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  • On empathy, Yom Kippur, and the NFL
    • @Mooser

      You won't like my answer .. but dispensationalism. By 1750 and growing every year since then there was a general belief that Jews had specific dispensation from God and a specific role. That contrasts with the more typical Christian theology that Judaism is the burnt out husk of a once important religion and Jews in sticking to it were obstinate knowing rejectors of Christ and thus goodness. The belief that Jews aren't rejecting God's plan but rather are still fulfilling an alternative plan or different plan creates enough room to diffuse total hatred. Antisemitism at its core depends crucially on the mythology that Jews are the knowing agents of Satan. There can be variants Satan can be whatever the person sees as the force of evil in the world: archons, global capital, sexual libertines. But the myth is the same. The Jews uniquely knowingly serve evil. Dispensationalism makes that belief impossible since Judaism is still part of God's plan.

      With dispensationalism Jews are at worst just unsaved. Jews may be going to hell but they are going to hell for the same reason: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists... are going to hell. There is nothing specially evil about them, they aren't active agents of hell. Not only that but because of our covenant we can often attain a status like Jehovah's witnesses or Unitarians of almost Christian (in their eyes). And that creates more tolerance.

      I'm very happy about Pentecostalism spreading all through Latin America and Africa.

  • Academic boycott campaign is growing fast at Trinity College Dublin
    • @Mooser

      Do you think I would joke about a thing like this?

      Yes. But I'd be happy to see you serious engage rather than snipe.

      Israel better think about that, and think goddam long and hard, and take the fate of non-Israeli Jews into account.

      The Israelis want "the rest of us" to move to Israel. Ending the diaspora is essentially the national mission. That being said I think they've done a terrific job of normalizing the situation of Jews. 100 years ago Jews have the same status the Roma do today, neither fully nationals of the states in which they lived nor having any place they could really count on. Today Jews in the English speaking world are fully normalized (and likely to remain so as long as Dispensationalism remains). And that's because Jew increasing just means to Christians, "ethnic Israeli" rather than "earthly servant of Satan".

      Right now when anti-Zionism becomes popular in a country the Jewish population quickly leaves that country. There are no pogroms, no mass killings. Antisemitism barely has time to get off the ground before there are few to no Jews left for anti-zionist / antisemetic governments to oppress. Jews aren't hostages remotely, as a result of Israel they are welcome guests. And they are welcome in part because everyone knows when they become unwelcome they can easily leave.

      Do you think the IDF protects the rest of us?

      Indirectly yes (see above). Directly no.

  • Countering Islamophobia means ending the structural silencing of Muslim voices-- including their critique of Israel
    • @Hatem

      I think you fail to get what these 3 groups are offering. They lean mainstream liberals (mainstream Democrats) not leftists. They have no problems with specific alliances on specific issues while opposing the same groups on other issues.

      AJC is pretty specific on their goals. They want an alliance on:
      a) Hate crimes
      b) Workplace discrimination
      c) Immigration

      where they see the two communities as connected. They aren't naive enough to fail to understand there are deep differences.

      JCRC sees anti-Zionism as equivalent to anti-Islamic rhetoric. So for example in response to the Palestinian bus campaign, "We decry extremist rhetoric that slanders Islam and Muslims, including that which comes from Jews. We expect our Muslim partners to similarly denounce attacks against the Jewish community and Judaism, including those when it comes from adherents within their community. ". They are openly conditional allies against hate. Quite openly part of the conditions of the alliance on hate rhetoric is Muslims not widely preaching anti-Zionism.

      ADL is the leftmost of these groups. The ADL finds fighting leftwing anti-Zionism divisive to their donor base, i.e. the fight against BDS alienated a substantial minority of ADL supporters. Fighting rightwing Antisemitism (or the appearance of it) is unifying to their donor base. Right now the rightwing Antisemitism is mostly kooks, but the rightwing anti-Muslims often express some Antisemetic views. So yes, they will talk about and donate to help vandalized Mosques and try and unify with Muslims around rightwing religious bigotry. But that doesn't mean there is any desire to discuss much less support anti-Zionism. They will distance themselves from anti-Zionists and likely continue to conflate anti-Zionists with the attitudes of the people who burn down Mosques not the people who worship in them. ADL donors like to believe in a happy world where people's interests don't conflict.

