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Poof! One day in occupation causes young Jews on Zionist tour to question Zionism — ‘NYT’ reports

Media Analysis

We are as critical of the New York Times as anyone, but we need to salute the superb report in the newspaper by David Halbfinger on a liberal Zionist trip for American Jews to see the occupation. Titled, “Touring the Israeli Occupation: Young U.S. Jews Get an Unflinching View,” the July 10 article offered horrifying glimpses of Palestinian conditions in Susiya and Hebron that left the young Jews staggered.

The article was about a very lukewarm tour of the occupation indeed, by the Zionist group J Street, which wants the visitors to engage in Israel advocacy back home, and wants to influence the more rightwing Jewish trips to Israel, notably Birthright, to stop off in Palestine.

But the thrust of the article was that one day’s exposure to the desolation of occupation caused two young Jews to question Zionism itself.

As the day grew long, the facial expressions more pained and the questions more anguished, the J Street tour seemed increasingly incompatible with Birthright’s goal of hooking young American Jews on Israel.

By dinnertime, two participants said they were reconsidering their belief in a Jewish state. Jesse Steshenko, 19, of Santa Cruz, Calif., who has a Star of David tattooed on his right wrist, said he was “disgusted” with Israel’s government.

“I came in here a very ardent Zionist,” he said. “You never know when a Holocaust might happen again. Yet, coming here, I’m starting to doubt whether a two-state solution is possible — and whether Zionism is even worth pursuing anymore.”

As for Liyah Foye, 19, a senior at UNC-Asheville: “what she saw on Sunday overwhelmed her: ‘My joy and my light shouldn’t be coming from someone else’s darkness,’ she said.”

Halbfinger chose a very Zionist Jewish lens for his tour, of course, and endeavored to undo some of his damage by suggesting the trip had “blindsided” the young Jews with the occupation. It goes without saying that the Times is very late to this story. Brief exposure to the Israeli occupation for both of us 13 years ago and more transformed our work as journalists. There’s nothing like seeing Jim Crow with your own two eyes. A friend who just returned from the Eyewitness Palestine trip to Palestine says that there was at least one middle-of-the-road American on the trip who left the country shaking his head over human rights abuses he’d never imagined to be so extreme.

But the reason that seeing Palestine up close comes as such a shock is that the media and leading pro-Israel organizations (including J Street) have done such an effective job of downplaying Israel’s occupation over the last several decades, even as Palestinians were trying to get out the news. The Times just “took a sharp left turn into territory where Birthright does not go,” as Halbfinger wrote of the tour. The article is getting angry pushback from pro-Israel groups.

His report represents a giant step forward, and a real sign of things to come. There’s no way to prettify apartheid, and as more Democrats and activist groups are looking at this issue openly, we should expect our leading papers and even broadcast media to begin to reflect the reality.

James North and Philip Weiss

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45 Responses

  1. eljay on July 14, 2019, 12:34 pm

    Now that they have questioned their preferred brand of evil, one can only hope that the next step these young Americans take is to disavow it and perhaps even openly to oppose it.

  2. Keith on July 14, 2019, 6:11 pm

    North/Weiss- “But the thrust of the article was that one day’s exposure to the desolation of occupation caused two young Jews to question Zionism itself.”

    Just two? How many in the group? 28? How many cheered? You guys feed your hopes and dreams on very thin gruel.

    JESSE STESHENKO- “You never know when a Holocaust might happen again.”

    Realistically, young Jews can’t be too careful. My God, if Corbyn becomes Britain’s PM can the cattle cars be far behind?

    • CigarGod on July 15, 2019, 9:48 am

      Theres a shortage of cattle cars at the moment. They have been deployed all across america.
      Of course they have rubber tires and roll on asphalt instead of steel…so they arent the same thing at all.
      How dare i dilute the holocaust with a similar story about non-jews….

      • Misterioso on July 15, 2019, 10:34 am

        @CigarGod

        Speaking of “cattle cars.”

        “Birds of a feather…”

        https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-meets-with-head-of-ukrainian-party-that-includes-neo-nazis/

        “Netanyahu meets with head of Ukrainian party that includes neo-Nazis” Times of Israel, July 11/19 by Sam Sokol.

        “Oleh Lyashko of the Ukrainian Radical Party visits Jerusalem as part of a parliamentary delegation led by Jewish lawmaker Georgii Logvynskyi”

        JTA — “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has come under fire in recent years for allegedly failing to confront anti-Semitism and revisionism in Central and Eastern Europe, met Wednesday with the head of a Ukrainian political party whose membership includes ultranationalists and neo-Nazis.

