The alleged Pittsburgh shooter saw Jews as warriors for a liberal democracy. This is a role the brothers Rosenthal may not have known they were playing, but we should honor them and the nine other victims by championing refugees and migrants and civil rights for minorities.
In their defense of the Israeli military’s recent actions in Gaza, Israeli political leaders and pro-Israel commentators have articulated a belief that guides Israeli thinking: the existence of the Jewish state requires that Palestinians remain locked in their Gaza prison, with all the violence this entails. The sooner Palestinians accept that, the closer we will come to peace.
Jewish identity is fluid, writes Yaacov Yagdar. It went from being public, political and communal in ancient days to a private matter of religious belief during the Enlightenment to being based entirely today on a commitment to the Jewish people and their nation-state Israel. The last is a perversion of the modern state and an offense to traditional Judaism in its treatment of its non-Jewish citizens.
Roland Nikles sends a Christmas message to US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley: “On this Christmas Day, we recall that near Bethlehem, there were shepherds out in the field, ‘and an angel of the Lord appeared to them. . . and the angel said. . . I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.’ And we behold: the angel did not say ‘America First!'”
“My aim is not to resolve the conflict. My aim is to secure a Jewish democratic Israel . . . the Zionist vision that came true 70 years ago,” Gilead Sher, an Israeli negotiator at Camp David in 2000, says. Settlers, he says, are much happier with the status quo. If you ever wondered why there has been no peace deal, here’s your answer.
Leon Wieseltier’s justification for Israel as a Jewish state is very similar to that of Richard Spencer, the White Nationalist who claims to be “a white Zionist” and wants “to have a secure homeland that’s for us and ourselves just like you want a secure homeland in Israel.” Roland Nikles says Wieseltier’s argument “provides inadvertent cover for these demons of the White European radical right which are trying to make a come-back in our politics today.”
When white nationalist Richard Spencer said there was a lot to admire in Zionism, he held up a mirror to Jewish nationalism’s contempt for Palestinian rights. Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace was right to seize on the affinity as a reflection on Zionism, as lived. While Jane Eisner of the Forward and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL are in denial about what their ideology has become.
In a book once regarded as heretical among American Jewry, The Tragedy of Zionism, Bernard Avishai explained more than 30 years ago that Zionism evolved from a Histadrut (trade union) movement, to statism that aspired to be Jewish and democratic, and from this statism to a new unabashedly undemocratic Zionism.
How much does the Israel lobby explain why negotiations have failed to bear fruit for the past 25 years? Rashid Khalidi says it’s beyond the lobby: Israeli and American politicians get funding from the same people. Important industries, like high tech and defense, are integrated in the U.S. and in Israel at the highest levels. As a result the U.S. and American political systems are on the same page, to the point that it is more accurate to think of them as one integrated political system than in terms of allies, he explains.
Jewish Israelis maintain the occupation because they know they will only lose under a one-state or two-state outcome, and so they have elected the perfect choice in Netanyahu to maintain that immoral system of complete control over Palestinians, depriving them of rights, Noam Sheizaf said at a Bay Area synagogue last week. And they may get away with it.