Home > Uncategorized > New Yorker editor David Remnick to Yediot: ‘I can’t take the Occupation anymore’

New Yorker editor David Remnick to Yediot: ‘I can’t take the Occupation anymore’

David Remnick

On December 24 2010, Yediot’s Friday Political Supplement ran an interview with New Yorker editor David Remnick by Adi Gold. Most of the interview was dedicated to his new biography of Barack Obama. Gold did ask a political question on Israel and Reminck’s response was very blunt. Note that this is a reverse translation (Hebrew original of section here.)

Do you see a certain change in the US Jewish community?

“A new generation of Jews is growing up in the US. Their relationship with Israel is becoming less patient and more problematic. They see what has happened with the Rabbinical Letter [proscribing rental and sale of property to Arabs — DR], for example. How long can you expect that they’ll love unconditionally the place called Israel [sic]? You’ve got a problem. You have the status of an occupier since 1967. It’s been happening for so long that even people like me, who understand  that not only one side is responsible for the conflict and that the Palestinians missed an historic opportunity for peace in 2000, can’t take it anymore.

“The US administration is trying out of good will to get a peace process moving and in return Israel lays out conditions like the release Jonathan Pollard. Sorry, it can’t go on this way. The  Jewish community is not just a nice breakfast at the Regency. You think it’s bad that a US President is trying to make an effort to promote peace? That’s what’s hurting your feelings? Give me a break, you’ve got bigger problems. A shopping list in exchange for a two month moratorium on settlement construction? Jesus [sic].”

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  1. Steve Klein
    December 26, 2010 at 14:16

    If Remnick is right – there is “a new generation of Jews growing up in the US” – who do not know or want to know our past, who are ashamed of Israel, etc., they are essentially ashamed of being Jewish. If Israel is not part of Jewish identity, then what does it mean to be a Jew?

    • Glenn
      December 26, 2010 at 18:00

      Good for Remnick. This needs to be said to journalists and leaders in Israel (and to policymakers in the U.S.) over and over again until they get it. Yes, we Jews in the U.S. support the existence of Israel, and will defend it against those who threaten its very existence. But we will not continue to support the government of Israel, unconditionally, with billions of dollars and vetoes in the U.N. while it occupies Palestinian land and remains childishly intransigent. Israel is now acting like a spoiled child threatening to hold its breath until its face turns blue.

      And Steve Klein: it’s because we do know our past that we are ashamed of what Israel has become, and it’s because Israel is part of our identity that we feel responsible for not indulging its self-destructive insanity, and yes, ashamed to be associated with the psychotic behavior we see every day in the occupied territories. Not to mention that there’s a long and proud centuries-long tradition of Jews opposed to Zionism, and thousands of years of Judaism without Israel, so there are plenty of answers to that last rhetorical question. But Remnick’s not doing anything like proposing Israel not being part of Jewish identity; he’s proposing a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel, one that will make Israel’s survival as a democratic Jewish state possible. So don’t pull out the old “self-hating Jew” canard; it doesn’t work on a generation of American Jews who have no hint of shame in our identities, but aren’t willing to follow the current Israeli (and American Jewish) leaders off a cliff.

      • Steve Klein
        December 26, 2010 at 19:08

        Firstly Glenn, I cannot accept your premise that Israel “occupies” another people’s land. Israel is in possession of her own land.

        You do indeed support Israel’s destruction ‘if’ you support a Palestinian state within Israel; one that will be dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

        You say Remnick is proposing a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel, one that will make Israel’s survival as a “democratic” Jewish state possible.

        What does it mean to be a “democratic Jewish state?” Israel’s Declaration of Independence states that Israel “will be open to immigration of Jews from all countries of their dispersion…” a statement later codified as the “Law of Return.”

        Palestinians demand the nullification of Israel’s Law of Return, alleging it makes them “second class” citizens.

        Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer (“The Israel Lobby”) contend Israel’s Law of Return is “racial” or racist. (Daniel Gordis)

        Do you agree with Meisheimer and Walt? Do you agree with Israeli Arab organizations that demand the nullification of the Law of Return?

        When I speak of our past, I am referring not only to Jewish history, Biblical and later history, but the history of the modern state of Israel. Are you educated on Israel’s modern history? If you are, how can you speak of the “occupation” of Palestinian Muslim land, since this land was consigned by the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations) to the Jewish people as our “Jewish National Homeland,” both Israel and transjordan, later Jordan?

    • dina levias
      December 27, 2010 at 00:10

      Israel’s successive Governments have carried out policies that make many Jews
      ashamed of being Jewish, YES !! Israel, as a State, is part of my Jewish consciousness, but not of my identity ! My Jewish identity is based on our ancient principles of equity, humanity, conciliation – principles which the Israeli State has been treading underfoot. I reject the actions and the policies of the Israeli Government FOR being UN-JEWISH !! These actions and policies oppress the Palestinians, yes ! – but they also wreak untold damage to the souls and psyche of Israeli Jews themselves, with consequences that will be hard to reverse or repair !

      • Steve Klein
        December 27, 2010 at 00:34

        You are ashamed of your Jewishness. Fine. But please be honest. Don’t couch it in “ancient” principles of equity, humanity, conciliation. Where can we find these ancient principles?

    • Dan Someone
      December 29, 2010 at 19:15

      Not ashamed of being Jewish, but ashamed of being associated with a Jewish government that has developed policies and is engaged in behavior that I find abhorrent. I do not equate the Israeli government with all of Judaism, nor support of that government with “being Jewish.”

      The concept of Israel, the existence of a state called Israel, may indeed be part of Jewish identity, but the policies of that state need not be, and I would say that many of those current policies are in fact antithetical to Judaism.

      I do find it interesting that you think modern American Jews “do not know or want to know our past,” because in the view of this modern American Jew, current Israeli policies (and those Jews who support them) seem to have forgotten that we were on the receiving end of very similar government policies in the past. Also, it is not enough to simply know the past. We don’t live in the past, we live in the present and we plan for the future. And a present or future in which Jews have escaped persecution only to become the persecutors themselves is, indeed, shameful.

    • January 4, 2011 at 20:35

      Ya know, being Jewish had a meaning for 1800+ years without there being an independent homeland to identify with.

      • Michele
        January 4, 2011 at 21:40

        Rechavia: Ya know, Jews had plenty of identity for 1800+ years without having an independent homeland, but in case you didn’t know, they were persecuted, terrorized, and ultimately mass murdered during that 1800+ year period. You might want to read up on all that.

      • Rebecca Zisk
        January 11, 2011 at 05:38

        Tell us then what happened during those 1800 years when Jews didn’t have a homeland.
        Tell us about the Inquistion and the Holocaust.
        And tell us how you don’t believe in the God of Israel that said that one day Jews WILL have a homeland again, and proved it by winning the Six Day War. Ya Know!!!!!!!!

      • January 11, 2011 at 06:23

        Michele, I strongly doubt you want to take that tone with me, with all due repsect. I have spent my life studying the history of the Jewish people, written a book about part of it (The 2nd temple era: “Jewcy Story”, partially available by the chapter on Amazon Kindle, translating and uploading more all the time), and I would sincerely be shocked if after a comparison it turned out you read as much as ten percent of what I have on the subject, which is not to say you have read little – it would appear you’ve read more than the average person – just that I’ve read much more than that.

        My comment was to the person who said that to be ashamed of Israel is to be ashamed of one’s Jewish identity. I was simply pointing out that one can have a very strong Jewish identity regardless of the very existence of a State of Israel, and definitely regardless of what one thinks about it, be it in principle of of its current conduct.

        I know all about the sad history of our people. But that was then. Now we have a state. The question is do we behave like it, or like a trauma-stricken child, now grown into muscle-packed bully who is still exorcising his childhood traumas by terrorizing those around him.

        Is the purpose of Israel vengeance for those past traumas, or is it to create a normal existence? That is the question.

        Rebecca – the above goes to your first part. I am honestly tired of people for whom the main thrust of their Jewish identity is “we are the people to whom these terrible things were done.” We are SO MUCH MORE than that. I for one don’t let my traumas define me, or at least I do my best not to.

        And finally, Rebecca, your god has nothing to do with any of it. For one, Zionism was not conceived as a means of realizing your god’s divine promises – it was conceived IN DEFIANCE of same. The vast majority of orthodox Judaism was initially aghast at the very idea of trying to return to Israel without a dude on a white ass to lead the parade. Not until the 1948 and more so the six day war did many observant Jews jump on the bandwagon.

        As for the six-day war: Israel had superior armaments, vastly superior training and command, vastly superior intelligence – utter superiority in every single metric that actually determines the outcome of military conflict. Ain’t nothing miraculous about it, the differences in the size of populations represented in the fight being completely beside the point. It is the mistake of a layman who is ignorant of how these things work to consider that aspect paramount and determine that the smaller population winning has to be a miracle or even a surprise. The entire Israeli high command knew in advance that we would win decisively, and not a single one was an observant Jew.

        In fact, the more religious considerations have determined politics in Israel, the worse it has become in every single metric, from education to equality. In 1968, with the only religious people participating in government being moderate, western in outlook, with a high emphasis on secular scholarship and a rejection of the notion that they should take their marching orders from rabbis, we were #1 in the world in math. Now we’re around #37, this despite a healthy influx from the exact-science heavy Soviet education system. I could go on and on.

        Cling to your imaginary friend all you want in your private affairs, but leave him out of it when discussing the shared plane of existence. I happen to believe in the goddess, myself, to the extent I believe much, but I don’t bring her or what I presume to believe she’d want into a political discussion.

      • November 17, 2011 at 22:08

        Way to go, Rechavia Berman!!!! I thought your initial port was very intelligent, but the second I read it, I knew some close-minded, uneducated peasant was going to diss you. Way to respond

    • January 4, 2011 at 20:58

      If a generation of jews who do not live in and have never visited Israel believe that the Israeli government is behaving in actions that they consider morally reprehensible (I’m not even saying that they are – for the sake of argument let’s assume that Israel’s actions are morally neutral) they will not feel a sense of connection to that country. Why should they?

      If your argument is that the land on which the current nation of Israel is founded is the historic homeland of Judaism and/or that loyalty to this land is intrinsic to the faith, that doesn’t have to mean that those young people have to believe that the government that controls that land speaks for them – after all, the land that is now Israel was for centuries (millenia) controlled by non-Jews and presumably you would not have argued that Jews should be unflinchingly loyal to those governments. The fact that the current government is run by Jews and in the name of a wider Judaism does not mean that every Jew in the world will consider themselves a part of this nation. Any more than every Catholic feels a close sense of connection to Vatican city.

      Remnick’s point is that it will be Israel’s loss if it cannot persuade an entire generation of young jews to buy into the Israeli project. You think that this makes them self hating jews and rejecters of their heritage? OK, let’s say it does (I don’t think so, but again, for the sake of argument…). Still, if an entire generation of Jews become self hating heritage rejectors in this way, that’s BAD FOR ISRAEL.

      So if Israel chooses to continue to ignore the moral concerns of this entire generation, so be it. But that will leave it, one generation later, without supporters in the world. Why would you consider this desirable?

    • Julian
      January 4, 2011 at 22:02

      What a disgusting question. Judaism has existed far longer without Israel and Judea that it did with those two kingdoms. Since the expulsion of the radicals and the absorption of the Jews into cosmopolitan Roman society, Judaism has spread to every inch of the globe and to millions who would have never known of it without that second exodus. Whether a state like Israel exists or not, the Covenant with God, that Covenant which separates the Jews from all other peoples and marks them as the Chosen, will still remain. Job lost everything and still kept his faith; you think that a lack of political loyalty can take away an identity which even divine chastisement could not?

      • AbeBird
        January 26, 2011 at 13:27

        US American leftist Jews might say what even nonsense they choose. I don’t think that Israel should take into account their stand, because the only to suffer from any security mistake are the Jews who live in Israel. Being “truth seekers” doesn’t make those leftie Jews more acquaintance and trustable with the extreme reality of the ME. Israelis shouldn’t pay with their blood in order to satisfy those lefty’s ideas.
        The status of the Jews all over the world had been improved and guarded Only after the creation of Israel. Now some minor lefty Jews find their holy task to throw stones over the safe layer that enables them to open their mouths and spit all around…. Or in other words, to cut the branch they sit on.
        Israel has some luck that in place that some Jews betray hers, there are some Christians who stand firm and help her.

  2. emma
    December 27, 2010 at 14:15

    Steve Klein :
    You are ashamed of your Jewishness. Fine. But please be honest. Don’t couch it in “ancient” principles of equity, humanity, conciliation. Where can we find these ancient principles?

    I am sorry? You don’t know where to find principles of equity, humanity or conciliation in your own religious tradition? You seem to suggest that it would be un-jewish to do anything but uncritically support the actions of the Israeli government regardless – that’s a really dangerous position to take and seems anti-democratic. Why don’t you enter into discussion with those jews that are criticising the actions of Israel, focus on addressing their criticisms and defend the actions of Israel on their own grounds where you think this is justified rather than using this emotive form of rhetoric about being ashamed of being jewish and setting up a distracting and essentially contested argument about the nature of jewishness.

    • Steve Klein
      December 27, 2010 at 20:36

      Emma, I am trying to have a dialogue with fellow Jews who are critical of the actions of Israel’s government but they post something and then go away. Admittedly, my statement that American Jews are ashamed of their Jewishness – those who are critical of Israel, critical of Israel’s communities in Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and in parts of Jerusalem, etc. – is a harsh one but I believe it to be true. My question about equity, humanity and conciliation in Jewish law and tradition is a fair one. Where are we enjoined to exhibit these things toward our enemies; to those who are dedicated to our annihilation? I read the polls in the territories whereby significant numbers of Palestinians support martyrdom operations (suicide bombings) of innocent Jewish women and children. I saw what happened in Gaza after Israel uprooted every last Jew from the strip, how they elected Hamas, the thousands of rockets on Israel’s neighboring towns and cities, the abduction for ransom of Corporal Gilad Shalit from internationally – recognized Israeli territory. Like many Americans I saw the spontaneous eruptions of joy and the celebrations on 9/11/01 as the images of the burning towers made their way to the Middle East. Notwithstanding the fact I believe all of this historic Jewish land Israel re-acquired in the several wars annihilation (by the surrounding Arab states) belongs to the Jews, perhaps there are some Palestinian Muslims who want to live in peace and harmony, as equals side by side the Jews. I truly wonder how many there are. Don’t you?

    • R.D.R.
      December 27, 2010 at 21:07

      Honestly Emma, give it a rest. Fine, we get it – you can’t stand the shame that comes from criticism by the holy New York Times (you know, the paper that lied about Stalin, lied about Castro, lied about the Holocaust, and daily lies about Israel). We understand how difficult it must be to suffer the same kind of sneers, slings and barbs directed at Sarah Palin and evangelical Christians by all of those nice, right-thinking and open-minded liberals. But still, here are the ineluctable facts: (1) the Arabs want Israel in ruins and the Jews dead or subjugated. Indeed, the entirety of “Palestinian” society is organized around a fusion of Islam and Jew-hatred, that is all they have, and all they produce; (2) compare Israel to ANY other country in the world, and its conduct toward the Arabs seems not merely benign, but suicidal in its failure to recognize hate cannot be managed, it must be stamped out; and (3)the Jewish liberal hatred of the Jews is so wildly out of proportion to reality (see, e.g., silence about Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Hamas, Arafat etc) that it is clear Israel’s treatment of the “Palestinians” is nothing more than one additional manifestation of Jewish self-hatred. Think about it, Remnick and his ilk are part of a long line that includes the anti-religious Hellenists who were defeated by the Macabees, the apostate Jews who ran Church inquisitions, the radical secularists of the 19th Century who lobbied government officials to ban yeshivas, the Bolshevik Isvekia who hunted down religious Jews in the early years of the Soviet Union, and the kapos of the 1940s. And as far as the Jewish “religious tradition”, try these on for size: (1) kindness to the cruel leads to cruelty to the innocent, and (2) when someone comes to slay you, arise and slay him first.

      No human government is perfect. Israel’s government certainly makes mistakes. But maybe, just maybe, you need to take a step back, clear your head and look for some sorely needed perspective and intellectual honesty.

      • DRR
        December 29, 2010 at 06:48

        “Stamped out”? How should we go about “stamping out” the millions of Palestinians who were there before we arrived, RDR? Buy them plane tickets to South Dakota? Are they even human beings, RDR, or are they just fleshy sacks of hate that we shouldn’t be too concerned about?

        And if you’re planning on continuing the occupation, what should millions of Palestinian Arabs do in a country where they won’t have the right to vote, where they’ll be barred from buying and renting from Jews, and where they will never be full citizens?

        Here’s my question for the Israel’s-always-right crowd: What’s the plan, folks?

  3. Sara Zelman
    December 28, 2010 at 21:37

    Remnick does not know history, past or current. Abbas has just restated that Jerusalem, the capital of “Palestine” will be Judenrein. I don’t hear him or anyone else discussing this “racism”.

    The Muslims want a caliphate. According to them once Allah’s, always Allah’s. That’s it.

    Palestine is a name given by the Romans to humiliate the Jews just conquered. Meanwhile we are here and the Roman Empire is not. Palestine has no Arab/Muslim history; no Kings, specific language, literature, poetry, currency, laws, culture. It is invented by Arafat. the terrorist.

    Remnick et al, move over. You are a disgrace

    • Dan
      January 5, 2011 at 20:08

      Are you serious? ‘Palestine’ was named ‘Palestine’ because of the ‘Philistines’.

  4. ronnie
    December 28, 2010 at 23:00

    “occupation” is an Arab code word for all of Israel. When will you get it?
    When will American Jews pui their energies into helping thr US solve it’ problems.Israel is asovereign nation withan elected government.

  5. Michele
    December 29, 2010 at 12:22

    Steve Klein: I am a passionate supporter of Israel. My grandparents moved to Tel Aviv to escape Hitler. My mother is Israeli and her entire family still lives there. I frankly have little sympathy for the Palestinians, since they could have had a state of their own years ago and their insistence on the “right of return” means they want the destruction of the Jewish state more than their own statehood. Having said all of that, I am disgusted by the rise of right-wing elements in Israel that insist on occupying all of the ancient land of Israel, deny the simple fact that Jews and Palestinians have equally legitimate claims to the land, refuse to face the demographic reality that the Palestinian population is growing faster than the Jewish one, and therefore seem to be willing to sacrifice Israeli democracy rather than work toward a two-state solution. I agree with everything in Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog post here: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/israels-self-delegitimization-movement/68437/ I wish more moderate Israelis were equally disturbed by these trends in their country and engage more seriously in an effort to combat them, but I fear that instead the rise of anti-Israeli (and anti-Semitic) sentiment, fed by the behavior of the right wing/religious extremists elements in Israel, is creating a bunker mentality among all Israelis and that the expansion of the settlements makes the possibility of a two-state solution more and more remote. I despise Netanyahu and his government. I think they, and their allies, are pursuing a suicidal path.

    • Steve Klein
      December 29, 2010 at 13:56

      Michele, thank for your response. I am confused. You say you know the Palestinian Muslims want the destruction of the Jewish state more than their own statehood. I think it is worse. Truth be known, they want the destruction of the Jewish state; period. The entire Muslim world (but for a few) want the Israel’s annihilation as Iran’s president so eloquently states; Israel must be “wiped off the face of the map.” Should a Muslim state be established in Israel’s heartland, it does not take a genius to predict that it will arm to the teeth and in time of war there will likely be an unprecedented slaughter of Jews in Israel. Another Muslim-terror state living side by side a Jewish state in peace is a pipe dream. Jordan was part of the League of Nations Mandate for the Jewish National Homeland. The British illegally carved out 75% of our land and gave it (transjordan) to a Hashemite king. Jordan is some 2/3 Palestinian. Now the
      international community wants to take even more of our precious land. When will it end? I do not consider myself a religious Jew. I grew up in a secular Jewish family. I do however believe in God; our God. Perhaps there cannot be a meeting of the minds, you and I, because I believe this tiny piece of land was given to the Jews by God in perpetuity. Jews have lived in our land (continually) for thousands of years. I am sorry there were Arabs and Muslims living in our land when the Jews returned en mass in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

      I have made a hobby of the study of American history; the displacement, removal, expropriation of American Indians and Mexicans by white Europeans. Unlike the Jews (Israel) Americans had and have no misgivings about who owns this great continent. Americans would not think of giving back one inch to its previous occupants even though many Indian tribes (unlike the Muslims) were willing to live in peace side by side these European settlers and colonialists. White Europeans drove them out. Who is complaining today? Americans did not enfranchise American Indians for centuries. It was not until 1924 that they were given citizenship and the right to vote! They had to be “civilized” first. Unlike the Muslims (the Jews), Indians do not have a religious tradition or a god that teaches them to hate and to kill or subjugate white Europeans only because they are white Europeans. We are the only people on the face of the earth to whom God bequeathed a piece of real estate. Why do we so loath our inheritance that we will give it to enemies dedicated to our destruction? What has happened to the soul of the Jew that we keep giving and giving our precious land to our enemies? What other self-respecting people on the face of the earth does this?

      • Keith Bostic
        December 29, 2010 at 17:58

        And here we see the root problem: people who believe their magical sky-dwelling friends love them more than everybody else.

  6. mk
    December 29, 2010 at 14:37

    “We are the only people on the face of the earth to whom God bequeathed a piece of real estate.”

    And there is the problem. Superstitious and ignorant. Will never change. When each side makes stupid claims like that… actually believe it… there can be, will be no peace.

    • Steve Klein
      December 29, 2010 at 15:00

      mk :“ there can be, will be no peace.

      You are right. There will be no peace. Superstitious and ignorant people believe there can be peace when there is none to be had.

  7. alan ash
    December 29, 2010 at 14:44

    they want us dead and that is their goal— they start war -kill us.–no thank you

  8. Dave L
    December 29, 2010 at 15:51

    Israel equals Serbia. A self-important pipsqueak with a Messianic sense of divine entitlement. Go ahead, do what you want with the Palestinians, because frankly nobody cares about either of you. But please, do not try to dress up this nationalistic thuggishness with talk of God and morals.

  9. Steve Klein
    December 29, 2010 at 17:18

    Dave L above, is illustrative of the thinking of those whom left-leaning American Jews are trying to appease. We will never appease nor placate the Dave L’s of the world, no matter what we do. Dave L associates Israel with the Christian Serbs, the one nation in Yugoslavia who bravely fought the Nazis, while the Croats, Muslims, etc. allied with the Nazis in the Final Solution. Like the Serbs, little doubt Dave L would bomb Israel’s Jews into submission. There is nothing Israel could do to placate Dave L but cease to exist.

  10. Akiba
    December 29, 2010 at 17:41

    Steve et al – If the position that Remnick and other Americans is that they are “ashamed of their Jewishness” by opposing the current government does this mean that all Israelis who voted for Kadima, Labor, Greens, or any other opposition party is ashamed of their Jewishness? Israel is a democracy in which a multitude of opinions exist, are debated, and respected. Do you agree that those Israelis (which may even constitute a plularity) are not ashamed of their Jewishness? And if so, why do you make such claims against others who share those views merely because they live in the United States?

    • Steve Klein
      December 29, 2010 at 21:18

      Akiba, you ask a good question. I cannot say that Jews who vote for Kadima or Labor are “necessarily” ashamed of their Jewishness. It is my view that Likud and its current head, Prime Minister Netanyahu are much to weak. Israel’s leaders need to be forthright and firm with the international community and in particular with America. “This is our land and we are here to stay.” Jews that vote for Kadima – the party former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon founded – I believe are exercising poor judgment. Jews and in particular American Jews who actively and publicly join with Israel’s enemies, attacking and undermining Israel and her security, etc., are in my view (for lack of a better term) ashamed of their Jewishness. If you can think of a more appropriate descriptive, I will use it.

  11. T-bow
    December 29, 2010 at 19:27

    Disclaimer: I’m not Jewish, but grew up in Jewish neighborhood, have Jewish relatives by marriage and by blood and am sympathetic towards Jews and Isreal.

    The problem: Palestinians are people. They are not cockroaches. They are not vermin. Like all people, they have a right to legitimate rising expectations for the future (recognizing this of other peoples, even your enemies is the one most important thing I learned from studying Churchill – it is a necessity for finding peace). How the Jewish project of Israel accomplishes this IS the problem)

    As for Americans (Jewish or otherwise) are nation is based upon pluralism. One man, one vote. Not ethnicity. That is our value. For us, a pluralistic solution to the lands Israel occupies would be the most easy for us to embrace because it is our ideological construct upon which our society is based. We cannot embrace a society of spartans and helots, nor an imperialism. Because of our affections for our Jewish brethren, we accept the idea of a two state solution based upon ethnicity.

