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No Jewish People Without Israel

Why the future of American Judaism as we know it depends on the survival of the Jewish state

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(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photos Eric/Flickr and Library of Congress)

Why do Jews lie at the Passover Seder? Across the world every year, we Jews recite the famous line: “Next year in Jerusalem.” But how many American Jews actually mean it? The vast majority of them clearly do not plan to live in Israel, which is the liturgy’s obvious meaning. Why, then, proceed with the charade? On this pivotal night, why celebrate freedom by uttering a lie?

Truths come in different forms. “Next year in Jerusalem” is not about a plan, but about a dream. And uttering this phrase has long been the Jewish people’s way of keeping in mind both an ethereal ideal and a common national yearning. Jerusalem served as a compass during prayer, but, more importantly, it made for flights of national fancy. For two millennia, as Jews imagined their people’s future, one place occupied center-stage. That place was Zion.

As is increasingly apparent, however, the times are changing. Ours is the first generation in which the centrality of Zion in Jewish dreams is beginning to fade. It is fading rapidly, and we know why. Part of it has to do with the fact that Israel’s supporters have framed the conversation about the Jewish State in terms of the conflict with the Palestinians. Even among knowledgeable and committed Jews, an oral Rorschach test in response to the word “Israel” evokes responses such as “checkpoints,” “occupation,” or “settlements”—as though the conflict were all that Israel is about.

In response to that, a younger generation for whom war is anathema and occupation is morally unbearable has begun to drift away. Part of that is understandable, but only to an extent. For even when faced with the tragic and interminable conflict with the Palestinians, is it too much to hope that Jews would still find much worth celebrating when they think of Israel? When the revival of Jewish sovereignty in their ancestral land evokes only images of war, and the ingathering of exiles after 2,000 years evokes no awe, when the rebirth of the Jewish language elicits little sense of wonder, Jews have lost sight of the real significance of Israel’s re-creation.

But this is precisely where we find ourselves. Young Jews today, discouraged by Israeli policies that they cannot abide, either explicitly or tacitly join those who condemn the Jewish State. But they do not recognize that the de-legitimization of Israel will affect them, too, that they, too, have a personal stake in Israel, no matter how discomfited they may be by some of its policies. What happens to Israel will affect not only Jews in Beersheva or Tel Aviv, but Jews in New York, Boston, London, and Buenos Aires. Why that is the case has to become part of the Zionist conversation, which can no longer be only about Palestinians and occupation, borders and war.

***

Evidence that a new conversation about the Jewish state is long overdue is everywhere. The distance between Diaspora Jews (mostly, but not exclusively, American Jews) and the Jewish state is painfully apparent. A recent study asked American Jews if the destruction of Israel would be a personal tragedy for them. The study asked about the destruction of Israel, not its gradual disappearance or slow withering away. Eighty percent of Jewish Americans 65 years of age and older said that Israel’s destruction would, indeed, be a personal tragedy for them. But amazingly, 50 percent of those 35 years old and younger said that Israel’s destruction would not be a personal tragedy. Similarly, a 2011 study of American Jews showed that the younger the cohort, the lower their support for Israel.

The same phenomenon began to surface even among young rabbinical students; outside the Orthodox community, increasing numbers of mainstream Zionist rabbinical students reported that expressing support for Israel on their campuses had become a lonely proposition.

In an era in which American Jews can proudly espouse any political position they wish, why are so many young American Jews turning away from Israel? Why has Zion shifted away from the core of their national sensibilities and dreams? The most obvious reason, as stated, is the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. These young people have no memory of Israel’s past fragility, or of a time before the international community’s endorsement of Palestinian national aspirations. Israel’s re-creation and even the 1967 and 1973 wars, when the Arab nations pledged to “push the Jews into the sea,” are ancient history.

Today, what these young Jews see is a power imbalance. One side is an internationally recognized democracy with nuclear weapons, a world-class army, and a robust economy. The other side has none of these. In what is a radical departure from the mindset of their parents, these young Americans’ earliest memories of Israel are of the Intifada, of heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrayed against young Palestinian boys “only” throwing rocks. Sensitive to the underdog everywhere, and with a deep-seated belief in fairness, they insisted and continue to insist upon balancing the scales. The Palestinians, they decided, needed a state.

Palestinian statehood, however, has been slow in coming. To be sure, some of these young American Jews understand the impasse stems from the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel and continuing insistence that any political settlement with the Israelis allow for the return of the now-millions of people classified as “refugees” by UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency). Israel, in turn, understands that with the immigration of those original refugees and their descendants the state would cease to be Jewish—which is precisely what the Palestinians intend.

At the same time, these young Jews have also intuited that the Palestinians will not change. Therefore, because they cannot bear a conflict that simply cannot be resolved, they conclude that something has to give—and if the Palestinians will not give, then that something has to be Israel. But then, as this thinking goes, if Israel refuses to budge, it is Israel that is responsible for the impasse. Faced with a choice between loyalty to their humanitarian values or to their parents’ Zionism, they have chosen the former.

That point, of course, is not new. Peter Beinart, former editor of The New Republic and author of the recent book The Crisis of Zionism, has made the point extensively; perhaps the most quoted line from his much-discussed New York Review of Books article was his assertion that “For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.”

True though Beinart’s comment may be, what is significant is that something else has changed, too. Many of these younger Jews now also believe they simply do not need Israel any longer. Having matured in the Shoah’s long shadow, their parents and grandparents still perhaps feel marginally vulnerable in America. These young people do not. They feel safe and do not fear anti-Semitism. Why, they therefore ask themselves, express fealty to a country they do not need and that often makes them feel ashamed?

As much as this perspective sounds like a radical shift, it is far more ancient than we might imagine. Indeed, its seeds were sown many centuries earlier, as early as the Bible’s redaction. Confronted by the possibility of losing sovereignty in their ancestral homeland (which is precisely what happened), the creators of the Jewish tradition taught the possibility of a flourishing Diaspora even without autonomous Jewish life in the land of Israel. As Jacob Wright of Emory University write in a much-discussed essay, “A Nation Conceived in Defeat”:

Anticipating the coming doom and destruction, these authors set about the task of their people’s preservation. They did so … by unhinging the concept of “nation” from that of “state.” Hence, while defeat may have destroyed Israel’s state, it came to play a key role in the creation of Israel’s identity as a people.

Wright insightfully points out that while most ancient national narratives were constructed around great victories, Judaism took a different route: “It was not the moments of peace and prosperity, but rather the experiences of catastrophe that produced the strongest impetus for the composition of the magisterial history found in Genesis—Kings and the profound, disturbing messages of the prophets.”

In some significant way, therefore, the Bible’s take on Jewish history was essentially a preparation for exile. Even as the prophets warn the Israelites that their state may be doomed, and the suffering great, they also reassure them that their people will not end. The people of Israel is eternal, as Jeremiah proclaims:

For I will forgive their iniquities and remember their sins no more. Thus said the Lord who established the … laws of moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea into roaring waves. … If these laws should ever be annulled by me—declares the Lord—only then would the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before Me for all time.

Is it possible, however, that that brilliant move by the redactors of the Bible, which once served a critical purpose, is now undermining Jewish commitment to Jewish sovereignty? In its time, the Bible’s move may well have equipped the Jews for survival throughout their exile. Today, however, the Jews do have a state. And that state is maligned severely and needs the Jews’ support more than ever. Ironically, this ancient biblical strategy has convinced many Jews that the Jews could survive even if the State of Israel does not.

***

In many respects, Zionists have flatly denied that ancient biblical assertion. Zionism’s claim has been that the Jewish nation cannot survive meaningfully without the Jewish state, that the ancient biblical strategy has become counterproductive and dangerous. The Zionists were right.

One cannot understand this, of course, without some historical perspective. Zionism did not emerge out of nowhere. Theodor Herzl did what he did and wrote what he wrote because Jewish life in the Diaspora had become, to use Hobbes’ phrase, “poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” The Jews were Europe’s victims-on-call. Of course, today’s American Jews are confident that they have found a home of an entirely different order. What happened back then, they assert, could not happen today. That newfound confidence has historical antecedents, of course: American Jews’ confidence resembles that of the Jews of Cordoba—who were forcibly converted, burned alive at the stake, and summarily expelled in the Spanish Inquisition. The Jews of Berlin in 1930 also believed they had found the ultimate enlightened home, that the dark days of Europe would never return. And in the space of but a few years, German Jewry was erased.

We cannot know, of course, what will or will not happen in America. But one thing we do know, even if it is not commonly expressed (because anyone who says it must expect to be accused of fear-mongering): The Jewish life that American Jews take for granted is actually dependent on the existence of the same Jewish state from which many young Jews now distance themselves.

This is the point that today’s younger generations of American Jews simply do not understand: American Jewish life as it now exists would not survive the loss of Israel.

There was an era not long ago in which American Jews tiptoed around America, nervously striving to stay beneath the radar. They evoked that image of the spies who reported back to Moses after surveying the Promised Land: “We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we appeared to them.” The American Jews who believe they could survive the loss of Israel do not remember that era. They take it as entirely natural that thousands of American citizens confidently ascend the steps of the Capitol Hill on the lobbying day at AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference. Do they ever ask themselves why virtually no one ascended those same steps between 1938 and 1945 to demand that the United States do something to save the Jewish people from extinction?

After all, there were millions of Jews in America the United States during that horrific period, and they knew what was happening. But American Jews of that generation lacked the confidence and the sense of belonging in America that this generation of students now takes for granted. When some 400 mostly Orthodox rabbis marched on Washington in the October 1943, President Roosevelt simply refused to meet them and departed the White House via a rear door. There were no mass protests, no caravans of buses to Washington to demand help for their European kin.

Jews today no longer think of themselves as a tiptoeing people. When Soviet Jews awakened and wanted out of their national prison, American Jews supported them, and the State of Israel made their rescue a national project. When an Air France flight filled with Jews was hijacked to Entebbe, the State of Israel rescued them, and American Jews were filled with unprecedented pride. When Ethiopian Jews were caught in the crosshairs of a deadly civil war, the State of Israel whisked them out, and American philanthropists continue to make them a key priority. Much of what fuels American Jewish pride is the existence and the behavior of the State of Israel.

In ways we do not sufficiently recognize, Israel has changed the existential condition of Jews everywhere, even in America. Without the State of Israel, the self-confidence and sense of belonging that American Jews now take for granted would quickly disappear.

This, then, is one of the great ironies of our era: The sense of belonging and security that leads many American Jews to believe that they do not need the State of Israel is itself a product of that very same State of Israel. And in moving away from devotion to the Jewish state, occasionally even opposing or undermining it, they are actually weakening the very source of the confidence that makes their political activism possible.

***

Yet another irony in today’s state of affairs ought to be noted: Even as Israel becomes more controversial among American Jews, Israel remains virtually the sole topic that can arouse the passions of American Jews.

An overlooked but important question is this: Without Israel, what would remain to make Jewishness anything more than some anemic form of ethnic memory long since eroded? About what else in Jewish life, besides Israel, do contemporary Jews feel outrage? Even those who are more critical of Israel react swiftly when Israel is unfairly abused in the international media or when it is attacked. Conversely, many American Jews feel profound shame and even anger when Israel does things they consider inexcusable. What else evokes such immediate passions?

In 2011, a proposed ban on circumcision in San Francisco with clear anti-Semitic overtones did not even near the stir provoked by a naval raid on a flotilla thousands of miles away the year before. Do the discussions of whether or not JCCs should be open on Shabbat arouse nationwide debate? They do not. But the Israeli rabbinate, thousands of miles away, does.

Though many American Jews, especially the younger among them, now believe the loss of Israel would not be tragic, Israel continues to energize them in ways that no other issue does. When Israel’s chief rabbinate or some Israeli political party threatens to declare all Reform and Conservative conversions invalid, American Jews become enraged, even though that policy will affect very, very few of them. Why?

Despite proclamations by some American Jews that Israel is no longer central to their identity, and despite the claim by half of America’s young American Jews that Israel’s destruction would not be a personal tragedy, Israel still rankles them like no other Jewish issue. We ought not dismiss that observation lightly. We can explain it, or we can find it perplexing. But let us not lose sight of this undeniable reality: Without Israel, the primary energizing force in the Jewish world would disappear. And without that energy and passion, there is simply no way that anything remotely resembling Jewish life as we know it could survive.

Israel, like it or not, is not just a homeland to Israelis. It is also a “state unto the Diaspora”; the state that, even from afar, secures the life and instills the passions of Jews all over the world.

***

To all the above, there is a commonly recited response: “If the Jewish people survived in Diaspora without a Jewish State for two thousand years, how likely is it that a mere sixty-something years of sovereignty have eroded our ability to do so again?” To be sure, the argument goes, we do not wish to have to survive without a state, but if we have to, we can and we will.

But with due apologies to Lord Tennyson, it is not always true that it is “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Often, gaining something and losing it is worse than never having had it at all. And that is true of the re-created sovereignty the Jews have enjoyed for nearly two-thirds of a century. The counter-argument above simply misreads the way Jewish life has developed. Their confidence is misplaced, and it is very dangerous.

One can easily understand why American Jews would wish to declare their existential and emotional independence from the State of Israel. At least at first glance, it simply makes no sense that U.S. Jews should be dependent on an embattled country the size of New Jersey across the ocean, with a culture wholly unlike that which American Jews take for granted. But the dependence is real. The fate of American Judaism is intimately linked to fate of Israel, just as the fate of Israel is linked to and dependent upon the survival and flourishing of American Jews. Ours is the ultimate mutually interdependent relationship.

American Jews thus have an enormous personal stake in the fight against the de-legitimization of Israel. This is true even of young American Jews, even of those liberally inclined Jews who (often legitimately) see much about the Jewish state that bothers them terribly. A successful campaign to delegitimize –and possibly destroy – Israel could undo much more than the Jewish state. It could radically alter American Judaism as we know it.

No one would have to be killed, or exiled, or dismissed from their job. All that would have to happen is that Jews would suffer the second enormous blow to their People in the space of a century. With that, the Jews would become stateless like the Chechnyans, the Tibetans, or the Basques. They would tiptoe around the world once again, like Tibetans and Basques still do, waiting to see what history has in store for them next, with no sense that they can help shape that history. They would tiptoe around America, too, just like that generation of American Jews that could not speak out even as European Jewry was being destroyed.

The loss of Israel would fundamentally alter American Jewry. It would arrest the revival of Jewish life now unfolding in parts of Europe. And Israeli Jewry would be no more. The end of Israel would, in short, end the Jewish people as we know it.

The time has come for a paradigm shift in our conversations about Israel. We need to focus on what Israel represents, on its contribution to Jewish flourishing, on the importance of difference, and the human need for dignity. We need to focus on the ways in which a nation-state addresses the abiding human need to inherit and bequeath culture. Doing so could well convince the international community that it is time not to destroy Israel, but to create more Israels, including one for Palestinians. For Israel is more than a conflict, more than a “mere” country. It is actually a bold human experiment with great significance not only for Israelis and the entire Jewish people, but for freedom-loving human beings everywhere.

Excerpted and adapted from The Promise of Israel: Why Its Seemingly Greatest Weakness Is Actually Its Greatest Strength by Daniel Gordis. Copyright © 2012 by Daniel Gordis. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved.

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x5Zeev says:

good article, but you missed one important point, I think, the conflict with the arabs is not the only (main) reason, which drives away a lot of diaspora jews. A important fact is, that the development INSIDE Israel concerns much! Israel seems to slide towards the extrem right and extram religious. It makes people in diaspora nervous to see the rising misogyny and religious coercion in Israel. If this trend is not turning, the disruption between diaspora and Israel will grow.

For those of us too young to remember anything, or too old to keep carrying our inherited DNA of fear and worry with us every day, this article simply does nothing to address the question of what Israel is really for. All I see is fear and paranoia and anger on all sides. I don’t have the resources — or evergy — to support that vision:

http://beth-hamon.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-burning-question-what-is-state-of.html

Does this article say anything at all? Three pages of… what exactly? American Jewish community would be different if there was no Israel. OK. So what? The paradigm shift is exactly right. But this shift doesn’t come from propaganda. It has to come from real change — within Israel! The best way to show that Israel is critical to Jewish flourishing in the world, is to make Israel critical to Jewish flourishing in the world. When Israel’s corrupt rabbinate and politics quashes anything that doesn’t wear a black hat then Israel isn’t living up to its potential. When Israel can’t find the will to define its own borders, then no amount of hasbara is going to change the subject. Gordis likes to put responsibility on American Jews for their relationship with Israel, but I would like to see some responsiblity on Israel for its relationship with American Jews.

There are so many condescending, willfully blind statements in this article, which seems to equate the well-informed discomfort and antipathy of thousands of American Jews towards the specific policies of a specific Israeli government (which we had no part in selecting) with the bratty petulance of say, not wanting to study for one’s Bar Mitzvah, I hardly know where to begin. But I think I most outraged by the specious and ludicrously historically inaccurate comparison of the situation of American Jews today with the German Jews of 1930.

By 1930 in German, extreme right-wing, explicity anti-Semitic political parties had been on the rise for two decades, and were on the verge of seizing untrammeled power. Jewish activists and political figures such as Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Eisner and Walther Rathenau had been assassinated. Anti-Semitic propaganda was so mainstream as to be virtually ubiquitous, if not necessarily consensus-based (think the anti-gay, anti-immigrant rhetoric of much of today’s Republican party.) The Weimar Republic, which lasted a scant fourteen years all told was hardly a bastion of stability, and while German Jews certainly could not have foreseen the utter horrors of the Holocaust (who could?) the idea that they were existing in a state of ignorant bliss with no inkling that something genuinely unpleasant might be about to happen is nearly as insulting to them as the insinuation that a genocidal Hilter-like figure is three years away from rising to absolute power in Washington is to the American people, Jews and non-Jews alike.

It’s the precisely this type of paranoiac propaganda that I would argue is the real reason for the chang he laments; that we are constantly told by an increasingly histrionic older generation precisely the kind of Zionists we are supposed–or perhaps more accurately, ALLOWED–to be. If Gordis and others wonder what is turning young Jews away from Israel, perhaps it’s time to take a good long look in the mirror.

A well wrought, but unconvincing argument. Probably 95% of American Jews are Ashkenazic, and just as Ashkenazic influence wanes in Israel. it leaves a state more and more unrecognizable to American Jews.

genelevit says:

The relations between Jews in Diaspora and Israel are similar to the relations between grown up kids and their parents; the need for parents comes only at times when kids have a problem. American Jews are the same way. It is nice to have someone who is weaker and in bigger danger than you in order to show your superiority and self-righteousness, particularly if it could be supported by a lot of ignorance and nuclear warheads. However, if time will come to look for the shelter it is nice to have a home where you will be accepted no matter how you previously behaved or what kind of idiot you were.

ajweberman says:

If Israel faces destruction the Samson option kicks in and the Middle East becomes too radioactive to exploit its resources. The price of gas skyrockets, the American economy collapses and the American Jews get blamed. A Ron Paul figure comes to power and the Jews get rounded up and mass murdered. So if young Jews don’t think the destruction of Israel will not affect them they are digging their own mass graves.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/103278843/Ahmadinejad-Al-Quds-Hitler-Speech-2012

This article asserts a thesis without any supporting evidence. In my view, the future of Judaism depends on continuation of the Jewish diaspora at least as much if not more than that of Israel. Judaism needs a place like America where the Jewish ideal of social justice is in the forefront, instead of being violated, as in Israel’s present Likud dispensation. The moral atmosphere in Israel must be poisonous if a gang of Jewish teenagers in Jerusalem can consider it normal to try to beat a young Arab to death. The chances of such an incident in New York must be less than nil. Part of the growing rejection of Israel amongst American Jews must reflect the idea that a country whose government treats people under its authority as it does forfeits the right to speak for Jews everywhere. The future of Jewish conscience and thought may well be in the diaspora.

I am a proud Zionist who recently staffed a Birthright Trip precisely because I believe in the importance of instilling a love of Israel in young American Jews.
This article, however, is specious, and I suspect Gordis knows it, just as he I’m sure he knows that “next year in Jerusalem” is intended to express a messianic hope rather than to serve as a statement of intent.