        “Oleh Lyashko of the Ukrainian Radical Party came to Jerusalem as part of a parliamentary delegation led by Jewish lawmaker Georgii Logvynskyi. Lyashko was shown shaking Netanyahu’s hand in a video tweeted out by the Prime Minister’s Office.

        “Lyashko’s party includes nationalist Yuri Shukhevych, the son of Nazi collaborator Roman Shukhevych, whose troops engaged in war crimes against Jews during World War II.

        “Another party lawmaker is Artyom Vitko, who was filmed in 2015 singing a song celebrating Adolf Hitler with lyrics that included ‘Adolf Hitler, together with us, Adolf Hitler, in each of us, and an eagle with iron wings will help us at the right time.’

        “Lyaskhko has himself courted controversy, blasting then-President Petro Poroshenko following a 2015 state visit to Jerusalem during which the Ukrainian leader apologized for collaboration by his countrymen during the Holocaust. Poroshenko’s comments were a ‘humiliation’ for Ukraine, Lyashko said, adding that he was ‘proclaiming [the] inferiority of his people.’

        “After Poroshenko lost his re-election bid to Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this year, Lyashko accused the Jewish comedian turned politician of ‘lacking patriotism.’

        “In an interview with The Times of Israel published Tuesday, the prominent American Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt called Netanyahu a hypocrite, saying that ‘you have a government whose policy is to make nice with the Polish government, which is trying to rewrite Holocaust history, and with a Hungarian government that’s engaging in anti-Semitism.'”

    • Misterioso on July 15, 2019, 10:11 am

      @Keith

      Jewish disillusionment with Zionism and “Israel,” especially among youth, is not confined to some of those, albeit, a growing number, who participate in the J street tour and the like and have occasion to witness the horrors inflicted on the indigenous Palestinians. Indeed, unsurprisingly, it is rapidly growing in America where Zionists have had a free ride since 1948.

      Here’s just one of many examples:
      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-growing-number-of-u-s-jews-support-evacuation-of-west-bank-settlements-study-finds-1.7314699

      “Growing Number of U.S. Jews Support Evacuation of All West Bank Settlements, Survey Finds” by Judy Maltz, Haaretz, June 2/19

      EXCERPT:
      “AJC poll exposes deepening divide between American and Israeli Jews on issues like Trump’s policies and the importance of ‘caring about Israel'”

      “Fewer American Jews consider ‘caring about Israel’ an important part of being Jewish, a survey published on Sunday by the American Jewish Committee finds. Those questioned also indicated that they do not believe a thriving state of Israel is ‘vital” to the long-term future of the Jewish people.’

      “A growing number of American Jews, the survey shows, are also unhappy with Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and support a full evacuation of West Bank settlements.

      “This was first ever survey conducted by the veteran Jewish organization to examine attitudes concurrently in the three largest Jewish communities in the world: the United States, Israel and France. (Israel was included in last year’s survey, but this was the first time for France).

      The questions asked of members of the three communities were not identical, however.
      “In last year’s survey, 70 percent of American Jews questioned said that caring about Israel was ‘a very important part of my being a Jew.’ In this year’s survey, their share had dropped to 62 percent. The percentage that ‘strongly disagreed’ with this statement had risen from 9 to 15 percent.

      “Moreover, the share that considered a thriving Israel vital for the long-term future of the Jews dropped from 79 to 72 percent.

      “This trend of disengagement from Israel was most pronounced among younger and secular American Jews. Only 44 percent of people between the age of 18 and 29 and 42 percent of the secular respondents said that Israel played a significant role in their Jewish identity.

      “The share of American Jews who believe Israel ‘should be willing to dismantle all the settlements’ as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians rose from 15 percent in 2018 to 25 percent in 2019. By contrast, only 6 percent of Israeli Jews were in favor of such a move. Nearly two-thirds of American Jews said they supported a two-state solution that included that establishment of a demilitarized Palestinians state in the West Bank while only 39 percent of Israeli Jews did.

      “Given this polarization, a growing share of American Jews said they were pessimistic about relations between the two largest Jewish communities in the world: The percentage that expects ties between American and Israeli Jews to weaken in the next five years rose from 15 percent in 2018 to 25 percent in 2019.

