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Israelis were ‘saddened’ to have to kill Gaza protesters, to avert ‘bloodbath’

Media Analysis
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Have you watched reports of the Chinese government’s attacks on protesters in Hong Kong? American media are outraged, and the shooting of a young man two days ago was national news here. The fact that the protesters hurl bricks is treated in the reports I’ve watched as just another form of protest.

Contrast those stories to the often-sympathetic coverage that Israel has gotten while killing nearly 200 protesters at the Gaza fence over the last year and a half, and maiming hundreds of others. The New York Times has run four columnists justifying the killings.

Daniel Gordis

A new book that has gotten red-carpet treatment from the Times offers yet another spirited defense of the slaughter. In “We Stand Divided,” Daniel Gordis writes that Israel faced an existential threat from these protesters and had no choice but to kill them to prevent a “bloodbath” inside Israel.

In the summer of 2018, when Palestinians began massive protests along the Gaza border, Israeli troops were forced to use live fire to keep masses of Gazns from approaching and then trampling the fence; had the fence been overrun, hundreds or even thousands of Gazans could have spread out across the area along the border, which is dotted with dozens of Israeli towns, kibbutzim, and even cities. There were concerns that a bloodbath might ensue.

To prevent that eventuality, the IDF ordered soldiers not to let anyone approach the fence. Tragically, some Gazans, especially the young, heeded the call of Palestinian leaders to attack the fence, and many were shot. On a particularly horrific day in May 2018 (not coincidentally, the very same day that the American embassy in Jerusalem officially opened), some sixty Palestinians were killed trying to approach the fence. It was a grim day for Israelis, who were saddened by the loss of life. Nonetheless, even among Israel’s left, there were no mass demonstrations, no widespread calls for investigations of the army’s policy or its execution, and no calls for a change in government as a result of what had happened….

The tragedy of the shootings was that American liberal Jews cannot comprehend Israel’s response, Gordis says. He cites a Forward headline, “Israel’s Choice to Shoot Palestinians Should Horrify–But Not Surprise Us,” and says it reveals a misperception of Israeli Judaism. American Jews think of Judaism as a universal religion, but for Israelis, Judaism is a Jewish nation centered in Israel whose survival is at stake if any credibility is given to the right of return of Palestinian refugees. (There is never any sense in Gordis’s account that Palestinians, who make up 20 percent of Israel, have any voice in how Israel treats Palestinians.)

So it’s American “Judaism as justice” versus Israeli “Judaism-as-survival,” Gordis says, and Judaism as survival is more important.

Gordis’s book is yet another argument that American Jews should not abandon Israel, because we can’t be Jewish without Israel. American Jews cannot have “a Jewish life without an alliance with Israel at its core,” he writes. And of course Israel needs us; so the entire future of the Jewish people is at stake in that relationship.

Look what we get out of it: Israel supplies American Jews “drama, in the very best sense of the word,” an engagement with history. Because the “story of the return of the Jewish people to its ancestral homeland is one of the greatest dramas in the history of humankind.” And when we go to Israel we can experience the “magic” of being exposed to a “version of Jewish life wholly unlike their own lives in the United States.”

Gordis’s requirement that American Jews excuse the bloodbath in Gaza as the ticket price on having a Jewish identity is why so many young Jews are now turning against Zionism. His insistence on conflating Zionism and Judaism in an era when Israel has not a clue how to treat the indigenous population with anything approaching dignity or equality is doing untold damage to one of the jewels of civilization, Jewish culture.

P.S. Gordis has gotten a ton of respect from liberal Zionists, including a forum with Tom Friedman. In his review of Gordis’s book, Michael Koplow, a liberal Zionist, does not mention Gordis’s defense of the Gaza slaughter. And he says that American Jewish groups are down for Zionism; and IfNotNow and Michael Chabon are outliers…

To look at the deeply Zionist American Jewish community, where every major American Jewish organization of any significance supports Israel not only in practice but specifically as a Jewish state and where over 90% of American Jews say they have favorable feelings toward Israel, and to posit that the real problem is a rejection of the concept of Israel’s Jewish nature is a puzzling leap.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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58 Responses

  1. just on October 4, 2019, 12:58 pm

    “It was a grim day for Israelis, who were saddened by the loss of life. Nonetheless, even among Israel’s left, there were no mass demonstrations, no widespread calls for investigations of the army’s policy or its execution, and no calls for a change in government as a result of what had happened….”

    Wait. Did some Zionists in Israel at least cry and/or pray? How about in the US?

