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Zionists can find allies on the left by sharing Jewish ‘pain and trauma,’ AIPAC is told

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This week’s AIPAC conference in Washington wrestled with the crisis facing the Israel lobby: the growing partisanship of Israel support. AIPAC featured many Democratic politicians, and its panels made appeals to progressives, though AIPAC is a rightwing organization (as the young Jewish group IfNotNow reminds us).

In an AIPAC forum on “Progressive Zionism,” Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas said that Zionists could build alliances with leftwing groups by sharing their “vulnerability” and “pain and trauma” from Jewish history as a persecuted minority, because that way other marginalized and historically-oppressed groups will relate to Zionists.

Farkas serves a Los Angeles-area conservative congregation and is on the board of the Zionist group “Zioness” along with the Clintonite leader Ann Lewis.

Here are some of the rabbi’s comments. First, Zionism is progressive because it answers the question, How do Jews find security after “thousands of years living on the margins of society”?

The question I’ve always been thinking about is, How Zionism itself is a progressive value. Not necessarily the specific policies in Israel that make Israel a progressive nation. Or the specific policies that have yet to be realized in Israel that could make it a more progressive nation. But the idea that Zionism itself is a progressive value because Zionism is the idea that each and every one of us has a place to live in the world. And each and every one of us has a right to not feel other-ed by the larger society in which we live. And for the Jewish person, and in the Jewish heart, that idea is Zionism. That is the answer to the question of, What do we do after thousands of years living on the margins of society?

Farkas said that the reason young Jews are critical of Israel is that they are surrounded by progressives who deal in negativity: “tearing down what’s around you.” He tries to offer a more “constructive” path of using Jewish tradition to build “the democracy you want to see in the world.”

When you think about why young Jewish progressives feel against or negatively about Israel, or have apathy or distance from Israel, so much of it is because they take their cues from this deconstructive progressive body politic. I think the way you engage them is by engaging their allies, by engaging the historically marginalized, the black and brown people, the LGBTQ people, and that you have to get into relationship with them, and to bring them along in the process of a positively constructive progressive movement. That’s some of the work we’re doing in Zioness.

Farkas never spoke about Palestinian persecution or Palestinian conditions.

He repeatedly cited the need for Zionists to build relationships with leftwingers.

Our biggest mistake in the last 15 years is we have ignored progressives, we have ignored historically marginalized people. We made the story of Zionism only about us and the Jewish people, which of course it has to be in chapter 1 of that book. But chapter 2 of that book is how the Exodus story matters to other people. Because we were not in those spaces– we didn’t go to Black Lives Matter meetings when they first started, we didn’t sit with Occupy when it first started– the only people who showed up in those spaces were people who wanted to demonize Israel. And they built relationships, and because of those relationships, they shared their own vulnerability and through that shared vulnerability they came to policy positions that “other,” demonize and hate people like you and people like me.

Zionists need to work with the left on leftwing issues, then “make the turn” and show that Jews are vulnerable too.

What progressives Zionists need to do is show up in those meetings, not to engage on our issues yet, but to engage on those issues, create the shared vulnerability, open the door, create those relationships, and then make the turn and tell them about our pain.

And when we do that they will actually listen to us, because progressives respond– I respond, I think you respond– to someone else’s pain. And if we do that, we can create the relationships and build the progressive Zionist movement that is still missing in this country…

Farkas advised a Wesleyan University student who said she was caricatured as a Trump supporter and not welcome at the animal-rights club to hang in there:

The number one thing as a progressive you can lean into is empathy and pain and trauma…. you can show them, those who claim to be progressive, that all voices should be heard, and that your voice matters, and your shared vulnerability matters. And you’re not asking them to support what you believe, but you’re asking them to at least understand emotionally what you’re going through, and then that is how you begin to build that relationship and hopefully it will change over time.

No one can tell a discriminated-against individual that they’re not experiencing hatred, Farkas went on. “As a Jew if I experience something as antisemitism, then it’s antisemitism.” The same goes for the gay person experiencing homophobia, a woman experiencing misogyny.

And it’s working, Farkas says. Zioness is a “progressive organization” that has built alliances on progressive issues and gotten some allies to shut up about their anti-Zionism.

We’re getting bigger and bigger across campuses and in fact we’re neutralizing some opposition that we never thought we could neutralize before. That doesn’t mean they are going to be Zionists themselves but we’ve gotten several major black preachers for example who are friends of mine who are working on homelessness issues with me in Los Angeles — they don’t preach against Israel any more. They’re not Zionists, they’re not going to come– but they’re not preaching BDS any more. And that’s because we’ve developed relationships. I’m working on racial discimination in the homelessness sector in the Los Angeles with them, for them as a partner. That’s what Zioness does. We show up and we create proximity… being in intimate relationship with other people’s pain and that is what creates the opportunity for them to actually hear our pain and our desires.