      FWIW the fact that Bernie Sanders is not telling his supporters that DNC chair is a fund raising and coordination position not a policy position is more evidence of why he was completely unfit to run the country and should not have been the nominee. I think both Keith Ellison and Tom Perez are good guys I don't have a problem with either one of them.

      One final comment:

      However, you will not find him attacking the Christian Right for their deeply held theological anti-Semitism

      FWIW I find the Christian Left much more theologically Antisemetic than the Christian right. To an evangelical I'm going to hell for the same reason that a Muslim, Hindu, Animist, fallen Christian or Atheist is: I haven't accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. There is nothing Antisemetic in that, that's treating Jews like any other group of heathens. Moreover even in the missions field evangelicals are much more tolerant of Jewish culture as Moody put in the 19th century in reference to Jewish diet, "Our Lord command us to convert the Jews to Christianity not Anglo-Saxonism". This contrasted strongly with the 19th century mainstream churches which did see Jewish missions as cultural more than religious. Most Jews don't care about Christian eschatology anymore than they care about Muslim eschatology (which is equally horrific). Heck for that matter Jewish eschatology is pretty awful and people in glass houses....

      Leftwing Christianity often gives Judaism a special place and still embraces replacement theology (as contrasted with evangelical dispensationalism). The NCC anti-Jewish missions scares the hell out of me since this seems to essentially in doctrine (though not in tone) to be embracing the core belief of classical Antisemitism: that Judaism is a genetic evil immune to baptism. That enhances not counters the practical level. I want to be grouped with the heathens and ignored not set apart into a special category. Many leftwing Christian churches are often openly rallying for official state sponsored anti-Israelism. IMHO even if that were to become law there would be too much domestic opposition and the laws would fail to have meaningful effect. But were there a desire for those laws to be successful the domestic opposition would need to be countered and that would perforce translate into viscous Antisemitism. See the history of Stalin's attacks on Zionism in the Soviet Union for a detailed case study.

  • AIPAC underwrote Islamophobia in the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party too
    • @Mooser

      So Tila Tequila and co keeping you up at night?

      America is a diverse country. Anyone who believes in AIPAC as anything other than just another lobby has already bought in to recycled Soviet Zionology. Everyone outside the hard left very rarely comes in contact with and even more rarely believes Soviet propaganda. No one cares about AIPAC.

      Jews might get thrown out of the left. They aren't going to be thrown out of America at least if / until dispensationalism becomes unfashionable. The seeds for antisemitism come from Matthew, both Johns and Paul not AIPAC. Jews care about what Jews do. Christians, Buddhists, Hindus... mostly don't and won't unless they believe we are backed by supernatural forces of evil.

      When is the last time you saw lots of people upset about the existence of the Taiwan lobby or the China lobby? You talk to Asians and you would hear the same sorts of conspiracies about those lobbies you hear about AIPAC.

      Relax. Tila is just mentally ill and asking for help she ain't getting.

  • Phila Inquirer publishes a lie: 'Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same'
    • @Marnie

      All I get from your voluminous comments is that you’re a professional victim.

      Really? " I thankfully live in a country where dispensationalism is a mainstream belief during a time period where most anti-Semitism is pretty rare. I’ve certainly experienced it, but less than the generation before me and them less than the generation before them" is not a statement of victimization. But I get that you think personal insults are arguments. After all this whole shtick is about proving to everyone your moral superiority.

      So given you see in comment what you want to see not what's written. Let me just point out, you are on a board where you spend all day whining that choices make 100 years ago, long before you were born, didn't turn out the way you like. The people doing it far from being victims have become masters of their own destiny. The people most resistant and least in control of their own fate are you who choose to identify with and thereby are able to express their victimhood.

      I ain't even the kettle Ms. Pot.

