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‘Zionism is at the core of Jewish identity, so anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic’ — A response

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It seems like the attacks on Palestinian rights advocacy as a form of anti-Semitism just keep increasing.  At my institution – University of Massachusetts Amherst – we had the lawsuit and political campaign to stop the event “Not Backing Down”.  Ironically, this event, intended as a response to charges of anti-Semitism, was itself smeared as anti-Semitic.  Recently the House overwhelmingly passed HR 246, the anti-BDS bill. (Even one member of “the Squad” voted for it, not to mention most (but not all) of the other progressive Democrats.) We are now facing a worse bill, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which would direct the Department of Education to use the infamous IHRA definition of anti-Semitism when investigating complaints of anti-Semitism on campuses. That definition explicitly makes opposition to Zionism and the notion of a Jewish state a form of anti-Semitism.

What I find so fascinating – and disturbing – about all this activity is that if you seek a clear, fully articulated argument for characterizing anti-Zionism and Palestinian advocacy as forms of anti-Semitism, you won’t find one.  Mostly it’s just name calling, with liberal use of the term “delegitimizing”.

However, if you comb through the various diatribes against Palestinian rights advocacy you can find three implicit arguments: one having to do with the notion of Jewish “self-determination”, one having to do with “double standards”, and the third having to do with “identity”.  The argument from Jews’ “right to self-determination” I have dealt with here. There is also Joel Doerfler’s excellent treatment here. I have also addressed the argument from “double standards” here. The argument from “identity” has not been trotted out a lot, but I expect to see it more and more.  It fits so well with the “harm” paradigm that the Israel lobby is now so fond of pushing.

Recently I ran across a talk by Professor Judea Pearl of UCLA that helpfully presented the “identity” argument.  As the keynote speaker at a special ceremony for Jewish grads at UCLA, Pearl argued that anti-Zionism was correctly seen as an attack on Jews because Zionism is an essential component of Jewish identity.  If you attack Zionism then you are attacking a core principle around which Jews organize their self-conception as Jews, and so you are exhibiting an anti-Jewish attitude.  (This line had been taken by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mervis in an oped in the Daily Telegraph, discussed by Robert Cohen here).

Pearl begins by asking what it is to be Jewish.  His answer is one that I myself find congenial (with some reservations), given I doubt that any definition based on biology or other relatively “objective” criteria will work.  His simple answer:

“To me, being Jewish means to identify with the past, present, and future of a collective of individuals who happen to call themselves ‘Jews.’ This is indeed what ‘people-hood’ means: A collective bonded by common history and common destiny.”

So far so good. Jews are people who identify as “Jews”, which means identifying with a certain collective history.  Presumably it also means finding a special sense of community with others who also identify as “Jews”.  That this sense of identity is important to many people – that it forms a fundamental aspect of their life project – seems clear, and it also seems clear that people should be allowed to pursue their communal life, in accordance with their sense of identity, without fear of being harassed, discriminated against, persecuted, or interfered with.  I would agree that all people, so obviously including Jews, have a right to pursue their lives in a way that expresses their identity if they so wish.

Okay, but now Pearl adds Zionism into the mix.  Zionism itself is a kind of identity, one that is inextricably linked to Jewish identity.  Again, here’s Pearl:

“Since Jews are a history-bonded collective, and Israel is the culmination of Jewish history, elementary high school algebra dictates that Zionism is an essential component of Jewish identity. Zionist students and faculty should therefore be recognized as legitimate participants in UCLA’s tapestry of inclusion and diversity.”

This argument is breathtaking in its scope and in the boldness of the inference.  We start with the idea that to be Jewish is to identify with a certain collective history, and then it turns out that a specific view about how that collective should develop becomes essential to the identity.  Is Israel “the culmination of Jewish history”?  Well, Zionists may think so, but many other Jews – many Haredi Jews in particular – would beg to differ, claiming that the coming of the Messiah would be the “culmination of Jewish history”.  We all know that for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zionism was a minority opinion among Jews.  That a position that was only adopted by a large segment of the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Holocaust should count as essential to Jewish identity – an  identity constituted by a self-conscious identification with a three-thousand year history – is really quite hard to swallow.

But suppose we set these doubts aside and accept the premise that Zionism is essential to Jewish identity.  What’s supposed to follow?  Well, according to Pearl, it should follow that:

“… in all matters concerning code of conduct, Zionism should attain the same protection status as any religion or nationality or identity-distinct collective, and anti-Zionism should turn as despicable and condemnable as Islamophobia, women inferiority or white supremacy.”

Since nothing of the sort follows automatically, how is the argument meant to go?

I imagine it goes like this.  People have a strong and legitimate interest in identifying themselves with a community – it’s what gives them (a significant part of) their sense of their own identity.  As a strong and legitimate interest, it grounds a right to pursue and develop their connections with, and sense of identity with, the relevant community.  If I attack or denigrate aspects of someone’s identity, then I am harming them and my actions are appropriately condemned for that reason.  So if someone says that Zionism is racism, or a form of settler-colonialism, or is in any way unjustified, they have denigrated a crucial feature of Jewish identity and therefore their speech amounts to an expression of anti-Semitism.  The person attacking Zionism is harming Jews by undermining their sense of their own identity.

Once spelled out, it’s obvious that there is a lot wrong with this argument.  To begin with, Pearl’s argument proves too much; it applies to “identities” of all sorts.  What if white supremacists argued that belief in the supremacy of white Europeans, along with their civilizing mission in the world (Kipling’s “white man’s burden”), is an essential element of their sense of their own white-European identity?  If I attack the doctrine of white supremacy and the idea of the “white man’s burden” as racist and evil, have I “delegitimized” white-European identity and thereby unjustifiably harmed those who hold this view?  (This is not just a fanciful thought experiment: Richard Spencer has said that with his “white Zionism” he is just trying to do here what Israel has done there.)

The question isn’t (as the ADL seems to think it is) whether the motivations behind Zionism and white supremacy are similar or not.  What matters for Pearl’s argument is this.  If indeed there are people who see themselves as part of a white-European collective history, and deem this identity essential to their own self-conception, and also hold that their biological and cultural superiority is an essential ingredient of this white-European identity, how is one not guilty of attacking someone’s identity if one combats white supremacist doctrine?  Put another way, what immunizes Zionism from criticism but not white supremacy?

Now maybe one might reply that white-European identity can’t count as the kind of identity we have a duty to protect because it is not the identity of an oppressed group.  Only the identities of oppressed peoples – oppressed usually by white-Europeans in fact – deserve the kind of protection Pearl is seeking for Zionists-Jews.  Of course I see that the issue of protection is clearly more pressing for oppressed peoples than for dominant ones, but if what we’re talking about is a right – a right to have one’s identity validated by others – then I don’t see how recognition of that right can be justifiably restricted to oppressed peoples.  Rights are the kind of thing that applies universally, or not at all.

