Saturday, August 13, 2016

Betrayed By Our Own

A visit to a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Los Angeles this morning put me in a suitable frame of mind for Tisha B'Av.

After looking through the books on the Holocaust, I moved to the section of books on Israel. There were two books on display that appeared to be prestigious and popular, written by university professors and featuring glowing press reviews. Yet they both depicted Israel as the guilty party in its dispute with the Arabs.

I didn't have time to read them extensively, but in order to gauge their approach, I took a look at how one of them - a book in which the author declared himself to be free of bias and only interested in the facts - addressed the Gaza conflict. This is a recent and relatively small event, and one in which there is broad consensus in Israel, from right to left, about the legitimacy and necessity of its actions. So I was curious to see how this book would address it.

It was unbelievable. The discussion was all about how Israel committed terrible atrocities. The author absurdly declared that the vastly greater numbers of Palestinian casualties demonstrated that Israel was in the wrong. There was no discussion whatsoever of the indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by Hamas, nor of how Israel is supposed to protect its citizens against such things. And it triumphantly declared how Richard Goldstone is a Jew and a Zionist, and condemned Israel for its actions, without any mention of the serious shortcomings in that report, later conceded by none other than Goldstone himself.

The saddest thing about all this? Both authors were Jewish.

It's bad enough that the Arab world denies the existence of the Beis HaMikdash and our historical roots in Israel. It's even worse when the Western world starts to give "even-handed" credence to their claims as being a legitimate alternate narrative. But how can we expect other nations to be honest about the past, when there are members of our own nation who can't even be honest about the present?


  1. Beautifully said.

    When I see groups like Jewish Voice for Peace who openly support the economic and political destruction of our brethren, I really feel like we are not punished for the sin of Sinat Chinam but by it.

  2. You've converted from charedi to RZ. You're now somewhat more rational about the age of the universe and completely irrational when it comes to Israel.

    Israel attacked Hamas before Hamas launched any rockets. It accused Hamas of a crime, refused to release any evidence, killed a dozen people in the West Bank, arrested hundreds of Hamas members in the West Bank, and began air attacks on Gaza before Hamas responded with any rockets. Perhaps most disturbingly, Israel threw a country into chaos intentionally suppressing its knowledge that three kidnapped teenagers had been killed as an excuse to start a war with Hamas. And that's just the immediate preceeding events. In case you don't remember the broader context (and it appears you don't), Hamas had joined a unified government with the PA which most of the world supported, as a unified representative Palestinians government is the only way to make peace. Contrary to Israeli hasbara, none of the ministers in this government were from Hamas. The possibility of serious peace talks appears to have been very frightening to Netanyahu who immediately said that it would not pursue peace with this government and would begin "punishment," beginning with the withholding of PA money (because Israel gets to keep PA money when it wants to). In summary, Israel basically declared war and began war and when Hamas predictably responded, people like you start with the, "Poor Israel, what is it supposed to do?" shtick. Israel is always "forced" to respond. Maybe one day you'll extend your history knowledge to 1947 and 1967 and discover that Israel is far from the only one responding.

    Incidentally, are you one of those people always calling on Muslims to condemn terrorism but indignant when a Jew criticizes Israel? Of course, we don't do anything wrong.

    1. "and when Hamas predictably responded"

      people like you start with the "Hamas predictably responded" shtick. Hamas is always "forced" to "predictably" respond. No condemnation for firing missiles into civilians. Or for creating a society which glorifies the kidnapping and killing of children.

    2. Actually I remember the events quite well. The unity government that wasn't between Hamas and Fatah was a screen for Hamas' attempt to take over Yehuda and Shomron. The boys' kidnapping led to widescale searches - not in Gaza - but in Yehuda and Shomron because of the Hamas members who committed the atrocity and Hamas decided it was time to declare war, attempting physical attacks from underground tunnels and the sea, along with their barrage of missiles aimed at a civilian population. Among those tunnels was a tunnel heading into a kibbutz dining room - unless you are insinuating that this tunnel was dug overnight, that alone is enough to take military action.

      Your comments about the punitive actions - keeping money from the PA - is just plain stupid. Israel has no requirement to prop up the PA and joining hands with terrorists is certainly good enough reason to withhold money in your trusteeship. But that wasn't even the reason given - Israel was calling in the tremendous loans it provides to the PA and Hamas for providing power and water.

      And seeing as you claim to know history in Israel, and obviously don't, but only from 1947, you should definitely be extending your knowledge to 1929 and prior.

