.

    Even I, who tried to deconstruct whatever I could, still have remnants of that pathology. I am big enough to confess it, and think it’s a good idea to admit it, because out in the open is the only way to fight such notions. But people like Schulman have to do it too. Even if its hard for them.

    So yes, Judaism does bear a responsibility for the policies of israel. The religion itself does, even if fine souls like Schulman believe they have expounged those elements.

    2. Schulaman is right when stating ascribing religion as the main villain in rationalizing apartheid is an overreach. But I’d say she is not looking deep enough into israel’s CURRENT (not so much past) mentality which suffused the supremacist elements that were always present in Judaism into the israeli militant gestalt. Israel as it is currently is the true inheritor of the maccabbi zealot ideology – and the biblical zealotry that drove Joshua – where religion is used to justify cruelty right along with military necessity.

    I do understand that American jews may not want any part of this military/religious ideology and are perfectly happy to criticize it severly. After all, it’s not exactly an attractive trait. But they cannot continue to hide under the umbrella of a “holier than thou” mentality just because they are pro-Palestinians and contribute to Tikkun Olam.

    What Alice walker saw was there, even if she is making the mistake of stating what she saw and understood while not-Jewish. And the way she is being treated now (cf. the Spinoza treatment) is an absolute abomination, given the contributions she has made to the palestinians’ cause.

    And I would go further and say, it wasn’t just the palestinian cause she helped. It was also the jewish cause, as she is speaking truth to [Jewish] power and showing the way to rescue what humanism is left in Judaism to Jews who’d rather not think about certain disturbing issues.

    I says, make Alice walker an honorary Rabbi!

    PS I consider myself an ex-Israeli, though unlike a certain person with first name starting with G I wouldn’t call myself an ex-Jew, because as a once israeli I never thought of myself as jewish anyways, so there’s nothing to be ‘ex” about. Also, labels are silly.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on December 26, 2018, 8:03 pm

      “Unfortunately, you CANNOT separate Judaism from israel, no matter how hard you – or other apologists (and yes, I mean it when I say apologists) try.”

      Of course you can’t. Zionists and Israelis won’t ever let that happen.

      • eljay
        eljay on December 26, 2018, 9:04 pm

        || Mooser: “Unfortunately, you CANNOT separate Judaism from israel, no matter how hard you – or other apologists (and yes, I mean it when I say apologists) try.”

        Of course you can’t. Zionists and Israelis won’t ever let that happen. ||

        Zionists will do whatever’s convenient. Israel will always be about Judaism, self-determination and/or the Holocaust…except for when it’s not about any or all of those things.

    • Danaa
      Danaa on December 26, 2018, 8:07 pm

      My apologies for the tl;dr (not the substance!) of my comment. Also the typos/grammar outages. It somehow got away with me….

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 26, 2018, 10:12 pm

        Danaa, I suspect that you didn’t follow the link and read the actual poem that Alice Walker wrote, at least not in its entirety. While you and I may have some major disagreements with Judaism and Zionism, they come from exposure to the real thing. Walker, on the other hand, spreads such falsehoods as the idea that the Talmud allows the rape of young children. This is definitely not reason to make her an “honorary Rabbi”. These falsehoods are a real threat to the safety of Jews everywhere. (Not that it would make her any better if she had chosen another group to spread such falsehoods about.)

        I also think you’ve gone way overboard with your point about Jewish supremacy. I don’t deny that there are Zionists who draw inspiration from Judaism for their oppression of the Palestinians. But as Sarah Schulman notes, religions tend to be contradictory. For many of us raised as Jews, the theme of justice has stood out stronger than any of the less savory aspects of Judaism, and it has helped fuel our rejection of Zionism. And it certainly doesn’t take Judaism to make someone mistreat people who aren’t like them. It’s certainly a black mark against Judaism that it doesn’t prevent its followers from treating the Palestinians people so badly. But the same criticism could be made of most religions, given the behavior of some their adherents.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 27, 2018, 11:44 am

        @Barry2, Well said (again). Danaa is usually so clear and principled. These lengthy posts trying to deflect and defend Alice Walker’s racist posts are the exception. If you shield racists on the left no one outside your bubble will listen to you when you go after the much more dangerous racists on the right.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 27, 2018, 6:25 pm

        barry2 – I recant. I did not at first read the poem and when I did read it, I felt that quoting that one passage about child rape was what we call “below the belt”. The talmud is a huge document, full of commentary and commentary on the commentary. It reflects Mores as they were extant millenia ago, and no doubt included passages that, were the originators to prop up today, they would find them shocking too.

        As I said below in response to JaapBo, holding up a bad passage from the Talmud is not likely to be a winner, because anyone (and scholars abound) can refer to a counter-passage and/or context. Not only that, but critiquing an example of something bad invites the hordes who’d bring with them uplifting and impressive and even wise passages from the same document, just from a different place and a different context, by way of illustrating the grandeur and modernity.

        That Btw, is very much like the ongoing debates about the Quran – written in the 7th century. What is Jihad exactly? what about child brides? etc. etc. Those too I see as pointless arguments, leading nowhere good, and influencing no one for better or for worse..

        So, I’ll be specific and rather than withdraw my invite to Walker as an honorary rabbi, I’d enjoin her to participate in a grand effort with all the grand modern rabbis to help rewrite the talmud and adapt it to modern times. How’s that? a very busy enterprise, I reckon, that should keep everyone off the streets and out of danger of watching too much reality TV or spending too much time on social media.

        Actually, that would be on par with what many religious jewsh scholars say – that it was a mistake to close the Talmud in the first place, and it’s time to open it up again for further commentary (sure that’d make it well, “a bit” longer, wouldn’t it?). Like that child passage could be reinterpreted or even expunged (and I believe some did just that already. For obvious reasons).

        Also, the talmud is hardly the reason to criticize israel’s worst actions. WE can resort to rather plain language for that, using only appeals to sense, sensibility, justice and tolerance.

        For many of us raised as Jews, the theme of justice has stood out stronger than any of the less savory aspects of Judaism, and it has helped fuel our rejection of Zionism.

        I do understand that in America and other countries, jewish education was vastly different than it was in israel. Most certainly, there were numerous appeals to justice within various streams of Jewish thought throughout the centuries, and I have no quarrel whatsoever with picking the best out of the lot, as guides to go by. Heck, I am sure many Talmudic scholars of the past would agree with that statement – pick the best and go by those (gosh, I could have been a scholar too!).

        I don’t even begrudge the teaching of the talmud in the middle Ages to children, as exercises in logic. Itd be only the premises I’d have issues with and perhaps much of the substance which ignored universality as a guideline. So yes, like Spinoza, may be?

        It is also commendable IMO, the way American jewish scholars injected beauty into jewish teachings. More power to them, any day of the week, especially if they manage to live in the shadow of beauty rather than put a stake in the valley of the damned (ie the modern day israelites)

        And it certainly doesn’t take Judaism to make someone mistreat people who aren’t like them. It’s certainly a black mark against Judaism that it doesn’t prevent its followers from treating the Palestinians people so badly.

        That last sentence is really what we are debating here, in relation to Schulman’s article. Why are American jews allowing Judaism to be weaponized the way israelis did, turning the religion itself into a tool used for oppression of others?

        Not you, of course, and the many who comment and post here. I know many American (and british. And some Australian – emphasis on “some”) have tried to do just that – save judaism from becoming a weapon in the service of evil. Ad I realize judaism is very important to many people who interpret it through the lens of good rather than the lens of mindless conquest.

        But there are not enough of you (in plural) who do the good work. Who speak up on the street, in the halls of power (politics) and in the synagogues. I’d like to see more courage and sense from many more Jewish people. If they don’t, if they continue to cower, there should be no surprise if and when Judaism itself, the religion, including the finer versions thereof, will be smeared for all eternity, because there were not enough who spoke up.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 27, 2018, 8:01 pm

        Xpat, lengthy, you say? No disputing there. You can blame the topic – racism/anti-semitism accusations – such a big favorite!

        If you care to look through the rest of my (equally lengthy) commentary on this thred, including the reply to barry2 – if and when that comes up – you’ll see that indeed I don’t care much for picking and choosing this or that stament out of the Talmud. Not the bad, and often, not the good either. I just think of the talmud as a trap – you can find anything you want in it – a mouse, a horse and an orangutang, depending which way and when you choose to look at it.

        But, and it’s a big but, jewish people should just stop waving accusing fingers in every and each direction where an offending word or citation is found from a non_Jewish person. You (I assume you are Jewish. Do correct if so wished) anti-zionists and non-zionists and proto-Zionists and trans-zionists (that’s me!) alike should stop acting as a border police to patrol the boundaries of speech by non-Jews (and by jews too, though that’s a different subject because one patrol begets another and to jewish people this is a form of entertainment anyways. If one is honest that is).

        It is exactly this kind of policing behavior, the finger pointing of “Witch, witch!” that begets intemperate counter-action by others who stand so accused.

        If Schulman – or you – or, for that matter, me – wanted to take Alice walker to account, there are countless better way we can offer our disputations than instant accusatory flaming (the figurative burning of the witches). You bring it upon yourself by shouting gevalt! racist there! anti-semite here! bigots everywhere!

        People who are not jewish have every right in the world to criticize jews for having allowed the travesty of modern israel in all its evil deeds to go unimpeded. You (again, you being just an example because….) raise some sheepish voice here, a stronger voice (Schulman’s) there and think you are off the hook because you did so, safely. But you won’t go the distance. You won’t speak up in your “safe” places – in the synagogues, in the Papers, in academia or in the halls of power. You will comment here – and may be elsewhere, and you’ll stay closeted.

        Frankly that’s what I find irritating enough to go all intemperate myself. If Jewish Americans want to save Judaism from being dragged into the muds of history as a parable of a golem, then it is you who should be willing to converse with one and all, including non-Jews who are abhorred and disgusted by israel’s actions, as much as by the actions of its supporters in the US.

        The senate is debating whether to pass an anti-BDS bill right now. This is the time for jewish people to speak up everywhere if they want to save their precious Judaism from opprobrium. And if they want to be regarded as a community with respect for human rights and human values (and all good jewish individuals already screaming off the roof-top – consider yourselves exempted from my finger pointing….may be you too, personally).

        Alice walker is one of many. She read what she read. It’s out there. You have been hitting below the belt, inviting the same in return. It’s unwise, IMO, to go down that road, but people will, when they feel shut out.

        And while you waved your “racist” flag in a couple of sentences, I honor you with five paragraphs. So there, don’t complain for being left out or anything.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 27, 2018, 8:53 pm

        @Danaa,
        You make gross generalizations including of me and, yes I am Jewish, and others. You accuse Jews who care about Alice Walker’s racism of being closeted in our synagogues and not speaking out among other ignorant and unfounded fantasies. You have an axe to grind and are using the Alice Walker to get more of this out of your system rather than look at what she wrote.

        From Vox:
        https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/12/20/18146628/alice-walker-david-icke-anti-semitic-new-york-times

        “Many but not all of these evil lizard people are Jewish. Icke is fond of saying that the Rothschilds, a prominent wealthy Jewish family, are lizards.”

        Well, I guess that makes at leas some of us Jews non-reptilian.

        How about this for Alice Walker’s cherry-picking:

        “Is Jesus boiling eternally in hot excrement,
        For his “crime” of throwing the bankers
        Out of the Temple? For loving, standing with,
        And defending
        The poor? Was his mother, Mary,
        A whore?”

        It’s not very original Christian anti-Semitism.

        Jews studied the Talmud for 2,000 years and never dreamed of committing a fractions of the genocides and other horrific crimes that Christians executed in the name of their loving-standing-with-the-poor-God. Perhaps it has something to do with the anti-Semitic tracts in the New Testament. Or maybe nothing at all.

        Israeli nationalism may have something to do with the Talmud, most likely not. Most Jews who are immersed in Talmud are not marauding settlers or soldiers in uniform. The hyper-nationalist settlers are much more into a fundamentalist reading of the Bible and its genocides than the Talmud and its pacifism and nuance.

        So yes, a cultural giant like Alice Walker has been exposed as such a petty racist.

        Have you read David Icke’s ravings?

        And what has any of this got to do with your list of Zionisms?

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 27, 2018, 10:16 pm

        xpat – who is David Icke?

        Sorry, I don’t follow all the conspiracy sites, just a few [well] selected ones.

        But whatever Icke is into (sounds like Aliens or some such?) Alice walker was probably hurt by the anti-semite accusations quite a while ago, so she strikes back. What do you expect?

        I think the sooner we put a stop to these “anti-semitism” insults hurled all over the place, the better. In all fairness it’s time these accusations were considered as the hate speech that they often are. Like pretty much anything that comes out of ADL, for example. Or the garbage thrown at Sanders, Corbyn, Alexandria Cortez, Ron Paul and a coterie of others.

        If people want to talk about anti_jewish bigotry that’s fine – I reckon antipathy against jews does exist just as antipathy against Chinese and Italians and Puerto-Ricans does. So my position on this matter is to retire the word “anti-semitism” just as we retired any number of gay bashing expressions.

        To me, most of the AS accusations sound about as productive and as idiotic as flinging lizard accusations. Mostly it’s inviting petty tit-for-tat

        People can of course libel anyone they want with anything – that’s their prerogative . But the rest of us are within our rights to take umbrage and push back. Keep crying wolf and eventually, you may not be listened to, when a real wolf shows up.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 27, 2018, 10:38 pm

        @Danaa

        “who is David Icke?”

        As I wrote earlier, you have no interest in or knowledge of the topic of this post: Alice Walker’s racism as evidenced by her original writings and her promotion of David Icke’s vile anti-Semitism. (Sorry, anti Semitism is a real thing, no matter how much the Israelis and Zionists pervert it and use it against itself)

        “Alice walker was probably hurt by the anti-semite accusations quite a while ago, so she strikes back. What do you expect?”

        Way to go, blaming the victim for the perpetrator’s malevolence. And with zero evidence except the depth of your own antipathy.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 28, 2018, 1:42 am

        Thanks, Danaa, for reading the poem and acknowledging that it makes a difference. However, we do seem to still disagree about how much of a difference it makes. To me, anyone who claims that Jews are following the dictates of an evil book is acting beyond the pale. Of course, many of the people involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are acting beyond the pale in some way, so I don’t mean to say that I’d give the rest of them a pass. I just think that when you’ve won a Pulitzer Prize and championed the causes of horribly oppressed groups, you can be held to account for your words and how they might incite the worst kinds of violence and oppression. I would be infantilizing Walker if I held her to a lower standard.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 1, 2019, 12:56 am

        Barry2: “To me, anyone who claims that Jews are following the dictates of an evil book is acting beyond the pale.”

        Walker didn’t make this claim. She claims that the Talmud is the main source in Israel that justifies inhumane behaviour.(towards Nonjews). But she didn’t claim that Jews as such follow the teachings of the Talmud. That would be antisemitic. Why? Because it would be antisemitic to claim that Jews as such follow these inhumane positions:

        “Most Jewish first-graders attend ultra-Orthodox and religious schools. The majority of them are educated along the lines of “The King’s Torah.” A Jew is human. A non-Jew is non-human. “Thou shalt not kill” does not apply to non-Jews. And this is not delivered in the form of incitement, but as a simple statement of a fact. As simple as calling a chair a chair. ”
        https://www.haaretz.com/1.5128683

        “A ketannah (literally meaning “little [one]”) was any girl between the age of 3 years and that of 12 years plus one day;[79] she was subject to her father’s authority, and he could arrange a marriage for her without her agreement.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_marriage#Child_marriage

        “It is written in the Mishnah: “A girl of three years and a day is sanctified (as a woman is acquired) through intercourse…if one of those forbidden to have relations with her according to the Torah does have relations with her, he is killed because of her, and she is exempt. If she is less than that (less than three years and a day), it is as one who sticks a finger into an eye” (Niddah 5:4). The sages of the Talmud explain the Mishnah’s simile “as one who sticks a finger into an eye”: Just as an eye, if poked by a finger, gives off a tear and then once again gives off tears, so is it when a man puts his penis in a girl younger than three, her hymen tears and then heals over. This is why it is not called intercourse in matters of prohibition or of acquisition (Niddah 45a).

        Thus did Maimonides rule (Laws of Forbidden Intercourse 1:13-14): One who has sexual relations with a girl younger than three is exempt from punishment, even if he did so with his own daughter, and one who has sexual relations with a boy of under nine is exempt from punishment, even if she did so with her own son, and homosexual relationships with a minor boy under the age of nine is exempt from the punishment …”
        http://daatemet.org.il/en/question/pedophilia-in-halacha/

        Sö it’s not Walker’s statement about “child rape” that discedits her or could lead to violent responses. It’s the Talmud itself according to your reasoning.

        And what kind of society allows adverts (on buses) that read: “The Gentile does not want anything. He waits to be told what the Jew wants!”)
        https://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/rabbis-about-gentiles/

        What kind of society doesn’t fire a chief religious leader who claims that other people only exist to serve his own?
        https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-chief-rabbi-retracts-comments-scorning-non-jews/

        A society whose majority accepts these inhumane and racist, “religious” positions to be an integral part ot its collective identity and therefore attacks anyone who points in this direction.

      • annie
        annie on January 1, 2019, 2:06 am

        perhaps time would be better spent denouncing these old relics of an age long long ago which have no place in our world today. rather than the one who brings them to our attention in a poem.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 1, 2019, 2:56 am

        Talkback and annie,

        I think it is fine to talk about the question of what the Talmud says, but my own talmudic background is very limited. However, I did find this: https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/65726/does-the-talmud-promote-pedophilia. I cannot personally vouch for that website, nor do I care to call any rabbis or critics of religion I know in the middle of the night to get a crash course on which talmudic sources on the web are reputable. But it does make sense to me that a snippet of a talmudic discussion could easily be misinterpreted if taken out of context, especially if done so by someone who doesn’t know the language(s) the texts are written in. So yes, it would indeed be useful to talk here about how to evaluate claims that the Talmud allows or even encourages Jews to do horrible things. But the starting place for that discussion shouldn’t be an assumption that such claims are true. I would want us to verify the claims before discussing them. And if we find that a particular claim is easy to debunk, it would be reasonable to question the appropriateness of making the claim.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 1, 2019, 3:36 am

        annie – “perhaps time would be better spent denouncing these old relics of an age long long ago which have no place in our world today. rather than the one who brings them to our attention in a poem.”

        Although I’m now an atheist, I think it’s an unfortunate overstatement to say that the Talmud has no place in the world today. It’s definitely not perfect, but it has governed and guided Jewish life for centuries. Unless you believe Jews to be fundamentally lawless and misguided, there’s no reason to denounce the Talmud as a whole.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 1, 2019, 11:05 am

        Annie: “perhaps time would be better spent denouncing these old relics of an age long long ago which have no place in our world today. rather than the one who brings them to our attention in a poem.”

