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  • Passover has become little more than an act of communal hypocrisy
    • @Marnie

      Okay then; there’s no need for holy days including, but not limited to pesach, yom kippur, shavuot, shabbat; kashrut, and all of its accoutrements including your fav – ‘jewish sinks’ or, most important of all, no need for a jewish state. What a relief! Glad that’s over with.

      Of course there is. Rich cultures have cultural holidays. The existence of the God associated with those holidays is irrelevant. For example in the USA we still celebrate New Years, which was the holiday of Vejovis the first God. I've never met an American who believes in Vejovis. Heck during the Roman Empire there is a lot of question whether the Romans themselves even believed in Vejovis anymore (or even remembered what their society had believed centuries earlier). He probably was too heavily associated with the pre-Greek religion of faeries and household deities for them to even relate to the religious meaning of the holiday they were celebrating.

      Marnie you are supposedly Israeli. Israel was founded by atheists and still has a strong Jewish atheist culture. Why do I have to explain this to you? You should have lived it for decades.



      Don't know why you are attributing that quote to me. Don't even know who those people are.

    • @Mooser

      I don't see your point. The question of what Judaism teaches, what it is becoming, and the question of whether the Jewish God (or any other God) exists are distinct questions. Judaism is a religion of practice not belief.

  • 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.

  • Finders Keepers in the Holy Land: So who was there first?
    • @MHughes976

      Since you are asking my opinion. I don't really like the language of "rights" in an abstract sense they get used here. I think rights are derived from a legal framework. My rights in the sense they are used here derive from law. Law is derived from a government. A government is an entitle capable of exercising an effective monopoly of force on a territory. So I'd assert all rights derive from might. Without the power of enforcement there are no rights. Which incidentally is why I don't consider the UN's legal rulings to be legitimate, they lack enforcement capability and thus aren't a government at all. Now that's usually a sticking point on right-left dialogue (even worse for Israel-Palestine) So I tend to compromise there to some extent bite my tongue and just use "right" to mean essentially a moral claim as a subset of "the good". But if you are asking my opinion then I'd really say the heart of the debate is about the definition of law, right and government.

      I think the idea of creating ethnic classes of people to whom one can or worse still should commit horrific acts against because you don't like their ancestors is a very bad thing. That sounds very much children of Ham defense of slavery from my country ( ) . Given the horrors of all of an ancestors going back billions of years I don't think anyone can claim an ethical ancestry. Everyone who exists today does so because of millions of generations of slaughter and rape intermixed with their trillion generations of ancestors. Call it an atheist version of original sin.

      To what extent can I punish Fathi because I don’t like the Arab conquest? My answer would be not at all he is not responsible for it even though he descends from the people who did it. Or to pick a more recent example from the USA my family (grandparents) lost property in the in 1960s race riots that would have directly benefited me. To what extent does that give me license to steal property from blacks in those same areas? Again my answer would be it doesn’t. The descendants of the rioters aren’t responsible for my loss and I don’t gain license to punish them from some sort of historical right.

      So I tend to reject any claim of racial or ethnic ownership of land. The people who have moral title to the land are the people who now live on the land and make improvements to it (yes the Locke definition whom I know you are a fan of). This allows for a simple theory of international relations which is very utilitarian. What is the best solution to the problem now, forgetting at all about how we got here?

      So in short when it comes to civil rights (especially citizenship) all babies should be born with the same status regardless of who their parents are. In the USA we have a 14th Amendment, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The children of illegal immigrants are Americans the same as I am. The children of criminals have the same rights I do. I consider that Amendment a moral triumph arising from a country that had a deep historical understand of what the alternative was. The people who passed the 14th Amendment had seen what happens when a class of people are delegitimized. I fully support the 14th not just for the USA but as a general principle that should be applied everywhere throughout the world. That’s the reason I think Fathi has the right (in the moral sense) to be Israeli while you don’t.

      Contra-positively all moral claims to territory last one generation. If a group (including a nation) hasn’t been able to realize them during a lifetime they are forever forfeit for their descendants.

      In short all punishments one wants to dole out for marauding need to be done to the actual marauders not their progeny. So yes the marauders can pass rights to a territory on to their children.

  • Hectored by Zionist wannabe archaeologists, 'NYT' recasts article on Jewish temples
    • I'm not planning on returning to posting here because of the censorship ... but this conversation I figured I'd weigh in on. I'm a Zionist, a Jew, and an atheist. I don't think there was a first temple in Jerusalem though a proto-Jewish shrine on Mount Gerizim dating back before the 6th century BCE is likely. The second temple however one doesn't need to believe in any historical religious books to understand what was there. You can quite literally see construction from the Hasmonean dynasty and Herodian Dynasty on the mount where the Al-Aqsa Mosque sits. This is not a question of religion nor one of history it is basic obviously observed archeology. Grouping denial of the location of the 2nd temple in with holocaust denial is quite inaccurate but in the other direction it is more like denying the existence of Australia or Zebras.

