Like many of Sullivan’s readers I have a hard time taking people seriously who insist that you cannot be a Jew or even like Jews if you do not support everything that that the state of Israel does or wants to do. Though Sullivan’s reader did not reference the Federalist Papers directly he or she echoes Hamilton and Jay in pointing out that you corrupt a religion and degrade a country when you correlate them too closely. Judaism is a diaspora. There is no Temple in Israel and no Grand Rabbi to run it, and until that happens and all of the branches of Judaism agree to consecrate it* the Holy Land is primarily an interesting historical site and a secular haven for Jews in case another Holocaust springs up somewhere. Who controls a historical site is a question for archaeologists and how to govern a country is a question of politics.
Yet even if we set aside reality and the excellent arguments of America’s founders and grant people like Goldberg and worse their argument, they lose on their own terms. Israel is a democracy. Different governments have different philosophies. If I supported Yitzhak Rabin with all of my heart then I pretty much have to disagree with Ben Netanyahu. In fact as a Rabinite I would have a hard time not seeing Bibi as a loathsome, small-minded human being who belongs in the same shoddy Venn circle as Dick Cheney and his bloodthirsty neoconservative retinue.
Did I love Jews before and hate them now? I don’t think that I hate Jews. I grew up reading Leon Uris and Chaim Potok and spent hours debating the old testament (aka the Torah) with my Rabbi. Overall I would say that I’m fond of myself. I also like Israel quite a bit. In fact I like it enough that I would feel morally compelled to say something when it makes decisions that strike me as unusually self-destructive.
Look at it this way. Every Israeli leader short of Avigdor Lieberman has said that the settlements are a dangerous and self-destructive act. Rabin gave his life for the idea and Sharon staked his career on it. If a friend is weighing whether or not to pick up a meth habit, you don’t hand him or her another pile of money and wish them good luck. You say something. To do anything else strikes most people as enabling and marks you as a poor excuse for a friend.
(*) Good luck with that part! Few qualities are more Jewish than a fractious theology debate. … If you disagree, feel free to argue your point in the comments. Heh.
Psst…. You have an asterisk, but no follow-up footnote.
Mike Kay (The Base)
Peter Falk passed away.
Rest in Peace, Lt. Columbo.
“Amen” is probably not the right word to signify agreement with this sentiment, but I don’t know Hebrew.
Amanda in the South Bay
I understand the original pragmatic reason for Israel’s existence-providing a safe haven in the event of another
Holocaust. However, I’ve always thought that the development of nuclear weapons makes that a horrible idea-if Israel were to be wiped out, it’d pretty much decimate Judaism. Maybe putting most of your eggs in one basket isn’t good for such a small religion.
The essential problem in Israel isn’t Bibi or Sharon. Its the far zionist parties who have more power than they have actual support due to the parliamentary system. The Israelis(generally) support a peace plan, and Bibi-while not liking to be told what to do by Obama-isn’t going to cross that by becoming a Lieberman. He knows that crossing that line puts Kadima in power. At some point, Israel probably will cut a deal with Fatah and the West Bank and use that as leverage against Hamas/Gaza. But its going to have to take a Kadima/Bibi coalition or a Kadima/Labor coalition to make it happen.
But that’s never what it means. Just like in this country, it means that you’re unpatriotic if you don’t give unquestioning support to what the right-wingers want to do, but it’s okay to trash anyone to the left of them because they’re not the legitimate voice of the country no matter how many votes they get.
I remember when the The Pianist came out and there is a compelling in Poland where they are walling in the ghetto…We, the viewer, are supposed to be disgusted by the shown disparity on the two sides of the wall….I marvel that so many jews fail to grasp that the immorality in the scene had nothing to do with anti-semitism, per se, but the abject inhumanity forced upon the minority by the majority.
I’ve always suspected that Israeli Chauvinism [Israel is right even when she is wrong] among US Jews is the brittle defense of those who aren’t really practicing the religion of Judaism very well.
And what about the US gentiles who spout similar streams of Israeli Chauvinism? I’m going to pull a Freud here and say they are protesting too much and actually harbor a hatred for Jews and are ashamed of it and try to cover it up by being too, too friendly and supportive.
This especially applies to those who want Israelis to establish an empire, rebuild the temple, get killed, and either go to hell or disappear altogether so these few “Christians” can have God all to themselves.
OT – but the blog that is now monitored and mocked as needed actually had a sane post about how the GOP (Cantor in particular) are the dangerous lunatics in the debt ceiling game. Surprising, considering all of his idiotic shrieking at Obama for not being serious about the deficit, and then the tongue-bathing of Ryan for telling those elderly people to shove it (and then die broke in a gutter). He didn’t throw in any false equivalency bullshit about how the Dems want spend another kajillion dollars on liberal utopian blahblahblah or anything. Stunning.
Trust me, that point is emphatically not lost on most of the Jews in America. It was right up there in our minds when we fought with workers, for desegregation and against all forms of religious disrimination. It is why Jews will remain one of the most reliable liberal voting constituencies in America. We know perfectly well that freedom for one minority necessitates freedom for all minorities.
And I will add to #8 above that from a religious standpoint, I suspect that Bibi is guilty of idolatry – He values a strong and glorious Israel more than a good relationship with God.