        Well, that’s how it usual works. Bringing Zionist crimes to our attention, even if not 100% correct, also seems to be the bigger crime for these antisemitism crying extremists.

        P.S. Happy new year to you, too!

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 1, 2019, 12:09 pm

        Barry2: “So yes, it would indeed be useful to talk here about how to evaluate claims that the Talmud allows or even encourages Jews to do horrible things.”

        You found an article about someone who made a claim about the Talmud and it turned out that his quotes were dealing with a different question.

        Doesn’t change the fact that molesting a girl under three years is not PUNISHABLE. And when it comes to child marriage we even find in your link:

        “As far as conducting a formal marriage (kiddushin, though without consummation of the marriage) between a man and a minor girl, the Rambam (Ishus 3:19) and perhaps the Shulchan Aruch (EH 37:8; see also Kesef Mishneh, Ishus 10:16) rule that the Rabbis merely discouraged the practice and that it is not technically prohibited.”

        In this case is just discouraged and not even prohibited. So its definitely not PUNISHABLE either.

        A different question is, if the absence of punishment allows or even encourages someone to commit an atrocity. Which is relevant when we talk about Israel’s violation of international and human rights law and its culture of impunity. And it is also interesting to see HOW Israel twists and reinterprets these laws in bad faith to justify its atrocities against Palestinians or its colonialization of Palestine.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 12:37 pm

        @”Talkback”

        Holy Mackeral! Is that what it says? And to think I used to be shocked and mortified by the discussions and advice in “The Penthouse Forum”!!

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 12:54 pm

        “perhaps time would be better spent…/…a poem.”

        “Annie”, there’s an old saying: “We have every reason, but they have no excuse”.
        And if I wait a few minutes to push “Post” it’ll be a few minutes old.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 1:04 pm

        “It’s definitely not perfect, but it has governed and guided Jewish life for centuries.” “barry2”

        ROTFLMSJAO! Do tell!

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 1, 2019, 1:04 pm

        Talkback,

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be ignoring the part of your citation that says that the marriage isn’t consummated. What I’m seeing is that nothing sexual at all is going on until the child is of age, and that the child is being put in an arranged marriage, rather than being groomed for child molestation. Of course, this still falls short of modern, Western ideas about marriage, but I don’t think that’s remarkable in a document of its time. And with accurate interpretation, the citation doesn’t seem to raise any questions about modern Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians or about religious sanction or encouragement of such behavior.

        You also seem to be saying that correlation more or less equals causation. The Talmud is a book of Jewish law; the Talmud is sketchy; therefore, you have an explanation for bad Zionist behavior. But the way that I see Zionist offenses, what’s remarkable about them, if anything, is that they arose out of a culture that actually values ethical behavior. To me, it’s just one more instance of human characteristics winning out over and twisting an ethical, religious framework. I don’t see it as any different from how Christianity has been used by many people to support American mistreatment of Black people and Native Americans, rather than to oppose it. Sure, these cases point to some deficiencies in how these religions shape the behavior of their followers. But I think the bad behavior would still occur without any religious encouragement.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 1, 2019, 1:29 pm

        Addendum.

        @ Barry2

        From the footnotes in your link:
        “6 The Ritva (Y’vamos 61b, ” וסוגיין הכא ובכל דוכתין דמותר לבעול אשה שאינה בת בנים כלל… וכדשרו בכל דוכתי נשואי קטנה וזקנה”), Tosafos (Y’vamos 12b, s.v. “שלש נשים”), the Mordechai (ad loc.), the Rama (EH 31:5), and possibly the Rosh (Responsum 33:3), however, disagree with the Shulchan Aruch and the Rambam. These opinions maintain that sexual relations with a minor girl is technically permitted in the context of marriage, though both the marriage and the relations would be discouraged by the talmudic sources mentioned above.”
        https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/65726/does-the-talmud-promote-pedophilia

        Barry2: “It’s definitely not perfect, but it has governed and guided Jewish life for centuries. Unless you believe Jews to be fundamentally lawless and misguided, there’s no reason to denounce the Talmud as a whole.”

        So unless you belive goyim to be fundamentally lawless and misguided you shouldn’t have the slightest problem with Walker’s poem and there’s no reason to denounce any text which factually includes antisemitism like “Mein Kampf”, right?

        But what do you mean by “fundamentally lawless”. The Talmud is the primary source of Jewish law.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 1, 2019, 1:44 pm

        Well Mooser,

        how about descibing women as a sack of excrement (“flask full of feces”) and her mouth is full of blood (a euphemism for menstruation)?
        http://daatemet.org.il/en/question/woman-as-a-sack-of-excrement/

        And here is a nice view about Gentiles and how misleading and deceptive some can be to hide these views:
        http://daatemet.org.il/en/torah-science-ethics/religion-ethics/gentiles-in-halacha/

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 2:30 pm

        “how about descibing women…”

        I’m strictly among the “sugar and spice and everything nice” brigade when it comes to that. Or as it says in “The Whole Earth Megillah”:

        “O woman!- In our hours of ease, uncertain, coy, and hard to please, and variable as the shade, by the light quivering aspen made; when pain and anguish wring the brow, a ministering angel thou”

        As the song says: ‘Who could ask for anything else?’

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 1, 2019, 2:48 pm

        Talkback,

        I’m getting the impression that you are starting with your conclusions and doing whatever you can to make the things that people write seem to support them. Even your newest citation is discouraging the type of behavior you say that it allows.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 1, 2019, 4:05 pm

        Barry2: “I’m getting the impression that you are starting with your conclusions and doing whatever you can to make the things that people write seem to support them. Even your newest citation is discouraging the type of behavior you say that it allows.”

        It clearly says “These opinions maintain that sexual relations with a minor girl is technically permitted in the context of marriage”. And it is not discouraged to protect the child, but to avoid delaying the coming of the Messiah. In any case it still isn’t punishable. You seem to ignore this and the fact that those teachings allow Jews to follow which religious opinion they prefer.

        Barry2: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be ignoring the part of your citation that says that the marriage isn’t consummated. What I’m seeing is that nothing sexual at all is going on until the child is of age, and that the child is being put in an arranged marriage, rather than being groomed for child molestation.”

        That was only the evidence for child marriage not being punishable. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be ignoring my quotations about child molestation not being punishable. I was even quoting Maimonides, not “people”.

        Barry2: “You also seem to be saying that correlation more or less equals causation. The Talmud is a book of Jewish law; the Talmud is sketchy; therefore, you have an explanation for bad Zionist behavior.”

        Walker asked which teaching could influence, sanction and explain Israel’s limitless and cruel behavior towards the Palestinian and the theft of their land. She rightfully claims that in the Talmud “You will find that we, Goyim, sub-humans, animals … are a cruel example of what may [!] be done With impunity, and without conscience, By a Chosen people, To the vast majority of the people On the planet Who were not Chosen.”

        Is there any other Jewish or Israeli main teaching/guide that influences, sanctions and may explain Israel’s limitless and cruel behaviour towards Palestinian and the theft of their land?

        Btw. Do you want to know what impression I get from your projections of what I am allegedly doing, including the accusation that I would ignore parts?

      • Danaa
        Danaa on January 1, 2019, 6:26 pm

        Alas, given the absence of nested comments (of the third degree) the little learned discussion here between talkback and barry2, with interjecting enlightening commentary by Annie and [much needed] lightening interludes from Mooser, all send notices to my Inbox. How can I not take a look at the goings on?

        Barry 2: Unless you believe Jews to be fundamentally lawless and misguided, there’s no reason to denounce the Talmud as a whole.

        Ah, therein lies the crux of the matter, doesn’t it?

        Many (including me) pointed out one can find anything one wants in the Talmud – from the best, wisest sayings to the lowliest and pettiest, from the surprisingly forward looking to the downright reactionary. So to reduce this to its essence, the contention between us is:

        (1) condemn Alice Walker for bringing in the Talmud as a source that explains israel’s cruel and inhumane behavior when it is (i) not even followed or known to most secular israelis, and (ii) it’s a source material previously used by Church luminaries in the Middle Ages to cast aspersions on Jewish law and jewish teachings. Therefore, walker is clearly an anti-semite, even if she had done some good deeds in the past.

        (2) agree that walker was within (rather than beyond) the pale for bringing specifics from the Talmud that show support or condone cruelty/pedophilia, even though she may not have brought in the full context, and/or added necessary – if not sufficient – caveats. Therefore, Walker is not anti-semitic in the least, having provided mere facts (though without the caveats, it being just a poem, after all)

        On (1) we have Barry2. On (2) we have Talkback (and before him, Keith), with the indefatiguable annie is referee.

        Now what we really need is a couple of actual, real life Talmudic scholars to weigh in on the disputation before us. Of course, given how poductive Talmudic discussions have been in getting to any agreement through the ages, the comment thread may well run into the thousands, therefore necessitating more fund raising to up the bandwidth of the site. So may be not?

        So maybe instead, bring in a man/woman of valor to cut the Gordian knot?

        An aside: My position, in case anyone wonders, is of a dual mind, but more on that duality later, as I am still recovering from a hangover after last night’s revelries, and so run the risk of drowning in my dueling dualities.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on January 1, 2019, 6:50 pm

        talkback: Is there any other Jewish or Israeli main teaching/guide that influences, sanctions and may explain Israel’s limitless and cruel behaviour towards Palestinian and the theft of their land?

        Not to leave you out of the loop or anything, the answer to your question is an unqualified “yes”.

        I bring as my evidence nothing less than the actual source material – the Tanach. While secular schools may only provide a one or, at most, two years of introduction to the Talmud, using very carefully selected passages, all schools, secular included require daily lessons of the Tenach, from an early age. It is a subject required in matriculation tests (I assume it still is. was in my day). And there you find things so much worse than anything the talmud brings in, both in terms of choseness over all other humans, and sheer cruelty that is excused as “god’s edict”. The truth is that the Mishnah and then the whole talmud set out to interpret and clarify some of the excesses and primitiveness of the old testament, as well as to update the law as taught by the Torah. But only the religious get to even discuss the rights and wrongs in a Jewish context. The secular get it raw, as is. Which, absent enlightening commentary (that can only be provided by good teachers, often absent) it conveys – on the whole – a sense of approval for dastardly deeds – if Jews do them and/or if they can convince themselves it’s done in self-defense.

        As my second piece of evidence I bring you the tales of the Maccabis and Bar-Kochva, both representing religious zealotry in the service of military uprisings. Both generally presented as valorous movements against modernizing influences introduced by a great ruling power, which is in charge of the land. Both taught, not in religious class, but as part of history and literature.

        In truth these last two are the equivalent of Jihadist movements we see today among Muslims, who use islam as a battering ram, be it to fight colonialism or to return a modernizing population to fundamentalism.

        Both guilty of great cruelty to non-jews and sometimes Jews who won’t go along with their zealot ideologies. Both resulting in acts of great cruelty by them and by those ruling powers of the day who sought to suppress the rebellions. Both dabbling in “purity of arms” concepts and both waving the Bible in one hand while wielding the sword in another.

        And that, coupled with decades worth of teachings about pogroms and mandatory inculcation in details of the Holocaust, which, in turn serve to justify revenge over the crimes of ages gone by, is what’s responsible for the cruelty streak that permeates israel’s society.

        The Talmud does however play a role in encouraging xenophobia, parochialism and a certain vengefulness among the religious in israel. Though the most religious (the Haredi) who study the talmud more than anyone (now inching to over 20% of the Jewish population) tend to be the most insular, often focusing their ire on other, non-religious jews in their neighborhoods.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 1, 2019, 8:12 pm

        Danaa,

        Thanks for your summary of the dispute here, as well as your suggestion on how to resolve it. As for your next comment and its reference to Jewish texts and history as an explanation of current sordid Jewish behavior, I would certainly agree that turning the other cheek isn’t a Jewish concept. While a certain amount of vigilance is helpful against oppression – hence, my participation in this discussion – the Jewish persecution complex is unhealthy and counterproductive, even though I don’t find it surprising, given Jews’ history of being persecuted. However, I think this aspect of Jewish history and behavior explains only so much about bad Zionist behavior. As you’re probably aware, Zionism is an example of settler colonialism, and that brings about its own logic about how to deal with the indigenous population.

        I wish you a speedy recovery from your hangover and a happy and healthy new year!

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 2, 2019, 8:23 am

        Danaa: “(2) agree that walker was within (rather than beyond) the pale for bringing specifics from the Talmud that show support or condone cruelty/pedophilia, even though she may not have brought in the full context, and/or added necessary – if not sufficient – caveats.”

        Walker did not need to bring up the question “Are three year old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse?” to prove her claim that the Talmud was a source that could sanction/explain Jewish cruelty towards the Palestinians. which was the main focus of her poem. Bear in mind that when she brought it up it was a question amongst others about the content of the Talmud after she wrote “Study hard, with an open If deeply offended mind, Until you can sift the false From the true.”. Her only definitive claims about its content were that Gentiles are not regarded as humans and the “chosen” can do whatever they do those who are not.
        (Gentiles in the Halacha http://daatemet.org.il/en/torah-science-ethics/religion-ethics/gentiles-in-halacha/)

        I intervened, because Barry2 was focussing on the child part to claim that she fabricated it and that this was dangerous and could lead to violent responses. I proved that it is in fact not punishable. Maybe prohibited, only discouraged or even permitted or not, but in any case not punishable.

        Danaa: “I bring as my evidence nothing less than the actual source material – the Tanach. … And there you find things so much worse than anything the talmud brings in, both in terms of choseness over all other humans, and sheer cruelty that is excused as “god’s edict”.

        Well, of course. But the Talmud is the primary source of Jewish law.

        Danaa: “As my second piece of evidence I bring you the tales of the Maccabis and Bar-Kochva, both representing religious zealotry in the service of military uprisings. Both generally presented as valorous movements against modernizing influences introduced by a great ruling power, which is in charge of the land. Both taught, not in religious class, but as part of history and literature.”

        Very good examples, especially because of the rise of religious influence within the IDF. And then there is that:
        “Israeli army’s junior officers to be educated only by Orthodox groups”
        https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-army-still-shuns-messages-of-religious-pluralism-1.6409994

        Danaa: “In truth these last two are the equivalent of Jihadist movements we see today among Muslims, who use islam as a battering ram, be it to fight colonialism or to return a modernizing population to fundamentalism.”

        They are.

        Danaa: “Both guilty of great cruelty to non-jews and sometimes Jews who won’t go along with their zealot ideologies. Both resulting in acts of great cruelty by them and by those ruling powers of the day who sought to suppress the rebellions. Both dabbling in “purity of arms” concepts and both waving the Bible in one hand while wielding the sword in another. And that, coupled with decades worth of teachings about pogroms and mandatory inculcation in details of the Holocaust, which, in turn serve to justify revenge over the crimes of ages gone by, is what’s responsible for the cruelty streak that permeates israel’s society”

        Sure. And nothing that Jews could ever do to Palestinians is worse than the Holocaust. That is the main lesson taught to justify atrociities against the Palestinans.

    • Keith
      Keith on December 26, 2018, 9:32 pm

      DANAA- “I deeply disagree with both the gist and substance of this comment, and frankly, consider this to be an excellent example of the kind of gatekeeping way too many Jewish American and Jews in the world make.”

      As usual, I agree with you completely. The overwhelming support for Israel among organized American Jewry including the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews would simply not be possible if what Sarah Schulman claims was true. As Israel Shahak convincingly demonstrates, Zionism is a retrograde version of Classical (medieval) Judaism in secular form, albeit heavily influenced by Eastern European “Blood and Soil” nationalism. Furthermore, Schulman’s attempt to separate Judaism from Zionism is an attempt to distance organized “anti-Zionist” Jews from Israeli actions. Notice that I said “organized.” In my view, these anti-Zionist Jewish organizations are, in effect, neo-Zionist in nature. Zionism without Zion. A secularized version of Jewish peoplehood divorced from Israel which, nonetheless, shares Zionism’s view of Jewish history and of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism as defining elements.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 26, 2018, 11:56 pm

        A secularized version of Jewish peoplehood

        The ironny is that this is kind what israel tried to do when it was founded, only to find that in the end, when peoplehood is built in, it is the Jewish part of Judaism that falls down.

        As I am sure Shahak has also explained (am forgetting now. Been a while since I read the book) an ethnically based peoplehood – is built into the deepest fabrics of Judaism. I think that this is the ultimate conundrum of a religion that, from its onset, was not conceived as universal. Judaism was limited to the jewish people.

        It was this very thing that caused the separation of early Christianity, and it is this insight that allowed Peter to fashion a whole new religion that quickly took over the areas under the Roman Empire, including most of the people who lived in the country we now know as Israel.

        It is this aspect, the intimate tie between Judaism and Peoplehood, that sets Judaism apart from the other two monotheistic religions that specifically sought to transcend peoplehood. Ultimately, Judaism is stuck in this quagmire, unless it somehow begets great enough leaders to lead it out of the trap.

        To Schulman I’d say that as long as people think in terms of “chosen tribe” or “tribe of the chosen”, their religion is doomed. Tribalism will in the end, kill Judaism, as a respectable religion unless it manages to evolve into something that transcends peoplehood. To allow people to be jewish without being born a jew – now, there’s the challenge!

        But it’ll take evil little israel to accomplish that, I’m afraid, with palestinians as the first victims.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 26, 2018, 11:59 pm

        Btw, Keith, you may notice I am not saying something a whole lot different from a certain person with a first name that starts with ‘G’. Just saying it a bit more artfully, I hope……because – we kind of want our comments to see the light of day, don’t we?

      • Keith
        Keith on December 27, 2018, 11:08 am

        DANAA- “Btw, Keith, you may notice I am not saying something a whole lot different from a certain person….”