Asked why AIPAC was a good place for progressives to invest precious resources, Farkas said that the only way to get power in the U.S. “if you weren’t born into a wealthy zip code or inherited certain privileges” is to organize. And: “AIPAC is the greatest organizing machine of the Jewish people in the United States.”

(The obvious critique of Farkas’s statements is that AIPAC is a very powerful organization indeed that operates by directing funds toward politicians who support occupation and ethnic cleansing, and its power is actually derived from many people born into wealthy zipcodes. This is the fundamental paradox of the Israel lobby, that it draws on a history of Jewish persecution and marginalization to justify the exercise of corrupt and brutal power. I wonder how many progressives even want to hear from Zionists who fail to acknowledge that Palestinians under occupation have no rights.)

 

Philip Weiss

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

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54 Responses

  1. Misterioso on March 6, 2020, 11:25 am

    “Farkas never spoke about Palestinian persecution or Palestinian conditions.”

    Farkas lives in Lala land. Zionism is most definitely a racist ideology.

    A reminder:

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

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

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

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

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

    • jon s on March 7, 2020, 4:21 am

      Yet Einstein was a Zionist.

      • annie on March 7, 2020, 11:48 am

        assuming you’re correct, so what? do you think he was a zionist when he wrote that? do you think he’d be a zionist if he lived today and could see the destruction israel has wrought? what difference does it make if there was some window in time in which he identified as a zionist?

      • MHughes976 on March 7, 2020, 12:54 pm

        Einstein denied to Alfred Lilienthal in 1952 that he had ever been a Zionist but he had given quite a good imitation of being one in his pro-Israel letter to Nehru in 47. Richard Crockett in his book on Einstein’s politics says that he liked to present himself as ‘a non-Z supporter of Z’ and that the Z leaders found this presentation quite useful. Lots of ambiguity.

      • Mooser on March 7, 2020, 1:41 pm

        “what difference does it make if there was some window in time in which he (Einstein) identified as a zionist?” “Annie”

        (Don’t worry “Jon s”, I’ve got this handled. Let your lantsmann take care of this yatzman)

        “Annie”, Albert Einstein was a very smart man. He was a genius, or do you disagree with that?
        Are you saying you, “Annie” are smarter than Albert Einstein? Smart enough to disagree with Albert F. Einstein? Ha-ha-ha!
        Just imagine what would have happened if Roosevelt asked “Annie” to make an atom bomb out of theoretical relatives?

        Einstein was a genius, and you should agree with Einstein. Oh, and Einstein said and believed whatever “Jon s” says he does. That, too.
        Or do you, “Annie” think you are smart enough to know better than Einstein?

        (There you go, “Jon s”, Not to be immodest, but I think I handled that about as well as you could have.)

      • eljay on March 8, 2020, 9:47 am

        || jon s: Yet Einstein was a Zionist. ||

        Yup, it’s thoroughly depressing that hateful and immoral supremacist hypocrisy can over-ride intelligence, education and thoughtfulness.

      • jon s on March 10, 2020, 5:50 pm

        MHughes, Annie,
        On Einstein being a Zionist:
        1. He said so, on numerous occasions.
        2. He had a long association with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, from it’s founding, which he attended, to serving on the Board of Governors, and ultimately to his will, in which he left his personal archives to HUJ.
        3. It’s well known that after the death of President Weizmann Ben Gurion offered the Presidency to Prof. Einstein. Einstein wasn’t interested, but , from what we know of BG -would he have made such an offer to a person whose Zionism was in doubt?

        I think that Einstein would have been appalled by today’s Israel, with the prevalence of so much racism and chauvinism.

      • eljay on March 10, 2020, 7:52 pm

        || jon s: … On Einstein being a Zionist:
        1. He said so, on numerous occasions.
        2. He had a long association with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, from it’s founding, which he attended, to serving on the Board of Governors, and ultimately to his will, in which he left his personal archives to HUJ.
        3. It’s well known that after the death of President Weizmann Ben Gurion offered the Presidency to Prof. Einstein. Einstein wasn’t interested, but , from what we know of BG -would he have made such an offer to a person whose Zionism was in doubt?

        I think that Einstein would have been appalled by today’s Israel, with the prevalence of so much racism and chauvinism. ||

        It sounds like Einstein would have been a lot like you: Appalled by the prevalence of so much racism and chauvinism but nevertheless:
        – dedicated to Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism (and all the injustice and immorality it entails); and
        – hypocritically opposed to justice, accountability and equality in geographic Palestine (IOW, in favour of nothing more than Zionist “peace”).