Israel may have played a role in making American Jews more assertive, but Gordis ignores a host of other sociological reasons that explain the rise in Jewish political clout, for instance, the difference between a community with a high percentage of immigrants and a community with several generations of American experience.
Beyond changes in the Jewish population, there have also been real changes in American attitudes toward minorities. Plenty of minority groups that lacked political power in the 30s and 40s have since acquired more prominence; gay rights groups were also unheard of not that long ago, and I’m pretty sure there’s no national homeland to explain that change.

Israel does indeed inspire passion among American Jews, but only among American Jews already connected to Judaism in other ways and for other reasons. The growing group of unafilliated Jews really doesn’t care much about Israel at all, and the percentage of American Jews that care about issues like conversions in Israel is relatively small, and also just as likely to care about home-grown debates like Avi Weiss’s conflict with the OU over ordaining women. The San Francisco ban is a straw-man issue, as it had no chance of passing, almost certainly would have been struck down in court, and wouldn’t have applied beyond the limits of a single city.

I love Israel for many reasons. Fear that American Jewish life would disappear without it isn’t one of them.

I am a proud Zionist who recently staffed a Birthright Trip precisely because I believe in the importance of instilling a love of Israel in young American Jews.
This article, however, is specious, and I suspect Gordis knows it, just as he I’m sure he knows that “next year in Jerusalem” is intended to express a messianic hope rather than to serve as a statement of intent.

Israel may have played a role in making American Jews more assertive, but Gordis ignores a host of other sociological reasons that explain the rise in Jewish political clout, for instance, the difference between a community with a high percentage of immigrants and a community with several generations of American experience.
Beyond changes in the Jewish population, there have also been real changes in American attitudes toward minorities. Plenty of minority groups that lacked political power in the 30s and 40s have since acquired more prominence; gay rights groups were also unheard of not that long ago, and I’m pretty sure there’s no national homeland to explain that change.

Israel does indeed inspire passion among American Jews, but only among American Jews already connected to Judaism in other ways and for other reasons. The growing group of unafilliated Jews really doesn’t care much about Israel at all, and the percentage of American Jews that care about issues like conversions in Israel is relatively small, and also just as likely to care about home-grown debates like Avi Weiss’s conflict with the OU over ordaining women. The San Francisco ban is a straw-man issue, as it had no chance of passing, almost certainly would have been struck down in court, and wouldn’t have applied beyond the limits of a single city.

I love Israel for many reasons. Fear that American Jewish life would disappear without it isn’t one of them.

genelevit says:

“The moral atmosphere in Israel must be poisonous if a gang of Jewish teenagers in Jerusalem can consider it normal to try to beat a young Arab to death. The chances of such an incident in New York must be less than nil.”
Look web for Yankel Rosenbaum or
http://jbuff.com/c012402.htm

This excellent article is the beginning of a much needed conversation.

Briefly, I will return to this later, I can see four disastrous consequences to world Jewry if Israel were destroyed:

First, of course will be the death of the Israelis fighting for their and our survival.

Second, will be the way Muslims and Christians will view Jews: as a defeated people, again.

Third, all the old prejudices against Jews will return. Many if not most Christian Chrches will see Jews as damned by god. if you feel uncomfortable with Christians who support Israel now, wait till they change their theology to explain why god, from their point of view allowed the Jewish State to be destroyed.

Fourth, many Jewsfrom shame and fear will stop being Jews either by conversion or by denying that they are Jewish.

There will also be recrimination in the Jewish community between those who blame fellow Jews of being responsible for the catastrophe.

This will take many forms.

This is all I have time for rough now. I do want to thank the author for writing one of the most important articles on our dilemma to date on Tablet.

Many will deny what the author said, but before the do so they should learn about Jewish history, in Spain, in mideval Germany, the Crusades, the flight to eastern Europe, antisemitism during the enlightenment period, and so on.

Read about th debates between

Pathetic debates between Moses Hess and Karl Marx.

Above all read the memoir by the secular Jew Gershom Scholem who wrote about the dissolution of Jewish life in Germany at the nd of the 19th century. Long before Hitler and the Nazis.

Read also about the fearful way French Jewrybreactedctobthe Dreyfus affair and how most progressive leftists were not on the sided of Dreyfus. Zola helped change all that which is why he is a hero tonFrench Jewry and to me.

jmm64 says:

Sadly, most American non-Orthodox Jews would not sit shiva if , G-D forbid, Israel no longer existed. As surveys have shown, the destruction of Israel is not viewed as ‘personal tragedy’ to most American Jews. In fact, a lot of them may, even, be relieved that they no longer have to defend Israel’s policies to their left-wing friends.

Daniel: I found myself agreeing most with your claim that one can’t simply ignore the incredible achievement of Zionism–reviving and creating a nation alongside the total regeneration of the Hebrew language. That achievement alone should inspire a younger generation. But I think you make too much of the pro/anti Beinart debate. This split is minor, in my view, to the greater issue: with increasing Haredi power, a rise in racism, a heavy rightward shift, and increasingly stringent economic policies that betray early Socialist Zionist values of caring for the poor and disadvantaged, one has to ask, “What does Israel stand for beyond Jewish biological continuity?” I think you would do well to address that in the final draft of the chapter for the book. In my conversations with young people, they are interested in why being Jewish is meaningful and what it implies about their obligations to the world. When Israelis are the first to send aid in earthquakes or bring irrigation technology to arid nations, these are expressions of Zionist ingenuity that do more good for Israel. When the Prime Minister threatens to deport Sudanese refugees and give economic advantage to the rich in Tel Aviv or the West Bank, young people turn away. The crisis is much deeper than Beinart or biological continuity. Respectfully yours, Andy

This typical condescension on “non-Orthodox Jews” doesn’t help. And unless you are conveniently excusing the haredim from your group, then you might want to worry about military service more than funeral services.

I can’t follow the logic in this article. If Israel is as vulnerable as Gordis suggests, then it’s American Jewry that is protecting Israeli Jewry, not the other way around. Even if his thesis is correct and American Jewry would disappear without Israel, how would Israel disappear other than through lack of American support?

drorbenami says:

the issue, as i see it, is that living in the diaspora is a punishment as described in the Book of Deutoronomy. adam didn’t exactly wander, but he was expelled from Eden, Cain definetly was forced to wander, the Jews in Sinai were forced to wander and now the Jews in the diaspora continue to wander, even if that means moving from new york to del ray beach. the point is that, similar to patty hearst and many other victims, the jews of the diaspora have become masochists and now enjoy their punishment. the prayer: “next year in jerusalem” is a personal commitment to God, it is not a vague messianic wish. when one doesn’t follow up on their statement, it is a de facto declaration that you really don’t believe God exists, because your word to God obviously means nothing.
On a more practical level, if one compares the Palestinian problem to the life of King David it is easy to see that comfort is not really a part of Judaism. Even Abraham spent the firat 86 years of his life without a child and, in addition to fighting occassionally, was many times in fear for his life.
Finally, life in Israel is what you make it, I hadly ever see religious Jews, Eli Eishai is an embarassment, but his rulings don’t influence my day to day affairs. I haven’t spoken to a right wing extremist in years…what i do know is that i walk around tel aviv at 3 in the morning with little or no fear. the quality of the food is good, i dress the way i want…and the only time I hear anti semite remarks is when I read TIME Magazine

I am an old man and was 23 years old when Israel was established. As a child I knew we were Jewish and still am Jewish. We Jews have existed for most of our long history without our own nation-state. I believe one of the reasons we lasted so long was because we were not tied to any particular nation-state. My vision of Judaism is something apart from nationalism. Now this article tells our existence is tied up with the existence of a foreign country. That is complete and utter rubbish.

There is not really a critical argument here; no truly coherent logical thread emerges and I think that Tablet did not serve its readers well by devoting so much space to it.

I can’t think of one case throughout Jewish history when sniveling capitulation was a good strategy, and yet we keep doing it over and over again.

tcohen1267 says:

Great article. Unfortunately, I fear there is a huge factor that was not discussed. The American political landscape is horrible for both America and Israel. American Jews are faced with Sophie’s Choice like decisions every election that basically force rational Jews to make choices of “Help America and its problems” OR “vote for support of Israel while completely disregarding the plight of your fellow Americans as well as human dignity.” It is becoming increasingly difficult as an American to vote along pro-Israeli lines, and I fear for Israel’s survival, or at least America’s continued support of Israel as we know it today based on the fact that our families have chosen to live here, in America…not in Israel. So when I vote (and the rest of us vote, I hope), I have an obligation first and foremost to do what is right for my own country and my fellow Americans…as much as that pains me to say or write. I agree, Israel’s survival is extremely important, perhaps even vital to the survival of Jews in general, but I think one of the keys will be in changing the political landscape and paradigm here in America so that American Jews can once again vote for representatives who will help maintain Israel’s protection and inclusion in the international community.

I know and like Daniel Gordis. One thing I most liked about him when he first wrote about Israel was that he would say the unspeakable: That Israel as a nation-state might cease to exist. I think that would be horrific for many reasons: The people I love who live there; the institutions I respect that are there; the sheer civilization that the Jews have managed to build in the last 150 years. On the other hand, there has never been a serious attempt to address the fundamentally unfair treatment of Arab citizens–although the Arabs’ leaders have rebuffed any attempt to treat their people fairly. What stuck in my craw, the reason I am no longer resident in Israel, is the inherently oligarchic governmental system. I understand that the state was founded on an idealistic assumption that people would arrange their lives (even their children’s schools and the banks they patronized) around the parties they espoused. The result is that people can only vote for a party. The members of that party who come into power are only obligated to the people who put them on that party’s list. The voters have no control over the people who govern them, people who usually assume that their first obligation, after pleasing the masters who put them on the list, is to take care of their ne’er-do-well kinsfolk by finding them government sinecures. The way to be sure never to thrive in Israeli elective politics is to come from a country with a genuine democracy, like the US or the UK. Israel is a “democracy” run by people from Arab lands, the former Soviet Union, and other places without the least idea of what a democracy is or how to run one.

Pam Green says:

Richard Dreyfus should also be considered a hero. He lobbied France to publicly apologize for the Dreyfus affair and to change the official written record to reflect the truth. But Gershom Scholem? I don’t know, Jacob. He was financed by the Bollingen Foundation, which was profoundly anti-Semitic.

Natan79 says:

“as we know it” the cliché du jour that signals best the author is an idiot. No exception here.

Natan79 says:

Old man, you didn’t save my relatives from being murdered in Eastern Europe. Go fuck yourself. I’ll go to IDF reserve duty.

Natan79 says:

Use the DNA word properly, ignoramus.

Natan79 says:

Garbage article of Beth Hamon’s, American Jew, demented narcissist who tells us all that the murder of 6 million Israeli Jews wouldn’t affect her. What’s new, American Jew? That’s what you did during the Holocaust, you didn’t care, you shitty bastards.

There are so many condescending statements in the above post, which seems to equate the ill-informed discomfort and antipathy of a few very leftist American Jews towards the left-right coalition presently leading the Israeli government, overwhelmingly supported be it said by Israelis at elections, with mature and responsible attitudes to Jewish survival globally and Jewish matters generally, that it is hard to know where to start in assessing it. But it is enough to point to its ideologically predetermined leftist bias. The comments on German antisemitism are irrelevant to the wider issues of the need for American Jewry to support Israel’s continued existence.

Jennifer, democracy can take a variety of forms, but essential to it is the rule of law, the division of powers in government, regular and open elections to give the people a choice of those who want to represent them, freedom of thought, of information and media, the right to assemble non-violently to express views, and to form volunteer organizations to deal with social and other issues, including political opposition parties, freedom of religion and so on. Israel has all of this in spades, in one of the least hospitable environments any liberal democracy is facing anywhere in the world. In fact it sets a model the other Western liberal democracies can hardly match, even giving actively anti-Israel and anti-Jewish Arab politicians representation in the Israeli parliament, people who consort with Israel’s open enemies and in other Western democracies would be excluded from the political process and considered treasonous and even criminal. You claim Israel is only a “democracy” (in quotation marks, i.e., is an inauthentic democracy) because it reflects the will of its actual population, not a real democracy without quotation marks that would reflect your own political views.

On what democracy really is, see Robert Dahl, Democracy and Its Critics (1989). I grant you that there are flaws in the Israeli practice to treat the entire country as one electoral district and to grant to parties the right to set up party lists rather than have local districts choose them in elections, but this or similar sorts of set-ups giving political parties the right to choose their parliamentary leaders are found in some other liberal democracies. Ben Gurion complained in his biography about this system, which was originally created right at the time of Israel’s creation to deal with the rather chaotic situation in those first few years, when the state had to fight off the armies of five neighbouring states and absorb as many new immigrants as there had been at the state’s founding, doubling its size. It is certainly time for a change. But Israel remains profoundly democratic and liberal.

Perhaps you are not aware, or do not care, that Freedom House, which rates states around the world for their internal freedoms, has for many years rated Israel as the sole full democracy in the Middle East; that ranking still holds. It is echoed by objective sources, such as the U.S. State Department annual reports, articles in authoritative encyclopaedias, etc.

This paragraph can be found in the dictionary under pathetic:

“In response to that, a younger generation for whom war is anathema and occupation is morally unbearable has begun to drift away. Part of that is understandable, but only to an extent. For even when faced with the tragic and interminable conflict with the Palestinians, is it too much to hope that Jews would still find much worth celebrating when they think of Israel?”

The conflict is not tragic. It is the foreseeable (and in fact, foreseen) consequence of the basic Zionist design of a Jewish demographic state. If anyone has cause to celebrate Israel, they are indulging in a material or psychological benefit where the burden of paying the cost was imposed on someone else. The Jewish state was taken from the Palestinians, and it does not belong to you, me, or anyone except them.

On a more general note, I don’t think you can claim to love democracy when you turn a country (Palestine) into a state for one ethnicity, when those outside the preferred group are supposed to vacate so the superior group can be the majority demographic. Zionism should be repugnant on a theoretical level for that alone.

But that’s not why I called the above quote pathetic. It’s practically groveling to the lost sons of Zion who are waking up from the cult and realizing that the price of bullying a civilian population is your own damned soul. If they even exist and aren’t just an image conjured from a few poll questions.

There are a number of things that puzzle me both in the Gordis article, and also in this response. That Gordis repeats Beinart’s incorrect statements that young American Jews are becoming more alienated from Israel is one of those things. Some of the first critical responses to Beinart’s book pointed out that polls have consistently shown for the past two generations that young Jews are relatively less interested in larger Jewish issues such as Judaism itself and Israel than their elders, but that those youth become far more interested as they themselves mature, have families, join Jewish community and religious activities, read the news and in general become more deeply Jewish-identified. So Beinart’s findings were a chimera right from the start. And then came a new poll, this past July, which revealed that this generation of American Jewish youth are actually more Zionistic and positive about Israel than in previous generations, a poll produced by the leftist Workman’s Circle and published in the leftist Forward newspaper. Beinart had no leg left on which to stand.

So that puzzles me about the Gordis article. American Jews are not abandoning Israel to its fate. They identify with it. Then there are the claims made by Bachman himself that puzzle me. He detects a “rise in racism, a heavy rightward shift, and increasingly stringent economic policies.” All of this is leftist rubbish. The left in Israel failed because its policies failed. Economically, it ran a stagnant state, often with amazingly high inflation rates even in global perspective. Politically, the Labor Party and Peace Now were refuted by none other than Arafat himself and his orchestration of Palestinian Intifada terrorism, and as well by the response of Hamas to voluntary withdrawal from Gaza. Economically, on the other hand, it has been precisely Netanyahu’s freeing up of the Israeli economy that accounts for the economic “miracle” of the past decade and a half, which has raised the entire median income of Israel enormously and brought prosperity to the entire country. The whining complaints from the socialist left in Israel are simply that the poor have not immediately leaped into the middle class, and that a lot of people, but not EVERYONE, are now very wealthy indeed. The spoiled left wants paradise, and it wants it now. Every previously third-world country experiencing such a dramatic rise in general prosperity and such a radical move of most people into higher income groupings will have sharper disparities of income for a generation or more, but depending on policies things will even out in the longer term. Meanwhile, the poor and disadvantaged in Israel still have it better than they ever have had it before and live in a better country than it was under the socialist left. And, finally, with the “racism” charge we drift into U.N. Islamist and authoritarian-left rhetoric, mythic demonizations impervious to disproof. Citing African illegal immigrants who threaten to flood tiny Israel, and thus pose a threat to the Jewish state as such, as proof of racism ignores the racially already very mixed and diverse Israeli population itself, both Jewish and non-Jewish, all citizens with equal rights enshrined in law and practice.

Here is yet another puzzling claim made by Gordis. He does cite one such survey. But what does it mean? Can we take it seriously? If, God forbid, Israel were to be destroyed, I am willing to bet that most of those saying dismissively that it would be no “personal tragedy” (including those on the left) would indeed feel that it WAS a personal tragedy. I recall still and vividly the reaction of American — and also Israeli — Jewry both to the 1967 and 73 wars, which were wars of existential survival for Israel. In Israel before the 67 war there was a lot of commentary about the supposed drift of Israeli youth from Zionist identity and fervour, as there was also in the U.S. People began to take Israel for granted, and turned to other more personally oriented things. Then came the war, and all of that evaporated like smoke, and an entire generation discovered that Israel mattered a lot to them, personally and deeply. Exactly the same thing happened before, during and after the 73 war. People say things in polls that do not necessarily correlate with their own deepest feelings, or maybe, especially do not correlate with their own deepest feelings since they are indeed so deep and below the surface and only appear when there are ultimate challenges.

This person thinks that newspaper articles and sensationalism constitute real information.

I am pleased to affirm, to andrewr that there have been very many persecutors and antisemites down through the ages who have regarded Jewish claims to a right to exist as “pathetic,” but we have outlasted them all. So it is now. There actually is nothing “pathetic” in Israel’s holding of the West Bank or even Gaza, although Gaza’s own rulers deny that it is still “occupied.” That is because the claim of Israeli “occupation” of “Palestine” (an Arab state that has never existed so it cannot be “occupied”) has no foundation in international law.

Actually, the land was assigned to the Jewish people, explicitly for them to establish a Jewish state there, after WWII, at the San Remo Conference of 1920, and that was the basis for Britain taking on the custodial role in Mandate Palestine. As for the equally delusional claim that the land “belonged” to “the Palestinian people,” or that there even was a Palestinian people anciently or as recently as the early 19th century, see Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial (1983), Arieh L. Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession (1982), and Saul Friedman, Land of Dust (1982), just for starters. But on the significance of the San Remo Conference, see the book by Howard Grief, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel Under International Law (2010), summarized by him in an article in NATIV Online, available at http://www.acpr.org.il/ENGLISH...

A good overview of the subject, also showing the pivotal nature of the San Remo Conference, is Salomon Benzimra, The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel (2011). Benzimra’s and Grief’s books are both available as ebooks, on Kindle at Amazon.com.

Also see Ronnie Sabel, “The Problematic Fourth Geneva Convention: Rethinking the International Law of Occupation,” at http://www.mefacts.com/cached…. and the recent comments at http://elderofziyon.blogspot.c... elderofziyon

I recommend these items to those who are interested in understanding exactly how wilfully far off-base and contrary to international law the “occupation” slur of anti-Zionists is. As for the rest of andrewr’s comments, they impute to Zionists the racism of the author himself.

“That is because the claim of Israeli “occupation” of “Palestine” (an Arab state that has never existed so it cannot be “occupied”) has no foundation in international law.”
Hate to tell you this, but the Israeli High Court, in ruling on cases relevant to the territories, did not take the view that the Israeli military rule does not constitute an occupation. Here is a case from 1979:
“III. HC 97/99 Abu Awad v. Commander of the Judea and Samaria Region

“In Jan. 1979, a Deportation Order was issued by the respondent against the petitioner, a Jordanian citizen of Bir Zeit, ordering the petitioner to be deported to Leb. for hostile activity and propaganda. The DO was issued in pursuance of Regulation 112(1) of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations enacted in 1945 by the Mandatory Govt. of Palestine by virtue of Art. 6 of the Palestine (Defense) Order in-council, 1937 (Hereafter: Defense Regulations). Counsel for the petitioner contested the validity of the Deportation Order on the grounds that the Defense Regulations in general, and Regulation 112(1) in particular, are no longer in force in the West Bank. The Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, rejected this contention and ruled that the Defense Regulations have never been implicitly or explicitly abolished and that therefore they remain in force as enacted in 1945.”