        And much of what this “certain person” says is quite similar to what Israel Shahak says. Unfortunately, this “certain person” uses needlessly provocative language intended to provoke his critics. Also, he is inconsistent in the quality of his observations, some of which are petty and embarrassing. And he needs to be more careful about what he says about others unless he wants to spend a lot of time in court and end up bankrupted by lawfare. Those who have real power are not to be trifled with.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 29, 2018, 10:24 am

        @ Roha –
        I agree that Alice Walker has not singled out David Icke’s racism for praise. When Donald Trump showed public support for neo-Nazis with his infamous “there are good people on both side” comment, nobody countered with the question you use here: “what specifically does he endorse about neo-Nazis?”
        When Alice Walker says she is no anti-Semite it does not prove she isn’t, it just shows she doesn’t want to be considered one. When DT defended himself by saying: “I’m the least racist person you will ever meet”, he did not lay the question to rest. He was ridiculed. Perhaps Donald Trump has a racist mindset, or he is an opportunist or another reason , or some combination thereof. But that’s not the question. What matters on that issue is not who he is but the endorsement he gave to the neo-Nazis. The same is true of Alice Walker here. Given her record my guess is that she is simply ignorant of the damage done by anti-semitic tropes and doesn’t care enough to examine them. Her claim that people are “smearing” her because of her support of BDS is a distraction and about as true as The Tablet (which exposed this story) accusing the New York Times (!) of shielding Alice Walker’s anti-Semitic writings and association with Icke for years because of her support for BDS.
        I support Palestinian solidarity including BDS. I reject Zionism. And I am appalled at Alice Walker’s endorsement of Icke. I’m disappointed in her that she hasn’t walked it back and worse that she is lashing out and impugning the motives of her critics.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 29, 2018, 1:45 pm

        @MHughes,
        “I’ve been looking at her 2013 review of his ‘Humsn Race’, …she mentions specific points only to say that she doesn’t believe him or can’t follow him.” It is his ‘deconstruction of language and interrogation of symbols’ that she admires”.

        Seems like we agree that David Icke is a loony racist. I don’t know how much space his ravings take up in his book and I don’t intend to find out but it’s clear from his videotaped speaking engagements (available on youtube) and other writings that, at the very least, these are not incidental to his worldview. His grand theory about who controls the world is classic anti-Semitism. Alice Walker’s professed lack of comprehension of Icke in the piece you found from 2013 has since vanished. It looks like Alice Walker’s comprehension and admiration of Icke have grown considerably over the past 5 years – as her multiple statements in support of Icke show. To the point that in her latest writing on him dated Dec. 21, 2018, she proclaims him to be “not anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish.”
        So, she’s read him, she understands him and now she’s vouching for Icke as not being anti-Semitic.
        And, per Walker, if you call her out for promoting a racist, it’s only because you hate Palestinians.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 29, 2018, 8:36 pm

        “I agree that Alice Walker has not singled out David Icke’s racism for praise.”

        But you can’t tell me what she does praise.

        “Her claim that people are “smearing” her because of her support of BDS is a distraction”

        I don’t know why people are making such a fuss about Walker. But I do know that people who support BDS do get smeared. It is not unreasonable to at least suspect there might be an element of smearing in the fuss.

        ‘nobody countered with the question you use here: “what specifically does he endorse about neo-Nazis?”’

        Perhaps they should have.

        Enough. Alice Walker just isn’t important enough to justify any more from me.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on December 27, 2018, 1:16 am

      danaa- I know you might take this the wrong way (maybe not you, but certainly others in the defense of you), but you are antisemitic, are you not? you got it in part from being raised by the anti shtetl israelis and you doubled it when you came to america and your hatred for the shtetl nostalgia you find here. there is nothing good about judaism. isn’t that your conclusion. you are anti judaism. maybe jews are not born with this disease as part of their genetic makeup, but their culture is negative and if you were dictator you would be sure to indoctrinate this negativity out of all jews.

      not that there’s anything wrong with that. (except the dictator and reeducation camps part). we all have our values and you share nothing with judaism.

      not quite true:

      in the last gasp of european jews, those jews, particularly those under the rule of the czar were part of a mass movement away from torah and towards socialism/values of the enlightenment. naturally there were thinkers who saw this tendency in the tradition. this is part of what thinkers do, see similarities and texts that correlate with the changing mores of society. though this tendency might not have been predominant in the tradition, but when you have books of the depth and breadth of the tanach midrash and talmud, you will find sufficient verses supporting the thoughts of the socialism/enlightenment. so this tikkun olam (as in the jewish ideation of tikkun olam) was not an imitation of christianity per se, it was an attempt to see the new secular values as being of a continuation with the tradition. but you in your disdain for judaism of course would only see it as imitation of christianity.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso on December 27, 2018, 10:54 am

        @wondering Jew, et al.

        Another chapter in Israel’s accelerating decline and its theatre of the absurd with slime ball Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in the wings cheering Roseanne on:

        https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/roseanne-barr-israeli-parliament_us_5c230c27e4b0407e907e9275?ec_carp=5844029376843427929

        “Roseanne Barr Announces Pre-Election Visit To Israeli Parliament” By Amy Russo, HuffPost US, Dec. 26/18

        “Disgraced sitcom star Roseanne Barr will address Israel’s parliament in January ahead of the country’s next election.

        “The actress made the announcement Monday, according to the Associated Press, calling it a way to ‘further my own knowledge of Jewish and Israeli history’ and vowing to speak out ‘against the insidious and anti-Semitic BDS movement,’ the Palestinian effort to boycott, divest and sanction Israel in protest of its occupation.

        “Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a spiritual guide of Barr’s whose World Values Network is sponsoring her trip, praised the move, stating, ‘bringing an incredibly proud Jewish woman like Rosanne to Israel will be a great boost to its citizens,’ the AP reported.

        “Barr has been largely missing from the public eye following ABC’s decision to nix the reboot of her namesake show after she went on a racist Twitter tirade, calling Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett the spawn of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.

        “ABC then launched ‘The Conners,’ a ‘Roseanne’ spin off that wrote her out of the show, focusing on its secondary characters instead.

        “In the wake of Barr’s scandal, she spoke with Boteach on his podcast in a long interview in which she simultaneously defended and apologized for her behavior.”

      • Keith
        Keith on December 27, 2018, 11:19 am

        WONDERING JEW- “… but you are antisemitic, are you not?”

        Yonah, with the “new” anti-Semitism including criticizing Israel, etc, virtually everyone who is not a Zionist can be labelled an anti-Semite. Once so labelled, however, the classic definition of irrational Jew-hater will be inferred. Once so labelled, the label becomes the argument, their ideas dismissed out of hand as a product of irrational Jew hatred. So forget the labels and deal with what Danaa says.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 27, 2018, 11:31 am

        but you are antisemitic, are you not? you got it in part from being raised by the anti shtetl israelis and you doubled it when you came to america and your hatred for the shtetl nostalgia you find here. there is nothing good about judaism. isn’t that your conclusion.

        Ah we are bringing out the anti-semitic card, arent we?

        Well, if so, a large number of Israeli secular jews are deeply and profoundly anti-semitic, as were the early founders of israel, as were many elements of the haskala.

        The shtetly rabbinate did keep Jews confined, uneducated and effectively in bondage for centuries, especially in Galizia and the easter european countries. They kept them in madrassahs (oh, wait, yeshivas? oops!) turning over and over ancient texts that were, in their essence, backward looking. They kept women subjucated for much much longer than European Christians, treating them more or less as baby factories and hand maidens.

        when you have books of the depth and breadth of the tanach midrash and talmud, you will find sufficient verses supporting the thoughts of the socialism/enlightenment.

        The Talmud is something secular people do consider archaic and regarded shtetl life as something that was neither forward looking nor provided a happy life for most. I am one of them who so regard the talmud. To me it’s something that should have been discarded in favor of new documents for newer times. Times which embraced tolerance of others. And emancipation of women, Times which called for an escape from the cult of ultra-orthodoxy which condemned young children to memorize and parrot passages that had no benefit other than incacating them into the life of the cult (OK, you can call it a sect). I see value in the Talmud as a historic document written centuries ago dealing with insight into the lifestyles and mores of a confined population. A forward looking religion would have indeed relegated those texts to the mezannine of libraries where they can serve as material for scholars to study the mind frame of a hermetically closed community.

        That said, I am sure you can find some enlightening thoughts in it as you can find in any tract of any religion. So what? to say that it includes even a hint of democratic values, or of tolerance towards gentiles and appreciation of their culture (enlightenment values) is something you can read into it with great effort.

        All I was telling you is that in Israel we, the secular, grew up with zerp reverence of the Talmud, and though we had to study some things from it for a bout a year in High School most of us found it a total waste of time, even though I’d admit that logic was an ingredient in it. For which we could have studied kant or Hegel or Plato instead for much greater benefit.

        So, no, I have zero affinity to shtetl life, which is hardly surprising given the that founders of Judaisn generally felt the same.

        Therefore if you choose to paint me as anti-semitic then you must recognize that so was Ben Gurion. WE all consdered that life style (which we had to study – a serious waste of time for me) an extremely backward one. As the 18th century rolled in Jews found themselves in an extremely uneducated and thoroughly conformist culture. And while Moses mendelsson did carve a path out of darkness, it took nearly another hundred years for the Galizia Jews and the Russian ones to follow suit.

        I’d advise you to read (instead of those useless documents known as Talmud) the sayings of the haskala pioneers in Galizia who set out to battle the Hasidic movement. There was very little love lost there, and the xtreme malice of the two communities against each other is a matter of record.

        So yes, I’ll plead mia culpa to a certain antipathy towards traditional Judaism (not the same as Jews, most of whom were kept oo ignorant to challenge it). I regard Jewish fundamentalism as embodied in the haredi, hasidic and all ultra-orthodox movements as primitive, ignorant and abusive towards women. Many who escaped the cult of hasidism can attest to how horrifically chauvinistic and backward their laws are.

        But then I said I was brought up as a secular israeli. We – all of us, not just me, had very little affection or nostalgia for the shtetl way of life, and for the most part hold the haredi rabbis in contempt. Mind you that’s Millions of israelis.

        That’s all I was saying in my post. Israel’s form of Judaism has very little if anything to do with some Talmudic notions. I’d grant you the talmud does not preach the kind of evil practiced by the Judean followers of militant Judaism, which prefers to administer justice at the end of the sword (or the bullet).

        What you religious guys need to do is totally update your ancient texts and come up with brand new Talmud for modern times, which has embedded the principles of Universality, humanism , tolerance and democracy.

        I

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on December 27, 2018, 1:56 pm

        danaa- You’re the one who drew the a.s. card when you get so cutesy wootsy comparing yourself to Gilad Atzmon and then get so huffy when i call a spade a spade.

        I feel sorry that the only Tanach they taught you in israel was the book of joshua and all verses had to refer back to Joshua. Ecclesiastes never gets mentioned by you. And if I say psalms you’ll say nationalist dreck and disregard the contribution that “David” and “King James” gave us walking through the valley of the shadow of death. The Jews gave nothing to the world but the petty laws of the Talmud, which you never read and are glad to never read, but you know it all.

        You do not favor passing laws against the people who value these books, but you would if you could. Luckily, you seem to favor democracy and I concur that the us constitution is a far better starting point (even with the 2nd amendment) than tanach and talmud. but you aren’t trying to rationally dissect what kind of a future the Jews can figure out for themselves. You are trying to tell those people that they should cease and desist from the Jew game, flush it down the toilet and say amen. that’s your belief. but you want to cover up by saying that this was ben gurion’s game as well.

        how to proceed with zionism the primary secular game in town and shtetl nostalgia a weak second and rejection of god as enunciated by christopher hitchens superior to the deism and theism of his debating sparring partners, i frankly don’t know. but you with your pitchfork ready to burn the talmuds in the city square (okay, you live in the 21st century and you’re not a book burner), you who only recognize the fascist book of Joshua and refuse to see any value in any single quote of any single custom of any single thread of judaism, i’m calling a spade a spade. call it anti judaism if a.s. is too loaded a term. figure out a term that you think fits you. you seem to like haskala exemplar as your nom de guerre. i’d say you’re closer to atzmon and to karl marx.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 1:15 pm

        “You are trying to tell those people that they should cease and desist from the Jew game” “WJ”

        “The Jew game”? Is that what you are playing, “Yonah”? How does one win “the Jew game”?
        By following the rule: ‘As goes the Right, so goes the all-rightnik.

    • JaapBo
      JaapBo on December 27, 2018, 1:38 pm

      Danaa, your point that Judaism and Zionism share Jewish supremacism/exceptionalism and isolationism is a valid point. But Zionism shares that with many other nationalisms. It’s not simply like only Judaism has poisoned Zionism with racism, I think the main source is nationalism. What is also important, is that Zionism chose a land inhabited by other people in which to create its Jewish state, which led to ethnic cleansing and an apartheid-regime. Other nationalisms, like Irish or Hungarian nationalism, created a state on land inhabited by themselves. This has perverted Zionism very much, and I think both you and Alice Walker overestimate the influence of Judaism.

      Another point is whether you and Alice Walker distort Judaism. I don’t think you do, but Alice Walker does. Her remark about 3-year old brides reminds me of how islamophobes accuse Mohammed of paedophilia. It ‘hardly matters to which extend it is true (or false), it only matters that it is ridiculous to project such vile (pre-modern) ideas indiscriminately on modern groups of people. Modern people mostly have modern ideas.

      As to how Israel could become so cruel, violent and racist. There is a simple explanation: they use every argument they can find to justify their behavior vis-a-vis the Palestinians, like:
      – “security” as an excuse for actions towards nationalist goals
      – “ein brera”(no choice)
      – cultivating a self-image of victim,
      – instrumentalising the Shoah and anti-Semitism to cultivate a victim self-image
      – dehumanising the Palestinians
      – characterising all Palestinians as terrorists
      – characerising Zionism as an ideology of “building” (while it destroyed very much)
      – characterising the conflict as “primordial”and “very complex” to avois responsibility (actually its quite simple: just recognise full equality of Jews and Palestinians as the solution)
      – instrumentalising the Halacha and the Sharia to prevent intermarriage in Israel (so that an openly racist law is avoided)
      – etcetera,
      The list can be endless, and yes, ideas from Judaism will certainly be on it.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 27, 2018, 5:30 pm

        But Zionism shares that with many other nationalisms. It’s not simply like only Judaism has poisoned Zionism with racism, I think the main source is nationalism.

        Certainly can’t argue with this point. Zionism as nationalism – with all the baggage this come with – is indeed a fair comparison, especially if viewed in the context of 19th century nationalist movements in Europe (cf. the Herzl viewpoint).

        And if you were to add that many nationalist movements came with religious preference, I’d agree with that too, as examples for that are numerous.

        Which then gets you to the very point you made later in your comment:

        What is also important, is that Zionism chose a land inhabited by other people in which to create its Jewish state, which led to ethnic cleansing and an apartheid-regime.

        This nails it on the head, as this was exactly the crux of the problem, and is to this day.

        But that gets us to the point where Judaism came in, doesn’t it? because it was the appeal to Judaism – the religion, and especially to the part where Judaism is the flag under which the conquering ideology rode, that was – and is used to justify the conquest, settling and ethnic cleansing of the land. To do that, to justify the unjustifiable, god had to be invoked, whether overtly called upon, or alluded to as the one who bestowed “inalienable rights” to the land. Not any land. But that particular one. The land of milk and honey. Jewish people will cite the prayer “next year in Jerusalem” as proof of attachment. They will embark on endless archaological digs to try and demonstrate prior residence. Israel requires all students throughout high school to learn the tenach – for one hour daily , for almost 12 years., in an effort to reinforce the notion of “attachment/ownership of the land”. This is an effective way of brainwashing children – they become emotionally attached long before they are able to reason.

        Mind you, it’s probably this last one that causes me to be perhaps unduly harsh with regard to enforced religious teachings. So many years later, I still reel from the time I had to spend in what I considered pointless – and boring – activity. On my behalf, I can only say that even as a child I rebelled though my form of rebellion was to turn the class into a circus, with paper airplanes flying everywhichway.

        Others critique me for riding rough shod on the Talmud. Can’t argue with that. We did have to have a year I think of sampling that document, even though we were secular school. So not so much there, but the impression left was unfortunately none too positive (I still recall – vaguely – some passage where rabbis were debating whether it’s permissible to slaughter a chicken on Saturday if a life depends on it. Jewish life, of course. That at a time in my life when i was fiercely opposed to all slaughter, so no, I could care less what illustrious rabbis had to say about sabbath. What about the poor chicken? which was the question I asked in class – if the rabbis were so clever, why did they not speak out against all slaughter any time of the week, because many lives depended on it?).

        So it’s in the mixing of religion and extreme nationalism where the problem lies, because the nationalists, who commit any number of evil deeds, appeal to religious edict that justify their actions, even when they are not the least bit religious.

        Her remark about 3-year old brides reminds me of how islamophobes accuse Mohammed of paedophilia.

        I thought of this very same comparison too. And no, I wouldn’t even think of bringing up one passage out of thousands to revile the entire manuscript. To me, that’s a rather silly way of arguing and one that’s likely to rile pretty much everyone. Alice walker, IMO< erred in producing this one example., if only because the talmud is choke-full of examples one can use to justify or criticize anything under the sun. So I wouldn't go there any more than I would go into some detail or the other of the Quran to make a negative point about islam. In the first millenium people had different notions about things than we do today, that's for sure.

        Unfortunately, many people do use critique of specific statements or passages in the Talmud to point a finger at modern day israelites. And yes, that will get them close to some unwholesome places, but worse, it'll not be a winning position.

        personally I feel one does not need to resort to the Talmud to criticize the evil deeds of israel, and its supporters. And the points you brought up in your comment illustrate that rather well.
        My own railing against the Talmud – and shtetly life that was deeply influence by its teachings – was just offered by way of an example about how many secular israelis feel about this document. I choose to deflate it as a whole, not in part – though I have no more quarrel with people who want to pick out some particularly onerous example, whatever it is, than with those who pick a particularly uplifting and folksy example.

        My ire in its entirety, is directed at the ideology that sought – and seeks to indoctrinate children, when they are defenseless and can't even weigh things independently (ie before they reach the age of reason). In that I speak as an refugee from a cult would. The specifics may be forgotten, but the rage remains – forever.

      • JaapBo
        JaapBo on December 28, 2018, 3:23 am

        Danaa, thx for answering.

        Like your first comment, I find this comment interesting because they give new views.
        You’re right that the Zionist claim to the land is ultimately based on the Tenach. They say secular Zionists don’t believe in God, but do believe that He gave them the land.
        Secular Zionists have also instrumentalised Judaism, but not without changing the meaning of lots of things, e.g.:
        – “Next year in Jerusalem” is changed from “hoping for the Messiah” to “hoping for a Jewish state” (and silly enough, secular Zionists claim that religious Jews always meant “hoping for a state”)
        – “Aliyah” has got a secular meaning instead of a religious one
        And there are probably many more examples. This makes it difficult for Zionists to understand pre-Zionist Judaism (if they would want that, because they also tend to despise it, as weak, disrooted etc.)
        Ben-Gurion read the Israelite conquest of the promised land as an inspiration for Zionism.

