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Roger Cohen Has a Jewish Problem

Which is to say, it is an Israel problem, too

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Roger Cohen.(Reuters/NYT)

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen published one of those destined-for-the-Most-Emailed-list pieces yesterday (where it spent the day in frankly disappointing second place behind an article on something called “decision fatigue”). It’s about Jews, and Israel, and Jews and Israel. One pictures Cohen in a heist movie, appearing in the requisite room with all the laser-tripped alarms, carefully stepping about so as to evade capture: the settlements are wrong, yet so are the boycotts; Jews need to stop oppressing people, but the English need to stop hating Jews. Readers, unlike laser-tripped alarms, can read between the lines.

While the piece meanders, its main thrust is that Jews, and particularly English (and presumably other European) Jews, having been 100 years ago the equivalent of Muslims today, must oppose European Islamophobia; as a corollary, especially shameful are “the Knesset members who have met in Israel with European rightists like Filip Dewinter of Belgium in the grotesque belief that they are Israel’s allies because they hate Muslims.” Finally—and it’s not clear how he makes the leap from that to this, although he claims “the lesson is clear”—“Jews, with their history, cannot become the systematic oppressors of another people. They must be vociferous in their insistence that continued colonization of Palestinians in the West Bank will increase Israel’s isolation and ultimately its vulnerability.”

(A quick caveat, and I make it as someone who after the Oslo massacre argued that the alliance of the Israeli and European right-wings was a bad thing: the Knesset members don’t meet with the Europeans “because they hate Muslims,” but because they like Israel—which is because they hate Muslims, but it’s not actually the same thing.)

Cohen refuses to paint the Israel question in anything but the broadest of strokes. (His post-Cast Lead report brought essential passion to the debate, but it too was marred by this lack of complexity.) If you are a Jew, you are either “fanning Islamophobia” or “the systematic oppressors of another people.” But actually, that’s not what life is for most diaspora Jews (it’s not even life for most Israeli Jews).

At the same time, he pulls back from the true courage of his convictions, mainly in order to avoid yet another laser-tripped wire: he seems to be saying that Jews of all peoples have a unique obligation not to be oppressors, but then expresses his reasons for opposing the occupation in rigidly realpolitik terms—”Israel’s isolation and ultimately its vulnerability.”

What is consistent throughout this incoherence is Cohen’s insistence that all Jews, “with their history,” have an obligation to adopt his view of the settlement enterprise—a view that this Jew (that is, me) happens to share. But this insistence commits the same category error as those Jews he bemoans for labeling him a self-hating Jew: both sides find the actions of all Jews implicated in the actions of some Jews; whether it is right-wing Israelis promoting settlements or Roger Cohen condemning them, somebody is crying shanda.

Roger Cohen is defining his Jewishness, negotiating his relationship to it, entirely by reference to Israel’s policies. Another Jew who does this, as Tablet Magazine columnist Michelle Goldberg documented, is the anti-Zionist blogger Philip Weiss, who wrote of Cohen’s argument, “I don’t see how that doesn’t end up in anti-Zionism.” He’s not wrong. And yet Cohen, in his stated opposition to boycotts, appears to establish plausible deniability of anti-Zionism. Is he in fact an anti-Zionist merely seeking to avoid one more laser-tripped alarm? Or does he support the state of Israel as it is now (minus the policies he dislikes), and can his worldview be non-simplistic enough to allow diaspora Jews to have opinions about Israel, even to feel an affinity with and an obligation toward it, without being ipso facto implicated in its actions? It’s something he needs to clarify.

Jews in a Whisper [NYT]
Roger Cohen Says Jewish Identity Must Be Founded on Opposition to Israeli Treatment of Palestinians [Mondoweiss]
Related: Eyeless in Gaza [NYRB]
Mondo Weiss [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: What to Make of the Oslo Attacker’s Zionism?

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Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

It should be noted that Roger Cohen was one of the hottest and most applauded speakers at the J Street conference. And now you can understand why.