    There are four possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian problem:
    1) A pluralistic, one man, one vote state
    2) A two state solution (one Jewish, one Palestinian)
    3) An ethnic based Jewish state (Jewish overclass) with a Palestinian underclass
    4) An ethnic based Palestinian state with a Jewish underclass.

    Because America is a pluralistic state, #1 is the most natural for us to embrace. However, demagraphically, that could quickly lead to #4. So out of consideration of this, and our affection for Jewish people, we can stretch ourselves, ideologically, and embrace #2. Number #3 and #4 cannot, ideologically, be acceptable to Americans, of any stripe, over time. Short term, maybe. Long term, no.

    For Americans who are, at heart, pluralist, the two state solution is an ideological stretch, but we are willing to make the stretch out of our affections and sensitivity for Jewish history. They need the protection of their own state.

    For some Jews, who recall that they were viewed as vermin by some in Europe, seeing the Palestinians being viewed and/or treated the same way creates a problem: a problem of morality, identity, and so on.

    The Palestinians were born where they live and for many generations. They are human. As human beings, they have a right to legitimate rising level of expectations. The problem for Americans (Jew and otherwise) is how do you deny this to Palestinians and not cast your self, morally, into roles that are similar in nature, though certainly not degree, of those of former Jewish oppressors in Europe through the ages.

    The current situation is calcifying into Spartan/helots based upon ethnicity. This is something that may be acceptable to Israeli Jews, but over time, cannot be embraced by Americans, Jewish or not. Jews are a thriving minority in the United States because of pluralism, so it takes a good wallop of cognitive dissodance to embrace the current state of affairs.

    • Steve Klein
      December 29, 2010 at 22:14

      T-Bow, how do you know the Palestinians are a separate “people” or a nation? Before the 1967 Six Day war – when Israel re-acquired Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the eastern half of Jerusalem – the Palestinian Muslim-Arabs did not define themselves as a separate nation but part of the Arab nation or they identified with Syria. In the nineteen years that Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem (Egypt Gaza) the Palestinians did not demand statehood or identify as a people. And if they are a people as you say, should every people be given a independence, sovereignty and self-determination? Do you advocate for every people as you are for the Palestinians? Do you believe the international community should pursue statehood for the Kurds, the Chechens and the Tibetans for example? Do you believe the United States should establish separate nation-states for the Indian tribes and nations who were expropriated? The Lakotah Sioux are demanding the return of their traditional lands in North and / or South Dakota (the Black Hills) due to U.S. government treaty violations. Do you believe they should be given these territories? Should the U.S. return Texas to Mexico?

      • Dan Someone
        December 29, 2010 at 22:23

        Are they “a people”? Maybe. Are they “people”? Definitely. I think what bothers some American Jews — and what should bother everyone — is that some Israeli policies and, more to the point, many of Israel’s fiercest supporters seem to have forgotten the latter.

      • T-bow
        December 29, 2010 at 23:59

        Actually I don’t know. But they are people, aren’t they?

        As an American I advocate for plurality.

        In regard to claims of native peoples in the United States, they at least enjoy the privileges and immunities of citizenship: one man, one vote. Further they have enhanced enfranchisement by their recognition as tribes… the constitution distinguishes native Americans and so they are accorded special treatment. I also notice that Canada has extended even greater franchisement upon their native peoples. I’m not against any of this. But it should be noted, these people have no less than the same political rights of citizenship as any other person living in the United States and we are constantly working to make our society more just in non-political ways as well (culturally and economically, etc…)

        I don’t see any attempt at that going on with the Palestinians in Isreal, and I don’t know if that is called for there.

        As for Texas, I have relatives there, and I would simply like to know how much Mexico want’s us to pay them to take Texas off our hands. I’ve often joked that if Puerto Rico ever decides to go independent, then they have to take Texas with them.

        Anyway, what you speak of is the right of conquest versus human rights. Right of conquest was normative prior to the first half of the 19th century. The Japanese saw that and imbued it in their imperialism, but what they failed to notice was right of conquest and imperialism lost its normative value increasingly beginning around the turn of the 20th century, just as Japan was embarking on its expirement in imperialism (of the colonial variety). That loss of normative value in imperialism, by the way, contributed to the British detaching themselves of its colonial provences after WWII, including what was once known as Palestine.

        Applying 19th century norms to 21st century realities doesn’t solve the problem.

        In reality, in pointing this out, you are using your counter point to avoid the main thrust of the points I made: That Palestinians are human beings. That Human Beings have a right to legitimate rising level of expectations for their future (aspirations).

        Americans believe in one man one vote plurality. Why not enfranchise the Palestinians with this in the lands between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea? Wouldn’t that be fair?
        Well it would but then it would render Jewish people vulnerable as they would soon be a minority there (actually already are, just not above voting age).

        So that leaves only a two state solution for Americans support.

        You can apply your right of conquest norms to the Palestinian dilemma, just know that Americans cannot go there. And for the most part, that would include Jewish Americans too, because, after all, they are a minority here, protected by and thriving as a result of plurality norms.

    • A
      March 20, 2011 at 15:41

      T-bow, great summary of the issues – thanks!

  12. JakeInDK
    December 29, 2010 at 19:27

    Wheeee! Get on your horse and ride, Steve! You are your own worst enemy, educated AND ignorant, buying into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Props to @Emma, @DRR and @Dave L. By the way, Israel was wiped ONTO the map in the 1940’s. Maps, you’ve heard of them? The things with internationally recognized boundaries?

  13. Jeffrey S.
    December 29, 2010 at 21:03

    This has been an educational discussion, for me anyway. I always thought that Israel wanted peace and security but their actions seemed counter productive. Now I realize that what Israel really wants is ethnic cleansing, like what the US did to it’s native people. I mean after all, “no one is complaining about that now.” Now Israel’s actions make more sense. Now I see that Israel is not misguided, Israel is wrong.

    • Steve Klein
      December 29, 2010 at 22:54

      There are a very few Israelis who advocate transferring Arabs out of Israel into surrounding Arab states – Jordan for example. But these Arab states do not want to assimilate their brethren. They would prefer to use them as proxies in their on-going war against the Jews. The vast majority of Israelis would like to give the Palestinians a separate state in Israel. Only post-Oslo (thousands murdered and maimed) and decades of terrorism, murder and violence on the part of the indigenous Muslim-Arabs has been sobering to Israel’s Jews. Fatah (President Mahmoud Abbas’ movement) “says” it wants a two state solution but they refuse to recognize a separate Jewish state and they want millions of Arabs to flood into the Jewish state, thus destroying Israel. All Fatah’s official maps show “Palestine” in place of Israel. Fatah or the PA routinely honors mass-murderers of Jews whom they call ‘martyrs’. Many are suicide-homicide bombers. They name streets and squares after them. PA official media organs constantly incite Arabs to hate and to murder innocent Jews. Fatah was largely arch-terrorist, Yasser Arafat’s movement which is dedicated to the “phased” destruction of Israel. PA President Mahmoud Abbas was Arafat’s right hand man for decades. He financed the 1972 massacre of Israeli Athletes in Munich Germany. Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation on Holocaust-denial. Other movements and regimes, like Hamas and Hezbollah make to pretense of their goal of annihilating the Jewish state. Hamas, you may recall, is the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people. Only Bush and now Obama will not recognize Hamas even though they beat Fatah in the 2006 elections. Nonetheless, most Israelis hope in vain for a negotiated settlement involving the establishment of a Muslim (no question, TERROR) state, dedicated to Israel’s destruction. What to do? What to do Jeffrey S.? There does not appear to be a peaceful solution to this conflict. In some conflicts there is no peaceful or negotiated resolution. Agree or disagree?

  14. Steve Klein
    December 29, 2010 at 22:29

    Dan Someone :Are they “a people”? Maybe. Are they “people”? Definitely. I think what bothers some American Jews — and what should bother everyone — is that some Israeli policies and, more to the point, many of Israel’s fiercest supporters seem to have forgotten the latter.

    Are you an American Jew? Can you cite some Israeli policies that in your view deny that they are people? If there are people who want to kill you or subjugate you – to deny you your liberty – what are your obligations toward them? How must you treat these people in order to prove you are a decent human being?

    • Dan Someone
      December 29, 2010 at 22:54

      OK, I was a bit imprecise mentioning policies (the result of cobbling together and editing my post on the fly), though I think policies permitting or encouraging the displacement of people from their homes for the purpose of building settlements comes pretty close to denying the personhood of the displaced.

      More to my point, however, I think it is true that some of Israel’s most vehement supporters seem to forget — or actively deny — that the Palestinians are human beings.

      There is no question that there is plenty of “fault” to go around on all sides of these issues, or that a proportionate response is justified in the face of an actual or imminent threat. But things like the rabbis’ letter proscribing renting property to Arabs, the continued displacement of non-Jews and building of settlements, the use of disproportionate force… these things do not speak well of Israeli policy or of the Jews who promote them.

      • Steve Klein
        December 29, 2010 at 23:15

        I have been active (via Internet) on that debate about the rabbis’ letter. It is my view that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews. Thus I do not support selling land to non-Jews. I have gone on record however (perhaps foolishly) in support of renting apartments to non-Jewish “friends” of Israel – Christian friends for example – so long as they pledge not to proselytize. Israel has some wonderful non-Jewish friends. Israel is surrounded by enemies that want to do great harm to the Jewish people. I see no reason why rabbis should not discourage Jews from renting apartments to enemies of Israel who will do us harm. This is not America. Israel exists in a very dangerous neighborhood.

  15. Keith Bostic
    December 29, 2010 at 22:46

    Steve Klein :
    If Remnick is right – there is “a new generation of Jews growing up in the US” – who do not know or want to know our past, who are ashamed of Israel, etc., they are essentially ashamed of being Jewish. If Israel is not part of Jewish identity, then what does it mean to be a Jew?

    On reading this chain again, it occurred to me: I doubt I’m a “Jew” in Steve Klein’s view of the world. I don’t mean that to be nasty, or to accuse or belittle Steve, but it’s probably a fair statement.

    I’m not ashamed of Israel (because I’m not Israeli), nor am I ashamed of being Jewish (being Jewish doesn’t mean anything to me), and I know our past perfectly well (but thank you for your concern). What Israel does is for Israel to decide, and my only concern is America’s continued irrationality in paying billions in aid to maintain Israel’s military.

    I’m probably Steve’s worst nightmare: I’m Jewish, my wife is Jewish, my kids are Jewish — and I type this maybe 20 feet from our Christmas tree.

    • Steve Klein
      December 29, 2010 at 23:07

      You are making me out to be an ogre. I think I wrote above (perhaps I forgot?) I was born and raised in a secular Jewish family. I had NO Jewish identity. My parents divorced when we were very young. One side of my family celebrated Christmas as a secular (not a religious) holiday. As a Jewish kid growing up, I loved Christmas and all the trappings, but in my late twenties, when I began to seek out my identity as a Jew, I gave it up. It was like pulling teeth for both me and my family. It caused a lot of hurt and personal loneliness for many years around that time of year but now both my parents are gone. Reading what you’ve written – I cannot say for certain – it is my guess that as a very confused young Jew growing up, I made many more mistakes than you have. I have made the mistake (in years past) of not sufficiently standing by and defending Israel. But I’ve been working on that. Israel is our homeland. It is our only refuge. Thankfully we have a refuge, unlike the millions of European Jews who were at the tender mercy of the Nazis, in the late nineteen thirties, early nineteen forties. Israel and the land of Israel should be central to our identity as Jews. I hope to make Aliyah in the not too distant future. I’ve been there several times. Israel is a wonderful nation and land and it is worth fighting for. According to our rabbis, if you were born of a Jewish mother you are a Jew. Why would you think otherwise?

      • Rusty Shackleford
        December 30, 2010 at 00:53

        Steve Klein: “Israel is our homeland. It is our only refuge.”

        In the long run, it’s rather counter-productive for any citizen of this country to hedge their bets with another.

        In the US there has long been the ideal (though not always fulfilled) that every newcomer to this country could have a fresh start, free of the resentments and prejudices of the old world. Adherence to ethnic nation-states, regardless of background is detrimental to our cohesion as a whole and the perception of divided loyalties, whether justified or not has yielded horrifying consequences; witness the treatment of the Japanese in World War II or the amount of German surnames which were changed to avoid persecution during World War I.

        I’d prefer it if each of us devoted our time and energies towards the country we dwell in now, rather than investing in the fantasy of an ethnic homeland.

    • Diana
      January 5, 2011 at 03:10

      thank you for this post … I live in NYC, am close friends with a neighbor who is Jewish and has a Christmas tree, and since I cook and she doesn’t, I do thanksgiving and she does the Christmas party, in which we all decorate the tree, so and I joke about the fact that while I’m the WASP and she’s Jewish, I do the cooking and she does the Christmas.
      The truth of all this is that Israel was designed by the early European Zionists for a very different world, the one defined by ethnicity based nation-states, each of which maintained its own third-world colonies, a philosophy which also led to two world wars and Communism. That world is over, and we live on an American planet — and on an American planet, Israel will have to decide whether it’s democratic or Jewish. As an American, I can only hope they decide for democracy.

  16. Dan Someone
    December 29, 2010 at 23:29

    Steve Klein :
    Israel is our homeland. It is our only refuge. Thankfully we have a refuge, unlike the millions of European Jews who were at the tender mercy of the Nazis, in the late nineteen thirties, early nineteen forties. Israel and the land of Israel should be central to our identity as Jews.

    See, as an American Jew, I think the United States is my homeland and my refuge. I am perfectly capable of identifying myself as both a Jew and an American. While I understand and appreciate that there was a time when Israel was the only refuge for European Jews, that’s no longer the case. While I respect that some Jews believe Israel is the be-all, end-all of Judaism, I don’t believe so myself. Central to our identity? Why? Because 65 years ago there was no other place? I think it should be possible to remember and to vow “never again” without making that central to my Jewish identity. Judaism is about much more than fear of a recurrence of Nazi-style repression and genocide, and I don’t see why that fear — embodied in the perception of Israel as a refuge — should form the core of my identity.

    It would be tragic if Israel ceased to exist, and Jews everywhere should support its continued existence and its right to defend itself. But I feel it would be equally tragic if Israel, out of misguided fear of the past, came to echo the Nazi policies and acts that required its establishment. I’m not saying it’s to that point yet, but I know several vocal U.S. supporters of Israel who call for the extermination of the Palestinians, the nuking of Tehran, etc. All without irony in the name of “defending Israel.”

    Speaking of homelands and refuges — where is the homeland and refuge for the displaced Palestinians? If they are driven out of their homes and turned away at all borders, where can they go?

  17. Dan Someone
    December 29, 2010 at 23:37

    Steve Klein :
    I have been active (via Internet) on that debate about the rabbis’ letter. It is my view that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews. Thus I do not support selling land to non-Jews. I have gone on record however (perhaps foolishly) in support of renting apartments to non-Jewish “friends” of Israel – Christian friends for example – so long as they pledge not to proselytize. Israel has some wonderful non-Jewish friends. Israel is surrounded by enemies that want to do great harm to the Jewish people. I see no reason why rabbis should not discourage Jews from renting apartments to enemies of Israel who will do us harm. This is not America. Israel exists in a very dangerous neighborhood.

    The land of Israel belongs to the Jews? By what right? And which Jews? Could I go to Israel and demand ownership of a property owned by another Jew? If not, why does he get to own it and I don’t? I’m a Jew, it belongs to me.

    Maybe it’s because I am American, where we dispensed with it — at least as official or sanctioned behavior — decades ago, but I find it unfathomable that property rights would be subjugated to ethnicity and religion.

  18. Keith Bostic
    December 30, 2010 at 00:15

    Steve Klein :
    According to our rabbis, if you were born of a Jewish mother you are a Jew. Why would you think otherwise?

    Jews and in particular American Jews who actively and publicly join with Israel’s enemies, attacking and undermining Israel and her security, etc., are in my view (for lack of a better term) ashamed of their Jewishness.

    You leave me no choice: I’m Jewish by birth, I don’t defend Israel, so I must be ashamed of my Jewishness.

    I am not ashamed of my Jewishness. For me (and statistically for younger American Jews), Israel is not our “refuge”, is not our “homeland”. Israel is a country like many others: it’s good and bad, sometimes right and sometimes wrong, and that’s a healthier, more rational view than this whole “land bequeathed by God” thing. We think it’s time Israel and the US broke up; the relationship has gotten dysfunctional, and we both need to start seeing other people.

  19. pigeonca
    December 30, 2010 at 00:27

    Since the Israeli rabbinate would not consider half of my Jewish family to be Jewish because they are either Reform or Conservative converts or the children of converts, I’m not sure I can continue to identify with Israelis. This is tragic, because my father was Israeli, my grandparents were extremely active Zionists and the cause of Israel has been paramount in my family for generations.

    Israel has been overrun by extreme Orthodox, who IMHO are members of a cult. It’s sort of like the U.S. being overrun by Scientologists or Mormons. These are not my people. My ancestors were Orthodox, but in those days there were very few ultra-frummers around. Their birthrate has put them in the ascendency, to the detriment of Israel.

  20. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 00:55

    Keith Bostic :

    Steve Klein :According to our rabbis, if you were born of a Jewish mother you are a Jew. Why would you think otherwise?
    Jews and in particular American Jews who actively and publicly join with Israel’s enemies, attacking and undermining Israel and her security, etc., are in my view (for lack of a better term) ashamed of their Jewishness.

    You leave me no choice: I’m Jewish by birth, I don’t defend Israel, so I must be ashamed of my Jewishness.
    I am not ashamed of my Jewishness. For me (and statistically for younger American Jews), Israel is not our “refuge”, is not our “homeland”. Israel is a country like many others: it’s good and bad, sometimes right and sometimes wrong, and that’s a healthier, more rational view than this whole “land bequeathed by God” thing. We think it’s time Israel and the US broke up; the relationship has gotten dysfunctional, and we both need to start seeing other people.

    I would agree with you to a certain extent. I’ve been urging Israel to wean herself from American aid and dependency for years. I think it would be healthy for both countries. Israel needs to become as self-sufficient as humanly possible. I would like to see Israel make as many of her own weapons as she can, including a state of the art jet fighter. Would you suggest the US not even “sell” Israel weapons (that she does not currently manufacture) to defend herself? You say you do not defend Israel. Are you active in any anti-Israel organization? So you openly or publicly try to harm Israel or her security / her right to self-defense? Have you ever visited Israel? Do you feel any connection at all to Israel or to Israel’s Jews?

  21. Michele
    December 30, 2010 at 01:12

    What a depressing discussion thread this is. I cannot share the blithe confidence of some younger American Jews that the loss of Israel will not lead to problems for Jews around the world. Where are those millions of Jews going to go and how successfully will they be integrated? Before the Holocaust, the U.S. had strictly enforced quotas for Jewish immigration and a lot of Jews died in Europe because they were denied entry to this country. The idea that somehow millions of Israeli Jews would be welcomed to this country with open arms is not borne out by history. I know all the arguments Steve has made to justify continued occupation of the West Bank by Israel. They’re all fine as far as they go, but they are impractical. If Israel continues on its current course, it will isolate itself further and further from the rest of the world community, giving ammunition to the boycotters who are working so hard to de-legitimize Israel, and adding fuel to the fires of anti-Semitism around the world. The occupation and the increasing political clout of racists like Avigdor Lieberman is turning a noble and admirable country into an oppressive and despicable one. The Palestinians are human beings entitled to freedom and a decent life and they must be treated as such, whether the Israeli Jews like them or not, and whether they like the Israeli Jews or not. A two-state solution must be worked out and the settlement building deep inside the West Bank has to stop. I agree, though, that any peace agreement must require Palestinians to abandon their claims to “right of return.”

    • Dan Someone
      December 30, 2010 at 01:26

      I agree, the discussion is depressing, though I suspect different participants may be depressed for different reasons.

      A note or two: I’m not sure if you’re referring to anyone in this thread when you talk of “younger American Jews” having “blithe confidence” about the effects of the loss of Israel, but if so I haven’t seen it here. Maybe elsewhere, though I don’t know of any American Jews who are indifferent to the existence of Israel.

      Regarding the United States’ turning away of European Jews during WWII: That was a different era in the U.S.; isolationism was the norm in general, and casual antisemitism was as accepted as casual racism. It is impossible to predict with any accuracy what the U.S. would do if faced with an influx of millions of Israeli Jewish refugees. Resettling 5-6 million refugees is simply beyond the capacity of just about any nation, though; this is certainly a practical argument for Israel’s continued existence.

      (I wonder, given that Israel is supposed to be the refuge of Jews from around the world, how Israel would deal with an influx of American Jewish refugees if things go horribly awry here. Could Israel handle a sudden doubling of its Jewish population? I suspect it would prove as destabilizing in the region as a nuclear Iran.)

      • T-bow
        December 30, 2010 at 04:55

        I seem to recall that the isolationism of the 1930s was contributed to, in part, the Great Depression. As I recall, as recently as the 1920s the U.S. had open doors – that’s when many Italians arrived (as I recall – not 100% on that). Probably the Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 contributed greatly to isolationism, furthered by Republican ascendancy in the 1920s and Depression in the 1930s. I’m not sure it’s fair to use that decade as a reflection of American attitudes.

    • Steve Klein
      December 30, 2010 at 01:28

      Michele : I agree, though, that any peace agreement must require Palestinians to abandon their claims to “right of return.”

      I wonder how many Jewish contributors to this discussion knew (before you brought it up) what the right of return is and what the Palestinian leadership’s position is and what it would mean to Israel.

  22. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 01:42

    T-bow :Right of conquest was normative prior to the first half of the 19th century. The Japanese saw that and imbued it in their imperialism, but what they failed to notice was right of conquest and imperialism lost its normative value increasingly beginning around the turn of the 20th century, just as Japan was embarking on its experiment in imperialism (of the colonial variety). That loss of normative value in imperialism, by the way, contributed to the British detaching themselves of its colonial provinces after WWII, including what was once known as Palestine.P>

    I thought I might pause and address this important point. Are you suggesting America is NOT an imperial power (an empire) that does NOT exercise hegemony, even today, across the globe? What universe are you living in? What you’ve written about the British is astonishing. The British were broke after the second world war. They were utterly broke. In extaordinary debt. That is why they were forced to give up their colonies; what colonies they had remaining, as well as the Mandate over Palestine. They were broke. It had nothing to do with morality or ethics. Did it? Do you believe the British (who conspired with the Nazis in the Final Solution to the Jewish Question) are a moral and an ethical people by and large? You write as if you believe the nations are more moral than than they were in the past. Who are you kidding? Do you really believe we live in a moral and an ethical world?

    • T-bow
      December 30, 2010 at 05:11

      Quite simply, in the 19th century imperialism was an excepted norm. After the turn of the 20th century imperialism became increasingly less accepted norm. Palestine was awarded to Britain as a result of a successful conclussion of the First World War against the Turks. But the ascent of new norms meant it wasn’t received imperially – the British were granted a mandate by the League of Nations which contained conditions.

      The decline of Imperialism is part of a broader movement that included the decline of slavery. It is quite simply inconsistent with reason based law. By 1900 legitimacy of rule was based upon the consent of the governed – that was the ascending norm and is anti-thetical to imperialism. But the very norm grew out of the evolution of English common law, not out of any generosity of the English, but out of the operability of the law. This was an evolution that began with the Magna Carta and it just evolved and evolved slowly until it began to shape internatioinal norms too – especially in the United States.

      Sure Churchill would have liked to hang on to India, because they provided the man power for a two million man army that made England a superpower, but Churchill was an anachronism of the 19th century, and was already an old man when he became prime minister in 1940.

      The Japanese were sensitive to imperialism thinking they might be victimized, saw it, understood it and thought it was the norm and projected it as a reaction to it. They were obtuse to the growing norm against imperialism. The British might have kept their colonies longer had they not spent all the divots on two world wars, but not much longer. As Gandhi pointed out, you can’t rule a nation of 300 million with a civil service of only 30,000 without the cooperation of the 300 million.

      My personal experience is that English people are not bad people. Maybe the ruling British class was and maybe is – but I’m not willing to condemn all British today for what happened in the past. They, more than most peoples, have seen fit to evolve. As a people, that makes them better than most in my book.

      • Steve Klein
        December 30, 2010 at 09:20

        I see no decline in imperialism in this country; America. That fact that the U.S. does not have colonies around the globe like the British and other European powers does not mean the US is not an empire. The US has military stationed all over the globe. She strides across the world. The US pushes her weight around. America is like the proverbial “hammer” of the earth. Look what she is doing to Israel, bullying the tiny nation. Mr. Obama demands that Jews not build an apartment in their own capital! Obama sends envoy after envoy to tiny Israel making demands. Don’t tell me this behemoth is not an imperial one.

