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  • Jewish allies must understand that solidarity entails a loss of privilege
    • That grey "Welcome to Israel" wall with narrow windows on top reminds me of those concrete Israeli watchtowers on the West Bank:

    • "if not all" is nonsense, or in your words "total BS".
      Regarding "most".
      1. You can't prove that. And that goes against the core Jewish value of being a community of faith and open to anyone who chooses to join it. And, even that claim is limited to 2+ tribes of the 12 Hebrew tribes. What of the descendants of the other 10.
      2. If a "history of persecution" makes one a Jew then the world today is jam packed with Jews. Iranian Jews, North Korean Jews, Jews across the African continent, inner city Black Jews etc etc
      3. That's on the way out and is only a 50 year blip, if that, in the 3,000 years of Jewish history.

    • @ George Smith, Well said!

    • @hfouda - great idea! However, Nada Elia has got it wrong. The Birthright incident was a brilliant move politically. It made huge waves. Even we are talking about it right now and not about the other groups. Regarding Ariel Gold, Here too, she made a bigger impact than someone who is not engaged in the Jewish conversation about Israel. However, I was perplexed by her talk about exercising her Jewish privilege of moving to Israel under the so-called Law of Return. That also plays into the Israeli line that Jewish BDS advocates will be banned tourist visas but can still "make Aliyah." That's irrelevant and worse for the reasons Nada lays out. However, a Jew does not have to renounce the opportunity to visit or study in Israel until Palestinians have full rights. That's an excessive demand. Palestinians have asked for our support of BDS. That is a necessary and sufficient measure. Similarly, Whites in developed countries need not give up their access to clean drinking water and clean air, police protection and green spaces until Blacks in the inner city get the same.

  • Isaac Herzog won't apologize for saying intermarriage is a 'plague'
    • "Mageifa can also mean epidemic,not a positive term, but different than plague."

      That, at least, is fair. In other words, his focus was not on the horror of the affliction but on the scope of intermarriage. Either way, as you say, Herzog's attitude is "not positive." In fact, he makes his position very clear in the rest of the interview. Herzog simply doesn't understand American Jews. He cherry picks anecdotes to pass judgment on an entire community. He is particularly unqualified to be head of the Jewish Agency, a secular Israeli group (which makes a show of non-Israeli participation) that makes the preposterous claim of speaking for all Jews, Israeli or not.

  • If I had to live in Israel again, 'it would actually drive me insane' -- Shaul Magid
    • Marnie -
      Shaul Magid is an impressive intellectual and a real progressive. I recommend you read up on him. Not every academic in Indiana is a weird racist. :)

  • Netanyahu used 'leadership of American Jewish community' to block Obama policy -- Ben Rhodes
    • Trump's loony universe is beyond the scope of liberals. But Obama's temerity or whatever it was is part of our world, or of people close to us.

    • Here's why I disagree:
      1) The CZ were here first. Netanyahu is right when he says there would be no Jewish Zionism without the CZ.
      2) The CZ far outnumber the JZ. Electorally, the evangelicals are much more significant than the Jewish vote.
      3) they have their own agenda which is at least as nuts than the Jewish version. The Jews don't need an Armageddon to fulfill their vision.
      The Christians don't need any playing by the Jews.

    • Trump plays to the Christian Zionist lobby but Obama was in the thrall of the much smaller right wing Jewish Zionist lobby.


  • Joyless in Zion
  • Israeli ambassador lodges anti-Semitism complaint against Dutch song mocking Israel's human right record
    • The Israeli parody is biting by Israeli standards but it differs in two ways from the Dutch satire:
      1. It belittles the Palestinians for seeking a quick "redemption" at the border protests. It misses the point of the Great March of Return.
      2. It reflects reasonable Israeli fears that its army's violence against Gaza will result in a war (translation: Jews will die).

  • Falsely accusing Palestinians of anti-Semitism is malicious
    • Rabbi Jacobs:
      "One may even boycott Israel without stepping into anti-Semitism if it’s clear that the tactic aims to pressure Israel to change its policies,"

      "(I personally do not support boycotting Israel, partly because so much of the movement is rife with anti-Semitic undertones.)"

      Since the rabbi has a purely personal problem with the rifeness of BDS' undertones not any other part of BDS, then it's ok for others to endorse BDS if their motives are pure.

      This icon of liberal Zionist "tikkun clam" handwringing just has to have her Israel cake and eat it too. BDS is ok and not ok; Israel is ok and not ok; Palestinians are ok and not ok.

      Meanwhile, let's target some Arabs with "anti-Semitism."

  • Gaza massacre ends American political oath: Israel support is bipartisan
    • That's easy. No Israelis have suffered even a scratch. It's "only" dead Palestinians. Why should Schumer care about that?

  • By wrecking Iran deal, Trump politicized Israel
  • The 'fake news' story is fake news
    • Excellent post!
      @ John Smith:
      "Regarding the Palestinians and citizen-journalism (“citizen”-journalism), I have long thought–yes, I know it’s a wild pipe-dream–that every Palestinian in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel, should be outfitted with a camera filming 24/7, to record and document their abuse and mistreatment."
      They have more cameras and provide more shocking footage of their abuse and mistreatment that anybody could watch. As Phil writes, there is no shortage of evidence but the court has no time for it and the jury is rigged.