The petitioner tried to argue that his deportation was illegal because Jordan’s Constitution of 1952 prohibits the deportation of any Jordanian citizen. The Court rejected this argument because no Jordanian law abrogated the Defense Regulations. He also invoked Art. 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention:

“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

Now here comes the punchline. Instead of the argument most favored by Israel’s amen corner, that being the seizure of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 was not an occupation, the Court came out with this whopper:

“In the present case, the Deportation Order was issued for purposes of maintaining public order and security in the occupied territory. This is a legitimate reason for deportation since, under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, the Occupying Power is bound to ensure public order in the occupied territory and is entitled to take the necessary steps for its own safety. Moreover, according to Regulation 108 of the Defense Regulations, an Order under the Regulation may only be issued if required so as to ensure public safety and order. Hence, the Court ruled that nothing associates the deportation of selected individuals for reasons of public order and security with the deportations envisaged under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Court thus upheld the Deportation Order and rejected the petition.”

Note how the Court did not reject the validity of the Geneva Convention altogether; instead it insisted the deportation order did not go against Article 49, as if it might otherwise have some weight.

As a bonus, did the IDF ever remove a Jewish settler from the West Bank or Gaza for reasons of “public safety and order”? Of course, the answer is going to be no because Israeli citizens who moved to the territories were not subject to military law. How is that not apartheid again?

http://books.google.com/books?id=-QL8LsEpbuoC&pg=PA343#v=onepage&q&f=false

“Actually, the land was assigned to the Jewish people, explicitly for them to establish a Jewish state there, after WWII, at the San Remo Conference of 1920″

What I would be interested in learning about is the international law, treaty or convention that permits a given party to remove a population en masse or refuse the return of non-combatants who flee a conflict zone so that said party can manipulate the demographic composition of a given area, and how that right was conferred on the bodies that eventually made up the Israeli govt.

Britain promised the Zionists the right to settle in Palestine; in nowhere did they address the issue of demography.

“As for the rest of andrewr’s comments, they impute to Zionists the racism of the author himself.”

*Yawn* How about a direct quote if you’re so damn certain?

I hope and pray that the majority of world Jewry isn’t as steeped in blind anger as you are. It’s exactly that kind of anger that will prevent the thoughtful, respectful conversation that Gordis and others insist is so depserately needed now.
And if it turns out that most Jews are as devotedly angry as you are, then what choice is left for those of us not steeped in the Party Line? To remain an outsider looking in, rejected by those Jews who would insist that I will never be as fully Jewish as them simply because I’m not outraged and fearful enough?
That’s no way to begin a respectful, thoughtful conversation. And the angriest among our people sound more and more like they’d rather not attempt to have one in the first place. So many Disapora Jews are turned off by that fear and rage that they would seek to explore and create Jewish identity and culture through avenues that depend less and less on a relationship with israel. THAT could be the real tragedy here, and if it leads to a lessening of solidarity with Israeli Jews, the Jewish “establishment” will have only themselves to blame.

“Zionism did not emerge out of nowhere. Theodor
Herzl did what he did and wrote what he wrote because Jewish life in the
Diaspora had become, to use Hobbes’ phrase, ‘poor, nasty, brutish, and
short.’ The Jews were Europe’s victims-on-call.”

Why do you start with Herzl? What happened to Alkalai and the fact that the Mizrahi Jews were the Arabs’, both Muslim and Christian, victims-on-call as the Ashkenazi Jews were Europe’s?

x5Zeev says:

prentending to be blind and deaf will not help.

Daniel, as much as I’m generally moved by the rhetoric, it misses a key point: young Jews don’t care as much about Israel because they don’t care as much about being Jews. They don’t want all the commandments, the obligations, the thousands of years of history, the sermons, and all the cultural and religious baggage they need to shlep along with it. And much of it is a backlash to the older family members, teachers, religious leaders, and others who – unlike yourself – speak of Israel as some bastion of infallibility. More than one member of my family has been dubbed an anti-Semite for saying anything remotely critical about Israel. More famous secular Jews such as Philip Roth have been labeled as such more publicly. For Jews who grew up an environment where everyone needs to be about Jews – Shalom Auslander being a classic example, this whole discussion has nothing to do with Israel. It has to do with what it means to be Jewish. Israel is merely the collateral damage in this age of rebellion.

Steve says:

The confounding issue of Zionism is religion. By preparing for life in the diaspora, the rabbis shifted the focus away from a national identity to that of a religious one. As a result, the diaspora sings “next year in Jerusalem” as a matter of rote religious practice, without regard for or awareness of the real connection to the land of Israel and national identity. My grandparents arrived in the United States before the modern state of Israel was established and did all that they could to assimilate as quickly as possible. While their fellow immigrants arrived on the shores of the US with recognizable nationalities (e.g., Italian, Polish, Russian, etc.), my grandparents never described themselves by their nation of origin (i.e., Poland, Russia, or Syria). They were Jewish. My grandparents generation would spend the better part of the early and mid 20th century washing away the notion of Jewish nationality. As a result, my generation doesn’t see the connection between their Judaism and Israel. Only a small percentage of the diaspora visit Israel and an even smaller number recognize its significance in the narrative of the Jewish people. For some, they prefer to ignore their connection to the faith or the people of Israel, while others prefer the comfortable, sanitized narratives told around the proverbial seder table, and yet others want think that Israel draws negative attention to Jews everywhere. In the end, they all miss the point, that being Jewish means longing for a return to our homeland. And now that it exists, it means at best returning to live there or at least fighting to maintain its sovereignty as a Jewish nation.

Steve says:

If we support democracy, we must accept the good with the bad. That said, the divineness between disputing groups in Israel is no more or less damaging than that which occurs in the US. Moreover, we need to recognize the limitations of what we might know or think we know when our source of information is modern media. There are plenty of excellent examples of a well functioning society with religious, secular, Jew and Arab–but that is hardly newsworthy. In addition, we should judge the moral quality of the nation not based on the acts of a few, but on the reactions of the many.

williambilek says:

As I read the comments below, I find myself wondering, “Who are these people? They identify themselves as “Jews”, but I am not sure what about them, at least from what they write, makes them “Jewish”? What identifies a “Jew”? If it is adhering to one of the branches of the religion, then how can one deny the centrality of Jerusalem, Zion, the Temple, etc. Mention of these are found on practically every page of every prayer book.

One wishes to eschew religion? Well then there are the customs, non-religious holidays like Pesach, Succot, Tu B’Shvat, Purim, which commemorateJewish history.

Don’t want to pray, and don’t want to celebrate Jewish holidays? Ignore Israel as the birthplace of the Jewish People? What is left? Tikkun Olam? Very commendable, but Unitarians and Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses all do the same. Believe in helping the poor, having a social safety net, multiculturalism, etc. Those people are called Democrats in the U.S., not “Jews”.

The Jewish People are identified by the Land from which they came into existence, and which was the basis of their early development. The Jewish People must, perforce, also identify with the Land, which gives their existence today definition, and form as “Jews”. Otherwise we may just as well be Rastafarians.

I see that andrewr repeats the “racist apartheid” mythic blanket libel against Israel, which itself is racist, and the further claim that Israel illegally or immorally (unclear which) refused repatriation to refugees (which contradicts the terms and recommendations of the actual UN resolutions dealing with the ’48 conflict, which recognized that there was a state of belligerancy that remained until proper and full peace negotiations between all belligerents resolved these issues — and, because of Arab refusals, those negotiations still haven’t occurred even 64 years later, annulling the original problem), and other red herrings and falsifications.

As for the “occupation” claim and its lack of substance, it has been frequently and officially stated by the Israeli government over many years that it does not regard the territories acquired in the ’67 war as “occupied Palestine,” but as “disputed territories,” nor does it regard the Geneva Convention dealing with occupied territories as legally applicable, although it has sought to meet those conventions in actual practice for humanitarian reasons and for the sake of peace. The Israeli Supreme Court’s judgement regarding extradition of a Jordanian did not rule on whether or in what way the territories were legally in the category of “occupied,” nor if so what state was actually being “occupied” — nor by the way has the U.N.’s International Court — but both have accepted (until recently in the case of Israel’s Supreme Court) the use of the loosely applied “occupation” terminology (without further specification or legal justification) as a matter of convenience in dealing with other matters. But even this runs up against the very simple and basic, undeniable refutation that neither in law or logic can one properly speak of a state being “occupied” when it has no legally established borders and has never existed as such before. Its borders and its very existence can only be determined by formal peace negotiations with Israel, but intensive Israeli efforts to achieve such a conclusion have failed so far. Moreover all other states’ former claims to the territories (Egyptian and Jordanian) have been formally relinquished and were illegal in international law to begin with. For further on this, see the references above, as well as the lucid presentation by Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Danny Ayalon, on YouTube,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGYxLWUKwWo
There is another little problem for the claim that Israel officially admits the applicability of the “occupation” claim, despite the repeated and decades-long insistence by the Israeli government that it does not recognize this terminology as valid but that the territories are properly understood as “Disputed Territories” whose final status and borders can only be determined, as U.N. resolutions explicitly stipulate, in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Just recently a government-appointed panel of legal authorities, including a former member of Israel’s Supreme Court, has reviewed the whole history of the legal status of the Disputed Territories. The Levy Report concluded that “the classical laws of ‘occupation’ as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to … Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.” The terminology of “Occupied Territories” are a legal misnomer. The government supports its findings. On this, see Dore Gold, “The Levy Report and the ‘Occupation’ Narrative,” Israel Hayom, July 20, 2012, at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2270

My reply to this post was inserted above it, inadvertently. Actually, on re-reading this post by andrewr, I see that he really is fully aware that the Israeli Supreme Court does not accept the legal applicability of the Geneva Convention relating to “Occupied States,” so his post is deliberately misleading. For he adds, “Note how the Court did not reject the validity of the Geneva Convention altogether; instead it insisted the deportation order did not go against Article 49, as if it might otherwise have some weight.” He is therefore aware of the argument, in this very ruling as well as in all relevant others, that the validity of the Geneva Convention is not accepted by the Israeli Supreme Court, even when it gives it some weight in its considerations. And the reasons for that are as stated by me before: there was no sovereign state that Israel “occupied.” There is a “military occupation,” but it does not fit into international categories of “occupied states” and those laws relating to such matters are not applicable in Israel’s quite anomalous legal situation. That is what the Israeli Supreme Court has stated on many occasions.

Imshin says:

You live in Tel Aviv but hardly ever see religious Jews? You must have your eyes shut tight.

drorbenami says:

no, they live in a different neighborhood than I do and they don’t cross my path too often….i am not saying i never see them, but it doesn’t happen that often….

wschiro says:

I did not get a chance to read all of the comments so forgive me if this was touched on. Has anyone yet asked the question or opened the discussion as to what to do with 6 million Israeli Jews once the Israeli Territories are returned to the Arabs and the name Israel is wiped from the map to be replaced by the name Palestine presumably? I am not sure I can see a resettlement to the Aleutian Islands. Perhaps the roomy Siberian planes? Arizona anyone? Perhaps the Arabs will return the Gaza strip or ancient Judea and Samaria – maybe both! Wow, do we get a corridor? Their maintaining the Jordanian and Egyptian refugee camps which the Arab residents who were never welcomed into Arab society kept so clean and fresh might be logical. Hmmm, choices, choices.
It is my belief that the 1947 vote in the Peace, Love and Understanding environment of the U.N. / League of Nations should be retaken. Israel (…Ummm, Palestine as it was prior to that momentous vote) shall ask for a retake. One condition though, the Final Solution as to what to do with the 6 Million refugee Jews must be clearly defined and agreed upon by all (except perhaps the Jews), signed and sealed. Actually, another question does arise, Does the Final Solution include the Israeli Christians? What about Jews who converted to Buddhism? The Atheists Jews? Does Atheism include Agnosticism or is that separate? What about those wild and crazy Druze/Israeli citizens up north? The Bedouin who became citizens and fought in Tzahal (Oh, yes, the Druze too)? The Bahai? The Scientologists (and does that include only Jews who converted to Scientology or any Scientologist in Israel right now). Mormons, now what to do with the Mormons? Better not have a Mormon president in the U.S., especially one who actually likes Jews and both the idea and the reality of a Jewish Israel. That could be a problem.
Just asking.

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch says:

This is a wonderfully thought-provoking article, which I will digest in the days leading up to the Yamim Nora’im. However, it is crucial, in the discussion and realm that Gordis addresses, that we add a component that his missing from Gordis’ analysis: the use of Jewish values and the influence of biblical principles in the governing of the land of Israel. We must always bear in mind the principles that make us Jewish and that distinguish us from other nations, namely, the heritage of our people and the magnification of those values by the Rabbis and Sages of the Talmud: that the search and pursuit for peace is all important; that we must walk humbly with God along the way; and that we cannot presume to know the will of the Creator even though we think we can interpret Torah along with the best of them.

When we disregard these principles and, further, fail to include them in our analysis of the reason for the current disaffection with Israel, we deny to ourselves an honest evaluation of the situation. If we do not affect Jewish values in the Jewish state, then what have we created?

“However, I would remind him that the issue of the treatment of refugees was outlined in recommendations of the actual UN resolutions dealing with the ’48 conflict”

I would remind you that Israel has not been recognized by any other state as a “Jewish state” or “the State of the Jewish People”. And while I’m not aware of any other state demanding separate recognition of its own demography, it’s not enough for Abbas to recognize a state of Israel; he must recognize it as a Jewish state.
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-05-24/news/29606217_1_israeli-pm-netanyahu-senior-palestinian-official-israel-and-work

The UNSCOP partition was based on the current demography of the partition boundaries; nowhere in UNGA 181 does it say the Arab or Jewish state can engineer its own demographics. In fact, “Palestinian citizens residing in Palestine outside the City of Jerusalem, as well as Arabs and Jews who, not holding Palestinian citizenship, reside in Palestine outside the City of Jerusalem shall, upon the recognition of independence, become citizens of the State in which they are resident and enjoy full civil and political rights.”
It’s clear that none of the agents who voted to partition Palestine were acting in good faith regarding international law or the UN Charter. The Soviet Union wanted to kick Britain out of the region, and the US (This is me putting two-and-two together) probably wanted to divert displaced Jewish survivors of the war away from immigrating there. The UNSCOP plan was a non-starter even if the Arabs accepted it, because Ben-Gurion made it clear in private that he did not intend to permanently accept the partition boundaries and the Haganah offensives during the last few months of the Mandate did not observe the boundaries, either.

Although Israel’s creation of the refugee problem and its de-facto annexation of land outside the partition boundary went against 181, it was accepted as a UN member all the same. Implementation of UNGA 194 which demands, “that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date,” was a condition for being admitted. Israel’s promise to implement the resolution was enough, and the UN let these outstanding issues slide.
http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/044/44/IMG/NR004444.pdf?OpenElement

Likewise, the inclusion of the Balfour Decl. in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine was a ridiculous interpretation of Art. 22 of the LoN Covenant which provided for the Mandate system: “Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.”
Of course the actual Mandate for Palestine treated that last point as completely optional. The Balfour Decl. itself was self-contradictory: “it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” Obviously, that little clause can’t be taken seriously when the whole point was to create a national home for people who are not even in the country.

The point in all this is that Israel’s sanctioning in int’l law reveals the formulation and implementation of int’l law to be a self-contradictory mess. Still, there are principles that would nip Israel as a Jewish state in the bud if they were strictly followed.

“nor does it regard the Geneva Convention dealing with occupied territories as legally applicable, although it has sought to meet those conventions in actual practice for humanitarian reasons and for the sake of peace. The Israeli Supreme Court’s judgement accepts those guidelines, and this influenced its ruling regarding extradition of a Jordanian.”

The Abu Awad case shows that the Israeli Court twisted all applicable laws in favor of the military administration. Article 49 of the 4th GC contains this provision, “regardless of motive,” yet the Court had the gall to claim deportation for public order is not against the article. What part of “regardless of motive” does not translate into Hebrew? Even if an Israeli judge admitted the legality of the Geneva Conventions, their rulings would still be a device to enforce military law. What the Court was really doing here is searching for a way to circumvent the int’l conventions, regardless of how legally applicable they are to the situation.
Deporting that individual was an act of tyranny, not rule of law.
It’s still the case though, regardless of how you try to spin it, that the Court had to deal with the Conventions in some way. They could not disregard int’l law so readily because they know Israel’s legitimacy is derived from int’l agreements. They are looking for loopholes.

“But even this runs up against the very simple and basic, undeniable refutation that neither in law or logic can one properly speak of a state being “occupied” when it has no legally established borders and has never existed as such before.”

This sleight of hand you are not getting away with. Although there was no independent state of Palestine before the British Mandate, the League of Nations Mandate provided for the territories to become self-governing, and the British created Palestinian citizenship which was conferred on all the permanent inhabitants, including the Zionist settlers. The point of the Mandate system was to prepare the former Ottoman territories for self-governing. This was not like the Raj where the inhabitants were subjects of the colonial power. (Incidentally, the British refused to prosecute Haj Amin al-Husseini for collaborating with the Germans on the grounds he was not a British subject).

The establishment of Israel abolished that category and replaced it with Israeli citizenship for Jews (Arabs only gradually received citizenship and it wasn’t until 1980 that all Palestinians in the green line were Israeli citizens). The Palestinians who were outside the armistice boundary were stripped of Palestinian citizenship by Israel. So Israel is guilty of revoking citizenship on a racial basis. Being normally resident in Palestine was a sufficient criteria for citizenship under the British Mandate, but not under Israel; a non-Jewish person who normally resided in Palestine and was out of the country for any reason lost citizenship. That goes beyond any acceptable conduct of a state regarding its own citizens, yet Israel is excused in this case because that is how it became a Jewish state.

I read your blog, first, most of the Jews wouldn’t end up in the US, they would be dead. Second, your a spoiled brat who obviously never had a tough day in her life. Third, you don’t want to be Jewish, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. The argument about the necessity for Israel was settled at Babi Yar and a thousand other places. Look it up

Pam Green says:

I agree, tzur. The complacency and gullibility of leftist American Jews is really irritating. This is not the time to be whining about Israeli policies. Israel’s enemies are ‘triangulating’, encircling Israel from all sides. The murders of Egyptian police in Sinai now look like they were committed by the Muslim Brotherhood to justify Egypt’s permanent military presence there. And the U.S. is funding that military build-up.

Anti-Semitism in America is very much alive, and it is not a fringe movement. It is institutional. And it is abetted by the “ubiquitous” and “mainstream” anti-Semitic propaganda on the web.

Pam Green says:

You have to ask yourself when and why this “Sophie’s Choice” developed. Until recently, voting in favor of Israel was not perceived as a contradiction to voting for what is best for Americans. “Completely disregarding…human dignity”? Are you kidding? Are you under a spell? American is not endangered by supporting Israel – that’s just propaganda. What exactly are you referring to?

Pam Green says:

I read Beth Hamon’s article, to determine for myself if your extreme reaction is warranted. I don’t agree with her assessment of the situation, but I can’t judge her as you do. She shared a lot of personal information, in order to frame her opinions honestly, to place them in context for the benefit of her readers. That is not narcissism. That took guts. Moreover, to voice the unthinkable (what if Israel ceased to exist?) is not indifference. But if she does feel indifference, it seems to be because she was a victim of indifference. It’s what she knows.

As I understand it, she feels like an outsider, and always has. She has not had the support of a Jewish community, and she feels hurt, and possibly bitter. In her experience, the Jewish community is class-conscious and exclusionary; she was snubbed for growing up in a poor, working-class Jewish family. She also had to fend off anti-Semitic attacks all alone, as a very young child. There was no Jewish community to fight these battles with her. The myth is that Jews support one another but, ironically, this was a myth that was started by anti-Semites!

I happen to agree with her. Jews can be snobs. Stuck-up, snotty, petty and vain (just like the rest of humanity). There are a lot of unaffiliated Jews in America, estranged from the Jewish community because they don’t feel welcome. The social hurdles are too high. So the number of self-identified Jews continues to shrink, and everyone asks why and heaps more blame on those they’ve turned away. Great strategy!