        In reality things are often complex, and in this case too Zionism has instrumentalised and used Judaism, but Judaism has also changed Zionism. And Zionism has changed Judaism, including giving birth to religious Zionism. An interesting subject.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on December 28, 2018, 6:00 pm

        From what I’ve been able to read the ‘3 year old child rape’ accusation is not imposition of modern values on ancient people but rests on a mistaken or at least unrelentingly hostile reading of the text, which may well say no more than that the daughter of a family converted to Judaism in her very young days is eligible to marry anyone within the Jewish community. So Walker may be speaking without due caution here. Her other remarks may be harder to question. If someone of good repute finds herself compelled to denounce the ethics of a certain group it is not right to reply simply with outrage – ‘you mustn’t say that! You’re evil if you do!’ She deserves a substantial answer.
        One element of reply is that the group no longer fully recognises the text on which the critique is based. I think Adam Kirsch’s article on the ‘outdated morals of the Talmud’ in the Tablet March 17 2015 puts the critical case about Talmudic sexual morality quite effectively, at the same time putting a distance between modern Jewish people and the text. Yet why, if this distance is achieved, was he taking part in a rather reverential Talmud-reading programme? Why is it so easy to find strong endorsements of the Talmud as guide to life?

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 28, 2018, 7:14 pm

        The Guardian has a short piece on Alice Walker that contextualizes the problematic poem within her decade long enthusiastic and vocal endorsement of the dangerous crackpot, David Icke.

        https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/dec/17/alice-walker-antisemitic-david-icke-book

        Here some Icke gems which are recurrent themes central to his work (from the Vox article I previously linked to):

        * The world is run by a global elite of Illuminati, and the government, the British royal family, celebrities, and journalists are all in on it. “Behind this constant and coordinated centralization,” Icke writes in his 1999 book The Biggest Secret, referring to a centralization of world political and economic powers, “is a tribe of interbreeding bloodlines which can be traced back to the ancient Middle and Near East. They emerged from there to become the royalty, aristocracy, and priesthood of Europe before expanding all their powers across the world, largely through the ‘Great’ British Empire. This allowed the tribe to export its bloodlines to all the countries the British and European powers occupied, including the United States where they continue to run the show to this day.”

        *The Illuminati are the descendants of a race of shape-shifting, blood-drinking, child-sacrificing alien lizard people. “In simple terms, there is a predator race which take a reptilian form,” Icke told Vice in 2012. “They’re feeding off humanity. They’re turning humanity into a slave race. They demand human sacrifice — that’s where Satanism comes in. They feed off human energy. They feed off the energy of children.”

        * Many but not all of these evil lizard people are Jewish. Icke is fond of saying that the Rothschilds, a prominent wealthy Jewish family, are lizards. But he has also said that the British royal family the Windsors are too, and so is former President George W. Bush, neither of whom are Jewish.

        * A series of cataclysmic earthquakes and floods will eventually cause New Zealand to disappear, and the moon is really a surveillance system set into place by the lizard people to watch us. Also, vaccines are the Illuminati trying to control us.

        David Icke’s speaking engagement in Berlin, Germany was cancelled because the organizers see him as a Holocaust denier. These accusations are central to Icke’s life work.

        https://www.dw.com/en/lizard-conspiracist-david-icke-not-wanted-in-berlin/a-37693384

        This is Alice Walker’s hero.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 28, 2018, 9:02 pm

        *” Many but not all of these evil lizard people are Jewish.”

        To find out how much, a genetic test like “23andme.com” or “Ancestry.com” is recommended.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 28, 2018, 10:02 pm

        On what points, exactly, does Walker agree with Icke?

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 28, 2018, 10:56 pm

        @ RoHa –

        First, Alice Walker continues to stand by her longstanding, blanket endorsement of David Icke. His racism is not a bug, it’s a feature. This is important context for understanding her other writings.

        In her latest response to the recent charges of anti-Semitism that have been brought against her she writes: “I find Icke’s work to be very important to humanity’s conversation, especially at this time. I do not believe he is anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish. ”

        http://alicewalkersgarden.com

        She goes on the attack and accuses her detractors of really targeting her pro-Palestinian work. I guess the logic is since there is no such thing as anti-Semitism is has got to be about something else. This has been echoed by commenters here at Mondoweiss.

        Secondly, the onus is on Alice Walker to distance herself from him, something she has failed to do. On the contrary, she has doubled down, accusing her detractors of being “cowardly” and trying to “smear” her. She has lent her prestige to Icke and introduced him warmly to her following.

        The damage is done and she has shown no intention of fixing it.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 28, 2018, 11:40 pm

        “her longstanding, blanket endorsement of David Icke.

        What do you mean by “blanket endorsement”? Is she saying that everything Icke writes is true?

        “I find Icke’s work to be very important to humanity’s conversation, especially at this time.”

        Saying that it is important is not the same as saying it is true.

        “I do not believe he is anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish. ”

        She may be mistaken about that, but the mistake, if it is one, does not imply that she supports Icke’s anti-Semitism. On the contrary, her belief that he is not anti-Semitic suggests that she does not support anything she recognizes as anti-Semitism.

        “Secondly, the onus is on Alice Walker to distance herself from him, something she has failed to do.”

        Why should she, if she thinks he is doing nothing wrong?

        “accusing her detractors of … trying to “smear” her.”

        The little I have seen so far does look rather like a smear campaign. But I have very high standards of evidence.

        “She has lent her prestige to Icke”

        She has prestige? Perhaps in US literary circles.

        So I ask again, on what points, exactly, does Walker agree with Icke?

      • Keith
        Keith on December 29, 2018, 12:39 am

        ROHA- “On what points, exactly, does Walker agree with Icke?”

        I am reasonably sure that you don’t expect an answer. This is yet another attempt to conflate certain individuals with other individuals in order to justify a label which will later be used as proof based upon the inferences derived from the label. All of these attacks upon Alice Walker are consistent with the attacks upon Greta Berlin and Allison Weir, that is, a neo-Zionist defamation in which these non-Jewish women are treated like uppity servants. This is the truly ugly side of Jewish power as it permeates our society.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on December 29, 2018, 11:35 am

        As to Walker’s relationship with Icke, I’ve been looking at her 2013 review of his ‘Humsn Race’, a review with an interesting vein of Anglophilia. Further to RoHa’s question it seems to me that she mentions specific points only to say that she doesn’t believe him or can’t follow him. It is his ‘deconstruction of language and interrogation of symbols’ that she admires – her admiration is reaffirmed, though much more briefly, in her December 2018 NYT interview. This is compatible with her thinking that the shock of wild and monstrous speculation is salutary and with her not commending Icke any further. Which isn’t scandalous.
        Not that I can quite bring myself to take a stiff dose of Icke’s un-rest cure with its reptile invasions etc.. I did have a quick look for Icke on Palestine. He does give a platform to pro-Palestinians who are critical of Judaism but the passages I noticed were no more than protests against injustice. There was no suggestion that Palestinians be examined medically for intergalactic serpent toothmarks.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 29, 2018, 8:14 pm

        Thanks for doing a bit research and offering an answer, MHughes.

        “Not that I can quite bring myself to take a stiff dose of Icke’s un-rest cure with its reptile invasions etc.”

        That’s what I’d expect an alien reptile invader to say.

        I’ve never read any Icke, so I don’t know how seriously he intends us to take the “alien reptiles control the world” story, but it is certainly a wonderfully apt metaphor for the various one-percenters, powers and principalities that do control the world. Alien to the concerns of ordinary people, compassionless as reptiles.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 29, 2018, 11:06 pm

        RoHa, Keith and Mhughes – thanks for reading a little through the subtexts of the conflation between Walker and Icke.

        I agree with Keith that regardless of what icke says or doesn’t say, it’s in the conflation of one with another, no matter how tenuous, or shallow the connection, where the problem lies. It’s a practice that has indeed been all too common, as in “look, he/she said something positive about X (insert all that apply)!”, or “he/she has been endorsed by y (again, insert anyone considered beyond the pale”!

        From what RoHa and MHughes say, and from what Xpat described, I gather Icke is one of the progenitors of the Illuminati theory, with the twist that they be lizards. Aren’t the Illuminati part and parcel of the old Royalty of Europe grafted with old catholic church luminaries (all those mystical templar symbols!) then mixed with those who control money/power/etc + a little skull&bones societies of the new World into one fine goulash? which s why to me, the illuminati concept is spurious – it’s just a combo of TPTB stretched backward in history to catch all who exploited other humans to amass their own fortune/power. As a catch-phrase, illuminati to me always meant TPTB with a little mystic element thrown in, like pepper, to make for a tastier/stronger soup.

        Xpat, just so you know, I love good science fiction myself, any day of the week, and I sort of believe (“sort of” = 65 ± 10% to be exact) we are all part of a simulation anyways, but I see little reason to add lizards into the mix, unless lizards serve as symbol for anything unappetizing. To which I’d say, what about the cute lizards, like the one I keep saving (him or cousins) from the jaws of my unhungry but clearly mean cats?). I can see where Icke attracted trouble, based on what you say. Must be that since jewish people always played a role in the money part of the equation (an important ingredient!) and many Jews were helping finance royal’s wars in Europe, they get lumped in pronto. Now, I totally have no clue about how far Icke goes with that line, but were I to do research on this important matter (and I won’t unless handsomely recompensed! lizards…you know) I’d check to see how upset the catholic church is too – are the bishops/popes also pointing fingers at Icke for anti-christianity? what about the royal descendants (google gave me some “Queen Biatrice” name – have they sued him for libel? surely they too must be upset at being considered a blood-sucking vampire sub-species)? what of the rest of us? how do we know how much lizard-like we are?

        But in all fairness to Walker, I can see how one can be taken by a “theory” that allows all the powerful and all the rich and all the bad people to be thrown into one big basket, there to suffer the ire of the exploited and deprives masses. To walker I’d say she should have been more careful in endorsing any one science fiction and/or conspiracy theory, because devils may lurk in the details (as I am sure she found out). The proper reaction to that is to impress upon her the need, given her position and reknown, to be careful and perhaps more specific in her endorsements.

        From all I’ve been reading on these pages (and thanks to one and all for enlightening me. Serious!) Walker can be a little careless, both in providing very selective and obviously quite inflammatory, reading of some Talmud verses, and in professing support for one, david icke, who apparently is more than alittle controversial, and not so much because of the anti-semitism, such as he stands accused of (hint: lizards!).

        PS I am hard at work on my own conspiracy theory which posits that not only we are all part of a simulation, but our entire universe is really fashioned as a morality play used by a future version of us who are playing ancestor games as an educational exercise (the ancestor part is not my original. The educational game is, so keep off the grass! copyrighted!). Evolution in my theory is cyclical – it does not go forward in a straight line but is loosely based on a Fibbonaci series mixed with fractals, kind of like musical compositions where a theme is repeated but in new variations. Right now I am working on coming up with a special role for Jewish history. Nothing too anti-semitic, I swear!

        PPS I think I’ll consider David icke a competitor. Especially as he seems to have written quite a bit, and what have I done with my conspiracy theory (which I happen to think is far superior, but then I would, wouldn’t I?).

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye on December 30, 2018, 8:18 am

        To me Icke remains a crazy ex-professional footballer (probably took too many headers) who suddenly turned up in a purple tracksuit claiming to be the new Messiah (oh yes he did). I can’t give him or his craziness any credibility.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 30, 2018, 9:46 am

        @ Bumblebye – Icke’s just into The Color Purple.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield on December 27, 2018, 7:24 pm

      On the whole I agree with Danaa. However, I think that some humanistic elements existed in Judaism even before the Enlightenment — occasional glimpses of a vision wider than the dominant tribalism. Not once but twice the Torah forbids Jews to oppress the stranger, ‘for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt.’ A wholly tribalistic Judaism could not have produced a universalistic figure like Jesus of Nazareth, who clearly belonged to the school of Hillel.

      The Talmud was compiled during what later came to be known as the Dark Ages and fully reflects their darkness. A modern reader of the Talmud feels, as someone once said (I forget who), ‘boredom relieved by occasional bouts of disgust.’ The disgusting things said to be in the Talmud really are there. They are not wholesale fabrications by anti-semites. However, many passages offensive to Christians were removed at the behest of the Catholic Church, though preserved in secret.

      Apologists have argued that at the time the Talmud was compiled Jews lived among pagans and that the offensive statements therefore refer to pagans and not to the fellow monotheists (Christians and Moslems) among whom Jews lived in later ages. From our modern point of view this is rather a weak argument. Polytheists also have human rights and should be treated with tolerance and respect.

      Here I would like to recommend an excellent critical resource on Talmudic Judaism — the website of Da’at Emet (True Knowledge) at daatemet.org.il (choose among five languages at top left). This organization was founded by Yaron Yadan, formerly head of a kollel (religious college for married men), so the competence of the material can hardly be doubted. There is also a six-part interview with Yadan on Youtube.

      How relevant is the Talmud to Jewish life today? It was more or less rejected by Reform Judaism, which was a sincere attempt to turn Judaism into a universalistic religion. However, the Talmud retains its authority among the Orthodox — and in Israel the passages censored by the Church have been restored.

      Even though many Jews, even observant ones, have never studied the Talmud, the attitudes reflected in it (and in the currently fashionable Kabbalah) have penetrated into a broader milieu of traditionalist Jews. An example is use of the word ‘shikse’ for a Gentile woman, the literal meaning of which is ‘unclean animal.’ If a Gentile woman protests against this, does that make her an anti-semite?

      Someone expressed the view that criticism of Judaism is acceptable only if it forms part of a criticism of all religion. It may help forestall misunderstanding if Judaism is criticized together with other religions where relevant. But is it necessarily true that all religions are equally harmful? In this regard I have discovered that Alice Walker does not target only Judaism. She is also on record as criticizing Islam. She is in general hostile to all three ‘religions of the book’ and adheres to her own brand of feminine pantheism.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 27, 2018, 8:19 pm

        Ah, Stephen, so well said. Can I hire you as my agent on the days when distemper drowns sense?

        It was Btw, you who inspired my soliloquies on this post. You said something about the closet anti-zionists and that it’s high time for them to come out. And I thought about that and agree. Not just with regard to the jewish ones, but the many non-Jews that i also meet, who urge me to go on and say what I do, and even thank me for taking on the job (which I don’t really deserve all that much – after all, I have protection thanks to my own past, so I can say what others feel they can’t or won’t dare).

        Someone expressed the view that criticism of Judaism is acceptable only if it forms part of a criticism of all religion.

        That was Sarah Schulman herself, in the paragraph I quoted about “pathologizing”.

        Has there ever been a clearer example of border patroling acceptable discourse?

        That we should be able to criticize this or that aspect of judaism if – and only if – we also criticize Christianity, islam, shintoism and every other ism?

        Must we all turn into theologian scholars to say as much as a word of criticism?

        No wonder many won’t bother, or won’t dare.

        This point she made is, Btw, what got my goat – resulting in the huff and puff piece above. I was annoyed. that’s my defense. Got a good lawyer for me?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 27, 2018, 11:11 pm

        “Jesus of Nazareth, who clearly belonged to the school of Hillel.”

        We can’t even establish with any certainty that Jesus existed, let alone ascribe him to a school.

      • gamal
        gamal on December 27, 2018, 11:28 pm

        “Ah, Stephen, so well said” I think you right,

        and i am not going to say too much i hope, just some idle confused impressions, 1stly

        i was moved by your what you said, as regards below the belt, sure but what is the context ‘what accounts for’ this largely invisible to Americans ‘cruelty’ …i think she is well aware of how and why she is resorting to dirty tactics, you mentioned Jihad and child brides…which were just part of some disinterested examination…arguments can be boring so..you reminded me

        I had two revelations in my childhood 1st : The Pagan Village

        In the yard of our campus house, in Zaria I asked whats that down there I was told thats the pagan Village….I realised despite punishment, lectures and a couple of beatings i am going there, I 4/5 ish, I continued climbing the campus fence and spending my days with the naked youth of the Pagan Village, I began to listen to all the development, education talk and the stuff that ‘pathologized’ the naked “pagans”, uneducated, primitive, superstitious poor, squalid, diseased I thought it all bullshit and i had to my mind the direct unmediated experience of people who will always seem perfect and beautiful to me, as a result arguments never ceased…

        Cockneys: The one group of people of whom i internalised negative ideas fully confirmed by first contacts, they were horrible and not a little disgusting, then I learned their strange language, got to know them and suddenly I began to understand their context, the society we were in, as they did understand it, the pressures and aggressions that they were resisting hence all the surly aggression etc, I came at the height of their glory under the welfare state, good days, I got to like appreciate them very much, and thus realised the limiting nature of all those “attitudes” and thus have never really belonged to any group of which i am member which presumably puts me on some spectrum somewhere..oh well…but nothing is a utopia still the world seems harsh if you fearful and judgemental ( especially of your victims )

        and I was thinking that as what i am edging towards is backlash…hence look at Alice did she not marry a white Jew soon after the repeal of the miscegenation laws and live in missouri or mississippi

        for some time, it seems to me that to approach what she says in this you damned racist manner doesn’t really seem helpful to me too much of the repressive urge of backlash, Mooser mentioned the Mens Rights Movement which may not make things clearer but made me laugh, so for clarity here is Tim Wise….

        the Jewish/Catholic in Mississippi or Missouri in which the white father unforks his tongue backlash.

        Respect Stephen and Thanks Dannaa, nice to hear from people who feel things in themself.

        https://youtu.be/8RHxrV7u09w

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on December 28, 2018, 12:42 pm

        The Jesus-Hillel link was very strongly present in my days as a theology student in the 60s, particularly via the work of WD Davies. I think we should notice that there is no real biography for Hillel or that what there is is in theological-symbolic terms – he lived for 120 years, was of Davidic descent, was highly self-denying, knew all languages. There is no clear reference to him in Josephus, which seems to me to be near proof that no person going by that name was of great importance – some say that his Greek name was Pollion and that Josephus refers to him thus.
        This fact throws light on the nature of the Talmud, which is, as far as I can perceive, in part a dialectical drama in which the school of the gentle Hillel prevails over that of the stern Shammai. It features the gradual emergence of truth from the conversation of lovable rabbis rather, we are meant to note, than its startling emergence from the fulminations and anathemas of Christian bishops. As one who repeats the Nicene Creed – my predictive text just made that ‘the niceness creed’; if only – with a weekly pang of regret at the vein of aggression in its language – I can take that point.
        But I think that the Talmud represents a ruthless revision of intellectual history which would have meant nothing to Jews of the time supposed to be ‘of Jesus’. The books they would have read or thought about and their deeper conversations would have concerned what to us are the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, works that got annihilated as Aramaic and Hebrew texts. There were sects linked to priestly families and Temple management but no rabbinic schools or synagogues in the later, oral law proclaiming, sense.
        Christianity must have represented a vein of Jewish theology which wished to go beyond the ideas of the later Tanakh in which Jews do all the hard ethical work and the many nations are ‘added to Yahweh’ in the last days. They wanted to validate the ethical strivings of the ‘law unto themselves’ non-Jews. Jesus, who according to the Talmud had studied in Egypt, where he acquired tattoos, may well have marked a stage in this development.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 28, 2018, 1:19 pm

        @MHughes
        I think you are over-simplifying the 20,000+ pages of Talmud. Hillel and Shammai would not have been as famous as they because without the schools of thought that bore their names. The Houses of Hillel and Shammai are recorded far more than their masters. Hillel and Shammai themselves are just one “dialectical dyad” among dozens of others. For example, the debates of the 2nd century Rabbis Akiva and Ishmael are more numerous and significant. Regarding Hillel and Shammai specifically, the sternness of Shammai vs the gentleness of Hillel are an internal, Jewish dialectic. They only have bearing on relations outside the Jewish world in the discussion of converting Gentiles to Judaism.