        In terms of morality, it sounds like Einstein would have (selectively) been a huge disappointment.   :-(

      • Mooser on March 11, 2020, 11:49 am

        You know it just occurred to me. Who is more likely to be related to Albert Einstein? “Jon s” or “Annie”?

        Case closed.

  2. Mooser on March 6, 2020, 12:08 pm

    “In an AIPAC forum on “Progressive Zionism,” Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas said that Zionists must call on their “vulnerability” and “pain and trauma” from Jewish history as a persecuted minority in order to make common cause with other marginalized and historically-oppressed groups on the left.”

    You bet, Rabbi! You’ve just got to let them know what the US did to us.

    American Zionists can use George Washington’s letter to the Touro Synagogue, to show the kind of discrimination we have had to endure in America. This will give us instant cred with all the marginalized and minority groups! A very good teaching tool for that purpose.
    When “other marginalized and historically oppressed on the left” grasp the import of this letter, they will say; ‘gosh, nobody knows the trouble you’ve seen’. Here is a quote from this insidious document:

    “For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” George Washington, from the Touro letter. 1790

    Like a dagger aimed at the heart of the American Zionist movement, isn’t it? 50 states for Gentiles, but not one for us. Just like the Middle East.

    The status of a separate people, which was granted freely to African-American slaves and Native Americans, (and many others too, like Hispanics and Asians. But never us!) was denied to the Jews in the US! We were forcibly assimilated, by Executive Action, to be assigned a position, which to be brutal about it, could be described as no better than the average free white citizen in the US. (For example, there is no US Government Rabbinate! ) It was a long struggle from this oppression to the liberty of Zionist dual-loyalty! And that kind liberty doesn’t come cheap! You don’t get it by marching around with signs.

    • Mooser on March 6, 2020, 12:31 pm

      “No one can tell a discriminated-against individual that they’re not experiencing hatred, Farkas went on. “As a Jew if I experience something as antisemitism, then it’s antisemitism.”

      Don’t worry, Rebbe Farkas, when you stand up and tell everyone that American Jews are discriminated against in exactly the same way that decent, white American Christian men are discriminated against, they will understand what you mean.

      • Stephen Shenfield on March 6, 2020, 1:31 pm

        This does expose some of the dangers inherent in the shibboleths of identity politics. Once you lay claim to the exalted status of victim, however shaky the basis of that claim, no one who is not a victim of exactly the same kind has any right to dispute anything you care to say. What you say goes. And who, with a little ingenuity, cannot find some context in which they can claim to be a victim? Even if not nowadays, we are still traumatized by the suffering of our forebears almost a century ago. So how dare anyone argue with us? Well, that is the mental world created by identity politics: no objective standards, only divergent subjectivities “clashing by night.”

      • Mooser on March 6, 2020, 2:27 pm

        ” Well, that is the mental world created by identity politics: no objective standards,”

        Yes, that’s the right-wing perception of “identity politics” they try to sell, to scare people away from civil rights.

        There is one pretty objective standard: Has the group claiming victim hood ever had the law, the power of the state (the US in this case) used against it? Or been denied the protection of the law?

      • wondering jew on March 6, 2020, 5:55 pm

        Discrimination against Jews in American cannot be compared to discrimination against blacks and against Native Americans nor against Chinese and Japanese for except for a very brief period during the Civil War it has never been official US policy to discriminate against Jews. But to limit discrimination to this narrow definition seems historically ignorant. There was a history of de facto discrimination in America against Jews and though in the post WWII era these discriminations have dwindled, history is not irrelevant to the facts of life. Recently recall that in the demonstration in Charlottesville the miscreants that our president found empathetic were yelling “the Jews won’t replace us”. (And even if America has proven as of this date to be very different from the European experience, to categorically ignore the history of Europe seems rather dumb and blind.) So to propose that antisemitism is comparable to discrimination against white Christians is quite simply historical nonsense.

      • Mooser on March 6, 2020, 6:28 pm

        “But to limit discrimination to this narrow definition seems historically ignorant.” “wj”

        Well, I guess “wj” accepts the right-wing conception of “identity politics” and thinks we can make it work for us!
        That is so pathetic “wj”, a compulsive scramble up the greasy pole of self-declared victimhood.

        ROTFLMSJAO! So tell us, “yonah” what does the US owe us Jews for that normal immigrant experience? Wait let me guess It means they must support right-wing Zionism to the tune of billions.