But let’s put aside for the moment the problem of white-European identity.  Even if one could find a basis for distinguishing the Jewish-Zionist case from the white-European case, it still seems evident that Pearl’s inference is invalid.  He starts from the premise that Zionism is essential to Jewish identity and then concludes that Zionism merits protection from attack on that basis.  But what if Zionism itself is an unjust doctrine; one that entails the violation of others’ – i.e. Palestinians’ – rights?  Can its inherent injustice be immunized from attack and exposure merely because many people take the doctrine to be essential to their own self-conception?  (Again, couldn’t that apply to white supremacy too? I know I said we’ll ignore that for now.  But it’s hard to ignore.) Suppose, just to make the point, that a group of Jews took God’s order to Joshua to commit genocide in Canaan as a currently binding commandment. Suppose they also took the Torah’s commandments to be essential to their Jewish identity (a more plausible hypothesis than that Zionism is, to my mind). Would we be bound to accept this view because it’s essential to their identity, or would we be justified – indeed, required – to fight against it?

Of course Pearl would undoubtedly retort that Zionism is not unjust and therefore isn’t asking for some special exemption from moral criticism merely because of its role in constituting Jewish identity.  Rather, Jews are justified in taking control of Palestine because they have a right to the land.  But if it’s not unjust, why do we care whether or not it forms a crucial part of Jewish identity – just defend it from the charge of injustice directly?  Why this detour through identity politics?

The answer is that for Pearl and many Zionists the point isn’t to defend Zionism at all.  The point is to structure the public debate so that criticisms of Zionism cannot be aired in the first place.  Pearl wants critics of Zionism to be prohibited from making their arguments on the grounds that doing so would violate the identity-rights of Jews.  But if he admits, as I imagined he would, that identity-rights can’t immunize a genuinely-unjust doctrine from public criticism, how do you prohibit criticism of Zionism in the public realm until you’ve shown that it’s not unjust?  And how do you do that if you don’t allow those who claim it is unjust to make their case publicly?  It seems as if there’s a Catch-22 here.  If it’s morally kosher, then Zionism cannot be legitimately criticized because of its role in Jewish identity.  But we can’t know if it’s morally kosher unless we subject it to the critique of anti-Zionists first, which, according to Pearl’s argument, we’re not allowed to do.

I think what Pearl would have to say at this point is something like this.  Of course any doctrine that any person or group holds is subject to moral critique – no matter how deeply held or essential to the group’s identity it is.  However, when the belief in question is of this special identity-constituting sort, then before we allow it to be subject to dispassionate and respectful debate, we first must ascertain both that the criticism is not coming from a place of ethnic/religious/racial hatred and that there is at least a prima facie case that it is unjust, one that any reasonable person can see.  These two conditions are intimately related of course.  As Pearl and other Zionists often argue, the case against Zionism is so obviously silly, unreasonable, whatever, that the only explanation for anyone’s taking the criticisms seriously is that they have a bad case of Jew-hatred.

To this I have two replies.  First, notice that now the role Zionism is playing in grounding Jewish identity is no longer relevant.  All that matters is whether anti-Zionists are so unreasonable in their arguments that you are forced to attribute anti-Semitism to them to explain their behavior.  The whole issue of Zionist identity is just a red herring.  But more important, how can anyone look at the history of the Zionist project and think that characterizing it as a settler-colonial enterprise that stole another people’s land out from under them, expelling the vast majority in the process, is downright silly or unreasonable? Notice that for my point to stand it’s not necessary that I establish the truth of this claim about Zionism (though I think it’s in fact fairly easily established).  The only standard I have to meet is that there is enough evidence in its favor that holding it isn’t silly or unreasonable. Again, even if, after subtle and informed argument, it’s proven wrong, that doesn’t change the situation.  So long as a reasonable, morally sensitive person could see the situation that way, then we must allow their arguments onto the public stage.

Pearl’s detour through identity politics doesn’t change anything.  The point is that once an identity claim threatens to conflict with the rights of others, as anti-Zionists claim it does in this case, it can no longer provide safety from criticism. So show that there’s no anti-Zionist case at all, or shut up about the anti-Semitism (or “Zionophobia”, Pearl’s suggested neologism).  But, again, actually confronting the anti-Zionist’s arguments is the last thing Pearl and fellow Zionists want.

Joseph Levine

Joseph Levine is Professor of Philosophy at UMass Amherst, member of the Academic Council of JVP, and member of Western Mass chapter of JVP.

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68 Responses

  1. bcg on September 2, 2019, 1:19 pm

    1. A detail about Judea Pearl which may or may not be relevant but is probably worth 2 seconds of thought: he is the father of Daniel Pearl (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pearl ), the journalist who was beheaded by the “National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty”.

    2. I have a certified schizophrenic relative who believes that the aliens are giving him instructions to save the planet. Am I allowed to say that his “identity” is simply batshit crazy? Do we really have to take this ‘identity’ stuff seriously?

    3. We may be entering a new era in our discussions of Jewish ‘identity’:

    “Israel’s Rabbinical Courts Begin to Recognize DNA Tests, Potentially Opening Gateway to Proving Jewishness…Last year Israeli rabbinical courts began accepting the results of mitochondrial DNA testing as proof of Jewish heritage.”

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-will-dna-testing-become-the-gateway-to-proving-jewishness-1.7772764

    • Mooser on September 2, 2019, 2:18 pm

      “Potentially Opening Gateway to Proving Jewishness…”

      Science will not rest at that point. Not just proving Jewishness, but quantifying it, too. To a tenth of a percent.

      • CigarGod on September 3, 2019, 9:48 am

        Why bother with all that lab work, when one glance at my big nose will do the trick?

  2. JaapBo on September 2, 2019, 1:26 pm

    Good article.

    My analysis is from a different angle, but gets to the same result with the same argument, i.e. that Zionism is not innocent.

    My angle is that antisemitism is a form of racism, and racism is generally defined as “hostility towards an ethic (or racialized) group in an innocent capacity”. For antisemitism this gives its traditional definition “hostility towards Jews as Jews”, i.e. people being born Jewish or adhering to Judaism in general. Anti-Zionist hostility (and much anti-Zionism isn’t even hostile, it’s just insisting on Palestinian rights) is “hostility towards Jews as Zionists”, but Zionism is not innocent, so anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.

    Even if all Jews identify as Zionists or if Zionism is an essential part of their identity, it wouldn’t make Zionism innocent, and therefore it wouldn’t turn anti-Zionism into antisemitism.

    Zionophobia might be a useful word, but in another sense than Pearl would have it. Some anti-Zionism is bigoted (like saying Israel is behind 9/11 or ISIS). Zionophobia would be a good term to identify bigoted anti-Zionism. After all, bigotry should be fought like antisemitism.

  3. Mooser on September 2, 2019, 3:15 pm

    “Zionism is at the core of Jewish identity,so anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic’”

    So in practical terms I can do whatever I want, wrestle with angels on horseback, marry a schticksa (A non-Jewish comedienne), completely ignore the religion. If I just send money to Israel and vote Republican and talk like a big colonizer I’ll always be counted among the balebatisheh yiden .

    Sound advice for those grads. It will eliminate a lot of anxiety about ‘assimilation’.

  4. eljay on September 2, 2019, 4:11 pm

    … Professor Judea Pearl of UCLA … argued that anti-Zionism was correctly seen as an attack on Jews because Zionism is an essential component of Jewish identity. …

    So…according to Mr. Pearl, an essential component of Jewish identity is the “right”:
    – to be supremacists;
    – to have as large as possible a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”; and
    – to do “necessary evil” unto others.