    • @Walker

      JeffB, in reality Zionism isn’t simply saying that Jews deserve a land. It’s saying that they deserve the land more than the people who already live there

      That's not considering Zionism on its own terms. My discourse was on Zionism not a critique of Zionism. Moreover it was specifically trying to say that their are parts to Zionism, like Hebrew language renewal and Folk Dancing which have nothing to do with Palestinians or the fight to control the land. That was the central point. The saying that Zionism is all about militarism is simply dishonest demonization.

      Now certainly militarism plays a role and that's semi-fair critique of what is obviously implied. It is not like Zionism wanted to establish a Jewish homeland in Antartica or the Sahara. Humans move into habitable zones pretty quickly. For Jews to establish a state in the near term they were either going to have to choose a truly miserable piece of real estate or they were going to have to do it somewhere that was inhabited. Once you say they are going to be sovereign they either needed to replace the existing population, incorporate the existing population, establish permanent rule over the existing population... I'm not sure that Zionism ever really choose between those objectives but it certainly was aware of what the choices would be.

      Christians are unable to respect Jews because they are a defeated people. So there can’t be a parity.

      Is that your personal experience?

      Yes. I think the whole argument over Israel is fundamentally profound disrespect. Substitute Paris for Jerusalem, Marseille for Tel Aviv, French for Jews and take any anti-Israeli screed. No one would even treat that like a sane opinion.

      Let me start with a disclaimer. I thankfully live in a country where dispensationalism is a mainstream belief during a time period where most anti-Semitism is pretty rare. I've certainly experienced it, but less than the generation before me and them less than the generation before them and ... Classic rightwing anti-Semitism exists but it is exceptional but it exists. For example my girlfriend during college's father was truly disappointed that his daughter would get engaged to a Jew (we never got married). For him, the idea of a Jewish coworker was OK, the idea of 1/2 Jewish grandchildren was repulsive. So yes I have seen it as part of my life. But it hasn't done me much harm.

      That being said, it is quite possible that the American assimilation model is successful and is a solution to anti-Semitism that also works. The question was not "are all Zionism's claims true" but rather what I was addressing is "what are Zionism's claims". If I had to bet I I don't think the American model would have worked forever without Israel. I think the problem is the New Testament (though there is a fix there) and thus anti-semitism is cyclic in nature among Christians forever. Jews in large numbers need to get out of Christian society.

      Since the mid 1990s leftwing anti-Semitism has gotten much stronger. The idea that Western European countries would be having regular anti-Jewish marches again just after living memory of the holocaust is surprising to me. And I get that you want to argue that this particular variety of anti-Jewish march isn't really an anti-Jewish march because it doesn't meet some very narrow definition that most anti-Jewish activity over the last 1900 years would have have failed. But you are asking about my opinion. When I see the elected mayor in a Swedish city excuse anti-Jewish violence in his city because after all the Jews hadn't done enough to distance themselves from Israel, I know damn well he wouldn't tolerate that if "real Swedes" were being shot because someone disagreed with them on a foreign policy issue. And I know that the Swedes know that too and elect him anyway, or even more likely because of it. That is profound disrespect.

      America is good to Jews. But just pick the next generation. My daughter is most likely going to be going to a college with an active BDS movement and her Jewish identity is going to be attacked regularly, repeatedly. She like my father and unlike me is going to have to deal with institutionally supported Jew hatred. Certainly she needs to avoid middle east studies or ASA unless she is prepared to deal with what I see here, but in a situation where she is at least partially vulnerable. And I don't think she should have to be in fear in college. I am angry that I have to teach her this crap not as a historical anecdote but a real life skill.

      The core idea of BDS is to totally destroy a country because Jews are unlike other people permanently morally unfit for self determination. This is becoming a mainstream position that is acceptable in polite company. It was acceptable in the 1940s, and I consider it pretty bad that it is coming back. Yes I consider that to be profound disrespect. What else should I consider it?

    • @straightline

      I am intrigued, JeffB. Who were these Zionists who predated Judaism? And what happened to them? What did they believe? Where did they live? What exactly were the borders of Zion and how long did it exist for? When was the “fall of Zion”? I appear to be “unbelievably ignorant” on this matter.