RC feels best & the most self-righteous when Jews are victims.

hg

Jerusalem / Efrata

James philadelphia says:

Roger Cohen is one of the most mediocre commentator the New York Times ever had. I say ignore the chap.

jacob arnon says:

“While the piece meanders, its main thrust is that Jews, and particularly English (and presumably other European) Jews, having been 100 years ago the equivalent of Muslims today, must oppose European Islamophobia;…”

Cohen has a problem with Jews alright, but he has an even larger problem with logic and history.

I have expressed this before but I found it curious that most comments on the article at the NY Times endorsed Cohn’s meandering article. Many of them filled in the missing conclusion stating that Israel shouldn’t exist because it’s “an oppressive State.” (This in itself doesn’t make sense Israel is at war with people who want to destroy it which is not the same as oppressing an innocent minority.)
While there were a few brave commenters who challenged Cohen’s history and logic, they were a distinct minority. I believe the skewed numbers reflect the NY Times editorial policy and nothing else.

Finally it would have been refreshing had Cohen even acknowledged that Muslims in Europe are extremely antisemitic and that they have an even greater responsibility to safeguard minority (Jewish) rights if they want their own rights protected. But Cohen being Roger he has no problem with putting all the blame on Jews.

Sooner or later he will trip up, and like most “ashamed Jews,” will say something so outrageous that even the NY Times will not be able to take action. May that day come soon! Personally I am ashamed of “ashamed Jews.”

Marc understates the “meandering quality” of Cohen’s piece. Philip Roth’s novel, mentioned at the beginning of the piece, is Cohen’s madeleine, the catalysts for the disjointed memories and vague ideas he presents. Unfortunately, none of them lead to any single profound idea. A truly wasted opportunity.

jacob arnon says:

“Another Jew who does this, as Tablet Magazine columnist Michelle Goldberg documented, is the anti-Zionist blogger Philip Weiss, who wrote of Cohen’s argument, “I don’t see how that doesn’t end up in anti-Zionism.” He’s not wrong.”

At least the vile but sometimes honest Philip Weiss has stated that he is not Jewish. (He is just an antisemite.)

Bill Pearlman says:

Phil Weiss is sorry that El alamein and Stalingrad turned out the way it did. If Hitler had won the war, then no Israel. And to him that would have been the better outcome.

Here is an Israeli response to Roger Cohen:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/10530#.TlKslEaORXo

Not only Phil Weiss, but also anti-Israel MJ Rosenberg also likes Roger Cohen.

ViniVidiDejaVu says:

Commenters: yeah, yeah, yeah, heard it all before. If you don’t agree with Israel regarding settlements, then you are simply anti-semitic. Israel has “disappeared” people, assassinated people, tortured people, and jailed people without due-process; it was “bad” when the Nazis did it, but OK for Israel. You say your “God” gave you Israel, because a book Jewish people wrote says so, so it doesn’t matter what anybody else’s “God” says.

It was bad for Nazis to take other peoples’ lands so Germans could settle there, but it is perfectly alright for Israel to steal land for “settlements” in your own lebensraum. You are blind to your own excesses.

Yes, you have many enemies who want to see Israel destroyed; enemies who have a distorted logic, and hatred of Israel, and even all Jews. These peoples need to be restrained and, I am hopeful, educated that Judaism is as righteous as (not better than) any religion. Yes, Israel certainly has a right to protect itself. But your treatment of indigenous peoples in Israel is rapidly losing you friends throughout the world. Grant the Palestinians their own homeland, just as the Jews deserved, and fight Hamas tooth and nail. Your far right-wing nuts are just as bad as America’s far right loonies.

2close2detroit says:

america is on stolen land
britain stole scotland and ireland
muslims have stolen and conquered all over the world, and live on stolen land in america and canada with no problem
no on give a shit about the kurds
no one gives a shit about the tibetans
no one gives a shit about the basque

but, if you have a beef with israel, the world will beat a path to your door-nahh, nothing anti jewish about that.

jacob arnon says:

ViniVidiDejaVu says: “If you don’t agree with Israel regarding settlements, then you are simply anti-semitic.”