      • wondering jew on March 6, 2020, 10:13 pm

        Mooser- unfortunately there’s a whoopie cushion awaiting me talking to you. Farkas’s location AIPAC deserves your disdain, but your angle in the topic is focused only on AIPAC, there are other aspects to reality.
        I’m not an organization person, so Zioness AIPAC I’m a bystander and i feel no need to prove something about what the jews are owed.
        I think israel is on the wrong track and American support for israel is wrapped up in that wrong direction.
        I do not know analogous identities, although i am a student of new york city and its types. America owes the jews nothing, except advertising revenues and cultural indebtedness. How poor america would have been without the marx bros woody allen lenny bruce mel brooks and bob dylan and how fucked up the jews would have been if hitler had a few more lambs to slaughter.
        But you’ve got your agenda versus Aipac. So go roll on the floor and laugh your ass off, dude.

      • Stephen Shenfield on March 7, 2020, 10:06 am

        Well, Mooser, that is one objective standard. No doubt there are others. I am all for appeals to objective standards. But that is not what Rebbe Farkas is doing. He is saying that he has the right to base his claims solely on his own subjective feelings. I feel victimized, therefore I am victimized. This is habitual practice for Zionists. But where does he get this idea? From identity politics. You do not belong to the same victim group as me and therefore you must accept what I say without argument. Many of the people who say this COULD cite objective standards, but it is easier for them not to bother and they don’t think it should be necessary. It is so easy for Zionists and other “victimhood” hucksters to take advantage of this — members of groups that really have been victimized in one context and use that as cover for victimizing others in another context. Not only Jews but also, for instance, Armenians and Tutsis.

        Identity politics is, inter alia, a form of authoritarianism. It has nothing to do with civil rights. Even when it arises within a left-wing milieu, it is essentially a right-wing phenomenon, part of the “revolt against reason” that also gave us fascism.

      • Mooser on March 7, 2020, 11:34 am

        “Identity politics is, inter alia, a form of authoritarianism. It has nothing to do with civil rights.” “Stephen Shenfield”

        Well, you and I might think so, but “wj” is making a very good case that “identity politics” can be very advantageous to Jews, as long as it’s pitched just right. Like this:

        “America owes the jews nothing, except advertising revenues and cultural indebtedness.” “wj”

        Send ’em a bill, “yonah”, an itemized invoice. So much for Marx, so much for Bruce… Remind them they can’t spell “U.S.”, without us.

        But gee, BTW, “wj” can you think of one little-bitty thing (except a big klopf on the head.) we Jews might owe America? I mean, yes the idea is laughable, (after the way the US has treated us?) the US is not, after all, our ‘homeland’, but maybe there might be something.

    • philweiss on March 6, 2020, 4:27 pm

      Thank you Mooser!

      • Mooser on March 6, 2020, 5:12 pm

        “Thank you Mooser!”

        You’re welcome. People should be aware of forced assimilation we were subjected to in the US.
        Washington made no bones about it in his letter:

        “…the Government of the United States… requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves.”

  3. eljay on March 6, 2020, 1:26 pm

    … Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas said that Zionists must call on their “vulnerability” and “pain and trauma” from Jewish history as a persecuted minority in order to make common cause with other marginalized and historically-oppressed groups on the left. …

    And what better way to make common cause with marginalized and oppressed groups than to advocate and defend the “right” of people who have chosen to be Jewish:
    – to be supremacists;
    – to have as large as possible a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in geographic Palestine and at the expense of its indigenous population;
    – to do unto others “necessary evil” such as military occupation, oppression, colonialism, torture and sundry (war) crimes; and
    – to deliberately undermine international laws and human rights and the protections they are meant to afford all people.

  4. Misterioso on March 6, 2020, 7:26 pm

    Good news from Canada:

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/lead-jdl-canada-thug-banned-york-university-campuses

    “Lead JDL [Jewish Defense League] Canada thug banned from York University campuses”
    By Nora Barrows-Friedman, Electronic Intifada, March 5, 2020

    “The leader of a right-wing extremist organization, who encouraged attacks on Palestine rights activists in November, has been banned from York University in Toronto, Canada.

    “JDL Canada leader Meir Weinstein, second from left, has been banned from York University premises. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd ZUMA Press

    “The leader of a right-wing extremist organization, who encouraged attacks on Palestine rights activists in November, has been banned from York University in Toronto, Canada.

    “Meir Weinstein is the head of the Jewish Defense League of Canada, an extremist group whose members have a history of violent threats, racism and harassment against Palestinian activists in the country.

    “The US branch of the JDL was branded a terrorist organization by the FBI, after a campaign of anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic bombings there.

    “On Monday, York University informed Weinstein that he was ‘prohibited from entering the York University campuses at any time from this day forward for any reason whatsoever.’