I love the sheer absurdity of andrewr’s claim that Israel should have conferred Israeli citizenship on all those Arabs who had fled Israel and who were actually under Jordanian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, etc. rule, enemies of Israel all — as were the Palestinians themselves. No other state remaining in a state of war in such a situation has ever been nor would even possibly be asked to do this. Nor was Israel at the time, as a matter of fact. The reality of an ongoing state of war, which is as if of no significance to andrewr, was recognized by the whole world, and by all U.N. resolutions on the matter, so it was accepted that there could be no resolution of refugee issues until there was peace and secure and recognized borders of Israel by her neighbours. In fact, it would have been regarded as an act of treachery by all Arabs if any Palestinians in those surrounding countries accepted Israeli citizenship. There was no revocation of citizenship by Israel of those Arabs within the armistice lines at the end of the conflict. andrewr has just made that up. Actually, Israel did confer citizenship on the Arabs within Israel, and they have flourished since then; they still remain the most free and secure Arabs in the Middle East, participating in Israeli society on all levels, with many in the court system (one even on the Supreme Court), diplomatic service, with their own newspapers and political parties as well as membership in general Israeli parties and media, able to serve in the military if their group, such as the Circassian Muslims, Bedouin, Druze, etc. are disposed to, and etc., etc. The treatment of Arabs within Israel is so far superior to the treatment of Jews in Arab countries it is not even funny — but the same is true of the treatment of Christians, who flourish in Israel but are fleeing the PA territories and all Arab (and even most Muslim) countries, other religious minorities, and indeed even for that matter the treatment of Palestinian “refugees” in the PA or all surrounding countries.

It is beautiful to see how andrewr wraps himself in utter absurdities and outright falsifications to make his case. It is a conclusive demonstration that he knows his case is non-existent. To suppose that the UN voted in 1947 to establish “a Jewish state” and an Arab state in Mandate Palestine, yet it did not recognize as Jewish the state that was established on that very basis, is just a nonsense. All of the negotiations that preceded that momentous decision explicitly involved the establishment of a “Jewish” state. From the Balfour Declaration which was a founding document, through the San Remo Conference in 1920 which together with the Balfour Declaration provided the terms for the British to take on a custodial Mandate for former Ottoman territories, to the UN debates and resolutions, to the official recognition that was extended to Israel by most U.N. states — as a “Jewish state” — after its establishment, all involved recognition that Israel was a Jewish state.

By the way, we can see how false his whole case, and even how misleading his documentation is, is by looking at the webpage he provides from the Truman Library. According to him it proves that there was no acceptance that Israel was a Jewish state. The web-link gives us the actual memorandum submitted to President Truman for his approval which extended formal recognition to the State of Israel. This is what we find that it reads: “This government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested the provisional government thereof. The United States recognises the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel. (signature:) Harry Truman, Approved. May 14, 1948.”

The discussion by andrewr of the League of Nations Mandate, the Balfour Declaration, and other issues is everywhere just as reliable as his discussion of American, and other nations’, recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state in 1948 and subsequently.

Brynn Sugarman says:

Considering that America is a rootless society, whose essence is the individual’s ability to recreate him/her self, it is reassuring to know that there are still those Jews rooted enough to enjoy countless Israel programs (i.e. Birthright.)
As for the others, it is indeed tragic that so many young American Jews on university campuses have little sense of history, personal and otherwise, and furthermore buy into the rhetoric of a well-greased Radical Islamic propaganda machine (which in turn is enabled by a biased media.) Putty in their paws.
Israel, like America, may be a flawed democracy, but it contains the values which liberal Americans themselves hold dear: women’s rights, gay rights, etc. Additionally, I actually live in Israel and walk around the local shopping mall, beach, park, etc. and see plenty of Arabs living the good life. No sign of that supposed apartheid. Ironically, the Jewish American students above, in the process of rejecting their roots, simultaneously reject a society similar to their own, and petition instead on behalf of a would-be nation (Palestine) that, unfortunately, seems destined to wind up like the rest of them: Syria, Egypt, Iran, and let us not forget Gaza – nations where women fear Honor Killings and gays are thrown in pits and stoned.
Is there any logic to this? Of course not: the mindset and political sentiments have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with conformity to a popular campus bandwagon. So much for the intelligentsia. In the process, self-interest is discarded (i.e. what’s good for the West.) but likewise a selfless pursuit of justice, since, let’s face it, the Arab nations hardly exemplify justice.
So what’s it all about? The answer, in a nutshell, is manipulation and spin. As a result, Israel would do well to hire a few good 21st century Madmen (of the Don Draper, not Ahmahjinedad, ilk,) and get some superior spin of her own going. If it’s easy to market the most despotic nations in a positive light, it should be far easier to wage a brilliant marketing campaign on behalf of the Middle East’s only democracy. If a perceived underdog is what they want, a gifted salesman should be able to whip it up. After all, America is great at marketing and consumerism, and it appears that propaganda and politics are hardly an exception.
Brynn Sugarman
Ra’anana, Israel

tcohen1267 says:

If you don’t know or feel the same way, then good for you. I don’t want to call out anyone in particular by name on a public site, but let’s just say that our current political leader from a party traditionally very “friendly” to and highly supported by American Jews may not be the greatest person for Israel – and that is putting VERY mildly. While the other political choice(s) in the upcoming election are, incredibly, even worse, particularly for their terrifying potential ramifications to the rights of AMERICANS, it creates a catch 22 that I am quite sure I am not alone in wanting no part of. The real and sad reality of this situation I fear will not be felt until midway through the next Presidential term, and I truly hope I am wrong.

“Interesting that andrewr thinks that the “Palestinians,” who did not regard themselves as such at the time since there never was a state of “Palestine,” were given citizenship in this non-existent “Palestine” by the British, but that those who remained in that territory but outside Israel after May 1948 were “illegally” refused Israeli citizenship instead.”

First of all, for someone who keeps referring back to UNGA 181, you don’t seem to have realized that it refers outright to Palestinian citizens. There was Palestinian citizenship under the British Mandate, whether you like it or not. This is not someone’s imaginiation. It was an objective legal category. Search for the resolution if you don’t believe it.

“The election regulations in each State shall be drawn up by the Provisional Council of Government and approved by the Commission. Qualified voters for each State for this election shall be persons over eighteen years of age who are (a) Palestinian citizens residing in that State; and (b) Arabs and Jews residing in the State, although not Palestinian citizens, who, before voting, have signed a notice of intention to become citizens of such State.”

“According to you, they could have set up their own state if they really wanted to: they already were “citizens” of it.”

The attempt was made in Gaza. Look up the All-Palestine Govt. However, this is a sleazy, dishonest remark anyway, since the territory of the Palestinian state was taken over by the Zionist armed groups. It’s like telling the Jews they should be able to create their own state in the Pale of Settlement. You can’t create your own state when as a group, you are forced into segregation. The power behind the segregation has the real control over the land.

And because I will be reminded that Egypt and Jordan also occupied Palestinian territory, those areas were sheltering displaced persons and it was Israel that displaced them there, so it is still Israel responsible for their segregation from the rest of Palestine that it seized.

“In effect, andrewr, you admit that Israel was in truth the only legal successor to the British Mandate government for the entire territory of the Mandate, since the resident Arabs themselves had already rejected the establishment of their own Palestine state within Mandate boundaries alongside Israel in 1947, as provided for by the UN.”

Actually, the Jewish Agency and the Haganah rejected the Jewish state as provided for by the UN. You may have noticed that Israel annexed Jerusalem, which goes against 181. Also that the Haganah during 1948, before and after 15 May, did not limit itself to defending the UN partition boundary, but went out of its way to capture land on the other side. So it is disingenuous to claim that any side accepted the UNSCOP plan.

What I am discussing here are the obligations conferred on Israel by the international agreements that supposedly created it, and how it broke those obligations into little tiny pieces (And was overlooked in breaking them by certain powers). Since Israel took over the territory of the British Mandate and passed the Israeli Nationality Law which abrogated the Palestine Citizenship Orders, it is obligated to grant unconditional citizenship to all habitual residents, even if they count against the Jewish demography for which Israel was created.

“I love the sheer absurdity of andrewr’s claim that Israel should, in the midst of war, have conferred Israeli citizenship on all those Arabs who had fled Israel and who were actually under Jordanian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, etc. rule, enemies of Israel all.”

Even if a state had the discretion to de-nationalize someone for escaping into enemy territory, there is a good deal of evidence from Israeli archives, shown by historians like Benni Morris, that the Palestinian civilians during 1948 were forced to flee against their will. In other words, their eviction was a political end pursued by the Zionist paramilitaries. If you can name an international convention or treaty that permits a state to empty itself of a certain group, let alone a non-state paramilitary group to empty territory it marks for its own, I’ll admit I have no case. This is the second time I’m asking for that.

“To demand that “Palestinian refugees,” defined by their nationality as such and motivated by deep and violent hate of Israel and Israelis, be required to enter Israel and get citizenship there is to ask for the dissolution of Israeli nationality and even the existence of the sovereign State of Israel as such, effectively violating the UN resolutions that set up Israel to begin with in 1947-48.”

As pointed out above, the Israeli govt. violated the resolution that created the State of Israel to begin with. The real significance of UNGA 181 is not that it created Israel; that resolution was not implemented. No party on the ground was interested. What created Israel amounted to aggressive military campaigns against Palestinian civilians not agreed to in any document. Instead, the military leaders of the Yishuv took 181 as a signal that whatever they accomplish in Palestine will be accepted or written off by the UN members who voted for it. And though elaboration will have to wait for another post, it’s worth pointing out that Israel does not consider any of its own citizens to be Israeli nationals.

“In any case, there was no refusal of citizenship by Israel to those Arabs within the armistice lines at the end of the 1948 War of Independece. andrewr has just made that up.”

Ha ha, sorry, no, do not pass go, do not collect etc. etc. Here’s an extended quote from ‘Citizenship and the State’ by Uri Davis:

“Following the est. of the State of Israel, the Palestinian Arab population remaining in Israel was reduced to 170,000. Until the legislation of the Israeli Nationality Law, 1952 they were all stateless inside Israel (11), and when the Law was enacted its stipulations regarding Palestinians were draconian, and initially resulted in further denial of citizenship to possibly ninety per cent of the Palestinians in Israel. (12) With the passage of Israel Nationality Law in 1952 the Palestinian Citizenship Orders, 1924-42 were repealed with effect from the day of the establishment of the State (see Palstine, page 83).
“The continued struggle of Arab and Jewish individuals and human rights orgs over successive decades resulted in a series of amendments (1968, 1971 and 1980), which have progressively eliminated the gross violation of the right of the mass of the Palestinians in Israel to Israeli citizenship. The last remaining tens of thousands of Palestinians in Israel who were denied citizenship throughout the first three decades finally became citizens of the State of Israel when the Knesset passed Amendment No. 4 to the Law (Nationality by Residence in Israel) in 1980 (13) and today number some 800,000, approx. 17% of the total population of the state within its pre-June 1967 boundaries. Yet the citizenship of the Palestinians in Israel is classified in the law differently to the citizenship of the Jews in Israel.” (43-44)

In short, the Israeli Nationality Law stripped all Palestinian citizens of their citizenship, no matter if they were physically present in Israel as of 1952, and only gradually until 1980 did certain groups of non-Jewish Palestinians become Israeli citizens.

“they still remain the most free and secure Arabs in the Middle East, participating in Israeli society on all levels, with many in the court system (one even on the Supreme Court), diplomatic service, with their own newspapers and political parties”

You failed to mention that no Arab party has ever been represented in the Cabinet, that Israeli citizens who are not Jewish are legally barred from leasing govt or JNF-managed land, that Rabbis paid by the state can write letters encouraging landlords to keep out Arabs without any serious consequence for themselves, that any business can keep out Arabs with no legal consequence and that the state has requisitioned property belonging to Arabs who remained in the green line.

“The treatment of Arabs within Israel is so far superior to the treatment of Jews in Arab countries it is not even funny — but the same is true of the treatment of Christians, who flourish in Israel but are fleeing the PA territories and all Arab (and even most Muslim) countries,”

This is not relevant to the issue of whether Israel discriminates against its own citizens (Even under Israeli law) and residents entitled to citizenship on the basis of belonging to a certain group. If another state behaves the same way as Israel, it is only violating the same norms and conventions and should be dealt with the same way.

“andrewr is clearly against the very existence of a Jewish state, which was indeed the very reason for the UN resolution establishing it in the first place.”

Yet it hasn’t occured to you that the UN resolution using the term ‘Jewish state’ might have a different idea than the one you have, namely that the ‘Jewish state’ was not supposed to discriminate on the basis of religion, while the Jewish state created by the Yishuv has done so in practice. At the same time, it was disingenuous of the UN Special Committee that created the partition plan to expect anything else would happen.

“To suppose that the UN voted in 1947 to establish “a Jewish state” and an Arab state in Mandate Palestine, yet it did not recognize as Jewish the state that was established on that very basis, is just a nonsense.”

That was technically not my argument. You don’t seem to get that the UN Partition Plan was just that — a plan. It did not constitute recognition of any state, only a proposal. There is no state recognized as belonging to members of an extra-territorial group, and Israel is no exception. All states that recognize Israel recognize it as a state for Israeli nationals, not as a Jewish state in the sense of belonging to the Jewish people worldwide. Truman recognized the State of Israel, period. He did not confer the same recognition Israel demands from the Palestinian Authority.

“From the Balfour Declaration which was a founding document, through the San Remo Conference in 1920 which together with the Balfour Declaration provided the terms for the British to take on a custodial Mandate for former Ottoman territories”

And once again, none of these conferred on anyone the right to remove a population by force or coercion in order to change the demographic composition of the area. This right was appropriated by the British (Which removed whole villages during the Mandate period to other areas in Palestine) and the Jewish Agency/Israeli govt. However, the outcome was a predictable (and predicted) result of implementing the Balfour Declaration.

If Israel is the legal successor to the British Mandate, then it shares the same treaty obligations, and here is a provision from the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) that it grossly violates: “ARTICLE 33.
Persons who have exercised the right to opt in accordance with the provisions of Articles 31 and 32 must, within the succeeding twelve months, transfer their place of residence to the State for which they have opted.
They will be entitled to retain their immovable property in the territory of the other State where they had their place of residence before exercising their right to opt.”
The Israeli Absentee Property Law, which requisitions the property of Palestinian Citizens who left Israeli-held territory for an Arab state or any portion of Palestine held by an Arab state at a given point obviously violates that provision of the Treaty.

“By the way, the name of the State of Israel already indicates to all but andrewr and the Palestinians that it was founded as, and is. a Jewish state (hint: andrewr, look “Israel” up in your Bible”

That’s very cute. I don’t know how to break this to you gently, but the Bible is not a legal document.

” ….the future of American Judaism as we know it depends on the survival of the Jewish state” Shrug. I’m not so sure that the future of American Judaism as we know it is anything to get to excited about.

But as a diasporist I raise my Jewish children to be Jews in the reality of galute, which is not just a sociological reality, but a metaphysical situation that continues even with the State of Israel, and certainly without it.

Yes, Israel could be relevant, if it were really able to “… create more Israels, including one for Palestinians.” But that’s the problem isn’t it?

And let us imagine a solution, a Palestinian state, and peace. My commitment to being a Jew of galute would not change. It’s been many years since I believed that Zionism or the concentration of the world’s Jewish population in Israel was any kind of a solution to any kind of Jewish or world problem. For us, even in Israel, and certainly in America, it is galute that is the challenge, not making Israel work. This was the struggle of rabbinic Judaism, and it will remain the Jewish struggle so long as we exist as a self conscious people. The messianic age is not in history, but after history. It is of no interest. All of Zionism’s pretensions to be the beginning of the flowering of our redemption are messianic distractions from real Jewish life in the real Jewish reality of galute.

“they do not recognize that the de-legitimization of Israel will affect them”

How many years does it take before a country built through theft of land and the violent ejection of the inhabitants becomes legitimate?

Daniel focuses on the social survival of the American Jewish community should the unspeakable happen to Israel. I would take it further – I would think that the physical survival of Jews would be jeopardized as well, at least (initially) in Europe. It has been said (and I certainly agree) that Israeli policy (e.g., settlements, “disproportionate responses,” and the like) serves as a pretext for hostility to Israel; the argument is really about Israeli being. If Israel as Jewish State ceased to be, the argument would no longer be about Israeli being, but about Jewish being itself. The destruction of Israel would surely be followed by triumphalism and ascendant Islamic radicalism, with calls to act on the most hateful passages in the Koran.

There is complete freedom of religion in Israel, and Jews, Christians and Muslims, Baha’is and Buddhists, etc., all equally enjoy civil rights and democratic privileges. However, Israel was indeed founded to be a regenerative center for Jews, Judaism and Jewish civilization, as well as being the only sure refuge for Jews persecuted elsewhere. The obvious need and justification for that was the reason for the U.N. resolutions establishing the legitimacy of the “Jewish” state. There was no misunderstanding of these things at the time.

But, speaking of discrimination, even of apartheid, and of withholding just claims of citizenship, etc., etc., have a look at this little item entitled “PA discrimination against ‘refugees’ behind electricity crisis”: http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/pa-discrimination-against-refugees.html

Naturally, andrewr does not care about that anymore than the leaders of the PA do, or other illiberal leftists, far rightists, or Muslims, for the simple reason that none of them are for the Palestinians, they are only against the Jews.

Just a brief additional point: it is false that Israel did not extend full citizenship to the Arabs resident within its borders after the armistice of 1949. It did, immediately. Some 156,000 Arabs thereby became citizens of Israel. About 40,000 were added through “family reunion” in the next year or so, plus another 30,000 when an adjustment to boundaries was made in the “Triangle” area. All were full citizens. As for bedouins who travelled constantly between states, those issues understandably took longer to resolve. But andrewr, and his source, the polemicist, Muslim convert and Fatah member Uri Davis, are falsifying the record with the claim that there was any reluctance at all about extending citizenship to Arabs habitually resident within Israel’s borders. Actually, the founders of the State of Israel were eager to include Arab people in citizenship, due to their ideology of liberal democracy and proper treatment of minorities. Herzl already emphasized this, as did David Ben Gurion and for that matter Jabotinsky and others.

Robin Rosenblatt says:

Have
America Jews betrayed
Israel?

I asked all of you to help protect the Galilee; it’s ranches
and cattle are under attack. To replace the cattle with cattle that fit the
environment and can defend themselves. That breed would be Texas Longhorn at
http://longhornproject.org and you have not responded.

I gave you proof that our government is in bed with the
Muslim Brotherhood, who wants to destroy Israel and the Jewish people and maybe
take over America. And again you have not responded. This reminds me how
America stood by in silence allowing 6 million Jews to be murdered.

It is hard for me to believe that after growing up in
America I would be saying this.

Even though Israel does not technically prevent anyone from exercising their religion, it is a load of hogwash to claim all religions in Israel enjoy civil rights. There is no legal protection against individual acts of racism and Israelis have a wide latitude of imposing their own segregation. Otherwise these Israelis (Who served in the army no less) would not have been chased out by arson threats.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4003502,00.html

And in a state where people enjoy equality, private citizens wouldn’t feel so casual about demanding a little kid’s expulsion from a daycare center on the first day.

“However, last December, when the Zuabis first complained, she told Army Radio: “The [Jewish] parents called her a girl from ‘the [Arab] sector,’ they said this is a day-care center for Jewish children and that it should stay that way … I can’t change the world, I have to look out for my livelihood.”” (…)

“One lawyer, who wished not to be named, said: “Instances like this are not covered by laws against discrimination. Anti-discrimination legislation in Israel is very specific, covering mainly examples of discrimination in employment and access to public places like pubs and clubs.””
http://electronicintifada.net/content/little-recourse-arab-girl-rejected-israeli-day-care/8382

“After all, most other Middle Eastern states (including the as yet still non-existing “Palestinian State” — see the “Palestine National Covenant”) define themselves explicitly in terms of Arabic race and Islam, often in their founding declarations and official basic laws”

This would have been an amazing counter-argument had I claimed the Arab/Muslim states were liberal states respecting equality and so on, but of course I didn’t and this is just a diversionary tactic.

The problem with Israel defining itself as a Jewish state is that it is a state belonging to Jews everywhere even if they aren’t citizens, and even if you have no personal connection to Israel (Other than religion), you can become an Israeli at will while someone who would otherwise be resident in the country is banned from entering on a racial basis.

Adel and Iman Kaadan wouldn’t have faced a ten year legal battle just to move into a house if Israel guaranteed equality.

“Naturally, andrewr does not care about the actual situation for Palestinian refugees in the PA (or Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, etc.)”

And you know this how…? I actually follow the situation for the Palestinian refugees over the whole region. Just because I don’t care to discuss it with YOU doesn’t mean I don’t care.