[Must admit, though, that I don’t have the ability to truly read the inner recesses of hearts and minds. So I could be wrong. But I’m not.]
You’ll forgive me if I quote Krusty the Klown here when he found out he was adopted:
“I thought I was a self-hating Jew, but it turns out I’m just a plain old anti-Semite.”
Anyone following the Boat to Gaza? Alice Walker et al taking well wishes to Gaza is driving Hillary bonkers. and the White House. I have protested with the Women In Black and ‘Not in My Name’. It seems the key to peace anywhere in the middle east is tied to the Palestinians. Sad to see the oppressed become the oppressors……
There are a whole buncha boats. A Canadian friend is on one of them. Hope they get through OK and safe.
They are being called the “Hate Flotilla” — because wanting to help Palestinians is pretty hateful.
@Linkmeister actually Amen (pronounced in Hebrew like it rhymes with “lo mein”) is perfectly appropriate
My tangle of feelings toward the country of Israel in terms of both its actions toward the Palestinians and its inability/unwillingness to rein in their own fundamentalist fanatics who routinely trample the rights of the rest of Israelis (and whose role in making/breaking coalition governments gives them inordinate political power) goes a long way toward explaining why my conversion process in the Jewish faith has been stalled for some time. I still feel strongly that the faith itself is a spirtual path that works best for me, but aligning myself with the religion seems to require uncritical support of Israel the country. I am glad the country exists but I fear for its future and the future of the Middle East. I think Judaism works just fine as a diaspora religion and in fact survived all its contemporaries because of its ability to shift form for survival. It is a feature, not a bug; a thriving Jewish people spread around the world but with a safe home base in Israel (safe for all Jews, which sadly the current nation is not) would seem to me to the real ideal, not some sort of fantasy recreation of the nation of David or Solomon.
“Amen” in Hebrew is “Amen.” I think Hebrew had it first.
Wouldn’t you actually want a High Priest to run the Third Temple, not a Grand Rabbi? I’m trying to imagine the fights to try to decide who the new High Priest should be; I think it would take even longer to settle that than to get to the point of building the Temple in the first place.
Jeffrey Goldberg is a putz. I mean, I don’t claim to speak for all liberals because I don’t. I certainly don’t feel I am able to say who is and who isn’t in ‘the club’.
So I find it sad when you get these folks act like the dicks did in dubya’s early reign where they decreed who was a Merican & who wasn’t. Dicks. A blight on all their houses.
I agree that Cheney & Bibi deserve to be locked in a love embrace for all eternity in one of the circles of hell…and I don’t believe in hell.
Many years ago, a few years after the 1967 war, but still before the 1973 war, I was in a cathedral in Basel, Switzerland, where I met a middle-aged Israeli woman. We talked about a range of topics, but eventually she asked me if I’d been to Israel. Once on the subject of Israel, the woman got more and more adversarial. When I explained that I had recently gotten out of the US military and I didn’t want to go to any country where war could break out at any time, she became openly hostile and began insulting me. Finally she said, “Why are you afraid? If there is war, your government will come and rescue you?”
I told her that after my recent experience with the government — through the military — I also wanted to stay as far away from the US government as possible, at least for a while. That wasn’t good enough for her. She insulted and cursed me in Hebrew and English. Apparently, I was a Jew-hating coward who hoped the Arabs would exterminate the Israeli people (the Jewish ones).
Now, that was a long time ago and just one woman, but her hypersensitivity and willingness to attribute the worst motives and character flaws to me just because I wanted to avoid certain kinds of entanglements was pretty amazing. I finally said to her, “If this is your attitude toward someone who isn’t anti-Jew or anti-Israeli, and if even a small percentage of Israel’s population shares your attitudes, then I won’t ever want to visit Israel.”
Fifteen years later, this anti-Semite was married to a Jewish woman, who was going to visit Israel with a group and she wanted me to come with her. As we discussed a possible trip, what I would do while she was in meetings and attending events, and what I’d see, it became apparent to me that the reason she wanted me to come was that she had some deep-seated fantasy that if only I could go to Israel and see the magic of the country, the people, and her, then I would want to convert to Judaism.
At the time, I was deeply involved in large format B&W photography (8 x 10 negatives). Anywhere I traveled would be evaluated for photographic opportunities. A Jewish friend of mine, who had bought several of my photographs for herself and as gifts, told me that if I was going to Israel, I should also stop by next door in Egypt, where the photographic potential was far more spectacular. I relayed her comments to my wife, who more or less lost it. It was like I was back in the Basel cathedral again. When she finished, I politely backed out of the trip and stayed in the US while she went to Israel. I never converted and had zero interest in converting — I’d arrived at my own non-belief after considering and rejecting the alternatives. I wasn’t the least bit interested in a religion to practice. Within a few years we were divorced.
Those were only two incidents, but the emotions involved were disproportionate to the issues involved. Wanting to take photographs in Egypt did not make me a bigot — at least not in my own mind. Not wanting to put myself in a position where the government might have to rescue me, did not mean I hated Israel. But that isn’t how my words, actions, and intentions were interpreted.
I’m not surprised that some people automatically assume that if you don’t blindly accept or “support everything that that the state of Israel does or wants to do” you must hate Jews and Israel. It’s utterly irrational, but my own experience made it easy to see how difficult the whole subject is.