    • Diana
      January 5, 2011 at 03:16

      “Do you believe the British (who conspired with the Nazis in the Final Solution to the Jewish Question)/////”
      Not quite sure what this is supposed to mean. Do you really think the British were on the same side during WWII as the Nazis? Have you ever heard of something called “The Battle of Britain”?

  23. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 01:49

    T-bow :Americans believe in one man one vote plurality. Why not enfranchise the Palestinians with this in the lands between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea? Wouldn’t that be fair?
    P>

    It is fairly easy to have one man, one vote plurality when you have civilized, loyal and friendly citizens living in your land. Israel does not have this luxury. Israel has enemies who are dedicated to her destruction living in her land. Even the one plus million Arabs living in Israel “proper” — with full citizenship and voting rights — identify with Israel’s enemies and wish to see the destruction of the Jewish state.

    • T-bow
      December 30, 2010 at 05:22

      By definition, one man – one vote pluralism would destroy the “Jewish” part of “Jewish state”. Especially now that Jews are a minority in lands between the Sea and the Jordan River. This is why a two state solution is the only solution, if there is a solution, to the Israeli – Palestine problem. Some how, Jews and Arabs and everything else can come to the United States and live peaceably – in some cases even as neighbors. This is a triumph of the evolution of English Common Law in the United States (which is under grave threat by Neocons, I think) and pluralism generally speaking.

  24. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 01:58

    Keith Bostic :And here we see the root problem: people who believe their magical sky-dwelling friends love them more than everybody else.

    Mr. Bostic, respecfully, yours is a really dumb comment.

    • Michele
      December 30, 2010 at 06:13

      Actually, Steve, the really dumb comment is the one you made. Just because you believe that God bequeathed the land of Israel to the Jews does not make it so. Until every religious person on earth understands that their beliefs are just that — beliefs — and not some kind of objective truth, the world will continue to be very screwed up. I am no big fan of organized religion, and your remarks on this thread have only served to reinforce my conviction that religion does more harm than good in that it sets people against each other. I believe the Jews have a claim on Israel because it is their country of origin, not because of some line in the Bible, a book in which I don’t put a whole lot of faith.

      • Steve Klein
        December 30, 2010 at 09:31

        Just because you say God did not bequeath the land to the Jews does not make it so. Nor does it make you right. Your “belief” that God does not exist is just that; a belief. So? I am no big fan of organized religion either. I don’t attend any house of worship. I haven’t for years. I am an independent thinker. I do my own independent research. Don’t be ignorant and don’t be lazy. Do some research. Your statement that religion does more harm than good may be true in some cases. As a Jew I would argue the Catholic church has a very bloody history. One might argue it is also true in the case of radical or militant Islam today – their treatment of women and non-Muslims, etc. – but historically religion has done “some” good. For example, the abolition movement here in the US was largely a religious movement. Christian Zionism has done and for me does good. In Israel the religious Zionist movement which is settling our land is doing much good despite what you and others on this forum believe.

  25. Keith Bostic
    December 30, 2010 at 02:47

    Steve Klein :

    Keith Bostic :And here we see the root problem: people who believe their magical sky-dwelling friends love them more than everybody else.

    Mr. Bostic, respecfully, yours is a really dumb comment.

    What are the facts on the ground? The Balfour Declaration appears firmly rooted in Christian/Biblical prophecy; American support for Israel is unquestionably rooted in Christian/Biblical prophecy; an orthodox Jewish view of the situation is fairly summed up in your posting: “We [Jews] are the only people on the face of the earth to whom God bequeathed a piece of real estate”.

    I stand by my comment: the problem is at least steeped in (if not caused by), the irrational belief that a few thousand years ago a sky deity arranged a land deal for the Treasured People.

    • T-bow
      December 30, 2010 at 05:29

      To bad the sky diety only told the people he bequethed it to… I mean couldn’t he had at least informed everyone else while he was at it… otherwise it looks almost like the people he bequethed it to are making it up. I say that with tongue-in-cheek, to emphasize that religious beliefs are parochial

    • Steve Klein
      December 30, 2010 at 09:34

      Thank “God” for Biblical prophecy. My belief is not irrational. That is your characterization, based on what?

  26. Keith Bostic
    December 30, 2010 at 03:04

    Michele :
    What a depressing discussion thread this is.

    I agree. I believe the American zeitgeist on Israel has been inexorably moving toward “the Middle East bus is going over a cliff, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it”.

    Every single American president, beginning with Truman, has supported Israel and committed themselves to supporting the state of Israel. Several American presidents have made peace in the Middle East personal and/or political goals. What can be done that hasn’t already been tried?

  27. December 30, 2010 at 08:30

    Fascinating!

    This entire thread is excellent evidence of something I wrote about some time ago – the Jewish Stockholm Syndrome, where a number of Jews identify with their oppressors to the point of madness.

    Nor is this phenomenon unknown in our history. It’s seldom mentioned, bur in the war of liberation against the Seleucids commemorated by Hanukkah, the Maccabees had to deal with a coterie of urban, Hellenized Jews who actively collaborated with their Seleucid masters against their fellow Jews and despised their own Jewishness so much as to actually have operations to reverse circumcision.

    David Remnick is quite obviously a victim of this psychosis. His religion is not Judaism, but idolatry and the idol’s name is Obama.I for one am perfectly happy to let people with his view point go – they were never very good friends of Israel or the Jewish people anyway and are increasingly irrelevant.

    Anyone who would characterize what’s going on in Israel re: Judea and Samaria and the ‘Palestinians’ as an ‘occupation’ is either entirely ignorant of the history and the facts or has an obvious agenda…and one that’s frankly beneath contempt.

    The difficulty in the Arab Israeli conflict comes down to one thing in the end – the inability of most Arab Muslim to live next to Jews in conditions of peace and equality. Mahmoud Abbas, after all,just emphasized – once again – what a factor this is.Fix that, and all the rest of the issues fall into place.

    -Selah-

  28. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 16:30

    T-bow :As an American I advocate for plurality. P>

    This is part of the refrain I see over and again on this forum. You are an American first, then you are a Jew. It’s like Middle East analyst, author, negotiator, Aaron David Miller wrote in his book (“The Much Too Promised Land”), “I am an American who happens to be Jewish.”

    • Dan Someone
      December 30, 2010 at 17:40

      Why does there have to be “first” or “second?” I am an American and I am a Jew. The two need not be at odds with each other; I think the principles on which the United States were founded mesh very nicely with what I consider the core tenets of Judaism. There is nothing inherently Jewish about refusing to sell land to someone on the basis of ethnicity or religion, but there is something inherently un-American about it, so I have no problem disapproving of the policy.

      • Steve Klein
        December 30, 2010 at 18:19

        Perhaps a few of the principles the United States was founded upon mesh with Jewish tradition. Many important principles do not mesh with Jewish law. FDR put Japanese Americans in camps during the second world war based on ethnicity. Americans approved as did Americans approve of (forcible) Indian removal by the federal government in the 1830s. I’m not certain that what FDR did was historically “un-American.” He might well have been wrong. Japanese Americans were probably loyal Americans. I cannot say the same thing for many German Americans. Remember, we had the German American Bund during the nineteen thirties; an American Nazi organization whose goal was to promote a favorable view of Nazi Germany. Why weren’t Germans (rather than Japanese) placed in camps based on their ethnic loyalties?

        Jews who do not know why it is critical to be a Jew first, I maintain, do not know their / our history. There is no inherent contradiction in being a Jew first and a loyal American citizen. I cannot say the same about another growing religious tradition here in the U.S. and in Europe.

  29. Keith Bostic
    December 30, 2010 at 17:02

    Steve Klein :
    Thank “God” for Biblical prophecy. My belief is not irrational. That is your characterization, based on what?

    The utter lack of evidence that gods exist or that the Bible was written (or dictated, or whatever) by a god.

    Bible prophecy? Everything imaginable, from slavery, to the annihilation of the Jewish people, to the formation of the state of Israeli, to the 144,000 Jews sealed from God’s wrath in the end times, to the utter destruction of the Jewish people by the return of Christ, has been read from the Bible. The Bible is like Alice’s Restaurant: you can get anything you want, if you just read it the right way.

  30. Dan Someone
    December 30, 2010 at 18:52

    Neither the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II nor the uprooting and occasional massacre of indigenous populations during the 18th and 19th centuries reflect the founding principles of the country. People may have approved of those acts at the time, but the fact remains, they did not accord with the principles espoused by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    I have not studied Jewish history extensively, but I am not ignorant of it. There is no question that it is important to maintain a Jewish identity; but I don’t see why that must be my primary identification/loyalty and any other must come second. If, as you say, there is “no inherent contradiction in being a Jew first and a loyal American citizen,” then there is equally no inherent contradiction in being an American first and a Jew second or, as I prefer to consider myself, equally an American and a Jew.

    More importantly, however, you have not explained why, even if I were to identify as a Jew first and American second, that would require me to support all policies of the Israeli government. The Israeli government may be governed by (some interpretation of) Jewish principles, but it’s not congruent with Judaism. Judaism has a long tradition of disputation and dissent; how then can you say that to be a “good Jew” one must unquestioningly follow this or that Israeli leader or agree with this or that Israeli policy? And what happens if the government changes direction and policy? Does it then become incumbent on “good Jews” to follow the new path, or is dissent then required? (I think we know Yigal Amir’s answer to that. Do you agree with him?)

    You oblique reference to Islam here, by the way, is misguided. The American Muslims I know, and know of, find no contradiction in being both Muslim and American. There are undoubtedly some who have difficulty reconciling their Islamic faith with fundamental American principles; but there are Jews and Christians who have the same problem.

    • Steve Klein
      December 30, 2010 at 19:22

      It’s sort of like the First (or maybe (?) in Jewish tradition, the Second) Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.” I do not believe you can be ‘both an American and a Jew’. One day, you will be forced to choose. In fact, I believe this is what we are seeing on this forum and throughout American Jewry at large. American Jews are gradually being forced to choose. Where are our loyalties? Are we Americans or are we Jews? Because US policy is wrong or immoral – as it is with Israel and our land – this does not make being a loyal Jew wrong.

      To your second point, I am not a member nor a proponent of what I believe is AIPAC’s philosophy on Israel’s government. As I understand it, AIPAC supports the policies of the elected government of Israel with few exceptions, both right-leaning and left-leaning governments. I do not advocate this. When I disagree with this or that Israeli government policy, I say so publicly and I chastise those Israeli Jews who elect and support a weak Israeli government or party or leader. But my departure from government policy in Israel is the obverse of many, perhaps most American Jews. I take issue with government policy that is too weak; that seeks to accommodate immoral American and international demands.

  31. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 19:34

    Dan Someone :Neither the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II nor the uprooting and occasional massacre of indigenous populations during the 18th and 19th centuries reflect the founding principles of the country. People may have approved of those acts at the time, but the fact remains, they did not accord with the principles espoused by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.P>

    The man who is believed to have authored the Declaration of Independence was both a slave owner and a proponent of “Indian Removal.” The “seeds of extinction” for Native American culture were sown under Jefferson. The essence of Jefferson’s thinking about Indian Removal was expressed in a letter to the territorial governor of Ohio in 1803. “The federal policy of removal – involuntary or voluntary – as the solution for dealing with Indians who rejected ‘civilization’ or waged war on the United States was established by Thomas Jefferson….Jefferson had seen to the national security and the future expansion of the growing white population into the remaining Indian territory east of the Mississippi, a task which Andrew Jackson would nearly complete a few years after Jefferson’s death.” (University of Penn. Professor Anthony F. C. Wallace, Jefferson biographer, Professor Joseph J. Ellis)

  32. Dan Someone
    December 30, 2010 at 19:47

    So it is possible to be a Jew and dissent from the Israeli government’s policies. In those cases where you may have disagreed with policy that was in your view “too weak,” were you ashamed of being Jewish? You say you “chastise those Israeli Jews who elect and support” a government whose policies you disagree with; do you think they are ashamed of being Jewish, or have forgotten what it means to be Jewish? If not, how do you explain what you consider to be their weakness?

    I am curious what you think are “immoral” demands, American or international. (I know that some countries have publicly called for the dissolution or eradication of Israel; I presume those are among the “immoral” demands, and I agree those are non-starters. What else, though?)

  33. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 21:03

    Let me ask you a few questions and in the questions answer your first question in a round about way. Can you distinguish between a Jew who unwisely votes for a “bad” or a poor candidate or party for whatever reason and one who, like David Remnick, is publicly critical of the steps Israel has taken to defend her security?

    Reading quickly through some of what you’ve written above, you do not seem as strident as other Jewish critics of Israel that have said they could care less about Israel nor concern themselves about whether Israel continues to exist or not. I think I read that above. I do not believe this is your position, is it?

    That some American Jews could care less were Israel destroyed appears to be an increasing theme, especially amongst younger American Jews who are not old enough to remember the Six Day War. There is an increasing alienation on the part of many young American Jews with Israel. Can you make a distinction between Remnick’s now public and critical view of Israel’s “occupation” and those American Jews who join with radical, anti-Israel groups (often Muslim groups) who protest Israel by demanding boycotts of Israeli-made products and things of this nature?

  34. Michele
    December 30, 2010 at 21:35

    Steve: All your arguments completely sidestep the question that Jeffrey Goldberg asked on his blog a few days ago: What If Israel Ceases to Be a Democracy?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/what-if-israel-ceases-to-be-a-democracy/68582/

    You refer to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank as an “occupation,” in quotes, insisting that Israel’s claim to that land renders any Palestinian claim to it virtually illegitimate. So what’s going to happen, over time, as the settlements expand and the possibility of a two-state solution recedes? Israel will cease to be a democracy, because Jews will be a demographic minority. Doesn’t that bother you at all, or are you expecting the God that bequeathed the land to the Jews to come along and intercede or something to make it work?

    As I’ve said before on this thread, the continued effort by Israel to permanently annex the West Bank will not, in the long run, be good for Israel or for Jews around the world. There’s a difference between a nation doing what it needs to do to defend itself and disregarding the rights of its neighbors. The occupation should continue until a peace agreement is reached and a two-state solution becomes a reality. In the meantime, the settlements deep within the West Bank should stop and those that already exist should be dismantled.

  35. Dan Someone
    December 30, 2010 at 21:49

    I take your first two questions to mean that you consider Remnick’s public criticism of Israel to be evidence of his shame at being a Jew, unlike other Jews who simply support “bad” leaders/policies by mistake. But I don’t see how criticism, public or otherwise, of the Israeli government’s policies or actions equates to shame about the critic’s Jewishness. I can be sorry to be associated with the rabbis who call for proscriptions against selling land to non-Jews without being ashamed of being Jewish myself. From my perspective, all the shame is on the rabbis, for violating — or at least twisting into unrecognizable shapes — the principles that I feel are most important in Judaism. Put another way, I am proud to be Jewish, but that pride is in Judaism as I understand it — which I freely admit is informed by the American culture in which I grew up, and which is perhaps not the same form of Judaism that the rabbis practice.

    You are correct that I am not among those who do not care about the continued existence of Israel. By age, I am probably midway between those who remember, vividly and directly, the horrors of the Shoah and those for whom it is an oft-repeated but emotionally distant tragedy. So I strongly support Israel’s continued existence; I just would like to see policy changes that I think would allow it to coexist peacefully with its neighbors in the region. (And yes, I recognize that there are multiple parties involved and that Israel is not the only one that needs to revise its approach.) The current policies are not working, so going back to them over and over is not going to work either.

    I am not familiar with any American Jews who support the destruction or dismantlement of Israel. I can, however, understand the use of boycotts and similar protests against what some American Jews consider the Israeli government’s bad (immoral, counter-productive, what-have-you) policies and actions. Those same techniques have been used with varying effect to protest other governments — South Africa, notably. I believe the protests arise (in many cases; I can’t speak for everyone) out of a recognition that Israel *is* important to us as Jews, and that we have an obligation to push it to improve its policies and behavior.

    As for Remnick, what I read in his words is a sense of growing frustration that despite all of our efforts as American Jews who want to be supportive of Israel, the government keeps returning to counter-productive theocratic, occupation-type policies.

    • Steve Klein
      December 30, 2010 at 23:05

      Dan Someone :I take your first two questions to mean that you consider Remnick’s public criticism of Israel to be evidence of his shame at being a Jew, unlike other Jews who simply support “bad” leaders/policies by mistake.

      I know I started this discussion in that vein, perhaps out of frustration as you say. Motivations are complicated and I am by no means equipped to read another person’s heart. I will leave it to “God” if you will. But at a certain level, yes, I believe Jews who are publicly criticizing Israel for her policies of self-defense (and that would include the retention of our land) I believe these Jews are less than “proud” Jews. Some are less proud, perhaps even ashamed than are others.

      When I read the rabbis letter or statement on not renting and selling apartments to non-Jews, I myself had some misgivings about the renting part. Little doubt these rabbis consulted with lawyers and other experts as to the proper wording in order to avoid litigation. The rabbis’ intended target as I understand it, are Arabs, not necessarily non-Jews in particular but they could not write “Arabs.” In other words, Jews in Israel know we have many non-Jews living in Israel who are great friends and supporters of Israel but how do the rabbis make this distinction in such a letter or statement? I don’t see how people like Jimmy Carter (who I believe is anti-Semitic) can compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa, there are so many differences.

      I think efforts to boycott Israeli made products because Jews are living in their historic homeland, especially when they are promoted by Jews, is reprehensible.

      • Diana
        January 5, 2011 at 03:23

        The rabbis’ intended target as I understand it, are Arabs, not necessarily non-Jews in particular but they could not write “Arabs.”
        why not?

  36. Steve Klein
    December 30, 2010 at 22:37

    Michele, I’m not sure how to answer Goldberg. He asks some hard questions. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not in the decision-making position in Israel. I don’t have to make the tough decisions presently. When I get to Israel, I hope I will be active in some manner in Israeli politics. My worldview is based on my Jewish faith and I don’t think that is going change.

    Some would argue that Israel never has been a democracy, nor can it be a democracy in the first instance, like America is, given the reason for its founding as a “Jewish state” and a refuge for the in-gathering of the world’s Jews. The fact that Israel is a Jewish state with a Law of Return exclusively ‘for’ Jews is itself discriminatory. Israel’s national holy days and secular celebrations such as Yom Ha-Shoah (commemoration of the six million Jews murdered in the Nazi genocide), Yom Ha-Zikron (“memorial day”), Yom Ha-Atzm’ut (Indepence Day) offer nothing to Israel’s Arab citizens.

    Furthermore, Arab citizens of Israel appear to be of questionable loyalty. Many identified publicly with Hezbollah during the last war in the north; the 2006 second Lebanon war. Hezbollah is not fighting over land but for the elimination of Israel. Palestinian Israelis are demanding Israel revoke Israel’s Law of Return, calling it discriminatory, even racist. Those Jews who say Israel should annex the ‘West Bank’ (Judea and Samaria), I’ve not read what they would do about the Arabs living there. Granting a hostile populace Israeli citizenship would be catastrophic. There are those who advocate extending generous financial inducements for Arabs to relocate to other Arab countries, something I would support. My guess is, the international community would strongly condemn such a policy.

    Former Israeli Ambassador, Yoram Ettinger (whose mailing list I am on) writes extensively about the “myth” that Israel is becoming a demographic minority in our land. He argues it is just the opposite, citing all kinds of statistics of Arab vs. Jewish birth rates. I’ve got to plead ignorance. I’ve not been reading his material on this issue. Maybe because it does not overly concern me that Israel might become a demographic minority in the land, though it will likely lead to an existential threat to the Jewish state; though less of a threat than should Israel establish another independent Muslim state in Judea and Samaria.

    The critical thing to me is that we keep possession of our land. There is no occupation, illegal or otherwise, because the land belongs to the Jews. Israel’s “occupation” of Arab land is a myth. I am not insensitive to the increasing impatience (even frustration and anger) on the part of ‘some’ – who are mostly on the political left – in the U.S. and the international community. I believe there are reasons for this “exasperation” that have little or nothing to do with any perceived injustice on Israel’s part – why is Israel singled out and held to a standard no other nation is held to? – but to the west’s increasing dependence on Arab oil. I don’t know how old you were during the 1973 Arab oil embargo following the Yom Kippur war, after the US provided a much needed airlift of weapons to Israel. (The Soviets were massively arming Syria and Egypt by the day.) There were long gas lines in our south Florida community. My older brother remembers seeing bumper stickers reading, “OIL YES, JEWS NO!” I think that says it all Michele. Don’t you? Do you really think apart for the world’s addiction and dependency on Arab (particularly Saudi) oil there would be this incredible obsession with violent (Islamic terror-prone)peoples like the Muslim-Arabs living in Israel?

    Then I cannot leave out anti-Semitism as a motivation, especially on the part of the Europeans, who have a long, ghastly history of Jew-hatred. The Holocaust (Shoah) would have been inconceivable without European states cooperating with Nazi Germany.

    • Dan Someone
      December 30, 2010 at 22:55

      “There is no occupation, illegal or otherwise, because the land belongs to the Jews.”

      On what basis? Right of conquest? Divine right? Right of occupancy? You say “Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Arab land is a myth,” but who lived there before 1948 (or, going back to the first onset of concentrated Jewish immigration, before 1882)? Who lived on the land where the older settlements were built; who lives where new settlements are being planned?

      “Why is Israel singled out and held to a standard no other nation is held to?”

      First, I think you’ve made a false assumption here. American Jews who would hold Israel to the high standard you complain of would also hold the United States to the same standard, and there are plenty of people who would hold other countries to equally high standards.

      But it is precisely because Israel is considered to be America’s democratic ally in the Middle East that it gets held to a high standard, just as the US gets held to a high standard because it holds itself out as a beacon of democratic principles.

      We have set our standards, and if we fail to meet those standards, we should be accountable. When we err, it’s not enough to say “Well, at least we’re not as bad as those other people.” Being not-as-bad-as-those-other-people is assumed; it’s not a goal, it’s a given.

  37. Steve Klein
    December 31, 2010 at 00:01

    Dan, let me ask you a question before I address you several questions. I think this is a good place to begin. Extensive archeology has been done and is being done in the land, confirming much of what is written in our Bible about a large ancient Israelite presence in the land, at least around and especially after the Davidic Kingdom, his son Solomon, through the time of the Maccabees and later into the Roman occupation. There is the Western Wall at the Temple Mount; King Herod’s Temple. Palestinians have tried mightily in recent years to deny there was ever any Jewish presence or commonwealth in that land. Do you accept that there were ancient Jewish Kingdoms in the land of Israel or do you accept the Palestinian narrative?

    • Dan Someone
      December 31, 2010 at 00:32

      I accept that there were Jewish kingdoms in the region.

  38. Steve Klein
    December 31, 2010 at 01:21

    Dan Someone :I accept that there were Jewish kingdoms in the region.

    OK, good. At least we agree on this important point. I can defend Israel’s right to our land by any number of rationales but Divine right is my preferred defense. I understand Divine right does not hold any water in the international community but you can be sure, like you, the international community is aware that millions of Jews and Christians defend Israel’s right to this land on the basis of Biblical prophesy, no matter how superstitious you believe it to be. You say you think I’ve made a false assumption that Israel is held to a very different standard than any other nation. Left-leaning, Harvard Law professor, Alan Dershowitz, with whom I have profound differences, has written at length (copiously) about the unfair and very different and unfair standard Israel is held to by the international community. Dershowitz, like you, strongly supports a two state solution. I don’t know if you read anything I wrote above about America’s treatment of native Americans. I have devoted some time to the study of this bit of history. White European interlopers (America’s forebears) destroyed American Indian culture. They forcibly took their land, while slaughtering and forcibly removing thousands to reservations in violation of virtually every U.S. government treaty. Americans ruined the American Indian. Today they are a bowed and defeated people by and large. American Indian tribes are reduced to poverty, alcholhism, drug abuse, etc. That is what white Europeans did to these people. I’m not speaking of the right or wrong of this American govenment policy, but for you to write that American Jewish activists, writers, journalists, etc., hold the United States to the same standard as they do Israel is obscene in my opinion. They don’t. Not by a long-shot.

    • Dan Someone
      December 31, 2010 at 09:33

      Biblical prophecy or divine right may have been considered a valid rationale for land ownership in ancient and medieval days, but no more. Perhaps you are simply nostalgic for a former millennium, but that’s not a rational approach to determining anything, especially something as consequential as property ownership.