    IOW, according to Mr. Pearl every person in the world who chooses to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish is a hateful and immoral supremacist hypocrite. Huh.

    With friends like Zionists, Jews really don’t need enemies.

    • CigarGod on September 3, 2019, 10:08 am

      At this point, the good prof. and his mob introduce the screaming and stoning arguments.

    • Misterioso on September 3, 2019, 10:45 am

      @eljay, et al

      As I see it, to denigrate or criticize someone because he/she is Jewish is clearly anti-Semitic and unforgiveable. However, to criticize a Jew for being a Zionist is most assuredly not anti-Semitic. Indeed, it is entirely appropriate given the litany of well documented monstrous crimes Zionists have committed and/or enabled against the essentially defenseless indigenous Palestinians through force of arms, intimidation, several massacres and mass rape (see Benny Morris) resulting in the dispossession and expulsion of about 1,200,000 between late 1947 and 1967.

      I know many Jews who are vehemently anti-Zionist and proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians. They are among my heroes and their numbers are rapidly increasing.

      The absurdity and criminal nature of Zionism, founded by foreign Ashkenazi Jews with the stated intention of expelling the Palestinians in order to create a “Jewish state,” was well said 100 years ago by many eminent Jews, including the following:

      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)

      • Mayhem on September 4, 2019, 12:13 am

        @Misterioso, it doesn’t do your cause any good by digging up (cherry-picking) quotes that are superseded by later thinking by the same people.

        The remarks you have quoted from Morgenthau Sr. are one of the earliest formulations by a Jew to assert that a Jewish state is a bad thing. Morgenthau was more involved in Judaism than most “as-Jews” but his hubris at pretending to know what is best for all Jews is starkly contrasted with the millions of Jews who were slaughtered only twenty years later, partially because Jews like him gave Great Britain the confidence that Jews wouldn’t cause a stink when it capitulated to Arab demands not to allow Jews to immigrate to Palestine to save themselves from the Holocaust.

        Morgenthau Sr. described why it is literally impossible for Israel to ever prosper economically (in the full British Mandate area), and why Zionism is impossible politically. Morgenthau eventually gave his real reason to oppose Zionism – his certainty that the modern world is a tolerant, accepting place for Jews who can integrate peacefully – WRONG.

        While he decried Zionism as being utopian and unrealistic, his ideas that Jews would integrate to end antisemitism were even more utopian and unrealistic, as history has shown.

        We don’t know whether Morgenthau changed his mind after witnessing the Holocaust and the success of the Zionist enterprise, as he died in 1946.

        His son Morgenthau Jnr. was Treasury Secretary for FDR and ended up becoming a strong supporter of Zionism.

        As for Freud, Edward Said noted that Freud was an early anti-Zionist but later modified his view when Nazi persecutions of European Jews made a Jewish state seem like a possible solution to widespread and lethal anti-Semitism. That Freud held a position vis-a-vis Zionism that was ambivalent doesn’t prove anything.

  5. Keith on September 2, 2019, 4:25 pm

    JUDEA PEARL- “Since Jews are a history-bonded collective, and Israel is the culmination of Jewish history, elementary high school algebra dictates that Zionism is an essential component of Jewish identity. Zionist students and faculty should therefore be recognized as legitimate participants in UCLA’s tapestry of inclusion and diversity.”

    This is a wonderful example of pilpul and the extent to which an unprincipled intellectual can mangle reality in an attempt to make an odious ideology sacrosanct. Will the moderators allow me to continue? If “Zionism is an essential component of Jewish identity,” and if anti-Gentilism is demonstrably a core component of Zionism, then….?

  6. wondering jew on September 2, 2019, 4:38 pm

    Halfway through the article, but let me comment: It is natural for Jews to care about fellow Jews living currently on the globe. Maybe natural is the wrong word, but it is certainly an attitude that the prayers and the Bible and Jewish law encourage. This empathy with fellow Jews in recent centuries has focused on the oppressed nature of Jews living as minorities in various societies, for a New York Jew in 1905 to worry about the grandparents he left behind in Czarist Russia (for example) might be considered the simplest form of Jewish identity. The advent of Zionism introduced a new dynamic: Jews with an army. It is one thing to identify with oppressed Jews and quite another to identify with an army that is oppressing others, (either because this specific army is engaged in oppression, or because no army is purely defensive or because the presence of an army in this particular locale has an element of oppression to it innately.) Thus the natural identity with oppressed Jews elsewhere becomes confused once an army is introduced.

    On the other hand let me introduce the element of the Jewish future: How does one conceive of the Jewish future? What is the content that makes the Jewish future different than just the global future. (Certainly with worries about climate change, with the polarization in America and Europe on the issue of immigration, there are various elements involved in the future and worrying about the type of future of the globe or of America, that Jews qua Jews see their recent history or their textual heritage as guiding lights when navigating towards a future.) Israelis would see the persistence of the Hebrew language, a society that focuses on the Jewish holidays and has continuities to traditional society as assuring a Jewish future. Antizionist Jews would point to the nature of the occupation and the persistence of harm done in the nakba as obstacles to a Jewish future that asserts the primacy of justice. These are questions raised by the future of Israel and the future of American Jews.

    • Tonja on September 3, 2019, 5:46 am

      Not even halfway through the comment, but let me comment :
      WJ :”It is natural for Jews to care about fellow Jews living currently on the globe…for a New York Jew in 1905 to worry about the grandparents he left behind in Czarist Russia (for example) might be considered the simplest form of Jewish identity”

      Would you tell me please how these are “jewish” values (like an example of jewish exceptionalism? chosen people? ) and not mankind values?
      By the way “as New York Jew ” why the cap at Jew (same exceptionalism?)

      Unlike “It is natural for palestinians to care about fellow palestinians living currently on the globe….for a Detroit palestinian in 2019 to worry about the grandmother she left behind in occupied and oppressed Palestine but can’t visit (for example).” ???

      WJ : “…might be considered the simplest form of Jewish identity” : Nothing of such…
      it’s simply the simplest form of mankind behavior aka gregarious behavior
      https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/voices-antisemitism-rashida-tlaib-ilhan-omar-israel-ban-trump-a9063086.html

      excerpt : “At home in Queens, New York, we were the first of our family and among the first Bukharian Jews to settle in the US as HIAS refugees.
      With our success came opportunities to receive other families fleeing as hosts.
      “My childhood became a reality show, where each season, a new family would arrive and its elders and its children would share with me all of their stories. They arrived in Muslim or Jewish garb from Iran, Mongolia, China, North Africa and Eastern Europe, with the same instruments and traditions we recognised.
      Please Note : “..muslim or jewish garb from…”

      Instruments and traditions can be cult that’s right, but more predominantly it’s language which make people to aggregate.

      Still i must grant Kudos for the zionists who succeeded in creating a new language, modern hebrew, which had been an essential component of this fabricated jewish identity in order to advance zionism projects.

      • Mooser on September 3, 2019, 12:35 pm

        “Would you tell me please how these are “jewish” values (like an example of jewish exceptionalism? chosen people? ) and not mankind values?”