      As for Keith's comments about the animal sacrifice... yep that's right it is nothing like Reform Judaism. Zionism is a rejection of diaspora Judaism's weakness. The soil of Judaea returns Jews to their roots. Of course blood sacrifice is "barbaric" that's the point, blood shocks the senses. All animals have evolved to emotionally react to that copper scent and the thick red flow. Blood rites are associated with ecstatic rituals. The temple is Jerusalem's were in ancient times impressive to observers even those used to Ptolemaic and Roman temple standards. Reform Judaism is associated with boring, tedious prayers in Hebrew followed by boring tedious sermons that Mr. Rogers might give before going to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. There are good political reasons not to rebuild the Temple and if I were king of Israel I'd go for the old location and leave Al-Aqsa alone. But I and many other Zionists want to see a new Jewish temple even though I don't believe in the god it is dedicated to.

  • Netanyahu: Jerusalem was always the capital 'of the Jewish people alone'
    • @Marnie

      I couldn’t respond anywhere else. I have to interject something that is probably a truth for a lot of converts.

      So after all the huffing and puffing I was right about the Christian education. Moving on.

      So much of what was taught to us in classes was not torah but so-called traditions and customs and a lot of crap from the talmud,

      Yep that's right. The Talmud is the central religious text for Judaism. The Pentateuch (I'll use the Christian term for the clarity) is the original source text for the Mishnah which then gets further built upon. All that stuff that Luther taught you about layers of tradition and sola scriptura is even more true of Judaism than Catholicism.

      The religion you are preaching is Karaitism.

      which I don’t accept nor do I have to.

      You do if you want to call your religion Judaism. And more importantly that's the sort of distinction an Israeli would be aware of because lots of Karaites live in Israel.

      With people like yourself, an atheist snob who sits in judgment of me because I don’t sound Jewish – what is that, exactly?

      The religion you took an oath to join, which included an oath of loyalty. You want to quit have at it. Jesus is forgiving and welcomes his sheep back. Just stop claiming to be what you aren't. You want to be the resident Israeli you need to know Israel. You want to claim to be a Jew you need to know Judaism. You want to be another Christian on here who hates Israel and Jews there are plenty of those.


      FWIW I am a big fan of liberal conversion policy. But one of the things Christians are much better at than Jews with their converts is helping them come to terms with the theological concepts that are no longer part of their faith when they switch over. For you that should have included sola scriptura. You can rightfully blame the Jews for the fact that didn't happen. But the fact that it didn't happen doesn't mean that your interpretation is worth squat compared to the Jewish scholars who spent a lifetime studying. There is no holy spirit guiding you to the essentials of the faith in this religion.

      I'll let you get the last word in.

    • @Mooser

      OK I'm going to try responding let's see if you can maintain civility.

      “JeffyB” if you are an atheist, as there is no God (Do I need to link, JeffyB, it’s all there, in your archive) what the hell difference does anything it says in the Bible make?

      What difference does it make to what?
      Andrew: All flowers are blue
      Ben: Andrew said that all flowers are blue.

      If I were to say that Harry Potter went to Durmstrang in the series and not Hogwarts I'd be wrong despite the fact that Hogwarts, Durmstang and Harry Potter are all fictional. When we talk about the world of reality I don't think the 1st exile happened. I don't think Judaism existed yet. My opinion on the validity of the biblical narrative doesn't change what the biblical narrative says. I'm not a narcissistic leftist who thinks the most important aspect of reality is how I feel about it.

      I don't think Marnie is Israeli because she is simply too ignorant of Israeli culture. Judaism is part of Israeli culture. Whether HaShem exists or not is irrelevant to that point. Marnie's religious education is Christian. Where would an Israeli have gotten a Christian religious education? Even if it was, how did she not pick up more Judaism?

      The Jewish people in Israel decided to move away from the communal atheist identity to become a neo-liberal religious society. In the abstract I would have voted the other way. But as a Jew I think integrating the Mizrahi successfully was vastly more important than getting over hangups about what you can carry in areas with different sorts of telephone wires on shabbat. So n on apostates I'll repeat what I've said. I think joining an American peace movement to oppose the war in Iraq is very different than joining Al-Qaeda in Iraq. One is critique from within one is quitting being an American. I'm willing to tolerate Satmar's as being Jewish even though they are in theory anti-Zionists because the rest of their life strengthens the Jewish people. JVPers who don't do anything for Judaism, don't have the offset. I have no problem with BDS being treated as the modern equivalent of accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. That also has nothing to do with HaShem it has to do with what it means to pledge fidelity.

      I think it is high time these "Jews" in JVP if they want Jewish credibility prove it. Stop asking them basic questions like whether they had a Bar-Mitzvah (which they still fail at). Ask harder things like why do some Jews light Shabbat candles 18 minutes before sunset and others 40 minutes? How close to shabbat can you relight the candle before shabbat. Whether they know that stuff or not determines whether they get to use the term "Jewish Voice for Peace" or "Non-religious self righteous anti-semitic Israel haters for Peace".

  • Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: An argument
    • @Kris

      Wrote another reply but I don't see it here. Gist of the comment was

      1) When Hillel was alive Judaism was for him the state religion of Judaea. Hillel was forming many of the ideas of what would become Rabbinic Judaism, but he was doing it in a context very much unlike what would exist later. He was inclusive for him Judaism would have meant to varying degrees

      i) People living in Judaea who identified with the nationality
      ii) Descendents of those people living in much of the rest of the empire who still considered themselves ethnically Judaean and worshipped the Judaean God.
      iii) Partial descendants and others who were tied to the religion partially (God Fearers). So for example a 1/2 Jew who sacrificed to both Jupiter and HaShem but identified them with each

      Seeing him in the context of Judaism as a religion in a purely denationalized sense, i.e. something like how 1950s American Jews viewed their religion is reading the present into the past

      2) Hillel's concept of neighbor is universal. He means this in a fully inclusive sense. He was a strong advocate for universal morality. He was a huge advocate for universalism and his school (much more than him personally) continued to advocate for them for the next 2 generations or so.

      Finally Judaism (and this is pretty much across the board, regardless of strain) is not a religion of belief, it is a religion of practice. It isn't like Christianity where saying believing stuff matters much. It is a question of doing stuff. So for example worshipping other Gods is idolatry in Judaism. Whether in your heart you are a monotheist, henotheist or atheist doesn't matter nearly as much. A guy who believes in Jewish stuff but isn't circumcised isn't Jewish, while a guy who is properly circumcised is Jewish.

      The best Christian analogy would be discussion in about how sacraments are ex opere operato; particularly the argument for how paedobaptism can be effectual. Again its a lose analogy because the religions are really far apart but maybe that will help.

  • Apartheid is no longer verboten word for Israel in 'NYT' and 'CNN'
    • @Kris

      Trying to trick God seems risky to me.

      Conservative Protestants believe in bible is either inerrant (without error) or infallible (incapable of error). Jews believe the Torah is perfect. Which changes the hermeneutic considerably. Jews can make negative inferences. So for example if something is repeated 3x Jews are free to make an inference as to why it wasn't repeated only 2x or not 4x while Protestants can't really distinguish between 3x repeated and said once.

      So in particular if God lays down a rule Jews are obligated to follow it exactly. They aren't obligated to extend it. There is no Paul so they aren't free to try and discern some deeper meaning and ignore the law as it stands. Lighting a fire or extinguishing a fire is prohibited. Cooking is prohibited. A hot plate that's already on is not lighting nor extinguishing and keeping something warm is not cooking it. The rule is followed. If God wanted a broader or a less broad rule that would have been what's in Torah.

      Also there are specific allowances for comfort and safety. So for example the fire alarm they should have had would be a clear cut sabbath violation given the mechanism except it falls under the safety exemption.

      Since you are Jewish, maybe you could explain why, if your beliefs say that you shouldn’t use a fire to heat your food

      It says you can't cook not that you can't heat to keep warm.

      on the sabbath, you would use an electric appliance to heat your food and think you were following God’s will?

      BTW I'm an atheist and not shomer shabbas but following God's will is doing what God says not what I think he should have said.

      There was no electricity in biblical times,

      I think you mean there weren't electric gadgets. And that's true. One of the things one has to do in any legal system is reinterpret laws as new technologies emerge. How to the rules regarding fire with respect to electric gadgets has literally tens of thousands of good quality debates about it.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • @WJones

      I'm more optimistic about what the situation looks like in 50 years. But let's go with your premise that a Jim Crow Israel exists.

      You have to remember that demographic changes are hitting the Jewish population as well. The religious have lots of kids the secular don't. Moreover the secular intermarry at a high rate. The grandchildren of the intermarried are Christian. So USA Jews who are today liberal are having atheist and Christian grandchildren. The many millions of descendants will be Christian or Atheist and have a Jewish grandparent. Those kids they may have some degree of affection for Judaism, Israel and the Jewish people but their self identity won't be tied up in Israel. Israel is just some foreign country that is friendly to the USA and that they have warm feelings about even if they don't like how they treat their indigenous minority.

      Now let's talk about the population that identifies as Jewish. Among those young Jews something like 70% of young Jews will be Israeli. 1/2 the remainder will have strong ties: 1/2 Israeli or Orthodox and thus frequently in Israel. They won't have the Jewish religious identity tied up with Reform movement and Western European / American social justice... It just isn't part of their background. That leaves in America a faction say 1.5m non religious Jews with no or weak ties to Israel left of which a few hundred thousand are young. The question is in 2 generations are they liberal in the same way? Jews are moving right as they assimilate. Certainly some fraction will be but I doubt in anything like today's numbers. So now you have tens of thousands of young Jewish liberals who think of Israel as a violation of their values. That's not a mass movement, it can support a magazine though.