“Chapter 13 is the relevant chapter.”

Is this the section you’re referring to?

“Israel’s Proclamation of Independence, issued May 14, 1948, also invited the Palestinians to remain in their homes and become equal citizens in the new state”

Whenever someone deals with this topic, it would be helpful to cite actual legislation. The Mitchell Bard book doesn’t cite any to prove Israel legally granted all Palestinians in the green line citizenship immediately after 1948. Whatever high-minded language in the Israeli Declaration of Independence is contradicted by the relevant legislation.

“But andrewr, and his cited source, the polemicist, Muslim convert and Fatah member Uri Davis, are falsifying the record with the claim that there was any reluctance at all about extending citizenship to well-disposed Arabs within Israel’s borders.”

What is relevant about Davis converting to Islam? Of course Davis did not falsify anything. You can read the full text of the Israeli Nationality Law. Section 18 is where the Palestine Citizenship Orders of the British Mandate are repealed.

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,LEGAL,,LEGISLATION,ISR,4562d8cf2,3ae6b4ec20,0.html

“Actually, the founders of the State of Israel were eager to include Arab people in citizenship, due to their ideology of liberal democracy and proper treatment of minorities. Herzl already emphasized this, as did David Ben Gurion and for that matter Jabotinsky and others.”

Most Zionist ideologues, Herzl, Jabotinsky and Ben-Gurion amongst them were proto-fascists who occasionally incorporated some high-minded liberal speak for public consumption. This idea of democracy from Ben-Gurion is not very inspiring:

“Would you like in 1949 to have a democratic State of Israel throughout the land, or do you want a Jewish state throughout the land and for us to drive out all the Arabs, or do you want to have democracy in this state?” (Segev, 1949, 19)

Of course in Ben-Gurion’s idea of democracy, absorbing more land and more Arabs along with it would be an obstacle to achieving democracy. Or this gem from Herzl. People who write this stuff should be called liberal:

“In his treatsie, Herzl readily admits there is a Jewish problem “wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers.” Herzl declares that the Jews themselves “introduce” anti-Semitism by their very presence: “Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country.” Thus, Herzl declares that Jewish persecution is not an aberrant facet of bigoted society, but a natural reaction to the appearance of a foreign group – the Jews.” (quot’d in Black, Transfer Agreement, 73)

Paul Brandon says:

The weakness in Gordis’ argument is that Israel cannot exist without American Jews. It’s military advantages over the larger and ultimately richer Muslim world are dependent on American support, which means support by American Jews and are necessary for its survival. The current Iranian situation shows this.

So, while American Jewry may or may not endure without Israel, Israel will certainly not endure without American Jews.

I am afraid, andrewr, that you have not in fact shown that just about all Arabs resident in Israel’s borders at the time of the armistice in 1949 were refused citizenship. Your comments about that are simply incorrect, pure propaganda inventions. They are contradicted by all responsible histories of Israel. Of course pure polemicists like Uri Davis are not responsible historians and have no problem creating their own “facts” to support themselves – you would be surprised, or maybe not surprised after all given some of your own statements, how widespread this is with pro-Palestinians: they even invent false quotations, or alter real statements, removing their actual contexts and tendentiously editing out portions even of quoted sentences, particularly relating to their bug-bears like David Ben Gurion whose real statements are consistently and emphatically too liberal, democratic and humane for them, as by the way was Theodor Herzl, Jabotinsky, and others — look up “False Quotes Ben-Gurion” in Google for some good instances, or just look at your very own chosen quotes of Ben Gurion and Herzl ending your previous post, good illustrations of the way in which texts can be wilfully and knowingly misinterpreted by those with openly malicious motives).

The Israeli Declaration of Independence itself, on the first day of the state’s existence (May 14, 1948) explicitly and in very warm terms extended full citizenship to the state’s Arab inhabitants, with all democratic rights. The Declaration of Independence already had legal status in the new state, and its principles were immediately incorporated into the active administration of law in the state. Although there was no formal constitution drawn up at the time (and still is none: Israeli law is mostly case-law as indeed the British legal system has generally been), and it was simply decided to accept previous Ottoman and British Mandate law as the foundational legal framework, the democratic rights of all inhabitants (already stipulated in particularly the British precedents) were immediately put into effect. Their rights did not have to wait for the formulation and formal passing of general “Bill of Right” laws; they were followed from the start of the state. For example, Arab inhabitants were in fact officially included as citizens already in the first register of Israel’s population of November 8, 1948, which still provides the base foundation for all later statistics of population changes. E.g., one can see this in Table 2.2 of the Statistical Abstract of Israel 2010, available on the internet. These are just matters of fact.

So you have drastically distorted things in your account of Arab rights, andrewr. I think you thought you could get away with grounding all your claims about the lack of freedoms extended to the Arabs on the basis that explicit laws equivalent to a formal “Bill of Rights” have only slowly been enacted in Israel, and you have purposely pretended that such legal principles were not at all in effect and practiced before those formal enactments. But you know that this is untrue. A similar wilful distortion is also the case with most of your citations, andrewr. At best they are half-truths. E.g., you cited Benny Morris as a source for your claim that Israel had a policy of expelling Arabs from the new state, during the 1947-49 War of Independence. In a letter to the Irish Times of February 21, 2008, Benny Morris denied that Israel had any such policy. In fact, he stated that the Arab states and activist groups forced Arabs out from Jewish areas, and that they were the ones chiefly responsible for the refugee problem. See his letter at: http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/02/israel-and-palestinians-according-to.html He has repeated these views in recent books.

Of course, Benny Morris had said otherwise in earlier books. And andrewr, you have typically enough simply selected the texts you like from your “approved” author and ignored the ones you don’t, giving a false impression of his conclusions. I grant that Morris is the best of the “revisionist historians,” but none of them hold to high academic standards, so I will not be offended if his recantation means little to you. His earlier books already mean little to any serious scholars, that is, those with integrity. Efraim Karsh has documented in specific and devastating detail, in numerous articles and books Morris’s tendencies in those earlier books 1, to misrepresent the meaning of texts; 2, to give partial and tendentiously edited portions of quotes, that can reverse the meaning actually in the sources; 3, to withhold evidence even in the documents he quotes from that contradict his interpretations; 4, to make completely false assertions; and even 5, to invent and present entirely false quotes from texts. See, for example, “Benny Morris and the Reign of Error,” Middle East Quarterly, IV:1, March 1999, and the follow-up specifically on the issue of Palestinian refugees “Benny Morris and the Reign of Error Revisited,” MEQ, XII:2, Spring 2005, both available at Middle East Forum (www.meforum.org)

The last paragraphs of the last-cited article include the following comments, relevant to the discussion here:

‘In contrast to Morris’s thesis―and the rhetoric of many Arab politicians at the time―Ben-Gurion told his party members, “In our state there will be non-Jews as well―and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without any exception; that is: the state will be their state as well.”[the footnote here cites the record of the party meeting by Weitz, in his Diary for April. 26, 1948] In line with this conception, committees laying the groundwork for the nascent Jewish state discussed in detail the establishment of an Arabic-language press, Arab health care, incorporation of Arab officials into the government, integration of Arabs within the police and the ministry of education, and Arab-Jewish cultural and intellectual interaction. No less importantly, the Haganah’s military plan to rebuff an anticipated pan-Arab invasion was itself predicated, in the explicit instructions of Israel Galili, the Haganah’s commander-in-chief, on the “acknowledgement of the full rights, needs, and freedom of the Arabs in the Hebrew state without any discrimination, and a desire for coexistence on the basis of mutual freedom and dignity.”‘

These were not just rhetorical flourishes. They have continued to guide Israel’s policies to the present day.

Beatrix17 says:

All Americans come from somewhere else. Irish Americans
are proud of their Irish roots, Italian Americans love being from
Italy. They had a home. They are here in America because they
choose to be.

Before Israel, Jews were homeless. We were in America
because we had no where else to go.

The difference in attitude toward Jews before and since
the establishment of Israel is the difference between being respected
property owners or sleeping on a friend’s couch because you’ve been
evicted.

Israel isn’t perfect, but before you succumb to liberal
criticism, you may want to remember the horrendous propaganda
campaign of other Mideastern peoples, and read a little more about
your own history. Today, despite the prejudice, there is also
wholesome respect for our abilities without the underlying
patronization.

Are you serious? says:

Many Jews in the West assimilate quite readily, as we have always done. It probably helps with the survival aspect. Part of that assimilation, most recently, incorporates very leftist ideals. Jewish families push their kids to pursue education in disproportionate numbers, and the universities are run by a lot of these far left crazies. I’m doing my third degree right now, with the possibility of a fourth on the horizon, believe me when I say the left wing clearly dominates in the University atmosphere and the craziest among them are those that seek office and to lead and be the megaphone, regardless of what everyone else has to say.

I think this has an affect on those Jews who go through the process and don’t know how to deal with the virtual brainwashing (I don’t just mean in terms of anti-Israel what ever, but it’s part of a larger narrative that is forced down everyone’s throats, ranging from how white people are nothing but colonialists and that’s all they can be, and somehow Jews are an extension of that, to decisions about who is and who isn’t a racist and what cultures we have to be particularly sensitive towards. I’ve found it’s largely a “oh wait! I’m enlightened too, see!? I support such and such group despite knowing nothing about the situation!”).

Too many go through the process and come out with a highly skewed view. As someone who has devoted considerable research and academic concentration to the topic of the Middle East and Israel, I can tell you that the lack of knowledge about anything going on over there amongst those with the strongest/loudest opinions about the situation is absolutely staggering. I’m talking about people who just have no idea about even the most basic facts. You can tell them as they’ll refer to pre-1967 borders that never existed (those borders would be the mandate of Palestine itself, excluding Jordan/Trans-Jordan as it was known when separated from the original Mandate of Palestine), they’ll talk about false history in vague ways and have no knowledge of the progress of the situation in the area over the last 200 years never mind the last 2,000, they’ll be high on moral equivalency that makes no sense, they’ll make broad statements about racism and apartheid without being able to actually figure out how and with no knowledge of what causes it never mind their lack of knowledge or caring about the situation in other countries just next door… I could go on but it’s just ridiculous. My research on it spans degrees in politics, religion, and now law.

Even professors are horrible offenders when it comes to ignorance on this topic, and it’s almost always academics who don’t actually teach or research the issue itself (although some of them clearly have an agenda, at least you can try and argue some facts with them as they usually know something. Getting them to be honest or fair is another issue). They just go on about nothing. I remember the flotilla incident and people calling it an illegal intercept and that the blockade was illegal and so on. I spend a couple months researching the event, put in a 50 page research paper covering naval and international laws and customs spanning the last 250 years, going over the evolution of our understanding of the issues and laws in question, and drawing as clear a line as possible about what is and what isn’t legal, and I can tell you that the blockade, intercept, and boarding were all legal (I’m happy to concede that actions taken by troops once the boarding commenced may not have been legal with regards to the Geneva Conventions regarding the use of force, but I don’t know for sure one way or another. I analyzed as much video as I could since the witness reports were so varied and contradictory as to be useless, and while I couldn’t make conclusions about illegal actions I couldn’t dismiss that some of the claims were certainly possible and so I couldn’t come down in favour of perfect innocence either).

But people don’t care about facts. It’s all about their interpretation of social justice and what they see as right and wrong, and they’ll leverage anything to try and make that case. Remember that Peto girl who did that ridiculous MA at U of T that contained less research (and all of questionable quality) for a 100 page thesis than I provide for a 25 page paper? She even invoked the name of her deceased grandmother as someone who would be standing with her on the battle lines today to fight against the injustice. Her family pointed out that the grandmother was an ardent zionist (and holocaust survivor) until the day she died who both supported Israel and would have been aghast to hear her granddaughter claim that holocaust education is somehow tantamount to privilege (I wonder if education about the death of the native people/culture is also privilege… what about of African slavery? hhhmmmmm. Nope, they don’t qualify as white so it’s not privilege). As horrid as that is, focus on the fact that she sees herself standing on battle lines. It’s about people wanting to feel like they’re standing for something, that they’re fighting against something. In an age where we don’t really have any major enemies to stand up against or fight (at least physically since it would either be push button warfare or else the enemy is suicide bombing us) and the only target left is their own government or country.

Problem is that’s not much of a fight to feel good about unless you can actually feel like you’re in a fight, which you won’t if you’re being reasonable because then things aren’t that bad.

Welcome to the brainwashing of higher education…

williambilek says:

Can’t “steal” something that doesn’t legally belong to someone else.

” violent ejection of the inhabitants ”
Repeatedly disproven in the words of the Arabs themselves. Such claims exist only to underline, falsely, the “illegitimacy’ of the nation state of the Jewish People

As an academic myself, all of this rings only too true.

jmm64 says:

The documentary showing across America titled ‘ 2016: Obama’s America ‘ provides a lot of insight into Obama’s influences in his life, and it is a must see film for all American voters. Obama supporters will, also, enjoy this movie since it will answer a lot of questions about Obama’s early influences in his life and what his agenda will probably be in a second term if re-elected. Just saw the movie yesterday in Ohio to a packed audience and at the end of the movie, most people were applauding.

Amen, Rabbi. Amen!

Pam Green says:

Another thing that distinguishes academics from everyone else is that they have credentials to rest on, and the support of prestigious institutions to lend an aura of respectability to their facetious arguments. Institutions disingenuously claim that they have no power over their tenured employees; in this way they avoid responsibility for academic anti-Semitism.

Pam Green says:

Another thing that distinguishes academics from everyone else is that they have credentials to rest on, and the support of prestigious institutions to lend an aura of respectability to their facetious arguments. Institutions disingenuously claim that they have no power over their tenured employees; in this way they avoid responsibility for academic anti-Semitism.

fieldinski says:

of course the destruction of israel will be a tragedy of epic proportions. but the leaders are making it more likely, and we are helpless to intervene. here are some
THOUGHTS AFTER GAZA: WHAT HITLER TAUGHT US
In a world of Hitler and Jews
you have only one choice anymore —
you can either be Hitler
or the Jews.
Every Jew will understand this.

Israel’s motto is “Never again”
and declares the end of history,
our history of being the victim.
It’s what it has finally taught us —
in a world of Hitler and Jews
there’s no other choice –
be Hitler.

Surrounded by enemies,
actual or possible,
with an occasional rocket
to ignite
the threat of attack,
you finally go crazy,
like Stalin, who translated
the ideals of communism
into a police state.

And like the Israelis
trying to crush the Palestinians.
The rest of the world may not like it
but you can’t argue with fear.

Nobody else wants to be The Jews either.
If the Palestinians get their state,
they will become Hitler, our Hitler,
and we will again become The Jews –
in fact the Israelis have made that likely
with the brutal occupation.

There’s also the greed factor,
the way our ‘pioneers’ dealt with the Indians
to grab the land –
Hitler
based his Eastern policy on ours,
rounding up and exterminating
the people
of the conquered lands to the east
as we did in our west.

Horrified as the civilized world is,
it’s our history led us to this —
that in a world of Hitler and Jews
better be Hitler,
be Hitler, never again the Jews.
Nothing to argue about,
you can’t talk away fear –

huddled together in a tiny country,
even with a powerful army
and the atom bomb –
it’s built in.

Every Jew will understand this,
and that is the tragedy —
for now everything is set
for a continuation of our doleful history–
expelled from our difficult homeland again,
here we are The Eternal Jew,
the world’s pariah,
the role we cannot shed,
the role we’re destined for.

Pam Green says:

Okay, thanks. I agree that Obama is very bad for Israel. However, I also think Obama is very bad for Americans, so where’s the Catch-22? Have we really forgotten that Obama bailed out the banks, no strings attached, while allowing the middle-class to sink into homelessness? Millions more Americans are now living in their cars or raising their children in shelters! And Obama has continued to undermine our basic constitutional rights. Can Romney really be worse?

Except for the fact that Abraham had his monotheistic revelation in his hometown of Ur, which is in Iraq, and that the 10 Commandments and the Torah, the very tenants of Judaism, where delivered while wandering throughout the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Don’t forget that the Torah is where all our laws come from, so the writing of that transformed us from simple monotheists into a full-fledged religion. There were 11 Israelites when they left for Egypt (remember that the Tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim were founded with Joseph’s sons, born in Egypt), and 12 tribes and thousands of Israelites left Egypt
(scholars believe that the 600,000 number is a mistranslation, and the number of Israelites who left Egypt was far closer to 6,000). So no, we neither came into existence, nor did we have our early development in Canaan.

leonardo777 says:

The people called JEWS are not of JUDAH. They are BASTARDS just like Herod & his family.

Today’s JEWS are BASTARDS & as BASTARDS, act like BASTARDS!

They have NO RIGHT to the LAND OF ISRAEL.

leonardo777 says:

I don’t agree with Talmudic Judaism, but I would forgive them if they nuked Mecca/Medina.

leonardo777 says:

Will you ever fcuk off!

Genesis is MYTH!

There are NO fcuking talking snakes on earth now or ever!

Get a FCUKING LIFE!

leonardo777 says:

Carra Glatt,

Why not be honest & say:

I’m a PROUD NAZI/ZIONIST!

Together we gassed & burnt a few fcuking million Polish Jews that NO ONE wanted, especially ZIONIST ISRAEL!

This has given us the power to demand EVERYTHING from the Western Powers.

WE REALLY fcuked them, this time.

leonardo777 says:

How the FCUK could Adam wander:

In the Jewish Talmud, Yebamoth 103b we
read:

“For R. Johanan stated: When the
serpent copulated with Eve, 14 he infused her15 with lust.”

Notes:

14 In the Garden, according to a tradition.

15 i.e.The Human species.

In Yebamoth 63a we read:

“R. Eleazar further stated: What is
meant by the Scriptural text “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my
flesh?5 This teaches that Adam had sexual intercourse with EVERY beast and
animal but found no satisfaction until he cohabited with Eve.”

Notes:

5 Genesis 2:23 Emphasis on THIS IS NOW.

leonardo777 says:

IF YOU SEE RELIGIOUS JEWS IN TEL AVIV, DON’T BEND DOWN TILL YOU GET TO AMERICA.

THEY ARE ALL PEDOPHILES or CLOSET PEDOPHILES!

leonardo777 says:

FOR FCUK SAKES!

POLISH JEWS WERE COVERED LICE & DIRTY!

THESE SCUMBAGS INVADED GERMANY AFTER THE GERMAN/RUSSIAN WAR!

GERMANY’S BIGGEST MISTAKE.

THE ASSIMILATED JEWS HATED THE SIGHT OF THEM & WISHED THEY WOULD VANISH, BUT THEY DIDN’T AND SO THEY HAD TO PRETEND THEY WERE BROTHERS.

THEY INVENTED HITLER & NAZISM TO RID THE WORLD OF THIS SCUM.

THE SECULAR ZIONIST AGENDA FOR A JEWISH
STATE

Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons

P.O.B. 1775, Kiryat Arba
90100, Israel

tel and fax: 02-9961252 (within Israel),

972 2 9961252 (from outside Israel)

e-mail: chaimsimons@gmail.com

August 2007

leonardo777 says:

FCUK OFF!

Read the TANACH, you MURDERING BASTARDS!

Replace the sham investigation with a real investigation into 9/11 and the “my country, right or wrong” attitude toward Israel might change to an ethical obligation to all humanity (I mean including goyim). American Jewry’s lifestyle is based upon big lies and abuse of power. Any media concerns are handled by those who control the media–and it isn’t muslims who control media.

Chrissakes says:

“I’ll go to IDF reserve duty.”

Ha! It’s been tried before, tough guy.

Against Vespasian and Titus. FAIL.
Against Hadrian. FAIL.

During the First Gulf War (1990-91) you and your fellow citizens were on your knees begging the United States for Patriot surface-to-air missiles and adult diapers. Now you’re rattling Iran’s cage? Good luck with that.
—–

Chrissakes says:

It would have helped against Vespasian and Titus in 70 CE–really not all that much sniveling. But no, some “tough guys” thought they could take on the world’s Super Power.

Oh goodie, an internet troll.

drorbenami says:

You are a sick tool……

drorbenami says:

If you read my comment again you will see that I wrote Adam probably did not wander. The important issue is that he was expelled.