      You write: “White European interlopers (America’s forebears) destroyed American Indian culture. They forcibly took their land, while slaughtering and forcibly removing thousands to reservations in violation of virtually every U.S. government treaty. Americans ruined the American Indian. Today they are a bowed and defeated people by and large. American Indian tribes are reduced to poverty, alcholhism, drug abuse, etc. That is what white Europeans did to these people. I’m not speaking of the right or wrong of this American govenment policy, but for you to write that American Jewish activists, writers, journalists, etc., hold the United States to the same standard as they do Israel is obscene in my opinion. They don’t. Not by a long-shot.”

      That’s a false comparison. The most you can say is that in the 17th-19th centuries, the United States (and its immediate precursors) were not held to the standards of today. I agree, they were not; and a great deal of social policy in the U.S. is devoted to trying to repair the damage. Do you honestly think the U.S. would get away with treating indigenous populations that way today?

      You say it’s “obscene” to hold Israel to modern standards of morality when dealing with its “indigenous” (I use the term advisedly) populace. I say it is “obscene” to allow Israel today to behave according to some form of the “manifest destiny” rationale relied on by the U.S. in its abysmal treatment of the native tribes in the 17th-19th centuries.

      Look, it’s clear that your world view and mine are fundamentally different. We aren’t even talking about the same world. Your world is one in which someone can report, in a millennia-old text, that a supernatural force has decreed that People A owns the land currently held by People B, so People A is then justified in taking any action to obtain and hold that land.

      You may fervently believe that, but it is not by any stretch of the imagination rational. And as that seems to be the basis for pretty much all of your arguments for support of Israeli hard-line policy, I don’t think there’s much point in continuing the discussion.

  39. December 31, 2010 at 02:04

    First. anyone who thinks ‘it’s the Jews fault Muslims are not peaceful’ has never read the Qu’ran or the Hadiths, the Muslim scriptures that detail the life, deeds and saying of Mohammed. For instance, in Sahih Muslim, Book 041, Number 6985, Mohammed told his followers that on the Day of Judgment, the rocks and trees would call out to the Muslims: “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come And kill him!” The hatred is deeply ingrained and an inherent part of Islam, although some decent Muslims in the West repudiate it. Few Arabs or Persians in the Middle East do.

    The only place where Arabs and Jews live in any sort of equality is Israel. As matter of fact, that’s one of the few places they live together, period.And that’s certainly not Israel’s doing.

    As for Goldberg’s question, who gives a rip? He and his fellow travelers are loyal ObamaBots who can’t stand the fact that the Israelis have by and large woken up to the fact that Oslo and the whole ‘peace process’ was nothing but a Trojan Horse designed to destroy them, which is exactly what Arafat’s political commissar in Jerusalem, the late and unlamented Faisal Husseini called it. The Israelis have chosen to live instead of die which means not going along with Obama’s agenda, and they may just take a few temporary measures towards that end that may irritate some people’s sensibilities whom would rather Israel just passively commit suicide.

    What of it? Since it’s founding America has done that in wartime consistently, and we’re still a democracy, at least the last time I checked.

    As for the Jewish/American conundrum, here’s a possible answer. I feel absolutely no dichotomy, because they both represent the same principles and are both on the same side of what I choose to call The War on Jihad, and I don’t see that changing in the least.Based on every poll, most Americans agree with that reasoning despite millions spent by people like the Saudis to game the debate – and in spite of the mewlings by Jews like Goldberg and Remnick.

    -Selah-

    • Steve Klein
      December 31, 2010 at 02:42

      You wrote: “As for Goldberg’s question, who gives a rip? He and his fellow travelers are loyal ObamaBots who can’t stand the fact that the Israelis have by and large woken up to the fact that Oslo and the whole ‘peace process’ was nothing but a Trojan Horse designed to destroy them….”

      Nonetheless, the American people saw fit to elect this Muslim-born president with deep sympathies for the world or Islam, its jihad against Israel, etc. What accounts for that? Israel’s Jews understand that Obama supports Israel’s enemies and Israel’s destruction. American Jews dearly love Obama. What gives?

      • pigeonca
        December 31, 2010 at 02:54

        How could Obama be “Muslim born,” given that he was not raised by his father, who wasn’t much of a Muslim in the first place. His mother – who did raise him – was a sort of Christian, more of an atheist. He had some exposure to Islam in Indonesia, but he is mostly a nominal Protestant.

        BTW, Obama has several Jews in his family as well, including the half-brother who lives in China as well as Michelle’s first cousin once removed, who is a Chicago rabbi.

      • pigeonca
        December 31, 2010 at 03:02

        Also, where do you have even a shred of evidence that Obama supports Israel’s destruction?

  40. December 31, 2010 at 04:06

    Hello Steve,
    The American people, and Jews in particular voted for Obama for these reasons:

    1) They were blatantly lied to by Obama and a number of others, and the dinosaur media lost what little credibility it had left by refusing to vet him in what almost amounted to a coup.

    2) Obama ran against an absolutely awful candidate who didn’t raise the questions he should have, and who ran one of the most inept campaigns in recent history. Choosing Sarah Palin ( his one smart move) as his VP kept it within 6 points, but Obama bragging about beating McCain by six would be like Oscar De La Hoya bragging about knocking me out in the ring.

    3) A lot of guilty white lefties who, deep down, are uncomfortable with black folks saw an opportunity to buy some virtue on the cheap by voting for a black novelty candidate, no matter how unqualified.

    There were those of us who tried to point out Obama’s ties to the Saudis and the Nation of Islam, which I documented here:

    http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/2008/09/obamas-connection-with-nation-of-islam.html

    But a lot of Jews were listening to other voices..yet another instance of the Jewish Stockholm Syndrome I mentioned.

    • pigeonca
      December 31, 2010 at 04:36

      First thing I did was check Snopes on Khalid al-Mansour and Obama, but unfortunately there was nothing there, but I’m going to request an article. Then I googled, and all the hits were disreputable websites like newsmax and pajamas media, etc. There was one hit for Politico, which is respectable, and their article said that 1) Percy Sutton didn’t even know Obama during the campaign and that he supported Hillary, and 2) Lynn Sweet of the Chgo. Sun Times, who is reputable and Jewish, reports that Obama borrowed over 42 thousand to pay for school. Furthermore, Jeremiah Wright was never a Muslim, so I take everything in the joshuapundit article as invented nonsense. If you want us liberal Jews to believe your silly accusations, please provide something from trustworthy sources.

  41. December 31, 2010 at 04:27

    Hello Pigeon CA,
    Obama is ‘Muslim born ‘ according to Islamic law, but then that’s true of all of us. That’s why Muslims refer to converts as ‘reverts’. As you mention,he did in fact spend some of his early life as a practicing Muslim, in Indonesia with his step-dad Lolo. His actual religion is certainly not Christianity or Islam, but self-worship.Although he was a proud participant in the anti-Semitic orgy put on by Louis Farrakhan known as the Million Man March.

    See the link above for his ties to the Nation of Islam, and note that he set up a conference call to get leftist Rabbis to mouth talking points supporting ObamaCare at their High Holiday Sermons..hardly someone with any respect for Jews or Judaism would do , IMO.

    As for his supporting Israel’s destruction, I have no clue what’s in his heart..but again, his actions speak volumes:

    1) There was the Obama Administration’s unilateral trashing of the agreement under which Israel signed on to the Road Map and its de facto arms embargo on Israel.

    2) Obama’s demands that Israel forbear seeking to protect it’s religious shrines as part of its heritage.

    http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/2010/03/obamas-war-on-israel.html

    3) Obama’s insistence on apartheid and segregation for Jews and Jews only while ignoring ‘Palestinian’ building in Judea and Samaria.

    4) Obama signing on and thus giving credence to the UN Human Rights Council, which essentially has Israel bashing as its sole agenda, and his awarding the medal of freedom to anti-Semites like Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson.

    5) His insistence on trying to force Israel into indefensible borders.

    There’s a great deal more, but those seem like pretty hostile actions to me.

    _Selah-

  42. pigeonca
    December 31, 2010 at 04:47

    Obama is “Muslim born” like my gentile cousins in San Francisco are “Jewish born,” because their mother (my aunt) was once a Jew. She married a gentile, the family is Unitarian, and the kids are only Jewish if you’re a crazy Orthodox who thinks the religion only comes through the mother. In my world, Jewish is as Jewish does. You either go to shul, celebrate the holidays, observe those rules that your branch of Judaism requires – or you’re a goy. Obama is a goy.

    Re “Obamacare” and asking rabbis to support it, in some branches of Judaism social justice is of paramount importance and providing medical care to all is therefore a religious duty to us.

    Because I’m originally from an integrated neighborhood in Chicago, I probably have greater understanding than you do of how black people think. The Million Man March, which I don’t think Obama attended (will research it), primarily addressed the African-American male problem, which is a problem, by trying to instill responsibility and pride into those who participated. The black community also has a greater tolerance of the Nation of Islam – without necessarily being anti-Semitic, even though Black Muslims are supremely anti-Semitic. But they are black brothers, just as you are my Jewish brother even though you are teaching your own form of hate.

    More later, got to go eat supper.

  43. December 31, 2010 at 05:29

    Pigeon, I notice that you totally avoided my answer to your question about Obama and Israel, so we’ll take that as given.

    You know nothing about me or my relationships with black people, but out pops the race card! How typical.

    The Million Man March was an anti-Semitic orgy put on by Jew haters, Farrakhan made no secret of it and no one who wasn’t one would have participated. You make excuses for it, but I’m the hater…LOL!

    You’re also wrong about Jeremiah Wright, who was in the Nation for a brief time after he got out of the service by his own admission. Putting together a racist Black Liberation Church apparently paid better, but he and Farrakhan are still good buds today..which is why Farrakhan has appeared at his Church and been featured in Trinity’s newsletter.

    Swopes, as we all know, is fairly left leaning, as is the Politico (lotsa Journolistas)…and there are no links to newsmax or pajamas media in the article on Obama’s ties to the Saudis and the Nation of Islam, so you obviously didn’t read it.

    http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/2008/09/obamas-connection-with-nation-of-islam.html

    Sutton, a prominent NY politician, went on cable TV in NY to talk in an interview about how Khalid al-Mansour lobbied him to help Obama get into Harvard, and the video is there. So are a number of videos of Mansour and his views on Jews and Israel.

    Obama was also a bosom pal of anti-Semite and academic plagiarist Edward Said at Columbia, who was also a friend of Mansour, the political and financial adviser of Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the one who wanted to give NYC $10 Mill after 9/11 provided Mayor Giuliani admitted that it was Israel’s fault. Giuliani turned him down.

    The student loans? Isn’t it odd that after Obama gets into Harvard with Sutton’s help, he gets named editor of the Harvard Law Review while never having written a single article? And isn’t it another odd coincidence that right after that,he gets approached by a major book publisher (that Taleed owned stock in) offering someone who had never written a book in his life a six figure advance…that conveniently paid off his student loans and gave him a nice pay out to boot?

    The dots connect pretty well.

    I actually don’t care if you want to worship Obama in spite of his questionable ties when it comes to Jews and Israel. Just own it.

    But OTOH facts are facts.

    -Selah-

  44. December 31, 2010 at 05:33

    BTW, regarding the Million Man March…I taped a good bit of it off of CSPAN, the parts that didn’t make the alphabet networks.it was quite a show.

    Of course, you may not feel that Farrakhan is an anti-Semite, and you’re welcome to that fantasy as far as I’m concerned.

    I suppose that amounts to a judgment call, hmm?

  45. pigeonca
    December 31, 2010 at 08:55

    Rob, I know that Farrakhan is an anti-Semite, but to the black community that issue doesn’t even come up. If you told an African American about Farrakhan’s attitude towards us, I think he or she would be horrified. But we concentrate on that issue, they don’t. Which doesn’t excuse them, but…

    Please don’t give me the Politico and Swopes are left leaning business. They are both, especially Politico, very middle of the road and publish opinions of every stripe. Sort of like CNN, which I imagine you would call left-leaning as well, but it is not. MSNBC is left-leaning.

    Re. the march, yes, Obama did attend – as did most of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rosa Parks and other prominent African Americans – and Obama came out with some strong criticism when he returned home:

    “What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society,” [Obama] said. “There was a profound sense that African-American men were ready to make a commitment to bring about change in our communities and lives.

    “But what was lacking among march organizers was a positive agenda, a coherent agenda for change. Without this agenda a lot of this energy is going to dissipate. Just as holding hands and singing ‘We shall overcome’ is not going to do it, exhorting youth to have pride in their race, give up drugs and crime, is not going to do it if we can’t find jobs and futures for the 50 percent of black youth who are unemployed, underemployed, and full of bitterness and rage.[“]

    Now, as I’ve already said, Percy Sutton didn’t even know Obama until the 2008 primary, so how could he have helped him get into Harvard? All the google hits I’ve found that claim otherwise are from sources of the ilk of newsmax, the sort of sources that claim health care reform will bring “death panels.” So they are not from reputable sources and therefore I disregard them. I want something from the NY Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek – middle-of-the-road, respectable media.

    Re. Said, there were NEVER charges of plagiarism against him – there were charges against a guy who held the Said Chair of (whatever he taught) at Columbia, a guy named Khalidi. Said himself was/is very highly regarded and formed an youth orchestra with Daniel Barenboim in which Palestinian and Israeli kids make music together.

    All of your accusations remind me of the Bill Ayers thing; half of Chicago has been on some board with him or taken a class from him, including some prominent Republicans.

    Again, give me reputable sources, not blogs that think Obamacare gives us death panels.

  46. pigeonca
    December 31, 2010 at 09:02

    Getting back to the Remnick article, disagreeing with Israeli policy does not make for a self-hating Jew. Israel has some dreadful problems, and those of us who care about that country’s continued existence see those policies leading to its non-existence. I support Israel whole-heartedly, I’ve been there 7 times, but I’m way more J Street than AIPAC, because I believe that AIPAC is hurting Israel, not helping.

  47. Dan Someone
    December 31, 2010 at 09:41

    I think I have to bow out of this discussion. I jumped in only because I disagreed with the original contention that any American Jew who questions Israeli hard-line policies and behavior is “ashamed” of being Jewish, or doesn’t know what it means to be Jewish. I would hope that both of those suggestions have been put to rest.

    I think I can say with some confidence that all of us — well, at least Steve Klein and I — have a desire for what’s best for Israel. It’s clear, however, that we have very different views of what “best for Israel” really means. In that light, I don’t think name-calling (“self-loathing Jew,” anyone?) is productive. But some of the comments are becoming increasingly inflammatory and inflamed, and I don’t see this discussion going anywhere positive. So I take my leave.

    Thank you all for an interesting couple of days. Shalom.

  48. December 31, 2010 at 10:08

    Hello Pigeon,
    We appear to have made some progress. You’ve gone from accusing me of racism to admitting some of your own..assuming a Black groupthink.

    I don’t doubt that many of the blacks of your acquaintance may think that way, but to say they all do..or that they don’t recognize people like Farrakhan and Al Sharpton as race pimps and bigots is dead wrong.

    Another interesting aspect..you’re apparently willing to give those blacks that are bigots and anti-Semites a pass for it. And don’t, please, put it out that the majority of black folks are too stupid to know who these people are.They know. Farrakhan was invited as a keynote speaker to the NAACP’s ‘Unity Day’ and got a standing O. But someone like Larry Elder, Juan Williams or Allen West wouldn’t soil themselves by going anywhere near him.

    I’ll briefly allude to the Sutton material again. Instead of searching the net for hits, try actually reading what I wrote and viewing the vids… unless you don’t trust your own eyes and ears or would just rather not know.A lot of Jews on the Left are in denial like that. The man you’re talking about, BTW is Rashid Khalidi, another close Obama buddy.(Isn’t it interesting how so many of his friends and associates are anti Israel and anti-Semitic bigots?)

    As for Obama’s relationship with Said, that’s also a matter of public record, as is Said’s plagiarism in books like ‘Orientalism’. If you think of him as ‘well regarded’, you’re certainly entitled.

    You’re also wrong about the Death Panels, but that’s a separate issue.

    Let’s come full circle to the original question – is Obama pro-Israel? Obviously if you identify with J-Street, you think so, but I gave you a number of things Obama has done that contradict that view.

    I have absolutely no intention of changing your mind, and believe it or not, I appreciate the clarity. Remick ( and you ) can disagree with Israeli policy all you want. But I would disagree that it is not a sign of self-hatred. You’re willing to ‘support Israel’ provided it’s not too Jewish, doesn’t cause you any embarrassment with your Leftist friends, is willing to accept indefensible borders, give up half of Jerusalem and its religious shrines, and ghetto-ize itself by accepting segregation on where Jews are allowed to live.

    You want to destroy the village in order to save it, and you and others like you unfortunately have no clue about how a strong,powerful Israel enables you to live comfortably in the Diaspora, or how that would change if Israel became weak and dismembered.

    Forgive me if I don’t call that ‘support’. It’s something quite different.

    As I said, I appreciate the clarity and have no intention of changing your views…this was for the swing votes, who aren’t afraid to take an honest look at things.

    Shabbat Shalom,
    Rob

  49. Steve Klein
    December 31, 2010 at 13:43

    Dan Someone :Do you honestly think the U.S. would get away with treating indigenous populations that way today?.

    Yes. Particularly if the indigenous populations presented a national security threat as the Palestinian Muslims do Israel. Look what the Russians do to their indigenous and threatening populations; the Chechens. And the Chinese to the Tibetans. Americans would be even more ruthless in their suppression. Nothing has changed in spite of what you would like to believe.

  50. Steve Klein
    December 31, 2010 at 14:20

    Dan Someone :I think I have to bow out of this discussion. I jumped in only because I disagreed with the original contention that any American Jew who questions Israeli hard-line policies and behavior is “ashamed” of being Jewish, or doesn’t know what it means to be Jewish. I would hope that both of those suggestions have been put to rest.
    I think I can say with some confidence that all of us — well, at least Steve Klein and I — have a desire for what’s best for Israel. It’s clear, however, that we have very different views of what “best for Israel” really means.
    Thank you all for an interesting couple of days. Shalom.

    Dan, I went back to my original statement. I wrote: “If Remnick is right – there is “a new generation of Jews growing up in the US” – who do not know or want to know our past, who are ashamed of Israel, etc., they are essentially ashamed of being Jewish. If Israel is not part of Jewish identity, then what does it mean to be a Jew?”

    I am going to stand by this statement for now. Obviously, as I wrote above, I do not know the heart of every Jew who is either outspokenly critical of what Israel does to protect her security or is active in some cause, organization, etc., which seeks to harm Israel. Nonetheless, I cannot help but believe much American Jewish alienation comes from the sense of shame that comes from identifying with and defending Israel in the midst of mounting international attacks on and criticism of the Jewish state; attacks which are not moral and may in fact be rooted in historic anti-Semitism. This to me is the test of a genuine friend vs. a “fair-weathered” friend. As they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and the rest fall away.

  51. December 31, 2010 at 20:15

    ” A hundred men on the battlefield is better than a thousand who never arrive”

    – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

    • Steve Klein
      December 31, 2010 at 22:03

      Rob, I think I read most of what you wrote about Obama. I do not think we disagree on the man whom I believe is very dangerous. That having been said, there may be something in which we do not agree. I am a thirty eight year (conservative) Republican who voted for George W. Bush in 2000; unfortunately. Between Bush’s repeated lies about Islam and Israel after 9/11, he lost my trust and confidence. I believe Bush and the millions of conservatives (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, rank and file conservative activists, etc.) and Republican party leaders who stood by Bush (carried water for him and his lies) for seven plus years post 9/11 are directly responsible for the rise of Barack Hussein Obama. This in no way is meant to excuse my ignorance when I voted for Bush, but later after doing my homework I realized Bush, his father and family friends amassed a personal fortunes doing business with the Saudis; Harken Energy, the Carlyle Group, etc. Baker-Botts. It’s not just Obama who owes the Saudis, the Bushes owe them as well. That is why Bush covered up Saudi complicity in the 9/11/01 atrocities, I am convinced. That is why we have Obama.

  52. Michele
    December 31, 2010 at 22:51

    I liked the comment by a Mr. Charles Nadler on a blog post on the Jewish Daily Forward site so much, I’ve decided to copy it below, as a response to Messrs. Klein and Miller, who have managed to persuade only themselves with their arguments:

    “So what is an Anti-Zionist Jew? Is it someone who criticizes Israel’s policies, but supports the existence of Israel?…It is time for Israel right or wrong folks to face reality. They don’t get to decide who is or is not a Jew. They don’t get to decide who is or is not pro Israel. In fact, one could argue that those who are quick to label anyone who criticizes Israeli policies an Anti-Zionist Jew, are themselves Anti-Zionist, because they take a position that prevents peace and so promotes a one state resolution, which in the end destroys Israel as a homeland of the Jewish people. Maybe they need to engage in rational discussion rather than name calling if they want to save Israel.” http://www.forward.com/articles/133965/#ixzz19iwJOeHE

    Like them or not, the Palestinian Arabs are here to stay, and somehow, someway, they and their Israeli Jewish neighbors are going to have to find a way to coexist. A two-state solution is the only resolution to the conflict that would preserve Israel as a Jewish state over the long term. The Obama Administration is doing the right thing for Israel in working toward a two-state solution, even if I sometimes disagree with their tactics and priorities. Also, as Jews, we really ought not to be shooting at each other in this debate, don’t you think? We have enough enemies without sowing divisions within our own community.

    • Steve Klein
      December 31, 2010 at 23:36

      Mr. Nadler wrote: “….It is time for Israel right or wrong folks to face reality. They don’t get to decide who is or is not a Jew….”

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      I only have one comment on this at the moment. What is Charles Nadler talking about? There are thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of Russian oleh who came to Israel under the Law of Return, claiming merely a Jewish grandfather or some other distant Jewish relative. Many of these who claimed to be Jews in order to escape Russia, cling to all kinds of Christian rituals and observances. Good grief. Israel decides who or who is not a Jew? It’s time for Israel to face reality?

  53. pigeonca
    December 31, 2010 at 23:50

    Yes, the Russians got to go to Israel, and some of them are Christian. But I have a question: Are they considered Jewish for marriage and burial? I know that the Ethiopians had to “convert,” even though they were real Jews.

    • Steve Klein
      January 1, 2011 at 00:12

      I don’t know about marriage. I think the Rabbinate denies them a Jewish burial, if they are not born of a Jewish mother or converted. Probably the same holds true with marriage. I might have some problems with this in the event that a soldier dies on the battlefield fighting for Israel. His family is distraught that he is not given a Jewish burial. I understand the humiliation. Still if my Jewishness were questioned, I would probably go through the ritual of conversion.

  54. pigeonca
    January 1, 2011 at 00:30

    I too would go through conversion if my Jewishness were questioned, but it would be a Reform or Conservative conversion, which i believe is not accepted by the Israeli rabbinate. My brother’s wife tried to get an Orthodox conversion, but they demanded that she obey all the 613 commandments, which wasn’t going to happen, and then – when they learned that my brother was a cohen – they said he couldn’t marry her (and they’d been married for 18 years before she had the experience – in Israel – that caused her to convert).

    Re. the Ethiopians, as I understand it, their Y-DNA is not Jewish, but nobody ever considered their mitochondrial DNA. My brother just got his DNA done and learned that our mitochondrial is sub-Saharan African, as is that of about 2% of all Ashkenazim. And we have matches among the Ethiopian Israeli population. So actually they are probably descendants of some of the original Jews, the female ones, which is what the law requires. Now as for some of the Yekkies… So I think the Ethiopians were very much discredited by the Israeli rabbinate.

    • Steve Klein
      January 1, 2011 at 00:52

      My brother’s wife tried to get an Orthodox conversion, but they demanded that she obey all the 613 commandments, which wasn’t going to happen,

      Why didn’t she say she would do the best she could? Who can obey all the 613 Commandments. Why should we think your brother’s wife was just using an excuse not to covert? I once took a non-Jew to an Orthodox rabbi. She said, “This is not for me!” She failed the test. Why shouldn’t we conclude your brother’s wife also failed the test? No one can keep all the commandments. We do the best we can. You brother’s wife did not even want to try. Did she?

  55. pigeonca
    January 1, 2011 at 03:49

    Why do you think she didn’t get converted?

    As I said, she had an experience in Israel that made her want to convert. After being married to my bro for 18 years, when she decided to convert, she meant it. Because of our family’s ties to Israel, she wanted a conversion that would be kosher over there, but no Orthodox rabbi was willing to do it because my brother (as a Cohen) wasn’t supposed to be married to her. So she got a Conservative conversion.