        Well, according to “WJ” these things may happen to other people, but they don’t feel them the same way we do.

      • oldgeezer on September 3, 2019, 3:05 pm

        Well I’m glad someone figured out how to respond to wj’s risible comment politely.

      • Tonja on September 4, 2019, 9:38 am

        thank you to you both Mooser and oldgeezer

      • Mooser on September 4, 2019, 2:54 pm

        You’re welcome, Tonja.

  7. Stephen Shenfield on September 2, 2019, 5:27 pm

    Good article. Some more examples of identity-formative ideas/practices that come to mind:

    the imperative of sacrificing hearts of war captives to the Sun — central to Aztec identity;

    strangling travelers as offerings to Shiva — central to Thug identity;

    caste and untouchability — central to Hindu identity. Etc. — easy enough to continue.

    • Mooser on September 3, 2019, 12:36 pm

      ” easy enough to continue.”

      Nah, stop right there before you hit below the belt.

  8. Eva Smagacz on September 2, 2019, 6:14 pm

    Should Zionism be protected from criticism because many Jews find it essential to their own identity?

    I can see endless potential for political correctness emanating from this premise. The logical conclusions are mindblowing.

    Off the top of my head:

    Could sexual fetishes be protected from criticism because many people find it essential to their own identity? And should paraphilic infantilism be a robust defence of pedophilia?

    Should naked greed be protected from criticism because many people find it essential to their own (capitalist) identity?

    Should Catholicism be protected from criticism about mistreatment of children in orphanages because many people find being catholic essential to their own identity?

    Should use of torture be protected from criticism because many rednecks find it essential to their own identity to identify with character of Jack Bauer?

    See how the fabric of society is visibly being strengthened by principle of categorical imperative applied to morally deficient.

    • Marnie on September 3, 2019, 6:43 am

      100% @Eva Smagaz

      and it could and probably will go on and on and on….

      LGBTQ protections are being eliminated by #45 and the 180 judges and 2 SCOTUS’s he’s appointed in the almost 3 years that he’s been ‘It’. He really put his back fat into this one. I’m pretty worried about who’ll lose their rights next….all on the basis of someone else’s comfort or definition of identity.

      • Eva Smagacz on September 4, 2019, 6:23 am

        Marnie,

        The push-back against women’s rights is also happening, and I call anybody, who thinks that this battle has been won a fool:

        https://www.salon.com/2019/01/23/trump-administration-quietly-changes-definition-of-domestic-violence-and-sexual-assault/

      • Marnie on September 4, 2019, 1:29 pm

        @Eva Smagacz –

        ‘The push-back against women’s rights is also happening, and I call anybody, who thinks that this battle has been won a fool’. You are so right. The good old boys network has the perfect ‘president’ to champion their ‘let’s totally decriminalize sexual assault (or any other) against women’. All you have to say is 4 little words in your defense – ‘She’s not my type”. Women don’t get raped, period. Like little Donnie Jr. said long ago (3 years?), if a woman can’t take sexual harrassment, she should keep her ass at home!

  9. RoHa on September 2, 2019, 8:23 pm

    “If you attack Zionism then you are attacking a core principle around which Jews organize their self-conception as Jews, and so you are exhibiting an anti-Jewish attitude. ”

    Confucius and Aristotle both held that people are ultimately responsible for their own character. Adults can choose to overcome bad upbringing and to resist the lure and pressure of disreputable society.

    The same goes for “identity”. In the above quotation, there should be a couple of additional words. The line should be “… around which Jews choose to organize their self conception as Jews …”

    Jews choose a self conception as Jews, and Zionist Jews choose to make Zionism part of that self conception.

    If people choose evil, they have chosen to face condemnation for evil.

  10. John Douglas on September 2, 2019, 10:05 pm

    Professor Pearl states,

    “To me, being Jewish means to identify with the past, present, and future of a collective of individuals who happen to call themselves ‘Jews.’ This is indeed what ‘people-hood’ means: A collective bonded by common history and common destiny.”

    Is the professor willing to live with what this implies, namely that no one can be born Jewish?

  11. RoHa on September 3, 2019, 1:41 am

    “Since Jews are a history-bonded collective, and Israel is the culmination of Jewish history, elementary high school algebra dictates that Zionism is an essential component of Jewish identity.”

    This is a fine example of a combination of the implied argument tactic and the every-schoolboy-knows fallacy.

    “You are not so stupid as to have forgotten your algebra, are you? Then you will be able to work it out for yourself.”

    But it isn’t a matter of algebra, it is a matter of logic. And I need the argument to be spelled out in detail before I will think of accepting it. (Though not in Polish notation.*)

    ” Zionist students and faculty should therefore be recognized as legitimate participants in UCLA’s tapestry of inclusion and diversity.”

    I thought the problem was that anti-Zionist students and faculty were being excluded from UCLA’s “tapestry of inclusion and diversity**”.

    *The point of using Polish notation is to stun the reader into acquiescence by presenting the argument in a form that appears both rigorous and impenetrable.

    ** That emetic phrase should be sufficient to make a sensible person treat Pearl’s claims with grave suspicion.

  12. JWalters on September 3, 2019, 3:20 am

    Thank you for pointing out that the anti-Semitism accusations NEVER have a clearly articulated basis. And showing why. What they use instead is emotion. They get in a huff and you’re supposed to get in a huff with them. If you’re not entirely buying their line, they bark “holocaust! holocaust!”

    I’m betting it’ll turn out the reason you aren’t finding a “clear, fully articulated argument” is because none exists. And most reasonably informed people would agree. It’s the simplest theory, and it fits all the facts. They are definitely dodging any truly honest discussion.

    Best wishes in getting on the PBS Newshour, ABC This Week, etc. Sincerely.

    • John Douglas on September 3, 2019, 8:36 am

      ” anti-Semitism accusations NEVER have a clearly articulated basis.”

      Rather like the national borders of Israel. There’s a certain freedom that accrues to fuzziness.

      • Hemlockroid on September 3, 2019, 11:21 am

        We all know that for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zionism was a minority opinion among Jews.” You make it sound like that was unique with late 19th early 20th centuries. It was never popular until Herzl, Austrians, Russians and Protestantism dangled nationalism in front of now genetically defined “Jews” and they bit down on it.

  13. Talkback on September 3, 2019, 5:47 am

    So Professor Judea Pearl basically argues that anti-Nazism was anti-German. What a brain!

    • Tuyzentfloot on September 3, 2019, 9:54 am

      It often was, because it’s a natural way of thinking. It’s through refinement ‘oh no that is too general I should refine my too lumpy category’ that you end up split this up for instance in nazi germans and nonnazi germans’, after which you start over . Iterations of lumping and splitting as very basic cognitive functionality.

      Likewise of course for any ‘newbie’ getting acquainted with some Israeli practices in the Westbank it is natural to dislike ‘Jews’. But one quickly learns that one should make haste with distinguishing between subcategories there. This offers a more accurate view of the distinctions on the ground, while also ‘ looking ahead’ and allowing for freedom to move between categories. The latter is handy even in the case where the ‘good guy’ category is almost empty at that stage.