        The work of the Talmud extended over half a millennium including early Christianity and the time frame in which the Jesus story is set (or when he actually lived, depending on your pov). To the extent that most 1st century Jews outside of the rabbis were reading or hearing any sacred works there’s no reason to believe it was Apocrypha or Christian writings rather than Rabbinic Midrash.

        “But I think that the Talmud represents a ruthless revision of intellectual history which would have meant nothing to Jews of the time supposed to be ‘of Jesus’. ”

        Are you saying that the New Testament is a more faithful reflection of the mindset of 1st century Jews than the Talmud?

        The Talmud’s redaction in the 6th century shaped the entire work. Evidence of that is how older materials are framed in the 4th century Palestinian (Jerusalem) Talmud vs those same materials as they appear in the 6th century Babylonian Talmud (the work that is known today as ‘The Talmud’). Literary and linguistic analysis has uncovered the historical layers of text. But the differences between the two redactions themselves show how much was shared; these are subtle differences. The bigger picture is the enormous amount of material, content and beliefs that remain constant throughout centuries of Jewish culture. These are overwhelmingly distinct from early Christianity. And yes, there are commonalities between these sister religions.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 28, 2018, 2:10 pm

        “I think you are over-simplifying the 20,000+ pages of Talmud.”

        Okay, stop right there. What’s in those “+ pages”? Exactly how many pages are there?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 28, 2018, 2:44 pm

        “Jesus, who according to the Talmud had studied in Egypt, where he acquired tattoos”

        So “WWJD” is now a good retort for “Why did you get that awful tattoo?” What a world.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 28, 2018, 3:18 pm

        “The Houses of Hillel and Shammai are recorded far more than their masters”

        Going to Hillel, and handbaskets, we hear much of, (the expression may well be derived from the story of Rabbi Yochanan’s escape from Jerusalem in a coffin.)

        But not many people know what makes Shammai run.

      • Danaa
        Danaa on December 28, 2018, 3:49 pm

        MHughes976, so you were a theology student once! I thought as much based on the body of your knowledge. Those were all very interesting tid-bits you brought into the discussion – and you even managed to cool xpat some (at least when he engages with you).

        Your comment elicited more memories of my old schooling – alas it was only through High School that we got much history or humanities in general, at least those of us who went in a more sciency direction (BS degree was attained in just 3 years in israel, and was generally devoid of electives not tied to one’s special direction). I will forever mourn the absence of early world history, including a more general history of the Middle east, in my education. Yes, one can acquire lots of information later in life, but it’s not the same as having other young people around to debate things with or just tease out one’s own sense of reason (which is at best, emergent in one’s teens. Some never reach the age of reason ever, so I take comfort from having reached that stage at some point later in life. That too will be a chapter in my memoir book – I think I’m calling it “coming into Reason”). Gosh, how I wish there was something like internet back in the days!

        Back to your comments – the debate battles between the houses of Shammai and Hille were always presented to us as one where Hillel’s approach won the war, even though Shammai won the battle, cf. the rise against Rome which was animated by Shammai’s teachings. I recall learning about the massacres of Hille’s followers in Jerusalem, which were presented as an extremely unfortunate turn of events. Indeed, the devastation brought upon the cities of Judea/Palestine, especially Judea, were ascribed pin large part to the civil war between the two “houses”, in which the more militant, zealot view won the decision to war against the Romans with no chance of winning. I think the material we had discussed some of the issues that separated the two houses, but probably without much detail. I’d assume that those who went to the Humanities direction got more exposure than we who went towars science/math did.

        What I can say for sure is that the readings I did on my own about the period of early Christianity and the battles between the Jerusalem and Antioch schools (the latter associated with James) came as a huge revelation to me. basically, in Israel, in the course of a regular schooling in the secular segment of education, the entire subject and period of Christianity’s rise was glossed over in a lesson or two, presented somewhat disapprovingly. We were taught next to nothing about Paul’s contribution to the ultimate schism between the two religions, other than in passing. It was – all else aside – a story of a fascinating break-up, which in reality took place over a century or more, as there were so many different sects and interpretations and scholarly debates.

        The parallels with the battles between the Judaism of America and the Judaism of israel do in a way (not to draw the analogy too closely) mirror the old battles between Shammai and Hillel, with the militant form of “secular Judaism” represented by israel’s zealots (to which most of the population subscribes, give or take a few dissidents) and the more universalist, humanist Judaism that arose in the US (which little by little captures the soon-to-be dominant non-zionist views). I believe that such ideological battles – unlike actual battlefields – take decades if not centuries to resolve. But they invariably end up in a great schism.

        It is my belief we are currently in the throes of such a schism, where Judaism both as a religion and a culture, effectively splits into two disconnected, and probably adversarial directions. I also belive that some of us may be steeped in the breech already, even though we can only see the outlines of what the final break-up will look like.

        So yes, the schismatic schism is going on all through the MW pages. Some day, perhaps 50, perhaps 100 years from now,, scholars may study the commentary pages of MW, to get a sense of how and why the break-up took place.

        You are lucky MHuges – you get to look like a sage. And me? just your average arm chair firebrand.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on December 28, 2018, 6:56 pm

        I’m sure you know the Talmud better than I do, Xpat, and I’m sure that you have a better perspective on its dialectics than I do. It was long ago from reading WD Davies, who I think of as the most respectable kind of Christian Zionist, that I got the impression of the primacy of the Hillel-Shammai contrast and this probably reflects the way WDD used that contrast to interpret the Sermon on the Mount. I would still think that your perspective does not make me change my basic point about the dialectic nature of the work.
        I suppose that the New Testament is evidence for 2nd Temple Judaism if handled very carefully: WDD treated it thus for his own philo-Judaic purposes. Josephus was very much closer to the Temple, though he too has a personal agenda. I do think people of that time read Maccabees and Enoch, even Plato as Philo did so lovingly, and that Talmud-style exegesis was at most in its infancy.
        Yes, Danaa, I had been accepted for ordination back then! I developed doubts and the crunch came when I was reading I Kings 21 where King Ahab is ‘heavy and displeased’ after a prophet reprimands him in tones I found intolerant. I became heavy and displeased and decided that I couldn’t spend my life preaching from the Bible. I ended up in the pew but not in the pulpit. I’m glad now to say that I didn’t ever consider going in the ‘Jewish bad, Christian good’ direction.
        Your sagesse is, I’m sure, every bit as good as mine.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 28, 2018, 7:45 pm

        ‘the niceness creed’

        Sorely needed.

        ” Jesus, who according to the Talmud had studied in Egypt, where he acquired tattoos,”

        And piercings?

        That’s what happens when the kids leave home and go to university.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 28, 2018, 7:46 pm

        MHughes, are you suggesting that Hillel and Shammai might be as fictional as Jesus?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 28, 2018, 7:49 pm

        “Are you saying that the New Testament is a more faithful reflection of the mindset of 1st century Jews than the Talmud?”

        I wouldn’t trust either as being a faithful reflection of anything.

        As for the mindset of 1st century Jews, I suggest that Philo and Josephus are your best guides.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 28, 2018, 7:50 pm

        “You are lucky MHuges – you get to look like a sage. And me? just your average arm chair firebrand.”

        Don’t despair. Sage and firebrand are not exclusive. Thomas Paine managed to be both.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 28, 2018, 8:54 pm

        @MHughes –
        ” I would still think that your perspective does not make me change my basic point about the dialectic nature of the work.”
        In opposition to the New Testament, the Talmud is fundamentally a dialectic work, not limited to the Hillel-Shammai debates. The embracing of opposing opinions as holy words goes back to the roots of the Talmud, in the earlier work the Mishnah. The Mishnah dates to the first two centuries.

        Danaa, Keith, et al. In the spirit of the times, the Talmud denigrates other peoples. Other peoples/religions gave as good as they got. The New Testament has plenty of good examples of that. This can be dangerous as Jews learned to their peril over centuries of Christian Jew hatred, persecution and massacres. But I think the xenophobic passages of the Talmud are tempered by the moral reasoning, compassionate values and pacifism that prevails in the Talmud. Since the Talmud is such a vast work, what you choose to foreground becomes the message. For centuries, the pedagogy of teaching the Talmud inculcated the Talmud as a moral text. Furthermore, a key anti-Zionist text (“The Three Oaths”) originates in the Talmud and has been used by Orthodox anti-Zionists since the birth of Zionism. As Barry2 wrote, you don’t need to delve into pre-Zionism to list the litany of Zionism’s sins. And if you do look to pre-Zionist Judaism, you’ll discover centuries of Talmudic Judaism and pacifism in the face of a sadistic, genocidal Christian empire.

        All this is separate from Alice Walker’s anti-Semitism and decade long enthusiastic support of the crackpot racist David Icke.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on December 28, 2018, 10:05 pm

        @RoHa

        The only safe bet is to presume anything from two thousand years ago is fictional.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on December 29, 2018, 11:57 am

        In response to RoHa – I tend to put the ‘historical Jesus’ question as ‘Did the biographers of Jesus have access to – and make valid use of – authentic information in the normal sense, documents or almost first hand memories, or were they constructing, effectively without any such information, a Christ figure from their theological resources?’ I think that this question is easy to answer with passion, remarkably hard to answer with reason. With Hillel I think that the answer is that no one knew anything at all about any such person.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 29, 2018, 1:47 pm

        “The only safe bet is to presume anything from two thousand years ago is fictional.”

        First-person eye-witness accounts not withstanding?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on December 29, 2018, 8:18 pm

        “I think that this question is easy to answer with passion, remarkably hard to answer with reason. ”

        It seems to me that, pending new discoveries, the only reasonable answer is, “We don’t, and can’t, know.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 2:40 pm

        “It seems to me that, pending new discoveries…”

        …the nectarine remains the greatest achievement of modern times.

  4. Ronald Johnson
    Ronald Johnson on December 27, 2018, 10:22 am

    As said above, the late Israel Shahak wrote the book, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion, the Weight of 3000 Years” – the “weight” being what is manifest today in the Zionism on display in Israel.

    There is an updated account of Talmudic influence on Israeli laws and practices in an essay by Lynda Brayer, at the Saker website:

    http://thesaker.is/zionism-judaism-and-the-jewish-state-of-israel/

    As far As I have learned, the Talmud, in two different versions, Babylonian and Palestinian, with voluminous commentary, is a massive tome, that has not been read by practically everyone. Hardly, then, a common reference for discussion.

    • Danaa
      Danaa on December 27, 2018, 11:49 am

      I read that essay in The Saker. And you are right, the full Talmud, in all its versions is all about the commentary, which is exhaustive.

      I confessed to knowing very little talmud and what introduction to it I had, did not exactly fill me with desire to know more.

      There are excellent reasons Jewish thought in the us went in the direction of reformism or conservatism. Those who brought about those directions discarded much if not all of the Talmud. And the seculars who grow up in israel are immersed in a very different kind of Judaism, if one can even call it that. The israeli secular Judaism is one that worships the military art and may be closer to the spirit of Sparta than that of Athens.

      Me, I recognize I was just brain-washed into the latter. So I do have some empathy for escapees from hasidic and other haredi communities. They too have much to overcome.

      In Hebrew they would say we, the escapees, are all “scratched” for life.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 28, 2018, 10:02 pm

        @Danaa – better an escape-induced sritah than locked in the brainwashing cage for life and not even knowing it. I appreciate your eloquence, passion and emotional honesty. :)

      • Danaa
        Danaa on January 4, 2019, 10:29 pm

        Thanks Xpat. Peace – for now……

    • David Shaffer
      David Shaffer on December 27, 2018, 12:49 pm

      As far as I have learned, the two versions of the Talmud are the Yerushalmi (Jerusalem) and the Bavli (Babylon). So if you choose to call the Jerusalem version Palestinian, I suggest you call the Babylonian version Iraqi or Mesopotamian or suchlike.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 28, 2018, 10:12 pm

        @ David – Palestinian Talmud was the pre-Zionist name as in the 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia’s entry of that name.
        “Palestinian Talmud” only fell out of favor when Palestinian came to mean what it means today. So it’s legit and makes a good point. Why let the Zionists change good, old names. “Palestinian Talmud” is more accurate than the traditional Hebrew name “Talmud Yerushalmi” (Jerusalem Talmud) because it wasn’t written in Jerusalem but in the rabbinic centers in the Galilee, in the north of the country. At the very least, the two names are interchangeable.
        Either way, there’s no cause for concern. The Palestinians want a capital in Jerusalem. They haven’t indicated that they want Jerusalem’s Talmud.

  5. Ronald Johnson
    Ronald Johnson on December 27, 2018, 11:05 pm

    Thank you for the clarification. But there are references to the Palestinian Talmud to say that it was composed in Teverias and the Galilee area, but identified to Jerusalem. – written in Western Aramaic, the later Babylon Talmud being written in Eastern Aramaic; not Hebrew.

    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-Palestinian-Talmud

    https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3162963/jewish/Why-Is-the-Talmud-in-Aramaic.htm

  6. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on December 28, 2018, 10:37 am

    Schulman’s position seems illogical to me. The proposition she advances – that all religion everywhere is problematic, ridiculous but not ineffectual, that is to say dangerous- does not weaken the proposition she attributes to Walker and rejects, that a specific religion in specific circumstances is dangerous. Indeed her proposition implies that Walker’s is likely to be true.
    The idea that all religion is bad and dangerous but that all individual religions deserve to be treated with respect and deference is contradictory. It does imply – what might be true and what some believers like me might also accept – that religious polemic is a very dangerous genre, risking indeed the import into our own minds of the very forces we deplore, a genre to be avoided unless really necessary. Alice Walker would perhaps say that that point has come with Talmudic Judaism. I don’t think that. I prefer to stay with the general Mondoweiss sadness that Judaism, in so far as it provides powerful support for Zionism, has fallen into forms that are inauthentic.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on December 29, 2018, 1:52 pm

      “Judaism, in so far as it provides powerful support for Zionism, has fallen into forms that are inauthentic.”

      Or, perhaps, all too authentic.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus on December 29, 2018, 2:45 pm

      Hughes,

      You will surely be pleased to know that posts are being censored only for stating that your comment is one of the only two that make sense.

      • annie
        annie on December 29, 2018, 4:45 pm

        don’t lie. had that been “only” what you said it would have been published. it was your race baiting that sunk the (1) comment, the part that came after “i must add”.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on December 30, 2018, 2:08 pm

        So, echino, the mods must be under Christian influence, disliking the Talmud-style ‘there are two that make sense’ and preferring the New Testament received text ‘there are three that bear witness’.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus on January 2, 2019, 11:29 am

        Annie,

        Race-baiting is what the tribalists are doing, all of them. The discussion is inseparable from the essence of religion.

      • annie
        annie on January 2, 2019, 12:22 pm

        ech, in light of the conversation on this thread, i’m not sure why whoever moderated your comment thought it was exceptional. my point being, it wasn’t only for stating you thought mhughes comment was one of the only two that made sense to you, obviously. that’s not even in character for you, to make such a benign un-clarified comment with no inciting sting to it (your specialty).

        you posted the equivalent of ‘i’m being censored only for saying i like what you wrote’ (3 times i might add – that’s how important is was for you to advertise your complaint), so i checked it out. the next time you get censored try rephrasing your words and reposting, rather than whining about it publicly via an easily debunked lie. that’s about all i have to say on the topic.

  7. Barry2
    Barry2 on December 29, 2018, 5:03 pm

    Keith – “What gives you the right to act as a de facto censor to tell Alice Walker what she should write and who she can read and recommend? Who gave Jews that right? What arrogance! What abuse of power!”

    Yes, Keith, I abuse the power in my Jewish fingertips to type replies to articles. Guilty as charged. Studies show that Jewish fingertips are superior to gentile fingertips, due to the training they get in covert, Mossad-sponsored keyboarding classes. In case you are incapable of recognizing satire, this paragraph is satire.

    As for why I started my commenting with this article, there’s a mundane explanation that your conspiracy-trained investigatory skills apparently missed. I first tried to comment on an article back in April, but my browser warned me that the registration page wasn’t secure. I wrote to the website team about this, and I was told that they were hoping to “…have the entire site under SSL encryption by the middle of May.” This is the first article since that time that I’ve wanted to comment on. If you don’t believe my account of the SSL problem, you can ask Dave Reed to confirm that I communicated with him back then. I’ll even supply him with the e-mail address that I was using at the time, which has a different domain than the one I use for my new Mondoweiss account. If you don’t believe that I could go months without feeling the need to comment on this blog, well, there’s a thing called life.

    As for your thinking that it’s a stretch to call a mass shooting at a synagogue evidence of antisemitism, I suggest that you hand in your private investigator’s license.

    • Keith
      Keith on December 29, 2018, 6:12 pm

      BARRY2- “As for your thinking that it’s a stretch to call a mass shooting at a synagogue evidence of antisemitism, I suggest that you hand in your private investigator’s license.”

      What a dishonest and outrageous distortion of my comment concerning supplying statistical evidence of violence against Jews versus violence against Gentiles to properly evaluate your claims of anti-Semitic violence. Another thing which you neo-Zionists have in common with Zionists is a complete lack of intellectual integrity.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on December 29, 2018, 6:28 pm

      ” In case you are incapable of recognizing satire, this paragraph is satire.”

      Like the one about fingernails?

  8. Barry2
    Barry2 on December 29, 2018, 6:42 pm

    Fingernails, Mooser?

    • Mooser
      Mooser on December 29, 2018, 8:18 pm

      “Fingernails, Mooser?”

      Yes, the price of Jewish fingernails.