  56. Shoded Yam
    January 1, 2011 at 22:38

    While the piece in question is fairly honest and forthright, the commentary that follows is rife with hot air, bloviation, disingenuity and unbridled sophistry. Like it or not, the majority of Jews in the U.S. are Conservative, Reform or unaffiliated, and while the older generations(out of some misguided sense of loyalty or more often than not just plain laziness)would defer to the orthodox, their children and grandchildren are not so inclined. Why? Simple. They don’t like Orthodox Jews. In fact, they despise them. They watched the orthodox and haredi as they blockbusted their parents neighborhoods in places like 5-Towns and Lakewood. They’ve taken note of the misogyny, racism and latent theo-fascism of the rabbinical hierarchy and their congregants. They watched as the orthodox community gave succor to rabbis who molested children and laundered drug money and then later tried to spin and justify those crimes in the press rather than indulging in some much needed introspection and house cleaning. And finally, they took note that when the orthodox community couldn’t refute the numbers, they try to alter the equation by attempting to disenfranchise those who refuse to validate them and their agenda.

    Israel and Israelis for many years were able to sublimate, either by legislation or social ostracization, the inherent fascism of orthodox judaism. Due to relativley recent political developments, that is no longer possible. Theo-Fascism and racial incitement are now gov’t policy. But heres the thing of it. None of these things matter insofar as the shtetlment enetrprise is concerned. While I would like to ascribe the above noble intentions to the Conservative and Reform communities, the reality is that the petit-bougoise materialism of these movements while not completely negating their position, do diminsh anys claims to such moral rectitude. Nonetheless, at the end of the day they still don’t like the orthodox, there are more of them and their going to use their numbers and the attendant political influence to protect their intrests and promote their agenda accordingly in regards to Israel. And I wouldn’t bank too much on playing both sides against the middle as far as the American electorate is concerned. The republicans and the democrats don’t give a two-penny shit for Israel. What they care about is the Jewish vote. When the majority of American Jews start disengaing from Israel the major players within the American “establisment” will take note of this developement (if they haven’t already) and the arabists and oil lobby will once again be in the ascendant over at the pentagon and the state dept, sammy glicks like wolfowitz and perle notwithstanding.

    • pigeonca
      January 1, 2011 at 23:11

      Shodad, Well said! I like your new word: enshtetlment.

      As Israel’s Orthodox birthrate consumes the population, and as it still refuses to recognize Conservative and Reform rituals and recognitions, the country will drift further and further from American Jewry. Many of the liberal Israelis I know are moving here or contemplating a move, and if nothing is done Israel will find itself isolated from both the Jewish world and the Western world. Already, in Europe, Israelis are ostracized, but Europeans don’t merit credence on these matters, given their recent history. Still, the U.S. has always staunchly stood behind Israel, partly because of the Jewish vote. If Israel loses us, it will lose everything.

      It think it’s the duty of all liberal Jews to tell the Israeli people how they feel and to alert them to their potential future if they continue to allow the Orthodox to prevail. We mustn’t respect a religious group just because our ancestors came from that group. We need to give the frummers freedom to practice their religion but not to give them an entire country. They are a minority, a dangerous minority (like all fundamentalists), and they should be reminded of that fact whenever they act out.

      Of course there are Orthodox Jews who believe in liberty and fair play, but they are in the minority. They too need to speak up more strongly amongst their coreligionists. We all need to stop being afraid of insulting a religious sect when insult is deserved.

      I also want to people that – at this point in American history – the self-hating Jew is an Orthodox construct. Back in my parents’ era (the 20s through the 50s) there were many self-haters, mirroring attitudes of the larger society, but American anti-Semitism has mostly died, and the self-contempt that went along with it has vanished as well. On the other hand, there are many (young people especially) who don’t really consider their Jewishness to be particularly important. The continuation of our tribe, which is a miracle, doesn’t matter to them. Part of this, I’m certain, is because of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The message that – in the long run – Israel is largely correct in its conflict with the local Arabs is not reaching our kids. This needs to change, and I would say that change needs to begin in Israel and among the Orthodox.

  57. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 01:13

    Shoded Yam : The republicans and the democrats don’t give a two-penny shit for Israel. What they care about is the Jewish vote. When the majority of American Jews start disengaing (sic) from Israel the major players within the American “establisment” (sic) will take note of this developement (sic) (if they haven’t already) and the arabists and oil lobby will once again be in the ascendant over at the pentagon and the state deptP>

    Who denies this is the case? Beyond that, you are all over the place. You are unable to make a coherent argument or point.

    • pigeonca
      January 2, 2011 at 01:46

      Steve, It is now noted that you can type and spell and must correct anybody who does not do so as well as you. Shoded Yam’s argument is thoroughly coherent to anybody who is not hung up on minutiae. He’s blaming the Orthodox. I’m guessing that you’re Orthodox, or at least a fellow traveler.

      • Shoded Yam
        January 2, 2011 at 02:20

        Thank you, Pigeon. Very astute, very intuitive. :-)

  58. Shoded Yam
    January 2, 2011 at 01:56

    Do me a favor stevie, try not to project your inability to to spot the thesis of the argument as some sort of defect on my part. Stupidly enough, you compound the error by responding like a whiny shit who doesn’t get the joke. Okay sparky, once more from the top;

    Heres your inanity;

    “…If Remnick is right – there is “a new generation of Jews growing up in the US” – who do not know or want to know our past, who are ashamed of Israel, etc., they are essentially ashamed of being Jewish. If Israel is not part of Jewish identity, then what does it mean to be a Jew?”

    and now stevie (you’re still with me? I’m not going to fast am I?) my reply;

    Apparently steven, my previous commment was a little obtuse. Sorry. Perhaps next time I’ll condense it to a PowerPoint presntation. For the moment, if you’ll forgive me, I’ll try to use smaller words with less syllables ;-)

    American Jews are not ashamed of being Jewish, they’re not even ashamed of Israel per se as Remnick implies, but rather they are ashamed and disgusted by orthodox jews. Since the orthodox jewish worldview (with all the repercussions that that will have for secular american jewry) has now become the operating philosophy of the Israeli gov’t it has now become the face of the Israeli people. As such, it is contrary to the core beliefs of most young American Jews and cannot be ignored as was in the past. But even without the moral rationale, for reasons that I previously listed in some detail, they still despise American Orthodox Jews. Since the beneficiaries of the shtetlments are those same orthodox jews, statements such as Remnick’s are accurate and visceral.

  59. Shoded Yam
    January 2, 2011 at 02:04

    And stevie lad, one other thing me bucko. Pointing out spelling errors in leiu of comprehension is bad form. Try it again, and I’ll tear you a new one.

    • Steve Klein
      January 2, 2011 at 02:40

      Fair enough. I’ve made plenty of spelling errors myself. I did not like where you were coming from. Maybe in time I will learn to appreciate you point of view. I hope not. How about answering my question about settlements? Furthermore, who speaks for Orthodox Judaism in your opinion?

  60. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 02:08
  61. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 02:37

    President Obama considers Ma’ale Adumim a “settlement.” Do you also consider Ma’ale Adumim a settlement?

  62. pigeonca
    January 2, 2011 at 02:47

    Steve, I’m of mixed feelings re. Ma’ale Adumim. First of all, I believe in a two state solution, with either Ramallah as the Palestinian capitol, or – if it’s even possible – with Jerusalem as a shared capitol, but I doubt it’s possible.

    Ma’ale, however, is not contiguous with Jerusalem. So it should probably be part of Palestine. On the other hand, it IS a suburb of Jeru and it’s been around for decades. It is also for the most part not built on land that once belonged to Palestinian families.

    Perhaps some sort of land swap can be arranged to resolve this situation. In any event, I do believe that most of the settlements will need to be dismantled in order for a two state solution to work. And I’m not such a believer in peace, love and happiness to expect cats and dogs to live together in harmony – except for very special cats and dogs.

  63. Shoded Yam
    January 2, 2011 at 03:02

    While most of the areas that are adjacent to Jerusalem such as Maale Adumim, Gilo, etc are illegal settlements according to international, their established integration with the rest of the city makes removing them problematic if not impossible. In favor of the residents of Maale Adumim and Gilo, and possibly Ariel, I suggest the evacuation of all settlements east of Ariel and a curtailment on settlements in the Gush and Kiryat Arba. Then we’ll see if this is about the land of Israel, all for one and one for all, or just about holding on to a discounted villa built on confiscated land with an interest free mortgage.

  64. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 11:04

    Shoded Yam :While most of the areas that are adjacent to Jerusalem such as Maale Adumim, Gilo, etc are illegal settlements according to international, their established integration with the rest of the city makes removing them problematic if not impossible. In favor of the residents of Maale Adumim and Gilo, and possibly Ariel, I suggest the evacuation of all settlements east of Ariel and a curtailment on settlements in the Gush and Kiryat Arba. Then we’ll see if this is about the land of Israel, all for one and one for all, or just about holding on to a discounted villa built on confiscated land with an interest free mortgage.

    Why are you worried about what “international” thinks? Where was “international” during the Shoah? What will you position be when “international” say the Jews are illegitmate because that is what oil-producing Muslim and Muslim-Arab states say?

    • Shoded Yam
      January 2, 2011 at 18:15

      It’s not what I think that matters stevie. “International” was a typo as I’m sure you understood from the context of the post. What I meant to say was “international law”. And yes, whether you like it or not sparky, Gilo and Maale Adumumim were built on internationally contested land, and therefore are illegal themselves. It’s Israel unfortunate lot to have stupidly signed on to several internantional agreements regarding this and that, that show that in fact that they do respect the opinions of the world in general and international law in particular. (I’m being tongue-in-cheek btw) In any event, apparently once again you have failed to spot the substance of the comment (which was a suggestion to expose the fallacy of the concept that support for the shtetlments equals support for the state)and respond accordingly. Instead you’re coming off like Curly from The Three Stooges; “I’m tryin’ to think but nuttin’s happenin’!” As to the rest of your histrionics, I don’t respond to arguments constructed of straw, and if you keep wasting my time, I’m not going to respond at all.

  65. Martin Knutsen
    January 2, 2011 at 13:57

    Very fascinating discussion, and quite illuminating in its own way. Steve Klein writes concerning international law:”Why are you worried about what “international” thinks? Where was “international” during the Shoah? ”

    Wich is kind of ironic, because much of the idea of international law came out of the ruins of WW2, among them the principles of human rights wich were designed to keep genocides from happening again. Israel itself was created by the “international community”, partly as a response to the shoah. The principles of the international common is what keeps modern economical society together. Yet somehow the argument is frequently made by right-wing pro-Israelis that international law is a “suicide pact”, etc. Yet it is that international framework wich stands as a guarantee that the industrial countries will not accept another shoah.
    I see Klein above saying that the land of Israel was granted to the jewish people by God, wich I guess is why he is dismissive of international law. The answer to that is that the concept of international law is partly built to regulate all those who hear the voice of god supporting their various political initiatives. If Israel refuses to follow international law, why should any of its neighbours feel bound by it? And why should those who do follow the international framework support a theocratic apartheid state? (And if you argue that Europe is anti-semitic anyway, mr. Klein, then I have some Hellfire missiles and a OECD membership you might be happy to loose in order not to have to deal with racists…) Israels current path is leading to its delegitimization. The rest of the world doesnt accept prophecy as a fundament for politics anymore.

    • Steve Klein
      January 2, 2011 at 16:50

      C:\Users\steve\Pictures\League of Nations Mandate Palestine.gif

  66. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 16:41

    Mr. Knutsen, unlike Israel, Germany crushed, terrorized, occupied sovereign nation-states, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, Russia, etc. The last recognized sovereign in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) was the Ottoman Empire, which was defeated by the Allies in the first world war. The League of Nations Mandate for a Jewish National Home in Palestine was the result. Jordan illegally occupied Judea and Samaria after the 1949 War of Independence; it had no title to these territories. In fact Jordan itself was an illegal construct as it was part of the League of Nations Mandate for the Jewish National Home. Germany forcibly transferred (deported) entire populations east, either for slave labor or (the Jews and other subhumans) for extermination. Hitler transferred Germans into these states in order to achieve Lebensraum or “living space.” Are you suggesting Israel’s wars of self-defense are similar? The International Court of Justice, the international community, etc., tries in vain to argue Israel’s case is similar, on the basis of the 4th Geneva Convention which was applied to Nazi Germany. “Fourth Geneva Convention applies only, according to Article 2, to occupation of territory belonging to ‘another High Contracting Party'; and Jordan cannot (did not) show any such title to the West Bank, nor Egypt to Gaza…”

  67. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 17:18

    Isee Klein above saying that the land of Israel was granted to the jewish people by God, wich I guess is why he is dismissive of international law. The answer to that is that the concept of international law is partly built to regulate all those who hear the voice of god supporting their various political initiatives.

    “The Bible is the most read book and the most published book in the world….”

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_most_widely_read_book_in_the_world#ixzz19tK6ZxY7

    “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

    “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Gen chapter 17)

    • Shoded Yam
      January 2, 2011 at 18:53

      Much like international law, the bible is a contrivance. The difference is that the validity of international law lies in the fact that it is mutually agreed upon contrivance by 99% of the established nation-states on the globe, while the substance of the bible does not enjoy that status. Hence it is a prejudicial source, and therefore irrelevant.

  68. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 18:40

    Shoded, why do you call me Stevie? Only my girlfriends called me (this endearing term) “Stevie,” and you aren’t my girlfriend, are you?

    Sparky?

    You wrote, “Gilo and Maale Adumumim were built on internationally contested land, and therefore are illegal…” I don’t accept your premise that the land of Israel (any of it) is “contested land.” The land of Israel belongs to Israel. If it were – in your words – “contested land” how then can it be illegal? You say if I keep wasting your time with histrionics (example?) you will simply pick up your marbles and go home (Waaah).

    Support for Israel’s “settlements” (communities in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, Gaza, etc.) has / had nothing to do with support or non-support for the state. When did I say otherwise?

  69. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 19:24

    Shoded Yam :Much like international law, the bible is a contrivance. The difference is that the validity of international law lies in the fact that it is mutually agreed upon contrivance by 99% of the established nation-states on the globe, while the substance of the bible does not enjoy that status. Hence it is a prejudicial source, and therefore irrelevant.

    Is Israel also a contrivance? Are the Jews a contrivance? Many believe the “Jews” are contrivance; a fiction. What will you say when 99% of the established nation-states decide Israel is an illegitimate contrivance? Don’t say “it cannot happen.” It can and perhaps will happen.

  70. Shoded Yam
    January 2, 2011 at 19:26

    I don’t know about your imaginary girlfriends but in my case “Stevie” is being used as a diminutive. Maybe in their case as well ;-)

    “You say if I keep wasting your time with histrionics (example?) you will simply pick up your marbles and go home (Waaah)…”

    Here’s your example;

    “the Jews are illegitmate because that is what oil-producing Muslim and Muslim-Arab states say?”

    You sound like the towel-boy from the mikveh worrying about an imaginary towel shortage.

    “The land of Israel belongs to Israel”

    Some of it does, some of it doesn’t. Its the parts that don’t(west bank and gaza) that are in contention.

    “…Support for Israel’s “settlements” (communities in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, Gaza, etc.) has / had nothing to do with support or non-support for the state. When did I say otherwise?”

    You know stevie, the fact that your a disingenous, non-compes-mentis nitwit is already well-established. Heres a tip sparky. Don’t double down on your infirmity by making the assumption that the rest of us are suffering from the same condition.

  71. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 19:43

    Shoded Yam :“the Jews are illegitmate because that is what oil-producing Muslim and Muslim-Arab states say?”

    Please do not take me out of context. It only serves to further diminishe your credibility with me; what little you have. (Perhaps not with others.) I did not write, “the Jews are illegitmate” because the Arabs say so, and you know it. I wrote: WHAT WILL you(r) position be when (or if) “international” says the Jews are illegitmate because that is what oil-producing Muslim and Muslim-Arab states say?”

  72. Shoded Yam
    January 2, 2011 at 20:16

    “…WHAT WILL you(r) position be when (or if) “international” says the Jews are illegitmate because that is what oil-producing Muslim and Muslim-Arab states say?”

    It’s compltely in “context”. That is to say within the context of the rest of these strawmen that you have posted. The fact that you pose the question to me is indicative of the fact that you see this as a distinct possibility. I do not. Pace youself steven. I’m gonna be urinating on you for some time to come.

    • Steve Klein
      January 2, 2011 at 21:06

      Maybe you will be urinating on my grave if you are successful. Apparently you’ve not read nor paid much, if any, attention to what is coming out of the Muslim and the Muslim-Arab world about the Jews; the dehumanization of the Jews, etc. Maybe you aren’t, like me, a “son of apes and pigs.” Maybe you are a better Jew because you are eager to give precious land to Israel’s enemies; eager to retreat in the face of the Jihad. Perhaps you will tell me, “Look. I served in the IDF! I’ve done my time. How about you?” You don’t act like a proud Jew. That’s for sure Shoded. The only thing I get from you (like the rest of our enemies) is that you want to urinate on a fellow Jew.

      • Shoded Yam
        January 3, 2011 at 00:45

        My service in Zahal is not relevant to this discussion and I don’t really think you want to make it a relevant point, now do you? Because if you do, we’d have to bring up the fact that you did not serve. Then of course we’d have to start discussing who actualized his zionism or who sat around in the back row of the shtiebel flapping his gums. I don’t really want to go there. Do you?

        “You don’t act like a proud Jew”

        Listen, jackass. I’m not mother theresa, and unlike you I didn’t annoint my self as spokeman for the collective, protector of the realm and defender of the faith. And don’t kid yourself stevie. No one over the age of 12 is buying into this conceit where your “love” of the Jewish people is trumping your self-interest.

        “…The only thing I get from you (like the rest of our enemies) is that you want to urinate on a fellow Jew.” Your conflating your interests with the collective. I’m here to tell you that these things are mutually exclusive. Your judaism has nothing to do with it. I’m sorry but you’ll have to accept responsability for being an asshole all on your own, without the jewish community picking up the slack for your flawed character. My advice; Bring an umbrella.

  73. pigeonca
    January 2, 2011 at 23:22

    The UN declared Israel an independent state in 1947, following which the Arabs started a war and lost much of the territory they could have had. When the war ended, most of the world accepted the ensuing borders. However, the 1967 war gave us the Occupied Territories and – probably because the Israeli PR people weren’t as skilled at proclaiming victimhood as the Palestinians were – the world did not accept those new borders.

    Right or wrong is not the issue. When other countries go to war and the borders shift, there is usually a population exchange. People move to be with like-minded people, their own ethnic groups, their side. Israel probably should have kicked out the Arabs and sent them to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. But they didn’t. I don’t think they originally intended to keep the Territories, but the Orthodox latched onto the Allon plan of establishing watchtower settlements and the rest is history.

    Because the rest of the world wants the Territories to become a Palestinian State, Israel must let it happen, meanwhile strengthening the separation fence to keep terrorists out. Israeli Arabs can either stay in Israel or move to Palestine; that will be their choice. To me the only issue is Jerusalem, which I don’t think the Palestinians deserve, given their handling of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City when Jordan ruled it.

    Perhaps some day, when the Palestinian State calms down and accepts its territorial limits, the wall can come down and the two countries can become friendly neighbors. But the present situation cannot continue. As long as the Biblically motivated Orthodox persist in maintaining their “shtetlments,” there will be no solution.

    • Steve Klein
      January 3, 2011 at 00:01

      “Because the rest of the world wants the Territories to become a Palestinian State, Israel must let it happen, meanwhile strengthening the separation fence to keep terrorists out.”

      Even if a Muslim-terror state in Israel’s heartland will mean the mass-slaughter of Israel’s Jews, you are OK with that? Because that is what it will mean. You are willing to gamble with thousands of innocent Jewish lives because the “world wants” a Muslim-terror state at Israel’s throat?

  74. Steve Klein
    January 2, 2011 at 23:56

    pigeonca :The UN declared Israel an independent state in 1947, following which the Arabs started a war and lost much of the territory they could have had. When the war ended, most of the world accepted the ensuing borders. However, the 1967 war gave us the Occupied Territories and – probably because the Israeli PR people weren’t as skilled at proclaiming victimhood as the Palestinians were – the world did not accept those new borders.

    Dear Pegeonca, before I read on, I must correct you on one important point. When the 1949 war ended there were NO “borders,” but armistice lines. This is an important distinction because in the ensuing armistice negotiations, the Arab states (Eygpt, Syria, Jordan) made it explicit in writing, these armistice lines were absolutely NOT to be recognized borders. They expected within months to push these armistice lines back into Israel and to ultimately destroy the Jewish state. The world did not accept nor recognize new borders because at the Arab’s insistence, they were not borders. Now the world at large has bought into, and continues to propagate these lies about 1949 or 1967 “borders” when there are none.

    • MarcV
      January 4, 2011 at 22:35

      Steve- Congratulations for holding your own in these comments. It is important to bring up the history of the region since the British Mandate, as you have done. You are correct that Britain arbitrarily cut off Jordan from the “Palestine Mandate” then procrastinated in allowing a Jewish homeland in what was left until Israel declared independence.

      I believe whole-heartedly that Jordan is really the “Palestinian” state. Reagan’s proposal in 1982 even advocated West Bank Palestinan autonomy “in association with Jordan”. I believe Israel made a big mistake in its peace treaty with Jordan (that Jordan’s parliament is attempting to abrogate). They should have simply divided the West Bank between them.

      But there is the issue of Palestinians who live in the West Bank now. What do you propose be done? Exile them all to Jordan? How would that be accomplished? While I don’t think a Palestinian state in 90+% of the West Bank would be viable, you can’t absorb them into Israel without denying them political rights, which would be unacceptable to almost everyone.

      The world should not have perpetuated this mythology of a Palestinian ethnic group for this long. I say, mark the border near the separation barrier, keep the large settlement blocs and East Jerusalem, then have Jordan absorb the large Arab population centers. Gaza does not need to be part of this. It can become a large city-state like Bahrain or Singapore once the thugs who rule it agree to peace.

      • Steve Klein
        January 4, 2011 at 23:20

        Marc, little doubt you speak for many on the right with your idea of a Palestinian state in part of the West Bank, while retaining the larger settlement blocks. This is essentially what Bush laid out in his letter to former Prime Minister Sharon; a letter which Obama and his Sec. of State refuse to acknowledge by the way. I take what you would call a “hard line” stance. I do not accept that Israel should give up any Jewish land. Of course, I see the trend; that Israel is being increasingly isolated and demonized by the international community. She is becoming a pariah state. It does not matter what she does, she is hated. I believe the two factors primarily responsible for this increased isolation are historic anti-Semitism and Muslim / Muslim-Arab oil. If you look at the history of wars – World War II for example – after the war, millions of ethnic Germans were expelled from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, etc. That is what happens when you lose a war. Gemany lost. Had Ben-Gurion done this following the 1949 War of Independence, Israel would have no internal Muslim problem today. It is my view that should Israel establish a Muslim state in 90% of the WB as you and many others believe she will, this state will arm to the teeth like Hezbollah is doing to the north and Hamas to the south – Israel will be surrounded on all sides. Should there be another regional war, I can conceive of an unprecedented mass-slaughter of Jews in Israel by her Palestinian Muslim ‘neighbors’. If that were to happen, what would you advise Israel’s leaders to do with these Palestinians?

  75. Steve Klein
    January 3, 2011 at 00:50

    Shoded Yam :My service in Zahal is not relevant to this discussion and I don’t really think you want to make it a relevant point, now do you? Because if you do, we’d have to bring up the fact that you did not serve. Then of course we’d have to start discussing who actualized his zionism or who sat around in the back row of the shtiebel flapping his gums. I don’t really want to go there. Do you?blockquote>

    You don’t know me. You don’t know my life’s experiences. You don’t know anything about me, now, do you? Who is flapping his or her gums?

  76. Shoded Yam
    January 3, 2011 at 00:56

    Fair enough. Did you serve? When? Which unit? And for how long? Now remember dum dum. I didn’t make this an issue, you did.

    • Steve Klein
      January 3, 2011 at 01:09

      No. I Googled your pseudonym (Shoded Yam) that you hide behind – cowards hide behind pseudonyms in my view. I give ouy my real name. I read where you made it an issue. I owe you nothing. I will meet you anytime; anywhere. I am not afraid of any man.

  77. Steve Klein
    January 3, 2011 at 01:15

    Shoded Yam Sat. Jul 11, 2009
    You know what Franky?