      “The survey further revealed glaring differences in how American and Israeli Jews perceive the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump. Nearly 80 percent of Israeli Jews said they approved of his handling of U.S.-Israel relations, as compared to only 37 percent of American Jews. A much larger share of Israelis Jews favored the American president’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights than did American Jews.

      “Of the 1,006 American Jews who participated in the survey, 49 percent identified as Democrat and 18 percent as Republican. In terms of religious affiliation, 29 percent identified as Reform, 13 percent as Conservative, 7 percent as ultra-Orthodox, 3 percent as Modern Orthodox and 21 percent as secular. In Israel, 1,000 Jews participated in the survey, and in France, 771.”

      As an aside, I recommend that those interested in the subject, especially young Jews, watch this video regarding young Jews recently visiting Al Andalus and discovering their historical connection to Muslims : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxxtzNuL7AM
      “The Golden age of Jewish Culture: Watch our Birthwrong trip to Spain”

      Also, this just released short video:

      “Palestinians and American Jews stand together against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”

  3. LiberatePalestine on July 14, 2019, 9:52 pm

    → You never know when a Holocaust might happen again.

    It is very unfortunate that Holocaust pimps have succeeded in getting Jews to harbour such fears. Of course we «never know» when another Holocaust may happen, just as we «never know» when any number of other improbable things may occur. But we can’t live our lives like Chicken Little. And the remote possibility of another Holocaust does not in any way justify the certainty of a comparable crime under the signboard of Zionism.

    → There’s nothing like seeing Jim Crow with your own two eyes.

    The fiftieth anniversary of John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me was commemorated in 2011 with the publication of a special edition. Griffin, who was white, turned his skin Black and travelled as a Black man through the southeastern US. His experiences opened the eyes of many white people to the reality of Jim Crow. Griffin suffered terribly for his efforts: he and his family had to flee to Mexico for many years, as they could not live safely in the US, and after returning he was beaten severely by the KKK.

    • Misterioso on July 15, 2019, 10:18 am

      @LiberatePalestine

      Speaking of Holocausts, I wish the mainstream media would occasionally remind us of what was in fact the worst mass slaughter of a specific group of humans in modern history. I am referring to the systematic murder of about 12 million Congolese by “Christian” Belgian colonists during the latter part of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century when King Leopold II ruled Belgium. He was the founder and owner of what was then known as the Congo Free State. One of the first people of note to refer to this holocaust was Samuel Clemens, aka, Mark Twain.

      As well as mass murder, the unspeakable horrors Belgium inflicted on the natives of the Congo, including amputations of arms below the elbow and beheadings, were prompted by pure greed and chronic racism, i.e., to force them to work like slaves in order to harvest natural rubber on rubber tree plantations, which prior to the invention of the synthetic version, was in huge demand in Europe and America to manufacture tires for the burgeoning automobile industry.

      Written by Adam Hochschild and published in 1998, “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa,” provides an excellent source to learn about King Leopold II and his monstrous crimes against humanity.

      • LiberatePalestine on July 15, 2019, 11:06 am

        Yes, the horrible crimes that the Belgian colonialists (with help from their imperial partners-in-crime, notably the US) committed in the Congo within living memory get so very little attention in the West that few people even know about them.

        The Congo was exploited merely as a source of rubber, diamonds, and other commodities, just as the Third World is exploited today as a source of the same and of labour made cheap by puppet régimes, collaborators, death squads, and the like. For a fictionalised account, see Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible.

        Likewise, the American Holocaust—the destruction and subjugation of the peoples of half of the planet—gets altogether too little attention, certainly in comparison to its Nazi counterpart. Unending tears for white victims but hardly a peep about red or black ones.

      • Talkback on July 15, 2019, 11:39 am

        It’s obvious that the western countries don’t have a problem of identifying racism as long as it is not the (settler) colonialism of their own or of those they do support.

      • MHughes976 on July 15, 2019, 2:59 pm

        ‘Listen to the yell of Leopold’s ghost burning in hell for his hand-maimed host’ – Vachel Lindsay’s 1917 performance poem ‘The Comgo’.

  4. brent on July 15, 2019, 2:09 am

    The more humanist Jews understand who is the real victim in the situation, the shorter the duration of the occupation will be. As more Palestinians understand the imperative of demolishing the existing narrative, so assiduously cultivated, “Israel is the victim and has the right to defend itself”, the more allies they will accrue and the greater their political power.