      The area in light green is the core, the area in purple and orange were highly affiliated most of the time and often directly considered part of the territory, though they had a more religiously mixed (Jewish and semi-Jewish and non-Jewish) population. It existed as an independent state during the rein of the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties from 140 BCE to 67 CE (or more generously 163 BCE to 92 CE). Prior to that it was Greek colony and prior to that a semi-indpendent vassal state called Yehud (depending on how you want to count 589 - 333 BCE).

      What are the main tenets of this philosophy “which is a total philosophy of being individually (psychologically), morally and collectively (sociologically) for Jews”? Is it only for Jews? I have never heard of a philosophy being restricted to one particular tribe.

      Zionism argues that the Jewish tribe has a unique history and unique problems. In much the same way that Palestinian nationalism is completely unique because they too face unique problems. The main tenants are:

      1) The Jewish religion is Judaean culture preserved. That's why Judaism isn't quite a religion in the way Christianity and Islam are.

      2) This quasi religion naturally creates friction. Judaism is structurally incompatible with European citizenship because imbedded within the religion is the loyalty of Judaea.

      3) Christians are unable to respect Jews because they are a defeated people. So there can't be a parity.

      4) Jewish attempts at emancipation within Christian culture are a delusion because of the above.

      5) Therefore Jews must build a nation where they take on all the national characteristics.

      6) In this nation Jews must take on all the roles: farming, blacksmiths, soldiering to become spiritually complete. (i.e. Volkish theology) and become whole to become genuine creators and not parasites on European civilization.

      I'll stop here since it begins to break into a how. I'll see what you say. That how involves a theory of labor economics, a theory of folk dance, a theory of recreation of a national language (Hebrew), a theory of press, an attitude that everyone's ultimate fulfillment is in service to the state...

      Then of course there are complex shading. The Polish and Russian immigrants of the 1920s introduced a lot of latter communist ideology, The contact with America and Britain has allowed Darby's Christian theology of dispensationalism to become part of Jewish theology and thus messianic Zionism... Labor Zionism, General Zionists, Revisionist Zionism, Religious Zionism and Messianic Zionism all become part of the soup as Israel moves from theory to reality. So you get a layered culture. Sure there is conquest. But the fact that an Israeli gets up in the morning and asks for his toast in Hebrew is Zionism realized as much as a settlement is.

      As an aside a terrific writer on the history of Zionism and how the ideology became realized in Israel is Prime Minister Netanyahu's father Benzion. If you want to actually know what Zionism is rather than listen to nonsense propaganda his books are a terrific resource to the writers, many of whom still aren't translated into English.

  • Lutheran activists fear new church leadership will stifle criticism of Israeli occupation
    • @WJones

      I don't think you can really say Reformed Churches are anti-Israel. For example the PCA has explicitly condemned the PCUSA's stand on Israel as taking a stand outside the legitimate over-sight of the church. Certainly the Reformed elements of the SBA are generally pro-Zionist. All reformed are going to affirm things like, "the true Israel is those who believe in Christ, both Jew and Gentile" and thus reject key elements of Christian Zionism like dispensationalism. On the other hand while they reject dispensationalism's separation of the church and Israel they do believe that the biblical promises are to be taken at face value. Spurgeon while not completely endorsing British Restoration were what we would call today pro-Zionist, "we shall at once profess our attachment to the pre-millennial school interpretation, and the literal reading of those Scriptures that predict the return of the Jews to their own land." And I think a 120 years later that's still the dominant conservative Reformed position. That Israel is the land of the Jews and that via. Zionism they are returning to their land. Berkhof (1960s conservative reformed leader) used to use Israel (the country) as an analogy of election of grace: Israel was cruel (i.e. did bad works) yet was favored by God just as we are elected without our own merits.

      Even in the PCUSA itself there are ministers who are appalled by what's happening, "the PCUSA is perfectly comfortable with one of its constituent groups [referring to the IPMN -- Israel Palestine Mission Network] making repeated forays into the swamps of falsehood, bigotry, and hate. It is a scandal for the denomination, and one that this summer’s General Assembly would be wise to address."