    I’m an Israeli citizen. Served as a paratrooper in Zahal for 3 years (1985-88). By the way, Frank. Don’t remember seeing you there. I love the way the testicularly challenged are always so willing to sacrafice other peoples kids to compensate for their “shortcomings”. I now have a 3 year old son, also an Israeli citizen. I have no intention on sacraficing him on the altar of the state, so that lazy religous zionists, ultra-orthodozx jews don’t have to work (because their “studying”) can demand free housing and utilities under the hackneyed guise of a “spiritual and national imperative” or to satisfy the holocaust revenge fantasies of gutless, insecure American Jews who are big talkers in cyber-space and at the local synagogue, but in the end have no problem sacraficing my kids blood because of their penis envy.

    Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/bintel-blog/109282/##ixzz19vGjCVcD

    • Shoded Yam
      January 3, 2011 at 01:26

      Thats right folks. You think stevie is a loser? Well let me tell you the story of Frank…

  78. pigeonca
    January 3, 2011 at 01:18

    Steve, When you quibble over the concept of borders vs. armistice lines, you’re once again dithering over details. It doesn’t matter what the world called those lines; what matters is that prior to 1967 the world (other than the Arab world) was on Israel’s side. I’m old enough to remember when it was cool for gentiles to volunteer on a kibbutz, including plenty of Europeans, and Israeli folk songs were sung in coffee houses where today the song is “Free Palestine Now.”

    As to a Muslim terrorist state being in Israel’s heartland: if there were a Palestinian State, it would be walled off and no more in the heartland than are Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or Egypt, all of whose population (if not their governments) are potentially at the throats of innocent Israelis whenever they decide to start another war. What needs to be done is to avoid another war, which is by ceding and containing the Territories.

  79. Shoded Yam
    January 3, 2011 at 01:23

    It’s like the old bit where they call for volunteers, and everybody steps back except one guy. Well that one guy is stevie. Once it became understood, that within the context of talkbacks, the currency was about being clever and possesing a modicum of logic and erudition, names become unimportant, thus heralding the advent of the avatar. Unfortunately stevie didn’t get the memo, and is now, figuratively speaking, standing alone on the street corner in his underwear. So now he’s p*ssed off, hence the tantrum. Beyond that, when I first started commenting on talkbacks several years ago, I would use my real name. Then some kahanist shitbag had the bright idea of looking up my phone number and leaving threatening messages for my wife and kid to hear. Cut the crap steven. Your response is that of a weakling who finds himself up against the wall. This is not about bravery on the battlefield. This is about a debate that you’ve lost and now you think you’ll regain some semblance of dignity by calling me out. Get a life, old man.

    • Steve Klein
      January 3, 2011 at 01:41

      I’ve been warned in the past by moderators because I did not back down in the face of veiled threats from other men. Perhaps the moderator of this list will also warn me. I can take care of myself. I took a few years out of my life to ensure that. If your Kahanist neighbor was a man, he would meet you face to face unarmed, as I would any man. He would not be calling and leaving threatening messages for your wife and kid to hear. Men do not do this. When they call for volunteers, I have never cowered in fear. Nor will I. As I said “Shoded,” you don’t know me.

      • Shoded Yam
        January 3, 2011 at 01:49

        I haven’t threatened you stevie. I humiliated you. Whatever. Go find Frank and you can cry on each other shoulders. I have better things to do.

        L’hitraot

  80. pigeonca
    January 3, 2011 at 01:27

    Shoded, I took a gander at that Forward article (Bintel-blog) and as soon as I saw the name Frank Lutz, I cringed. That guy is the biggest liar in American politics. Any organization that uses his services gets no respect from me, and if the Israel Project is one of his clients, say no more!

    Once upon a time I was an independent voter and at times voted for Republican candidates, but Frank Lutz and his policies turned me into a born-again Dem. He’s the guy who hammers the phrase “What the American people want…” (fill in the blank). Unfortunately, because our educational system has turned to turds, people believe the jerk.

    • Shoded Yam
      January 3, 2011 at 01:37

      I’ve heard of Frank Lutz as well. A dyed-in-the-wool a-hole if there ever was one. Must be one of stevies friends. I didn’t realize at the time of that comment that that Frank and Frank Lutz were one and the same. So much the better. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Btw, are you from California? How do you like this rain we’re having?

      • Steve Klein
        January 3, 2011 at 01:55

        I am an “independent” conservative. My reasons for supporting our right to the land of Israel (all of it) are manifest. Unlike Luntz, I do not conceal them.

  81. pigeonca
    January 3, 2011 at 01:43

    Yes, I live in L.A., right near LACMA. My dogs keep tracking in mud.

    • Shoded Yam
      January 3, 2011 at 01:51

      Me too. And I just returned from visiting the Petersen Automotive Museum with my son, right near by LACMA. :-)

      • pigeonca
        January 3, 2011 at 02:08

        I can see the Petersen from my house. Can’t see Russia though.

  82. Martin Knutsen
    January 3, 2011 at 01:59

    Steve Klein :Mr. Knutsen, unlike Israel, Germany crushed, terrorized, occupied sovereign nation-states, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, Russia, etc. The last recognized sovereign in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) was the Ottoman Empire, which was defeated by the Allies in the first world war. The League of Nations Mandate for a Jewish National Home in Palestine was the result. Jordan illegally occupied Judea and Samaria after the 1949 War of Independence; it had no title to these territories. In fact Jordan itself was an illegal construct as it was part of the League of Nations Mandate for the Jewish National Home. Germany forcibly transferred (deported) entire populations east, either for slave labor or (the Jews and other subhumans) for extermination. Hitler transferred Germans into these states in order to achieve Lebensraum or “living space.” Are you suggesting Israel’s wars of self-defense are similar? The International Court of Justice, the international community, etc., tries in vain to argue Israel’s case is similar, on the basis of the 4th Geneva Convention which was applied to Nazi Germany. “Fourth Geneva Convention applies only, according to Article 2, to occupation of territory belonging to ‘another High Contracting Party’; and Jordan cannot (did not) show any such title to the West Bank, nor Egypt to Gaza…”

    I am amazed at the skill wich you are able to turn the subject away from the original point, and steer it towards some sort of nazification of Israel. Well done. If you have the ability to read, you would see that I was merely pointing out the irony of you asking why Israel should care about international opinion and law, since (you claim) there was none to be had during the shoah, when the whole concept of internationalk law was built in order to prevent industrial powers from engaging in all out war or genocide ever again. You made my point about the necessity for a international common and a basic respect for human rights into an accusation of nazi-tendencies. Again, well done sir, 20 hasbara points to you.

    • Steve Klein
      January 3, 2011 at 02:21

      Do you believe Israel is engaging in all our or partial genocide?

  83. andrew lenaghan
    January 4, 2011 at 21:11

    what is israel doing to end its status as an apartheid state?

    • Michele
      January 4, 2011 at 21:36

      Andrew: Why don’t you ask what the Palestinians are doing to rid themselves of the terrorists in their midst? Or what they’re doing to prove to the Israelis that they are willing to coexist side by side with them in peace? You seem to think that the entire problem is all Israel’s fault. It is not. If you don’t think that the Jewish people require a homeland of their own, but instead should exist as minority populations in any country they inhabit, you are foolishly ignorant of history.

  84. Dom
    January 4, 2011 at 22:06

    Steve Klein :
    You are ashamed of your Jewishness. Fine. But please be honest. Don’t couch it in “ancient” principles of equity, humanity, conciliation. Where can we find these ancient principles?

    Where can we find these principles?? In the Torah. Is that not what makes us Jewish?

    • Steve Klein
      January 4, 2011 at 23:04

      You are right about the Torah. It is what makes us Jewish. It is our covenant. A large part of our covenant is the land of Israel. The land is our covenant with “God” (if you will). Maybe that is why millions of Jews over the centuries in Diaspora prayed, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

      • Cadmus
        January 5, 2011 at 02:44

        What determines a jew ? Because palestinians and jews share the same Y-DNA E1b1b1a which is a hamitic DNA. Actually the jews are not semites because the semites carry Y-DNA J. Jews share this Y-DNA with pelestinians, libanese, greeks, macedonians, albanians, egyptians, berbers, tauregs, ethiopians, eritreans and somalis.
        According to the bible Noahs son Ham got four sons; Cush ( ethiopians, somalis, eritreans) Canaan ( palistineans, jews, lebanese) Mizraim ( egyptians) and Phut ( libyans, berbers, tauregs). The interesting thing is that all these people share the same Y-DNA E1b1b1a and therefore the jews are not sons of shem but sons of Ham.
        But anyways , palestinians and jews share the same DNA and actually the palistineans are descendants of jews who first converted to christianity, later to islam and then they were culturally arabized, so the palistians are not genetically arabs.
        But if you believe that blood is what determines a jew then the palestineans are also jews or what ? If you believe religion determines a jew, then what about you and all the other secular jews, do you then have a right to live in Israel ? And if religion does not matter ( like the zionists believe) then the palestinians should also have a god given right to live in Israel/Palestine because genetically the palestinenans are jews and actually more palestineans than ashkenazi jews carry the Y-DNA E1b1b1a.

      • pigeonca
        January 5, 2011 at 05:48

        Cadmus, You need to do some more research on DNA. Jews have all sorts. My brother recently had his done by FTDNA and learned that his Y-DNA is R1b1b2, which is the most prevalent DNA amongst white men in Europe, but his is a middle-eastern variant and the second most common among Cohanim (yes, there is more than one DNA for Cohanim). Even more interesting, his (and my) mitochondrial DNA is sub-Saharan African, which a small cluster of Ashkenazim have (about 2 percent).

        The knowledge of DNA is in its earliest stages. Much more research needs to be done. We shouldn’t use it to ascertain the legitimacy of anybody’s claims to Israel.

  85. Nick T
    January 5, 2011 at 00:32

    It seems to me that many American Jews are in the position, relative to Israel, of people whose friend has drug problems and consequently commits foolish and self-harming actions. You cherish your friend dearly, you wish they would stop, and you try to get them to think again – but when they refuse, you have no obligation, desire, or reason to endorse their mistakes, much less to join them in their self-destructive behavior.

  86. Steve Klein
    January 5, 2011 at 02:08

    KarinJR, you wrote: “If a generation of Jews who do not live in and have never visited Israel believe that the Israeli government is behaving in actions that they consider morally reprehensible (I’m not even saying that they are – for the sake of argument let’s assume that Israel’s actions are morally neutral) they will not feel a sense of connection to that country. Why should they?”

    *********************************************************************************

    You have been honest with me. Now I will be honest with you. I do not for a minute believe American Jews are distancing themselves from Israel because Israel’s “actions are morally reprehensible.” Just as our parents and / or grandparents fell silent during the Nazi genocide against Europe’s Jews, largely out of fear of an anti-Semitic backlash, so it is with America’s Jews today; in particular our Jewish youth. Moral cowardice, by and large, is the reason American Jews are distancing themselves from and criticizing Israel today.

    • Michele
      January 5, 2011 at 02:48

      Steve: You may not believe that young American Jews consider Israel’s actions morally reprehensible and therefore are distancing themselves from her, but you are quite wrong about that. Because Jews in the U.S. have become increasingly assimilated and overt anti-Semitism in this country has receded dramatically over the years, these young Jews don’t think anti-Semitism is an issue for them. Most Jews are politically liberal, humanitarian types who do not want to identify with a country about which they know little and which appears to them to be acting in an oppressive, racist manner. I don’t agree with these young people, but I recognize where they’re coming from.

      • Steve Klein
        January 5, 2011 at 07:34

        I should have added “fear” as a motive for why American Jews (many) are alienating themselves from Israel. It does not matter that there is no “overt” anti-Semitism in the U.S. at this juncture – there is anti-Semitism; always will be. People have a desire to be liked and to fit in. People do not enjoy being an object of hate or ridicule, what have you. Standing by Israel – a country with a just cause – you may not (probably will not) be liked. I have learned this first hand in my life.

  87. lou
    January 5, 2011 at 02:40

    Mr. Klein is a fundamentalist. After reading his posts, it seems silly that he bothers to answer people’s legitimate questions, and silly that anyone reads his own posts. His mind is the claustrophobic space of someone with no questions, only answers.

    • Steve Klein
      January 5, 2011 at 07:30

      If you read my posts above, you would have read I do not consider myself a religious Jew. An observant or Orthodox Jew observes the commandments in all their detail. Because someone believes in God does not make them a “fundamentalist” or Orthodox.

  88. pigeonca
    January 5, 2011 at 03:29

    I was in Israel a few years ago and had an interesting conversation with a kibbutznik. She said she’d been in Queens, NY that year and had seen the “fearful Jews of the Diaspora.” When she told me what neighborhood she was in, I realized that the fear on the faces of those Jews had nothing to do with the Diaspora or anti-Semitism. It was a bad neighborhood, a scary neighborhood with high crime, hookers and drug dealers.

  89. Robert
    January 5, 2011 at 04:54

    “It is fairly easy to have one man, one vote plurality when you have civilized, loyal and friendly citizens living in your land. Israel does not have this luxury.”

    It’s true that the murdering, raping, land-thieving “Zionists” are uncivilized . . . yet the rights of democracy extend even to them.

    Of course Mr Klein is intending to refer to the native inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, and like all racists through history, justifies his racism by slandering the other as barbarous.

    I can only pity the emptiness of Mr. Klein . . . obviously he realizes he is not worth much in himself, so he begs other Jews to join him in the defense of segragation, bigotry, oppression and thievery, mistakenly associating his pathetic hatefulness and fanaticism with his “Jewishness.”

    To paraphrase a great Jew; little Klein can rant and whine and cast out devils in Juadism’s name, but in truth, he never knew Juadism.

    • Steve Klein
      January 5, 2011 at 07:45

      If you read through my posts above Robert, I don’t think you will find this word “barbarian.” But let’s examine it since you brought it up. If you have a culture that celebrates death rather than life how would you define that culture? On 9/11/01 there were spontaneous celebrations throughout the Palestinian territories. Did you watch the news-feed? Did you watch the videos? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrM0dAFsZ8k We often hear the refrain, “The Jews love life but we love death.” Polls indicate, large numbers of Palestinians support suicide / homicide bombings (“martyrdom” operations) against innocent Jewish women and children. Is this civilized behavior in your view Robert?

  90. James Wilson
    January 5, 2011 at 05:42

    I’ve read this entire thread and have found it fascinating. I’m a gentile in my mid 50’s from mid America. Growing up I don’t remember much in the way of anti-Semitism but I do remember always pulling for Israel. Not for any religious reason but because of always wanting to help the underdog. Especially when they were as much a underdog as Israel was. Over those years Israel was always able to come out on top. Surrounded on all sides they were able to battle several countries at the same time and win. Who wouldn’t be impressed.
    Somewhere over the years that has changed. Israel doesn’t look to be the underdog anymore. You know who does? Palestinians.
    To most western eyes they are living under appalling conditions. You can argue that they aren’t a separate people or they shouldn’t be on the land in the first place or they are led by a terrorist organization or that they are all intrinsically evil. I don’t know. That might all be true but it doesn’t change the perception that they are an oppressed people and Israel looks to be the oppressor. The current Israeli government’s actions seems bound and determined to reinforce that perception.
    This is just one person’s observations but I don’t believe I’m alone in feeling this way.

    • pigeonca
      January 5, 2011 at 06:07

      James, Thank you for such a clear statement. It may only be perception rather than reality that the Palestinians are the victims, but perceptions do matter. That is the point. Israel is doing itself no good by acting like an oppressor, even if they’re oppressing people bent upon destroying Israel. Of course it’s way more complicated, but most of the world doesn’t see complications.

    • Steve Klein
      January 5, 2011 at 07:49

      Your perception (albeit not an accurate one nor a right or fair one) is the reason so many American Jews are distancing themselves from Israel. You’ve got to know the history of this conflict – you need to spend some time on the ground in Israel – to have a better understanding of what Israel is up against. It’s not pretty. It’s easy to sit here in the comforts and the serenity of America and pass judgment on Israel.

      • James Wilson
        January 5, 2011 at 17:24

        “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,”

        I guess you and I must have differing opinions on what the word “oppressed” means.

  91. pigeonca
    January 5, 2011 at 06:03

    Steve, When you say “our parents and / or grandparents fell silent during the Nazi genocide against Europe’s Jews, largely out of fear of an anti-Semitic backlash,” I think you are confusing our parents and grandparents with mainstream Jewish leadership in the 1930s and 40s. I know that my grandparents – and most of the members of their synagogue – worked very hard to get their relatives out of Europe as the Nazi movement grew. But during the Depression the U.S. government required that Americans “sponsor” immigrants; in other words, that they post bond for them and guarantee their support for a period of time (I don’t know what that period was, and my grandparents aren’t here anymore to tell me). But this was during a period when very few people had the means to sponsor family members, even if it were possible.

    Mainstream Jewish organizations, on the other hand, did tell their members to keep quiet, that agitation would only increase the very prevalent anti-Semitism of the time. Of course, in retrospect, we know they were wrong. At the time, my grandparents knew they were wrong. But they didn’t have the money to do much.

    • Steve Klein
      January 5, 2011 at 08:07

      Polls taken at the time indicate, anti-Jewish feeling in the U.S. was palpable, you are correct. FDR did not want to do anything to help Germany’s Jews in the nineteen thirties or later. He had the pulse on American public opinion. Though Americans were appalled at the way Germans were treating their Jewish citizens (who were in the mid-thirties stripped of their citizenship) Americans did not want to lift anti-immigration quotas in place at that time. There was a powerful isolationist movement, led by such luminaries as Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and others. Radio talk show host (Roman Catholic Priest) Charles Coughlin put out his own form of pro-German, pro-fascist, anti-Semitic themes, heard by millions. Many isolationists like Lindbergh and Ford were sympathetic toward Germany. One measure submitted to the Senate in 1939 by New York Democrat Robert Wagner Sr., a Catholic, would have brought 20,000 German Jewish children to stay in American foster homes under Quaker sponsorship. The bill met a “torrent” of opposition (largely from veterans groups) and died in committee. A Fortune magazine poll in April 1939 fond that 94% of Americans disapproved of the way Germany was treating the Jews, but 83% opposed lowering immigration quotas to admit more refuges. Only 8.7% favored admitting refugees. Anti-Jewish opinion is well-documented.

      • pigeonca
        January 5, 2011 at 08:49

        Steve, I see you are not addressing your earlier statement that claimed that our ancestors feared an anti-Semitic backlash and thus were silent during the 30s and 40s. You’re just reiterating what we all know, that the U.S. in general was anti-Semitic as well as racist. But I do not believe that Jews on the street turned their backs on their co-religionists in Europe. This is just not so.

  92. Ruth
    January 5, 2011 at 06:09

    I’m an American of jewish non-religious background. I want the American government to act in the best interests of the United States just as Israelis expect their government to act in their best interests.
    My American values regarding the potential worth of all people lead me to reject a place at the table of ‘the chosen people’. I’m not ashamed of my jewishness; I reject it for the values it espouses which are contrary to mine. As the conservadox & orthodox movements have come to the fore in The United States & Israel, it becomes more clear that in the collective, Israelis & their uncritical supporters are ethnicists or whatever the the ethnic prejudice equivalent to racists are called. They state it proudly & forthrightly: we reject the dignity and human rights of non-jews living among us. It’s sad because as individuals, most jewish people I’ve known in all traditions have peaceful, generous hearts.
    Early in life i was nurtured on the manna of jewish achievement & superiority. This heightened my expectations rather than my assumptions. Thus my disappointment.

    • Steve Klein
      January 5, 2011 at 08:13

      You wrote: “They state it proudly & forthrightly: we reject the dignity and human rights of non-jews living among us.”

      This is nonsense. You are merely trying to justify your contempt for Israel. Calling Jews who live in Israel and those of us who support Israel “racists” isn’t going to fly. It might make you feel better about what you are doing (which is wrong) however.

    • pigeonca
      January 5, 2011 at 08:55

      Ruth, Here – believe it or not – I agree with Steve. No matter what abuses the Israeli government commits against Palestinians, I don’t believe they do it out of a rejection of the human rights and dignity of anybody. Fear is the motivator, well documented fear, given the fact that just about every family in Israel has lost somebody to war or terrorism waged by the other side. Unfortunately the reverse is true as well.

      My hopes are that sensible Israelis will prevail over the radical fundamentalists who want to occupy “Judea and Samaria” for eternity – and that after the two states mature, they can someday find permanent peace.

  93. Steve Klein
    January 5, 2011 at 09:28

    “Steve, I see you are not addressing your earlier statement that claimed that our ancestors feared an anti-Semitic backlash and thus were silent during the 30s and 40s. You’re just reiterating what we all know, that the U.S. in general was anti-Semitic as well as racist. But I do not believe that Jews on the street turned their backs on their co-religionists in Europe. This is just not so.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Pigeonca, I am reading a book by Tom Segev on Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. That is the impression many Holocaust survivors had after the war; that their fellow Jews in America turned their backs on them, all but ignoring their torment at the hands of the Nazis; living ordinary, uninterrupted, comfortable lives all the while their fellow Jews were murdered in their millions. My reading indicates that Americans Jews, by and large, did indeed fear an anti-Semitic backlash if they were to outspoken. Who spoke out? Where were all the mass-protests? It was not just our leaders who fell silent. I see much the same today with Israel. Jews are afraid to speak out in defense of Israel. As some have pointed out on this thread, it’s not because of the fear of an anti-Semitic backlash; not necessarily. I asked my Jewish neighbor a few years back why Jews are silent here in our community. He told me, “they are afraid.” He was being honest. I think I have made my opinion clear why I think American Jews are afraid to defend their fellow Jews who are under assault in Israel. It is not out of noble motives.
    All this moralistic, pious talk on this site about how morally inferior Israel’s Jews are, is just that; moralistic, pious talk.

    • Michele
      January 5, 2011 at 16:11

      “I think I have made my opinion clear why I think American Jews are afraid to defend their fellow Jews who are under assault in Israel. It is not out of noble motives.
      All this moralistic, pious talk on this site about how morally inferior Israel’s Jews are, is just that; moralistic, pious talk.”

      Maybe so, Steve, but that doesn’t change the fact that Israel has an enormous PR problem and its actions regarding the settlements have nothing to do with ensuring Israel’s long term survival and are making those PR problems much, much worse. The settlement expansion is stupid and virtually suicidal. If you’re really a friend of Israel, you will want that expansion to stop. I’ve heard every one of your arguments about Israel’s “rights” to Judea and Sumaria, but the world community (and a vast number of Jews, including yours truly) never will be convinced by those arguments.

  94. Steve Klein
    January 5, 2011 at 17:52

    Michele, I guess we will have to disagree. Israel’s retention of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is vital to Israel’s national security and her survival. Perhaps you are aware, at some point along the 1949 Armistice lines, Israel is only 9 miles wide; near Tel Aviv. How long would it take a tank to travel this short distance to Tel Aviv? Or an F-16?

    Sure, Israel has a PR problem. As a Jew, are you surprised, given our tortuous history? Have you studied American history? Have you studied the conquest and expropriation of the American Indians and the Mexicans by America’s white European ancestors — colonialists, squatters, settlers? I have. America’s conquest, Indian Removal, settlement to the West was justified largely on the basis of national security. By comparison, Israel pales in comparison. Who is demanding the return of land to Indian the Indian tribes that are asking for their land? Who has taken the side of the Lakota Sioux Indians who are suing for the return of their ancient lands in U.S. Supreme Court? I am not arguing that the international community should take the side of these dispossessed peoples, but why the obsession with Israel? Israel “re-acquired” her ancient land by means of defensive wars, contrary to the north American example. Did you know America’s ancestors took this land by forcible conquest, despoliation, ethnic cleansing? Did you know Jimmy Carter wrote (in his anti-Semitic book, “Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid”) his family farm in Georgia was forcibly taken from Creek Indians by his grandparents resulting in the Trail of Tears? Cherokee tribes were likewise dispossessed in Georgia by land-hungry whites; Carters ancestors. Jimmy Carter is one of Israel’s most outspoken critics. Do you disagree with the Anti-Defamation League and others? You don’t think Carter might be motivated by anti-Semitism (Jew-hatred) like Mel Gibson, Patrick Buchanan and many others who are critical of Israel? Unlike the Jews (Israel), white Europeans had no historic connection to this continent.

    If you study Jewish history, anti-Semitism has plagued the Jews throughout our history. It never went away. It only morphs into new and different forms. Post Holocaust, it is not fashionable to express overt Jew-hatred. Now it is conveniently cloaked in rhetoric of ‘anti-Zionism’. “Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.”

    • Michele
      January 5, 2011 at 18:04

      Yes, Steve, I’m aware of all this history and I agree that Israel is being held to an unreasonable standard by the world community. And I despise Jimmy Carter at least as much as you do, but I’m not sure he’s the anti-Semite that Gibson and Buchanan clearly are. Carter fancies himself a great humanitarian who fights injustice. The same cannot be said of the other two.