I don’t think that Israel’s settlement policy was productive.

There are ways of expressing that isn’t antisemitic. Unfortunately many Israel haters begin with settlement policy and end up attacking the existence of Israel itself.

“Israel has “disappeared” people, assassinated people, tortured people, and jailed people without due-process; it was “bad” when the Nazis did it, but OK for Israel.”

Dejavu, has like so many others began with settlements and ended up comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. This is both shallow and antisemitic.
Got any evidence that Israel has “disappeared people?”

Targeted killings is another matter. However there is rigorous procedure that army people have to go through before such killings are authorized. Palestinians on their way to blow up Israelis and themselves or the people who send them out are targets.

There is nothing controversial about that. Every country has the duty to defend its citizens. We did it with Bin Laden and other al Qaida murderers and I didn’t read that Déjà vu has compared the US to Nazi Germany. Most Arab countries do worse without being compared to Nazi Germany.

Is that the only comparison our Dejavu antisemite could have come up with?

“You say your “God” gave you Israel, because a book Jewish people wrote says so, so it doesn’t matter what anybody else’s “God” says.”

Wrong, I say that we Jews have a right to live in peace in Israel because of historical reasons not because the Bible says so. But you woudn’t know anything about the history of the Jewish people do you?

“It was bad for Nazis to take other peoples’ lands so Germans….”
Here it is. Déjàvu begins with settlements and then goes after Israel.

Not all critics of settlements are antisemitic, but Déjà vu certainly is one.

Barry says:

IF anything, Jews should be at the forefront of the war against Islamic values, and the wicked Shari’ah. This has nothing to do with Israel or “Palestine”. It is a question of Good (Judea-Christian values) or Evil (Islamic and Left-wing values).

Jews – more than anyone – know how wicked the Shari’ah and Liberals are toward religious minorities. Just ask the Islamic clerics Revs. Farrakhan, Sharpton or Jeremiah Wright what they think about Jews. Ask Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers.

Ask the millions of refugees from Islam who make up the majority of Israel’s population. They can tell you a thing or two about how the Ummah (the Mohammedan world) allied themselves with Nazi Germany. They can tell you a thing or two about how the imams incited genocide against Jews in Mohammed’s name.

Just as real Jews stood in the forefront of the war against Nazism in all its forms, real Jews stood at the forefront of the war against Communism, so too real Jews have an OBLIGATION to stand at the forefront of the war against Islamic values and the Shari’ah.

Not everybody is ASHamed, like Roger. ASHamed Jews who supported the Nazis. ASHamed Jews who supported the Soviets. ASHamed Jews who support the Muslims.

ViniVidiDejaVu says:

Jacob: I like your answers for the most part, but no, I am not anti-semitic. But your response does show your desire to whitewash your excesses. “Rigorous procedure” doesn’t make it legal, you only justified it to yourself. Not much objective arguement there.

Palestinians have a historic claim to many of these lands, just as Jews do. And, yes, Arabic racism HAS been compared to Nazis; most commonly Saddam’s Nazi association. Fools and criminals are fools criminals no matter their religion or race.

Can'twin says:

You can’t win. If you criticize the Jewish people for their policies, close-mindedness and tolerance towards other ethnicities, you’re labelled anti-semitic. Why is it that this group of people is so vulnerable to criticism ? Surely many more ethnic groups have been the target of much more criticism and don’t react this way. Personally, I have had Jewish friends. I have nothing against them. They themselves don’t agree with Israel’s policies – Palestine and so on… Are they anti-semtic as well? Grow up! Accept your faults and the realities of your corrupt government. Is is not the first in the world and unfortunately not the center of the earth. I definitely agree that Israelis need to look at their own policies and wonder what they are trying to achieve. We have had genocides all over the world, and are not reminded every day in a movie or book of how the Jews suffered. Get over yourselves and move on!