      So to summarize I think Reformed is less friendly than Arminian on balance. Liberals are much less friendly to Israel than conservatives. The PCUSA being both seems willing to openly institutionally fall just short of BDS level hostility. But they are bitterly divided on the issue. As you move right I think the Reformed are mostly allies. Israel is mostly liked by the western right. And frankly even in the PCUSA Jews aren't doing that badly. The Israel haters only won narrowly. In America Jews are enough of a slice of the population that they have been able to head off anti-colonialist anti-Zionism/antisemitism on the left. But in churches Jews don't have the membership numbers (0 or close to it) to make a difference.

      Or to summarize my summary, I think it is a left problem more than a Reformed problem.

  • Two desperate anti-Semitism charges, from Foxman and Boteach
    • @Krauss

      As Blumenthal spoke about in his speech to U of Michigan, it may come a day when real anti-Semites wear that label as a badge of pride, and that is no small worry. Foxman and company are not helping matters by using it cynically against even mild criticism against Israel.

      Then what? Play it out. Assume there are say 50k people in an organization that hate Jews not because of Israel or AIPAC or Jewish money interests or all the other reasons perfectly acceptable to BDS but instead hate Jews for reasons that BDS doesn't approve of. Say they really hate bagels and Woody Allen movies. What do they do then? How many Jews do the bagel hating / anti-Woody Alleners even know? When they hold anti-Jewish rallies are they even at places where Jews go and thus even notice?

      Maybe they torch a synagogue or two. How many synagogues can be paid for with one lost commercial contract for Mekorot?

      Maybe they do a lynching or two? I doubt it they aren't lynching blacks and muslims whom they hate more. But let's assume so. So over the course of 100 years they do as much damage as one round of going at with Hezbollah.

      I don't see how any reasonable level of anti-Semitism could possibly be more of a threat to the Jewish community than BDS is. I don't think either is a threat but anti-Semitism in the USA on the right is almost completely harmless until there is a religious shift away from dispensationalism and that takes decades if not centuries. And I've never understood this threat. Even if it did pan out that there were 10m or 20m active anti-Semites in the USA life would suck and USA Jews would likely have to move to Israel. How does that justify not backing Israel to the hilt if one saw this threat as realistic?

  • Friedman says Iran's friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement
    • @Sumud

      JeffB – You didn’t address this part of what I wrote:

      Likewise the nefarious influence of the Israel lobby and it’s distortion of US foreign policy.

      Seems to me a bipartisan concern and if you read comments from the NYT to the WaPo and beyond they have changed flavour significantly in the last few years – a lot of anger and disgust now being displayed by Americans towards Israel and their behaviour, and zionist influence on US foreign policy.

      I think comment sections are a poor way of determining public opinion. They get you an interesting insight into specific groups that may be passionate enough about an issue to not only read it but to comment (i.e. a sampling of activist opinion) but they don't tell you much about the public. What does a good job measuring public opinion are public opinion surveys. And those show longterm large substantial gains in Israel's popularity in the United States. I don't see any reason that long term trend is reversing. Israel is becoming non-controversial in the United States. Americans tend to trust Israel a lot and put their relationship with Israel above their relationship with UK, France, Germany, Australia... and often it comes in second only to Canada.

      Outside the hard left I don't see much upset by Israeli behavior. Most Americans believe a state needs to be aggressive towards its enemies: look at USA foreign policy that doesn't come out of a vacuum. They believe that Israel is fundamentally doing what is should be to protect its society. Most Americans, particularly below the top 20% economically strongly support the notion of nation states and the idea and understand fully why a Palestinian 5th column would be discriminated against. So I don't see how this is likely to change minds.

      As for Zionist influence of foreign policy. I don't see it. Clearly AIPAC has lost 2 big issues recently in Syria in Iran. But they lost that's not the sort of the thing that generates backlash. In terms of general trends Neo-Conservativism is still the dominant paradigm in the Republican party. Among Paleoconservatives there is concern about Israeli Lobby, there always has been. But ultimately they aim for a general withdraw from institutions like the UN not a shift towards an activists pro-human rights orientation. Their position were it to become dominant (which I doubt) might be very very good for Israel.