      Just because Europeans colonized this continent, massacred Native Americans, and appropriated their land with no prior claim to it does not mean that the Jews of Israel are right to appropriate the West Bank, even though they actually do have a historic claim to it. Two wrongs do not make a right and the Arab population of “Judea and Sumaria” have just as much right to live there as the Jews do.

  95. Michele
    January 5, 2011 at 17:56

    James Wilson :
    “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,”
    I guess you and I must have differing opinions on what the word “oppressed” means.

    James: That AP article was shockingly biased, I thought, because it made almost no reference to the cause of the embargo. Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza, and forcibly dragged Jewish settlers out of the area, as an olive branch in an attempt to forge a peace. What did they get in return? The ascendancy of Hamas, a terrorist organization that has only one goal – the destruction of Israel, rather than peace, prosperity, and statehood for Palestinians — as the duly elected rulers of the Gaza strip. Since Hamas took over, they have lobbed thousands of rockets into Israeli towns, which miraculously have not caused any serious casualties, but have nevertheless terrorized the population. (I wonder how you’d like it, James, if rockets were falling all around you on a ongoing basis. Would you want your government to make things nice and pleasant for the people lobbing those rockets at you? I doubt it.) The point of the embargo is to get the people of Gaza fed up enough to get rid of Hamas. So far it hasn’t worked, but making nice hasn’t worked either. What is a nation supposed to do when confronted with a situation like this? The Palestinian strategy is to make Israel look bad in the eyes of the world and take the focus off their own implacable opposition to peaceful coexistence. Unfortunately for Israel, their strategy is working quite well.

  96. Steve Klein
    January 5, 2011 at 18:30

    Michele, no doubt there were wrongs done to the natives by white European interlopers, but I am not willing to go so far as to say ‘two wrongs do not make a right’. European conquest of this continent the southern one and other continents and land is the history of the world.

    It is easy for Americans to say, “I’ve got mine. Now you give up yours. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine to do with what I wish.” That is what I see from the U.S. government today. I call that Chutzpah. Americans do not have the moral authority to lecture Israel about land. Neither do the Europeans. Not only does Israel (as you say) have an historic claim to Judea and Samaria, they have a legal claim. These lands were part of the League of Nations Mandate for the Jewish National home. Did you know that? Israel has a perfect legal right to this land according to / based upon “international law,” which I generally do not invoke.

    I quote from some of my sources:

    “Ceding 77.5 % of Palestine to Trans Jordan (in 1922)
    (With the League of Nations’ consent on 16 September 1922, the UK divided the Mandate territory into two administrative areas, Palestine, under direct British rule, and autonomous Transjordan…. See below)

    Ceding the Golan to Syria (in 1923) .

    The Mandatory violated article 5 & article 27 of the Mandate when it ceded the and 77.5% of Palestine to Trans Jordan and the Golan to Syria:

    ART. 5. “The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.”

    ART. 27: The Mandatory had no right to amend the Mandate terms without the full consent of the League of Nations or its Mandates Commission.

    -The UN has no power to vary an existing valid international treaty which the League of Nations – its predecessor – had approved. (Res Judicata). The UN inherited from the League of Nations the granting to Israel of the lands between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.”

    • Michele
      January 5, 2011 at 19:14

      “Not only does Israel (as you say) have an historic claim to Judea and Samaria, they have a legal claim. These lands were part of the League of Nations Mandate for the Jewish National home. Did you know that? Israel has a perfect legal right to this land according to / based upon “international law,” which I generally do not invoke.”

      Ok. Let’s grant you that for the sake of argument. Israel has every right imaginable to Judea and Samaria. Now what do you suggest we do about the Palestinian Arabs who live there and have lived there for hundreds of years? Subjugate them as Europeans did the Native Americans? Expel them? I for one find both those options repellent. What about the demographic problems? If the Palestinian population is not expelled, how does Israel remain both a Jewish state and a democracy? Don’t these issues trouble you? You’ve been very quick to label those who criticize the policies of Israel’s government either anti-Semitic or, if Jewish, self-hating, but anyone who would be comfortable with the ongoing oppression (yes, I said oppression) of the Palestinian Arabs in order to hold on to “Greater Israel” seems fairly racist to me.

  97. Steve Klein
    January 5, 2011 at 18:44

    James, you wrote: “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,”

    I guess you and I must have differing opinions on what the word “oppressed” means.

    ***********************************************************************************

    James, the “legitimately” elected government of Gaza is Hamas. Palestinians elected Hamas in 2006. Hamas government is in a state of war with the Jewish state. Since every Jew was transferred out of Gaza, August 2005 (except for kidnapped, Corporal Gilad Shalit, who is languishing in Gaza for ransom), Hamas has fired thousands of rockets on Israel’s southern towns and cities. During the second world war, the Allies blockaded Germany and Japan. They attempted to prevent anything from getting in, including food. The Allies firebombed (terror bombed) German cities in order to destroy the morale of the German people who largely supported the Hitler government, just as many Palestinians elected and support the Hamas government. Hundreds of thousands of German civilians were killed in these bombings. Many more were left homeless.

    Do you likewise believe the Allies were the oppressors in that war and if not why not given your world view. I would appreciate an answer from you.

  98. Dan Bin Ahsan
    January 5, 2011 at 18:57

    I found this discussion fascinating, and I applaud the thought that has gone into people’s contributions. As someone of part – muslim extraction, I sometimes find it hard to love Israel but would dearly love to visit one day and enjoy the sights, sounds and culture. I’m impressed by the tortured soul-searching that the Jewish diaspora goes into when discussing Israel, and can only dream of a similarly insightful discussion from many of my erstwhile co-religionists. I have to respectfully disagree with the viewpoint of Mr Klein, and am heartened by the sensible realpolitik and American values held by his detractors. It seems that paranoia is destroying the soul of the nation that made the desert bloom.

  99. James Watson
    January 5, 2011 at 20:23

    Your analogy only holds up if you believe that at this moment Israel’s very existence is under threat from the Palestinian people which is the very real situation the Allies faced in World War II. I don’t think most people would agree.

    Michele has it just about right:
    (I wonder how you’d like it, James, if rockets were falling all around you on a ongoing basis. Would you want your government to make things nice and pleasant for the people lobbing those rockets at you? I doubt it.)
    “The point of the embargo is to get the people of Gaza fed up enough to get rid of Hamas. So far it hasn’t worked, but making nice hasn’t worked either. What is a nation supposed to do when confronted with a situation like this? The Palestinian strategy is to make Israel look bad in the eyes of the world and take the focus off their own implacable opposition to peaceful coexistence. Unfortunately for Israel, their strategy is working quite well.”

    I think the way the Israeli government is handling the settlement issue just reinforces the Palestinian strategy.

    By the way, I don’t claim to have any solution to a problem that stretches back across the millennia. I’m just letting you know how it looks from the outside.
    Like pigeonca said:
    “It may only be perception rather than reality that the Palestinians are the victims, but perceptions do matter. “

  100. Steve Klein
    January 5, 2011 at 20:26

    “Ok. Let’s grant you that for the sake of argument. Israel has every right imaginable to Judea and Samaria. Now what do you suggest we do about the Palestinian Arabs who live there and have lived there for hundreds of years? Subjugate them as Europeans did the Native Americans? Expel them?”

    ***********************************************************************************

    I don’t have all the answers Michele. I don’t have an answer that would satisfy you at any rate. Of course I would favor providing generous inducements so that these peoples might relocate to Arab states where they can live amongst their own brethren, but the Arab states do not want them; preferring to use them as proxies in their on-going war against the Jewish state.

    Israel is not and cannot be a democracy like America because Israel was founded as and still is a Jewish state, by necessity. It was founded as a refuge for the in gathering of the Jewish exiles; you and me. Thankfully we have an Israel today. By its very nature and founding, Israel discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens. I’m sure you know better than one million Palestinians living in Israel “proper” are fully enfranchised citizens of Israel (they have Arab parties serving in the Knesset; there are Arab judges in Israel – one Israeli-Arab judge just ruled former Israeli President Katsav is guilty of rape) and even with these citizens, Israel is having a loyalty problem; that is, more and more are identifying with Israel’s declared enemies. In the past year or so, an Israeli Arab working in Jerusalem turned his bulldozer on Jews on the streets of Jerusalem, killing and injuring several. Alaa Abu Dhein, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, in March 2008 massacred / murdered multiple students at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, a religious school in Jerusalem. Palestinians were jubilant. Unlike native Americans – some who live in squalor on reservations; others as productive citizens; these peoples will not assimilate and I would argue they cannot assimilate because of their culture and religion. They will be perpetually at war with Israel’s Jews, at least for the foreseeable future.

    I am guessing you are speaking of the Arabs living in the so-called “disputed” territories. Should Israel annex these territories, I do not see how they could also be enfranchised. As voting citizens, they would present an existential threat. I don’t know if the demographics indicate (at this time) the Jews would be outnumbered, but it would certainly constitute a huge and a hostile voting block. Israel would little doubt cease being a Jewish state. Thus I do not have an answer to your question (one that would satisfy you) what to do about these hostile people living in Judea and Samaria. Israel is a tiny country. I believe it is similar in size to Rhode Island. You speak of the “Greater Israel.” What does that mean in context to tiny Israel? Why don’t we hear anything about “Greater America” or “Greater Russia” or “Greater China?” Why is greater only applied to tiny Israel?

    Now let me pose a question to you. You are an advocate of partition; a two state solution. Like the U.S. government and the international community, you advocate a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, perhaps Gaza and east Jerusalem and a Jewish state on what remains along the coast. I believe Israel would be rendered nearly defenseless but let us sidestep that problem for the moment. You saw what happened in Gaza when Israel left, the elevation of Hamas, etc. Should Israel give the Palestinians Judea and Samaria as a sovereign state – with no IDF presence in the West Bank – what would prevent the Palestinians from arming like they are doing in Gaza? At some future juncture when Israel is rendered vulnerable (perhaps in the middle of another regional war) should the Palestinians come in and massacre thousands of Jews what would be your response to me? What would you say to me? “Steve, I was mistaken?” “Steve, how could I have known or even imagined this would happen?” I want to know Michele because one day I might remind you that you were an advocate for this.

    • Michele
      January 5, 2011 at 20:46

      Steve: As the child of an Israeli parent and as someone who has aunts, uncles, and cousins born, raised, and still living in Israel, I’m pretty knowledgeable about all the issues you lay out. I do not necessarily advocate a return to the 1948 borders in a peace settlement. I also do not advocate a unilateral withdrawal by Israel from the territories in exchange for some kind of fragile peace. But I do not advocate an abandonment of efforts to forge a real peace and recognize that Israel has to do its part in that effort. One of the first things it can and should do is stop acting like it intends to annex the territories in perpetuity by building settlements far beyond Jerusalem. That’s all I’m saying for now. I know how vulnerable Israel is. I can read a map and I know the history of the last century in that region. But I also know for a fact that Israel’s current course of action is unsustainable. Analogies to the colonization of North America by the Europeans do not hold water. Israel is becoming a pariah state, like it or not, justified or not, and eventually will lose support everywhere, including in the United States, unless it changes course.

      • Steve Klein
        January 6, 2011 at 00:57

        Michele, at least you are knowledgeable about the history of the conflict and the facts on the ground, unlike many / most Americans. You do not necessarily advocate a return to the 1948 borders in a peace settlement but you do advocate some kind of a Palestinian state or entity in the West Bank. I understand your concern about an increasingly hostile and impatient world community. I share your concern. Unless Israelis elect exceptionally strong (resolute) leaders, I would not be at all surprised to see such an entity or state established in the not too distant future. What will be your position should my prediction come about, namely a mass-slaughter of Israel’s Jews by her Palestinian “neighbors?”

        Perhaps you know what the great powers did to tiny Czechoslovakia at Munich (1938) when England and France gave the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany and then Hitler swallowed up the entire state, incorporating it into the Third Reich. I see little difference here. What the international community (led by today’s great powers, the United States, the EU, Russia, the UN) are doing to Israel is appeasement of the Muslim and Muslim-Arab world plain and simple just as Neville Chamberlain engaged in appeasement with Germany at Munich. That is why I am asking you what your position will be after you see how suicidal this will ultimately be for Israel.

  101. Dan
    January 5, 2011 at 20:58

    Consider this:

    You are sitting, watching television with your family. Sitting in the home you built with your bare hands, you have spent the last 20 years making it your home. You recognise it as your home, and the home of your wife and your children. There is a knock on the door, you get up, and go answer it. There is a man, he is armed and he says “I lived here 20 years ago, right where you have your house now. You should leave, your house is mine”.

    What do you do?

    Do you accept, and move to a neighbours, leaving behind everything?
    or
    Do you refuse on the grounds that it is your home?

    Naturally, you would fight, knowing above all else, that this is wrong. My point is, regardless of a Jewish presence in Palestine some 2000 years ago, a people have taken up residence there and have lived there consistently, you could argue that some of the Jews integrated with the people and became who are now known today as the Palestinians.

    Peoples move around, have done since the dawn of time. We could all lay claim to Africa on the basis that we all came from Africe. But we don’t. Now, I’m not about to deny Israel its right to exist, it is well established, too established to be uprooted, however, did the Palestinians get that same consideration? The whole “the Arabs should go to neighbouring countries” argument is quite frankly disgusting, same goes for the claims that nationalistically, Palestinians don’t exist, what name should they go by? They are still a people who belong to the land.

    It is a very sorry state of affairs.

    • Steve Klein
      January 5, 2011 at 23:32

      You wrote: “The whole “the Arabs should go to neighbouring countries” argument is quite frankly disgusting….”

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      I am guessing you think the who League of Nations Mandate proposal for a Jewish National Home in “Palestine” was disgusting? Because there were Arabs living in the land? Perhaps you think everything the British, the Mandatory power, proposed was disgusting? Because the British themselves proposed a transfer of populations. What do you think the August 2005 forcible expulsion of Jews from Gaza was other than transfer? What do you think what President Mahmoud Abbas is demanding, a judenrein (Jew free) Palestinian state is, other than forcible expulsion or transfer of Jews (only because they are Jews) out of “Palestine?” Abbas says there will be NO Israelis living in Palestine. Do you also think that is disgusting? Or because the Arabs demand it that makes it OK? Anyway, here is (in part) what the British proposed in 1937. Do you think it is disgusting?

      Recommendations

      Peel Commission Partition Plan A, July 1937

      ……The report recommended that “[s]ooner or later there should be a transfer of land and, as far as possible, an exchange of population”:

      “A precedent is afforded by the exchange effected between the Greek and Turkish populations on the morrow of the Greco-Turkish War of 1922. A convention was signed by the Greek and Turkish Governments, providing that, under the supervision of the League of Nations, Greek nationals of the Orthodox religion living in Turkey should be compulsorily removed to Greece, and Turkish nationals of the Moslem religion living in Greece to Turkey. The numbers involved were high — no less than some 1,300,000 Greeks and some 400,000 Turks. But so vigorously and effectively was the task accomplished that within about eighteen months from the spring of 1923 the whole exchange was completed. The courage of the Greek and Turkish statesmen concerned has been justified by the result. Before the operation the Greek and Turkish minorities had been a constant irritant. Now Greco-Turkish relations are friendlier than they have ever been before.” [3]

      The population exchange, if carried out, would have involved the transfer of approximately 225,000 Arabs and 1,250 Jews. [3]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peel_Commission

  102. Cadmus
    January 5, 2011 at 21:07

    pigeonca :
    Cadmus, You need to do some more research on DNA. Jews have all sorts. My brother recently had his done by FTDNA and learned that his Y-DNA is R1b1b2, which is the most prevalent DNA amongst white men in Europe, but his is a middle-eastern variant and the second most common among Cohanim (yes, there is more than one DNA for Cohanim). Even more interesting, his (and my) mitochondrial DNA is sub-Saharan African, which a small cluster of Ashkenazim have (about 2 percent).
    The knowledge of DNA is in its earliest stages. Much more research needs to be done. We shouldn’t use it to ascertain the legitimacy of anybody’s claims to Israel.

    Yes of course you carry R1b1b2 because this DNA is is normal among central asians, turks and the khazars. And many ashkenazi jews are descendants of the khazars. So if DNA tells us that the the majority of the ashkenazi jews are descendants of khazars R1b1b2 and not the hebrews and that the palestinians are descendants of the hebrews E1b1b1a then who has the right to return and live in Israel because the paradox is that the zionists say that blood and not religion is what determines a jew.

    It is interesting that almost all ashkenazi jews with the surname Cohen do also carry the hebrew DNA E1b1b1a.

    I dont care about DNA and I supprt Israel but it does not change the fact that many of the ashkenazi jews are descendants of khazars who converted to judaism around 900 AD. So they do actually not return to Israel because their ancestors never lived in Israel , so what do that tell us about the ” law of return” ?

    • pigeonca
      January 5, 2011 at 21:51

      Cadmus, You really don’t know much about genetic genealogy. The cohen modal haplotype is found within the J haplogroup, and is never E1b1ba. Furthermore, the Khazar myth, which has been used by the Saudis to counter the Jewish argument that we come from Israel, is just that: a myth. There are very, very few Jews descended from the Khazars, maybe as many as are descended from sub-Saharan Africans like myself. Males with the last name Cohen, Katz, Kaplan, etc. almost invariably have either a J haplotype or, with lesser frequency, R1b1b2. You need to do some reading and get up to date. And keep reading, because genetic genealogy is a rapidly evolving field.

      • Cadmus
        January 5, 2011 at 23:07

        ” E1b1b and E1b1b1 are quite common amongst Afro-Asiatic speakers. The linguistic group and E1b1b1 may have dispersed together from the region of origin of this language family.[13][14][15] Amongst populations with an Afro-Asiatic speaking history, a significant proportion of Jewish male lineages are E1b1b1 (E-M35).[16] Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18%[3] to 20%[17][18] of Ashkenazi and 8.6%[19] to 30%[3] of Sephardi Y-chromosomes, appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population”

        ” “The Samaritan M267 lineages differed from the classical Cohen modal haplotype at DYS391, carrying 11 rather than 10 repeats”, as well as, have a completely different haplogroup, which should have been “J1″. Samaritan Kohanim descend from a different patrilineal family line, having haplogroup E1b1b1a (M78) (formerly E3b1a).[2]”

        ” The E1b1b1 haplogroup (formerly known as haplogroup E3b1) has been observed in all Jewish groups worldwide. It is considered to be the second most prevalent haplogroup among the Jewish population, outside of the J haplogroups. According to one non-peer reviewed paper[48] it has also been observed in moderate, meaning few, numbers among individuals from Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Samaritan communities having traditions of descending from the tribe of Levi, suggesting that the E1b1b1 men claiming to be Levites may have existed in Israel before the Diaspora of 70 C.E.”

        Yes you are right the Cohens are J

        But anyways the jews and the lebanese and the palestenians to also share E1b1b1a and therefore once were the same people.

  103. Cadmus
    January 5, 2011 at 21:30

    With the horrors of the holocaust in mind I just find the zionist idea that it is the blood and not religion that determines who are gods chosen people repulsing. I understand that the orthodox jews believe that it is religion that determines a jew = a jew is one who believe in the 10 commandments and in ancient times it was also like this because the ashkenazi jews are descendants of slavic people and khazars who converted to judaism and the sephardic jews are descendants of hamitic berbers who converted to judaism. So actually the ancient jews were more open to include non-jews into the jewish people than todays modern zionists who believe a jew is a jew even though the jew is an ateist/ non believer and a gentile can never become a jew. And the strange thing is that the zionists know that the palestinians are descendants of the hebrews and not the arabs but they still claim that it is the blood that determines who is a jew.
    The jewish orthodox believe that to be a jew is a question about religion is in accordance with our western secular values and my nordic-protestant culture, but the zionist believe that it is blood that determines a jew, reminds me of nazism. Both zionism and nazism are rooted in old european racist theories( like Moses Hess) that preach ethnic solidarity and race war. I find it very strange that the media are always demonizing the orthodox jews but not the secular zionist who believe in the holiness of the jewish blood just like the nazis believe in the holiness of the ” aryan” blood.

  104. Michele
    January 6, 2011 at 04:37

    Steve Klein :
    Michele, at least you are knowledgeable about the history of the conflict and the facts on the ground, unlike many / most Americans. You do not necessarily advocate a return to the 1948 borders in a peace settlement but you do advocate some kind of a Palestinian state or entity in the West Bank. I understand your concern about an increasingly hostile and impatient world community. I share your concern. Unless Israelis elect exceptionally strong (resolute) leaders, I would not be at all surprised to see such an entity or state established in the not too distant future. What will be your position should my prediction come about, namely a mass-slaughter of Israel’s Jews by her Palestinian “neighbors?”
    Perhaps you know what the great powers did to tiny Czechoslovakia at Munich (1938) when England and France gave the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany and then Hitler swallowed up the entire state, incorporating it into the Third Reich. I see little difference here. What the international community (led by today’s great powers, the United States, the EU, Russia, the UN) are doing to Israel is appeasement of the Muslim and Muslim-Arab world plain and simple just as Neville Chamberlain engaged in appeasement with Germany at Munich. That is why I am asking you what your position will be after you see how suicidal this will ultimately be for Israel.

    Steve: You are convinced that a two-state solution will inevitably lead to the destruction of Israel. I am convinced that the failure to reach a two-state solution will lead to the destruction of Israel. You believe that only by holding on to the West Bank will Israel be able to protect itself from destruction. I believe that holding on to the West Bank will ultimately leave Israel friendless and isolated and will ultimately end in the Arab population rising up and overthrowing the government in a revolution, while the rest of the world sits by and watches. I don’t think wider borders are a guarantee of security, as you do. So who’s right? Who knows? I think, though, that it’s fair to say that our “positions” are the same. Neither one of us wants to see Israel’s destruction. Your asking me what my “position” would be if your worst fears were realized and Israeli Jews were slaughtered is like asking me what my “position” would be if I lost my family. (Actually, it’s exactly like asking me that, since my family lives in Israel and I find the question condescending and deeply offensive.) What would your “position” be if my worst fears were realized and Israeli Jews were slaughtered in a bloody revolution? Did the stranglehold of the French aristocracy over the lower classes prior to July 14, 1789 protect its members from the guillotine during the French Revolution? You refuse to acknowledge the fact that the course you wish to pursue could actually be suicidal for Israel. So be it. You see Israel is analogous to Czechoslovakia in 1938 (or at least you say you do, I have to wonder). Right now, the Palestinians are suffering and the world community, so far, has done little about it other than pass resolutions in the U.N. chiding Israel. You think all Israel’s actions have profound moral justification. I think some of them do, but I stop short at the expansion of settlements.

  105. Steve
    January 6, 2011 at 20:48

    Michele, I think my question to you is a fair one, perhaps more so since you have family living in Israel. No historical comparison or analogy is exact. Every situation is different, even if there are some similarities. I think the difference between Israel’s case and the French Revolution as I understand it, the Revolution was more or less a civil war of sorts; the French masses warring against the French aristocracy. The Muslim and Muslim-Arab war against Israel is not a civil war but a war waged by one people or peoples against the Jewish people. The Palestinian Intifadas need to be put down by Israel’s military as would any uprisings. The Palestinian economy and their quality of life only suffers as a result of these terror wars. I hope they have internalized this from previous uprisings. If, in lieu of a land for “peace” deal, Israeli Jews were slaughtered in a bloody Palestinian uprising, I would of course have to re-examine and question my faith. While I cannot say every one of Israel’s actions have profound moral justification – like every other nation-state Israel makes mistakes – I do believe the retention of our land has a profound moral justification and those throughout the world who believe otherwise are flawed in their world-view. As you’ve written, the world community has done little more than pass anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations. I believe there is a reason for this. I believe most world leaders know in their heart of hearts that Israel’s cause is just. It is simply that they are morally weak and cannot stand up against Muslim and Muslim-Arab intimidation. I will wait to see what the international community does, if they begin to impose punitive sanctions on Israel like we saw against South Africa, then I will be forced to respond to and perhaps admit the validity of your concerns. Meanwhile, much of what I see is immoral pressure, threats to apply pressure, etc. I hope Israel’s leaders are strong enough to resist this immoral pressure rather than do something hasty or reckless which we will come to regret. As to your point about Palestinian “suffering,” I can only respond in this way. Israel is in a state of war, not of her choosing. You could also say the Germans were suffering during the second world war – Palestinians are suffering no where near what the Germans suffered at the hands of Allied bombings – and the Taliban is suffering because US and NATO forces are operating in Afghanistan. I see little if any difference. Also when you speak of the expansion of settlements, there is no expansion of settlements. Israel’s government has authorized no new settlements, which to me is frustrating in and of itself. The only building going on is “natural growth” within the confines of existing settlements and settlement blocks or Jewish communities, something Obama has demanded cease. No existing settlements are expanding in size. No new land is being acquired outside settlement or community borders.