ViniVidiDejaVu says:

“If you criticize the Jewish people for their policies, close-mindedness and tolerance towards other ethnicities, you’re labelled anti-semitic”

Can’tWin: I think it is the Israeli government, not the Jewish people.

Can'twin says:

@ViniVidiDejaVu

- not exclusively the government…

ViniVidiDejaVu says:

@Can’twin

My bad.

jacob arnon says:

ViniVidiDejaVu says: “Jacob: I like your answers for the most part, but no, I am not anti-semitic.”

I don’t know what you are, but your equating Israel to Nazism is an antisemitic trope.

“ But your response does show your desire to whitewash your excesses. “Rigorous procedure” doesn’t make it legal, you only justified it to yourself. Not much objective arguement there.”

It’s not illegal to kill someone trying to kill you, period.

“Palestinians have a historic claim to many of these lands, just as Jews do.”

Never said they didn’t. That’s why there is need to compromise. So far, the Arabs have refused to compromise in the 1930’s in 1947, in 1967, 1973 and on many other occasions.

They are not innocent bystanders which is why the comparison to Nazi Germany is so vile.

“ And, yes, Arabic racism HAS been compared to Nazis; most commonly Saddam’s Nazi association. Fools and criminals are fools criminals no matter their religion or race.”

Saddam used gas to kill thousands of Kurd, the comparison in that case was justified.

Bill Pearlman says:

Got a question. Dejavu. Lets leave aside your easy slide into judeo-nazi land. Since Israel is clearly the guilty party it stands to reason that the PM of Israel should be able to wind this thing up by the weekend. Say you were PM. What would you do, whats the plan. I’m sure its briliant, please share.

jacob arnon says:

Can’twin says:

“Personally, I have had Jewish friends.”

This Jew hater has Jewish so he can’t be antisemitic.

Not only is he a Jew hating bigot he is also illiterate.

“You can’t win. If you criticize the Jewish people for their policies, close-mindedness and tolerance towards other ethnicities, you’re labelled anti-semitic.”

This dummy meant to say, in-tolerance but he doesn’t know the difference.

Yes, I am close-minded when it comes to rank bigots like you.

“Why is it that this group of people is so vulnerable to criticism ? Surely many more ethnic groups have been the target of much more criticism and don’t react this way.”

What other group didn’t react “that way” to criticism? Black people? Chinese> Who the fuc… are you talking about.

Jews react badly to you because it’s people like you who tried to exterminate us.

This time we are ready for you, jerk.

And no you can’t win because you are a loser!

ViniVidiDejaVu says:

Sorry, Jacob, but if you act like a Nazi you will be compared to Nazis, no matter what your religion. Don’t like it? Don’t do it. Israelis are seeking lebensraum, stealing land for themselves with support from their government. Nothing you can say w9ill make that right. And calling someone a “jerk” just shows you unfortunate lack of intelligence. Time to grow up.

jacob arnon says:

ViniVidiDejaVu says: “Sorry, Jacob, but if you act like a Nazi you will be compared to Nazis, no matter what your religion.”

Sorry, dejavu, if you talk like an antisemite you will be called an antisemite. Don’t like it don’t use antisemitic language.

You like many Israel haters can’t even tell the difference between honest criticism of Israel and false claims like “the Jews stole the land from the Arabs.”

Where do you live, btw, on land that was empty of peoples before your family settled there? If you live in the US you live on land taken from the indigenous people. So don’t act so pure and innocent?

The way you use the term “Nazi” it applies to anyone and everyone which means that you have emptied it of meaning.

ViniVidiDejaVu says:

He He; every word Jacob write proves my point, and shows that the original article written by Roger Cohen is true: SOME Jews assume any critique of Israeli policy is anti-semitic. Jacob has called me anti-semitic when I have not written one anti-semitic comment, I have simply protested the actions of the Israeli government. He is unable to discern the difference.

Additionally, he has stated that since other countries stole land, then Israel should steal land to. Welcome to the 21st century, Jacob; a time when we hope to change the negative values of ALL of our forebears. Keep on calling people who disagree with you anti-semitic, you simply define yourself for what you really are.

jacob arnon says:

ViniVidiDejaVu says:
“He He;”

This joker is having a good time he finds calling Jews Nazis funny.