    3. Unfortunately, the Israeli government has taken on the policy that it has to wait for a politically correct opportunity to disrupt Hamas's military build up. Rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza throughout 2014 but nothing "serious enough" occurred to allow for Israel to take action until the kidnapping, the murders, and their aftermath. Today we live under increased threats from Gaza and Lebanon thanks to extended periods of "quite for quite" during which Hamas - and much more so Hezbollah - make sure that the next wars will be much more destructive for everyone involved. As for Netanyahu fearing peace, yes, he fears Israel finding itself agreeing to an arrangement under which at best everyone would be able to have their photo-ops and get their Nobel Peace Prizes before the whole place goes to hell in a handbasket. But that's not to say Netanyahu has not been willing to take great risks for a possible peace deal,7340,L-4634075,00.html

    4. Your ignorance is awe inspiring. Let's just start with some history. Read the Hamas charter, which calls for religiously-mandated genocide of all Jews. Everywhere. Israeli, American, zionist, religious, secular, it doesn't matter to them. Read the Fatah charter which calls to reclaim Palestine, an organization founded in 1964. In its original incarnation (in 1964) they denied any claim to Gaza or the "West Bank" (because these were under Arab rule at the time). So what were they trying to "liberate"? They clearly only really care about dispossessing the Jews. These attitudes, plus over a thousand years of Muslim antisemitism, are the backdrop for the "Arab-Israeli" conflict. Go watch "Palestinian" media to see the blood libels they make against the Jews of Israel. See how they celebrate murdering Jewish children in their beds. Hamas shoots rockets at Israeli civilians (since 2001!). Read about the terrorist attacks in the 1920s, let alone post 48, and long before 67 which the Arabs claim is the cause of the conflict. Read about Haj Amin Al Husseini who allied with the Nazis, who recruited Muslims for the Nazis, and tried to bring the Final Solution to the Middle East.
      Read about how Arafat and Abbas have turned down every peace offer. Read about how your "peaceful PA" President dehumanizes Jews and calls for their murder.
      Nothing Israel does or has ever done justifies what the Arabs proudly declare that they're trying to do.

    5. Not only is the history preceding 1948 and 1967 detailed above relevant, just over two years ago this incorrect summation of the last major Gaza offensive was argued against on this website. I'll let the post speak for itself.

    6. Gentleman, may I suggest you're putting far too much effort into responding to Truah's mendacity. I propose a simpler response:
      Well you're a lying poopie-head!

  3. Tekia also seems to forget that there wasn't just one attempt by Israel to stop a war but 5 times netanyahu kept from going in or declared a cease fire, calling on Hamas to stop the war before it escalated. Hamas violated the ceasefire every time.

    But thanks Tekia, for showing us how much we need to sit in mourning this Tisha Be'av.

  4. I find it fascinating that whereas up until maybe a half-century ago, Jews who went to war with mainline religious and/or Zionist Jewry thought Judaism was a anarchronistic, primitive religion that was bound to disappear, the sooner the better.
    Today, we see Jews who are virulently anti-Zionist and anti-Orthodox who identify as rabbis, particularly in the Reconstructionisht movement. I would go so far as to call these people Jewish antisemites, because they express out and out hatred for Israel AND the Jews who support it. This is somewhat surprising since I believe that Mordechai Kaplan, Recon's founder was pro-Zionist, part of his "Judaism as a religious civilization" philosophy.
    We see people like Recon rabbis Brant Rosen, Brian Walt and David Mivasair all supposedly encouraging eating Kosher or observing Shabbat and the hagim to at least some extent, and then add the extra "mitzvah" of cursing Israel, encouraging boycotts and even expressing "understanding" for Arab terrorism (BTW-I don't see any of these "universalist humanists" doing ANYTHING to protest the mass killing in Syria or helping the refugees there). Mivasair posted a gleeful blog piece about the Orange telecom company pulling out of Israel (it has been replaced by a new name "Partner") and accompanying the piece with a photo of an Orange stand with a group of IDF soldiers gathered around it. I presume Mivasair posted that to have his followers work themselves in a righteous rage seeing Orange catering to to soldiers he views as 'monsters'.

    I really wish someone would explain this new infatuation of the radical Left with certain aspects of Jewish tradition. Communists, Bundists and other Marxists said it was all nonsense. That I can understand. This new philosophy leaves me puzzled. Is it some sort of New Age Post-Modernists fascination with exotic religions? Is it due to some sort of feeling of Jewish "superiority" in the US because so many Jews are wealthy and powerful so they with to identify with this by way of certain aspects of Jewish traditions? Some one help me!