  • Netanyahu's cheap theatrics fall flat, but alas, he has an audience of one -- Trump
    • Netanyahu revealed his true agenda with his little show. The Iranian binders display were in the colors of the Palestinian flag (black, red, green and white), not the colors of the Iranian flag (red, white and green). The distinguishing color, black, is predominant. Palestine is on his mind.

  • Jews and trauma
    • Yes, well said.
      And there is such a thing as 2nd generation Holocaust survivors. Trauma can be passed down.
      But my reading of the American Jewish community is that this intractable, damaging Holocaust "trauma" is self-induced. And that's on a par with Israel's. Another way of saying it is that they could heal from the trauma but they don't want to. The point is to justify privilege, mainly Zionism.
      Look at how kids can will themselves into being upset when it serves their purpose. They are really upset AND they manipulated their feelings to achieve a desired outcome.

  • Killing Palestinian protesters turns into a PR debacle for Israel
    • If only.

      1. Kobi Meidan was forced to grovel and in return got to keep his job. His case became a lesson for anyone in Israeli public life who has the temerity to break ranks.

      2. Where is this story in the mainstream media? Even in the wonderful Guardian, the top trending Israel story (in the top 10) was another episode in "Ultra-Orthodox vs. Women" blah, blah, blah.

      3. In the Jewish community, J Street and its fellow libzios, like Teruah, blamed the protestors for being shot and throwed around "evenhandedness", AIPAC stood with Israel and JVP, as usual, denounced. Everybody is at their usual positions. This too will blow over.

  • Israel issues BDS blacklist against 20 organizations-- 'badge of honor,' Munayyer says
    • This ban will only accelerate the disenchantment of young American Jews with Israel.
      With this ban, Israel has declared that it is no longer the Jewish State. The rationale of "the Jewish State" was that it was open to all Jews and served as the center of the Jewish people.
      Now, Israel has withdrawn from that position.
      The "Jewish and democratic" state is neither democratic for non-Jews or Jewish for Jews.
      So, what does the State of Israel stand for and why should us Jews care?

  • R.I.P., Shiksa
    • Since we are getting into Hebrew grammar..

      1. The predominant use of the root "sh.q.ts" in the Bible is as a verb (or together with verbal nouns). The word in its various forms appears over 30 times often in the imperative. It means to make something taboo with the sense of disgust. Most of the instances relate to idol worship.

      2. Shekets (SHEH-qets), n. appears less than a dozen times in the Bible, mostly in Leviticus 11. It refers to unkosher small animals such as rodents, crustaceans and insects. Larger animals such as pig are not "shekets" but "tameh" (impure).

      The Bible understands the root "sh.q.ts." primarily as a construct, even with relation to the unkosher animals. The Israelites are commanded to consider these animals as taboo. In other places the Bible explains the prohibition against Israelite men marrying women of other tribes as a safeguard against conversion to idol ("shiquts") worship.

      With the lowering of inter-religious barriers and the diminished role of either religion for most mainstream, suburban Jews and Christians, the term "shiksa" is indeed meaningless.

  • In order to receive hurricane relief, Texas town requires residents to reject Israel boycott
    • "Oh please. Every state official has made clear that this is some local idiot’s misinterpretation of the law, not a legal application of it"

      E.g. Rep. King, the author of this unconstitutional law, who said:
      "the law is aimed at preventing taxpayer money from going to companies boycotting Israel. But Dickinson's hurricane relief grant fund is made up of donations. "Those are not taxpayer dollars so they have nothing to do with the anti-BDS legislation,"

      So, whatever money people manage to raise for relief is exempt from the anti-BDS law, but if you want any of the billions of federal and state aid, you must first declare your loyalty, not to the U.S. but to a foreign power. Otherwise, you can go shout from your rooftop.

      Even Joe McCarthy only persecuted those who were not American enough in his eyes.

  • Jewish Historical Society channels Joe McCarthy, and cancels JVP event on Balfour
    • You don't argue against the premise that the Jewish establishment is critical in maintaining the status quo in I/P + you've given up on them changing = the Palestinians will not see justice in our lifetime.
      I disagree.
      Otherwise, what's the point of this website?

    • "That’s the dead hand of the past inside the Jewish community. But it’s not going away anytime soon."

      Which invites the question for those Jews who are part of the Jewish community whether to:
      a. give up on the Jewish community and start a new Jewish community drawing in young people (along with older activists)
      b. stay engaged with the Jewish community and do the hard and slow work of moving people one step at a time.
      JVP has prioritized the first option. This is important and exciting work. It makes sense to build up a new generation that is turned off by the "dead hand of the past."
      However, at this point it's clear that that alone is not going to be enough to bring about substantial change for the Palestinians. As Phil has reported repeatedly, the established Jewish community is not phased by BDS or any other campaign.