  • Netanyahu flips off Harry Truman
    • @Phil

      The truth is: Israel never would have come into existence without the United States.

      Sorry I don't see that. The USA government was mostly overrun by Arabists. There was support among the population but even that wasn't too key. Truman was not hostile but he was not a strong supporter of Israel either. Get rid of American support and you still have a strong Jewish terrorist organization in Israel driving the British cost of the mandate through the roof. The Soviets are going to much more supportive. So Israel comes into being as a Soviet ally, and is simply hostile to the west during the early 1950s.

      It gets harder to read the what-if from there. As a Soviet ally the Soviet union might not push the anti-Zionist line and instead encourage of its historically troublesome Jewish population 40 years earlier. Which makes Israel even more culturally Eastern European, economically communist and religiously atheist / Jewish which makes it even easier for the Soviets to trust Israel and thus develop them militarily as the cornerstone for Soviet interests in the middle east.

      I don't see the disaster for Israel if the USA doesn't support. That scenario might make life a lot more complex for American Jews. In this alternate history Zionism might remain so thoroughly associated with Communism that American Judaism never becomes Zionist. Or alternatively the huge surge in anti-Semitism under the name of anti-Zionism happens in the USA and not as it did historically in the Soviet Union. But American culturally doesn't keep people in so perhaps it is American Jews that flee to Soviet Israel in this hypothetical.

      Regardless I don't see the USA as instrumental to Israel's existence. America becomes much more instrumental after 1967.

  • Warriors for 'the ultimate truth' gather in New York
    • @Eljay

      <blockquoteL JeffBeee: You are just repeating platitudes. If there is a nation who has it as their culture then it is a national culture. ||

      What you’re saying is that every Jewish person – even if atheist – has the religion of Judaism in his life and, therefore, every Jewish person – even if atheist – requires the existence of a religion-supremacist state in order to avoid living an “almost undead existence” in whatever country in the world happens to be his homeland.

      No that's not what I'm saying.

      I'm saying that the Israelis have a national culture. The state of Israel represents to fully represent that nation will be embedded in and reflective of that national culture. That national culture may also have a religion, the Israeli religion which is commonly called Judaism.

      For Zionism Judaism is not just a religion. Judaism is a national culture that has a religion. The same way there is a Navajo culture and a Navajo religion that is part of that culture. As an example of the distinction there is nothing particularly religiously Jewish about Israeli folk dancing, but it non the less part of Israeli Jewish culture.

      You just keep trying to minimize Judaism to make it nothing more than a religion.

  • That thrilling, anti-elitist Shas campaign video
    • @Zisundra

      Dude, I'm an atheist Jew. My daughter's boyfriend's parents run their own little synagogue for about 200 people. While they would never call themselves this I think both of them are atheists: they believe in Judaism but not the ability of the Jewish God to affect material reality.

      Israel kind of solves the ethnicity problem for Jews. I don't think it is true today but 100 years from now we will all have an ethnicity. Remember by 2100 according to trends 10m Jews in Israel, 3m Jews outside Israel (almost all America). I knew people who came over from Ukraine and Russia, they won't. So I suspect my great grandchildren might say something like, "Oh I'm ethnically Israeli. I don't practice the Israeli religion except a few times a year with family. My family came over from Ukraine and Russia 200 years ago but they were Israeli in Russia..."

  • Rob Reiner wants to pick Palestinians' leaders for them
    • @Clios

      I think we understand each other on the issue of Norris. I don't have much else to say. I think he quite explicitly gave a reason for his actions and you keep saying no... he meant something else that can be inferred and we should ignore his explicitly stated reasons. I don't think the topic of their disagreement is relevant, you do. But there is a point below which might explain this better in your reincarnated Nazisism so I'll pick it up from there.

      And? Modai is under no obligation, as you noted, to betray an oath –though of course one wonders whether a functionary of a state committing war crimes can even claim honor

      Of course they can. The UN's role is not much different than the Church / Pope's was in earlier centuries claiming to be a sort of unaccountable super-government that all governments had to pay homage to. Jews wouldn't exist if they listened to that claptrap.

      It’s fairly obvious. The special pleading you’re making for the state of Israel (all the while declaiming bigotry) whilst not applying the same standards to the Palestinians is evidence enough that you’re no friend of these oppressed people.

      I'm not a friend to these oppressed people. I'm a partisan on the other side. I advocate some degree of compromise with them. But there is no reason they shouldn't consider me an enemy.

      It’s why it’s annoying and pretty obvious when apologist cant like yours is larded with a throwaway line about caring about Palestinian X, Y, or Z. Let’s be completely honest here. When push comes to shove, you don’t actually care.

      Of course I care. I want Israel to be humane. I want other things for Israel far more. As I've said before Israel should be: as moral as possible, as brutal as necessary. I advocate offering full citizenship for West Bank Palestinians who agree to become Israel and full independence for Gaza. That's IMHO is a reasonable and ethical position even if I weren't a partisan.