    “The university added that if Weinstein defies the ban, he will be charged with trespassing.

    “Weinstein had been previously banned from York campus property, as he boasted last year.

    “He openly defied that ban to join JDL members in attacking students who protested a 20 November event which brought Israeli soldiers to their campus.

    “On the day of the event, university attorneys delivered a letter to Meir Weinstein, the head of JDL Canada, warning his associates not to employ ‘threats and intimidation.’

    “However, JDL Canada thugs, including Weinstein, were allowed on campus and were not escorted off the premises.

    “Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York demanded that York University prohibit both the JDL Canada and Herut from ever stepping foot on campus again.

    “‘Entire JDL “should be banned’”

    “Instead of taking immediate action against the anti-Palestinian groups and protecting its students against further violence, York’s administration temporarily suspended the privileges of both SAIA York and Herut in December, and proposed a mediation process.

    “That suspension was lifted in January.

    “Dimitri Lascaris, attorney for SAIA York, said that he and his clients are gratified ‘that York University has banned the leader of this violent hate group from campus.’

    “He told The Electronic Intifada that ‘from a safety perspective and from the perspective of promoting tolerance on campus, it was clearly the right thing to do.’

    “However, he added, ‘banning Meir Weinstein alone is not sufficient … We continue to believe that the JDL as a whole should be permanently banned from campus.’

    “Lascaris said that it is not clear whether that blanket ban has been done, but he is making inquiries.

    “Students who were attacked were smeared as anti-Semites by JDL Canada and Herut, a Canadian affiliate of a far-right Israeli party which sponsored the event.

    “Ignoring video evidence, top Canadian politicians echoed the JDL’s fabricated claims.

    “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted that ‘violence and racist chants’ were directed at Jewish students, and blamed ‘anti-Semitism.’

    “SAIA York and Lascaris say they will be demanding an apology from Trudeau for his smears.

    “’But based on the Prime Minister’s past, unabashed support for Israel, I am not optimistic that he will do the right thing by apologizing,’ Lascaris said.

    “He noted that York’s decision to ban Weinstein from its campuses means that the administration ‘has become more sensitive to the threats posed by hate groups on campus.’

    “But banning Weinstein from all York premises ‘is almost certainly the result of a collective effort by York students and human rights groups on campus.'”

  5. pjdude on March 7, 2020, 1:38 am

    progressive zionism is an oxymoron. zionism by its very nature is the opposite of progressivism.

  6. annie on March 7, 2020, 10:18 am

    The question I’ve always been thinking about is, How Zionism itself is a progressive value. Not necessarily the specific policies in Israel that make Israel a progressive nation. Or the specific policies that have yet to be realized in Israel that could make it a more progressive nation.

    this guy is in a pickle. how do you take a structurally violent movement, a movement that requires uprooting another people from their home and land, and give it a forward looking humanitarian face? it’s a tough job. and something i’m sure he’s “always been thinking about” over and over.

    the 2nd and 3rd sentences here lay the groundwork for that process — eliminate the obvious dichotomy right off the bat; a) don’t look at specific policies in Israel that make it progressive because you’ll hit a brick wall. b) don’t look at specific policies that have yet to be realized because curious minds might notice specific policies are the opposite of progressive.

    Zionism is the idea that each and every one of us has a place to live in the world. And each and every one of us has a right to not feel other-ed by the larger society in which we live.

    this is a romantic notion. but if it were true, why would zionism be doing the very opposite – taking away a peoples place to live in the world? if each and every one of us has a right to not feel other-ed, why would zionists other palestinians?

    It seems as tho the rabbi has wrapped himself in pretzel logic to be accepted by groups who hold opposite values. if he wants to make a difference in the world, why not focus on the movement he’s a part of and try to improve it, to manifest this “idea” he claims zionism is. he could do that by advocating ‘specific policies ..that have yet to be realized in Israel that could make it a more progressive nation’ and what might those policies be?

    policies that would make Israel be a place where each and every person who lived there felt they belonged, where a each and every person felt they had a right not feel other-ed by the larger society in which they lived. but instead, he directs his energies in the other direction, to be accepted AS IF these ideas he claims define zionism, had ever come to fruition (they have not).

    instead of questioning ‘How Zionism is a progressive value’ he should ask himself How he can transform Zionism into something progressive. he should turn right and fix it instead of turning left and asking progressive spaces to accept him as if he had. he should direct his energies towards israel, towards the right wing fascism that is thriving there, if he wants to make a positive contribution to the world.