  14. Ossinev on September 3, 2019, 7:26 am

    Mr.Pearl`s Wikipedia narrative shows the following:
    “On his religious views, Pearl states that he doesn’t believe in God.[16][17] He is very connected to Jewish traditions such as daily prayer, tefillin, and Kiddush on Friday night.[18] In an interview with Heeb Magazine, he is “… trying to educate our children and live under God.”He believes that Jews have always expected a return to Israel as expressed in songs, prayers and holidays.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judea_Pearl

    Isn`t it Anti- Semitic for a self confessed Jew not to believe in God ?

    A bit contadictory to put it mildly but given the “intellectual ” hoops that Zionists jump through not altogether surprising. Cake – eat – have.

  15. eljay on September 3, 2019, 7:31 am

    … Now maybe one might reply that white-European identity can’t count as the kind of identity we have a duty to protect because it is not the identity of an oppressed group. Only the identities of oppressed peoples – oppressed usually by white-Europeans in fact – deserve the kind of protection Pearl is seeking for Zionists-Jews. …

    Islamists are a group oppressed usually by white-Europeans. So Mr. Pearl is now a defender of Islamism and of Islamic State (and maybe also Islamic states?). Huh.

    Zionism does ugly things to the minds of its adherents.

    • gamal on September 3, 2019, 11:06 am

      “Islamists are a group oppressed usually by white-Europeans”

      That’s not really true is it?

      Muslims of various types, Asians, Africans are being attacked by the forces of the West ( military, economic and ideological) white if you want, white ideologically perhaps but some of the Muslims, under these severe attacks which include a good deal of aggravated larceny and almost total destruction of state apparatus have responded by organizing sometimes around something termed “Islamism” in the west (after 50 years of assiduously eradicating ‘leftist’ mostly communist groups) which, in the west, fully retroactively justifies the aggressions we have been committing against them for at least 2 centuries…oddly most Muslims being oppressed are unlikely to be Islamists but they are Muslims because just as everyone has to be somewhere everyone has to be something..also we ( the west) are quite happy to rally to the cause of the too vicious for Al Quaida ISIL who can be heard throughout the middle east proclaiming, this is verbatim, “America is with us”, of course notwithstanding that Islam is the enemy Islam has always been the enemy….? Are Makhtum, Al Thani the Sauds Islamists? or only Hamas and Ansarallah and the Iraqi militias and Iranians?

      • Mooser on September 3, 2019, 2:52 pm

        Under the circumstances people may try to organize around what they think cannot be co-opted, or bought, or might be impenetrable to those not devoted to the cause.

    • Brewer on September 3, 2019, 5:07 pm

      “Zionism does ugly things to the minds of its adherents.”
      Yes. The results of torture are ugly indeed – particularly when it is logic on the rack.
      Pearl’s argument is complete nonsense. There are a number of contradictory, unfortunate entailments that flow from it:
      If the racist ideology of Zionism is indeed “at the core of Jewish identity” then antisemitism must be re-defined as a rational response to Jewish behavior. It cannot be the irrational dislike of a race or religion as it purports to be
      Jews who oppose Zionism are not, at their core, Jewish.
      Defining Jews as a monolithic bloc in terms of behavior fits precisely within the very definition of antisemitism.
      https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/111B5/production/_89496007_protest_getty.jpg

      • echinococcus on September 4, 2019, 6:17 am

        The proposition regarding an “irrational dislike of a race or religion” is in part a riddle, Brewer. Dislike of religion, wholesale or severally, is eminently rational. In fact, it’s where the very definition of rationalism starts.

        I have to agree, of course, that there are cases of irrational dislike of specific religions, by people who are themselves religious. Theological stuff, though, is almost never denounced any longer as “antisemitism” by AS-hunters.

  16. pabelmont on September 3, 2019, 8:33 am

    Sometimes cohesive “national” groups go — briefly or not so briefly — astray. USA has been shooting up the middle east in a series of dreadful wars for many years now, I hope a temporary aberration, a “going astray”. USA’s been “denying” the climate crisis for a while now, I really, really hope a temporary “going astray”. To say the sometimes forbidden, ahem, Germany became Nazi Germany for a while, again temporary and widely seen as a “going astray”. “White Nationalism” is beginning to raise its head in many (European) countries and in USA, with bad results, to me seems a “going astray”.

    It is permitted, generally, to criticize these “goings astray” particularly if one is also careful not to critcize the people — we say we deplore what Nazis did, not the German people as a whole and forever. We say we deplore USA’s wars, not the American people as a whole and forever.

    And It seems to me one can criticize what Israel does (and even call it criticizing what Zionists stand for or do) without criticizing the Jewish-Israeli people as a whole and forever, and hardly as a matter of criticizing the entire Jewish people as a whole and forever.

    Because bad behavior can be changed. Evil can be temporary.

    Indeed, fascinatingly, a kind of white-male-industrial-and-anti-environmental identity is seen as a cause of climate crisis denial: see: https://attentiontotheunseen.com/2019/09/02/the-misogyny-of-climate-deniers/

    Anyhow, Jewish Zionism is a kind of monster, a real need (protection from pogroms and holocausts) being transmogrified into self-given “permission” to depopulate a very large and growing ever larger territory, to oppress, to make war, etc., etc. I hope it is ultimately temporary, a temporary “going astray”. The point of BDS is to roll it back, to make it temporary.

    It seems that in many cases, people band together to make an “identity” for the purpose of, or with the result of, justifying making war. Hitler justified attacking most of Europe and USSR in part to provide “lebensraum”, room to live, for Germans. Zionist Jews have done the same in Palestine, to make room for Jews to live where they want.

    Zionists speak of a need for a country of their own, but then aspire to take not “a country solmewhere” but “a very big country in and of all of Palestine”, the one they “want” (Biblical arguments), not a one they “need”, which might be located elsewhere altogether (Poland, Germany, Alaska, Greenland ha!).

    • Eva Smagacz on September 4, 2019, 6:37 am

      Not forgetting Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya Oblast commonly called Jewish Autonomous Oblast – the part of Russian Federation with direct boarder with China.

      The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is part of the Far Eastern Economic Region; it has well-developed industry and agriculture and a dense transportation network.

      Its status as a free economic zone increases the opportunities for economic development. The oblast’s rich mineral and building and finishing material resources are in great demand on the Russian market. Nonferrous metallurgy, engineering, metalworking, and the building material, forest, woodworking, light, and food industries are the most highly developed industrial sectors.

      Agriculture is the Jewish Autonomous Oblast’s main economic sector owing to fertile soils and a moist climate.

      The Amur Bridge is a 19.9 km (12.4 mi) long, $355 million, bridge under construction that will link Nizhneleninskoye in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast with Tongjiang in the Heilongjiang Province of China.The bridge is expected to open in October 2019

  17. Vera Gottlieb on September 3, 2019, 8:57 am

    This is pure nonsense. Zionism, with all its violence against Palestinians, is giving Judaism a bad name. Is smearing everyone as anti Semitic a cover up for all that israel is inflicting on Palestine? Is it? Hard to believe the West, in fear of israel, is swallowing this garbage – remaining silent and looking the other way.