      The Democrats are rather unified on issues of foreign policy, with the old Realist school (HW Bush) firmly in charge and the Peace Camp having some limited influence. The Realists are generally hostile to Israel but far less so all the time as the cost of being pro-Israel decreases. The Peace Camp is something like 40% Jewish or 1/2 Jewish. My belief is the hight of anger at Zionism in the Democratic party was right before the Iraq war and the peace camp was brutalized when Jews walked away. They learned clearly that when asked to pick between Zionism and Liberalism on average even fringe lefty Jews pick Zionism.

      People keep being told how much they love Israel by the media but nobody can tell them why.

      Sure they can.
      a) Christian Zionism and dispensationalism
      b) They hate muslims and Israel kicks muslim ass
      c) They hate anti-USA countries and Israel kicks anti-USA country ass
      d) Israel is a loyal ally of the United States
      e) Israel is a western country


      You claimed Israel serves American interests but when challenged to explain how your answer was rather limp and mostly about Israel serving it’s own interests.

      First off that's always the case with allies. What drives an alliance is a confluence of interests. The reason we are allies with the UK is because American and UK interests are closely aligned. When the UK acts to help us they are usually advancing their own interests. That's the norm.

      Second, you just ignored things like Latin America where Israel was clearly acting in our interests and not their own because you didn't like the policy.

      Perhaps if Israel had a mutual defence treaty with the US and the IDF had fought beside the US army like a genuine ally, then you might have a point.

      We don't need help in the genuine army world. We have a crushing advantage there. Moreover Israel is a country with 6m people they aren't going to be useful on that front. Where we need help is in intelligence operations. And there Israel has been fantastic.

      I agree with some of what you wrote otherwise but your argument rests on a left – neocon axis, not left – right. You’re ignoring non-neocon conservatives.

      I think paleoconservatives exists but they control very few seats in the House or Senate. The Republican party is still overwhelmingly neocon. Just look at the latest controversies:

      a) Is Obama too soft on Syria?
      b) Is Obama too soft on Iran?
      c) Is Obama too soft on Russia?

      I don't see the paleoconservative politicians on all these issues much influencing the debate or even willing to take strong public stands. I do see paleoconservative pundits so clearly there is a wing in the Republican party that could come to power which if it worked with the Peace Party in the Democrats might be able to build a black/red alliance to roll back quite a bit of defense spending. But again I see that as possibly helpful and certainly not too threatening to Israel.

  • Political Zionism is destroying a culture and a people, and intentionally so
    • @seafold

      The wonderful Presbyterians have been bitchslapped by your crowd and they are back and they don’t buy the memes any longer. What are you going to do about it? Call them anti-Semites ?

      I don't think my crowd will do much. Jews don't have much leverage over the PCUSA. But Christian Zionists do. They can fight this battle much more effectively than Jews can. Jews because of Zionism now have real allies, not many and not enough but they do have them. The main thing that Jews can do is give moral legitimacy to Christian Zionism which they are doing. It is impossible to for the PCUSA to call dispensationalism anti-Semitic when Jews institutionally consider it friendly.

  • Kentucky paper publishes piece describing Palestinians as 'chosen people'
    • There is an upswing in Christians challenging Christian Zionist teaching and I think it’s going to reach a tipping point

      Darby and Scofield have been challenged by mainstream Christian teachers for 2 centuries. There is no upswing the denominations that rejected Dispensationalism and more broadly Premillenialism. With Pentecostalism likely to overtake Catholicism (which is Amillennialist) as the dominant form of Christianity on the planet within the next generation I'd say you are dead wrong about any move towards rejection.

      I don't want to get into debating Christian theology since I suspect neither one of us believes it, but no it is not easily refuted. If it were easily refuted it would have been refuted a long time ago, there certainly have been plenty of people who have tried.

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