  7. Vera Gottlieb on March 7, 2020, 10:49 am

    How about all the pain and trauma Palestinians have been suffering since 1948??? Only Jewish pain is pain? For shame, israel…for shame. And I shall continue boycotting ALL israel products for as long as it takes…

    • MHughes976 on March 7, 2020, 1:19 pm

      That’s so much the obvious and necessary question for progressive Zionists, yet it seems not to occur to them.

  8. btbLondon on March 7, 2020, 11:55 am

    No one can tell a discriminated-against individual that they’re not experiencing hatred, Farkas went on. “As a Jew if I experience something as antisemitism, then it’s antisemitism.” The same goes for the gay person experiencing homophobia, a woman experiencing misogyny.

    This is the classic mis-statement of what in the UK is known as the MacPherson principle following his report into into institutional racism in the London police force following a notorious racist murder. MacPherson highlighted that victims’ perception of incidents as racist was systematically ignored by the police . He insisted that such perceptions must be noted and recorded and the investigation of he incident must not dismiss such a perception. Whether an incident was or was not racist would emerge from the investigation: it was not automatically racist because of the victim perception; just as it was automatically not racist because of the police, ab initio, ruling out such a possibility.

    It is arrogant (and racist, antisemitic, sexist …) to dismiss a victims perception of incident and the feelings of the victim are deserving of respect but that does not always mean they are an appropriate interpretation. That depends upon a fair investigation of the evidence – not that that is always, or indeed often, easy.

    MacPherson and its misinterpretation is discussed at
    https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/the-macpherson-principle/ which builds on the work of distinguished academic in the field of antisemitism Professor David Feldman.

  9. bcg on March 7, 2020, 12:56 pm

    Way up there we have jon s saying that Einstein was a Zionist. Was he?

    But Einstein’s support for the Zionist dream was not straightforward.
    World Zionist Organization leaders kept minders on hand during Einstein’s trips to America and Palestine lest he say something out of turn. Right up until the founding of the State of Israel, in 1948, Einstein spoke out against the idea of a Jewish state. Einstein’s vision of a Middle Eastern nation that welcomed Jews would look more like the binational state that so many Jews today fear rather than the two-state solution so many people crave.

    https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/what-was-einstein-s-relationship-to-judaism-and-zionism-1.5425826

    I recommend that people read the full article.

    • MHughes976 on March 7, 2020, 1:23 pm

      He did help to set the context in which Z was generally regarded as part of the intersecting progressive causes of those days and to protect Z in general by denouncing the awful extremists, such (then) as Begin. The programme was triumphantly continued through the Civil Rights era.

      • bcg on March 7, 2020, 6:08 pm

        It might be worth it to look at Einstein’s letter (co-signed by others) to the New York Times:

        https://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948/mode/2up

        (you can zoom in).

        “Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the ‘Freedom Party’ … a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties…the current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party….”

    • echinococcus on March 8, 2020, 12:20 am

      Why read the article or worry about it?
      So some long-dead guy, not a political leader anyway, was or was not Zionist — what a question!
      OK, many people who know about that say he was a brilliant mathematician and theoretical physicist, fine. But a considerable number of brilliant mathematicians were ZIonists, and an equally considerable number was not.

      So why and how is this ridiculous Zionist diversion supposed to be relevant at all?

      • oldgeezer on March 8, 2020, 3:16 pm

        I agree 100% ech. It is absolutely irrelevant what any historical Einstein (or MLK for that matter) may have said about Israel or zionism a half century ago. Einstein was considered a genius but being a genius doesn’t mean you’re right about everything. Never has. MLK was a moral leader for peoples of colour but again that doesn’t make one always correct.

        Much more is known about the early days of both Israel and zionism now. And we have the better part of a century of war crimes and crimes against humanity by which it should be judged. Not mere words by someone who may not have had all the facts. And certainly not early zionists works of fiction.

        I’ll soon be referring to zionists as ionists when using this computer. The z key is going and I won’t be fixing it haha

    • Stephen Shenfield on March 8, 2020, 7:57 am

      Einstein was not consistent when it came to Zionism. Like many other well-meaning outsiders he did not understand what was going on. The Zionist leaders regarded him as sufficiently tractable to offer him the presidency of Israel.

  10. wondering jew on March 10, 2020, 9:41 pm

    Einstein was a great man and his Zionism, which was really of a binational state sort of Zionism, was consistent with his greatness. Ben Gurion was just going for publicity when he offered Einstein the presidency, it was just a publicity stunt and proves very little about Ben Gurion’s assessment of Einstein’s political ideas.

    Those who truly hate Jewish identity are offended by Einstein’s Zionism, because he was conscious of his Jewish identity and that is forbidden according to some antiZionists.