    Gordis’ words remind me of Meir’s creepy ones here:

    “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”


    btw, they killed one and injured others today:

    “Gazan Killed by Israeli Gunfire in Border Protests, Palestinians Report
    Health Ministry says 11 Palestinians injured, five by live fire, in what marks the 77th weekly demonstration …”


    • Misterioso on October 5, 2019, 3:07 pm

      @just, et al

      Lest we forget:

      “If Americans Knew Blog”

      Re: Alaa Nizar Ayesh Hamdan

      October 4, 2019:

      “Alaa Nizar Ayesh Hamdan, 28, was killed by Israeli soldiers in Abu Safiyya area, east of Jabalia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, after the army attacked non-violent protesters in different parts of the coastal region, wounding 57, including 18 who were shot with live ammunition.

      “The Palestinian protest organizers called this Friday’s March of Return the ‘Friday of 78 Children,’ in honor of the 78 CHILDREN [my emphasis] killed by Israeli forces since the weekly protest marches began in March of 2018.

      “Palestinian medical sources reported that Alaa Nizar Ayesh Hamdan, 28, was shot and killed by the soldiers in a protest east of Jabalia town in the northern Gaza Strip while participating in the March of Return protest. He was taken to the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, where he was declared dead.

      “In addition to Hamdan, Israeli forces shot 18 Palestinian protesters with live ammunition, along the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip, several of whom had critical injuries.

      “39 Palestinians suffered from other injuries inflicted by the Israeli military, including being hit with so-called ‘less-lethal’ weaponry, and reactions to tear gas resulting in hospitalization.

      “The soldiers stationed in military towers and behind earth mounds along the separation fence east of the Gaza Strip fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the participants, causing dozens of protesters to suffer from tear gas inhalation.

      “Organizers of the weekly Great March of Return in Gaza say that the purpose of the protests are to condemn the unjust siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007, and to call for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their cities and villages from which they were displaced by Israeli forces in 1948 and 1967.

      “In a statement in advance of Friday’s protest marches, the organizers wrote, ‘reconciliation is the choice of our people,’ adding that the Friday protest was in honor of the Palestinian victims of the occupation, noting, in particular, the cases of ‘Mohammed Al-Durra, Fares Odeh, Fares Sersawi, Yasser Abu Naja and Mohammed Abu Khdair.’

      “They called on Arab and Islamic countries to shoulder their responsibilities in ending and lifting the unjust siege on the Gaza Strip, in order to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their right to work, trade, travel and travel without restrictions. The statement added that the continuation of the siege and closure is an ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people. Alaa was from Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza. Source: IMEMC.”


      It’s now over 71 years since it came about and the expansionist, borderless entity known as “Israel” is still at war with, brutally oppressing, dispossessing, expelling and illegally occupying Palestine’s indigenous Arab inhabitants who as determined by recent advanced DNA analysis and including their ancestors, have lived between the River and the Sea for about 15,000 years. No wonder ever increasing numbers of people around the world view “Israel” as a pariah and more and more enlightened Jews are realizing that time and history are with the Palestinians!!

  2. Al2Sultan on October 4, 2019, 1:53 pm

    Here is a simple fact. The gazans attacking the fence are doing so violently and armed with the stated aim of overrunning israel killing as many Jews as they can and destroying israel as a jewish state. Under those conditions anyone approaching the fence is an enemy combatant. They do not have a right to violently demand to go to israel. Israel defeated their ancestors attempts to commit genocide against the early states Jews . That they still don’t recognize jewish history and rights in the land says everything. Israel shouldn’t feel bad at all for successfully defending its border.

    • bcg on October 4, 2019, 3:10 pm

      @Al2Sultan: Here is a simple fact: People in Gaza do not have freedom of movement, Israel controls all movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza – “The Palestinian national soccer club championship was called off on Wednesday after Israel denied travel permits to Gaza players who had hoped to face off with their opponents in the occupied West Bank. ”


      In other words, it’s an open air prison. The inmates are asking for better food and more time in the exercise yard.

      • mondonut on October 4, 2019, 5:22 pm

        @bcg Israel controls all movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza

        Except for that 12k long border with Egypt.

    • Mooser on October 4, 2019, 6:35 pm

      “The gazans attacking the fence are doing so violently and armed with the stated aim of overrunning israel killing as many Jews as they can and destroying israel as a jewish state”

      Yeah, they can overrun the fence on Friday night, and have all day Saturday to conquer Israel.

      • jon s on October 5, 2019, 5:01 pm

        Let’s imagine that the IDF had not deployed on the border and had not prevented Hamas forces from tearing down the border fence and entering Israel. Consider that Israeli civilians live a very short distance from the border…Imagine the consequences…

      • Mooser on October 5, 2019, 5:27 pm

        “…Imagine the consequences…”

        Israelis, every one a Rabbi who prays all day, with his eyes shut, would be helpless before the onrushing unarmed, unsupported Palestinians.

        “Let’s imagine that….”

        Gee, that’s “Yonah’s” favorite predicate, too. So, are we free to “imagine” anything we want about Israelis? You’re a fool, “Jon s”.