  9. Barry2
    Barry2 on December 29, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Keith, thank you for at least admitting that a mass shooting in a synagogue is evidence of antisemitism. I can understand a desire for statistics, but one hate crime against any group is one too many. Which is why I draw the line at anything like Walker’s poem which might inspire hate crimes. But if we were going to discuss statistics, I would prefer something more recent than Shahak’s writing. I’m not personally up on who keeps the most accurate statistics, but places like the US Justice Department, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Anti-Defamation League come to mind. Of course, the ADL has compromised its integrity by its sometimes covert actions on behalf of Israel, so I can understand why you might not want to rely on its statistics.

    As to your recurring accusations that I’m part of some organized Zionist attack squad, have you at least considered giving that a rest? People who engage in those kinds of attacks an deflections aren’t that hard to spot, in my experience. Just because I’m opposed to something that they’re opposed to, that doesn’t mean that I’m acting in concert with them. I’m not just of Jewish origin; I’m also gay and atheist and have disabilities. It’s standard in any of these groups to be on alert for anything that might make our lives more difficult, especially if it might result in violence. Given a choice, I prefer to engage with people who have misconceptions about the demographic groups I belong to, even if I find those misconceptions to be offensive. Sometimes, though, I conclude that a person either knows better than to be libeling people like me or is beyond reasoning with. I see Walker as being in the former category. You have every right to disagree with me on that, but I find your continuing insistence that I’m being disingenuous, just because you’ve met other Jewish people who are, to have no place in the type of civilized discourse that I hope Mondoweiss is trying to promote. I’ve tried to make light of it, but the idea that my remarks here are a manifestation of Jewish power is awfully close to the type of antisemitism that I’ve been condemning. As a former insider, I’d be happy to share what I know about how the Zionist movement has managed to have so much influence in this country, if you’re interested. But I can tell you that it’s not through remarks like mine. My comments have been nuanced, balanced, and anti-Zionist. In no way is that a description of how I was taught to advocate for Israel, or of how I see people acting who are trying to thwart BDS in my local area.

    Most of the writers for this blog seem to be Jewish. If you’re coming here for any reason other than to be a pest, then you must see some value in what people have to say who’ve been raised as Zionist Jews but who’ve come to see the light. But when it comes to antisemitism, it’s not hard for us to find some agreement with those who are still in the Zionist camp. Unlike Zionists, we don’t exploit the antisemitism to try to get Jews to emigrate to Israel or to rally support for Israel, but we still don’t want to see people attacked for being Jewish, and we have a limited tolerance for anything that might lead to that. Just how limited may vary from person to person, which is why there is apparently disagreement on how to react to Walker’s behavior. But to say that Walker has a right to do and say as she pleases, but that my comments either are conspiratorial or come from ingrained behavior, is to put yourself beyond civilized discourse. If you really care about other people, give some thought to the people that you engage in discussion with, as I’ve tried to do with you.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on December 30, 2018, 1:28 pm

      The stronger word ‘proof’ could be used instead of ‘evidence’ when you have an expression of anti-S which is so terrifying. The means exist for this sort of propaganda by deed to be both deadly, great in its immediate effect and massive in its publicity. However, I would say that it isn’t evidence for the existence of anti-S as a significant force in the politics or culture of Western societies. Propaganda by deed aims at raising consciousness – many people entertaining the sneaky thought ‘they deserved it’. It’s difficult to measure such things but I don’t believe that the reaction has been anything like that, rather the reverse.

    • Keith
      Keith on December 30, 2018, 7:00 pm

      BARRY2- ” My comments have been nuanced, balanced, and anti-Zionist.”

      I’ll give you the anti-Zionist, but nuanced and balanced? Your first comment on Mondoweiss since you felt “secure” in May was where you claim that Alice Walker’s writing was “downright dangerous.” You twice mentioned anti-Semitism and race hatred going unchecked resulting in people getting hurt. It was an anti-Alice Walker hit piece, so don’t pretend otherwise.

      BARRY2- “As to your recurring accusations that I’m part of some organized Zionist attack squad, have you at least considered giving that a rest?”

      You are claiming to be an unwitting dupe to this orchestrated effort? The facts are plain, the inference obvious. You do recall me indicating that this was the third attack on an uppity Gentile, yes? Greta Berlin was first, Alison Weir second, Alice Walker third. Greta was attacked by Jewish Voice for Peace over some insignificant one day snafu with a link. She apologized, but to no avail. Apparently, she refused to condemn Gilad Atzmon so she had to go. As it turned out, she stayed but JVP left, weakening the Free Gaza Movement, showing where their priorities lay. Alison Weir was the next victim of a JVP attack against someone who didn’t kowtow to their idea of dos and don’ts regarding which radio interviews were “acceptable.” Now we have Alice Walker who Yoav Litvin highlighted through a link to a pro-Zionist Tablet attack. That way Yoav could let the Tablet do the dirty work. One week later, JVP board member Sarah Schulman authored this provocative piece against Alice who wrote a poem JVP didn’t like, and who reads and recommends David Icke as reading material. The third uppity Gentile who deigns not to follow JVP diktats. And here we are. So, yes you are part of an organized JVP attack, whether wittingly or unwittingly I can’t say, although I find your sudden presence after six months of not commenting suggestive.

      BARRY2- “But to say that Walker has a right to do and say as she pleases, but that my comments either are conspiratorial or come from ingrained behavior, is to put yourself beyond civilized discourse.”

      Jeez, are you dishonest. I am not talking about a “conspiracy.” This is your dishonest attempt to link me with conspiracy theory. JVP is acting in a legal but disreputable way to achieve their organizational objectives which include attacks against those who don’t accede to their leadership and diktats. As for “ingrained behavior,” you made that up out of whole cloth. And I don’t believe for a minute that you are attempting to engage in an honest discussion. You have an agenda and talking points which you have stuck to closely. You are a tribalist to the core.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus on December 31, 2018, 5:01 am

        Keith,

        /quote/BARRY2- ” My comments have been nuanced, balanced, and anti-Zionist.”
        /
        I’ll give you the anti-Zionist
        /end quote/
        No need for such unfounded generosity. This JVP-and-the-like tribalist crowd, whose main objective obviously is that of taking down any and all uncompromising enemies of Zionism under the pretext of “Antisemitism” witch hunt, is well-organized (and well-funded) to a point where they are much more effective than any non-tribal organization supporting Palestinian resistance (which, by the way, no legally registered organization in Palestine can be, either.) Fighting Zionist invasion is nowhere on their horizon and opposing the post-1967 occupation takes a back seat to hunting “Anti-Semites”.
        If that doesn’t show who these people are helping, I’m the ghost of Napoleon.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 9:42 am

        @Eccho-
        No links. No evidence. Pure slander.
        “Well-organized and well-funded.”David Icke couldn’t have said it any better.
        What do you call someone who cannot tolerate the existence of any Jewish organization even one fighting for Palestinian justice?

      • annie
        annie on December 31, 2018, 11:28 am

        just thought i’d pipe up here to put in my 2 cents worth. i’m well aware there are people who detest jvp just as i am well aware jvp has engaged in smearing activists like allison weir. i don’t agree with all their public stances.

        but i think some of the assumptions people have made against the organization, an organization i belong to and support, an organization that has done far more good (imho) than otherwise, runs some covert or overt operation whose primary focus or function is to hunt down anti semites is absurd.

        it’s a vast organization with a lot of different people in it with varying opinions and styles of communicating and coordinating and interacting. my personal opinion about walker has no bearing on my point. that said, the idea that of all these varying people with varying opinions there is not going to be pushback or offense taken by walker’s words without it being some orchestrated effort is absurd.

        as a member of jvp (and on their listserve) no one pressured me or contacted me (or the site as far as i know) to orchestrate a denunciation of her words. the idea that someone such as rebecca pierce or sarah schulman or yoav or barry or anyone’s reaction is a result of an orchestrated witch hunt and not a result of people speaking their minds, is nuts.

        i remember when one of our commenters just tossed out the allegation, as if it were some known fact, that this site was an arm of jvp, funded by them as part of some agenda, without even a question asked, which is completely false.

        that said, when people (barry i am talking to you) make statements like “Are the people who write for Mondoweiss not capable of holding others to the same standard? ” implies it is incumbent on “people who write for Mondoweiss” (whoever that is because we’ve had literally thousands of contributors, and they certainly do not all agree on any or everything, one presumes that would include alice walker) to “hold others to the same standard” isn’t helpful! it implies some power that simply doesn’t exist to corral the minds literally thousands of people. it also implies there is “same standard”, and there isn’t, at least not that i have heard about. people send us submissions and if they’re well thought out phil and adam publish them.

        to make an assumption that because an organization identifies as jewish necessarily acts as a dictatorial or gatekeeping organization with some ability to herd cats into one mind, whether to hunt anti semites or any other conspiratorial goal is delusional.

        This JVP….whose main objective obviously is that of taking down any and all uncompromising enemies of Zionism

        if i were an ardent hardcore genocidal maniac whose primary intent in life was permanent sustentation and empowerment of zionism and you didn’t exist, i would invent you. i would create you as a means of demonstrating the fanaticism of my ideological foe. that’s how unhelpful i find you in my personal mission to find a resolution of justice and freedom in palestine.

        just thought i’d mention.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 12:07 pm

        Thank you, Annie –
        I am a pro-Palestinian activist. This work occupies a good deal of my discretionary time. And the time I spent writing on this thread about anti-Semitism could have been better spent doing that work.
        My main takeaway from posting here for the past few days is that it’s true: left-wing anti-Semitism is real and needs to be fought hard. Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that anti-Semites on the left are being funded and organized by Zionist orgs as agents provocateurs.
        I now have a deeper appreciation for all the church groups, Muslims, atheists and others who stood up to be counted in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh massacre two months ago. The anti-Semites are a small minority.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 31, 2018, 3:29 pm

        “My main takeaway from posting here for the past few days is that it’s true: left-wing anti-Semitism is real and needs to be fought hard.”

        Twas left-wing anti-semitism killed the Pittsburgh 11.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 31, 2018, 3:58 pm

        Good gosh “Xpat”, it just hit me! If all that anti-semitism is coming from the Left, what does that make Left-wing Jews?
        I mean, it’s shocking, enabling the purveyors of anti-semitism.
        Assuming, of course, there are any left-wing Jews.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 4:20 pm

        @ Mooser –
        Thanks for your light and other comments along the way. :) Obviously, the Pittsburgh massacre was perpetrated by a right wing White supremacist. As I wrote above, right wing anti-Semitism is far more dangerous than its left wing variety. However, when luminaries like Alice Walker lend their stature to very old Christian anti-Semitism – as she did in her poem on the Talmud – it makes these ideas more palatable to more people and therefore that much more dangerous.
        Too bad that Mondoweiss has such left wing anti-Semites among its ranks.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 31, 2018, 5:16 pm

        “Too bad that Mondoweiss has such left wing anti-Semites among its ranks.”

        And what about left-wing Jews? What could possibly motivate them?

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 31, 2018, 5:27 pm

        annie,

        I understand that Mondoweiss doesn’t have a set of viewpoints that its writers must agree to. However, I’ve been reading the articles here for a while now, and nothing has been so silly or offensive to make me write this site off, including this article. So I don’t think it was delusional for me to think that some care was being put into what articles get included here. However, I’m glad that you see no reason to doubt that I’m acting independently.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 31, 2018, 5:58 pm

        ” I am a pro-Palestinian activist. This work occupies a good deal of my discretionary time”

        And being a “pro-Palestinian activist” can be dangerous in Israel. Watch out for those left-wingers.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 31, 2018, 6:08 pm

        Keith,

        When you accuse me of being part of an effort to attack 3 people, and I’m not sure I’ve even heard of 2 of them, I think it’s fair to say that you’re seeing a conspiracy. I don’t even know how I could be part of this effort unwittingly, as you say might be the case. I really do wish that other people would tell me when I’m part of their conspiracies.

        If you “find [my] sudden presence after six months of not commenting suggestive”, then you are simply being paranoid. I don’t live my life to fit or not fit into the groupings that you place people into.

        My “agenda” in this is obvious to anyone not looking for a hidden motive. Anytime that anyone spreads the libel that people who look like me do horrible things to children, I’m more than willing to hold them to account for it, because I, as well as my family and friends, could be attacked for it. This hardly makes me a tribalist.

        You really aren’t making sense, and I don’t know why your repeated, unfounded, personal accusations against me are allowed on this site.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 31, 2018, 7:28 pm

        “Anytime that anyone spreads the libel that people who look like me do horrible things to children, I’m more than willing to hold them to account for it, because I, as well as my family and friends, could be attacked for it.”

        I sorta lost my taste for that, the more I find out about Zionism and Israel. Just can’t get the old sense of self-righteousness I used to. Every libel turns out to be something Zionism has already done.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 8:25 pm

        @ Mooser –
        Barry2 is telling you that he is afraid for his loved ones. I, and many others share that fear. To state what’s beyond obvious, it’s not self-righteous to be concerned for your friends and family. My Palestinians partners in justice work have never demanded that of me or those who work with me. It’s not an either/or choice.
        I get why the anti-Semites demand that Jews not have concern for other Jews but I wonder what your beef is.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on December 31, 2018, 8:32 pm

        Barry 2 – It probably harms your cause to get words of “support” from a Zionist, but as a longtime inhabitant of the comments section you should realize that mondoweiss is not that concerned regarding its comments section and allows all sorts of insults and hateful remarks. This is probably due to the fact that they don’t have the time to fully moderate and create a vibrant conversation rather than a mud wrestling emporium, but it is partially due to indecision about what should be included in a vibrant conversation.

      • annie
        annie on December 31, 2018, 8:33 pm

        speaking of horrible things:

        Doctors in Gaza and the West Bank have said they are battling an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, a growing problem in the world’s conflict zones, which could also spill over the Palestinian borders.

        The rise and spread of such virulent infections adds to the devastation of war, increasing medical costs, blocking hospital beds because patients need care for longer, and often leaving people whose injuries might once have been healed with life-changing disabilities.

        Gaza is a particularly fertile breeding ground for superbugs because its health system has been worn down by years of blockade, and antibiotics are in short supply, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found.

        “This is a global health security issue because multi-drug-resistant organisms don’t know any boundaries,” said Dina Nasser, lead infection control nurse at Augusta Victoria hospital in East Jerusalem, who has also worked in Gaza. “That’s why the global community, even if it’s not interested in the politics of Gaza, should be interested in this.”

        Even though doctors in Gaza knew protocols to prevent the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, persistent shortages of antibiotics meant they could not always follow them, they told reporters. Patients take incomplete courses of antibiotics or are prescribed a mix because the right medicine is not available.

        ………..

        Dr Mahmoud Mattar, an orthopaedic surgeon, said around 2,000 Gazans were currently dealing with serious gunshot injuries to the legs that would typically require multiple reconstruction operations and two years of rehabilitation.

        Nearly all of these patients have also contracted superbug infections, meaning surgeons have to delay closing their wounds. That reduces the chances of successful reconstruction, extends hospital stays and increases the risk of amputation.

        ……………

        “We are expecting an absolute catastrophe in terms of residual disability in the wounded [in Gaza],” said Abu Sittah, who is head of plastic surgery at AUBMC and travelled to Gaza in May to treat patients at al-Awda hospital.

        All the superbugs on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of priority bacteria – those which pose the greatest threat to human health – have been reported in Palestine.

        …………

        One of the Gazans dealing with the double impact of injury and superbug infection is Fahed Zuhud, 29. He was throwing stones near the border in February when a bullet shattered his leg. He was rushed to hospital for surgery, but his wound became infected and he developed osteomyelitis, a serious infection inside the bone which can often lead to amputation.

        So far Zuhud has endured 31 operations to reconstruct his leg and try to clear the wound of infection. He can no longer work, and faces years more of treatment. Doctors have not been able to identify the strain but believe it is multi-drug-resistant because he has had every antibiotic available, to no effect.

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/31/palestinian-superbug-epidemic-could-spread-say-doctors-drug-resistant-antibiotics

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 31, 2018, 8:44 pm

        Thanks, Xpat.

        Yes, Mooser, the Israeli military has been doing horrible things to children, and anyone associated with that deserves to be brought to justice. But justice isn’t going to be achieved by spreading a libel against everyone who is Jewish, including those of us who aren’t Zionists.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 31, 2018, 8:56 pm

        wondering jew,

        Your support is more than welcome in this regard. Respectful conversation changes more minds than verbal attacks.

      • annie
        annie on December 31, 2018, 9:06 pm

        barry, of course care is put into what articles get published. phil and adam don’t publish everything that gets sent in. but when you say “Are the people who write for Mondoweiss not capable of holding others to the same standard?” what others might you be referring to? by the standard you’ve mentioned.

        Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that anti-Semites on the left are being funded and organized by Zionist orgs as agents provocateurs.

        why from the left? wouldn’t it make more sense for zionist orgs to organize agents provocateurs to impersonate extremists leftists? that’s their target right? they don’t seem to have a problem hobnobbing with rightwing nazis. they are always blaming the left. didn’t you say alice walker ideas were more dangerous than the guy who carried out the synagogue massacre?

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 9:24 pm

        @Annie –
        “didn’t you say alice walker ideas were more dangerous than the guy who carried out the synagogue massacre?”

        I got lost trying to follow you and the last sentence is just bizarre. Is this another straw man?

      • annie
        annie on December 31, 2018, 9:34 pm

        xpat, maybe i misunderstood what you wrote:

        Obviously, the Pittsburgh massacre was perpetrated by a right wing White supremacist. As I wrote above, right wing anti-Semitism is far more dangerous than its left wing variety. However, when luminaries like Alice Walker lend their stature to very old Christian anti-Semitism – as she did in her poem on the Talmud – it makes these ideas more palatable to more people and therefore that much more dangerous.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on December 31, 2018, 9:53 pm

        annie – “barry, of course care is put into what articles get published. phil and adam don’t publish everything that gets sent in. but when you say ‘Are the people who write for Mondoweiss not capable of holding others to the same standard?’ what others might you be referring to? by the standard you’ve mentioned.”

        annie, I’m referring to Alice Walker when I say “others”. My point is that if the authors of this blog’s articles can write devastating critiques without resorting to inflammatory falsehoods, then I hope that they wouldn’t try to explain away anything that falls so far below that standard as Walker’s poem.