    • Michele
      January 7, 2011 at 01:48

      “The Muslim and Muslim-Arab war against Israel is not a civil war but a war waged by one people or peoples against the Jewish people.” That’s one way of looking at it. You can also, with complete legitimacy, look at it as a dispute over land by two peoples with equal claim to it. That’s how I and many other Jews look at it.

      “I do believe the retention of our land has a profound moral justification and those throughout the world who believe otherwise are flawed in their world-view.” You’re entitled to your opinion, but I don’t think of that land as “our” land. Unfortunately, it’s also the Arabs’ land. Your refusal to recognize and accept that makes it impossible to have a reasoned argument with you.

      “I believe most world leaders know in their heart of hearts that Israel’s cause is just. It is simply that they are morally weak and cannot stand up against Muslim and Muslim-Arab intimidation.” There are crimes against humanity going on right now all over the world (Darfur being one of the most egregious examples) and world leaders are doing nothing about them. It took heroic advocacy on the part of the late Richard Holbrooke to get world leaders to do something about the genocide in Bosnia in the 1990’s. Just because world leaders remain relatively silent on Israel/Palestine says nothing about their actual view of the conflict, if they have one. The idea that pressure applied to Israel to reach a peace agreement is immoral is ridiculous, unless, of course, that pressure is not also accompanied by the demand for Palestinians to renounce terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist. Right now, though, the Palestinians are having a far worse time than the Israelis, so most of the pressure will land on the side that’s seen as doing the most harm.

  106. Steve
    January 6, 2011 at 21:55

    Michele, you wrote above: “As the child of an Israeli parent and as someone who has aunts, uncles, and cousins born, raised, and still living in Israel….”

    I assumed you and your family are Jewish. I assumed right? Israeli citizens do not have to be Jewish to be citizens but generally when one speaks of Israelis we are speaking of Israeli Jews.

    • Michele
      January 7, 2011 at 01:28

      You assumed correctly.

  107. Steve
    January 7, 2011 at 02:56

    I wrote: “I believe most world leaders know in their heart of hearts that Israel’s cause is just. It is simply that they are morally weak and cannot stand up against Muslim and Muslim-Arab intimidation.”

    Michele: There are crimes against humanity going on right now all over the world (Darfur being one of the most egregious examples) and world leaders are doing nothing about them.

    ********************************************************************************

    I think you are making my point. It’s not just that they’ve “done” nothing. What have they said about Darfur? Where are all the condemnations in the United Nations General Assembly like we’ve seen against Israel when she defends herself against Islamic terror? Where are the condemnations in the United Nations Human Rights Council that this anti-Semitic US president joined? Where are all the public statements by world leaders on Darfur? World leaders are ‘outraged’ about Israel’s perceived offences but like you say, they are all but silent about genocide going on in Darfur. Why? World leaders are outraged about Israel’s “crimes” but what have they “done” about it? Are you looking for a Richard Holbrooke to mobilize a coalition of forces to bomb Israel into submission like Clinton did to the only people in Yugoslavia who stood against the Nazis during the second world war? The Croats and the Bosnian Muslims (along with virtually every other Middle East Arab leader; al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, etc.) joined with or supported the Nazis in the Final Solution.

    • Michele
      January 7, 2011 at 06:53

      Steve: You have absolutely zero proof that our President is an anti-Semite. To make such a claim is slanderous. He is not perfect, and I don’t agree with everything he’s done on Israel, but just because he doesn’t side 100% with Netanyahu’s government on everything they do (and, yes, just because he tolerated Jeremiah Wright for a number of years) does NOT make him an anti-Semite. You trivialize yourself and your arguments by calling him one. With this post, I am signing off of this thread. You can blather on as much as you want from now on. No one is paying any more attention to you.

      • Steve
        January 7, 2011 at 11:35

        I don’t trivialize myself. It’s my opinion based on observation; how he treats Israel’s Jews (with utter contempt) and who he has run with his entire adult life: anti-Semites and jihadists. I am not the only one who thinks it about this dangerous man. He “tolerated” (actually embraced) Jeremiah Wright for TWENTY YEARS.

  108. Rebecca Zisk
    January 7, 2011 at 04:55

    Hi Michele, You wrote: But I do not advocate an abandonment of efforts to forge a real peace and recognize that Israel has to do its part in that effort.

    What have the Palestinians done for the Peace process?

    Israel gives land, gives back the prisioners, gives medical help to the Palestinians,
    and what does the other side ever do for PEACE?

    Rebecca

    • Steve
      January 7, 2011 at 18:29

      Rebecca, you ask a good question. Quite honestly, I do not favor giving up any land under any circumstances. To your question, what have the Palestinians done other than commit acts of terrorism and violence, incitement to violence thoughout PA controlled media, schools, etc. and the refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state no matter where or on what tiny piece of real estate upon which it exists?

    • Michele
      January 8, 2011 at 00:17

      Rebecca: I’m no fan of the Palestinians and agree they haven’t been much of a partner in the “peace” process, which is why I do not advocate that Israel withdraw from the West Bank right now. However, as I’ve said multiple times on this thread, the intransigence of the Palestinians is no excuse for the encroachment of Israeli settlers deeper and deeper within the West Bank. An eventual two-state solution is the only way Israel can survive as Jewish democracy (unless they evict the Palestinian Arabs, which would be a disastrous, not to mention immoral, act). By expanding settlements, Israel is attempting to draw the lines of the eventual partition further and further into the West Bank. This is provocative behavior and should stop. Once the settlement expansion stops, the world community will have less to reproach Israel for and the nation can focus on repairing its damaged reputation and remind the world that it’s really the Palestinians who refuse to make peace.

      • Rebecca Zisk
        January 11, 2011 at 01:33

        Michele, do you realize that Jordan was created to be the Palestinian State? Why is there a need for another one if they have one already? Are you aware that it was created out of the land that was originally supposed to be “Israel” at that time? Jews that were living in Arab lands were NEVER given anything for their homes/property, Jews were just CHASED OUT when Israel was created. Therefore, why should Jews in Israel even care about creating another Arab state when this is the SAME THING that happened to Jews from Arab lands?

        Rebecca

  109. Michele
    January 7, 2011 at 19:28

    Hey Steve: I have to come back in and take you on. Obama’s relationship with Wright, which says some troubling things about his judgment, does not, however, make him an anti-Semite. Obama is not a doctrinaire thinker and he maintains friendships and associations with many people he doesn’t agree with. For example, one his best friends from his time in the Senate was Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, with whom he agrees on next to nothing politically. Unlike you and your ilk, Obama is not filled with hatred, suspicion, and bigotry. If he were an anti-Semite, he would never be able to tolerate maintaining long, close personal and professional relationships with the likes of David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel. Did you see Obama with Elie Weisel at Buchenwald back in 2009? No anti-Semite could ever have done and said what Obama did on that occasion. Once and for all, just because someone does not agree with your position on Israel/Palestine and actually thinks the Palestinian Arabs have a right to a homeland on their own land (a position millions of Jews, including me, share), they are not an anti-Semite. Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite because he says anti-Semitic things and refuses to repudiate his Holocaust-denying father. Your arguments are based on guilt-by-association, which is no basis at all.

    • Steve
      January 9, 2011 at 15:28

      What makes you think Obama is not a doctrinaire (or a dogmatic) thinker? My opinion is based in “part” on guilt-by-association, which is NOT “no basis at all.” My opinion is also based on his treatment of Israel, especially during his early months in office, before some uncomfortable realities and political considerations came to the fore. Obama’s relationship with Wright indicated more than some troubling things about his judgment. I have exercised poor judgment. Most people have I suspect. Had Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright gone on for several months, or perhaps a couple of years at most, that would have been very bad judgment. Twenty years is more than bad judgment.

      I take exception by your “you and your ilk (are) filled with hatred, suspicion, and bigotry” allegation.

      • Michele
        January 9, 2011 at 23:15

        Yes, Steve, I’ll bet you take exception to my characterization of you and your ilk, but I stand by it. Just because Obama has more sympathy and concern for the Palestinians than you or I do does not make him doctrinaire, nor does it make him anti-Semitic. It’s convenient to paint every non-Jew who criticizes Israel as an anti-Semite and every Jew who criticizes Israel as self-hating. Those arguments have been used to intimidate and silence debate, but they’ve lost their force over the years. I have never heard the President utter a single thing that indicated to me that he didn’t care about Israel’s future. You should probably listen to his Philadelphia speech on race again and pay careful attention to what he said about Jeremiah Wright. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU Obama is a good man, a generous man. He is not a hater. You should also read the remarks he made repudiating Wright on April 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/us/politics/29text-obama.html

  110. Cadmus
    January 9, 2011 at 04:02

    I have a Question. How can it be that some “liberal” and ” leftwing” jews are fighting for multiculturalism and mass imigration to Europe and USA and at the same time they are defending the idea of Israel as an ethnic jewish state ? Why is multiculturalism good in Europe but bad in Israel?
    And there is a lot of talk about anti-semites in here but what about the Israel sponsored campaign called Lost which compared marriage between jews and non-jews with holocaust , does that not remind you of the nazi-german Nurnberg laws which condemned marriage betwenn jews and ” aryans” ? And what about the israeli rabbi who in 2010 said “The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews”. He said that Gentiles served a divine purpose: “Why are Gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why Gentiles were created.”[32] “Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.”[33]

    We should condemn all kinds of racism also jewish racism which is committing ethnig cleansning on the palestinenans and is accusing the european culture and christianity to be responsible for the holocaust.
    Nazism was a misinterpretation of the european nordic culture and christianity like Al-Qaedas ideologi is a misinterpretation of islam and zionism is a misinterpretation of judeaism.

    • Michele
      January 9, 2011 at 23:44

      Zionism is a realistic, pragmatic response to the pervasive anti-Semitism in the European countries of the Jewish diaspora and beyond. There is nothing racist about the Zionist project. Unfortunately, there are some who use the original arguments for a Jewish state to claim hegemony over the entire biblical Jewish homeland. Comparing Zionism to Nazism and radical Islam is a heinous distortion of the philosophy that led to the founding of Israel and which has saved countless Jewish lives. To use the words of one f**ked up rabbi to condemn all of Zionism, as you did, is like using the words of Jeremiah Wright to condemn all black people. I renounced that rabbi’s disgusting words, and so would every single Jew I know. If the Jews did not have a history of persecution, oppression, and mass murder, Zionism would not exist. The problem in Israel/Palestine is not Zionism, it’s the unwillingness of Palestinian Arabs to accept the existence of a Jewish nation in their midst.

      • Steve
        January 10, 2011 at 00:02

        I do not use Reverend Wright’s words to condemn all black people.

        (I have a neighbor here in the south who I used to talk to – later, mostly via e-mail and telephone. When she began criticizing Obama by means of racist generalizations as I perceived them, I called her on it. She subsequently cut me off. So be it.)

        I associate Reverend Wrights words with the man to whom they should be associated with; Barack Obama.

      • Steve
        January 10, 2011 at 00:06

        Twenty years Michele…….

  111. Michele
    January 10, 2011 at 00:28

    I wasn’t saying you used Wright’s words to condemn all black people, Steve. That comment wasn’t even directed at you, anyway. I’ve seen all the Wright videos. What you seem to forget is that those videos do not define Wright. There’s another side to him, otherwise he would have been a pariah in Chicago all these years. These videos show him at his worst, and I despise him, but I do not despise Obama for having sat in his church intermittently over a 20-year period. Did you watch the video of Obama’s speeech? Did you read his remarks from April 2008 quoted in the Times? If you did and still insist on your guilt-by-association rant, there’s no reasoning with you.

  112. Steve
    January 11, 2011 at 03:04

    Michele wrote: “Obama is a good man, a generous man. He is not a hater. You should also read the remarks he made repudiating Wright on April 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/us/politics/29text-obama.html

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

    I read it over the weekend. For the sake of time and space, let me comment on or question a couple or so points.

    Obama: “You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago.”

    If you had a female friend who was married to a lying, cheating, abusive husband and she told you, “I’m getting out of this relationship! This is not the man that I met and married 20 years ago,” what would you think?

    Obama: “During the course of me attending that church, I had not heard those kinds of statements being made or those kinds of views being promoted…”

    Q: Reverend Wright said that it was not an attack on him but an attack on the black church…..the strain of theology that he preached, black liberation theology, you explained something about the anger, that feeds some of the sentiments in the church, in Philadelphia.

    How important a strain is liberation theology in the black church? And why did you choose to attend a church that preached that?

    SEN. OBAMA: Well, first of all, in terms of liberation theology, I’m not a theologian (Michele, isn’t this sort of like the debate question during the campaign re: Obama’s support for the abhorrent late term (partial birth) abortion procedure, ‘At what point does a baby get human rights in your view’?, “….Ahh, answering that question with specificity ya-know is, is ahh above my pay grade,”…… a dodge?)

    Obama (continued): …… I went to church and listened to sermons. And in the sermons that I heard, and this is true, I do think, across the board in many black churches, there is an emphasis on the importance of social struggle, the importance of striving for equality and justice and fairness — a social gospel.”

    I saw a lot of anger and hatred in Reverend Wright’s sermons. Didn’t you Michele? Palestinians invoke this term, “struggle.” Fatah / Hamas, struggle. Most radical movements and ideologies speak of struggle. Mein Kampf means “my struggle.” Jihad means to strive or struggle. What is there today Michele, that you think necessitates Obama, Wright and others like them to struggle for?

    JERUSALEM (July 2009) – President Obama’s policies against Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank were slammed as “racist” today by participants in a rally drawing about 2,000 Israelis in front of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

    Speaking at the rally, Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, who heads the prestigious “Nir” Torah seminary in the West Bank city of Kiryat Arba, called Obama a “racist.”

    “How dare he tell the Jews where they can or can’t live! The era when Jews were banned from living in different places has ended,” Waldman exclaimed.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected (the State Department’s) demand, telling a cabinet meeting Sunday that Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem was not a matter up for discussion.

    “Imagine what would happen if someone were to suggest Jews could not live in or purchase [property] in certain neighborhoods in London, New York, Paris or Rome,” he said.

    Michele, as a Jew, you seem to take Obama’s side over and against your fellow Jews who love our heritage. You call Obama a good man and a generous man all the while he tells the world we are illegal occupiers in our own land. You consider Jews who love our our land bigots and racists, but Obama is good and generous. Unlike many American Jews, many Israeli Jews perceive that Obama is on the side of the Muslim world against Israel’s Jews, yet defend Obama and say he is good and generous.

  113. January 11, 2011 at 03:30

    OK, enough already. The amount of nonsense and lies on this thread is staggering, and not just on the judo-supremacist side (for instance the guy who said that Orthodox Judaism isn’t racist whereas Zionism is, or that Orthodox Judaism views anyone who keeps the commandments as Jewish whereas Zionism goes solely by blood). But this “Michele, do you realize that Jordan was created to be the Palestinian State? ” I think takes the cake.

    Jordan was created as part of a British effort to compensate the Hashemite family for the fact that the promises of the McMahon-Hussein letters weren’t kept (pursuant to the treachery of the Sykes-Picot accords) and that Britain didn’t intervene when Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud kicked them out of the Arabian Peninsula. No more, no less. The idea that 2/3 of the population (as of 1948) should simply leave their homes and move across the river in order to have the basic right to self-determination is one of the purest expressions of Jewish supremacism I can think of. Likewise, the idea that Jews have a claim to the eastern part of Palestine, where they never in independently recorded history constituted any majority or near majority of the population, or that they were somehow wronged when this land was given to another people (mostly the one actually living there, although also to many refugees from neighboring Arabia) is insane. Some Jews lived east of the river, true, as late as the 1910’s or even 20’s, but never a majority, not even remotely close, and even if you believe that Hebrews lived in the Gilad and the Bashan, that doesn’t give you claim to the lands of the Ammonites and Moabites, which even Jehovah and Moses never claimed, at least outside of “from the Euphrates to the nile” twaddle. One can equally lay Jewish claim to all of Lebanon and most of Syria.

    While I’m here, the inane prattle about League of Nations resolutions is likewise irrelevant blather. Even if we weren’t talking about a defunct organization, anything it said or did is superseded by consequent UN resolutions. Therefore, the LoN resolution which somewhat arguably states that all of Palestine should go to the Jews is superseded by UN resolution 181 (the partition plan of Nov. 29 1947), and that harebrained plan is in turn superseded by the fact that the UN recognized Israel in the armistice borders of 1949 (aka the 1967 borders). These are the only borders that have ANY international-law relevance. Full stop. Any talk about the League of Nations as legally or morally binding is public masturbation and a waste of energy better spent on surfing porn, which at least brings temporary relief to the distress of the individual, even if contributing absolutely nothing to the issue at hand.

    This has been a public service announcement. You may now resume your regularly scheduled activities.

    • Steve
      January 11, 2011 at 03:50

      Rechavia: “Likewise, the idea that Jews have a claim to the eastern part of Palestine, where they never in independently recorded history constituted any majority or near majority….. Some Jews lived east of the river, true, as late as the 1910′s or even 20′s, but never a majority….”

      Why should we care about your vaunted “majority?” What does majority have to do with anything? Were white European interlopers, settlers, squatter, in north America a majority when they came over on the Mayflower? What do Americans care about your (idolatrous) majority when it comes to their right to this great continent? Who is Rechavia to demand that majorities determine ownership of land?

      • January 11, 2011 at 05:41

        Majority is kinda central to the notion of democracy (idolatrous though it may be) and self determination.

        “Who is Rechavia to demand that majorities determine ownership of land?”

        As high an opinion of myself I may have, I can’t claim to have invented this notion. Do you have any idea how ludicrous you sound?

    • Shoded Yam
      January 11, 2011 at 18:06

      “….Any talk about the League of Nations as legally or morally binding is public masturbation and a waste of energy better spent on surfing porn, which at least brings temporary relief to the distress of the individual, even if contributing absolutely nothing to the issue at hand.”

      My compliments, Rehavia. Well done. While not being able to speak to Klein’s daily routines(though I have my suspicions) ;-) insofar as steve and this discussion is concerned, public mastubation is the “issue at hand” :-D

      • Steve
        January 11, 2011 at 18:23

        If you read my initial (early) posts above, you will see I did not (do not) justify our right to this land in the first instance on international “law.”

  114. January 11, 2011 at 03:33

    “consequent UN resolutions” should read “subsequent”.

    • Steve
      January 11, 2011 at 03:42

      You wrote: “Jordan was created as part of a British effort to compensate the Hashemite family for the fact that the promises of the McMahon-Hussein letters weren’t kept (pursuant to the treachery of the Sykes-Picot accords) and that Britain didn’t intervene when Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud kicked them out of the Arabian Peninsula…..”

      This looks to be a bunch of gobbledygook. How about providing some credible sources.

      • January 11, 2011 at 05:29

        You’re kidding, right? I was expecting some quote or other suggesting that it was *also* meant for what y’all say, but to deny it outright? Why do you think Hussein’s son was made king there and propped up on the bayonets of a British-trained force of Bedouins from the Hejaz? He won the open bid for the job?

        When the Hashemites wee kicked out of Arabia the British were in a bind, not wanting to lose all face and influence in the region by completely reneging on the promises to Hussein (Great-grandfather of King Hussein of Jordan whom you remember, dad of the reigning monarch. You have heard of the Hussein-McMahon letters, yes?). In addition to face issues, the Hashemites, despite losing Arabia, still had enough clout and followers to make Britain’s life in the region hell. This is why they made one son king of Jordan and another king of Iraq. The third was supposed to rule in Syria but the French, being the assholes they are, said no to that, ensuring a permanent division of the ME and sowing the seeds for anti-westernism (not exempting the British in this, mind, and the guy who ruled in Iraq was a cruel incompetent who made himself and consequently his British patrons hated, just noting the French role).

  115. Steve
    January 11, 2011 at 08:36

    “Majority is kinda central to the notion of democracy (idolatrous though it may be) and self determination.
    As high an opinion of myself I may have, I can’t claim to have invented this notion. Do you have any idea how ludicrous you sound?”

    Like I said, America’s European ancestors did not have a majority when they claimed the north American continent. They were vastly outnumbered by the indigenous peoples. In what way was it central to America’s modern founding?

  116. Steve
    January 11, 2011 at 08:42

    Rechavia Berman: “You’re kidding, right? I was expecting some quote….”

    The Mandate for Palestine
    July 24, 1922

    Article 5.
    The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power.

    • January 11, 2011 at 17:50

      “he Permanent Court of International Justice and an International Court of Arbitration established by the Council of the League of Nations handed down rulings in 1925 which determined that Palestine and Transjordan were newly-created successor states of the Ottoman Empire as defined by international law [5]” (1925)

      Even under the League of Nations Jordan is perfectly legitimate, and once again, try to follow: Any LoN decisions are superseded by subsequent UN resolutions. You can’t cherry-pick what you like and ignore what followed.

      • Steve
        January 11, 2011 at 18:31

        The British repeatedly violated their pledges to the Jews, the severing of Jordan, the White Papers, curtailing Jewish immigration from Germany and later Nazi occupied Europe; consigning the Jews to mass-murder at the hands of our Nazi tormentors / murderers. You seem especially eager to defend what is base, immoral, reprobate.

        Beyond that, if you read my initial (early) posts above, you will see I did not (nor do I) justify our right to this land in the first instance on international “law,” democracy, etc.

      • January 16, 2011 at 11:00

        The British violated their pledges to everyone. Their pledge to the Hashemites predates their pledge to us by two years. If you don’t base your argument on international law and treaties, why then do you keep waving them about?

        At least international law belongs to the shared plane of existence, and not to that of imaginary friends and bronze-age texts and modes of thought.

  117. philo veritas
    January 15, 2011 at 00:59

    Speaking only as a critically thinking mensch interested in the survival and progress of sapiens sapiens, some observations on the dilemna disguised as digital dialogue on this site:

    Posts such as Berman’s, based on scientific method of enquiry into historical data, objective and accurate as they may be, fail to alter perceptios or attitudes of posters such as Klein.

    The well known principle of cognitive disonance keeps disturbing data from entering consciousness to threaten the rigid irrational reality constructs of such individuals, particularly those based on thaumaturgical religions which require unquestioning belief in magical thinking such as real estate transactions insured by a voice from the sky.

    Discussion and debate, mere words, will not create change.

    Only action by enlightened members of the mispoche in the goldene medine will.

    Is it not sad that the refuge created to shelter a people from danger has become the most dangerous place in the world for them?

    Klein has chosen irrational thought amd belief in magical powers

  118. Steve
    January 16, 2011 at 12:30

    Berman wrote: “British violated their pledges to everyone. Their pledge to the Hashemites predates their pledge to us by two years. If you don’t base your argument on international law and treaties, why then do you keep waving them about?”

    Even if we are to grant your assertion, McMahon promised, “using language evasively,” transjordan to Hussein – whether or not he was empowered in the name of Government of Great Britain to do so – what does it have to do with Israel’s legal possession of Judea and Samaria?

    • January 16, 2011 at 15:33

      About as much as the League of Nations or the bible do…

  119. Steve
    January 16, 2011 at 19:48

    “About as much as the League of Nations or the bible do…”

    Israel possesses what belongs to her by right. You should know that the Jews are in possession of our ancient land “as of right and not on sufferance.” (Winston Churchill)

  1. December 26, 2010 at 14:23
  2. December 26, 2010 at 19:48
  3. December 27, 2010 at 19:05
  4. December 28, 2010 at 18:31
  5. December 28, 2010 at 21:23
  6. December 31, 2010 at 16:37
  7. January 4, 2011 at 12:37
  8. January 6, 2011 at 02:35
  9. January 6, 2011 at 19:02
  10. January 6, 2011 at 19:06
  11. January 6, 2011 at 19:07
  12. January 8, 2011 at 07:36
  13. January 9, 2011 at 01:08
  14. January 10, 2011 at 18:06
  15. January 11, 2011 at 03:10
  16. February 25, 2011 at 16:51
  17. March 14, 2011 at 19:38
  18. March 14, 2011 at 20:29
  19. March 16, 2011 at 16:38
  20. November 15, 2011 at 07:53
  21. November 16, 2011 at 23:04
  22. November 19, 2011 at 14:34
  23. December 7, 2011 at 19:35
  24. December 14, 2011 at 18:36
  25. December 24, 2011 at 11:42
  26. January 6, 2012 at 16:12

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