  18. tony greenstein on September 3, 2019, 9:45 am

    Joseph Levin makes heavy weather of this notion of Jewish identity as being immune. He concludes that:
    ‘Pearl’s detour through identity politics doesn’t change anything. The point is that once an identity claim threatens to conflict with the rights of others, as anti-Zionists claim it does in this case, it can no longer provide safety from criticism.’

    WRONG. No Identity, ANYWHERE, is immune from criticism. Even if it is the identity of an oppressed person. Supposing a is the case FGM is part of the identity of Black people in Africa, does it become immune?

    Identity is how you see yourself. You have the right to see yourself as you want but I have the right to criticise that identity. But of course Jewish identity which is wrapped round Zionism is not just a matter of self perception. It is about defining the other in terms of how you see yourself. The Palestinians in your eyes also take on an identity and not a very nice on either ‘terrorists’ ‘interlopers’ etc.

    Levine he finds ‘congenial’ the following:

    To me, being Jewish means to identify with the past, present, and future of a collective of individuals who happen to call themselves ‘Jews.’ This is indeed what ‘people-hood’ means: A collective bonded by common history and common destiny.”

    No, no and no. Jews are not a people/nation. Jews are spread all over the world. Of course they have formed myths of a common origin, of which we have no way of knowing whether its true such as the myth of an exile with the fall of the second temple. This does NOT define what it is to be Jewish. It is what Jews do and believe NOW that matters.

    Again Levine errs when he says ‘So far so good. Jews are people who identify as “Jews”, which means identifying with a certain collective history.’ Rubbish. People identify as Jews because their mother or perhaps their father is Jewish, they have Jewish friends, they like Jewish food and perhaps identify with Israel. It doesn’t matter. The past is gone, people may believe in an Exodus that didn’t occur but so what?

    I know Levin is a Professor of Philosophy so he has to make heavy weather of this but the fundamental point is that ALL identities are open to question, they are all subjective, none are holy or immune. A Jewish identity based on Zionism is an identity of oppression. Period

    • Keith on September 3, 2019, 4:15 pm

      TONY GREENSTEIN- “No, no and no. Jews are not a people/nation.”

      I beg to differ. To the degree that individual “Jews” see themselves as part of a collective and act accordingly, they can be considered a “people.” Peoplehood is an ideological construct involving shared mythology and myth-history, along with a sense of common purpose and destiny. The Jews of Classical Judaism were a widely dispersed group of people united by the Judaic religion and other distinctions which enabled them to reside in non-Jewish communities while maintaining a separate identity. The enlightenment and the splintering of Judaism into Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and secular Jews resulted in the splintering of the Jews as a religion based people. Zionism is now the overarching ideology which reunites Jews who are Zionists or are strongly influenced by the Zionist ideology. The success of power-seeking Zionist Jews and groups provides a strong incentive to be a part of this highly successful collective.

      “Zionism provides a reconstruction of Jewish identity, for it reaffirms the nationhood of Israel in the face of the disintegration of the religious bases of Jewish peoplehood.” (p196, “Stranger At Home: “The Holocaust,” Zionism, and American Judaism,” Jacob Neusner)

      • tony greenstein on September 6, 2019, 1:48 am

        I disagree. Either peoplehood exists or it doesn’t exist. It cannot be subject to individual whims or desires. Maybe if sufficient numbers of people consider themselves Jeddis or martians you will grant them their request too?

        No it wasn’t their sense of identity which kept the Jews of classical judaism together it was their distinct occupational role in medieval society. Without that they disappeared.

        Yes Zionism is now the main form of Jewish identity, indeed its secular religion but so is anti-Zionism and opposition to Israel.

        Yes the Right and far-Right see something good in being Jewish but that really proves my point that there is no Jewish peoplehood. It is a myth of latterday neo-cons

      • Keith on September 6, 2019, 2:48 pm

        TONY GREENSTEIN- “No it wasn’t their sense of identity which kept the Jews of classical judaism together it was their distinct occupational role in medieval society.”

        The distinctive occupational role of the Jews in medieval society is essential in understanding their relationship with the surrounding non-Jewish community from which they maintained separation. However, trying to separate their economic function from the ideology of Classical (medieval) Judaism is deeply flawed. Classical Judaic ideology both permitted and reinforced their economic function in relation to both the Gentile peasantry (who they looked down upon) and the Gentile monarch who they served and relied upon for protection. Additionally, Classical Judaism and the sense of religion based peoplehood enabled and facilitated international financial transactions and trade brokered by Jews. And just as the enlightenment and modernity destroyed the Jewish economic niche, so too did the Judaic religion splinter (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and secular) to reflect this new reality. Reform Judaism began as a complete answer to assimilation, Jews now defined as followers of the Judaic religion, peoplehood denied. Zionism has exploited the Holocaust to resurrect the ideological concept of Jewish peoplehood (kinship) which fundamentally alters the relationship of Jews to non-Jews. While no longer separated physically, Zionist Jews are emotionally and psychologically separated from the surrounding non-Jewish community with whom they are engaged in a never ending struggle for power, a struggle which is mostly invisible to the overwhelming majority of Gentiles. Peoplehood is an ideological construct and a sense of a shared destiny and internal solidarity has real consequences. An extended quote fro Mondoweiss commenter and historian Yoni Falic.

        “As halakhah (Jewish sharia) became a universal commercial code, we see the crystallization of Rabbinic Judaism especially in the completion of a predictable calenderical system, better accounting techniques, efficient human trafficking (brought to Judaic religion by Phoenician converts of antiquity) along with associated medical or religious practices, and highly efficient highly extractive or exploitative banking practices especially attractive to rulers in Germano-Slav regions. Associated with these developments (identified by Botticini & Eckstein in The Chosen Few) is Talmudization of Judaic communities (identified by Talya Fishman in Becoming the People of the Talmud) and creation of Yiddish (identified by Paul Wexler in The Two-Tiered Relexification of Yiddish).

        WHILE JUDEANS PASSED ALMOST ENTIRELY IN ISLAM (SOME STUCK WITH CHRISTIANITY), JUDAIC COMMUNITIES DESCENDED FROM CONVERT POPULATIONS CREATED

        1) GLOBALIZED BUSINESS NETWORKS THAT WERE UNSTIFLED BY CENTRAL ECONOMIC DIRECTION AND

        2) MONETARY CONCENTRATIONS THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR EUROPE TO LEAVE THE MIDDLE AGES AND ENTER THE RENAISSANCE FOLLOWED BY MODERNIZATION THROUGH NEW SCIENTIFIC AND POLITICAL IDEAS AND STRUCTURES.” (Yoni Falic) https://mondoweiss.net/2017/04/another-american-israel/#comment-878037

      • echinococcus on September 6, 2019, 6:25 pm

        Greenstein,

        “Yes Zionism is now the main form of Jewish identity, indeed its secular religion but so is anti-Zionism and opposition to Israel”

        As for the latter two, statistically speaking it would be very hard, in fact impossible to substantiate it.

    • RoHa on September 3, 2019, 6:56 pm

      Making heavy weather of straightforward notions is an essential part of our identity as philosophers. Criticism of that is anti-Philosophical.