      You mean Mr. Norris believes he has a morally superior policy to that of Israel’s? I know you’re not a relativist because later on in your post you describe the special manifest destiny of Israel so this meaningless.

      I'm a relativist on the proper role of ambassadors. I'm not a relativist on the proper conduct of the underlying governments. That is part of the distinction I've been making for 3 posts.

      The world doesn’t work like that. In diplomacy you have opportunity costs. If Mr. Norris’ position prevails –and I am certainly sympathetic– then Israeli diplomatic relations with Ireland will suffer. Such is life.

      Well yes of course. That's always the case for any country X if the enemies of that country in Y are successful in getting their way than X's relationship with Y suffers. Nothing unusual about that.

      Rather, let us suggest that in the near future, anti-semitic fascists –a New Reich perhaps in Germany– take control of a major power. Would Israel be immoral in breaking relations with such a state if it began discriminating against its Jewish population? What about pogroms? Etc.

      Good this gets to the meat of the issue.

      I don't think Israel should break diplomatic relations because as I've said before I don't think that's ever a good thing. What I do think Israel should act to rescue those Jews. One of Israel's successes has been rescuing Jews when anti-Semitism heats up. Situations like this have arisen since the creation of Israel numerous times and when they do Israel has effectively mitigated the mass slaughter or less oppression that would have otherwise resulted. The ambassador might be very effectual in negotiating the migration rather than extermination.

      This is why your nonsense is so transparent. See you can’t make the argument that you disagree with Mr. Norris on the merits –Israel has certainly committed war crimes (hell, I’ll concede that Hamas has too and we can both go to the ICC)– so you try and make up an extra-special metaphysical principle of international relations which makes your special pleading for war crimes by a particular state into a principled stand.

      Not really. I have a general pleading that I think most of the 4th Geneva convention is completely unrealistic. I pretty much oppose most of post WWII international law in other situations. For example I agree with Putin not the UN on Ukraine. That isn't a special pleading it is a generalized strong belief in self determination. While I favor some of the liberation movements of the anti-colonial movement I think good deal of their ideology was destructive and the UN did poorly to adopt it. Far more sensible were the 19th century international standards which were based on a realistic and thus enforceable standards of conduct.

      If you want my actual position on Norris... In the case of Ireland's hatred for Israel I don't think it has much to do with the Palestinians or human rights. The Republicans / IRA were part of the "liberation movement" along with the anti-colonialists and later PLO and traded arms back and forth as well as helping one another. That tradition has held and Ireland is thus a hotbed of anti-Israelism. Conversely the Unionists are strong Israel supporters more so than even the USA. Both parties relate to Israel / Palestine out of their own history with no genuine understanding. This gets compounded by Catholic replacement theology for Ireland while Protestant Christian Zionism plays a huge role in Northern Ireland. Which is to say that Ireland is strongly inclined to be hostile to Israel and if they can find a good excuse they will be. Probably Israel cannot be genuinely friendly with Ireland for another century or so regardless of what happens with Palestinians. Though Ireland I suspect is only going to want to make symbolic moves. Norris was advocating in that speech for Ireland to send peacekeepers to Gaza against Israel's will... given the relative strength of the IDF and the Irish Army (I don't think they would last two hours in a full on fight) a position that strikes me as proving the man is simply off his rocker.

      This is really rather off-topic, but it’s still a fascinating look into the rot in Israel’s moral core. A state religion?

      Your questioning a state religion when talking about Ireland? Ireland only exists because of Catholicism. The state religion has been the central political issue for Ireland since Queen Elizabeth I.

      An exclusive ethnic character to the most powerful force within that state (and certainly that force could never be turned against Israeli citizens of non-Jewish ethnicity, no?)

      I didn't say that. It most certainly could be if they continue down the road of identifying with the Palestinians. The Israeli Arabs since the 1980s have been waffling whether they want to be Israelis or a Palestinain 5th column. They seem to be creeping towards 5th column. If they keep going in that direction, eventually it will be turned against them.

      It’s part and parcel of the Zionist argument to tend towards maudlin sollipsism so I’ll simply point out that you don’t make mention of the fact that there are competing rights here. Idem there are other people there who have the same rights.

      Of course there are. It is a true tragedy for Palestinians that their society was destroyed to make room for Israel. God (I'm also an atheist, being metaphorical here) has a cruel sense of humor. The Palestinians of the last century had no empathy or sympathy for the Jews of the diaspora so he is turning them into the Jews of the diaspora. Jews meanwhile never understood the world from the Tzar's point of view and so they have had to relive it from the other side.

      I get they have competing rights. But the fulfillment of those rights is the annihilation of Judaism and Israel. At best they can settle for some sort of half baked totally unfair compromise or IMHO far better for them agree to become Israeli.