      • just on October 5, 2019, 6:09 pm

        Yeah, whatever you say, jon s. That they “deployed” is one thing. That they continue to murder and maim with live ammo and do so at will is entirely different, don’t you think? Do you even think before writing?

        It’s murder, it’s mayhem, and it’s against international law. Tell your precious kiddies ~ your students~ that. btw, what of and why are you so afraid of the Palestinians visiting their own land? Where were these “Hamas forces” anyway?

      • oldgeezer on October 5, 2019, 10:22 pm

        @jon s

        You need to team up with dohbaker although he/she prefers speculation with little evidence overimagination.

        Even if Hamas had breached the borders in the event something bad had happened they would not have made it very far when up against an army and state as powerful as Israel.

        That you, and the other zionists on this site, use you speculation, imagination and fears to justify the cold blooded murder, and wounding, of children, women, medical personnel, reporters, etc shows just how far you have moved away from humanity and human values. It’s not too late to reverse course.

        Israel is a very sick society and it’s supporters are equally sick. A terrorist rogue state.

      • DaBakr on October 6, 2019, 5:25 am


        So, old wizened juvenile old man… One doesnt have to imagine or ‘surmise’ one damn thing and only a mediocre minded true believing fool like you would not recognize that.
        Hamas has stated on numerous occasions that is goals are to successfully infiltrate into southern israeli territory and kidnap and hold hostage as many IDF as possible. If IDF are not possible then civilians that hamas will simply justify as part of the ZOG. I’m not judging hamas’s strategic goals in these planned and hoped for kidnappings but I am judging your idiotic reasoning that denies even the blatantly open and honest hamas admissions that kidnapping IDF/citizens is a major goal of their military branch in hopes of bargaining another mass release of Hamas militants, many convicted murderers is competitive devoid of any reason.
        If the IDF left the militants to tear down the southern border fence, infiltrate and then have militant and trained Hamas operatives kidnap Israelis that any subsequent casualties That the IDF might inflict after the fact would be as loudly condemned as a y other act the IDF might be engaged in. So your fake analysis is not only misleading but incrediblly sneaky as well. Hamas is far less phony about the border protests then your brainwashed mind ever is.

        If the Friday border protests were truly grassroots organized and not stage managed by hamas. If the hamas didn’t acknowledge the majority of protest deaths as official hamas militants then maybe, just maybe the IDF and southern citizens might take a slightly different view of 100s-1000s of ‘ordinary’ Gaza citizens streaming into south Israel would take a different approach to attempted border infiltrations.
        You call me as ‘delusional’ as you want. Keep using juvenile attempts to belittle another opposing opinion by slurring the posters name. The fact remains that you choose to remain deaf and blind to what hamas openly preaches, brags about and continues to keep up their quest to infiltrate. Why don’t you just act like a big boy and admit you’d love for Hamas to completely and massively infiltrate the nation of Israels indisputed southern border.
        Keep playing it like the peopke who hold an opposing political view to yours in regards the I/P are delusional’ and crazy while(as you deem me) your the self-righteous social justice warrior self has all the answers along with your co-horts. To me, you are just closeted and angry war mongers who would salivate were Israel and the IDF suffer some cataclysmic defeat. But Ohhhh….your really just a seeker of worldwide ‘justice’. You can’t help it if you have a fixation on jews that are Israelis. I’m certain you sleep absolutely untroubled at night. You truly believe you are just

      • Mooser on October 6, 2019, 2:55 pm

        “It’s murder, it’s mayhem, and it’s against international law.”

        I would bet Israel hires mercenaries to be the ‘shooters’ under the direction of IDF officers.

      • jon s on October 6, 2019, 3:31 pm

        So Palestinians just want to “visit”? That’s like saying that the 9/11 hijackers just wanted to visit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
        In Hamas forces I mean just that: armed terrorists.

      • jon s on October 6, 2019, 3:46 pm

        old geezer,
        I’ve never justified murder. I’ve never justified harming unarmed civilians, especially children and medical personnel.
        You , however, ignore Hamas’ responsibility for cynically encouraging and paying civilians to attack the border fence while also using violent means against soldiers and civilians.
        It would be interesting to see the Palestinians try non-violent tactics. They may even achieve something with non-violence.

      • oldgeezer on October 6, 2019, 8:39 pm


        “Keep using juvenile attempts to belittle another opposing opinion by slurring the posters name. ”

        lol reread your first paragraph you delusional twit

        I’m warming to liar though. As you clearly are one.

        Let mew know when and where Hamas has ever-> “If the hamas didn’t acknowledge the majority of protest deaths as official hamas militants then maybe”

        There was one day of senseless evil murder by psychopathic Israelis that they made that comment about. In addition you lie by both fabrication and ommission. They did not say they were militants but members. They did say they were not there as members of Hamas. And we do know the vast majority of them killed we unarmed.If merely being a member of Hamas justifies murdering them does being a zionist justify their murder? I vote no in both cases. There have been many thousands of casualties created by the cowards in the idf besides that day.