    • RoHa on September 3, 2019, 8:33 pm

      “individuals and groups have every right to create their own identity “
      “You have the right to see yourself as you want  “

      I’d like to see an argument for this right. Most of this “identity” stuff is damned silly. It may be permitted, but I cannot see that there is a right to be damned silly. It conflicts with my ideas of epistemic duties*.

      “Identities” involve beliefs about oneself and the people one has chosen as “my people”. I will invoke Clifford here, and point out that those beliefs can be decidedly evil, and – as history shows – very dangerous when acted on.

      (*And if I ever get the power to enforce those duties, there’ll be some changes made.)

      • Eva Smagacz on September 4, 2019, 7:06 am

        RoHa, you are on fire today!

        But you said: “but I cannot see that there is a right to be damned silly. It conflicts with my ideas of epistemic duties*

        You are aware of distinction between knowledge, wisdom, emotional maturity and unimpeded cognitive development. Some people cannot be helped. Like Trump or Boris Johnson (God help us).

      • Mooser on September 4, 2019, 1:23 pm

        “(*And if I ever get the power to enforce those duties, there’ll be some changes made.)”

        You will change our way of living.
        And if that ain’t enough, you’ll change the way you strut your stuff!

  19. PaulMerrell on September 3, 2019, 10:31 am

    Prof. Levine’s analysis of the right of self-determination issue falls wide of the mark. It is a legal, not cultural issue. There is no Jewish right of self-determination. Here a classic example of the argument, this by David Horowitz:

    “To endorse a platform that demands the elimination of the world’s only Jewish state, which was revived in 1948 on the basis of a UN vote a year earlier, is anti-Semitism of the first order, prejudice against Jews. To advocate that the Jewish nation, uniquely, does not have any right to sovereignty, that its national movement should be eradicated — that’s discrimination and incitement. To assert that the Jewish people has no right to sovereignty in the only place on earth where it has ever been sovereign, never wanted to leave and always sought to return; to demand, that is, not that Israel live peaceably alongside a Palestinian state, but that it be fully replaced by a Palestinian state — this is unconscionable.”

    David Horovitz, Corbyn, Who Sought Israel’s Demise, Is an Anti-Semite. Labour Must Kick Him Out, The Times of Israel (circa 22 August 2018). https://www.timesofisrael.com/corbyn-who-sought-israels-demise-is-an-anti-semite-labour-must-kick-him-out/

    The legal right of self-determination is bestowed by the U.N. Charter Chapter XI. The “peoples” entitled to self-determination are those that at the time of the Charter’s adoption resided in European colonies and trust territories established under the League of Nations. https://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/

    More importantly, the “peoples” entitled to self-determination are the *entire* population of the given colony or territory, not a Jewish subset. This was firmly established by a decision of the International Court of Justice earlier this year:

    “States have consistently emphasized that respect for the territorial integrity of a non-self-governing territory is a key element of the exercise of the right to self-determination under international law. The Court considers that the peoples of non-self-governing territories are entitled to exercise their right to self-determination in relation to their territory as a whole, the integrity of which must be respected by the administering Power. It follows that any detachment by the administering Power of part of a non-self-governing territory, unless based on the freely expressed and genuine will of the people of the territory concerned, is contrary to the right to self-determination.”

    Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, ICJ (25 February 2019), pg. 38, https://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/169/169-20190225-01-00-EN.pdf (.) See also V. Gudeleviciute, Does the Principle of Self-Determination Prevail over the Principle of Territorial Integrity?, 2:2 Int. J. Baltic Law (2005), pp. 57-58; see also V. Gudeleviciute, Does the Principle of Self-Determination Prevail over the Principle of Territorial Integrity?, 2:2 Int. J. Baltic Law (2005), pp. 57-58.

    Israel’s claim of a right of self-determination depends on just such a detachment. But it is *all* of the citizens of Mandate Palestine Jews, Arabs, Christians, etc. who have that right. The purported Jewish right of self-determination exists only in fraudulent Zionist propaganda. It sounds plausible; but its factual worth is nothing.

    That the “two-state solution” was constructed on a foundation that would *impose* a division of the Territory of Palestine into two states was always fundamentally at odds with the principle of self-determination. That was why the Security Council never took up the issue of the Partition Plan, over strenuous objections of the Arab nations.

    • Keith on September 3, 2019, 4:29 pm

      PAULMERRELL- “The legal right of self-determination is bestowed by the U.N. Charter Chapter XI. The “peoples” entitled to self-determination are those that at the time of the Charter’s adoption resided in European colonies and trust territories established under the League of Nations.”

      Thanks Paul. I have made this same point in the past. The “right of self-determination” is essentially a euphemism to describe decolonization. It has no other legitimate application. The so-called right of Jewish self-determination is nothing but pilpul intended to legitimize the Jewish Zionist colonization of Palestine, the exact opposite of the original intent.

  20. Misterioso on September 3, 2019, 11:32 am

    Off subject, but just released good news that will probably enrage Trump, et al.

    https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2019/9/3/harvard-student-turned-away-arrives/#.XW2svCE4yHU.twitter

    “Freshman Previously Denied Entry to the United States Arrives at Harvard”
    By Shera S. Avi-Yonah and Delano R. Franklin, Crimson Staff Writers 17 hours ago

    “Harvard freshman Ismail B. Ajjawi ’23, who United States border officials turned away ten days ago, arrived on campus Monday in time for the start of classes Tuesday.

    “Ajjawi’s family issued a statement Monday through his lawyer thanking those who voiced support for him and assisted his arrival.

    “’The last ten days have been difficult and anxiety filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of AMIDEAST,’ the statement reads. ‘We hope now that everyone can respect our and Ismail’s privacy and he can now simply focus on settling into College and his important class work.’

    “Immigration officers barred Ajjawi from entering the United States after he spent eight hours in Boston Logan International Airport on Aug. 23. Ajjawi, a 17-year-old resident of Tyre, Lebanon told The Crimson last week that a Customs and Border Protection officer searched his phone and laptop while he was detained at the airport.

    “Ajjawi alleged that officer questioned him for hours about posts his friends made on social media and eventually informed him that his visa would be canceled. The officer also allegedly asked him questions about his religious practices in Lebanon.

    “Shortly after Ajjawi returned to Lebanon, Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Michael S. McCarthy wrote in a statement that officials had ‘deemed [him] inadmissible.’ McCarthy did not specify the reason for the decision.

    “Ajjawi’s immigration difficulties sparked outcry from Harvard student groups, several of which organized a petition supporting him that has garnered more than 7,000 signatures as of Monday night. Ajjawi’s story has also drawn international media attention and elicited statements of support from several organizations including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

    “Staff from both Harvard and AMIDEAST, a scholarship organization sponsoring Ajjawi’s education, worked with federal officials to ensure he could matriculate on time.

    “University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain wrote in a statement last week that Harvard was working to bring Ajjawi to campus before classes begin Sept. 3.

    “’The University is working closely with the student’s family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter so that he can join his classmates in the coming days,’ he wrote.

    “The Ajjawi family’s statement acknowledged the groups that advocated for their son, both in Lebanon and in the United States.

    “’We truly appreciate the efforts of so many individuals and officials in Lebanon, Washington, Massachusetts and at Harvard that have made it possible for our son Ismail Ajjawi to begin his studies at Harvard with his class,’ they wrote.”