  5. Elizabeth Block on July 15, 2019, 8:36 am

    Interesting – and accurate! – that J Street is described as a Zionist organization. Of course it is.

  6. Liz on July 15, 2019, 9:26 am

    J Street wants it both ways: Here’s the Israeli occupation, but just a part of it; We’re more left than Birthright, but we still love Israel; We can acknowledge mistreatment of Palestinians but we still believe in Israel’s myth. Kudos to these young Jews for seeing the bigger picture and beginning to question Zionism.

  7. Mustacq Abdullah on July 15, 2019, 10:49 am

    I just love honesty and trustworthiness when seeing it. These young men are to be commended for their honesty and I trust they will bear that testimony to other Jèws so they too may stand up and speak out against the Zïonist Occupiers. I’m just perplexed that those older and (maybe) wiser folk don’t speak out against the Zïonist who have hijacked the land called Palestine.

    • jon s on July 15, 2019, 12:46 pm

      The land called Palestine is also called the land of Israel, and Jews are not hijackers in their homeland. One territory is the homeland of two peoples and both are legitimately present here. Both Palestinians and Jews need to understand that the others are not going to disappear and that what’s desperately needed is to find a way to live together in peace.
      That’s why what JStreet is trying to do is so important and admirable.

      • eljay on July 15, 2019, 1:08 pm

        || jon s: … Jews are not hijackers in their homeland. … ||

        Geographic Palestine was not and still is not the “ancient”, “historic”, “eternal”, “one true” and/or “lost” homeland of people all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish.

        Geographic Palestine was and still is the actual homeland of people living in and up to n-generations removed from the region.

        What’s desperately needed is for you Jewish supremacists (Zionists) to:
        – understand and accept this;
        – abandon your hateful and immoral ideology; and, instead,
        – pursue justice, accountability and equality.

      • Mooser on July 15, 2019, 2:28 pm

        “The land called Palestine is also called the land of Israel, and Jews are not hijackers in their homeland.” “Jon s”

        If Zionists really believed that, they might act like it.

      • eljay on July 15, 2019, 3:41 pm

        || jon s: eljay,
        Do you realize how absurd it is to claim that Israel is NOT the Jewish historic homeland? … ||

        It is a valid statement of fact that geographic Palestine is not the homeland – historic or otherwise – of every person in the world who chooses to embrace the religion based identity of Jewish.

        Absurd is the claim you Zionists make to the contrary.

        || … As to the goals to be pursued:

        Justice : neither side can achieve what would be considered a perfect “justice”. … ||

        No-one said justice had to be perfect. But you’ll say anything to dismiss justice.

        || … I would much rather pursue peace (which is notably absent from your short list…). … ||

        Justice, accountability and equality are the path to real peace. It’s no surprise, therefore, that you would much rather pursue a Zionist “peace” that:
        – allows Israel to remain a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”;
        – allows Israel to keep as much as possible of what it has stolen, occupied and colonized;
        – absolves Israel of its obligations under international law; and
        – absolves Israel of accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes.

        || … Accountability: sounds to me like “vengeance”. … ||

        Of course it does. You’ll say anything to dismiss accountability.

        || … Equality: No argument from me on that. Equality is a basic democratic principle and a goal worth pursuing. ||

        As long as it doesn’t interfere with Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”. Do you enjoy lying through your teeth?

      • Talkback on July 15, 2019, 4:18 pm

        Jon S: “The land called Palestine is also called the land of Israel, …”

        Yes, that’s how the colonists named it after their belligerent take over of Palestine and the expulsion of most of indigenous popuiation.

        Jon S: “… and Jews are not hijackers in their homeland.”

        Jewish Üalestinian natives aren’t, Jewish foreign settlers are.

        Jon S:; “Both Palestinians and Jews need to understand that the others are not going to disappear and that what’s desperately needed is to find a way to live together in peace.”

        Of course that implies that Jews continze to keep most of the Palestinians “disappeared”, right? That’s your criminal, racist and inhumane version of living together in peace.

      • Mooser on July 15, 2019, 4:54 pm

        “others are not going to disappear”

        I don’t know, “Jon s”, maybe the Palestinians can simply wait us out while we perform a “Second Holocaust” on ourselves.

        BTW, what’s the minimum percentage of Jewish genes necessary to claim Israel as a histrionic homeland?