      • annie
        annie on December 31, 2018, 10:49 pm

        barry, just to be clear, do you mean you think Sarah Schulman in her article has fallen short? or Yoav Litvin? or that we have fallen short by publishing their articles. or that we as a site phil, adam, someone on staff should write a stronger denunciation? is this what you mean by “not capable of”?

        because i can assure you there are many many things we fall short on, we just do not have time to cover every single event or aspect or controversy [thankfully we certainly cover much more when our supporters/ readers donate] and absolutely do completely rely on our contributors who feel inspired to write about topics and the goings on of the time. i can’t (and don’t) speak for the staff but for myself, i don’t dig much into topics that contain a religious component nor feel qualified to write about them. nor do i think we have an obligation to solicit whatever kind of standard you’re referencing. i think people may be all over the map on this one. references to david icke, whom i don’t read, and lizard people, my mind just goes straight to scientology because don’t they also have some sort of reptile thing going on? seriously, my mind checks out. there’s only so much time in my day. this is not a story i have followed closely nor really care to. it’s fine for me that the people who get really offended by this speak their mind, but it’s not something that calls to me. i’m sure walker is a flawed human being, however, i sort of love her with a capital L. so it won’t be me calling her to a higher standard. not when there are warriors out there who know hella more about this topic than i do (i’m not a christian either). maybe you should write something yourself and send it to mondoweiss as a submission.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 10:00 pm

        @ Annie –
        I can see where the last sentence needs clarification.

        This was to say that I think right-wing crazies draw strength from the mainstreaming of racist ideas. What the president says matters; what any public figure says matters. In that sense, Alice Walker repeating Christian anti-Semitic ideas is dangerous. Also, the danger is less obvious and therefore is that more dangerous than the much more publicized and better understood racism on the right.

        And, as I wrote in the quote you copied here (and as I wrote several times elsewhere on this thread), of course: “right wing anti-Semitism is far more dangerous than its left wing variety” because of the violent track record and general odious worldview of the extreme right.

      • annie
        annie on December 31, 2018, 11:20 pm

        What the president says matters; what any public figure says matters. In that sense, Alice Walker repeating Christian anti-Semitic ideas is dangerous. Also, the danger is less obvious and therefore is that more dangerous than the much more publicized and better understood racism on the right.

        it’s sort of hard to make the argument racism on the right is much more publicized when public figures, think tanks, and government funded org and the israel ministry of foreign affairs as well as the ministry of strategic affairs have multi million dollar campaigns going off the rails about left wing anti semitism with an all too pliant press willing to quote them incessantly as they did all over national tv after the pittsburgh massacre.

        also, this was a one liner in a nyt article when she responded honestly to what was on her bedside table. a mere fraction of americans would have even known who david icke was (he is not well known or a public figure here) had the wolves not started howling. so please, don’t try to convince me alice walker is the president, or that her mention of some obscure book would have moved mountains had not a segment of the jewish community started banging the drums. i get it, it’s very real for you. but something like this just goes over my head w/the gravity of “superbugs” and viruses resistance to antibiotics spreading in gaza and the west bank. no, i don’t think there are lizards running the world right next door letting this run rampant who have the capacity to end this disaster lickity split with all their high tech cutting edge best of the everything brilliance. but somebody is. i wish the wolves would howl about that instead.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on December 31, 2018, 10:45 pm

        Xpat: “No links. No evidence. Pure slander.”

        By the way. Could you link/quote one of Icke’s statements which are allegedly antisemitic?

        Xpat: “Well-organized and well-funded.”David Icke couldn’t have said it any better.”

        Yes, yes. I’m sure that he very well knows that contrary to the wicked goyim Jews are incapable of organizing themselves and finding resources, especially for the purpose of smearing anyone as antisemitic who rejects the Apartheid state of Israel, supports BDS or simply dislikes reptilian aliens. But what if it was actually him who coined the term “Jewish National Fund” only to create hatred against reptilian aliens?

        Do you think that he is also behind articles like “The Israeli government is paying for anti-BDS journalism” or “European parties urged to agree Israel boycott tactics are antisemitic “?

        Xpat: “I get why the anti-Semites demand that Jews not have concern for other Jews …”

        It’s worse. They demand Jews should not only have concern for other Jews, but also for the goyim. Can you believe it? Being primarily a human being amongst others and only after that a Jew?

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 11:14 pm

        @ Talkback:

        “Xpat: “No links. No evidence. Pure slander.”

        By the way. Could you link/quote one of Icke’s statements which are allegedly antisemitic?”

        Since you make wild accusations against me with no evidence the fact the you cannot challenge my charge of anti-Semitic slander against others is a welcome concession.

        On the second point, if you are seriously defending David Icke against the accusation of anti-Semitism then you can argue that point with someone else. And, yes, I posted a list elsewhere on this thread.

        And to end on a happy note – happy New Year to all!

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 11:21 pm

        @ Annie –
        Thank you for your work as a moderator. If these are the comments that get approved I can only imagine the kind of comments you have to read and remove. So, much appreciation for keeping the comment section going.
        I thought Sarah Schulman’s piece had problems – but that’s exactly what the comments section is for.
        Finally, I second your call for Barry2 to write articles. You are thoughtful and articulate. You are gracious even when under unfair attack and you have heart. If you welcome suggestions, I’d be interested for starters in your story of transformation from Zionist to activist.
        Happy New Year!

      • annie
        annie on December 31, 2018, 11:35 pm

        xpat, what a very sweet comment, thank you! btw, i am not the moderator here and simply speaking as an individual when i comment on the threads. happy new year to you too!

        and to everyone, happy new year!

        i never transformed from a zionist to an activist (never been a zionist). but there are two articles that show my history and how i came into the movement. this one, the trap, which i think was my first article for mondoweiss https://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/the-trap/ (and my position has somewhat changed since then), and this one which was actually a response to an email from phil that he asked if he could publish called annie’s awakening: https://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/annies-awakenings/

        both from 2010.

      • Xpat
        Xpat on December 31, 2018, 11:33 pm

        @ Annie –
        I’m with you on that. I spoke out publicly after the Pittsburgh massacre against the disgusting co-opting of that tragedy by the Zionist machine to attack BDS. I have written repeatedly against the general campaign to weaponize anti-Semitism against Palestinian solidarity.
        So, I agree that this Alice Walker thing should not have been so big. JVP put it to rest beautifully in a tweet of less than 140 characters.
        It’s only become a thread of 120+ comments because the Alice Walker episode has brought to the surface the ugly face of left wing anti-Semitism here in the Mondoweiss comment section.

        Your comment that the Alice Walker fracas was stirred up by rightwingers is true. I find it disturbing for the opposite reason. The poem is indeed anti-Semitic and her endorsement of Icke is certainly not limited to her nightstand reading stack on a chance day. Just looks at her website over the years. What’s disturbing to me is how all this anti-Semitism craziness hid in plain sight for so long. I disagree with Litvin that she was shielded because she supports BDS. I do think she was shielded because of the place she occupies in the hearts of many for her life work.
        Perhaps the Left does need the Right to expose our flaws.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 12:16 pm

        ” the ugly face of left wing anti-Semitism here in the Mondoweiss comment section”

        You must mean “progressive anti-semitism”. We don’t have much of a “left wing” in the US. Not like Israel’s left wing, anyway.

        So, for a confused American Jew like me (who hasn’t moved to Israel and become a “pro-Palestinian activist” like you) please tell me, which organization, or organizations, would you say best exemplifies “left-wing anti-semitism?” Just so I’ll know what you are talking about.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 1, 2019, 1:23 pm

        “Yes, Mooser, the Israeli military…” “Barry2”

        Oh well, in a military dictatorship civilians or even the civil government has very little choice concerning what the military does. Even in a Jewish military dictatorship.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 1, 2019, 2:12 pm

        Xpat: “It’s only become a thread of 120+ comments because the Alice Walker episode has brought to the surface the ugly face of left wing anti-Semitism here in the Mondoweiss comment section.”

        Really? It seems that the great deal of comments are responses to repetitive ugly accusations of racism and antisemitism.

        Show me one single comment that defames Jews as such. Just one! Whether in the comment section, in Walker’s “poem” or even in Icke’s reptilian alien fantasy. I will gladly admit that I’m wrong, if this is not the case of your own “No links. No evidence. Pure slander.”.

        And what is “left wing anti-Semitism”? And what makes it “left wing”? Either a comment defames Jews as such or it doesn’t. No need to invent multiple categories of ludicrous accusations.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 2, 2019, 8:41 am

        Xpat: “Since you make wild accusations against me with no evidence …”

        What wild accusations? Is this more slander from your side?

        Xpat: “… the fact the you cannot challenge my charge of anti-Semitic slander against others …”

        I challenged it by asking you to prove your charge. Which you obviously cannot. It may be different in an Israeli military court, but in a state under the rule of law you have to prove your charge. Otherwise it is slander.

        Xpat: “… is a welcome concession …”

        Now that’s really twisted and a pathetic case of self-righteousness. ROFL.

        Xpat: “On the second point, if you are seriously defending David Icke against the accusation of anti-Semitism then you can argue that point with someone else. And, yes, I posted a list elsewhere on this thread.”

        So you can’t simply quote one statement by Icke that defames Jews as such?! What’s with Walker?

        Can you give a rational definition of antisemitism (and not a Zionist wishlist)? Do you actually understand what antisemitism is at its core?

  10. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on December 30, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Walker’s ‘Talmud’ poem needs, I think, to be read alongside her print-published ‘The Slain Children of Palestine hold Council in Paradise’, which begins with an image I found astonishingly powerful, with the damaged dead putting themselves together again amid rueful thoughts.
    The rest of that poem seemed to be holding back somehow from saying what it wanted to say about how the people responsible salve their consciences, which is a logically linked topic. That the salve comes at least partially from religion and from religion at least partly influenced by the Talmud, which is at least partly morally flawed, is what she adds by means of the Talmud poem, available only electronically.
    A further implicit but unmistakable premise in her mind is that the sheer horror of what the first poem mentions demands that we face up to topics we would rather not pursue, which she takes to imply that the comfortable and familiar disparagement of religion in general is not enough.
    I’m not wholly persuaded by this whole line of argument but it seems to me to owe nothing to any outrageous premise or to any prejudice in general against people who are Jewish, though it does express extreme distress at the things that some people who are Jewish are engaged in doing, which is very much and absolutely different.

    • Xpat
      Xpat on December 30, 2018, 4:48 pm

      @MHughes –
      Why do you feel it necessary to understand Alice Walker’s anti-Jewish/pro-Christian poem or explain her motives? Why does she feel the need to pin Zionism on the Talmud (the least Zionist part of Judaism)? Her motives may be noble or not, what matters are the words she writes and the arguments she advances. Juxtaposition does not wipe that away.

      Being a powerful voice for Palestinian suffering does not justify repeating anti-Semitic arguments. Farrakhan’s work on behalf of Muslims does not justify his anti-Semitism. LGBTQ activism does not whitewash Israel’s crimes.

      “I’m not wholly persuaded by this whole line of argument but it seems to me to owe nothing to any outrageous premise or to any prejudice in general against people who are Jewish, though it does express extreme distress at the things that some people who are Jewish are engaged in doing, which is very much and absolutely different.”

      I’m sure Farrakhan feels extreme distress at the plight of Blacks on the South Side of Chicago and many White neo-Nazis feel great distress at the suffering of White working class folk whose jobs have gone to Mexican immigrants and their communities have been laid to waste. If the argument doesn’t work for them why should it work for anybody else, including AW. I’m curious to know what your reservations are regarding this argument. To me, the flaw is that maligning part of a group is no less racist than going after everyone in the group. Saying that some Blacks/Muslims/gays/whatever are ok while other Blacks/Muslims/gays/whatever hold inherently Black/Muslim/gay/whatever inherited inherent faults is absolutely not cool. David Icke, whom we both acknowledge is a racist, makes a point of saying some Jews are ok (which is where AW must have gotten the evidence to declare that he is not an anti-Semite). I’m sure some of his best friends are Jews too.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on December 30, 2018, 7:01 pm

        “makes a point of saying some Jews are ok”

        Well, I used to think I was okay until I got these psoriasis episodes. Now I know what heartbreak is.

  11. wondering jew
    wondering jew on January 1, 2019, 9:19 pm

    To attribute the cruelty of the nakba (to pick a crucial event) to the Talmud’s statements regarding children is just plain nuts.

    The nakba had more to do with colonialism and the book of Joshua than it had to do with the Talmud. And to introduce the Talmud in the way that Alice Walker does is a sign of a sick mind and to deal with her statements disregarding the self evident disease is to be blind to the major fact. The woman is sick. There is a question beyond economics and that is human mental health and this woman is mentally ill and the disease is called antisemitism.

    • eljay
      eljay on January 1, 2019, 10:11 pm

      || wondering jew: To attribute the cruelty of the nakba (to pick a crucial event) to the Talmud’s statements regarding children is just plain nuts.

      The nakba had more to do with colonialism and the book of Joshua than it had to do with the Talmud. … The woman is sick. There is a question beyond economics and that is human mental health and this woman is mentally ill and the disease is called antisemitism. ||

      Alice Walker is sick – mentally ill – with anti-Semitism. OK. What is the name for the sickness – the mental illness – that afflicts Zionist Jews and makes them believe that their religion-based identity entitles them:
      – to be supremacists;
      – to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”; and
      – to do unto others all manner of “necessary evil” – such as “the cruelty of the nakba” – that they would not have others do unto them?

    • Mooser
      Mooser on January 2, 2019, 12:59 pm

      “The nakba had more to do with colonialism and the book of Joshua than it had to do with the Talmud.” “WJ”

      Well, isn’t that a comforting bit of information! So we have no need to reference obscure texts since the central text supports Zionism and its Nakba. Okay

    • Talkback
      Talkback on January 2, 2019, 2:02 pm

      wondering jew: “To attribute the cruelty of the nakba (to pick a crucial event) to the Talmud’s statements regarding children is just plain nuts.”

      Nobody did that. Not even Walker. So much for being “nuts”.

      wondering jew: “The woman is sick. There is a question beyond economics and that is human mental health and this woman is mentally ill and the disease is called antisemitism.”

      Yes, yes, we all know the pattern. The real crime is to talk about Israel’s crimes. And the real sickness is to talk about the Talmud. Of course she is much sicker than the sickest parts of the Talmud, isn’t she? And after 1945 antisemitism has been far worse than what Jews do to Palestinians, isn’t it?

      But where and how did she defame Jews as such? She didn’t.

      So much for being “sick” and “mentally ill”.

  12. Barry2
    Barry2 on January 2, 2019, 9:29 am

    eljay – “What is the name for the sickness – the mental illness – that afflicts Zionist Jews and makes them believe that their religion-based identity entitles them:
    – to be supremacists;
    – to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”; and
    – to do unto others all manner of “necessary evil” – such as “the cruelty of the nakba” – that they would not have others do unto them?”

    For many Zionists, it just seems to be denial and defense mechanisms, plus cult dynamics. “We’re good; they’re bad; therefore, we can’t be doing what they’re saying we are.” “Oh, they fled in ’48 because the Mufti told them to, so that the Arab armies could wipe us out.” And so on. When you’re brought up to be a Zionist, and the indoctrination and warm feelings start when you’re too young to think rationally, you really don’t want to give it all up. And cult dynamics are in play, the way that Jews are told that enemies are all around them, including self-hating Jews, so the thing to do is to shut down the criticism, rather than listen to it. With all of that keeping most Zionists in line, I think it takes a relatively small number of people to actually be knowingly doing the dirty work. I’m not saying this to excuse this complacency or minimize its consequences; I personally stopped being a Zionist after a teenage study tour of Israel made it hard for me to ignore what was going on. (The tour was religious and Zionist, but not carefully controlled like the Birthright Tours.)

    • eljay
      eljay on January 2, 2019, 10:00 am

      || Barry2: … For many Zionists, it just seems to be denial and defense mechanisms, plus cult dynamics. … When you’re brought up to be a Zionist, and the indoctrination and warm feelings start when you’re too young to think rationally, you really don’t want to give it all up. And cult dynamics are in play, the way that Jews are told that enemies are all around them, including self-hating Jews, so the thing to do is to shut down the criticism, rather than listen to it. With all of that keeping most Zionists in line, I think it takes a relatively small number of people to actually be knowingly doing the dirty work. … ||

      Thanks, Barry2. I agree with your comment. But I’m still curious to know what name wondering jew (a.k.a., yonah fredman) will give to the sickness – the mental illness – that afflicts him and his fellow supremacists.

      • Eva Smagacz
        Eva Smagacz on January 3, 2019, 10:26 am

        Eljay, you said :

        “[…] But I’m still curious to know what name wondering jew (a.k.a., yonah fredman) will give to the sickness – the mental illness – that afflicts him and his fellow supremacists.”

        Not sure what Barry would say, but this is a psychological condition of loosing some of the sense of self as a price of being accepted to a tribe. Being part of a tribe is on continuum between ruthless individualism and total submission to a cult – group think is encouraged and critical thinking and questioning the orthodoxy is getting one shunned. 193/209

        .

        .individualism – friendship – family – society – nation – ethno-religious grouping – tribe – cult

      • catalan
        catalan on January 3, 2019, 1:30 pm

        “Being part of a tribe is on continuum between ruthless individualism and total submission to a cult” Eva
        You would really not like living in New Mexico – we have at least thirty Indian tribes here. Now, my personal experiences with tribal people have always been stellar; although they can be reclusive and look with disdain at whites. For instance, my son’s best friend is Indian and I don’t think her parents want her to be friends with non Indians.
        As to cults – to me BDS is the very definition of a cult – it’s adherents believe that abstaining from Nestle Crunch and Pepsi will lead Israel to abandon Beersheva and let 14 million hostile Muslim refugees in. That makes the beliefs of Christianity about Jesus and heaven actually seem plausible.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 3, 2019, 3:41 pm

        catalan: “As to cults – to me BDS is the very definition of a cult – it’s adherents believe that abstaining from Nestle Crunch and Pepsi will lead Israel to abandon Beersheva and let 14 million hostile Muslim refugees in.”

        After all this time you are either too stupid, too dishonest or both while talking about BDS goals. And the fact that you call “14” million refugees “hostile” is nothing else than your own, blatant racism equivalent to the worst antisemites in history. You are a prime example of your Zionist cult.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on January 3, 2019, 6:32 pm

        Zionism and the degree of health or unhealth that I attribute to it depends on an external variable: time.

        Say it’s 1935 and you live in Poland and you are a Zionist- meaning that you wish to move to Palestine as enabled by the British Mandate and the Jewish Agency. That is not a sickness, but a sign of health. (Could be interpreted as mere luck, for if the Nazis had not been stopped in North Africa, this choice of destination would not have availed. But in fact it did avail.) For a Jew to fear for his/her life in Europe in 1935 was prescient and wise and to choose to leave was wise and the options were not plentiful and Zion or Eretz Israel, or Palestine was a very fortuitous choice.