      Are the Irish dispossessing an ethnic group to govern their country?

      Ireland is one of the very few countries in the world where the ethnic group there now did not forcibly displace another group. So no. But with virtually every other country, including the Palestinians, yes.

      Does the Irish state claim one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century as a special rationale for its security?

      I'm not sure why you see that as a negative. But the Irish do claim one of the great tragedies of the 19th century (the potato famine and the policy of starvation) as the special rationale for their independence. So that one they do pretty much match on that accord.

      So the Irish people rejected British rule for the same reason the Jews have
      rejected being ruled over by Arabs.

      Nice try, but Arabs here are the colonial natives.

      No one is native. Both groups are migrants. Jews have better aboriginal claims. Palestinians have better recent claims. BTW most of the colonial natives weren't really native to the places they were expelling the whites from, just earlier.

      This is almost as funny as that Lawfare article positing that Zionism is an anti-colonial ideology. It’s at best a more murderous form of Garveyism

      That's a fair comparison. Had Black's chosen to return to Africa rather than be Americans then likely they would have had to do much of what Israel is doing now. And if you look at the history of Liberia when the natives finally rose up against the descendants of the African Americans they slaughtered them.

      and if you know your African-American history (I suspect you do not), that was more than well-supported by racist white imperialists.

      No I don't know my African American history. But I do know that repatriation was supported by both racists and 19th century liberals.

      Except Dublin is not internationally recognized as a divided city.

      Who cares? There were periods of time that Dublin was internationally recognized as British property. So what. The people of Dublin decided on what the proper government of Dublin should be, just as the people of Jerusalem should decide on what the proper government of Jerusalem should be. That line is a pretty clear denial of self determination.

      JeffB: I don’t know why this is hard to understand. Israel should not attempt to pressure McKee to betray and misrepresent Irish policy and similarly Ireland should not attempt to pressure Modai to betray and misrepresent Israeli policy.

      Clois: The United States should not attempt to pressure Chancellor Hitler to betray and misrepresent German policy.

      The analogy would be: Hans Luther, Hans-Heinrich Dieckhoff and Hans Thomsen. All 3 were treated well by the United States. All 3 were allowed to come and go. And Hans Thomsen in particular when the war started was treated in accord with his position. Luther and Thomsen helped the USA in the reconstruction of Germany after the war given positions of respect and honor. The USA treated them like ambassadors. America understood their role was to faithfully represent the 3rd Reich to America and that was all. Luther went further than that and gave a well covered lecture series to Americans at Columbia which was an apologetic for Nazism which he was allowed to freely present.

      They are counter examples to your position.

      The Zionist –aka the special homeland for the Jews who deserve it because of their unique historical status– is arguing that Jews should live like everyone else (in their isolated ghetto where intermarriage rates are nearly non-existent) by… not being subject to any sort of pressure on policy ever?

      I didn't say that. I have no problem with reasonable levels of pressure on Israel for things they have done wrong. For example when Teva Pharmaceuticals violated Pfizer's patents I had no problem with Israel having to pay damages. That was just them being held to the standards that every other country is held to.

      Alright. Let’s see if you can spot it here. An ambassador has nothing to do with Palestinians in Gaza –a foreign policy issue– but he is also a conduit for Ireland’s objections to said policy.

      That's right. He is a conduit he is not responsible for the policy. That's the distinction between a battery and wire. There is no contradiction there.

  • Reports of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Hungary
    • @sean

      You are unable to see the forest for the trees: if Jews around the world are going to organize their politics around narrow ethnic nationalism and the aggressive pursuit of their ethnic self-interest, every other ethnic and religious group (especially in the United States and Europe) is free to play by the same rules.

      Well yes of course they have and they will continue to do so regardless of what Jews say or do.

      As a dedicated Jewish nationalist yourself, you have no basis on which to object to or complain about the ethnic or religious nationalism of any other group.

      Correct. Bu why would I care much about the ability to complain? What good would my complaining do?

      They will do whatever they please, no doubt often citing Israel and Zionism as a model and justification for their ethnic or religious nationalist beliefs, policies and actions.

      Or citing any of the other 100 some countries on the planet which have ethnic policies. Or citing any of the thousands of societies that have existed in history. I'm not sure why Israel / Zionism will mater much.

      Do you really not see where this is going? Zionism has opened up a major can of worms in Western culture and politics and left Diaspora Jews in a highly precarious position.

      I don't think Zionism opened this can of worms for the west. I don't think the can was ever closed but certainly vastly more important than Israel was the Reformation. The Reformation opened up the idea that Princes (governments) should be responsive to their people and there was a not a unified Christendom. To do this one needed a relatively unified people, a nation-state, rather than multi-national governments. Jews just aren't that important.