  • It's easier to be a vegan than an anti-Zionist in Israel
    • @Keith
      Jabotinsky was hardly an "early Zionist." At least two generations after Herzl. Otherwise, yup, that's why that gentleman fascist backed by his phalanx of black-shirted goons left the Zionist movement. There's a reason why Jabotinsky was a "revisionist".
      I agree with the comments that Zionism is normalizing and so on. This is about the Zionists' perceptions of themselves, not our perceptions of them. Ditto for vegans, Israeli or otherwise.

    • 1) These are secular celebrities. The default position of secular Israelis is to hate Orthodox Judaism more passionately than a transgender Christian abhors Christian fundamentalists.

      2) You may say that Israel is antithetical to normalizing Jews but you aren't Israeli. I hear that an Israeli just hosted SNL and gave a speech in Hebrew...looks pretty normal to me.

      3) These were most definitely and explicitly the goals of the early Zionists. Read Theodore Herzl's Der Judestadt (The Jewish State), the manifesto of the founder of political Zionism. The State of Israel's founding Prime Minister David Ben Gurion is reported to have celebrated Jewish criminals because they showed that Israel had crime just like any other normal country.

  • Critics slam ADL for training U.S. police in Israel-- and when Reddit AMA goes off script
    • " If Americans chose to take up these boycotts, “that could subject American individuals and companies to discrimination, yet again, for simply doing business with Israel.”

      So the ADL opposes the 2 state solution and considers the West Bank to already be a part of the State of Israel. And it is pushing for the criminalization of those who disagree. Way to go drumming up anti-Semitism business.

  • Two Chicago pols break over BDS, as U.S. Jews divide over Israel
  • Prominent Israeli rabbi preaches rape in war time
  • McMaster solidifies power at NSC -- and supports Iran deal, sees Israel as occupier
    • I read Ezra Cohen-Watnick's political affilliations and official positions. Is it fair to speculate on the emotional ties to Israel and formative experiences of someone whose Jewish parents gave him the name "Ezra"? The MSM would certainly be doing that to any official with an unequivocal Arab name - in the fantastical case of, say, a Mohammed Abu Youssef-Nashashibi ever rising to such prominence.

  • Anti-Semitism accusations against 'Dyke March' prove pro-Israel lobby will torch LGBT rights for marginalized people
    • @Kaisa -
      I'm happy for you that the Finnish Lutheran church is where it is. As I wrote, crosses are ask by me.
      I was using Echinococus' anti-Semitic language and showing what it looked like to say the same stuff about Christians. As you indicate, it doesn't look so good on Christians, Lutheran, Finnish or otherwise. But it's ok to slam Jews (all in the name of defending Palestinians, of course).

    • @Kaisa -
      Of course, Christianity, like other institutions is not nearly as anti-Semitic or prejudiced as it once was. And I['m happy for you that the Finnish Lutheran church is where it is.
      I was challenging Echinococus' anti-Semitic statement by showing what it looked like to say the same stuff about Christians.

    • Ecchinococus -
      Sez you. If all Jews are automatically accessories to Zionist crimes., then all Catholics are, by definition, accessories to paedophelia, mysoginy and the other ills of the Vatican and the worldwide Catholic Church, all Americans to any number of crimes an on and on.
      I don't see either of us learning anything from the substantive part of our exchange and frankly am not interested in seeing any more of your trolling commentary.
      You are welcome to enjoy the last word.

    • @ Joe Smack -

      Since the flag features so prominently in several of the reports, the point you note that “the FTP Collective did not mention the chants being drowned out as one of the factors for originally approaching AWB in conjunction with the flag” points back to the flag as the problem. Or, as you choose to interpret it, not. We each have our version of this mess.

      JVP explicitly accuses the AWB contingent of holding “a rainbow flag with a blue Star of David identical in color, size and placement to the one on the Israeli flag" before going on to unambiguously explain why “Palestinians can justifiably feel unsafe around a blue Star of David in the center of a flag.”

      AWB are spinning their eviction as anti-Semitism. The fumbled response from the organizers and their allies has only strengthened AWB.

    • Ecchinoccus -

      You wrote: "“But the fact that it is used at all by the Zionists does change any symbol from a Jewish to a Zionist symbol.”

      I wrote: “But the fact that it is used at all by the neo-Nazis does change any symbol from a Christian to a neo-Nazi symbol.”

    • @ Kaisa
      Are you kidding me?! The Nordic countries make folks feel more unsafe than anywhere else. Your flags are the principal reason Christian crosses should be outlawed!

    • @ Mooser
      Thank you, I think, for your concern. The cross doesn't bother me one bit and Christmas is a hoot. But if the cross makes anybody feel unsafe it should be banned, just like the Jewish star.

    • @ Mooser:
      " How do you think a cross appears to a ‘pagan’, or a Muslim, or perhaps a Jew?"
      As a Jew, the Christian cross makes me feel unsafe. Anybody wearing a cross should be thrown out of any civilized group. In fact, any two lines that are at right angles to each other remind me of the cross which White hate groups use. In fact, even if the angle between the two lines is 60 degrees or more - that's way too close enough for me. It makes me feel unsafe.