“every word Jacob write proves my point, and shows that the original article written by Roger Cohen is true: SOME Jews assume any critique of Israeli policy is anti-semitic.”

Nothing I said proves you point, and least of all proves the point of anything that history and logic challenged Cohen said.

“ Jacob has called me anti-semitic when I have not written one anti-semitic comment, I have simply protested the actions of the Israeli government. He is unable to discern the difference.”

This character, vini, can’t tell the difference between legitimate criticism and blood libel. He is above all a royal fool.

I said and I repeat that if someone compares Israel to the Nazis then he is scribbling antisemitic garbage.

This fool doesn’t even know what Nazism is.

“Additionally, he has stated that since other countries stole land, then Israel should steal land to. “

He is again making things up. I said that almost every country was founded on land that belonged to other peoples. This is especially true of the Americas. The Europeans, like VINI, who live here didn’t have the kind of historical connection to America that the Jews have to Israel. I also said that Jews did not steal Arab land. This is the kind of antisemitic bullshit that is propagated by Arabs and their anti-Jewish friends.

“Welcome to the 21st century, Jacob; a time when we hope to change the negative values of ALL of our forebears.”
What crap. In every generation ignorant narcissists like Vini think that this century will be different. From now on peace and harmony will prevail. All we have to do is fight the war to end all wars, kill off the Bourgeoisie, murder the Jewish people, kill the colonialists, the racists, etc.

jacob arnon says:

Islamicists want to re-establish their Caliphate and convert the world to Muhammadenism and then the golden age will return.

Vini, like the good little antisemite that he is, wants to kill of the Jewish State and perpetrate antoher Holocaust. That in his warped mind will bring peace the human race.

“Keep on calling people who disagree with you anti-semitic, you simply define yourself for what you really are.”

Keep on writing defamatory articles about the Jewish State and I will keep calling you what you are: an antisemite.

Above all though Vini is ignorant of history and thinks that human history began with him.

jacob arnon says:

The real truth is that the pretentious Vini (he puns on a saying by Caesar and thus compares himself to the Roman conqueror) doesn’t even know contemporary history. The 21st C is off to a glorious Utopian start with the collapse of the economies of Europe and the US.

Some economists even say that Europe is finished as multinational project.

The countries that will have the most power in the world, China, India, and some other Asian countries are not the ones with a tradition of democracy, civil liberties and human rights.

How the US will fare is still an open question, but whatever is going to happen we are in no danger of entering a Golden Age.

Moreover if the Jewish State is destroyed that will it no bring freedom to the Palestinian Arabs, but they will subsumed by either Jordan or Syria or both.

The only thing the destruction of Israel will accomplish is the destruction of the Jewish people, nothing else.
This, of course is what the lying Vini and his friends, like the loser “can’twin” are after. This is their real aim.

ViniVidiDejaVu says:

let’s see, Jacobs “logic” is to call me a joker, a royal fool, then he demotes me to fool, somehow I am narcissistic, and above all I am anti-semitic and. OK, I may be all of the above and even more, but if your immaturity is an example of the future of Israel, I am saddened for Israel.

jacob arnon says:

ViniVidiDejaVu says: “let’s see, Jacobs “logic” is to call me a joker, a royal fool, then he demotes me to fool, somehow I am narcissistic, and above all I am anti-semitic and. OK, I may be all of the above and even more, but if your immaturity is an example of the future of Israel, I am saddened for Israel.”

You are all of the above and as long as Israel doesn’t give in to people like you I have no fear for its future.

Jacob.arnon says:

For anyone else:

The Arab League is holding an “emergency” meeting on the “attacks by Israel on Gaza.”

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-08/21/c_131064254.htm

Assad is slaughtering Syrians, wholesale, there is strife everywhere in the Arab world. Israel responded to attacks by Gazan Islamic radicals on civilians and for firing rockets on civilians in Israeli towns and the Arab League is holding an emergency meeting to probably condemn Israel.