        And your comments about Hamas aims are an abolute laugh a minute. They lack the ability to even attempt it. Israel knows it. Hamas knows it. And I don’t doubt you do too.

        Lots more garbage in your reposnse buy you aren’t worth the sweat off …

        I don’t really think you’re delusional. Merely a figure of speech. I do think you’re that debased and vile though.

    • Misterioso on October 5, 2019, 10:50 am


      Patent nonsense, pure Zionist propaganda, i.e., lies!!

      No sane, informed person believes that if Palestinians who have been imprisoned for decades in the occupied** Gaza Strip – most of whom (including their descendants) were dispossessed and violently expelled from their homes and lands in historic Palestine, i.e., THEIR “ancestral home,” NOT YOURS! – by Zionist forces of foreign origin and pushed into the Gaza Strip were to break free, they would or could overrun “armed to the teeth” (courtesy of U.S. taxpayers) “Israel,” and kill “as many Jews as they can” and destroy “Israel” as a “Jewish state.”

      ** The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.” The ICRC thus unequivocally stated that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law embodied in the Geneva Conventions. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.


      Meanwhile, “Israel” is rotting within:

      “Ex-general likens Israel to Nazi Germany”
      “Israel could end up like Nazi Germany”,
      Middle East Monitor, Oct. 4/19

      “Former Israeli army General, yesterday, Yair Golan compared Israel’s right-wing politicians to the Nazis.

      “In an interview with Radio Darom, the newly elected member of the Knesset, representing the Democratic Union alliance, said: ‘I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that extremist figures with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.’

      “This is not the first time Golan has likened Israeli policies to those of the Nazis, in May 2016 during a speech to mark Holocaust Day, he claimed ’the horrific processes which developed in Europe’ and led to the Nazi genocide were present in Israel today.

      “His comments angered many Israeli politicians with head of the right-wing Yamina bloc, Ayelat Shaked, saying: ‘Maybe give up already on this obsession with comparing us to Nazis? It’s not even annoying at this point, just pathetic.'”

      “Israel’s Right Wing Is Worse Than Europe’s” by Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz, July 19/19

      “From the end of the 19th century, radical, anti-liberal nationalism – after serving as a basis for fascism throughout Europe and Nazism in Germany, and despite calling itself an ideology of national unity – essentially became an ideology of civil war. Hostility toward different categories of citizens, not just ethnic minorities but ideological adversaries, became a primary tool of nationalists. So it was in the past and so it is today in countries where vicious nationalism rules: From ostensibly democratic India, which abuses its minorities, to Poland and Hungary, to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, which is consciously moving toward becoming an apartheid state.

      “In truth, the Israeli right, which maintains the settlements with their racist, backward rabbis, is much worse that the European nationalist right, which is wary of displaying open racism and anti-Semitism, lest it be accused of fostering an ideology akin to Nazism. Here we have no such problem because hey, we’re all Jews, and who would dare accuse a Jew of approximating the kind of Nazi ideology that preceded World War II? Therefore we get an education minister who is ignorant, not just on sexual matters but also of history, feeling no qualms about calling for the annexation of millions of Arabs while cynically denying them of political rights.

      “In all Europe, the pre-fascist and pre-Nazi nationalists were united in their hatred of human rights and enlightened principles, of socialists, intellectuals, pluralism and democratic government based on a division of authority. The Polish government and the Netanyahu government are similar not only because both foster hatred among their citizens as a tool of governing, but because they are both promoting a historical fabrication industry on a colossal scale.”

      Zeev Sternhell is a Polish-born Israeli historian, political scientist, commentator on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and writer. He is one of the world’s leading experts on fascism. Sternhell headed the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and writes for Haaretz newspaper.

  3. spadepiccolo on October 4, 2019, 2:20 pm

    Daniel Gordis: “The story of the return of the Jewish people to its ancestral homeland is one of the greatest dramas in the history of humankind.” And when we go to Israel we can experience the “magic” of being exposed to a “version of Jewish life wholly unlike their own lives in the United States.”’

    And PW disagrees?

    • Mooser on October 4, 2019, 7:21 pm

      “And PW disagrees?”

      Oh, you don’t know the worst of it, “spadepiccolo”! For your information, Phil Weiss has visited Israel several times, and saw “Exodus” during its original run in theaters!
      And still, he is critical of Israel and Zionism. How does one account for that?

      • spadepiccolo on October 4, 2019, 8:03 pm

        I don’t know, mooser. I guess that’s what he meant by the “miracle of Zionism.”