@ JonF 5
totally this. It is a fact that many here fail to grasp.
And a situation not unlike our own clusterfucked 60 vote Senate, imo.
My mother is… well, she’s modern orthodox and WISHES she were ultra-orthodox and uses Labovich interpretations. My younger brother who emigrated to Israel last year is Labovich ultra-orthodox and his new wife is even more religious than he is. The local community is various flavors of deep orthodox, and the rabbi is a creationist. No shit, a Jewish creationist.
Because of this stuff, I have been dumped deep in the arguments of the segment of American Judaism that is rabidly pro-Israel. As near as I can tell, they really can’t tell the difference between Israel as a state and the survival of the Jewish people. Because of this they don’t just support Israel, they freak out at any suggestion that it is not allowed to defend itself in ANY way it sees fit. This is a completely blank check issue. Israel gets to defend itself. Period. No, Israel does not have to be humanitarian or proportionate. Respecting the right of the Palestinians to have their own state is a threat to the Israeli state and therefor a threat to Judaism.
Ladeled on top of this I’ve seen a thick, creamy helping of serious and disgusting racism. Palestinians = Terrorists. That pretty much sums it up. When my sister-in-law said that she didn’t see a problem with the IDF attacking Palestinian schools in an operation because those children would grow up to be terrorists anyway, I had to leave the room. That is by far the ugliest thing I’ve heard said, so consider it a bit of nutpicking, but I want to make that point – somewhere along the line, Palestinians = Terrorists becomes part of the judgment.
I had a similar exchange on a different topic recently on the GOS. Someone who is apparently a very respected diarist on LGBT issues at DK posted a diary that was complete and total horseshit: she reported the story that Gates was going to have to hand off the signoff of DADT repeal to his successor due to the process taking longer than expected, and spun it into this relentlessly cynical display of FUD and conspiracy theorizing based around the idea that the Obama administration secretly wants to screw over gays by preserving DADT and scuttling repeal.
Since I disagreed with this and called the diary “dishonest and alarmist”, a few of the commenters and True Believers in the diary told me (variously) to learn to treat gay people as individuals, that I must be straight, and that my opinions come from a “nearly terminal case of heterosexual privilege”.
To anyone who actually knows me, this is knee-slapping hilarity. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone so thoroughly beclown themselves in public, and when I could stop laughing long enough to type, I had to not-so-gently break it to them that they’d made some embarrassingly bad assumptions, and that they were not the final arbiter of approved gayness.
It’s the same sort of thing–just another flavor of tribalism, albeit of a particularly odious sort.
There was a ‘joke’ going around about if the Israelies had to ‘give back’ any land, then the US should give land back to the Native Americans……. one of my Jewish friends posted it, so since i am 1/8 Native American, I had to reply.
I was informed that it was a “Israeli Friendly” post and I should shut the hell up about Native Americans. Well, they brought it up, amirite? No, too damn much drama associated with anything concerning Israel.
Just a shame that Arafat had to die when Shrub was potus. Damn bad timing.
also too, fwiw, the most virulent Israel critic I know is a Jewish friend who lives in Jerusalem.
My thoughts in a nutshell.
I guess they’ve never heard of these things called “Reservations”. Or maybe they see Gaza and the West Bank as reservations, and they’re hoping to screw over the Palestinians there as badly as the US screwed over the Native Americans. Of course a Navajo or Iroquois is free to go wherever they want in the USA without official hassles, which I doubt will be true of Palestinians in Israel.
You know what kills me though? The newfound BFF’s the evangelical christians have with the most extreme portion of Israel. I understand but it’s such a contradiction in terms I don’t understand how the Israeli’s don’t see who their benefactors are.
Their benefactors WANT Israeli’s to convert to Christianity or die and they EXPECT Israel to blow up in an apocolyptic (OK I suck at spelling) event where Jesus comes to rule the earth for 1000 years.
It’s enough to make the REAL baby Jesus cry.
The man who shot Rabin, Yigal Amir, is actually something of a celebrity in Israel from behind bars. His wife’s attempt at artificial insemination was big news there, and on the anniversary of Rabin’s assassination the fans of Beitar Jerusalem make it a point to chant Amir’s name with devotion and enthusiasm.
Here’s the thing, I went to Israel (it was the same program Rahm Emanuel did); if anything I think the Israelis I met thought of the right wing American Jews who claimed they’d do anything for Israel but then didn’t even want to move there (lest it hurt their career prospects) worse than the doves or the leftists, who at the very least were honest with themselves. I think it’s unfortunate that Israel is becoming demonized because their history has a lot in common with our early history and the people share a lot of the same traits. The Israelis- at least imo- are reluctant to give away the WB because honestly what have they gotten since Oslo and since they left S.Lebanon and Gaza? No one expected Gaza to become a new Dubai but the Israelis have seen their peace overtures met with rockets, soldiers being captured in cross border raids, and the 2nd intifada.
Also, the comparison to the wall in Warsaw with the one in the WB is ridiculous, the Germans were trying to systematically kill off or enslave the Jewish people in Eastern Europe. Israeli conduct in places like Jenin and Nablus is nothing to take pride in but to compare it to a situation where millions were deliberately murdered does a big disservice to the victims of ww2
Villago Delenda Est
Remarkably similar line of thought to that of a certain middle European country in the third and fourth decades of the last century, concerning another group in their midst.