      • Bumblebye on July 15, 2019, 5:56 pm

        Strange how “accountability” is defined as “vengeance” in jon s dictionary when it comes to Palestinians.
        Are reparations from Germany a form of vengeance too? Or accountability? Is the pursuit of properties and valuables lost during the nazi years by descendants of victims (or sometimes by the israeli state) a modicum of justice – or vengeance? All of which you and your nasty little country want to utterly deny to *your* victims.

        Oops, landed on wrong sub-thread!

      • Talkback on July 15, 2019, 7:20 pm

        Bumbleeye: “Are reparations from Germany a form of vengeance too?”

        Reparations? Ask him if the Nuremberg Trials were vengeance. Well, he would never agree to that, because that would prove that he’s applying double standards and only wants Jews who commit crimes against Palestinians to get away with murder, Literally.

      • CigarGod on July 15, 2019, 9:24 pm

        Maybe saying Jews are hijackers is painting with too broad a brush. But saying Zionist are…seems very apt.

      • LiberatePalestine on July 15, 2019, 10:54 pm

        Denizens of Rome, take over France. After all, it’s the Land of Gaul, your homeland. So go ahead and wage your settler-colonial mission civilisatrice.

        Of course, Palestine is yours as well. History solidly supports your claim (unlike those of the Zionists), but you can always rely on the Bible, as another group of apologists for settler-colonialism in Palestine is wont to do.

  8. jon s on July 15, 2019, 3:08 pm

    eljay,
    Do you realize how absurd it is to claim that Israel is NOT the Jewish historic homeland?

    As to the goals to be pursued:

    Justice : neither side can achieve what would be considered a perfect “justice”. I would much rather pursue peace (which is notably absent from your short list…).

    Accountability: sounds to me like “vengeance”. We would never be able to negotiate with the Palestinian leadership, since we would need first to prosecute them for their crimes. The Palestinians would see things the same way, from their perspective, and we would never get anywhere. Again, I prefer peace.

    Equality: No argument from me on that. Equality is a basic democratic principle and a goal worth pursuing.

    • Talkback on July 15, 2019, 4:33 pm

      Jon S: “Do you realize how absurd it is to claim that Israel is NOT the Jewish historic homeland?”

      Do you realize how absurd it is to claim the fact that ancient Hebrews lived in this land thousands of years ago has any moral or legal relevance nowadays?

      Jon S: “Justice : neither side can achieve what would be considered a perfect “justice”. I would much rather pursue peace (which is notably absent from your short list…).”

      In other words. Palestinians should accept that Jews violate international law and their human rights forever. Because that’s the Zionist version of peace. It’s just fascinating that civilized people understand that there can’t be peace with justice, because that would only mean subjugation to injustice.

      Jon S: “Accountability: sounds to me like “vengeance”.”

      That’s what any criminal would say.

      Jon S: “Equality: No argument from me on that. Equality is a basic democratic principle and a goal worth pursuing.”

      Unless that means that Palestinians should also have the right to return, have their capital in Jerusalem, too, or control the same amount of land as Israel, right? Or that they should be nationals of Israel, too, and have the same access to its land and resources. Oh, I could go on forever why you don’t mean what you are saying.

    • Mooser on July 15, 2019, 4:55 pm

      You are not asking for equality, you are asking for somebody to give the Zionists an amnesty and immunity.

      BTW, Israel is running on an ‘interim’ government, til, at least, September. That’ll be good.

    • LiberatePalestine on July 15, 2019, 11:12 pm

      → Justice : neither side can achieve what would be considered a perfect “justice”.

      I’m going to surprise people here by agreeing with that. Justice in Palestine can never be achieved. The settler-colonial population could never come close to redressing the horrible crimes that it and its supported have committed against the Palestinian nation and an eight-figure number of Palestinian individuals, any more than the Germans could make up for the tens of millions of deaths (27 million in the Soviet Union alone) and the massive destruction (a third of the Soviet Union’s wealth) that they caused during World War II, the various neo-Englands (notably the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) could make up for their genocidal conquests, or the countries on the Atlantic coast of Europe could make up for the American Holocaust.

      Retrospective justice cannot be achieved. But prospective justice can be; at least it can be approached. In Palestine, that entails the freedom of all Palestinians (including those driven out by the criminal Zionist invaders) to live anywhere in Palestine, compensation (subject to a cut-off date) for those who choose not to return or not to stay, compensation for losses (it will necessarily have to be limited), and reparations with which to enable the Palestinian nation to flourish and approach œconomic and social parity with the settler-colonial Israëli nation (if the latter remains in Palestine).