Then people wonder why there is no peace process.

Roger Cohen would probably agree with the Arab League. It’s all the fault of the Joos.

Ezekiel says:

This is what I offerd to the NY Times, but they didn’t include my comment. Hopefully you will.

This article clarified to me finally, why I find your writing, Roger, so, damn, annoying. I am a proud, Jewish, Israeli. I command your honesty, describing so well “that subliminal, awkward, half-apologetic way of many English Jews”. This is you, a pride-less Jew, face it, it’s a sad psychological defect. Now, I’ll try to make it brief. Israel cannot relinquish control of the West Bank, since doing it will bring war to its gates. If you were elected prime minister of Israel tomorrow, you will not relinquish the West Bank either, because it would be an irresponsible thing to do. For you and your kind, however, it’s not the security and prosperity of your people that is at stake, but your inbreed need, so well described by your article, to apologize to your masters. You, as a Diaspora Jew, must be spotless, and we, Israelis, the “colonizers” the “Apartheider’s” the “Zionists” make it hard for you.
Well, sorry, but you should face reality. The West Bank will remain in the control of Israel for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of Israelis understand (even the re-awakening Left -read what Shelly Yechimovitch has to say about it), that although it may not be ideal, and although we may be called all sort of names, there is no way around it in the current reality. In time, things may change. Our neighbors may figure out how to heal their own societies and make peace. Genuine peace. When this day comes, peace would be great benefit to Israel. But this is not a short-term hope. The honest attempts of Rabin, Barak and Ulmert, to reach an agreement failed. The “two-state-solution” proved to be no solution at all. From today’s vantage point, that’s probably a good thing. But those ettempts, nevertheless, were honest, and I supported them. As things stand now, in any case, Israel is doing great, thank you very much. Better managed that the US, or the

Ezekiel says:

This is what I offerd to the NY Times, but they didn’t include my comment. Hopefully you will.

“This article clarified to me finally, why I find your writing, Roger, so, damn, annoying. I am a proud, Jewish, Israeli. I command your honesty, describing so well “that subliminal, awkward, half-apologetic way of many English Jews”. This is you, a pride-less Jew, face it, it’s a sad psychological defect. Now, I’ll try to make it brief. Israel cannot relinquish control of the West Bank, since doing it will bring war to its gates. If you were elected prime minister of Israel tomorrow, you will not relinquish the West Bank either, because it would be an irresponsible thing to do. For you and your kind, however, it’s not the security and prosperity of your people that is at stake, but your inbreed need, so well described by your article, to apologize to your masters. You, as a Diaspora Jew, must be spotless, and we, Israelis, the “colonizers” the “Apartheider’s” the “Zionists” make it hard for you.
Well, sorry, but you should face reality. The West Bank will remain in the control of Israel for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of Israelis understand (even the re-awakening Left -read what Shelly Yechimovitch has to say about it), that although it may not be ideal, and although we may be called all sort of names, there is no way around it in the current reality. In time, things may change. Our neighbors may figure out how to heal their own societies and make peace. Genuine peace. When this day comes, peace would be great benefit to Israel. But this is not a short-term hope. The honest attempts of Rabin, Barak and Ulmert, to reach an agreement failed. The “two-state-solution” proved to be no solution at all. From today’s vantage point, that’s probably a good thing. But those ettempts, nevertheless, were honest, and I supported them. As things stand now, in any case, Israel is doing great, thank you very much. Better managed that the US, or th

Ezekiel says:

continued…. Better managed that the US, or the UK, healthier and smarter society, thriving against great odds. You, and your contorted defeatism, are not helping. How long will you continue to subliminally, awkwardly, half-apologize? Consider that what you should be doing instead is to sing the praises of the state of Israel. You should be able to find many, many reason to celebrate the achievements of your own people if you so chose.
I suggest to you to go live in Israel for a while, learn Hebrew, grow a little pride. You’ll feel much better.