@South Bay Amanda:
IIRC, there are more Jews in the US then there are in Israel. Judaism is hardly in danger even if Israel disappeared tomorrow. That said, I don’t want to see it happen, either.
I just wish the nutcases would see that their attempts to marginalize and annex the Palestinians will lead to a one-state solution…and it might not be their state without them doing unto others what was done to them.
I was at a service at a temple in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
The words (only words) in the stained glass were, “God, the Torah and Israel are one.”
We shouldn’t assume that individual Jews believe any one thing.
But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that there aren’t a bunch of Jews who are… not exactly discussing Israel in good faith.
Many Christians and Jews believe God gave the land belongs to the Jews. Apparently presence of Palestinians is a test for good Christians and Jews to figure a way to transfer the land to the rightful owners (Jews). Let’s stop pretending that this flavor of Zionists are participating in good faith discussions when discussing Israel.
And there are more liberal Jews who believe this than Jewish Democrats will admit to.
Also, if people are worshipping at a temple that proclaims God and Israel are one, it’s a fair bet that they will never sign off on anything that divides Israel.
joel hanes, sp4
but the emotions involved were disproportionate to the issues involved
Other people’s tribalisms always seem a bit ridiculous.
Our own, of course, are perfectly sensible.
There are wingnuts everywhere, and Israel is no exception. But their parliamentary system (and fractious society) gives undue weight — literally, swing votes — to small-minority religious lunatics. Imagine a parliamentary U.S. in which Dems are a coalition of progressives and moderate parties, the GOP is a party of more less unified old-line conservatives and modern-day paleoliths, and each gets around 42% of the seats in Congress. The Greens get 2%, libertarians 2%, and right-wing Christian fanatics 12%. (I’m basing this distribution on hard figures I just now made up. It’s a thought experiment, remember.) The GOP would form a government with the Christians and maybe the Libertarians, in return for which the Christians would demand the Secretary of Defense and Education slots, while the Libertarians would get Treasury. That’s what happens in Israel. Even when Labor used to dominate, they usually needed the religious parties to form a government — hence the religious schools, exemption of the ultra-religious from military service, etc.
eric @ 7:
Which makes the current wall all that much more ironic. The oppressed becomes the oppressor — and they somehow justify doing exactly what they condemned was done to them. Where can I return my Confirmation Bible?
@ fuzz 28
exactly. And it is my utter contempt and disgust at the ignorant, moronic sanctimony of people who make comparisons like that — and similar ones on this very thread — that got me the reputation of an Israel “apologist.”
Wish both Israel and the US would stop committing war crimes by using illegal weapons (ie white phosphorus, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, et al) I do not see any Arabs using these monstrous weapons, eemom.
But that might make the MIC unhappy.
No sane person would take such a person seriously, with regard to relevant arguments, for a single second, and there’d be nothing in the slightest hard about making that decision.
Any other decision would be replacing any sort of logical and empirical argument with an insane state fetishism.
[Note: It should be needless to clarify that any analogous statement about any other nation-state whatsoever, present, prior, or fantasized, would be equally anti-intellectual and purposefully irrational.]
Somewhere along the line I must have missed out, because I don’t seem to have a tribe.
I have no strong ethnic identity and I utterly despise “American exceptionalism.” I’m white, but I’ve dated or married women who are Asian, Hispanic, African-American, or white, as well as Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, atheist, and agnostic. But not a Muslim. (The failure to date a Muslim was from lack of opportunity, not because of religion.)
I’m male, but intensely dislike machismo and paternalism.
I was brought up as a Protestant, but I’m a non-believer and hate what religion has done to this country (as well as other countries and regions).
I don’t belong to any groups or organizations apart from a loose affiliation, I suppose, with the Democratic Party.
I generally vote for Democrats, and absolutely never for the Modern Republican Party, whose members are a bunch of crooked lunatics. I don’t respect most Democratic politicians, but I loathe their Republican counterparts. I am willing to and have voted for either third party or write-in candidates.
I’m getting old, but I’ve always refused to join AARP, because I felt their priorities were screwed up. Recently, when AARP decided to throw in with the enemies of Social Security, I was sorry I didn’t belong to AARP, because only because that meant I couldn’t quit.
I was in the military, but found it the most corrupt and inefficient organization I’d ever been associated with. I don’t look back fondly on my service (although I was extraordinarily lucky to have been stationed in a beautiful German city with only a tiny contingent of American soldiers and I had a wonderful German girlfriend).
I’ve never been to a class reunion — high school or college — and don’t intend to change that.
I once considered joining a group of “freethinkers,” but changed my mind when they decided that limitations had to be placed on the topics we could discuss in order to avoid upsetting anyone. What kind of a freethinker can’t discuss…well, anything?
I’ve never been depressed and have some wonderful friends, some of whom I first met more than forty years ago.
I’m a baby boomer, but I identify with people of all ages and don’t share a lot in common with most people my age, though two of my best friends are only about six years my junior, while another is 11 years my senior.
I’ve lived in the South, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, and Germany. I was born on the East Coast and it’s looking like I’ll die on the West Coast.
I’ve worked both white and blue collar jobs, and I’ve been a climbing bum.