    • Misterioso on October 5, 2019, 10:55 am


      “And PW disagrees?”

      Surely, you’re being facetious. If not, your ignorance is beyond words.

    • spadepiccolo on October 5, 2019, 5:16 pm

      I see Phil up and about on this thread — does he really not believe MW readers deserve an answer to this question? How is that possibly an invalid inquiry?

  4. spadepiccolo on October 4, 2019, 2:22 pm

    PW: ‘… is doing untold damage to one of the jewels of civilization, Jewish culture.’

    Your next column, please.

    • echinococcus on October 4, 2019, 11:38 pm

      Let’s disregard the jewellery stories for a moment. Just trying to define exactly what he means by “Jewish culture” would be an act of courage by Weiss. We have been waiting for a long time for this challenge to be met.

      Is a response to be expected anytime soon?

      It’s not enough to ban discussion on these “Jewish-related” topics. The site must either avoid them altogether in the articles, too, not only in the comments — or then be ready to discuss them.

      • Misterioso on October 5, 2019, 11:01 am



        Like shooting fish in a barrel!

      • CigarGod on October 5, 2019, 11:09 am

        Yes, echi.
        I’d be interested in hearing from the K’aifeng Jews.

  5. spadepiccolo on October 4, 2019, 2:29 pm

    Michael Koplow: “…over 90% of American Jews say they have favorable feelings toward Israel.”

    Which, despite its attempts, this site has never been able to square.

    • DaBakr on October 4, 2019, 5:10 pm


      Hey! They are trying as hard as they can to square those round pegs.

      • Mooser on October 4, 2019, 9:52 pm

        “Hey! They are trying as hard as they can to square those round pegs.”

        You’ve got it backasswards again “Dabakr”.

    • Mooser on October 4, 2019, 6:38 pm

      “Which, despite its attempts, this site has never been able to square.”

      How could they? What on earth could be more powerful than the “favorable feelings” of “over 90% of American Jews”.
      Our “favorable feelings” are not to be trifled with!

      • philweiss on October 5, 2019, 11:02 am

        moose, did you see a scholar/keyboardist at the Center for Jewish history saying that gershwin and berlin brought jewish components to music to make Summer Time and other classics… (I aint buying) “writing minor in the context of major… smiling through the tears…”

      • Mooser on October 5, 2019, 3:29 pm

        “that gershwin and berlin”

        or Lieber and Stoller, or Carol King.

      • DaBakr on October 6, 2019, 5:52 am

        @[email protected]

        Motion picture studios from Philly in the early 00s right out the Hollywood. K may find it hard to accept. The word: “jewel” is just too overwhelming for him to handle apparently.

        But, I’ll throw him a bone. 128 instrument orchestral music? Germans Germans Germans. They stole nor appropriated anything significant from other cultures. Since the miracle of Beethoven there has been nothing that’s come close. (American Songbook? I appreciate but doesnt hold a candle to the Bach/Motzart/Beethoven era. Another jewel of culture.

      • Mooser on October 6, 2019, 2:47 pm

        “They stole nor appropriated anything significant from other cultures.”

        Especially not the French or Italians. Especially not notation or forms.

      • jon s on October 6, 2019, 4:12 pm

        I once attended a lecture in which “God Bless America” was cited a “typically Jewish ” tune . And Superman as another example of Jewish influence (or contribution , if you prefer…) in American popular culture.

      • Mooser on October 8, 2019, 1:10 pm

        Gosh, is there anything Zionists don’t know?

    • Misterioso on October 5, 2019, 11:24 am


      Meanwhile, in the real word, including Jews:

      Support for Israel is in increasing decline in the U.S., especially among youth. No surprise!!

      “Support for Israel on Campus Drops by ‘Devastating’ 27%: Study” – The Forward, June 21/17

      “The Brand Israel Group [BIG], a coalition of volunteer advertising and marketing specialists, has released a survey that shows a significant decrease in Israel’s approval rating among Americans.

      “’The future of America no longer believe that Israel shares their values. This is huge! Devastating,’ Fern Oppenheim, a co-founder of BIG, told The Times of Israel. While approval of Israel among American college students dropped 27% between the group’s 2010 and 2016 surveys, Israel’s approval rating among all Americans dropped 14 points, from 76% to 62%.”

      Furthermore, regarding the USA: national/376097/study-israel- losing-support-among- democrats-minorities- millennials/ The Forward July 2, 2017

      ”Study: Israel Losing Support Among Democrats, Minorities, Millennials ‘It appears that the more Americans learn about Israel, the less they like it.’”