    • @JoeSmack
      "there aren’t competing versions of what happened — all appear to corroborate the same series of events, while attaching different significance to them."

      I don't know who you are reading but, for starters, compare Electronic Intifada (all about the flags):

      then JVP (partly about the flags):

      and to the statement in the Windy Times report (no mention of flags at all).

      "nobody (including JVP) argued that the flag or Jewish symbols, in the abstract, are offensive, but that they can become offensive depending on how they are used"

      This is entirely your opinion which doesn't exist in the text. Read the JVP statement again.

      "It was very clearly also a Palestine solidarity march, otherwise they would not have taken a stance on Zionism in the first place. You are misreading the platform of the march."

      I looked thru the 10 minute video of the march. I saw lots of flags and signs and banners. Just one Palestinian flag in the whole march. I hung out on the CDM website clicking around from the home page to mission statement to the 2017 march. I was looking for “Palestine” or “Zionism” or anything that might support your claim. Couldn't find it. It may be buried somewhere that I missed but, if the Dyke March wanted this to be a Palestine solidarity march they weren't telling the rest of the world very clearly.

    • EN,
      "But the fact that it is used at all by the Zionists does change any symbol from a Jewish to a Zionist symbol."
      Lots of racist groups use some form of the cross. Neo-nazi skinheads use a form of the cross. By your logic the cross is no longer Christian but a racist symbol.

    • @ JoeSmack
      At this point there are so many competing versions of what happened that we can all pick and choose, as you did.

      What we do have is the positions various organizations and individuals have taken wrt the version of events that they hold to be true. This includes Jewish Voice for Peace's statement marking the Jewish LGBTQ flag as oppressive to Palestinians and therefore not welcome at a rally where Palestinians are present - even though the Dyke March wasn't about Zionism.

      Regarding the version of events that you believe: "Grauer’s attempts to shout down pro-Palestine chanting". Why is that an evictable offense? Haven't you never marched with people whose views and chants are offensive or at least problematic? And remember that none of this wasn't a Palestine solidarity march. These are not core issues.

      I don't think the eviction was anti-Semitic but how many people were won over by kicking them out? What was achieved by this and what was lost?

    • Chocopie: "Nobody really cares."

      I agree. There was a brief big splash when giant, international media outlets such as Newsweek and the BBC giving this story prominent coverage. And then it quickly died down because, as you say, nobody really cares.
      The Dyke March incident was win-win for the activists on both sides of the Zionism debate. The radicals got their opinions reinforced as you noted. AWB is riding high on the wave of victimhood after successfully entangling with the Dykes.
      And still nobody really cares.
      So how did this passing drama help anyone in the real world?

    • "if even JVP agrees that it was a glaringly Zionist symbol and “attacks” it, there’s no argument."

      This may be news to you but there are Jewish anti-Semites. Many here have argued that Jewish Zionism is anti-Semitic because of its anti-Semitic premise that Jews don't belong in Europe and elsewhere. Just because an organization or a movement that identifies as Jewish says the Jewish LGBTQ flag looks uncomfortably like the Israeli flag doesn't change the Jewish star from a Jewish to a Zionist symbol.

    • @ Goldmarx, Thank you.

      One point:

      “The fact that there were Jews supporting CDM does not negate the possibility that they were fulfilling the time-honored role of court Jews doing the dirty work of others.”

      I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. The Dykes are not the Poritz and the Dyke March is not his court. These Jews believed they were acting in solidarity with Palestinians by validating the organizers’ decision to evict other Jews. They did a disservice to the organizers of the march by not speaking up re Jewish concerns and perceptions of anti-Semitism.

      Beyond intersectionality and solidarity these Jews were trying to accomplish an internal, Jewish goal. They want to accelerate the schism between non-Zionist and Zionist Jews. By proudly displaying their Jewish symbols at this march (where else do they walk around with Jewish symbols?) they were claiming their anti-Zionist Jewishness as authentically Jewish.

      But the second goal contradicts the assumptions of the first. If Judaism has become so corrupted by Zionism that even a Jewish star (of that right size and placement, of course) is now an offensive symbol of Israeli oppression, then we have to recognize that and engage those who are wrestling with that.

      The decision to kick out the three Jews validates the fusion of Zionism=Judaism while simultaneously rejecting it.

      Which is it?

    • The Jewish LGBTQ flag is central here as goldmarx pointed out. Several of the versions of what happened at the Dyke March focus on the flag, including Electronic Intifada.

      In its statement supporting the eviction of the three Jewish women, Jewish Voice for Peace attacked the Jewish LGBTQ flag as a "rainbow flag with a blue Star of David identical in color, size and placement to the one on the Israeli flag" and went on to say that “Palestinians can justifiably feel unsafe around a blue Star of David in the center of a flag.”

      The inclusion of some Jews wearing Jewish symbols does not put the charge of anti-Semitism to rest. You can attack just part of an ethnic group and still be guilty of prejudice.