Unless I’m missing something I can’t find a tribe in all that. Any suggestions?
A benevolent brotherhood of man?
I’m heterosexual, but one of my two oldest (i.e., of longest standing) friends is gay and I happily marched in the first ever LGBT Pride Parade in Prince George, BC (a logging community where a gay pride parade seemed as unlikely as anywhere outside of Saudi Arabia — maybe a slight exaggeration). I’ve participated in numerous other Pride events across the country.
Maybe a benevolent personhood of humanity, but that excludes plants and animals and I don’t want to leave them out.
My tribe is all living things?
Even that doesn’t work, because nothing pleases me more that a gigantic exposed wall of granite, miles of Wingate sandstone cliffs in Utah, or soaring Alpine and Himalayan peaks. Lest I be mistaken for a landlubber, I’m fascinated by and love the ocean as well, and have spent some of the happiest days of my life in my sea kayak.
My tribe is the Universe. And dammit, I hate anyone and everything that isn’t part of my Universe.
Countdown to someone calling you an anti-Semite in…3…2…1…
I can’t say for certain, not having seen the window, but keep in mind that “Israel” is not just the name of a country but the word is used as a synonym for the Jewish people, The Jews were called, and call themselves “Israel” without referring to the political nation of Israel, and the tradition dates from the Bible from before the Jews even arrived in the land of Canaan. The phrase on the window likely meant to use the term Israel in that context.
Israel: not quite as bad as Nazi Germany! Seriously, I think the reason people want to make comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany is because they think it will have more impact if they can convince the Israelis not just that they’ve become something bad but that they’re turning into exactly what they were fleeing from. That attempt may be misguided- if the analogy is imperfect it lets the Israelis dismiss their critics as anti-Semitic instead of people making a bad analogy- but it’s understandable.
Oh yeah?! Well ya know who else criticized Israel?
(Sorry for the snark. Can’t believe no one else had done that yet.)
[ off snark ]
This has GOT to be one of the better posts on this subject I’ve read. Nails the issue and frames it perfectly. Just. Perfectly.
Of course, for some, you might as well festoon yourself in swastikas for the foreseeable future. That’s just how they
no, actually it’s not. It’s ignorant, offensive and condescending.
If that kind of analogy is “understandable,” so too is it understandable for an Israeli to tell all of us who are not Native Americans to STFU.
mike in dc
@Shano: Loyalist forces in Libya employed cluster munitions during the shelling of Misurata. Just an FYI.
A Chicago area folk singer (long gone) named Steve Goodman wrote a wonderful ditty with the lyrics “It’s not hard to get along with somebody else’s troubles, and they don’t make you lose any sleep at night. Just as long as someone’s out there bursting somebody else’s bubbles, everything’s gonna be alright”
but it’s deeper than that.
America got away with exactly the same project Israel is working on. We put the redskins on the run and settled the whole darn continent and there was no “world public opinion” to say boo about it, heck many were on boats coming over to join the land grab! Perfect timing. Are modern Americans tossing in their sleep about Native-Americans drowning in alcoholism and despair? No, we pulled it off beautifully. Is there anyone today more proud and self-satisfied with stainless national pride than the American? Just ask one to find out.
But Israel is a peanut of a country surrounded by the displaced and far, far too late to the nationalism party which made the 20th century pretty much hell outside of North America. Zionists definitely caught the disease but with their eyes on the prize ignored the lessons learned by others all around them. So we are seeing the whole sorry progression on display again with, of all things, the mighty savior of Europe providing full funding and weaponry to run the movie again (because of Zionist money and influence blindly pushing it to do so in the supposed best interest of Israel!!!).
If the Jew, the ultimate victim, can come to be the Ubermensch, and revel in it as much as any who played that part in the past, can there be any further proof that anti-Semitism, along with all bigotry is absurd – that we are all the same kind of animal?
The irony of Israel is that the project to protect a people because they were different and therefor subject to abuse by nations turns out to demonstrate they are no different and once equipped with a state of their own are downright eager to try some serious abusing for themselves.
We’re seeing the same rise of fanaticism, the same arrogance of power, the degradation of the other to the status of non-human, the obsession with purity of race/religion, the elevation of the Mythos unconnected to fact, the absolute refusal to be judged by any standard but one’s own…only now this is played out by the world’s most heavily armed peanut performing for an audience of billions.
Can we doubt where this will end? The only real debate outside Israel/U.S. is about what reel of the movie we are viewing, I suspect it is the last. Israel shows us that a “race” can be created out of thin air from the most diverse group of people but the result of power disconnected from responsibility is the same. Israelis will come to the same humiliating dead end as have others before them.
All the rest of the world can do is try to pull the plug, difficult only because the USA is running full bore to run more power lines, my U.S. senator Mark Kirk one of the chief electricians.
Boycott, divest, sanction, fill the Mediterranean with flotillas, all ideas are welcome and should be explored to head off the collapse toward which Israel speeds with determination.
All you defenders of Israel: Show me where collective punishment can ever be justified.
“Israel” originally refers to a guy named Jacob who wrestled on a river’s edge with another guy all night and at dawn the other guy still couldn’t beat him.
They other guy touched Jacobs thigh and knocked it out of joint and paralyzed him. This convinced Jacob that this guy was an angel or God or something.