Furthermore, I never read the Talmud. The opinion of dark age scholars who have been dead for 1000 years is of no interest to me.

williambilek says:

Abraham, the individual credited with founding the 3 great monotheistic religions, beginning with the Hebrews, and his descendants, settled in, lived in, and died in, and around, Canaan, and the land of the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, etc. The Laws of the Torah are universal. But they were applied to the People who lived in Judah, and Israel, and the Kingdoms of David, and Solomon. The Oral Law, and its applications came about through the centuries that the Hebrews lived in the Land that they conquered, (at the direction of God, if you wish to believe that.) Jewish customs, the timing of Sukkot and Pesach in our calendars, the reverence for Jerusalem, the prayers we chant, the songs we sing, the food we eat, are all related to our time getting to, and living in, the Land.

Once more, to deny or ignore that, would make us little different from Inuits, or Maoris.

williambilek says:

I would ignore you, but I would rather flag you and see you obliterated, in every sense of that word.

leonardo777 says:

4 BILLION JEWS MURDERED & NOT A WORD ABOUT IT FROM ABE FOXMAN!

The Talmud is Judaism’s
holiest book (actually a collection of books). Its authority takes precedence
over the Old Testament in Judaism. Evidence of this may be found in the Talmud
itself, Erubin 21b (Soncino edition):

“My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the
Scribes than in the words of the Torah (Old Testament).”

Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby, in “Judaism on Trial,” quotes Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph:

“Further,
without the Talmud, we would not be able to understand passages in the Bible
… God has handed this authority to the sages and tradition is a necessity as
well as scripture. The Sages also made enactments of their own … anyone who
does not study the Talmud cannot understand Scripture.”

4 BILLION JEWS SLAUGHTERED BY EMPEROR
HADRIAN

Over
four billion Jews were killed by the Romans in 135AD… 64 million children
wrapped up in Torah scrolls and burnt…. apparently

The Jews’ last
stand at Bethar, Judah in the final
Roman Jewish war 135AD

“The voice of Jacob’: this is the cry caused
by the (Roman) Emperor Hadrian who killed in the city of Bethar four hundred
thousand myriads”

Babylonian Talmud Gittin 57B

IT LOOKS NOW THAT IT WAS ALSO 4 BILLION IN GERMANY. LOL

leonardo777 says:

PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO HATE PARASITES!

OK?

leonardo777 says:

YO PAMMY,

Ever hear of MARRANO JEWS?

These are the MOTHER-FCUKERS that are causing the problems ALL over the Middle East!

leonardo777 says:

Lazar Kaganovich Mojsiejewicz

Now there’s a Jew that makes Nazis look like Boy Scouts!

How come the PARASITE JEWS don’t make him a HERO or his other Jewish friends who slaughtered the Czar & his family?

“Oh NO, we can’t show our hand and show the world, the scum we are”!

leonardo777 says:

drorbenami

The Talmud is Judaism’s
holiest book (actually a collection of books). Its authority takes precedence
over the Old Testament in Judaism. Evidence of this may be found in the Talmud
itself, Erubin 21b (Soncino edition):

“My son, be more careful
in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah
(Old Testament).”

Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby, in “Judaism on Trial,” quotes Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph:

“Further, without the Talmud, we
would not be able to understand passages in the Bible … God has handed this
authority to the sages and tradition is a necessity as well as scripture. The
Sages also made enactments of their own … anyone who does not study the
Talmud cannot understand Scripture.”

Second century Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, one of
Judaism’s very greatest rabbis and a creator of Kabbalah, sanctioned
pedophilia—permitting molestation of baby girls even younger than three! He
proclaimed,

“A proselyte who is under
the age of three years and a day is permitted to marry a priest.” 1

Yebamoth 60b,

Subsequent rabbis refer to
ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia as “halakah,” or binding Jewish
law. 2 Yebamoth 60b

Has Rabbi ben Yohai, child
rape advocate, been disowned by modern Jews? Hardly. Today, in ben Yohai’s
hometown of Meron, Israel, tens of thousands of
orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews gather annually for days and nights of singing
and dancing in his memory.

References to pedophilia abound in the Talmud. They occupy
considerable sections of Treatises Kethuboth and Yebamoth and are
enthusiastically endorsed by the Talmud’s definitive legal work, Treatise
Sanhedrin.

leonardo777 says:

YO
Rachel Shukert ,

THE SECULAR ZIONIST AGENDA FOR A JEWISH
STATE

Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons

P.O.B. 1775, Kiryat Arba
90100, Israel

tel and fax: 02-9961252 (within Israel),

972 2 9961252 (from outside Israel)

e-mail: chaimsimons@gmail.com
Check it out & see the real brains behind the Holocaust.

leonardo777 says:

NO, NO, NO!

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN IS THE GREATEST JEWISH HERO OF THE 21st CENTURY!

leonardo777 says:

FREUD & FLIESS

The Oedipus complex was the invention of Sigmund
Freud!

Freud originally discovered, in the treatments partially
conducted under hypnosis, that all his Jewish patients, both male and female,
had been abused children and recounted their histories in the language of
symptoms. After reporting his discovery in Jewish psychiatric circles, he found
himself completely shunned because none of his fellow Jewish psychiatrists was
prepared to share the findings with him. Freud could not bear the isolation for
long. A few months later, in 1897, he described his patients’ reports on sexual
abuse as sheer fantasies attributable to their instinctual wishes.

Freud’s father was a pedophile! In a letter to his
friend Wilhelm Fliess, he wrote:

“Unfortunately, my own father was one of these
perverts and is responsible for the hysteria of my brother (all of whose
symptoms are identifications) and those of several younger sisters. The
frequency of this circumstance often makes me wonder.”

Fliess’s son, Robert Fliess
exposed his own father as being another pedophile who had sexually abused him
when he was a child.

leonardo777 says:

ISRAEL WILL IMPLODE, JUST LIKE LARRY SLIVERSTEIN’S 3 BUILDINGS ON 911.

PARASITES FEED OFF A HOST!

WITH TOO MANY JEWS IN ISRAEL, THEY WILL BECOME CANNIBALS & START FEEDING OFF ONE ANOTHER.

IN HAPPENED IN THE TANACH!

CHECK IT OUT!

leonardo777 says:

“Ah hum, the god we don’t believe in, gave it to us”!

“Said we were the apple of his eye”!

YEAH! A FCUKING ROTTEN APPLE & MAGGOTS IN IT!

leonardo777 says:

YO WEE WILLIE,

STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR PLONKER & GOOGLE THIS:

THE SECULAR ZIONIST AGENDA FOR A JEWISH
STATE

Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons

P.O.B. 1775, Kiryat Arba
90100, Israel

tel and fax: 02-9961252 (within Israel),

972 2 9961252 (from outside Israel)

e-mail: chaimsimons@gmail.com

leonardo777 says:

YO
Rabbi Jonathan Biatch,

You must be the ONLY rabbi that’s not raping young children:

Second century Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, one of
Judaism’s very greatest rabbis and a creator of Kabbalah, sanctioned
pedophilia—permitting molestation of baby girls even younger than three! He
proclaimed,

“A proselyte who is under
the age of three years and a day is permitted to marry a priest.” 1

Yebamoth 60b,

Subsequent rabbis refer to
ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia as “halakah,” or binding Jewish
law. 2 Yebamoth 60b

Has Rabbi ben Yohai, child
rape advocate, been disowned by modern Jews? Hardly. Today, in ben Yohai’s
hometown of Meron, Israel, tens of thousands of
orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews gather annually for days and nights of singing
and dancing in his memory.

References to pedophilia abound in the Talmud. They occupy
considerable sections of Treatises Kethuboth and Yebamoth and are
enthusiastically endorsed by the Talmud’s definitive legal work, Treatise
Sanhedrin.

The Pharisees Endorsed Child Sex

The rabbis of the Talmud are notorious for their legal
hairsplitting, and quibbling debates. But they share rare agreement about their
right to molest three year old girls. In contrast to many hotly debated issues,
hardly a hint of dissent rises against the prevailing opinion (expressed in
many clear passages) that pedophilia is not only normal but scriptural as well!
It’s as if the rabbis have found an exalted truth whose majesty silences
debate.

Because the Talmudic authorities who sanction pedophilia
are so renowned, and because pedophilia as “halakah” is so explicitly
emphasized, not even the translators of the Soncino edition of the Talmud
(1936) dared insert a footnote suggesting the slightest criticism. They only
comment: “Marriage, of course, was then at a far earlier age than now.” 3

In fact, footnote 5 to Sanhedrin 60b rejects the right of
a Talmudic rabbi to disagree with ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia:

“How could they [the rabbis], contrary to the opinion of R.
Simeon ben Yohai, which has scriptural support, forbid the marriage of the
young proselyte?” 4

1 Yebamoth 60b, p. 402.

2 Yebamoth 60b, p. 403.

3 Sanhedrin 76a.

4 In Yebamoth 60b, p. 404, Rabbi Zera disagrees that sex with girls under three
years and one day should be endorsed as halakah.

leonardo777 says:

YO
Hersheybar,

Did you mean :

Aboy, Rabbi, Aboy!

leonardo777 says:

enjoying countless Israel programs (i.e. raping children.)

1.
Case of Rabbi Yoram
Aberjil (Netivot, Israel) (Accused of cult like practices and sexual
harassment of young women and treatening the lives of the survivors and those
who support them.)

2.
Case of Rabbi
Shlomo Aviner (Beit El, Israel) (Two women accused the rabbi of
creating emotionally intimate relationships with them. These relationships
included his expressions of his love for them during regular late-night phone
conversations, extracting details from them of their sexuality and promoting an
unhealthy emotional dependence on him).

3.
Case of Rabbi Aryeh
Blaut (AKA: Louis Blaut, Louis Steven Blaut, Louis A. Blaut, Louis S. Blaut)
(Seattle, WA) (Convicted
sex offender on federal charges of possession of child pornography.
According to the United States Department of Probation, Louis Blaut is
not allowed contact with anyone under the age of eighteen on the internet or in
person).

4.
Case of Rabbi Jerry
Brauner (Boro Park, Brooklyn, NY) (Convicted on the charges of Sexual
Abuse-1st Degree and Sexual Abuse-3rd:Subject Another Person to Sex Contact
Without Consent. He was sentenced to 11 years probation, with the condition he
must participate in a sex offender treatment program. Brauner has been on
probation since 2002 for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy. On
December 27, 2006, Jerry Brauner was arrested on charges of stealing a
half-million-dollar home from a cancer-stricken woman, using a forged power of
attorney to sell it and pocket the profits. Brauner is being held in lieu of
$85,000 bail for lying about prior sex-abuse convictions when he applied for
his notary’s license.)

5.
Case of Rabbi Lewis
Brenner (AKA: Lippa Brenner) (Brooklyn, NY) (Convicted of child molestation.
The original charges included 14 counts of sodomy, sexual abuse and
endangering the welfare of a child. He agreed to plead guilty to one
count of sodomy in the third degree, a Class E felony, in exchange for a
sentence of five years’ probation.)

6.
Case of Rabbi
Yaakov Yitzhak Brizel (Jerusalem, Israel) (Accused of child molestation)

7.
Case of Rabbi
Ephraim Bryks (Winnipeg, Canada, New York, NY) (There
is a Call for Action on this case. Accusations about sexual
inappropriate behavior with children started surfacing in the 1980′s. Rabbi
Bryks is currently a member of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens. The
Vaad is a Rabbinical committee that makes important decisions within an
orthodox community.)

8.
Case of Rabbi
Shlomo Carlebach (There is a Call for Action on this
case. Accused of several cases of child
molestation, and sexual assault of young adult women)

9.
Case Rabbi Perry Ian
Cohen – Montreal and Toronto Canada
(Accused of sexual
abuse of a seventeen year old. Fired for sexual impropriety with congregants)

10. Case of Rabbi
Yitzchak Cohen (Israel) (Accused of sexually harassing students at Bar-Ilan University)

JUST A FRACTION OF THE JEWISH PERVERTS

leonardo777 says:

“next year in Jerusalem”

Why don’t you ALL fcuk off back there then & leave the Gentiles alone?

BECAUSE YOU WOULD FCUKING STARVE TO DEATH!

YOU NEED THE GENTILE HOST TO LIVE OFF!

leonardo777 says:

YO
sj660 ,

GOOGLE DAWKINS PARASITES

Brainwashed by a parasite – Neurophilosophy – RichardDawkins.net

Now compare the JEW parasite and the GENTILE host.

The PARASITE can make the HOST victim commit suicide!

Elementary, my dear Watson!

leonardo777 says:

EZRA

&

THE BLOODLINE

Racism was invented

By the Jewish Priest
Ezra!

Ezra & Hitler are in total
agreement

“it
was against the will of the Eternal Creator. . .Nations that make mongrels of
their people or allow their people to be turned into mongrels sin against the
Will of Eternal Providence.”

Mein Kampf, p. 186 .
. . p.162

The Book of Ezra is the Mein Kampf of the
Bible

In 587 B.C. Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians.
The town and the Temple
were razed to the ground and the Jewish people were exiled to the land of their
captors. But fifty years later Cyrus, King of Persia, conquered the conquerors
and established his own rule in Babylon.
He was well-disposed toward the Jewish people living there and issued an edict
allowing them to return to their own country. But not everyone wanted to go.

This is the ROOT of the problem!

The Law of Moses was REWRITTEN by the Babylonian priest/scribe, Ezra. He was Cyrus’s BITCH!

This is the start of Talmudic Judaism, Jewish racism, Jewish pedophilia etc. Wherever these people went, they polluted it.

leonardo777 says:

YO MICKEY STEIN,

THE TRUTH ABOUT

THE JEWISH BLOOD LIBEL

Shalom,

In
Exodus 32:7-14 the God of Israel tells Moses to go down from the mountain
because He wants to wipe the Israelites off the face of the earth & start
with a new people. Moses argues with God & slaughters 3,000 of the
Israelites (see Exodus 32:21-28) Why? Because they had offered their children
as Human Sacrifices to Moloch & continued to do so right through the Bible,
even Solomon offered Human Sacrifices to Moloch. The prophet Amos chapter 5
tells us this; see verse 25-27& Acts 7:42-43.

To
see what happened we have to study Book of Jeremiah, especially chapter 7. Look
at verses 21-27. It is clear that Judaism is corrupt from the beginning
& we see that in Exodus 18 it’s the Pagan Priest of Median who
is organizing Moses not God. The True religion of God is that of God’s
Prophets.

Talmudic
Judaism has come down through the centuries pretending to be God’s Chosen
People, but as Jesus says in John 8:44-47, they are the children of the devil.
Jesus warned His followers to, “Beware the leaven (teachings) of the
Pharisees”, which we have in English today called the Babylonian Talmud.
In it you will read how Talmudic Jews are to offer Human Sacrifices:

MISHNAH. HE WHO GIVES OF HIS
SEED TO MOLECH INCURS NO PUNISHMENT UNLESS HE DELIVERS IT TO MOLECH AND CAUSES
IT TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE. IF HE GAVE IT TO MOLECH BUT DID NOT CAUSE IT TO
PASS THROUGH THE FIRE, OR THE REVERSE, HE INCURS NO PENALTY, UNLESS HE DOES
BOTH.

Babylonian
Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 64a

Soncino
1961 Edition, page 437

Following
the Mishnah is a discussion among the sages. One of the Talmud Sages, Rabbi
Ashi, comments as follows:

GEMARA. R. Ashi propounded:
What if one caused his blind or sleeping son to pass through, (3) or if he
caused his grandson by his son or daughter to pass through? — One at least of
these you may solve. For it has been taught: [Any men … that giveth any of his
seed unto Molech; he shall he put to death … And I will set my face against
that man, and will cut him off from among his people;] because he hath given of
his seed unto Molech. Why is this stated? — Because it is said, there shall not
be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through
the fire. From this I know it only of his son or daughter. Whence do I know
that it applies to his son’s son or daughter’s son too? From the verse, [And if
the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man] when he giveth
of his seed unto Molech [and kill him not: Then I will … cut him off.]


Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 64b

Soncino
1961 Edition, page 439

If
YHWH was REALLY talking to Moshe, then He was the FIRST anti-Semite!

williambilek says:

And no, most of those that left did not legally, privately “own” the land they had squatted on.

John Salisbury says:

Lack of lunatic asylums in Bronze Age Palestine has had profound consequences.

madams12 says:

beatrix wrote: “before Israel Jews were homeless.”

What?!..Completely not so. Review history…stuff happens…no people have been free of challenges, war, competition etc throughout history. Every group has experienced struggle, some more than others…(consider Native Americans for instance…slaughtered by the millions yet there exists no Museum of Native American extinction in every American city nor is Indian holocaust remembered and honored). Jews have lived in Europe, North Africa, Yemen, Asia for generations in towns and cities on almost all continents. To say that Jews have been homeless is a pathetic myth you choose to believe. Judaism is a religion and therefore the idea that a ‘state’ was needed was a 19th century construct. Nationalizing one’s faith doesn’t make one a better/more compassionate human being. If that is not a key factor in being a “believer”…to mature in ways beyond tangible material….to see one’s humanity in others…then what is the point? Fighting and killing in the name of having a “democratic-religious state” is the height of oxymoronic thinking. If you were born in America then you are an American who might happen to be Jewish. Dont allow yourself to believe that you “need” a second or ‘back up’ state. This is your homeland. Especially a state that practices discrimination favoring “your” identity over the lives of others—just because you ‘might’ one day want to live ‘over there’ If your ancestors chose to come to America it is because it was THE BEST place to imagine living and raising children..and you should thank your lucky stars and release the delusional thinking that you “deserve” more than what you already possess.
As for “next year in yerushaliyim” you could always visit…but Palestine was already the homeland of Palestinians and remains so.

Beatrix17 says:

To Madams12 et al:

Rome named the nation of Israel Palestine 2,000 years
ago. Since then it’s been a territory ruled by Rome, the Ottoman
Empire, and the English Empire. In 1948, the UN established a
homeland for the Palestinian Jews, which they once again called
Israel, and a homeland for the Palestinian Arabs. Instead of
establishing a nation the Arabs went to war against Israel 3 time,
and against Jordan once, which is why Jordan exiled them to the West
Bank (which belonged to Jordan) and Gaza (which belonged to Egypt).
If the Arabs negotiate peace with Israel and establish a homeland,
that will be the first time that there is a nation called Palestine.

By the way, only Israel has offered the Arab
Palestinians a nation—Jordan and Egypt never did.

The Jews survived without Israel for 1700 years… WTF? Isnt that obvious ?

This is a horrid post

madams12 says:

nasty nasty natan…..your nazi streak is showing…..But listen, instead of anger enjoy this joke…about a survey of a Russian a Pole and an Israeli…this is perfect! Norm Finkelstein joke…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXAVCpXfdQA&feature=fvwrel

Israeli is doing a very good job of destroying itself. Recent attacks by Israeli youth on Palestinians and polls show growing discrimination ag. Palestinians by Israeli students. Where is Israel without a soul?

John Salisbury says:

USA,envisioned by those Protestant Founding Fathers,now has a Supreme Court with 5 Catholics and 4 Jews. Something to ponder Daniel

In modern America, when you buy a property, you simply register the deed and that proves you own it; kinda forever. There was no such thing thousands of years ago, nor there after, until the modern era. We Jews, as a People, have actively upheld our property rights, our claim to The Land of Israel, over the millennia that have passed since our forced and violent exile, in a number of legitimate ways. We upheld our right to the Land, Aretz, in every way that was available to us. One of which was, and is, building our Temple in J’salem. Praying toward J’salem and praying to God for a return to there is all we had, and all we need. And it is valid, still, today.

brian2907 says:

Thanks to the magnificent efforts of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Jews mainly from the US but also from Canada and (like me) from the UK are increasingly making aliyah. This is “pull” rather than “push” aliyah because more and more, Jews are realising than only in Israel can one fully live a Jewish life. How many times in our history have we thought that we were well-ensconsed, safe and prosperous until along came a new Pharaoh “who knew not Joseph”? Israel reaches out to rescue Jews across the world where they are in danger and brings them to this safe haven. For the first time in 2,000 years we have pride and self-determination and this is what the State of Israel has given us.

brian2907 says:

These columns should be for reasoned debate whatever one’s views not a forum for ignorant, foul-mouthed ranters with nothing intelligent to contribute.