    1. After a short, post '67, flirtation with Zionism these movements have reverted to the idea that Judaism is solely a religion with no national component - like Christianity or Islam. Furthermore Judaism's hallmark is morality. Morality is judged by contemporary European standards, which are far more advanced than at any time in history. Contemporary Western morality frowns on nationalism and considers the West fundamentally culpable. Israel, for this purpose, is part of the West. Therefore the Jewish stance is to renounce Jewish nationalism and denounce any actions taken by the evil, Western (by definition) Israelis against the pure, innocent, third-world (by definition) Palestinians.

    2. I agree with your analysis, but classic Reform in the US, from the mid-19th century up to the mid-20th century emphasized what they called "Prophetic Judaism" which supposedly was only about ethics ("A good Jew is simply a good person") while rejecting what they considered the obsolete "rituals" (i.e. mitzvot bein Adam l'Makom). This new "social justice Judaism" while again pushing the "Prophetic Judaism" of the classic Reform now adopts certain "Jewish rituals", without necessarily feeling completely bound by them. As I said, they are now pushing kashrut, Shabbat and Hagim at least to some extent.
      Another manifestation of this here in Israel is the new demands by the R's and C's for joint control of the Kotel and use of the mikvaot. We all know that the non-O Kotel section (which is to be given equal status with the existing "O" Kotel, with a redesigned entrance in the plaza area which will be designed to not funnel people only to the "O" kotel or to lead people to think that it is the "real" Kotel) will be empty 99% of the time. Same with the mikvaot which they would never use. So we have to ask why these issues are important to them. Possibly they view this as some sort of way to undermine "backwards" Judaism from WITHIN the world of Jewish observance, as opposed to the old Marxist attack which came from the outside. Perhaps they are saying that "the O's claim they are authentic Judaism, but in reality WE are. See, we keep kosher and Shabbat as well".

    3. A slight correction: The company was "Partner" all along; they had a license to use the international Orange logo. Orange ended the partnership- after a backlash, they claimed it had nothing to do with politics- and the company became simply "Partner" with a new logo. (I know this because I'm a satisfied customer, and the actual bill read "Partner" throughout.)

      In answer to your question, almost certainly the post-modern one. As Chesterton put it, the opposite of believing in something is not believing in nothing; it's believing in anything. That's why you have so many weird cults today. These people don't really believe in Judaism- by definition, Reconstructionism doesn't really believe in anything- and so they believe in everything, which, ironically, includes Judaism, albeit whatever form they want it to take. Do they really "believe"? Not really, but they'll argue circles around you about how those words don't really mean anything.

    4. Nachum-What you say makes sense. Perhaps the reason these "social justice" Recon types latch on to fragments of Judaism, as opposed to becoming Muslims or Buddhists or whatever, is based on the old quip regarding Mordechai Kaplan and the Recons..."they believe that the Jews are divinely chosen people whose heavenly mandated mission to mankind is to teach the world that there is no Deity and that the Jews are no different than anyone else".
      Some examples: Freud was asked what made him so brilliant. He replied something to the effect that being a Jew made him someone who was willing to go against existing trends and think outside the box. This, of course, implies that non-Jews are not really that clever.
      Edgar Bronfman who is a wealthy non-O Jew who is very much into "Jewish continuity" was once asked by a reporter why someone should bother being a Jew. He replied that "the Jews are the people who gave the world the 10 Commandmants", which, of course implies that non-Jews are essentially barbarians whom we lifted out of the mud.
      Finally, Daniel Gordis quoted an American Jewish "progressive" assimilationist who was asked what being a Jew meant to him. He replied "having a good sense of humor, standing up for social justice and enjoying smoked fish". Gordis commented correctly that this implies that non-Jews do not have the same "high standards" of justice that Jews like this fellow have.
      In all these cases you see that many "progressive" and "social justice" Jews feel an innate sense of superiority over non-Jews and so this could explain why they feel they need to latch on to some distorted sort of "Judaism" to give them some sort of anchor, like you pointed out.

      BTW-I have noticed many American Jews when making some sort of formal statement about themselves will add a frivolous post-script like the smoked fish remark. I have come across more than one blog written by American rabbis who describe themselves as "loving Hassidic thought, studying Talmud, being active in social justice and loving pizza and the Chicago White Sox". This seems to be some sort custom in those circles.

    5. Y. Aharon: And knowingly or not, anyone professing "prophetic Judaism" is mimicking the discredited theories of Wellhausen. (Not the "who wrote the Bible" part but the underlying thesis of "priestly" vs. "prophetic" Judaism.)