      The “your-opinions-are-making-me-feel-unsafe” argument used to be used by Israel supporters on college campuses against BDS. Now both sides are too fragile to handle disagreement.

      This was a big win for A Wider Bridge. They set the test - or trap - and the Dyke March walked right into it. Watch A Wider Bridge grow in influence and funds in the months to come.

  • Diaspora Jews go to Palestine to fight the occupation
    • Yonah, which is it?

      "Nothing you wrote goes contrary to the core of Judaism"
      "to present your words as if, thus spake Judaism [...] is a form of false advertising."

      Yonah, please cite a source that "someone" says any particular Jewish community today is the center, and we are the periphery.

      Regardless, we are not the State of Israel's diaspora. If any community is a diaspora it is the Israeli Jewish community, the youngest diaspora - and most dependent on more established communities - in the word today.

      My personal preference for all Jews today is the traditional concept of “galut” (exile) which is a spiritual sense of being removed from the center. This is in contrast to the pseudo-scientific Zionist idea that somehow, we Jews are a diaspora of the State of Israel. As you know, the Zionists invented a pejorative term for non-Israeli Jews “galutee” literally, “exile-like”. It was originally used to describe their home communities back in Eastern Europe. It is now liberally applied to you and me.

      Zionism set as its own benchmark for success a. achieving physical safety for Jews and b. integrating Jews into the world. Zionism has failed by its own standards. The least safe major Jewish community today is the Jewish community in the State of Israel. And with every passing day, the State of Israel becomes more of a pariah in the world - as experienced by Israeli Jews.

      If any Jewish community today deserves the Zionist name-calling of “galutee”, it is the State of Israel itself.

    • From a Jewish religious point of view no community can claim to be The Center. God is the center. If God is within us then we are all centers; if God is transcendent then we all orbit around God.

      It's no accident that we use "Diaspora" so naturally to describe ourselves. That's what David Ben-Gurion set up for us:

      David Ben-Gurion wrote (October 26, 1954):
      [...] The name Israel differentiates...between the sovereignJewish people in its homeland, called by the name Israel, and the Jewish people in the world, in all its generations and its lands, who are called the Jewish people of "the people of Israel," but not "Israel." The name "Israel" [...] applies since 4:30 p.m. on 14 May 1948 only to the Jewish state [...]
      We are all Jews; we are all the sons of the Jewish people. But only the citizens of the Jewish state are "Israel."
      (State of Israel, Diaspora and Jewish Continuity, Simon Rawidowicz, Brandeis, 1986)

      The idea that the State of Israel would be a center is - yet again - the secular movement of Zionism co-opting and subverting religious ideas and language.

      But if the Zionists insist that we now think in these invented terms of "center" and "periphery" then who is the actual center? Where did all those Israeli Jews come from? And who is paying their bills?

      Regarding the Australia punchline, there is actually something quite traditional about the majority of the world's Jews adopting a term invented by a minority to diminish them. As in the quip that “Gentile” is perhaps the only time that an overwhelming majority adopted as its moniker a term that was created for it by a tiny minority.

      If the Israelis say we are “diasporic" who are we to argue with them?

    • Wonderful report!
      Re the title: please stop using Zionist ideological terminology for us. The youngest Jewish diaspora today is Israel. It is the diaspora of the ancient Jewish communities in the Middle East and Europe, and to a lesser extent, the centuries-old Jewish community of North America.
      We are the center, they are the frontier - no matter what Amos Oz and Binyamin Netanyahu say.

  • Triumphalist light show in Jerusalem weaponizes the city walls to celebrate 50th anniversary of Jewish conquest
    • Decades ago, when I lived in Jerusalem, I happened to walk by the Tower of David (the citadel shown in Phil's video) as a Palestinian tour guide explained the site to his group. I was bemused to hear the Palestinian tour guide say that, whereas the Jews call it The Tower of David, it's actually a minaret and an Arab site. I wondered if he would get into trouble with the authorities for saying such a terrible thing.
      How perfect that the iconic symbol of the Jewish conquest of Jerusalem is a mosque. It's not just the oranges and the falafel that Israelis have appropriated even a Muslim holy site is imagined by the Israelis as Jewish.

  • Trump may want a deal, but Israeli Jews are not interested
    • "they refuse to exercise those rights, and then cynically complain about inequality in the city."

      IOW, we will issue a blanket denial for building permits, proper health facilities, decent transportation and other essential services until you become one of us.

      C'mon, even the Israeli government doesn't say that. Just look at all the Palestinian Israeli villages that were forced to accept Israeli citizenship. They get treated just the same as East Jerusalem.

      In the Jewish, two-tiered system it's not about citizenship but about being Arab.

  • The bulldozers of Shavuot, 1967
    • "The Mughrabi Quarter had been preserved, till its destruction, by a waqf— an Islamic philanthropic trust– maintained from Algeria, Lemire said."

      Before Zionism the Jewish community in Jerusalem was organized into "kollelim". These were small communities of ex-pats from different Jewish communities around the world. They represented and were supported by the communities back home.

      I'm happy to learn that the same was true for Muslims. Christians, too, with the Greek Orthodox and other ethnic churches.