Palestiniansareamyth says:

More stupidity and ignorance among the pro-Arab Muslims liars. Jews are the indigenous people of Israel! Ancient Israel existed thousands of years ago. The Romans re-named Israel Palestine. It has nothing to do with the Arabs.

There has never been a Palestinian country, people, culture or society. Jews were the first to be called “Palestinians” because they have always lived in Israel/Palestine.

The Arab invadors/occupiers changed their name to “Palestinians” to steal the land and history of the Jewish people. It’s the biggest fraud in world history. Arabs have absolutely no claim to the Jewish homeland. They are the real settlers. Calling Jewish towns in Judea, Samaria settlements is akin to calling Native American reservatons in America settlements.

Israel belongs to the Jews! Arabia belongs to the Arabs!

Doesn’t DejaVu signify HasBeen?

Lawrence Feldman says:

Back when Cohen published a series of articles portraying Ahmadinejad’s Iran as a genteel country where Jews are treated well — Theresienstadt in the Middle East? — I decided that henceforth, Cohen simply didn’t exist, and nor did his column. I haven’t read a single things that’s he’s written since, including his latest magnum opus. No sense in getting riled up over this guy, he’s best ignored.

jacob arnon says:

“Doesn’t DejaVu signify HasBeen?”

No it doesn’t. It’s a French expression:

“Déjà vu (French pronunciation: [deʒa vy] ( listen), literally “already seen”) is the experience of feeling sure that one has already witnessed or experienced a current situation, even though the exact circumstances of the previous encounter are uncertain and were perhaps imagined. The term was coined by a French psychic researcher, Émile Boirac (1851–1917) in his book L’Avenir des sciences psychiques (“The Future of Psychic Sciences”), which expanded upon an essay he wrote while an undergraduate. The experience of déjà vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and also a sense of “eeriness”, “strangeness”, “weirdness”, or what Sigmund Freud calls “the uncanny”. The “previous” experience is most frequently attributed to a dream, although in some cases there is a firm sense that the experience has genuinely happened in the past.[1]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9j%C3%A0_vu

The poster by that name didn’t quite get it right as he calls himself: “I came, I saw, I was clairvoyant,” or something like that. Literally though what he called himself means, “I came, I saw, I had already seen it.” This too doesn’t make sense.

He tried to pun on Caesar’s original ” Veni, vidi, vici”

Which means “I came, I saw, I conquered.” This is how Caesar reported his conquest to the Roman Senate.

jacob arnon says:

Yes, Mr. Lawrence Feldman, Roger Cohen is an appeaser and like all appeasers he makes conflict inevitable by giving in to despots and tyrants.

If you avoid conflict at any price the end result will be more and more ferocious conflict.

Herb K says:

Roger Cohen is the leading promoter of Ahmadinejad in the New York Times. He has written many words supporting the Islamic republic of Iran. Mr Cohens wet dream is that Iran nukes Israel, so Jews can be victims again and he wont have to defend Israel to the chattering classes.

Tablet writers deserve better than the vitriolic, abusive, stiff-necked mano à mano that the Jacob-Deja vu duet has devolved into. The gap between Tablet’s usually nuanced articles and the increasingly whack-job-dominated discourse around them reflects an ultimately tragic inability to tolerate or even listen to those we disagree with.

Howard says:

These comments started off nicely enough, though Marc Tracy’s article may be more confusing than Cohen’s. Suffice to say that there will be anti-Jewish writers who choose to stick their nose into these discussions. Rather than being coarse, I would prefer that they be sent to historical evidence that will allow them to better understand the situation. If they are not open-minded, nothing will help. As to Cohen, he is symptomatic of the so-called Progressive Left. They haven’t learned from their pro-Communist days and are still yearning for that ideal world that will never exist. They would rather die on principle than live as realists. Too bad.

brynababy says:

ViniVidiDejaVu is ignorant and uninformed. Not worth arguing with!

Beatrix says:

Israel is a nation. It’s not going to be perfect. Roger, who’s from Iran, should know that.

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