    • Mooser on March 11, 2020, 11:27 am

      “wj”, your explicit faith in Jewish identity politics is very touching. You will never lose faith in identity politics working for Jewish Americans.

    • Mooser on March 11, 2020, 11:38 am

      “Einstein was a great man…”

      Yeah, you bet. We have Einstein to thank for nuclear power (how’d that work out?) and the nuclear bomb. What a friggin benefactor!

      • wondering jew on March 11, 2020, 3:36 pm

        To blame Einstein for the nuclear bomb is ignorance. You might as well blame Newton or anyone who moved science out of the stone age. Einstein did not invent the nuclear bomb, he merely wrote the letter encouraging FDR to not allow the Nazis to get the bomb before the US . It was other scientists who developed the nuclear bomb. Einstein moved science forward. It was nature that put that power in the Uranium and someone would have discovered it sooner or later.

      • wondering jew on March 11, 2020, 3:44 pm

        For all the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, climate change is being caused by fossil fuels and not nuclear energy. But you’re right, if everyone were as stupid as you, we would still be living in huts and riding around on horses and the worst pollution would be horse manure, so all science that moved us beyond the power of the horse has been to the detriment of mankind.

      • Mooser on March 11, 2020, 4:02 pm

        ” if everyone were as stupid as you, we would still be living in huts and riding around on horses”

        Yeah, I must’a missed out on those +15 IQ genes. Wonder what I got instead?

      • Mooser on March 18, 2020, 3:56 pm

        “and the worst pollution would be horse manure”

        Manure, when applied to fields increased soil carbon and reduced atmospheric carbon levels, and reduced soil erosion and runoff. Not to mention reduced nitrate leaching, and reduced energy demands for natural gas-intensive nitrogen(N). Hardly a pollutant, and what’s more Panaeolus cinctulus grows on it.

        Try doing that with Einstein’s nuclear waste.

      • echinococcus on March 18, 2020, 9:48 pm

        But Mooser! Panaeolus cinctulus is somewhat bad for you; it contains a respectable amount of psilocybin. Panaeolus papilionaceus, the former’s cousin that also grows on shit, is edible — no psilocybin but tasteless or sometimes with bad smell, hardly worth a glance from mushroom foodies.
        Conclusion: let’s not exalt shit.

      • Mooser on March 20, 2020, 4:35 pm

        “Conclusion: let’s not exalt shit.”

        The cult of Manure isn’t what it used to be.

    • echinococcus on March 19, 2020, 12:13 am

      “… conscious of his Jewish identity and that is forbidden according to some antiZionists”

      Of course it’s forbidden, duh.

      If you finally condescend to indicate one (1, single) marker of “Jewish” identity that is not either limited to one geographic group, or directly religious/ritual, I’ll accept it.

      Otherwise you have no choice but to acknowledge that all that “identity” BS peddled nonstop by you and the Zios and the crypto libZios (JVP, INN, the whole alphabet soup) is the horse manure you just praised.

      • echinococcus on March 19, 2020, 1:25 pm

        How so silent all of a sudden, mytho-nationalist Fredman?

        Still no answer? You’re not so wordy all of a sudden. As at any time you’re asked to produce even one, single objective element to support your “peoplehood” bullshit.

        Every time you guys are challenged to bring even a single element of proof it’s radio silence. Your new and improved avatar, Ernie., has better tactics: he pretends he’s asked another question.

      • wondering jew on March 19, 2020, 9:04 pm

        Echo- I once was in Jerusalem and conversed with a Jew of Ethiopian ancestry and I realized that I was as foreign to his concept of a Jew as he was foreign to mine.

        The primary historical fact of the Jewish people in recent times before or aside from the establishment of the state of Israel was the Shoah which was not purely an Ashkenazi event, but 95% or more Ashkenazi (and non Ashkenazi as a mere addendum).

        There seem to be certain individuals who are wedded to certain terminology and therefore you will tell me that I cannot call the Jews a people. Because I was raised religious and referred to “am Yisroel” many times a day in the prayers, the concept of nation or people as opposed to tribe, has been firmly imbedded in my language and the 19th century conceptions are a bit besides the point when it comes to my own use of the language.

        The Jewish peoples would probably be a more scientific use of the term and because the Jewish peoples who are significant in number and significant in number in Israel/Palestine involve two groups: Mizrahim and Ashkenazis, I am not opposed to calling us Jews, the Jewish peoples.

        I feel a connection to Hebrew, having prayed in the language and studied in the language and having been taught it as a child. A language is a unifying factor of the Jews who live in Israel and those who have spent much time in Israel and though the language in its modern incarnation is new, I cannot dismiss language as a unifying factor.