    • jon s on July 16, 2019, 10:29 am

      Talkback,
      The fact that ancient Hebrews lived here way back is not the only point. See my comment on the other thread.
      I’ll repeat that I think that both sides can’t have both justice and peace, and I would like to see them choose the latter.
      On accountability, I would prefer to see the leadership of both sides sit down and negotiate and hopefully reach a reasonable agreement, rather than see them in the dock.
      As to equality, on the points you mention, I support recognizing the right of return; in the context of two states their capital can be in Jerusalem if they so wish, and those Palestinians in Israel should enjoy equal rights.
      I’ve never said anything different, so I don’t know why you doubt my sincerity.

      • Talkback on July 16, 2019, 12:01 pm

        Jon S: “The fact that ancient Hebrews lived here way back is not the only point.”

        Of course it isn’t. Zionists just have to come up with any bogus legal or moral claim that outweighs the right of the citizens of pre 48 Palestine and allegedly justifies taking Palestine through war and expulsion.

        Jon S: “’ll repeat that I think that both sides can’t have both justice and peace, and I would like to see them choose the latter.”

        Because you need to ignore that there can’t be peace, if it is based on injustice. Which means that the Palestinians should accept any Israel violation of international and human rights law.

        Jon S: “On accountability, I would prefer to see the leadership of both sides sit down and negotiate and hopefully reach a reasonable agreement, rather than see them in the dock.”

        Sure, And in the meantime you don’t want Israel to be hold accountable for its atrocities.

        Jon S: “I support recognizing the right of return;”

        For all Palestinians? And return to where exactly?

      • oldgeezer on July 16, 2019, 12:57 pm

        @jon s

        The fiction of two states is over. You’re going down the same absurd road you go with the historical homeland, indigenity propaganda.

        There is no significant political party that supports two states. There is no territory for two states. There is no will to evacuate the settlements so there can be two physical states. There never has been an offer of two states on the table. The best offer was for one state and one less than a state.

        The mere passage of time or normal events haven’t killed two states. Two states was intentionally murdered by successive Israeli governments. Openly and proudly. With the full support of the majority of the Israeli public. Again it was intentional. Don’t try to pretend it wasn’t.

        So give it a rest. It’s beyond untrue and into fairy tale territory when you trot that line out.

        The other indigenous/native peoples in the region have the full rights as the indigenous Jewish peoples which are a tiny fraction of Israelis.

        They have a right to a functional state which is viable in every way. They deserve protection from the terrorist zionists and the thug Israeli occupation forces. The need for said protection can be proven by the graves filled with unarmed civilians, children, medical staff and journalists. The need to be fully functioning is evidenced by the Israeli boots on the Palestinian economy preventing them from undertaking business and trade without Israeli permission and cooperation.

        Israel is a rogue state behaving in a vile and criminal manner.

      • Mooser on July 16, 2019, 1:49 pm

        “oldgeezer”, you should try to see this from “Jon s” perspective.

        He has no commitment to the real Israel. He has no need to grapple with Israel’s past, or future, as many Sabras must.
        Israel is there to fulfill “Jon s” fantasies. He might as well push it to the limit with imaginary claims about “Homeland”. If it doesn’t work out, “Jon s” just hops a flight back the good old USA. In fact his absolute denial of the realities of Israel is the most consistent theme of his comments for years.
        He simply does not have any commitment to the reality of Israel.

      • Mooser on July 16, 2019, 2:32 pm

        “I’ve never said anything different, so I don’t know why you doubt my sincerity.”

        “Jon s” you are fully deserving of the sobriquet “Zionism’s own Stuart Smalley.”

      • oldgeezer on July 16, 2019, 4:42 pm

        @Mooser

        I do try. I spent a lot of my life trying to understand, sympathetic and, much to my shame, supportive of Israel. At least half my adult life. Until I became more aware of what happened and was still happening. The continuing crimes actively being perpetrated and Israel made it quite plain it had no interest in actually allowing a second state for those victims of it’s agression.

        Now when I try to look at it through a zionists eyes the room starts spinning just like their lies.

        Way off topic but….. Why is wrong to hate Jews because they are Jews yet so many zionists say it is ok to hate Neturei Karta because everyone does. Why are zionists, yet again, antisemitic? Where do I stand with Satmar Jews??? Can I accept them as ok or am I supposed to hate them too?