      By the way, once again: where are you coming from on Mideast and Israeli politics? — in a general cultural and political way — I am not trying to pry in your private life:

      1. ethnic background?
      2. religious background?
      3. nation(s) of citizenship?
      4. political affiliations?
      5. position on the Iraq War?
      6. position on an Iran War?
      7. position on Israeli settlements?
      8. position on the Israel lobby?
      9. position on neoconservatives?
      10. position on ethnic and religious nationalism in general?

      OK short answers

      1) American, ethnically 3/4s Ukrainian 1/4 Russian 3-4th generation
      2) Jewish atheist.
      3) America
      4) Mainstream Democrat
      5) Favored the invasion but not the occupation. Something like the Biden plan was my preference.
      6) Support Obama's policy of negotiations.
      7) Pro-settlement
      8) See the Israeli lobby as not much different than most American lobbies. Not a huge deal. I don't like how hawkish the Israeli lobby has become as Israel has become more hawkish than American Jews. Between AIPAC and JStreet I'm probably 2/3rds JStreet, 1/3rd AIPAC.
      9) I think neoconservativism is the single most common foreign policy ideology in the Republican party. I most favor the old fashioned conservative "realistic" school of people like Nixon, Bush-41 or Obama. So I'm happy with where the Democratic party is on foreign policy mostly.
      10) I support the idea of nation-states. I think it is absolutely core to the ability for governments to be responsive to their population. I disapprove of empire and post-nationalism is just a leftwing colonialism.

  • Zionism has distorted American Jewish life
    • @AbigailOK

      you either show a lot of ignorance or you are on purpose denying the Torah which would make you an apikorus.

      Abigail.... I'm an atheist. So yes I'm an apikorus.

      , Judaism was there long before the Romans ever were.

      Rabbinic Judaism was not. Jews were highly literate once they encountered the Greeks so after about 200 BCE we have a rather high quality record of the evolution of Judaism. Every single piece of evidence we have is inconsistent with Moses getting the Oral Torah from God on Sinai. I'll let others talk Jewish myth, but if we want to talk about Rabbinic Judaism as an actual historic entity it emerged in reaction to the 3 Jewish-Roman wars and the diaspora primarily from Pharisaic Judaism. If you want to talk myths OK, I don't have much to say. We want to talk history then we can talk about the documentary record we have.

      Actually, the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 B.C. at the hands of the Romans ushered in our umptieth and last exile.

      First off it was 29 or 30 July 70 CE not B.C. If you are going to be correcting my history you might not want to miss dates by 139 years.

      due to a.o. social injustice and sinat chinam or wanton hatred

      You could attribute it to social injustice. And certainly wanton hatred between different factions didn't help. But the defeat was mostly due to the Judeans taking on a larger army, better trained with better equipment and better logistics. In wars most of the time the best army not the best cause wins.

      . If Judaism is obsolete why are Jewish centers not in the USA and Israel?

      I think you dropped a word or something here. I can't parse it, sorry.


      As for the messiah who frees the world from evil and rebuilds the temple.... I think the Jews are rightfully done waiting. They'll take the old fashioned king in the image of David who wins some battles but frees his people from the slavery of the diaspora. And David Ben-Gurion accomplished that. I think the temple is being rebuilt with the conquest of Jerusalem. I expect by 2164 there will be a temple there. In the end though, fundamentally there isn't much to talk about religiously we just don't share many of the same ideas.

      I like the direction Judaism is moving in and the Jewish people are moving in.

  • Does Israel Have a Right to Exist as a Jewish State?: An excerpt from Ali Abunimah's 'The Battle for Justice in Palestine'
    • @Sibiriak

      I said “not religious”. So, again: what if a Jew outside Israel is *not religious*, i.e. rejects Judaism, but does not adopt another religion–that person ceases to be a Jew under you definition?

      I answered your question. I'll give a longer answer. Having a Jewish mother and not apostatizing is the traditional definition. Having either parent be Jewish, being raised Jewish (in the case of a mixed household) and identifying as Jewish is all that is required for the modern definition. What is not required is either belief or most specific acts of practice. My atheist wife and atheist me had no problem getting an orthodox rabbi who was willing to marry us (didn't end up being the way we went but..) because we had not engaged in an act of apostasy. Practicing Buddhism is not an act of apostasy. Converting to Islam or converting to Christianity are acts of apostasy. Converting to messianic Judaism is even though the apostate may not understand their actions that way.

      The Frankists were Jewish up until the point they became baptized as Catholics even though the Jewish leaders of Poland believed them to be following a heretical Christian / Muslim / Jewish hybrid religion. They had to baptize themselves and willful say they were no longer Jewish to no longer be Jewish.

      So basically the Jewish people are those people who identify as Jewish excluding the Messianics. Self identification is pretty much how most Americans think of religion so it works here just fine. A person raised Presbyterian can identify as Presbyterian even if they haven't been inside a church in 5 years. If on the other hand they start going to a Methodist church then they likely will call themselves a Methodist. But there most certainly are people who identify as Presbyterian that attend Methodist churches and everyone respects their self identity. If they want to change religions they change quickly, simply, easily.