      The Zionists are right. There were (almost) always Jews there. But they were there as a religious community, many of them with ties to other countries. Just like Christians and Muslims. If the (minority) Jewish presence in Palestine is the basis for the Zionist claim to ownership of the land then the same rights belong to the global communities of Muslims and Christians.

  • Israel's neverending occupation is bringing 'infamy' to Jews worldwide, making Jewish life 'precarious' -- Tony Klug
    • Phil , re your last comment. To what extent are young, progressive secularized Christians proud of their Christian heritage? There has been a generational shift across society.
      Among synagogue-going Jews there are many progressives who do find inspiration in traditional Jewish texts. These include folks, who like Klug, attended traditional Jewish schools but left that world.

  • The immaculate conception of Louis Brandeis
    • Why would Brandeis choose Zionism out of the Jewish hat as his bona fide ? Could it be that Zionism was the least objectionable choice for the anti-Semites who might have derailed his judicial ambitions? Zionism deflected Jewish immigration from America's shores to Palestine and Zionism agrees with anti-Semites reinforces that Jews are different.

      As Tom Suarez showed last week, Zionism has a checkered past as the twin of anti-Semitism. The current silence of major Zionist organizations in the face of the recent neo-Nazi attacks points to these shared interest. For instance, the rabbi Donald Trump got to bless his inauguration runs an organization supposedly dedicated to protecting Jews and fighting racism. But the Wiesenthal Center famously trampled on Palestinian sensibilities by planning a so-called Museum of Tolerance on top of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. The Wiesenthal Center also attacks President Obama as the world's #1 anti-Semite, way ahead of real Jew-haters such as the Zionist supporter and White Supremacist Richard Spencer.
      Why do Zionists care so little about anti-Semitism?

  • The truck attack that killed four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem was not 'terrorism'
    • The soldiers who were attacked and died were young men and women with mothers and fathers, lovers and friends. Their humanity should be upheld. The real criminals are those parents and their peers who put their children in harms' way. Even though they were adults it's hard for me to hold them fully accountable for their actions. It's certainly sad that these young lives ended.
      But it's not terrorism. These were not conscripts. They volunteered to be combat soldiers. they volunteered to serve further time beyond the mandatory three years (for men) and serve as officers.
      The location is also significant. Their commanders brought the cadets to Jerusalem not to have fun for a day but to fill their heads with the idea that "Jerusalem" is worth the fighting, the killing and risking death. The glorious tales of ancient Jerusalem told in front of the promenade's panoramic vista is meant to sustain these cadets when they are beating the shit out of young men in Hebron. Their job as officers is also to instill that sense of mission in the conscripts they will be training and leading in a few months time.
      Jabel Mukaber is a direct victim of this oppression. I can only imagine what the residents of that village must feel watching the Jewish tourists right on top of their homes. The truck driver chose to attack the officer cadets, not civilians.
      This ain't terrorism.

  • Video: All hell breaks loose in Knesset as Zoabi demands apology following Israel-Turkey agreement
    • The wheels are coming off.
      A few notes:
      1) The seat behind the heckler Hazan was occupied and is marked as "Parliamentary Legal Counsel". He was mostly looking at his phone.
      2) The resonance of the call: "Go to Gaza" quoted in the article is twofold. First, in Israeli Hebrew "Go to Gaza" is an insult, equivalent to the English language "Go to hell!" Second, he actually said "Rooh el Azza", in Arabic (and not the Hebrew "Lechi L'Azza"). This is one of the rudimentary Arabic phrases that Israeli soldiers use to disperse Palestinian crowds. How does that sound to a Palestinian? One can imagine that in 1948, this is what the Palestinians fleeing the Nakba heard as the Hagana soldiers moved them into Gaza in the first place.
      3) Why does Israel's official "Knesset Channel", the Israeli version of C-SPAN give equal time to the heckler? Why did the Speaker not cut the heckler's mic? As a result it was hard to follow MK Zoabi's speech. And this lack of intervention was an incentive to all the other thugs to get up and start shouting and shoving too.
      4) I don't think Israelis see this as "all hell breaks loose." The Knesset is a rowdy place and I have seen several similar instances. For USians, a peaceful sit-in by anti-gun Congressmen is a remarkable occurrence. The Israeli Knesset is not nearly as genteel as Capitol Hill.

  • Dennis Ross tells American Jews, 'We need to be advocates for Israel' -- and not for Palestinians
    • "the event was off the record"

      It's a pity nobody speaks Yiddish any more. Reb Dennis could have loosened his tongue to millions of Jews in Yiddish and then denied it in English.

  • Giving up on political propaganda, Israeli consulate turns to Ted-style inspirational conference
    • Hophmi "You’re projecting. No one is trying to censor the speech of pro-Palestinian activists on campus".

      That's just silly. Palestinians (and Jews) who stand for Palestinians are routinely censored. I learned earlie today that Palestinian students at DePaul University face disciplinary proceedings for marking the Nakba in a public space. They were peaceful and calm but we written up by the administration. Meanwhile, the simultaneous pro-Israel demo was allowed t continue without interruption.