        All so confusing but not surprisingly since it’s all built on myth and lies to begin with.

  9. wondering jew on July 15, 2019, 11:58 pm

    Once upon a time, if memory serves me correctly, Mondoweiss used to tout itself as delving into the “war of ideas”. It certainly is currently devoted to headlines and the latest trends.

    But if it ever wishes to delve into the realm of ideas again, it should consider dealing with Susie Linfield’s “Lion’s Den” which deals with her liberal Zionist critique of 8 leftists: Arendt, Koestler, I.F. Stone, Deutscher, Chomsky and 3 I never heard of before Albert Memmi, Fred Halliday and Maxime Rodinson. If i were to summarize her position, it would be: 1. The Jews, given the history of the 20th century, need a homeland. And 2. Those that oppose such a homeland should be realistic both about how the Jews as a group should be expected to deal with a setback like the cataclysm in Europe and about how the Arabs (and the 3rd world in general) need to deal with the process of decolonization in a way that promises progress beyond mere liberation Fanon style.
    For those who are already convinced they have won the war of ideas, this book probably will not be of much use, but those who have not closed their minds will gain from Linfield’s critiques and the 8 thinkers that she studies.

    • eljay on July 16, 2019, 8:02 am

      || wondering jew: Once upon a time, if memory serves me correctly, Mondoweiss used to tout itself as delving into the “war of ideas”. … if it ever wishes to delve into the realm of ideas again, it should consider dealing with Susie Linfield’s “Lion’s Den” … If i were to summarize her position, it would be: 1. The Jews, given the history of the 20th century, need a homeland. … ||

      Ms. Linfield makes the typical Zionist argument that acts of injustice and immorality committed against Jews justify acts of injustice and immorality committed by Jews.

      “The Jews” do not need and are not entitled to a religion-supremacist state. What “the Jews” need is what all people need who have suffered injustice: The universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.

      || … those who have not closed their minds will gain from Linfield’s critiques … ||

      One can only hope that the closed minds of Zionists will open before to long to the realization that for decades and quite hypocritically they have been advocating, committing, justifying and/or defending a brand of evil.

    • Mooser on July 16, 2019, 2:35 pm

      “Once upon a time, if memory serves me correctly, Mondoweiss used to tout itself”

      Pro-Tip: ‘Anybody who calls themselves “wondering Jew” maybe really ought to shut up about “touting.”

    • Keith on July 16, 2019, 4:41 pm

      WONDERING JEW- “… but those who have not closed their minds will gain from Linfield’s critiques and the 8 thinkers that she studies.”

      You piqued my curiosity so I checked out Amazon. 8 reviews: 5 five star, 1 three star and 2 one star. Here is one of the 1 star reviews which strongly suggests that this is a book which will provide comfort to Zionists and little else. The type of people who actually believe that a “blood and soil” Jewish state actually provides security for the world’s Jews. Those who have bought in to Zionist myth-history.

      “Linfield has written a vulgar distortion of Noam Chomsky’s views re Israel. Simply reading Chomsky’s actual works is the best antidote. For example: ‘Fateful Triangle: The US, Israel & the Palestinians’, ‘Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy’, or ‘Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians’.

      Linfield demonstrates once again the negative effect of Zionism on progressive politics.

      Linfield seems to lack a grasp of the actual history of the conflict as revealed by the generation of Israeli ‘New Historians’: Benny Morris on the right. Ilan Pappe on the left. Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev, Baruch Kimmerling et al.

      In Linfield’s world it’s the cowboys under attack by the Indians, not the indigenous population displaced by European colonialism, textbook ethnic cleansing and apartheid-like occupation.” (John) https://www.amazon.com/Lions-Den-Zionism-Hannah-Chomsky/dp/030022298X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Susie+Linfield&qid=1563308448&s=books&sr=1-1

      • echinococcus on July 17, 2019, 12:35 am

        Yeah, the day a Zionist recommends (or even mentions) a book that doesn’t bring comfort to Zionists will be the day…

      • Sibiriak on July 17, 2019, 2:56 am

        Keith: [quoting Amazon review] Linfield has written a vulgar distortion of Noam Chomsky’s views re Israel…
        ————————————————

        You can use Amazon’s “Look Inside” function to read excerpts from the book. Here’s a short example (emphasis added):

        The simplicity of Chomsky’s worldview is the source of its power and popularity: America as the epicenter of evil plays well to leftists in both the West and the Third World. Some of this is simply Pavlovian anti-Americanism, but some is grounded in genuine repugnance towards the U.S.’s history of antidemocratic coups, invasions, and support for bloody dictatorships. Our list of crimes is long and shameful: the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala, and Allende in Chile; the destruction of Vietnam; support for the anti-Communist massacres in Indonesia, the death squads in El Salvador, the Contras in Nicaragua…. Still, there is a logical lapse in Chomsky’s thinking. That the U.S. has done bad things does not mean all bad things are done by the U.S.; that the U.S. has committed crimes does not mean everything the U.S. does is criminal.