      Support for Israel among American Jewish college students and young American Jews in general is in decline:

      Times of Israel, June 21/17: -news/.premium-jewish-agency- chief-warns-young-u-s-jews- more-turned-off-to-israel-1. 5751616

      Haaretz – Jan 22, 2018, by Judy Maltz

      “Young American Jews Increasingly Turning Away From Israel, Jewish Agency Leader Warns”

      “The Jewish Agency’s CEO and director-general called the trend ‘extremely worrisome,’ and said that a new strategy must be undertaken to engage young American Jews with Israel.”'%20style='color:#000;
      The Real News, Jan. 25/18

      “US Bipartisan Support for Israel over Palestinians Is Breaking Down, New Study Shows”

      “The bipartisan consensus of support for Israel over the Palestinians is breaking down in the United States.

      “Why Young Jews and Democrats Are Waving Goodbye to AIPAC”

      “My generation has only known Israel as an occupier. We won’t back anyone who supports that injustice – including the powerful lobby that is AIPAC”
      By Emily Mayer, March 6, 2018 – Haaretz

  6. bcg on October 4, 2019, 3:20 pm

    Judith Shulevitz reviews Gordis’ book “We Stand Divided” in the New York Review of books, and she has interesting things to say:

    And here is where the author’s partisanship comes to the fore. Revisionism is Zionism in its maximally militaristic form. The sad truth is that Israel owes its existence in part to the violent expulsion of Arabs during its War of Independence. The Israeli journalist Ari Shavit acknowledges as much in his magisterial book-length essay on Israel and its troubled history, “My Promised Land.” He mourns the tragic contradictions that pervade the creation of the state; he knows that they could yet prove its undoing. Gordis gestures toward an awareness of Israel’s excesses, but his “to be sure”s feel empty. To him, the opposite of Revisionism remains a suicidal passivity.

    But Gordis’s biases are nothing compared with the louder silence that echoes through this book. He never tests his premise against the really hard questions: the Palestinians, the West Bank settlements and Israel’s recent embrace of so-called illiberal democracies like Hungary and Poland, as well as dictators. Astonishingly, Gordis reduces the Palestinian question to a footnote in which he grants that the arguments he makes about particularism also justify Palestinian nationalism, then declares such a discussion outside his purview.

    Gordis’s failure to grapple seriously with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank also undercuts his argument….

  7. just on October 4, 2019, 3:52 pm

    Thanks for that.

    Here’s something shiny and new (NOT):

    “Israeli Minister: Arabs Are Guests Here, for Now

    Bezalel Smotrich attacks Israeli Arab lawmakers for being absent from Knesset inauguration in order to demonstrate against violence in Arab society

    Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich attacked Israeli Arab lawmakers on Friday for participating in demonstrations against police inaction on spiraling violence in Arab society, saying that they, and the rest of the country’s Arab citizens, are “guests” in Israel.

    Smotrich, a member of the far-right Yamina alliance took to Twitter, saying “We are in luck that the Arabs boycotted the opening ceremony of the 22nd Knesset. They would have shot into the air to express happiness/sadness/their protest/ because that’s their habit, and then, of course, blame the police.” …

    Joint List Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi announced to the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee on Wednesday that the 13 Arab lawmakers of the Arab-majority party would be absent from the opening ceremony. Their boycott was intended as a gesture of “protest against the wave of murders and violence” in the Israeli Arab community.

    In response to Smotrich’s remarks on Friday, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh said “I’m surprised the racist [Smotrich] didn’t take our seats and claimed God told him they are his.”

    Smotrich then responded saying, “I was just scared to find an illegal gun under the chair so you could also blame the Knesset guard and not just the Israeli police. And since you brough it up then yes – God did promise us all of the Land of Israel, a promise he kept. We’ve been just been the most hospitable people in the world since the days of Abraham and so you’re still here. At least for now.”

    This adds on to a Twitter feud between Smotrich and Joint List lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman, who tweeted that she remembers how in 2015 Smotrich, then a newly elected Knesset member, asked if he can bring his weapon into parliament. “Smotrich is still the same racist he used to be and carries a weapon despite the fact he is poses danger to the public,” she said.

    Smotrich then replied: “When many of your people, who have been doing that [carrying weapons] for a century, will stop wanting to murder us, with the encouragement of you and your terror-backing friends at the Knesset, I will happily give up my pistol.””

  8. Keith on October 4, 2019, 6:47 pm

    PHIL- “… one of the jewels of civilization, Jewish culture.”

    I would dearly love to have you expand upon the nature of “Jewish culture.” How does it differ from non-Jewish culture? How does it differ from Judaic traditions and how has this changed over time and place? What is the essence of this phenomenon shared by Orthodox and atheist alike which makes it such a relative jewel of civilization? Seriously.

    • Mooser on October 4, 2019, 10:15 pm


      Hey, don’t knock it, “Keith”. “Jewish sensibility” may hold the solution to the climate crisis!

    • Mooser on October 5, 2019, 3:46 pm

      “What is the essence of this phenomenon shared by Orthodox and atheist alike which makes it such a relative jewel of civilization?”