  • French premier says 'loathing of Jews' is behind BDS
    • "Valls was addressing an audience during a ceremony on Sunday at Tel Aviv University in which the George Wise Medal was conferred on him.

      George Wise made his academic reputation as a scholar of Latin America's caudillos. Caudillismo is described by Wikipedia as:

      "the Spanish colonial policy of supplementing small cadres of professional, full-time soldiers with large militia forces recruited from local populations to maintain public order."

      Not much different from full-time IDF soldiers backed by the armed settler population controlling the Palestinians on the West Bank.

    • After the Hyper Cacher terror attack Valls' gave a memorable speech to parliament standing by French Jews. "How can we have people chanting "death to the Jews" on our streets?"

      Earlier this week, Valls had a business meeting with Israeli officials just a couple of miles from where Palestinians were murdered by a Jewish mob on the streets of the capital.

      You can hear "death to the Arabs" at Jewish rallies on the streets of Israel. The grafitti "מות לערבים mavet la'aravim" is everywhere.

      The day after Israeli human rights organization B'tselem announced that Israel cannot be trusted to keep Palestinians safe, France is telling the Palestinians that BDS, their call for justice, is unacceptable.

  • Democratic Party is now split over Israel, and Clinton and Sanders represent opposing camps, says Pew
    • I'm optimistic about the winds of change too. But it's going to be slow and painful. Just look at the opposition.

      Among Republicans and moderate Democrats, support for Israel is at at a 15 year high. Going up to some 50% higher than the previous high!

      Who said hasbara doesn't work?

  • When 'Broad City' Went On Birthright, and taught us all a lesson about American Jews and Israel
    • hophmi -
      You avoided my question: "What heritage are Birthrighters connected to (assuming this is so) and is that a good thing" as does the Brandeis study you cite. In fact, the Brandeis questionnaire is heavily weighted towards confirming the assumption of Birthright that Israel=Judaism. The respondents, graduates of Birthright, seem to have gotten that message too.
      Your call for Jewish Day Schools is quixotic. It's also not true that money for non-Zionist education is abundant as you see. On the contrary, "Israel studies" programs at universities cannibalize Jewish studies programs. Funds are extracted from existing Jewish studies to budget Re'ut scholars and other Hasbara projects.
      As for Birthright's popularity: a free foreign trip with guided tours, affirming a disdain for Arabs and the superiority of the Jews plus hook-ups with hot Israeli soldiers with a nod from one's parents and rabbi - what's not to love?

    • "In the real world, of course, Birthright is seen as a major success for connecting Diaspora communities with their heritage"

      Where is the research to back your claim? What is the control group? Imagine what fantastic programs, staffing and content could be developed in Jewish communities with $50m. What heritage are Birthrighters connected to (assuming this is so) and is that a good thing? I hope that's intellectually nuanced enough for you.

      Birthright has succeeded in making Birthright participation a marker of Jewishness in casual conversation.

      A leader of Birthright tours tells me there is no follow up with participants when they get back home. Why bother? the Israel indoctination has happened already. Who cares about "Diaspora" Jewish identity after that.

  • Whose Birthright?
    • Birthright is marketed as the way to make American Jews more Jewish. In reality - as usual - Israel doesn't care at all about American Jews. The goal of Birthright is to shore up American support for Israel. I had a chat recently with a Habad rabbi on a university campus who leads Habad-themed Birthright trips. He's delighted to have access to free funding but tells me he'd much prefer to get those 100s of thousands of dollars to hire staff and do programming here. (Disclaimer: I am not Habad and I don't support their campus work.) He complained that there is no follow-up with Birthright participants. If Birthright was about building Jewish identity, it would be the first step not the last one.

  • Sanders's leftwing base made him take on Netanyahu
    • Krauss,
      Wow. The EMILY prez' comments on how potential political candidates had to get an AIPAC-approved paper on Israel before hiring a campaign staff. Just a few years ago that would have been pure anti-Semitism. A non-Jew from Montana saying that Jewish money serves Israel by blocking by only supporting candidates who tow the line.
      We've come a long way since then.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • Bryan -
      Your (d) and (e) are crucial.
      You still have not made the case set out in your (b).
      " Judaism (cf Christianity, Islam) had no concept of pilgrimage to holy places – the earlier prescribed ritual of visiting the temple on prescribed holy days was made impossible by the destruction of said temple, and later the prohibition from entering the area where it had once stood. "
      That's simply not the case.
      1) In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Temple, Rabban Gamliel considered retaining the temple worship at the site of the temple.
      2) In rabbinic tradition, there is a ritual for visiting the site of the temple including rending one's garments and saying a special blessing.
      3) The case of Maimonides and others that you cite proves this point. They came on pilgrimage to see the holy sites and then left.
      4) The traditional ideas that you reference of not entering the Temple Mount supports this as does the ancient principle of the Four Holy Cities: Tiberias and Safed in the north, Jerusalem and Hebron further south.