        Say it’s 1946 and you live in a DP camp in Germany and you are a Zionist- meaning, your destination of preference is not USA but rather Palestine, this indicates something beyond a mere survival instinct, it indicates a devotion to the group. Is it unhealthy to be devoted to a group when group loyalty might lead to death? Maybe. But when considering the wide varieties on the spectrum of reactions to the 1939-1945 period of “unfriendliness”, we must note the extremes that exist on this spectrum. Madeline Albright’s parents never telling her that she was born Jewish or that they were Jewish before they converted, indicates to me that though the survival element is not predominant, that the national instinct varies from person to person and for some, the sooner they could deny their Jewish roots the better and for others an adherence to Jewish roots was the response to the catastrophe, so I do not consider it unhealthy per se, but rather a matter of choice, choosing the group as something that should be preserved. Maybe Albright’s parents were on the “healthier” path, but I do not consider clinging to identity to spite Hitler to be a disease.
        Since 1946 the time element has changed and it is no longer right after Hitler, but 73- 74 years after Hitler, so while a reaction of a displaced person in 1946 making that choice might seem reasonable, even if it was not the most popular choice, in 2019 for some Jew to choose to move to Israel is not as clear as the type of choice faced by someone in 1946. The passage of time seems to indicate that taking upon oneself Jewish nationalistic feelings partly engendered by the recent “unfriendliness” of 1946 does not quite make the same sort of sense in 2019 when one has lived in America for generations. Europe circa 1939 or 1946 and America circa 2019 are two very different situations and an inability to separate between the two indicates a hostility not borne out by history and attributable to a slanted education.

        There is of course another difference between 2019 and 1947: the cruelty that Zionism has shown in the harm that it has caused to the Palestinians is clear today in a way that it was not clear back in 1947.

        The willingness to cause harm to colonized peoples is not unique to Zionism and the ideations of otherness and “savages” and “primitives” that were involved in other colonial movements are being repeated in Zionism. It is not necessarily a healthy form of hatred, but in a way it is straight forward.

        Unlike antisemitism of Alice Walker’s with its, ooh, the secret Talmud and a secret conspiracy and child molesters and the feeding tributary of our collective unconscious. This hidden conspiracy theory hatred of the Jews might not be any more harmful to the Jews than “primitives” and “savages” is to the Palestinians or other colonized peoples, but it is contused and confused and it is indicative of a sick mind. I suppose any rejection of others is in a way natural (social scientists and historians indicate that intolerance to those outside the group is in fact part of human history and human nature despite our desire to believe it’s an anomaly) and to oppose the Jews rather than to oppose the natives is similar in that both are opposition to an other, and the specifics of conspiracy theory or out and out: “savages” are just different ways to express different intolerances. Nonetheless the convoluted nature of Jew hatred strikes me as somehow weirder than the straightforward dehumanization of “savages”. But both lead to murder and other forms of harm and so, the sickness of the hatred is mostly to be found in its products and one must consider war and hatred and murder to be “unhealthy” and so the hatred, no matter how straightforward must be viewed as a sickness.

        One other point: Many years ago I heard a stat that has stuck with me: Whites who suffer from anti black racial hatred in America (as a disease) are people who have trouble dealing with their ids, whereas those who suffer from antiJewish racial hatred (as part of their psyches) are people who have trouble dealing with their superegos.

        (I do not think group identity is in itself diseased. Quite often it is quite useful and quite often it is very natural. Because of the riches of the Talmud and Tanach and Jewish tradition including the last few hundred years of heresies, dissensions and multiple opinions and reactions, I do not consider devotion to the Jewish nation to be diseased, but wise. But when carried too far as a creed of separation, I consider it not so wise and in fact backward. And in the case of the constant wars of Israel, I do not consider that wise, but in fact backward.)

      • eljay
        eljay on January 3, 2019, 6:35 pm

        || Eva Smagacz: Eljay, you said :

        “[…] But I’m still curious to know what name wondering jew (a.k.a., yonah fredman) will give to the sickness – the mental illness – that afflicts him and his fellow supremacists.”

        Not sure what Barry would say, but this is a psychological condition of loosing some of the sense of self as a price of being accepted to a tribe. … ||

        I appreciate the comment, Eva, but I’m very much interested in hearing what y.f. has to say.

        He had no trouble identifying and naming the sickness – the mental illness – that afflicts Alice Walker: Anti-Semitism. I’m curious to know if he can just as easily identify and name the sickness – the mental illness – that afflicts Zionist Jews, causing them to believe they are entitled to be supremacists and to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 3, 2019, 8:32 pm

        “Zionism and…/…fact backward”

        Thirty-two clicks, “Yonah”!

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 4, 2019, 12:22 am

        wondering jew,

        I can definitely understand wanting to use Palestine as an escape route from Europe during the Nazi period. There are even Palestinians who understand that. But Zionism didn’t start nobly and then become monstrous later on; the flaws were present from the start. One could certainly be an idealistic Zionist at many times during the history of Zionism and Israel, but the enterprise has always required people who recognized that the Arab population has stood in the way of a Jewish state.

        I think that we’ve gone overboard in questioning people’s mental health here. I saw some justification for doing so when a certain person kept claiming that my comments here were disingenuous and part of a coordinated effort. But in general, we’re not going to bridge any differences by applying psychiatric labels to people whose statements we don’t like. I realize that some of this may just be ideological jousting, but the intentions behind people’s remarks are harder to read online than in real life.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 4, 2019, 5:52 am

        @ Wondering Jew

        It’s not the case that Palestine was the first choice for Jews, expecially after 1933 and the Holocaust. It was the United States. It was the Zionist’s first choice who did everything to ensure that Jewish refugees ended up in Palestine and nowhere else. But it’s even worse:

        “In the beginning of February, 1943, Yitzchak Greenbaum [who would be honored by becoming the first interior minister of the Apartheid Junta] addressed a meeting in Tel Aviv on the subject, “The Diaspora and the Redemption” in which he stated: “For the rescue of Jews in the Diaspora, we should consolidate our excess strength and the surplus of powers that we have. When they come to us with two plans–the rescue of the masses of Jews in Europe or the redemption of the land–I vote, without a second thought, for the redemption of the land. The more said about the slaughter of our people, the greater the minimization of our efforts to strengthen and promote the Hebraization of the land. If there would be a possibility today of buying packages of food with the money of the “Keren Hayesod” (United Jewish Appeal) to send it through Lisbon, would we do such a thing? No! and once again No!” (Holocaust Victims Accuse, p. 26)

        Gruenbaum’s response to the plea of Rabbi Yitzhak Itshe Meir Levin, a leader of the Ultra-orthodox Agudat Yisrael who stated, “Take the Jewish National Fund money…won’t you halt the work in Palestine during such a period, when they are murdering, slaughtering Jews by the hundreds of thousands, even millions? Don’t establish new settlements, take the money for those needs.” Greenbaum responded: “. . . . Let them say that I am anti-Semitic….Let them say what they want. I will not demand that the Jewish Agency allocate of a sum of 300,000 or 100,000 pounds sterling to help European Jewry. And I think that whoever demands such things is performing an anti-Zionist act.”

        (January 18, 1943, Yitzhak Gruenbaum and Others at the Zionist Executive Committee; Gruenbaum, Days of Destruction, p.68)

        In his book, “In Days of Holocaust and Destruction,” Yitzchak Greenbaum writes, “when they asked me, couldn’t you give money out of the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe, I said, ‘NO!’ and I say again, ‘NO!’…one should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance.”
        (Holocaust Victims Accuse, p. 26)
        http://www.truetorahjews.org/gruenbaum

        So much for “mental illness”.

        wondering jew: “The willingness to cause harm to colonized peoples is not unique to Zionism and the ideations of otherness and “savages” and “primitives” that were involved in other colonial movements are being repeated in Zionism.”

        Sure, but these harms are done and justified even in the post-colonial and post-Nazi era, because the idea of people being subhuman doesn’t seem to be restricted to Jewish colonialization, but seems to be one of the main issues in Judaism/Jewish identity from the very beginning until now. (Which doesn’t mean that Jews as such embrace these Herrenvolk ideas.)

        wondering Jew: “Unlike antisemitism of Alice Walker’s with its, ooh, the secret Talmud and a secret conspiracy and child molesters and the feeding tributary of our collective unconscious.”

        Nowhere did Walker defame Jews as such or claimed that Jews as such would follow the inhumane, anti-gentile position of the Talmud which is neither a secret nor a secret conspiracy theory, but out in the open. (And again, child molestation of girls under the age of three is not punishable according to the Talmud.) It’s actually hilarious that you claim that the book of Joshua is a “feeding tributary of our collectice unconscious”, but denies, that other parts of Jewish scriptures which contain the idea of supremacy and even became the source of Jewish law is not.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 4, 2019, 2:38 pm

        Talkback,

        Oy vey. Zionism is bad enough without claims that it helped the Nazis slaughter Jews. I’ve heard the claim once or twice before, but not from anyone worth believing. (The one person I remember was also claiming that our friends were conspiring against us.) Do you have any references on this coming from reliable sources? It’s such an unlikely and offensive claim that it’s really not worth touching without unimpeachable evidence.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 4, 2019, 5:19 pm

        Talkback: “It was the Zionist’s first choice who did everything to ensure that Jewish refugees ended up in Palestine and nowhere else.”
        Barry2: “Zionism is bad enough without claims that it helped the Nazis slaughter Jews.”

        Get well soon, Barry2.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 4, 2019, 8:05 pm

        Talkback,

        Last time I checked, “Get well soon, Barry2.” wasn’t a citation to a reputable source.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 5, 2019, 5:17 am

        Barry2: “Last time I checked, “Get well soon, Barry2.” wasn’t a citation to a reputable source.”

        Last time I checked, your claim of what I wrote had nothing to do with what I actually wrote. It was so highly distorted that I assumed that you may have fever or are in some kind of dilirium. So I repeated what I wrote in my previous comment, but you still insist. It seems you won’t get well soon with this severe kind of mental blackout, Barry2.

    • Keith
      Keith on January 2, 2019, 10:36 am

      BARRY2- “And cult dynamics are in play, the way that Jews are told that enemies are all around them, including self-hating Jews, so the thing to do is to shut down the criticism, rather than listen to it.”

      Priceless!

    • annie
      annie on January 2, 2019, 12:58 pm

      great comment barry

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 2, 2019, 1:10 pm

        I agree.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 2, 2019, 1:19 pm

        Thanks, annie.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 2, 2019, 2:11 pm

        Thanks, Talkback.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on January 2, 2019, 1:05 pm

      “For many Zionists, it just seems to be…/…like the Birthright Tours.” “Barry2”

      As fine an example of “left-wing antisemitism” as you’re likely to see these days.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 2, 2019, 2:16 pm

        Just calling it as I see it, Mooser. I’m still friendly with many of these people (though not anyone who’s called me a self-hating Jew). I’m just a thorn in their sides when it comes to Zionism.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 2, 2019, 4:02 pm

        “I’m still friendly with many of these people” “Barry2”

        I was hoping you knew what “left wing antisemitism” is, even tho it seems to be “Xpat’s” pet term. Do you know what he is on about with this “left wing antisemitism”?

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 2, 2019, 11:37 pm

        Mooser,

        The thread referring to “left-wing antisemitism” hasn’t caught my interest, so I wasn’t able to tell what you were referring to or whether your comment was tongue in cheek. Assuming that anyone other than the moderator has read all of the comments on this post is assuming a lot. But feel free to give me the Cliff Notes version ;-)

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 3, 2019, 3:53 pm

        “The thread referring to “left-wing antisemitism” hasn’t caught my interest” “Barry2”

        That’s odd, it’s this very thread, just scroll up to posts by “Xpat” Of course, “Xpat” is an Israeli-American citizen, IDF vet, and lately, “pro-Palestinian activist”, so he may have a lot of insight into the problem, but I mostly just wondered if anybody else had heard of it.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 3, 2019, 11:20 pm

        Mooser,

        Whatever thread “left-wing antisemitism” got mentioned in, I considered the term itself a new branch of the discussion.

      • annie
        annie on January 4, 2019, 2:36 am

        “left-wing antisemitism” … I considered the term.. a new branch

        it may have reached its zenith during farrakhan-gate, and he isn’t even left wing. but it drove the point home anyway. choose your battles wisely, lest one risks diluting the waters.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 4, 2019, 4:49 am

        “Left-wing antisemitism” is antisemitism coming from someone who is left wing. For example if someone makes Jews AS SUCH responsible for (the crimes of) global capitialism, inequality, social injustice, inhumanity and any other violation of “left” values.

        In the case of Walker she could be accused of spreading antisemitism, if she defames Jews as such to explain the cruelty of some Jews against Gentiles, especially. But she never defamed Jews as such or claimed that Jews as such would implement inhumane anti-Gentile parts of the Talmud, especially against Palestinians.

        So whenever the word “left wing antisemitism” occurs, almost all of the times is not used to defend Jews as such, but Israel and its atrocities. And as always someone who abuses this term spreads antisemitism by inherently conflating some Jewish deviants (in Israel) with Jews as such exactly the same way antisemites do.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 4, 2019, 12:23 pm

        “Whatever thread “left-wing antisemitism” got mentioned in, I considered the term itself a new branch of the discussion.” “Barry2”

        Friend, either you’re closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of ‘left-wing anti-Semitism’ in your community!
        Well, we’ve got tsuris, my friend, right here. Tsuris with a capital “T”. Which rhymes with “P”, which stands for ‘pinko’.

      • Barry2
        Barry2 on January 4, 2019, 2:28 pm

        Mooser, I’m not buying your stinking band uniforms ;-)

    • Mooser
      Mooser on January 3, 2019, 5:05 pm

      “You are a prime example of your Zionist cult” “Talkback” 3:41

      But as “catalan” will tell us, ‘it was Mondo which made “catalan” into a Zionist!’
      He never had the slightest interest in the subject until he found Mondo. And was so shocked by what he saw. So it’s not his fault, it’s Mondo’s!

      (Sorry about the ‘nesting’ of this comment)

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 3, 2019, 6:15 pm

        Psychopaths are not born, they are made.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot on January 4, 2019, 6:35 am

        Psychopaths are not born, they are made.

        Actual psychopaths are born, not made. But ideologies can be psychopathic, like the economic ideology that if you restrict yourself to pursuing your own perceived interest as hard as you can then it’s better for everyone. And organisations can be psychopatic, such as corporations where it is your duty towards the shareholders to pursue financial gain at the expense of everything else. In that sense psychopaths are made, or maybe not even really made, they can be temporary roles to play

  13. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz on January 2, 2019, 9:29 am

    Blast, touched a live wire again. 191/207

    • Keith
      Keith on January 2, 2019, 10:42 am

      EVA SMAGACZ- “Blast, touched a live wire again. 191/207”

      You are lucky, I touched three in a row!

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 3, 2019, 12:23 am

        A mere three? I am little more than a smoking cinder.

      • Keith
        Keith on January 3, 2019, 10:58 am

        ROHA- “I am little more than a smoking cinder.”

        A situation which apparently provides some measure of satisfaction. Shall we roll you over?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 3, 2019, 8:15 pm

        In the clover?

    • Danaa
      Danaa on January 2, 2019, 4:06 pm

      You can blame me (in part! not in whole). I fanned the flames, I think.

      All in all, it’s a comment thread almost like we used to see in the good old days, don’t you think? Full of sparks (are you OK? not in the emergency room, I hope?)

  14. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz on January 2, 2019, 10:34 am

    So, moving on to ….. David Icke. He is a beautiful example of delusional disorder at it’s most spectacular.

    Everything is connected and every connection has a hidden meaning, which he can clearly see and he has been called to reveal to the world. He is King of conspiracy theories.

    He is a “prophet” for our times – he sees all and wonders in wilderness with a bunch of followers, not to be heard or understood. For few, he offers some meaning – to those who feel without control over their lives, as religions vacated the job of giving comfort to our place in world pecking order and conspiracy theories are replacing the void.

    If David Icke does not suit, you can go to TED talk by James Glattfelder.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/james_b_glattfelder_who_controls_the_world

    192/208

  15. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on January 2, 2019, 11:16 am

    I often borrow Yonah’s phrase about Zionism’s ‘cruel vector’ and I think it is the observation that this vector is making its way relentlessly forward rather than any idea, prior to observation of Zionism, that Jews are bad (anti-S) that is the premise of her argument. There is every diffference to objecting to people who do bad things, ie objecting for a reason, whether or not they are in fact X, and objecting to them because they are X without reason and because of prejudice. A conscience salve does not have to work by encouraging specific behaviour, it – assuring people that they are basically good, rational or god fearing may well do the job. Walker thinks that the Talmud is part of the conscience salve behind the ‘slaying of the children’ and she thinks that she can expose what she thinks is its unworthiness to be
    the guide of life, therefore reducing the comfort of those who have slain the children. That isn’t illogical.
    I think it more logical in its way than the attitude expressed in Kirsch’s 2015 article which I mentioned above where Talmudic sexual morality is said to be outdated – and the outdatedness is perceptively explained – but the text is still read devotionally.
    I think it much more logical than Schulman’s demand for an objection to all religion rather than this religion. For one thing, belief in higher or supreme beings does not in itself have the specific effects to which Walker effects.
    As you well say, Yonah,, there is at very least as good reason to interrogate the Tanakh. If she hesitates at that point because the Tanakh is also a Christian sacred text that would be a mistake.
    Religious polemic is indeed a very dangerous genre. But there is the problem of those slain children, as Walker has noticed.
    Happy New Year to all of all views on religious matters.

  16. W.Jones
    W.Jones on May 13, 2019, 12:18 pm

    Sarah Schulman writes:

    By looking to the Jewish religion as the source of Israeli cruelty, Walker is making two significant errors. 1. Pathologizing Judaism itself, instead of the larger problem of religions in general and how they are used to justify supremacy ideology. and 2. Ascribing religion as the central motive for apartheid when many Jews who support the Zionist state are not religious, and many Jews who stand with Palestine are religious.

    Let me address this:
    1. The reason why Walker suggests a critical study of rabbinical Judaism in this context is that while religions in general can pose humanitarian problems depending on the religion (eg. Wahhabi Islam vs. pacifist Quakerism), the religion of the ruling state under discussion is rabbinical Judaism.

    2. Walker did not say that religion was the central motive, but rather she openly asked, “Where to find that part Of the puzzle that is missing?” Walker is liberal and humanitarian, whereas certainly anti-humanitarian, brutal colonialist attitudes are a key motive in the oppression. But Walker has trouble understanding why her normally liberal friend who she introduced in the poem’s beginning objected to her activism on this topic. She is essentially asking why would such normally liberal, anti-colonialist, anti-racist people take a strangely opposite position on this particular question?

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