So he kept a hold of the thigh-touching paralyzing joint femur popping guy and said he wouldn’t let go until dude blessed him.
Dude said Jacob’s name was now Israel.
Also from then on kosher rules forbade eating from any part of a permitted food animal which might have some part of the ‘sciatic nerve’ which was cursed by thigh-touching wrestling dude-angel.
Unless you could afford a bad-ass butcher and could 100% count on the removal of every last tiny bit of it and the related vessels, people gave up eating the hind parts of animals. Who would want to risk the lash for this?
(Plus, it was a way to make good money selling prime parts to non-Jews.)
So, the name “Israel” should always remind you of a magic wrestler’s paralyzing touch on another man’s thigh on the bank of a river, and a very strict prohibition on any meat which touches the longest nerve of the body.
“Israel is a democracy.”
BWHAAAHHAAAA… oh, you were serious?
@26 Roger Moore:
On this blog or a similar one, some stupid prick who claimed to be a native American in Canada (maybe Mohawk) went on and on about how he had it at least as bad as the Palestinians, and IIRC made negative unsympathetic comments about the Pal’s. What a maroon—since he presumably had equal rights in the rest of Canada, he’s clearly in a much better situation than a Pal in the Occupied Territories.
Yes, you’ve said this before, because you’re too stupid to understand the difference between past crimes and current crimes.
And as I’ve pointed out before—since pretty much every human alive today is descended from people who murdered off other tribes/peoples, no one should criticize anyone else who commits ethnic cleansing or genocide.
@ 53 (continued)…by your logic.
@35 eemom wrote,
Nonsense. You’re an Israeli apologist because you apologize for Israeli crimes, full stop, not merely in the context of saying they’re not the most monstrous crimes around.
Um…for someone who can’t see the difference between a past crime and an ongoing crime, you need to look in the mirror.
A couple of general thoughts that relate to the jingoism so common with Israeli supporters:
1. The settler movement and the Lukidniks represent the original spirit of Zionism. Israel was founded pursuant to the same doctrines, and by people with the same basic goals. The assassination of Rabin was not something unusual in Israeli politics – hard core Zionists were murdering more moderate Israelis during the 20s and 30s (for example, look up Jacob de Haan assassination in 1924 by Haganah). They either dont know how or dont want to switch off that settler impulse, and it has become enshrined as an integral part of the religious faith. There is a deep seated reason why the State of Israel remains so committed to self-destructive practices concerning long term peace – it reflects the very core of the founding spirit of the country. When outsiders suggest something is wrong with this view, you are inevitably attacking their religion. I understand that this view is itself subject to deep conflict in the Jewish community (see below), but it represents the dominant force over time.
2. Israel may be a democracy, but it is also a theocratic one, and cannot allow an equal place for other religions. It is a state whose primary identity is as a Jewish state. The very founding concept of Israel reflects something profoundly different from our view of democracy.
In the 1800s when modern Zionism gained steam as a movement, there was considerable rejection of it in the Jewish community. The criticism at the time was that it represented a secular aspiration to turn the religion into a secular political movement and would be bad for the religion. The Jewish anti-Zionists lost the argument, but the basic point remains correct in my opinion. Conflating a religious doctrine with a secular statehood ambition creates problems for both the state and the religion.
Go back to the sandbox, you facile little twerp.
and, fuck this. been that, done there.
There are plenty of people who are capable of intelligent discussion of this issue, but none are currently in evidence on this thread. So enjoy your self-righteous circle jerk, you smug assholes.
I agree that’s what the idea is, to tell them they’ve turned into what they ran from, but to me it doesn’t come across as antisemitism (then again I’m not Jewish so I’m not as sensitive to that stuff) but just as someone trying to use shock value. They know it will touch a nerve with Jews and Israelis, and it will, and then they wonder why people get aggravated by the subject. There are thousands of Israelis alive today who were raised by a generation of Israelis who still had numbers on their arms, it gets a predictable rise out of them when you say they’re treating the Palestinians as the Nazis treated their relatives. Emotions aside, it’s just a terrible argument/comparison.
no, actually, mr. religious scholar, the criticism wasn’t that it was “bad for the religion,” but that it was apostasy, because according to Orthodox doctrine it was only the Messiah who could establish the true state of Israel.
fuck this II.
I am always surprised and disappointed to see an otherwise reasonable person lift their mask and reveal their crazy monster face(fevered zionism/state fetishism).
if you mean me, go fuck yourself.
I’m not a Zionist. I’m not even Jewish. I just can’t endure the particular species of smug, sanctimonious, ignorant finger-wagging that this subject inevitably invokes among people who fundamentally have no idea what the fuck they’re talking about.
You might want to read that comment again, because it seems like you endure them all quite well.
Out of curiosity (for anyone): Since one side of my family didn’t arrive in the U.S. until the 1890s, and the other until the early 1900s, does that mean I can criticize Israel for what they’re doing to the Palestinians?
Or do I need to do something else before being able to do so without being labeled a hypocrite for what people I’m not related to, nor had any control of, did more than 120+ years ago, no matter how much I’ve criticized what they did?
Just want to know what the qualifications are …
Yes, that was the Orthodox religious objection, but not the only objection (nor do I believe the primary one in Jewish opposition to Zionism). Other non-Orthodox opposed Zionism for other reasons, including the one I described.