    • echinococcus on September 4, 2019, 6:45 am

      Thank you so much for the good news, Misterioso.

      The moral of the tale is, obviously, “when in trouble with government, get Harvard alumni”. Never fails.

  21. oldgeezer on September 3, 2019, 12:53 pm

    individuals and groups have every right to create their own identity but the position that having done so it automatically becomes a protected charatceristic is insanity.

    This is bat **** crazy stuff on so many levels it’s not funny and it’s certainly not algebra.

    Which zionism is being protected? The belief in a national home for Jewish people? The belief in Israel even though it wasn’t a part of zionism to begin with. Support and protection of the state of Israel as it currently exists? If I had a quarter for every time I heard “ziosnism is simply….” with variants as to what it simply is.

    Zionism is a political belief whether it is part of your identity or not. Political beliefs are not and should not be entitled to form a protected characteristic.

    I did appreciate how pearl effectively denies the actual protected characteristic of being Jewish to all Jewish people who don’t believe in zionism. Now that’s antisemitic.

    • Keith on September 3, 2019, 4:39 pm

      OLDGEEZER- “This is bat **** crazy stuff on so many levels it’s not funny and it’s certainly not algebra.”

      Indeed, and the fact that the argument is being made by a PhD professor at a prestigious university suggests that all is not well in academia, particularly among those under the influence of the Zionist ideology.

  22. Mooser on September 3, 2019, 2:55 pm

    “This is bat **** crazy stuff on so many levels it’s not funny and it’s certainly not algebra.”

    Don’t need Al-Jabr, it’s batshit crazy just using addition and subtraction.

  23. ShaolinMonkTLV on September 3, 2019, 6:27 pm

    Joe if you were married in a Jewish wedding and broke the glass at the end of the ceremony and said “if I forget the of Jerusalem” then you would understand that yes Zionism is at the core of Jewish identity but so called “progressive Jews” in America who have it so good in America want us to believe it’s just a religion and not a tribal designation but nobody actually cares what you think because in another generation your Jewish origins will he traded in for a condo in Portland Oregon.

    • eljay on September 3, 2019, 6:52 pm

      || ShaolinMonkTLV: Joe if you were married in a Jewish wedding and broke the glass at the end of the ceremony and said “if I forget the of Jerusalem” then you would understand that yes Zionism is at the core of Jewish identity … ||

      One would understand two things:
      – Jewish is a religion-based identity; and
      – Jerusalem, not Zionism, is at the core of that religion-based identity.

      Neither of these understandings grants to people who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish the “right” to be colonialists, (war) criminals or supremacists.

      || … so called “progressive Jews” in America who have it so good in America want us to believe it’s just a religion and not a tribal designation … ||

      Jewish is a religion-based identity, yes, but even if it were a “tribal designation” it wouldn’t grant to people who choose to embrace it the “right” to be colonialists, (war) criminals or supremacists.

      || … in another generation your Jewish origins will he traded in for a condo in Portland Oregon. ||

      Trading a soul for “a condo in Portland Oregon” sounds much less immoral than selling a soul for the “right” to be evil and to do evil unto others.

    • Mooser on September 3, 2019, 8:03 pm

      Another parody Zionist. I hope James North doesn’t blame this one on me.

      And what’s wrong with Portland Oregon?

      • Rob Roy on September 4, 2019, 3:07 am

        What’s wrong with Portland, Oregon: It’s swamped with homeless people who need help, shelter and food. It’s filthy. It’s growing at such a rate there’s no good planning to accommodate the growth. Traffic is horrendous. All vehicles are now at a standstill and will soon be atrophied into stone. That takes care of Portland, Oregon.
        As for Jews, Zionists or not, they are bred not born, as are all people who are born into homes where babies begin getting brainwashed into the parents’ religion at birth. Jews are not a race. Muslims are not a race. Christians are not a race. Etc. The idea of DNA gathering to prove someone belongs in a religion takes the cake for ignorance.
        Israel does not belong to the Jews. It belongs to the Palestinians, some of which are descended from the original handful of Jews…those descendants IDENTIFY themselves as Palestinian Jews, not Israelis, fly the Palestinian flag, refuse to join the IDF and want their country, Palestine, back.

    • Mooser on September 8, 2019, 4:14 pm

      “Joe if you were married in a Jewish wedding and broke the glass at the end of the ceremony…”

      You would understand the true meaning of an old ELO song.

  24. RobertHenryEller on September 3, 2019, 7:58 pm

    “Since Jews are a history-bonded collective, and Israel is the culmination of Jewish history, elementary high school algebra dictates that Zionism is an essential component of Jewish identity. Zionist students and faculty should therefore be recognized as legitimate participants in UCLA’s tapestry of inclusion and diversity.”

    1) “History-bonded” is a ridiculous idea on it’s face. History is bonded by nothing else but time. And time, for now, appears to not be over.
    2) Since history is not over, stating that Israel is the culmination of Jewish history is not only pretentious, and scientifically ridiculous, but also dishearteningly pessimistic.
    3) “Jewish history” is not, apparently, bounded by Israel, as many if not most Jews have, in aggregate, not spent most of their time in Israel. Are Zionists ripping not-in-Israel history out of Jewish history books? Does that mean the Holocaust, which didn’t happen in Israel, didn’t happen?
    4) Zionism is not, apparently, an essential component of Jewish identity. Otherwise, all the Jews who not only don’t live in Israel now, but all the Jews who have never lived in Israel – most Jews – have been fooling themselves about being Jewish. All those synagogues, rabbis, delusional. And all those appeals to diaspora Jews for aid to Israel – have Zionists been lying to us diaspora Jews about our identity all these decades? And would real Jews violate the Jewish God’s Ten Commandments and lie? Or are the Ten Commandments NOT a part of Jewish identity, the way Israel is?
    5) If UCLA recognizes Zionist students and faculty as legitimate, does that mean that merely-Jewish not-particularly-Zionist students and faculty should not be recognized? Should merely-Jewish not-particularly-Zionist students and faculty even be admitted to and hired by UCLA? Can Zionists even honestly promote “inclusion” and “diversity” while implicitly asserting that only Jewish Zionists are real Jews, and should be recognized?

    • Tonja on September 4, 2019, 5:39 am

      “Since Jews are a history-bonded collective, and Israel is the culmination of Jewish history,”

      I wouldn’t sound ominous but if Professor Pearl knew anything about history he would have noticed that Civilizations (tribes, kingdoms, empires, etc,..) rise and may reach apogee…
      But after culmination always come decadence… it never fails

  25. Eva Smagacz on September 4, 2019, 6:19 am

    “*The point of using Polish notation is to stun the reader into acquiescence by presenting the argument in a form that appears both rigorous and impenetrable.”

    One of the best definitions of Polish notation in logic that I read!!!

  26. Eva Smagacz on September 4, 2019, 7:19 am

    Pearl got is PhD by liberal application of Polish notations into computer science (see also Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems), and as the thesis was impenetrable, his degree was awarded relying on the opinion of his doctoral advisors: ‎L. Strauss; L. Bergstein (/sarcasm).

  27. Sheldonrichman on September 4, 2019, 8:55 am

    This is a truly brilliant article. Thanks!

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