        The ridiculous straw men in the final sentence remind me of Nathan’s style a bit. In any case, I read through most of the Chomsky section and concluded that while she had a command of a lot of facts and details, she’s basically a very clever but intellectually dishonest polemicist.

      • Keith on July 17, 2019, 12:56 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “…she’s basically a very clever but intellectually dishonest polemicist.”

        First of all, thanks for digging deeper. There is a certain irony here. Yonah asserts that Mondoweiss used to be more robust, and he is right! I have had occasion to Google some older topics of discussion and the comments section was more lively! There were few Zionists then and we anti-Zionists engaged in frequent spirited debate. Now we are inundated with Zionist commenters who do little but regurgitate Zionist talking points which usually involve ad hominem attacks on the strawmen which they create. They are almost without exception intellectually dishonest thereby rendering discussion/debate impossible. The end result frequently degenerates into a verbal food fight. An apropos quote of Israel Shahak.

        All modern studies on Judaism, particularly by Jews, have evolved from that conflict, and to this day they bear the unmistakable marks of their origin: deception, apologetics or hostile polemics, indifference or even active hostility to the pursuit of truth. Almost all the so-called Jewish studies in Judaism, from that time to this very day, are polemics against an external enemy rather than an internal debate.” (p22, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Israel Shahak)

      • Sibiriak on July 18, 2019, 10:37 am

        @Keith: An excerpt from another reaction to Linfield’s book:

        The French Orientalist Maxime Rodinson was by far one of the greatest scholars on Islam and the Arab world in the 20thcentury (if not ever).

        * * *

        […]Attention to Rodinson is prompted by the publication of Susie Linfield’s “The Lions’ Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky.” The author is a professor of journalism at NYU and has no background in Middle East studies. Yet, she uses her platform to launch an attack on critics of Israel and Zionism and situate them in the category of self-hating Jews. But her method of handling Rodinson is not even honest : she accuses the author (who lost his parents in Auschwitz) of not talking about his Jewish background or even about Nazi atrocities when, in fact, he spoke at length about such matters. She even accuses Rodinson of being silent about the crimes of Arab governments and misdeeds of the PLO when he was a harsh critic of them both. And she makes up a story that Rodinson was accused by Arabs of “lacking respect for Islam (and worse)” without providing any evidence. Rodinson remains highly respected in the Arab world. […] “

        https://consortiumnews.com/2019/07/18/the-angry-arab-maxime-rodinson-the-palestinian-question/

    • RoHa on July 16, 2019, 8:53 pm

      I’d like to see a few MW articles on Linfield. I’m interested (though not to the point of spending money) in the “Jews need a homeland” line.
      What do they need it for?
      What arguments does she use to establish that claim?
      And what does she think follows from the claim?

      I suspect we will find a leap from “need” to “entitled to have”, and another leap to “entitled to take”.
      But these leaps need justification.

      (I, for example, need new knees, new wrists, a new heart … pretty much a whole new body. Am I entitled to one? And, if so, am I entitled to take over the body of one of the seventeen-year-olds I practice Aikido with, and leave him a disembodied spirit*?

      I think the only justification could be that I am morally more important than he is. Well, I’m much more skilled at Aikido. Will that suffice?)

      Can Linfield justify her position without assuming that Jews are more important than other people?

      (*Singing, if a spirit can sing, “I ain’t got no body…”)

      • LiberatePalestine on July 18, 2019, 10:36 am

        Even if it were true that the Jews needed a homeland (whatever that might mean), the question would arise of where to put it. All land is already claimed, and noöne is proposing to give up significant amounts. Even if a large contiguous tract of land could be bought, the state that controls it would not waive its sovereignty over the land.

        So, yes, the «homeland for the Jews» necessarily entails some sort of crime, as we have seen.

  10. SarahKhan on July 19, 2019, 6:54 am

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