Brynn Sugarman says:

Re ranting of Jewish perverts way below: of course there are Jewish perverts, Israeli and otherwise. But a nation is not judged by how specific individuals behave but how the legal body responds to that behavior. Sure there are breeches in justice everywhere, even in the most sophisticated, Western countries, but the laws in general hold firm. Compare and contrast to many Moslem countries where there is no punishment against men guilty of such behavior, since “it is the woman who tempted him” (whore/Madonna complex) and other such hogwash. Such is not the case in either America or Israel. Not quite sure how this is even vaguely related to the primary role of Israel in both Jewish history and the Jewish religion…

25leopard says:

The occupation has been a disaster for Israel and world Jewry. The state should have united our people, which we all supported regardless of what form of Judaism we choose to practice and whether we live in the diaspora or in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Instead it is becoming for many Jews a burden rather then a source of joy as we watch Israel embracing the policies of domination and occupation and is fragmenting rather then bringing the Jewish people together.

25leopard says:

The Jewish people must identify with the land. Even if you are right – and for my part that is a big if as I believe Jews should be free to choose how they demonstrate their Judaism – is it sufficient that Jews now have a geographical entity called Israel on land from which they originated. Or are we entitled to question the values which this country is embracing and to question whether all we need is form – the geographical entity – when the substance – a decent moral and ethical code – is being discarded in favour of domination, racism and, tragically, fascism.

25leopard says:

This poster’s shrink has evidently given up on him. Easy to see why.

williambilek says:

“is it sufficient that Jews now have a geographical entity called Israel ”
It is not a zero-sum, either-or issue. The values and ethos of Judaism are crucial. But without the Land, they are not unique. The Land and Jerusalem are central. But without the values, and relationship to God, little more than real estate.

“Or are we entitled to question the values which this country is embracing”
Not only are we “entitled”, we are encouraged, even required to question, to challenge, to work to improve, for we are all, individually and collectively, far from perfection.

“in favour of domination, racism and, tragically, fascism.”
Harsh words, expressing an extreme view, and dangerously close not to “questioning”, or “improving”, but demonizing and delegitimizing.

“Jews should be free to choose how they demonstrate their Judaism ”
Absolutely. But someone (you?) needs to demonstrate to me how one “demonstrates” their Judaism, and distinguishes it, without invoking and involving the Land.

drorbenami says:

I stand by BOTH my previous comments……

Beatrix17 says:

Geez. America didn’t destroy itself after years of
slavery, abuse of Indians, and not allowing women the vote. But
Israel, also a democracy, is going to destroy itself over teenage
hooliganism? I don’t think so.

25leopard says:

I don’t seek to demonize or delegitimise but Israel is treading an ugly path and if Jews and Zionists remain silent we are betraying our homeland.

williambilek says:

If you accuse Israel, as a country and a people, of racism and fascism, that, indeed, is demonization and delegitimization.

If you believe that Israel, as a country and people, are going in a direction with which you do not agree, then write, post, blog your opinion to the decisionmakers in the Israeli government or their representatives, publish on public posts, and make suggestions as to how things could be improved (and be ready to respond to comments explaining why others believe you are wrong, naive, or unrealistic).

Ideally, move to Israel, become a citizen, and vote your conscience along with a majority that you convince of the righteousness of your path. That is the way democracy works.

BTW, I am keenly interested in getting a response to my last question: how one “demonstrates” their Judaism, and distinguishes it, without invoking and involving the Land.

maias says:

Maybe young Jews have checked in their Zionism at the door because the internet has allowed them to realize that even God himself does not permit the existence of a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah?

You a surely aware there is a Jewish group, Neturei Karta (Guardians of the City),
in Israel, which opposes Zionism and calls for a peaceful dismantling of the
State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to have their own state
until the coming of the Messiah.

This belief is stated in the Jewish holy book, The Torah, and it forbids Jews to end
the exile and establish a state and army until the Holy One, blessed He, in His
Glory and Essence, redeems them. This is forbidden even if the state is conducted
according to the law of the Torah because arising from the exile itself is
forbidden. Jews are required to remain under the rule of the nations of the
world, as is explained in the book VAYOEL MOSHE. If they transgress this
injunction, He will bring terrible punishment upon them.

Not only does this undermine the settlers’ argument that God gave them the land of
the Palestinians, but it means that those world leaders who support Israel are
going against God’s will.

Maybe
Netanyahu realizes this and is terrified that Iran may bring God’s terrible
punishment upon Israel, as outlined in Vayoel Moshe.

maias says:

Isn’t it true, that according to the law of the Torah, Jews are forbidden from arising the God-imposed exile, and are required to remain under the rule of the nations of the world, until the coming of the Messiah, as explained in the book VAYOEL MOSHE? I would appreciate clarification on this point and the reasons why Zionist choose to ignore their God’s will.

williambilek says:

“God’s will” is a personal interpretation, between each individual and the Supreme Being that one chooses (or not) to worship. The beauty of being a part of the Jewish Nation, and People is that there is (or should be) the freedom and leeway for that interpretation, without the threat of “excommunication”, or “shunning”, etc. Those who wish to interpret the passage in question to mean that they cannot step foot on the Temple Mount, or live under democratic Jewish rule, are not forced to do so. Nor are they, or should they, be permitted to force their interpretation on others.

tmehlman says:

It is a luxury of youth that it has no fear. Gordis takes a longer perspective. History shows that the best guarantee of peace is strength. Israel provides that strength. Without it the Jewish people would be at the mercy of others. Why should our destiny be in the hands of others? A fair review of history shows that the Jews were (and still are) willing to live with their Arab neighbors. The same can not be said for them. Would you really feel safe as an American Jew if our country stood by with the rest of the world and let Israel be destroyed? As Gordis points out, the times Jews have lived in peace and prosperity in a host country are few and fleeting. Don’t take our current comfort in America for granted.

tmehlman says:

Appreciate the references. Will check them out.

maias says:

Thank you for that reasoned response, williambilek.

williambilek says:

A pleasure.

Palestine was an area ruled by the British, before that the Ottoman Turks, before that Mamaluks, and Christians and then Romans and before that Judeans and Israelites. I do not think there was ever a Palestine. If one looks at the inhabitants of the land in question from Tourist scribes such as Mark Twain and others from the 19th Century and before you will see in large part a vacant desolate land with Jews, and Bedouin interspersed amongst Monks. Under later 20th Century Rule the land became more inhabited by Jews escaping persecution in Arab and European lands and Arabs moving there from surrounding countries for economic reasons. The negev (40% of the land) remained primarily vacant, the coastal plain had one town, Jaffa, primarily arab, and then Jerusalem with Jews, Armenians, Arab muslims and christians, Safed in the north with Jews and Haifa a mixed city which it is still. To say this was a homeland to Palestinians when there was no such thing as Palestine or Palestinians is a little much. That is why when the combined Arab Armies invaded in 48, they did not proclaim Palestine, because there was no such thing. Jordan took the west bank, Egypt the Sinai and Gaza, Syria the Golan, and Lebanon parts of the North for their own. BTW: Druse Arabs, Bedouin, and Cessarian Arabs indigenous peoples are in the Israeli Army.

Palestine was an area ruled by the British, before that the Ottoman Turks, before that Mamaluks, and Christians and then Romans and before that Judeans and Israelites. I do not think there was ever a Palestine. If one looks at the inhabitants of the land in question from Tourist scribes such as Mark Twain and others from the 19th Century and before you will see in large part a vacant desolate land with Jews, and Bedouin interspersed amongst Monks. Under later 20th Century Rule the land became more inhabited by Jews escaping persecution in Arab and European lands and Arabs moving there from surrounding countries for economic reasons. The negev (40% of the land) remained primarily vacant, the coastal plain had one town, Jaffa, primarily arab, and then Jerusalem with Jews, Armenians, Arab muslims and christians, Safed in the north with Jews and Haifa a mixed city which it is still. To say this was a homeland to Palestinians when there was no such thing as Palestine or Palestinians is a little much. That is why when the combined Arab Armies invaded in 48, they did not proclaim Palestine, because there was no such thing. Jordan took the west bank, Egypt the Sinai and Gaza, Syria the Golan, and Lebanon parts of the North for their own. BTW: Druse Arabs, Bedouin, and Cessarian Arabs indigenous peoples are in the Israeli Army and about 800,000 Jews were evicted from Arab lands in 48, as refugees and ended up on the doorstep of Israel to be taken in along with the Jews in displaced persons camps in Cypress from Europe not allowed to go anywhere else either.

I find Gordis’ argument to be evil, in the biblical sense. He proposes replacing the universal morality of scripture with something selfish and ugly. If Judaism can’t survive justice for the Palestinian people, of what value is it?
Better to affirm that the holiest parts of our tradition are precisely what will survive, even as Israel evolves towards justice and peace. I’ve no sympathy for the dinosaurs who can’t keep up.

What a wonderful and wise post Rabbi. Thank you for posing the very question that Gordis tries so hard to avoid.

talk nic says:

Israel has divided and polarized us more in 64 years than any other issue in our entire history. Judaism has survived without Israel longer than with. Now we have a Jewish State undeserving of the name, in breach of the basic tenets of Judaism, in breach of International Law and in breach of the UN Charter. What’s the point?

“Before Israel, Jews were homeless. We were in America
because we had no where else to go.”

That makes no sense and it’s a historical. If that were true, then why do so many Jews remain in the US? Why did so many Jewish European refugees prefer the US and their promary destination over Palestine?

“If one looks at the inhabitants of the land in question from Tourist
scribes such as Mark Twain and others from the 19th Century and before
you will see in large part a vacant desolate land with Jews, and Bedouin
interspersed amongst Monks.

You really need to rethink this stilly argument.

Twain was a anti-imperialist who ridiculed
American “manifest destiny” by deconstructing the biblical myths in his
Innocents Abroad mock travelogue. But he saved his most scathing satire
for the Christians and Jews who wanted to redeem the Holy Land from its
Muslim inhabitants in the first Chapter of Tom Sawyer Abroad.

http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/lit/marktwain/TomSawyerAbroad/Chap1.html

“To say this was a homeland to Palestinians when there was no such thing as Palestine or Palestinians is a little much.”

No, you’re simply regurgitating hasbra. Palestine and Palestinians were documented as early as the 5th Century BC by Hrerodotus.

A century after Herodotus, Aristotle affirms the commonality of the term when, in hisMeteorology, he describes the
Dead Sea as “a lake in Palestine, which refutes the other talking point that Herodoctus could only have been referring to a coastal region.

Beatrix17 says:

The difference is that
before we chose America because we had no choice. Now we chose
America because we have a choice and this is where we want to be.

Jewish Americans could go
to Israel if we wanted. Irish Americans could go to Ireland.
Italian Americans could go to Italy. We all CHOOSE to be American,
not because we have no where else to go, but because this is the
place we want to be

Beatrix17 says:

Palestine is the name the
Romans gave to Israel. For 2,000 years Palestine was a territory
first under the Roman Empire, then the Ottoman Empire, then the
English Empire.

In 1948, the UN
established two nations, one for the Palestinian Jews, which they
re-named Israel and one for the Palestinian Arabs. The Arabs went to
war against the Jews 3 times and lost each time. Then tried to
overthrow the Jordanian Monarchy. They lost again and were exiled by
the Jordanians to the West Bank (owned by Jordan) and Gaza (owned by Egypt).

Israel won this land in
war with Jordan and Egypt, and they and the Palestinians are trying to arrange for a homeland for the still homeless Arab Palestinians.

Sorry Tzur,

But you’re simply confirming that Zionism is anti intellectual. After all, by attacking those who do employ sources and footnotes, you’re simply making the case that the Zionist narrative rests on rejection of evidence and fact.  

The links you provided are laughable, and clearly carry no weight on academic circles. Even Daniel. Pipes’ web site is widely regarded as biased and deceptive, though there are the occasional articles appearing there that are an exception to the rule.

What I find most paradoxical is that you condemn academia while referring to yourself as an academic. 

Doesn’t that make you a self hating academic?  

So to clarify,

Is Israel delegirimizing itself by adopting fascist and racist policies, or are the critics delegirimizing Israel by making this observation?

History proves that strength comes in many forms, and longevity is not achieved through militarism alone. Strength comes with respect and prestige, and neither of these attributes are attainable by behaving like a rogue state.

williambilek says:

There are a multitude of countries that are really fascist and racist, yet no one considers them “illegitimate”.

Israel is not one of them. But haters like you try to falsely paint it as such, and THAT is when the definition of judeophobia, or anti-semitism legitimately kicks in.

“There are a multitude of countries that are really fascist and racist, yet no one considers them “illegitimate”.

That’s a straw man. The only people eveb discussing Israel’s legitimacy are Israel’s most ardent supporters. The “delegitimization” argument is simply the rebranding of the “right to exist” argument. It’s the one suze fits all response to legitimate criticims of Israeli policies.

US polcies are criticized vehemently and it’s defenders have yet to suggest that such critricism challnge the legitimacy of the US. In the end, it’s simply an infantile alternative to admitting to Israe’s flaws.

“Second, will be the way Muslims and Christians will view Jews: as a defeated people, again.”

Sounds like paranoia to me. Do you see Jews as being at war with Muslims and Christians?

“Rome named the nation of Israel Palestine 2,000 years
ago.”

False. That canard is refuted by the simply fact that Herodotus and Aristotle were referring to Palestine as Palestine centuries before 135BC, when the Roman’s supposedly renamed the territory.

” Instead of
establishing a nation the Arabs went to war against Israel 3 time,”

That’s demonistrably false. Israel started every war since 1948, and the 1948 war, which began 5 months after UNGA181 was passed, was largely in response to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by the Zionist militias.

“By the way, only Israel has offered the Arab Palestinians a nation”

False. They haven’t even offered to recgonize it.

Your reflexive habbit of attributing everythign you don’t liek to hear to a leftist conspitracy smacks of paranoia Tzur.

1. The coalition is extreme rigth wing. The so called “leftist” party was simply the parent organ of Likud. Anyone who argues Sharon was left wing is nuts.

2. The coalition did not win the election overwhelmingly

If I’m reading you correctly, what you’re ultimately saying is that Israel is holding Jews in the disapora to rensom and blackmailing them into maintaining virulent and unconditional support or risk being being victimized.

That, in turn, would suggest Israel is a liability to American Jews, not an asset.

With all due respects Tzur,

That was one fo teh most unhinged and a-factual comments I’ve read in a long time.

You are right, williambilek. A very good analysis and review of this subject up to 2007 is by Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism: Common Characteristics and Motifs,” Jewish Political Studies Review 19:1-2 (Spring 2007), available online at the extremely informative website of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, at:

http://jcpa.org/article/anti-israelism-and-anti-semitism-common-characteristics-and-motifs/

He reviews the history of antisemitism as such, and then deals with the current attempts to delegitimize Israel in that connection. He for example cites the EUMC, the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia’s 2004 “Working Definition of anti-Semitism” which has also been adopted by the 2006 British All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism, the 2009 Ottowa International Parliamentary Coalition for Combatting Antisemitism, etc.

One of the traits of antisemitism according to the EUMC definition is the accusation that Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East even now, is like the Nazis, fascist and racist. Another is “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected nor demanded of any other democratic nation.” Gerstenfeld also cites Natan Sharansky’s famous “3D Test of Antisemitism: Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization,” which first appeared in Jewish Political Studies Review 16:3-4 (Fall 2004): pp. 5-8, and which is also available online at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs website. I really recommend that article to you. It is at: http://jcpa.org/article/3d-test-of-anti-semitism-demonization-double-standards-delegitimization/ and is reproduced elsewhere on the net, e.g., at the http://antisemitism.org.il website, the jewishvirtuallibrary website, and others. Each of these is well worth looking at in general for in-depth articles. Applying Sharansky’s criteria to this occasion, to accuse Israel of being “fascist and racist” while ignoring the full democracy actually in Israel, as part of an attempt to justify the actually fascist and racist and even openly antisemitic anti-Israel policies of the states all around Israel, certainly ticks the boxes of all Sharansky’s criteria: the charges attempt to demonize Israel, do so by the use of double standards, and explicitly justify delegimitization of Israel.

It is true that there never was an Arab state of “Palestine” nor even any talk of it nor of a “Palestinian people” before the twentieth century. In fact, the only independent states centered there that existed in the area before the modern state of Israel were the century or two Christian kingdom of the Crusader period (at its height in the 12th century) and the Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which ended in 70 CD after lasting for a thousand years. The invading Muslims in the 7th century never established an independent state there; it was for them a part of other kingdoms.

Mark Twain was not the only traveller in the area before the twentieth century to find its desolation and largely uninhabited wastes and ruins astonishing. There is a good compilation of passages from very many travelogues from the eighteenth century onwards describing the sparsely settled land, at w.middleastpiece.com/underpopulated. Even more striking is the account by the Dutch Orientalist Adrian Reland, who surveyed the land and made a census of its inhabitants back in 1695. He found it was mostly inhabited by Jews, although even they were relatively few in numbers; Christians made up most of the rest. See on this, http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/31135

The occupying Ottoman, and for a time Egyptian, forces during the nineteenth century sought to repopulate the area to provide a tax-base and to strengthen their borders. They moved whole tribes and communities into the region. This is detailed in the long first chapter of Arieh Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession (1982), Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial (1984), pp. 168-70, 196-98. Saul Friedman, Land of Dust (1982), etc. Very many “Palestinians” bear names indicating their family origins in Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Turkey and beyond. The Hamas Minister for the Interior and Defense, Fathi Hammad stated this past May on Egyptian television that half of the people of Gaza come from Egypt, as do his own relatives, and the other half from Arabia. “Who are the Palestinians? We have many families named Al-Matzri, whose roots are Egyptian. Egyptians! … We are a part of you!” Other family names include Hejazi, from Arabia, Mughrabi from Morocco, Haurani from Syria, Turki and Dogmush from Turkey, Yamani from Yemen, Jaziri from Algeria, Hindi from India, Kurdi from Kurdistan, Halabi from Aleppo, and many others. On the other hand, analysis of place names given by the Arabs to towns and localities shows, according to scholars of Semitics, that they are Arabic versions of the ancient Hebrew names for those places. On these matters, see http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/invented-people-in-18th-century.html

Your obsession with your imaginary left
wing anti Israeli conspiracy is mind boggling. It seems to have never
occurred to the right wing, who are so quick to blame all Israel’s problems on
the left, that the Israel would not exist were it not for the left.

Today, anyone to the left of Lieberman is castigated as a left wing socialist.

“American Jews are not abandoning Israel to its fate. They identify with it.”

Which makes all your rants about the left all that more puzzling. On one
hand you insist there are major left/right divisions among Jews and yet you
insist that they remain united in their support for Israel and Zionism.

“ He detects a “rise in racism, a heavy rightward shift, and increasingly
stringent economic policies,” in Israel. All of this is leftist rubbish.”

No it’s actually irrefutable. Setting aside the fact that:

1. Israel is a segregated society

2. Has over 20 blatantly racist laws

3. Imposes apartheid policies in the occupied territories –
the same territories that Israel considers part of Israel.

4. Israel has carried out ethnic cleansing unabated, since 1947.

But lynchings are now becoming increasingly commonplace in Israel.

“Economically, on the other hand, it has been precisely Netanyahu’s freeing up
of the Israeli economy that accounts for the economic “miracle” of
the past decade and a half.”

Not really.

First of all, Bibbi only came to power in 2009, when the economy was already
booming under what you would consider to be a leftist government.
Secondly, as the author of ‘Startup Nation’ conceded, it was the
migration of several thousand Russian-trained scientists and engineers that
pulled Israel our of the economic black hole. Russian taxpayers laid out the
resources and brainpower to teach and train those people; Israel reaps the
benefits.

On top of that, the trade agreements Israel enjoys with the US is incredibly
one sided and benefits Israel to a huge extent – that it has created a $10
billion annual trade surplus in Israel’s favour.

On top of all that, there are of course the 3 billion in aid and the loan
guarantees. If Israel ever has to pay its own way in the world, it will go the
way of Greece.

Arafat had nothing to do with the Palestinian Intifada, which actually began as
non violent resistance which turned violent when the IDF began shooting into
unarmed crowds of demonstrators. With regard to voluntary withdrawal from
Gaza, it is rarely mentioned that the pull out was accompanied by 7,700 shells
fired by the IDF into Gaza between Sept 2005 and June 2006.

Netanyahu’s government is so far to the right that hawks like Begin and Shamir
would be dismissed as socialists.