Its just history – nothing to get all worked up about.
Yeah. You need to study the history of the Palestine/Israel region in detail, both before and since 1948.
Because if you did that, you might actually know WTF you’re talking about.
Uh, Tim, “Old Testament” is actually the Christians’ word for the whole Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), not just the Torah.
Mont D. Law
There can never be a solution until the Israelis understand they can’t drive the Palestinians into Jordan and the Arabs understand they can’t drive the Israelis into the sea. Both sides have to accept that no one is going anywhere.
And James is exactly right. This is not going to end well for Israel. At some point it will have to stop. And the path the country is walking now reminds me of the fool and the hill.
Something I found weirdly hopeful. The president of Malaysia gave a speech & said.
“1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,” but he suggested using political and economic tactics instead of violence.
That the leader of a huge Muslim country said this out-loud is real progress. It also says something about the goals & priorities of South Asian Muslims, who are not burdened with Arab nationalism which has become corrupt and corrosive over time.
@ Frankensteinbeck –
It might interest your sister-in-law to know that this is precisely what suicide-bombers are told to quell any possible conscience attacks. Children? They’ll grow up to kill Arabs. Civilians? They pay taxes that fund Arab-killing. Old women and men? They gave birth to the Arab-killers. Etc, etc, etc.
Go fuck yourself, shitheel.
The Israeli government, and the religious fanatics being bitched about in this thread, have spend decades engaging in continual theft of property, house and neighborhood demolition, mass detentions, night raids, illegal checkpoints, and repeated blockades and bombings that’ve starved and killed hundreds to thousands of Arabs. If you want to sit there with a corncob up your ass preaching at us and pissing and moaning about Godwin and “oh, but they’re not AS bad as the Nazis,” hey, free speech, friend. But in honor of said free speech, once again, go fuck yourself.
And no, you’re not an apologist for Israel. Just for the psychopaths, Israeli and other, who claim a patent on it.
Then you know exactly how we feel. And if we’re so offensive to your precious, precious sensitivities, no one’s making you stay.
I agree that Zionists have hijacked a religious concept for a political goal.
But I’m not satisfied that religious leaders–Jews or Christians–have done anywhere near enough to make clear the distinction between the scriptural idea of Israel and the state of Israel.
My mom is a minister and I’d listen to scripture being quoted in church and I know that people in the pews aren’t savvy to the difference between the Israel of the Bible and the country that uses the name “Israel”.
I would be interested to see a poll that asks people if the state of Israel is a member of the United Nations is the same as the Israel described in the Bible and see the opinion cross referenced by party affiliation, education level and faith tradition.
My guess is that educated atheists understand the distinction, a bunch of people are confused about the distinction and there is a large block of Christian and Jewish Zionists who vehemently disagree that there is a difference.
It does seem that many supporters of Israel are comfortable discussing the government killing thousands of Arabs and Muslims as a matter of policy. They see nothing bigoted about this.
But these same people want to cut off any discussion critical of Israel if the speaker hurts the feelings of Jews. Saying anything that sounds like “dual loyalty” or “Jewish influence of the media” is so bigoted the speaker cannot participate in the discussion.
Bigotry that kills Arabs or Muslims is normal. Words that offend Jews are beyond the pale.
Land grabs are always about resources. the left bank has water. And yes, Israel wants to have reservations, not a nation, for the Palestinians. It is a stupid strategy.
When your neighbors do well, that is always good for your nation. Look at how badly we have treated Mexico (NAFTA, War on Drugs) and the terrible blow back from that economic treatment alone.
That would be “omayn” :-)
@JonF #5 (no linkee to avoid moderation): I wish I could be that optimistic about Bibi. First of all, he’s an opportunist and someone for whom his own personal aggrandizement has always been far more important than any quaint concept of public service or doing the right thing however that’s conceived. Secondly, the US Congress will never allow Obama to exert enough pressure on him to negotiate with the Palestinians in good faith. Thirdly, even if that weren’t the case, the second he does that his ultra-right coalition partners bolt and his government falls. He has no interest in risking his political neck, and even if he did he’s nowhere near smart enough to figure out a strategy with any chance of success. All he’s going to do is keep kicking the can down the road, grabbing more land and abusing the Palestinians as much as the US will let him get away with (and sitting by while radical settlers continue their ongoing campaign of terrorism). I’m sure he is smart enough to realize that this strategy ultimately increases the danger to Israel and not incidentally corrupts the state and its institutions more and more, but he just doesn’t care.
And on top of all that, there’s no viable opposition party at this point in time.
@ Mont D. Law:
It’s not just Arab nationalism, it’s the day-to-day oppression that is the real difference. Israel’s treatment of Palestinians only gives them the justification they need to promote that nationalism.
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
Nah, that really didn’t happen as much as you think. For the most part, it was dominant cultures killing off lesser cultures. The leadership of the lesser culture died, the rest of the tribe was assimilated into the dominant culture. Just as the Angles and Saxons didn’t fill a void in England- most English people are genetically Celts- most Palestinians (as well as Syrians, Lebanese and Jordanians) share more genes with their Akkadian/Syriac cousins the Jews rather than the originators of their more recently practiced Arab culture.