      It's fair to say that the Biblical requirement of "pilgrimage" (three times annually to the temple in Jerusalem) passed with the destruction of the temple. But the idea of pilgrimage in the sense we use it today lived on plus the emotional connection to specific sites and the Holy Land in general nurtured through study, prayer and ritual.

    • bryan -
      I have to agree with hophmi on this one. I suppose Sand (if he said this) meant there was an uptick in Jewish pilgrimage along with Christian pilgrimages. But that doesn't mean to say Jews did not make religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land for centuries from both Christian and - more commonly - from Muslim lands. We have records from antiquity through the Middle Ages to modern times of such pilgrimages. From the Amoraim of Talmudic times to Maimonides in the 12th century to Benjamin of Tudela etc etc.

    • tokybk:
      "A cultural Zionism that included living in/visiting Palestine (as legal residents and tourists) speaking Hebrew etc."

      Jews have always visited Palestine as an act of pilgrimage and have lived there alongside other peoples under a non-Jewish government.
      What I love about Hebrew is how older layers are intertwined with the neologisms and new grammar (which I am told is essentially Slavic). But that literary Hebrew is rare and getting more rare. That beautiful was the hallmark of the first generation of Hebrew writers who received a traditional Jewish education and brought that into the new language they helped create. Modern Hebrew is really not enough to justify a whole movement.

    • Eljay:
      "Antarctica: A land with only penguins for a people kicked out of the land they stole."

      Three of Israel's Prime Ministers including its founder were born in Poland (David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir). If they had moved down to Antarctica they could all have been South Poles in succession.

  • El Al captain indoctrinates the passengers, but only in Hebrew
    • EL AL is much more than an airline. Israel's only (sorry, Eilat) international airport is Israel's only door in and out of the Middle East. El AL is its only airline (sorry, Arkia). El Al pilots are trained by the Israel Air Force and are the creme de la creme of Israel's militarized culture. So, the company's tag line is pretty accurate.
      So El Al, aka Israel, delivers up one last shot of hasbara before its Israelis escape for a few days of sanity in Berlin.
      There is something sad and desperate in this announcement. Back in the day when Israel was the place were cute girl soldiers carried Uzis and the men were making the desert bloom, everything was proudly translatable. Now, even the Israelis concede that this stuff is better kept in the family. They are talking to themselves. No wonder Israelis like Mati Shemoelof prefer Berlin to the Jewish national home where Jews talk to themselves about how safe they are.

  • Why I support a one state solution and still consider myself a Zionist
    • Krauss:
      "Thus, the theory of ethnic nationalism within a democratic contex, is plausible only in a case where there has been no ethnic expulsions or genocide, such as in Japan. That’s not the case in America – or Palestine."

      Thank you for this.

  • New Birthright trip for Jewish law enforcement seeks to counter BDS movement
  • Palestine and the anxiety of existence
    • Susan -
      As an Israeli Jew, I can assure you that if Israeli Jews talk to Palestinians it ain't about the heart of the matter.
      Salaita is interested in justice not in folks' internal lives not for the fun of it but as a pathway to resolution.
      Miko Peled and the handful of other names we can mention are notable because they are so rare. They are the exceptions that prove the rule.
      Salaita's piece is important as analysis and, yes, of course, we should not be trying to make supporters of the occupation feel good about it.
      I'm not investing my time in trying to have these kinds of conversations as nobody can point to worthwhile returns on this kind of effort.

    • An Israeli Jew who needs such a change of heart would never talk about these questions to an Arab such as Prof. Salaita. Anyway, as he wrote he doesn't want the Israelis to leave.

      So how many American Zionists have responded well to this treatment, Prof. Salaita?

    • 1) This is a masterful analysis full of great insights - which I intend to borrow from liberally!
      But I wasn't convinced by the prescription for changing people's minds. Does Prof. Salaita have successes he can point to how "exacerbating the conflict" has brought about a change of heart?

      2) The picture resonates with me as an Israeli. This is exactly how the Israeli parks service marks its hiking trails.

      Hiking across the country was an early expression of Zionist lordship over the land and an enduring one. I wonder of this marking is a Palestinian response, claiming the land back from the Zionists.

  • The list of foreign policy experts Bernie Sanders should be consulting
    • I just listened to 1 hour of Chomsky's speech. It's great stuff. A broad sweep of what global U.S. police is all about. His account of the total U.S. blockade on humanitarian aid to Cambodia could be copied and pasted for Gaza.

      Thanks for posting this. It's good to know that this is the kind of analysis Bernie Sanders values.

  • 'No Wars for the Billionaire Class': A look at a possible Sanders foreign policy
    • Thanks Adam for filling in this blank.
      Bernie has called out the economic, political and media establishments.
      Is it too dangerous to take on the military?

    • dx -
      I'm sorry for your illness and for the needless bureaucratic work you have to put in on top of that. It's too bad.
      Best wishes.

  • Tel Aviv housecleaning service advertises higher rates for European help than Africans
    • 2nd line of defense: Hasbarists will double down on the racism and point out that this is a Russian, not Israeli, company. The contact person is "Irena".

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