        I feel a connection to Yiddish. It was the language of all four of my grandparents when they were children and a very significant part of the Jewishness of my father’s parents. The fact that even in 1939 only a portion of the Jews on the planet spoke Yiddish, does not mean that this language was not a type of marker of commonality. Of course Hitler did the yeoman’s work in wiping out this language as a common factor and of course American Jewish desire to acculturate led most Jews to toss Yiddish into the ashcan of history. The shape of the Jewish Ashkenazi people is far different today in 2020 than it was in 1939.

        oh, btw, you suck a**. and should take a long walk off a short pier.

      • wondering jew on March 19, 2020, 9:08 pm

        Of course the Zionist preference for Hebrew, which was both ideological and sensible, included coercive measures to limit the use of Yiddish, (which was a negative).

      • catalan on March 19, 2020, 10:52 pm

        “Shoah which was not purely an Ashkenazi event, but 95% or more Ashkenazi (and non Ashkenazi as a mere addendum).”
        What an odd statement – the Jews of Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, many of the Netherlands and Belgium (all Sephardic) relegated to a mere addenda? The left and Hamas, hand in hand.

      • wondering jew on March 20, 2020, 12:19 am

        catalan- what was the number of nonashkenazi jews from those countries that you enumerated. do they total more than 300,000? Nope. 5% is a minor number.

        And put me together with Hamas? Eat s***, you pig s***.

      • echinococcus on March 20, 2020, 1:21 am

        Guess what, Friedman

        – You admit that you cannot indicate a single non-religious cultural element common to “Jews”: objectively then, “Jewish” is no different than “Catholic” or “Pentecostal”. That was the whole point. A simple “no” would have been more than enough.

        – You try to place on a certain Adolf Hitler the onus of killing Yiddish which you people, the Zionists, knowingly murdered starting before 1880. Same can be said now for my co-native Ladino. Those who don’t see this as murder don’t really understand genocide.

        – You are such a historical and cultural ignoramus that you can advance a 95% figure for the Eskenazi… just like the other horrible Zio-grown reactionary ignorant dregs that have the chutzpah to offer long, meandering and self-assured opinion. Listen to Catalan, for example.

        – “the Jewish Ashkenazi people.. today” is no of interest, except to Zionits and other, “non-Z.” Jewish chauvinists: their only cultural characteristic that differentiates them from the general American population is Zionism (or remnants of Zionism for the mytho–nationalist tribal minority that pretends to oppose it.) The interesting status is as of 1897, date of the stated intent to destroy Palestine on behalf of the colonialists.

        – Of course we knew you are a rabid Eskenazi racist but it’s nice to have it confirmed officially — from the horse’s mouth sotosay.

        I won’t wish you the same as you wish me, of course, as your future is of no interest whatsoever.

      • RoHa on March 20, 2020, 1:50 am

        “The fact that even in 1939 only a portion of the Jews on the planet spoke Yiddish, does not mean that this language was not a type of marker of commonality. ”

        I don’t know how commas are used in Yiddish, but the above sentence is supposed to be English, and so there should be no comma after “Yiddish”. “Even in 1939” should be preceded and followed by commas.

        Also, your concluding pleasantry requires a capital letter for the “oh”.

      • catalan on March 20, 2020, 9:37 am

        “You admit that you cannot indicate a single non-religious cultural element common to “Jews”: “
        Echino, you are arguing with just about every encyclopedia. Just google Jewish people and there are hundreds of definitions. Think about it, is Wikipedia and encyclopedia Britannica wrong but you are right? Could you entertain the possibility, minor that it is, that the encyclopedias are correct and you are not?
        As to markers of commonality. So what if some Jews spoke Ladino and others Yiddish. Neapolitan and Venetian are not the same language. Or think of the American people. At least 80 million Americans do not speak English at all; they speak Spanish. Yet they are part of the American people. One day there may even be a European people. You are obsessing over a narrow definition of the word people. As to you converting to Christianity: that does indeed make you leave the Jewish people. So you and I are no longer of the same people which I am sure is a relief to you. Just like converting to Islam makes a Serb leave the Serbian people. The trouble is, you are so convinced that you are superior, that you end up arguing obvious things.

      • Mooser on March 20, 2020, 3:53 pm

        “I don’t know how commas are used in…”

        I believe an especial eternal punishment may be reserved for those who use punctuation to obfuscate, rather than aid clarity.

      • Mooser on March 20, 2020, 4:26 pm

        “If you finally condescend to indicate one (1, single) marker “

        “Echin” there isn’t just a single element, there’s two. We got mishegos and the mashpocha. If we’ve got those, the rest is lagniappe.

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