“as proof of “racism” ignores the racially already very mixed
and diverse Israeli population itself, both Jewish and non-Jewish, all citizens
with equal rights enshrined in law and practice”

Again, another contradiction. On the one hand, those on the right are quick to
attack multiculturalism and blame this undesirable outcome on the left, yet the
same people have no issue with holding up the racial diversity in Israel as a
virtue.

“The Jewish state was founded to be a source of cultural and religious renewal
for Jews worldwide, and to provide refuge for Jews who, more than any other
people, have been persecuted and abandoned by others.”

The aspirasti0ons of Israel’s founders
had differing motives. Some were born of
concern for their own people, others, like Jabotinsky, Weizmann, Herzl, Ruppin,
and Ben Gurion ridiculed ordinary Jews in the Diaspora and used derogatory
terms to describe them. Chaim Weizmann thought that the majority of the exiles
in Europe were little more than human dust with no future ahead of them. He had
no intention of bringing them to Palestine.

http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1940v03&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=837

Jews who were elderly, ill or unfit were
denied entry on the grounds they would be a burden on the fledgling society.

” Institutions disingenuously claim that they have no power over their
tenured employees; in this way they avoid responsibility for academic
anti-Semitism.”‘

Yes, tell that to Juan Cole and Norman Finkelstein.

The refererences to Jerusalem are metaphorical. Why continue to repeat the Passover Seder the words “Next Year in Jerusalem” when you’re already there?

williambilek says:

I didn’t read andy “condemnation” of academia. I read only comments about pseudo-academics who ” find lots of clever rationalizations for their wilful stupidity. And selective footnotes.”

And then they dismiss all other references, web-sites, links, that run counter to their narrative as “biased” or “rubbish” “laughable”, “carry no weight” “deceptive”.

Sort of like you.

williambilek says:

There are “metaphorical” references to Jerusalem throughout the Bible, and in daily prayers.

BTW, those who celebrate Pesach in Israel end the Seder with “THIS year in Jerusalem”.

But, as an academic, you knew that.

williambilek says:

You don’t even understand the definition of “straw man”; indeed, your post proves my point.

Your post began, and ended, with the falsehood that Israel is “illegitimate” – either because its policies make it so – or because “critics” like you, call it so. You do not criticize specific Israeli policies, which is entirely legitimate. There are definitely policies that should be “criticized vehemently”, in Israel no less than other countries. But accusations of “racism, facism, naziism, apartheid” are not “criticisms”, but definitions of states that have no legitimacy, no “right to exist”

And that is what you, and your fellow haters, are bent on doing.

The question that I have often asked, but no one has answered, is “Why?”

“And then they dismiss all other references, web-sites, links, that run
counter to their narrative as “biased” or “rubbish” “laughable”, “carry
no weight” “deceptive”‘”

Suyrely you’re not going to stand there are suggest that all web sites are the same. Many web sites are created to provide false or deceptive narratives. I am sure you’re more than familiar with many of them.

“BTW, those who celebrate Pesach in Israel end the Seder with “THIS year in Jerusalem”.”‘

Wghich again, suggests that the “Jerusalem” they are referrign to is not the city that was built before the Jews even arrived in the territory.

“Your post began, and ended, with the falsehood that Israel is
“illegitimate” – either because its policies make it so – or because
“critics” like you, call it so.”‘

It’s a pitty you can’t read. I said Israel was delegitimizing itself by it’s policies, and even then, I was only responding to someone else’s argument about Israeli illegitimacy.

“You do not criticize specific Israeli policies, which is entirely legitimate.”

A bitty of a silly argument dont you think? That’s a bit like criticising news reporters for not reporting all the planes that land safely.

“‘But accusations of “racism, facism, naziism, apartheid” are not
“criticisms”, but definitions of states that have no legitimacy, no
“right to exist”"‘

No, they are not definitions of states, they are defitnions of policies that closely resemble those surfacing in Israel. And you are also wrong on the second point. Nazism didn’t make Germany illegatimate and nor did apartheid make SA illegatimat – it made the political systsm illegatimate.

The question that I have often asked, but no one has answered, is “Why?”"‘

Why what? Why is Israel moving towards apartheid and facism? Why is it such a racist state? I guess the answer must be because some people like it that way,

williambilek says:

Most debatable issues have web sites and links that expound solely on one side or another of the issue. However, not ALL web sites that argue in opposition to your views are “false” or “deceptive”. Rather than taking the easy way out and dismissing anything that appears on some site, why don’t you counter what you believe is false with hard facts (and that does not mean simply using one of your favourite links to dispute, or what some politician “really meant or intended”, despite what he said, or degrading generalizations meant to delegitimize and demonize (as in fascist, or racist.)

williambilek says:

The Jerusalem we ALL refer to is the eternal capital of the Jewish People, first “occupied” by King David, and the concrete, stone and mortar, beating heart of the Jewish People for the last 3000 years.

williambilek says:

” I said Israel was delegitimizing itself by it’s policies,”
Which part didn’t I “read”?

“That’s a bit like criticising news reporters for not reporting all the planes that land safely.”
Stop being ridiculous. My argument is that you can criticize one or another Israeli policy, e.g. the proposition of a law requiring all NGO’s to make public their sources of funding. You may believe that this is a “fascist law”. That can be argued. That is different than claiming that Israel is “becoming fascist” because it proposes this law.

” Nazism didn’t make Germany illegatimate”
Because we didn’t know what the term “Nazi”, or “apartheid” involved. To apply that term today to a government is to suggest that that government has no legitimacy, or right to exist. Where that government is elected democratically, it then extends to the population and the country. That is unacceptable.

And you know very well what I am questioning, and you are doing very poorly at evading the “Why?” Why are you people so hell-bent on seeing the singular nation state of the Jewish People destroyed? Your obsession obviously has nothing to do with “human rights”, or even with the “plight of the Palestinians”. It has to do with “the Jews!” Why??

One imagines that same “freedom and interpretation” you speak of allows for Jews to understand the meaning of ‘Jerusalem’ as not relating to a physical manifestation of land/the city. iow, they are not “lying” when they say “Next year in Jerusalem” at Passover Seder every year, or are they?

williambilek says:

Lying?? No.

Just as Jews are not “liars” when they approach God every year, at this time, sincerely seeking to repent in their hearts, and pledging themselves to strive for perfection, knowing at the same time that it will never be achieved.

To live in Jerusalem (the physical manifestation of the land/city) may be the goal, more often than not dashed on the rocks of realism and day to day life.

However, “if you will it, it is no dream”.

Beatrix17 says:

This crap is absolutely what the Arabs believe and why Israel and Palestine can’t have peace, and why the Mideastern people reject a Jewish presence in the Mideast even though Jews have been there for almost 4,000 years. Ultimately, this is why the Arabs are going to lose. You can only get away with the “big lies” for so long. Ask Hitler.

I tried that but my post hasn’t appeared.

Again, I would love to respond, but my responses are not appearing, so I suspect they are being blocked by the moderator.

Your refusal to accept historical reality is indicative of the denial that lies at the root of the problem.

As Moshe Sharett

wrote just before resigning:

“I have learned that the state of Israel cannot be ruled

in our generation without deceit and adventurism. These are historical facts

that cannot be altered. . . In the end, history will justify both the

stratagems and deceit and the acts of adventurism. All I know is that I, Moshe

Sharett, am not capable of them, and I am therefore unsuited to lead this

country”
(Simha Flapan, p. 52-53).

Beatrix17 says:

Who?

Obviously the NGO law is not the only law we are talking about, or you woudl have a point.

Of course we knew what the term “Nazi”, or “apartheid” involved. Why do you think the world instigated a boycott of South Africa?

South Africans elected their government democraticallytoo did they not?

You’re being dishonest here. You have no right to cast such motives to me anymore than I have to you. Please stick to arguing the case.

Similarly, suggesting that my motives have nothing to do with “human rights”, or even with the “plight of the Palestinians” simply signals to me that you have nothing substantial to add to the debate.

The difference is that before we chose America because we had no choice. Now we chose America because we have a choice and this is where we want to be.

What difference does it make when the majority of European Jewish refugees wanted to go to the US rather than Palestine?

I do not think there was ever a Palestine.

Herodotus wrote fo Palestine in the 5th century BC. A hundred years later, Artistotle did the same.

If one looks at the inhabitants of the land in question from Tourist scribes such as Mark Twain and others from the 19th Century

What many peopel never got was that Mark Twain was deliberately satirizing the foundation upon which Americans had constructed their notions regarding Supersessionism and Manifest Destiny. Samuel Clemens was a founding member of the American Anti-Imperialist League. He used the first Chapter of Tom Sawyer Abroad to ridicule the beliefs of Christians and Jews who thought that the Holy Land should be redeemed from its Arab owners by force.

Hilton Obenzinger said that even though it ought to be apparent that Innocents abroad was utterly fictive, Twain’s representations of Palestine as a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land in sack cloth and ashes continues to be cited in descriptions of 19th century Palestine, but not because his observations were accurate. See “American Palestine: Melville, Twain, and the Holy Land Mania”, Princeton University Press, 1999, page 166

Under later 20th Century Rule the land became more inhabited by Jews escaping persecution in Arab and European lands and Arabs moving there from surrounding countries for economic reasons.

That’s a false interpretation based on the fraudulent worksof Joane Peters. The Palestinian population already outnumbered Jews by 10:1 in at the turn of the century. Walter Laqueur (a major historian of Zionism) explained that the Jewish immigration in 1914 only kept pace with the natural growth of Palestinians.

“The Zionist immigrants, as distinct from established Jewish community [religious orthodox], numbered no more than 35,000-40,000 in 1914, of whom only one-third lived in agricultural settlements. While Arab spokesmen protested against Jewish immigration, Jewish observers noted with concern that the annual natural increase of the [Palestinian] Arab population was about as big as the total number of Jews who had settled with so much effort and sacrifice on the land over a period of forty years.” (A History of Zionism, p. 213)

The majority of land title belonged to the Palestinians, and this was certainly stolen.

I recall still and vividly the reaction of American — and also Israeli — Jewry both to the 1967 and 73 wars, which were wars of existential survival for Israel.

Does anyone still believe that myth?

How many former Israeli leaders and genrals does it take to debunk this fairy tale for people to accept reality? Genral Matti Peled admitetd that this myth of existential threat was hyped and invented after the fact. He went so far as to state that any suggestion Israel was under any threat in 1967 was an insult to the IDF.

it is true that the 1967 war galnanized Jews throughout the world in their support for Israel, but those memories are fading rapidly. The Israel of 1967 is not the Isael of today. Israel were routed and humiliated by Hezbollah twice, so the auro of IDF invincibility has long gone, never mind any calim to moral high ground.

williambilek says:

” Why do you think the world instigated a boycott of South Africa?”
Apartheid existed in South Africa since colonial times under Dutch, and British rule. It was essentially ignored by the U.N. and the international community until the 1960′s, and the boycotts only started in the 1970′s. Only then did it become a term of delegitimization.

“South Africans elected their government democraticallytoo did they not?”
Of course not. Blacks did not have the right to vote.

“You’re being dishonest here.”
What part of my statement is “dishonest”? Are your efforts and arguments not intended towards the goal of dismantling Jewish nationalism? Are you supporting the dismantling of the nation state of any other People? Can you link me to any posts that you have anywhere decrying the murder of 25,000 Syrian civilians in the last year; the Islamic atrocities in Nigeria or Mali; the rapes and murders of millions in Darfur, Congo, Uganda, the condition of women in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia; the blatant corruption of Palestinian leadership?

If you can, I will stand corrected. Until that time, I stand by my comments.

williambilek says:

Show factual evidence to support that statement.

Any land that was legally titled must, has been, or will be compensated.

Beatrix17 says:

Sharett lived for Israel,
was Prime Minister for two years sandwiched between the better known
Ben Gurion. He retired from politics and lived in Israel for the
rest of his life. I can find no evidence that he hated his country.
You probably aren’t used to democracies, but people criticize them
and still love them. Our ability to criticize and go on is one
reason why we love them.

Sharett lived for Israel

Yes he did, and the quote i provided doesn’t suggest he hated Israel but that he hated Zionism.

Beatrix17 says:

Oh, come on, there’s no Israel without Zionism. What Sharett is saying can be said about politics anywhere by people not skilled in being political. If you don’t love surgery, operations are all blood and gore. if you’re not skilled in the complexities and intrigue of political life, you’ll wind up sounding like Sharett.

I do believe, Andre De Angelis, “With all due respects,” that your posts are abusive and that that is their only real content.

I refer readers to the cited sources I mentioned in an earlier post above, which deal quite satisfactorily with these claims. They show that Mark Twain was merely one among very many travellers in the “Holy Land” who left testimonies in travelogues from the seventeenth century through to the nineteenth century and all of whom describe in vivid detail the desolation and the largely empty wastes and ruins of the Holy Land. Slurring Twain to discredit the united testimony of all visitors to have left detailed accounts is not just unfair and incorrect about him, his motives and even his basic honesty, but obscures all the other travelogue writers who said precisely the same thing. I assume that Andre De Angelis is familiar with all this, if only by linking to the webpages I gave before which quote from many of these travelogues over the centuries. He also indicates that he has read some books on the subject. What he has made of all this in the above post therefore cannot be explained as being due to ignorance.

Other researches supporting the conclusions of the scholars I have already named (Avneri, Peters and Friedman) could be added, such as the study by Dr. Rivka Shpak Lissak, “Are Palestinians the Indigenous People of Palestine?” available on-line at: http://rslissak.com/content/are-palestinians-indigenous-people-palestine-drrivka-shpak-lissak Many more such sources could be named, indeed, Walter Laqueur’s own book, although quite outdated in the statistics quoted above (it was published in 1972, and therefore could not reflect the research drawn upon by the researchers I named), nevertheless strongly supports the Zionist case in the establishment of Israel and the decency of the Zionist treatment of Arabs in that process. Somehow Andre De Angelis manages not to see that nor to cite anything from it.

Check out Arieh Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land-Settlement and the Arabs 1878-1948 (Transaction Publishers, 1982), which gives very full documentation of Jewish settlement, which confirms the independent accounts by Peters and Friedman, et al., and which proves that there was no theft of land belonging to those called by De Angelis “Palestinians.” All land purchases from the Ottoman period onwards were legal and often were at extortionate prices, be it said, and the title to the national territory of the State of Israel was also entirely legal in international law. Avneri also proves that there was indeed very considerable Arab immigration to the Palestine region (it was a region, never a national territory under the Arabs, and they did not even consider themselves “Palestinians” until the twentieth century, with even Yasser Arafat saying that they were an invented people, and that he hoped to submerge the “Palestinian” territory in a Greater Syria). This immigration followed and was due to the Jewish transformation of the local economy from the 1890s onwards to 1947.

williambilek says:

Still waiting, Andre.

Joe Tarzan says:

Sorry De Angelis but your beloved Europe (which is where you get your rather tired ideas and smug sense of being an intellectual from) is a rogue continent. Its export of Marxism killed millions. Its national form of socialism killed millions. To be called a rogue state by homicidal socialists and jihadi bigots is a badge of honor. Most people Jew and non-Jew realize that.

I’m not in favor of seeing the Jews lose their country, but they suffer from the same impending demographic disaster facing most of the Western World. Low birth rates are allowing the Muslims and other third word peoples to overwhelm the developed societies of the West and Japan. When the last Italian dies will they be relegated to a diorama in the Smithsonian Museum flipping a pizza? Many cities in France are undergoing massive and rapid transformation, as Islam builds more mosques than Christians build churches and in some cases are turning Christian churches into mosques. This is also the case in other areas of Western Europe. In a hundred years the original Europeans will be minorities in their own countries. I propose that the US, Western Europe and Israel implement strict immigration restrictions of those who aren’t of their own original race and culture. I can hear the PC/Multi-Culti coming unglued at the very thought of this policy, but it sure beats a diorama.

Mahadeva says:

Incorrect. We in Israel say: “Next year in the REBUILT Jerusalem!”

I never thought there would people who do not care for the destruction of their forefathers homeland than the US Jews. Especially younger ones. But if they have no loyalty to Israel what makes one think they have loyalty to the country that nurtured them America.
Never thought it possible but I guess I was wrong.

The point is that you overwhelmingly mistaken. Israel do not dividing the Jews, Israel is a democracy and each Jew have the right to his own personal view in so many other views. It is said that if you have 2 Jews sure they have 3 opinions, at least. Judaism encouraging debate and discussion. In that case, you have the full right to be wrong as far as think on Israel!!!!!!

Judaism wasn’t born to solve the so called “Palestinians” identity or problem. But if you take Biblical rule for this case, the closest example and solution might be as Avraham told his nephew Lot: Genesis 13

7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and
the herdmen of Lot’s cattle. And the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt then in
the land.
8 And Abram said unto Lot: ‘Let there be no strife, I pray thee,
between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we are
brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee,
from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if
thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left.’
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of the
Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar.
11 So Lot chose him all the plain of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed
east; and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of
the Plain, and moved his tent as far as Sodom.

The modern interpretation should be that Jews will take the Western Bank of Palestine and the Arabs the Eastern Bank (Trans Jordan) = Two state for two peoples !!!!!

Holy Book? Is that the reason that Haredim Jews almost don’t study the Holy Book but only Talmud and Mishnah (which have been written in Eretz Israel and Babylon)? If you would have been a real Jew you would know the prophecy of Ezekiel on the dry bones and gathering of Jews and all their Goyim supporter for building the Holy Shrine. It is the time for all Jews to return to the Holy land …. I mean the real Jews, not those who dressed with black Polish coats and hats and hate Israel and the Holy Land!

No, It is not obvious. 1700 years (if you want to be precise: 1900 years) ago there were almost 8 million Jews. The diaspora, the dependence on Non-Jewish peoples, the hatred and persecutions, the assimilation, all these brought the number of the Jews before WWII only to 18 million!!!! That’s all!!! The numbers of Jews hardly doubled in 1900 years! That means that great numbers of Jews were killed or assimilated by force or by choice. In WWII the Nazis and European nations murdered 6 million Jews, there was not any state that really offered them refuge and protection. If the Zionist would have succeeded to establish their state prior to 1938 than most of the European Jews were been saved and live. Now, the only reason that most of the diaspora Jews staying Jews is because of Israel, the light for the Jews. Today being pro-Israel Jew means that you stay being a Jew and you have all reasons that your successors will stay Jewish.

mikal dalvik says:

This line snagged my attention: When Soviet Jews awakened and wanted out of their national prison, American Jews supported them, and the State of Israel made their rescue a national project.

According to the Cato Institute, and quite plausibly, Soviet Jews’ first choice destination was the U.S. Israel secretly lobbied the US to deny them visas, and thus force them to come to Israel. This fact raises the question of what American jews’ thinking and role was in this backroom dealing between the US and Israel.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/fpbriefs/fpb-013.html

Seth Edenbaum says:

I’ll do this one more time:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/05/goldblog-vs-peter-beinart-part-ii/56934/
Beinart “I’m not asking Israel to be Utopian. I’m not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I’m not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state.”

If you defend Jim Crow in one state, you should defend it in another. Do you defend the hope for a German state for a German people, sans Jews? And Turks?
You defend a 19th century fiction; you should at least be consistent.

If you want such a state then go there. There’s no reason why you should want to live among Goyim in a multiethnic democracy. LIve your philosophy, and your fear, or renounce it.

This is an excellent article that explains perfectly why the State of Israel needs to continue to exist; to normalize the Jewish people, be they secular or religious, and to keep history from repeating itself, if one gets the drift.

At the same time, however, this article also points out equally succinctly why it’s so imperative that Israel evacuate her troops and right-wing Israeli-Jewish settlers out of West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip and to allow the Palestinians to create their own independent, sovereign nation-state ALONGSIDE Israel and NOT in place of it the way lots of people would prefer.

Given both Jewish and Palestinian history of severe oppression and exploitation, both peoples need independent, sovereign nation-states of their own right alongside each other, for normalization and self-determination.

For the most part, people who are critical of the right-of-center Israeli Govt’s policies are genuinely concerned about Israel’s welfare and well-being and want Israel to continue to exist. Having said that, I believe that it’s time for Israel to pull out of West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, stop the rough treatment of the Palestinians, and to allow an independent, sovereign Palestinian nation-state to emerge in the now-occupied above-mentioned territories.

Shmoulik says:

The jewish people existed 2000 years without Israel, the destruction of Israel would be a drama, but not the end of the jewish people

2000

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