      There is nothing untenable about it. You just come from a society where religious identification is some huge deal subject to tremendous oversight by semi-governmental agencies.

      Israelis because they let their religion be run by fundamentalists are insane about the "who is a Jew" question, and marriage and were Gets filled out properly.... If you all listened to your American cousins and brought in Reform and Conservative Judaism you'd have a much easier time with this nonsense. Your establishment makes being Jewish more complex than getting a commercial pilot's license. It is no wonder you think Judaism is an ethnicity because no one can get through all the stupid hoops the Israeli rabbinate create for conversions.

      But over here we don't have chief Rabbis. Rabbis have to compete for members and so they want to have enough hoops to make sure converts will go to synagogue (or at least pay dues) after conversion but not so many that they pick the another synagogue to go to. So someone gets engaged to or decides to marry a gentile and 6 months later they are both Jewish, the kids are Jewish. Then one of the kids decides they wish dad hadn't converted try out Mom's old Eastern Orthodox church don't like it and get baptized and call themselves Pentecostal for a few years. And maybe after that they quit and go back to being Jewish. Which doesn't mean they believe it just means they identify.

      Global Judaism is just an identification. The whole war the Palestinians is their unwillingness to join Israel. All I'd ask of them for full enfranchisement is a willingness to say and mean, "For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus and more may the Lord do to me if anything but death parts me from you.”

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

      I think at this point an orthodox Jew and not an atheist like me should be having this argument. If one of you all wants to join in, please do!

      In the torah Jews are commended to observe rites having to do with tabernacle, the dwelling place of the spirit of God. A physical box that existed in a physical place. God dwells in some sense in that box in the Torah. In the torah worship is towards that box. Then finally the tabernacle is brought into the center of the temple by Solomon.

      Absolutely as the Tanakh progresses on average God becomes less material and more spiritual. Modern Judaism takes those ideas further. But the actual Torah is pretty clearly not talking about some vague pantheistic spirit but rather a specific spirit that lives in some sense in a box that the twelve tribes are carrying around.

      Some scholars believe that the books regarding the fertilty cult, Temple, and animal sacrifices were nothing but priestly forgeries.

      Heck I don't think there were Jews or Judaism much before the 7th century BCE, its all a "forgery" prior to the last few books of the Tanakh. I think the legends associated with Joshua in the book of Joshua probably represent a primitive Jewish God.

      But those beliefs are not Judaism. Orthodox Judaism is the religion that holds that all this stuff in the Tanakh really happened. Reform/Conservative Judaism are 20th century constructions from Orthodoxy. I'm entitled to my opinion, my opinion has better evidence than what the orthodox teach. But I'm not entitled to call my opinion the Jewish mainstream, Judaism. Judaism is what Jews say it is. Judaism can make ridiculous historical claims, and they are still Judaism even while being ridiculous.

      Christianity has Philo's Savior Jesus intermixed with the Great Angel as some historical figure. Stupid, silly, a complete misreading of their own bible, but Christianity is the religion that accepts this misreading as correct. I don't get to redefine it.

  • Israeli rap warns vulnerable Jewish women about seductive, dangerous Arab men
    • @puppies

      Your error is this. Atheist Jews are religious Jews in good standing. They are still absolutely fully 100% Jewish in the religious sense. Judaism isn't Christianity. There is nothing remotely like sola fide. Heck, I know orthodox Jews who don't believe in God but keep the rituals. What you believe doesn't really matter much in Judaism, it is a religion of rituals.

  • Israeli High Court asks Palestinian farmers to drop case against settlers for stealing land
    • @talknic --

      You and Annie need to debate. You are pushing 2SS with the implicit racism she's pushing a 1SS with full equality.

      As for the declaration of independence... democratic states have the right to modify their principles. The United States passed the 17th and took a huge step from Federalism to Nationalism. In much the same way Ben Gurion's beliefs about Judaism falling off to become Socialist Zionist Atheist did not happen. Rather Judaism merged with Zionism both in Israel and globally a form of Zionist / messianic Judaism, is becoming normative Judaism.

      Ben Gurion was wrong.

    • @Annie --

      Noachides refers to non-Jews who observe the Noahide Laws. are you suggesting israel as a theocracy? what about atheists?

      Israel has a state religion. It certainly has theocratic elements. Most of its neighbors have some form of structural Islam. American values are essentially secularized versions of Baptist theology. I'm suggesting something similar. As far as atheists. An atheist can acknowledges the state religion and be supportive of it, even if they personally don't believe in the existence of God. For example myself.

      As far as the noachide laws I don't see why an atheist would need to engage in idolatry, violent crime, theft, sexual crimes, eat the flesh from live animals or oppose the establishment of functioning courts. I don't do that today. So I don't see a problem with atheists. Or Muslims. Or Christians.

      Palestinians aren't demanding the right to do those things. There are workable compromises if the Palestinians are willing.

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