      That, I can tell you in one word…

      • Mooser on October 8, 2019, 1:13 pm

        “That, I can tell you in one word…”

        Sorry, I was just being facetious, replying with a tag-line from “Fiddler”. Actually, it takes two words.

  9. Keith on October 4, 2019, 7:05 pm

    DANIEL GORDIS- “It was a grim day for Israelis….”

    This about says it all. Zionism is the ideology of eternal victimhood. Always the aggrieved victim regardless of the circumstances. No other interpretation even conceivable.

    “I believe we should be frank: The world hates the Jews. The world has always and will continue to do so.” (David Mamet)

    Cynthia Ozick: “The world wants to wipe out the Jews … the world has always wanted to wipe out the Jews.” (p50, “The Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein)

  10. wondering jew on October 4, 2019, 7:54 pm

    Gordis is rather prominent as a spokesman, to me, as a result of his role as the debating opponent of Peter Beinart in a series of podcasts available, I think, on the Forward. Another voice that I am reminded of is Donniel Hartman, who is much more thoughtful than Gordis. I don’t think that Hartman is as “left” as Beinart, but I know that he’s a thinking person and Gordis is rather glib.

    In regards to Gaza I would not go to Gordis or to Norman Finkelstein, I would go to Gershon Baskin. He knows Gazan politics in depth and whatever he has to say about Gaza has priority over the other two people I mentioned. I do not think that Bibi tends towards listening to Baskin (Bibi at this point is focused on Bibi and not much else, it seems), and I doubt that Ganz would listen to Baskin either, but it should be clear that there are voices other than Gordis and Norman Finkelstein.

    • Keith on October 5, 2019, 12:42 am

      WONDERING JEW- “In regards to Gaza I would not go to Gordis or to Norman Finkelstein….”

      Of course you wouldn’t go to Norman Finkelstein, tell us something we don’t know! Your attempt to appear thoughtful and even handed fools only yourself.

    • Donald on October 5, 2019, 10:04 am

      Baskin has a website. I just started looking at it. He is apparently a liberal Zionist who believes in listening, but I am not sure what else he thinks.

      Here is an article— it seems more fairminded than most of what one would read in the msm press in the US. A low bar, admittedly, but I thought it was interesting.

      • Donald on October 5, 2019, 10:11 am
      • gamal on October 5, 2019, 5:16 pm

        “I just started looking”

        Dear Donald,

        I been thinking if I could in some way repay your generosity, I have been thinking about you. Now I swear it is only 45 minutes let me tell you weird as this may seem a deep sense of brotherhood compels me to offer you Rick Roderick on the death of god 45 minutes if you relax and listen closely …..perhaps you will ignore my insolence, I think you will enjoy it if you give it a chance.

      • Donald on October 6, 2019, 1:00 pm

        Thanks gamal. I will look at it later.

        We’ve had some angry interactions over the years, but I think I learned something from them. My father’s side of the family would say that sometimes you have to hit a mule over the head with a two by four to get its attention. I have something in common with mules.

        ( To be clear, no one in my family actually hit mules with boards. My father did work with them as a young man. Totally different universe from my middle class existence.)

    • Misterioso on October 5, 2019, 11:09 am

      @wondering jew

      You Zionists are a messed up lot – always trying to defend the indefensible.

      “Israel has assaulted Gaza heavily three times since the end of 2008, which caused the deaths of thousands as well as enormous damage to its infrastructure and crippling Gaza’s economy. Severe cuts to electricity have had a devastating impact on medical aid, food and technology. The water situation is dire – since Israel destroyed Gaza’s sewage infrastructure, raw sewage flows into the ocean, polluting their beaches and leaching into and polluting almost all of Gaza’s groundwater, making it undrinkable. Almost everyone in Gaza depends on water delivered by tanker trucks. Since building materials are prohibited from being allowed into Gaza, valuable infrastructure cannot be rebuilt. Being a fisherman in Gaza is now a very dangerous occupation, for the IDF routinely fires on fishing boats, injuring, arresting and killing fishermen, as well as confiscating and even destroying fishing boats. How might any of us react to such an inhumane blockade? Would we risk our lives to protest?” (!topic/palestine-l/mDI7SMY2Avo
      “Coming to terms with my Jewish upbringing” by Tsiporah Grignon, August, 2018)

  11. Boomer on October 5, 2019, 10:06 am

    Thanks for another excellent observation and analysis. Regarding what “we” get out of it, clearly the “we” does not include non-Zionist Americans. And clearly those Americans are as irrelevant as non-Jewish Israelis. But we do get some things, e.g., cherry tomatoes, advocates of constant war in the Middle East, and the enmity of the Arab world.