The story in Genesis of Cain and Abel describes how this happened to the subgroup of Semites called the Hebrews, chased off their grazing lands by the dominant farming culture, but as the story unwound they explained the adoption of sedentary agriculture- assimilation into the dominant culture- as their blessing from God. Of course that story of Abraham was spun much later, when some Hebrews escaped their Egyptian captivity and settled down with the survivors of the collapse of the Canaanite city-states, having come across a god named Yahweh in the area of Petra. They had to justify their claims on the land somehow or another. And they didn’t actually commit a genocide against the people of Jericho, but they needed to scare the shit out of anyone who came looking to conquer them, so…
I see more than a few comments here assuming that Israel is on an unsustainable course on the West Bank. Why? I can’t think of any reason that the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs won’t ultimately be expelled or stuffed into Bantustans with any particular dire consequences for Israel. When they try to go back into Lebanon is when it might get hairy.
Count me in the category of people who agrees with you. I think the Palestinian nation’s on its way out and probably won’t exist in any form by the end of the century. After that, the Israelis will eventually have to deal with the Arabs within their borders, and they probably will end up with integration at some point, even if it takes several hundred years. But that’ll be well after any hopes of a Palestinian nation have been torpedoed for good. The settlers aren’t going to stop settling, and the Americans aren’t going to force them, and I don’t see either of these things changing.
YOU go fuck yourself, you disgusting, ignorant pig. And learn to spell while you’re at it.
Oh yeah? Well, fuck you, and you too. And don’t think you’re out of this, either.
It appears to be a much larger theme, of the aggressive patriarchal (literally, not just the denotation of sexism) of a dominant male and pastoral god over the variety of multi-deity rival faiths, and with a particular focus on eliminating the powerful female gods who were closely associated with the productivity of the Earth.
But I do think it’s interesting when I have people go back and read that bit and see that God gets all pissed at and reprimands / insults Cain for making an offering based on fixed agriculture, while Abel is the Good Brother for doing so with the products of livestock herding. And as you’d expect, people who’ve never really read the thing or thought about it see it a pretty damned petty thing for a presumed universal deity to do.
Pretty common pattern in much of the world.
Of course, I don’t think there’s yet evidence of any Jewish captivity in Egypt. Mainly a mythical tale of Jewish solidarity and escape from oppression.
Even the Old Testament has many of the core tales of Jewish exiles being accepted into various powerful other nations as refugees and guests — not least of which because instead of simply wandering tribal nomads, such groups were carrying with them the leadership and portable riches of a powerful but displaced ‘nation’, more or less.
That’s the weird stuff about both Abraham and Isaac being hosted by Phoenicians and Egyptians, and each passing their wives off as not their wives, so they hosts therefore make moves at getting close to these women obviously at the top of this tribe-nation group.
Triassic Sands, you don’t have a tribe because you have an empire. Everyone else has a tribe, but the Empire rules them all.
Lacp, this empire is why Israel isn’t going to win. The Empire can commit genocide, because it’s the Empire and who’s going to make us pay for it? But if Israel tries to commit genocide, in this era of the cell phone photo and Internet, they’re going to have NATO on their backs just like Gaddaffi or Milosevic. So there’ll be no ethnic cleansing.
And without ethnic cleansing, eventually the Arabs will outnumber the citizens, and they’ll start demanding the vote, South Africa style. And then Israel will have to admit, even to themselves, they are not a democracy. And then what happens? I seriously doubt the Empire will allow them to be the only client state to refuse to be a democracy.
Tim F. is right that there is no fundamental principle to agree with the Israeli government in everything. But there is a principle to stand by the people who live there as much as if they were living in Argentina.
There is a machlochet :) over when the events of this week’s parsha occurred– did Korach start his rebellion before the sin of the spies or after? It looks like common sense in the text that it was after because Datan and Abiram say, “You did not give us a heritage of field and vineyard”, and the Ramban agrees with that. If it is after, then the sin of the spies in denigrating the land of Israel leads directly to questioning what really is a fundamental principle, that Moses is unique and his prophecy is unique. And the acceptance of that principle by the people is important because it bolstered their fear of Hashem.
So the people are questioning the figures that have the right to be leaders because of very impressive men such as Korach and the spies.
At any rate, if the land of Israel has holiness, it’s intrinsic. Holiness is really something that only G-d can give. By the same token a state on that land cannot give it.
He’s right. But you would have a king then, so the fight would be of lesser importance.
Israeli leaders need neither commit genocide (including ethnic removal, it’s not just killing) nor closing the 2-state “solution”.
This presumes some sort of Palestinian state which isn’t a joke, which hasn’t already lost the resources Israeli leaders want, which isn’t split by enough guarded / impassable Israeli roads, walls, checkpoints and such, and which has some sort of control over borders, airspace, defense, import and export, and so forth.
Keep delaying until that sort of state is the best achievable, and then embrace Palestinian independence (although, of course, demanding even more conciliation and humiliation) and everyone can go home patting themselves on the back, and ignoring the Palestinians’ status afterwards.
The International Red Cross, another propaganda arm of AIPAC? (snark)
Well that is from Haaretz, you know the newspaper that strongly critizes the Israeli government.
Reminder, the Egyptian border is open right now. “But both sides do it, and really we expect more from a democracy than from those benighted brown people”, amirite?