  12. ritzl on October 5, 2019, 1:34 pm

    Has anyone commented on or shown whether/that this fence that Gaza Palestinians are being murdered for approaching is within Gaza (ie.unequivocally on Palestinian land)?

    Seems like a principal talking point to me.

    If they are being murdered for ostensibly wanting to tear down a fence on their own land, who would blame them.

    • Ismail on October 6, 2019, 8:12 am

      Good question. As I understand it, Israel has built two fences, one along the border and a parallel one 100 meters into Gaza. It has also declared that only farmers, with its permission, may go into the area that extends another 300 meters into Gaza. Therefore, Israel may maim or kill any ordinary Gazans who have the temerity to wander within their own territory if their wanderings take them within 400 meters of the recognized border with Israel. But Gazans have been shot as far as 1000 meters inside their own land by IOF forces valiantly protecting their countrymen from the murderous stones of children (some arms those kids must have, forcing the heavily armored warriors of Zion to shoot them lest the bits of rubble they hurl travel hundreds of meters to strike the soldiers with lethal force. MLB needs to send some scouts to Rafah or Khan Yunis).

      Of course, the Israeli snipers who shatter the femurs or skulls of children ambling about their own land do so with the utmost regret and undoubtedly weep and rend their garments over the moral agonies the wily and cruel Palestinians put them through.

  13. Kay24 on October 5, 2019, 5:07 pm

    Isn’t it strange that Israel has to keep protecting itself, despite all the sophisticated weapons and arsenal, from youth armed with stones, who seem to have NO right to defend themselves, and cannot protest their suffering, by these brutal occupiers? The mighty Israel seems deadly afraid of these unarmed youth. Pathetic. I doubt anyone believes their lame justifications, and the lies (except the US of course).

    Who can blame these kids for retaliating in every way they possibly can? It is only human to want to hit back at those who have made you suffer, who steal from you, and kill your people.
    Who can blame them for hating their oppressors. It would not be human if they did not hate and want to protest. Israel keeps blaming “Khamas” and justifying all their crimes, conveniently forgetting to mention that million or more Palestinians live in Gaza, and suffer Israel’s brutality, violence, and the collective punishment against them. The “only democracy” in the Middle East seems to forget that democracy is for a all, and not only for God’s chosen.

    • jon s on October 6, 2019, 3:59 pm

      The “protests” on the border include, on the Gazan side, the use of firearms, grenades, explosive devices and arson. Hardly peaceful protests. Hamas turn up the intensity of the incidents or dial them down according to the delivery of the Qatari money.
      The people of Gaza desperately need huge investments in infrastructure, agriculture and industry, education and health care. All that boring stuff that Hamas isn’t interested in.

      • James North on October 6, 2019, 7:47 pm

        How many Israelis were killed or wounded during the Great March of Return protests? How many Palestinians?

  14. MHughes976 on October 6, 2019, 4:36 pm

    If you frame the question around Judaism as justice versus Judaism as survival – the survival of Israel – it will be hard to avoid the conclusion that Israel is surviving by unjust means.
    From this point a decline in international Jewish support for Israel is to be expected and the magical experience of Israel will come to seem like dark witchcraft. The Jewish jewel in Western culture will start to look not so much like a unique gift to the West from the special treasury of Judaism but more like participation in Western culture by people who were in fact, but not very significantly, Jewish.

  15. wondering jew on October 6, 2019, 11:48 pm

    There are a few aspects to the Gaza confrontation that need to be included in a discussion. 1. The nakba- the majority of Gaza residents are refugees from 1948 Israel. 2. Hamas- Israel’s relationship with Hamas is fraught. Since 1993 Fatah has represented compromise and Hamas has represented resistance to compromise. Some people seem to think that sufficient pressure on Gaza will lead to the disappearance of Hamas. To me this does not seem probable.

    As stated elsewhere I do not favor unlimited immigration or repatriation of refugees from Gaza or the West Bank or Lebanon or Jordan or the diaspora to Israel, but I do favor a goal of 500,000 repatriated over the course of 30 years. But this, although unsatisfying to those who demand the right of return, is much more than Israel is about to offer.
    Israel should make every effort to limit the isolation of Gaza as much as possible. Israel should make every effort to limit its own isolation vis a vis Gaza, but again this is a goal that Israel does not share.
    Meanwhile trying to describe an Israeli policy that is in the realm of the possible rather than beyond the current thought patterns of Israeli thoughts: Israel needs to make some sort of modus operandi with Gaza that allows much more freedom of imports, exports and travel opportunities. Plans for a port of some sort right near Gaza or in Gaza or created islands near Gaza have been floated ideas. If there were a will there would be a way. Even though it would not satisfy the uncorrected status of 1948, there is a way to get Gaza out of its current state of isolation. I don’t know what pressure by whom would accomplish this. It does not seem to be in the forefront of the mind of Israeli politicians, but it oughta be.

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