      I wouldn't rule out a little "l'hachis" action here, by the way.

    6. I meant Y. Ben-David in the previous remark, sorry.

      As to your other comments, if there's one thing I've learned, there's no racist like a true "progressive." The religious position- Jews are special because we have the Torah, nothing innate- is so much more egalitarian. But when you don't have that, you fall back on racism. Meir Kahane used to make this point: "If your parents raised you with no religion and now don't want you to marry a non-Jew, that's just racism."

      (As it happens, Jews do tend to be more intelligent than non-Jews, but that doesn't mean we're better. In fact, sometimes it's the smartest people who are the most stupid.)

  5. After Michah and his idol, Menashe and he reign of terror, the civil war between two Hashomanaim brothers, all the apostates who converted to Chrisianity or Islam over the ages and promptly denounced the Jewish community, none of this should come as a surprise to you.

  6. Imagine two books: one fawning over the land of israel, the other critical of the government, tzahal, etc.

    One will sell well to the hadassah women's crowd, to use a stereotype, and the pico robertson neighborhood.

    The other will sell well in westwood, berkeley, etc

    Which one do you think B & N will target?

    Same thing with the jewish seforim market. Go into any high end jewish book store. The shev she'mayta is in the back of the store.

    The front of the store is the latest cookbooks, (kosher) novels, bio of the latest 'godol' who's in play, maybe a controversial book or two (but not one of yours, unfortunately; face it, jewish politics, but they may very well have a few copies in the back of the store.)

  7. "The discussion was all about how Israel committed terrible atrocities." Lies and Damn Lies. Israel conducts the most humane wars on planet Earth. Israel may accidentally kill/bomb innocent civilians and accidental bombings of innocent buildings may occur in any war, but Israel bends over backwards to avoid this. Hamas uses human shields and they want civilian and children deaths for political reasons. Good Grief.

  8. For the first time I can check the Emes box

  9. Books on Israel are not like books on architecture - you don't buy them to learn things, you buy them to validate your preconceived notions. Rest assured that any one who reads uuch garbage has already made up his mind long before he enters the store.

    Nowadays, with the return to the partisan press model of the 19th century, you can say the same thing about media. Bias was always present, but today there is not even a pretense made of fairness. The decline in journalism that started in the 90s has today hit rock bottom. Knowingly or not, one only reads or watches sources that match one's viewpoint.

    1. What you say about the media is blatantly clear during this US Presidential election campaign. The NYTIMES and WPOST which I have been following, and which are considered "prestigious news outlets" have been running an Israeli-Leftist style campaign against Trump (full disclosure-I do not support him) with often up to SIX articles on their internet front page saying "everybody hates Trump" and "even the Republicans are abandoning him" , etc, etc. Recall the Leftist media in Israel said before the last election that "everybody hates" Bibi, but he won. Then the British Left did the same in their last general election in favor of Labour, but the Conservatives won easily, and then the same happened with the Brexit vote saying "everyone is against it" but it passed. They even use phony "made-to-order" polls to claim that the majority wants what the Left wants. Apparently this is out of some sort of PR belief that the general public always wants to be on the side of the majority (i.e. "5 Million Frenchmen can't be wrong"). Of course, we see that this is not true but they keep trying.
      The all-time most blatant was just before Israel's 1996 election which took place in the inflamed post-Rabin assassination atmosphere. Every poll that was publicized in the media had Peres ahead. On Israel TV news the night before the election they had some "average Israeli" say on camera "I support Bibi but I am not going to bother to vote since he is going to lose anyway". He won instead, with or without that fellow's vote.

    2. This is much worse than bias: as we see from Truah's statement, the facts (here, the order of events leading up to the 2014 conflict with Hamas) are totally rearranged--that Hamas is responding, somehow "defending" themselves, whereas they are actually always the aggressors. The whole timeline of events is flipped backwards.

      We find the same thing with the Israeli War of Independence and the Six-Day War: The Arabs argue that Israel was the aggressor in both those wars, flipping all the facts on their head. (I spoke once with a man who fought in '48--he said it was really a miracle that Israel won: "We didn't have with what to fight!!" It is absurd that Israel would launch a war in such circumstances, against five Arab armies no less.)

      There were around 10 cease fires declared during the conflict. Hamas broke them all--but Osama Hamdan, the Hamas "spokesman" (=professional b.s. artist) said that Israel broke all the cease fires. He's also entitled to his "narrative"? It's a total distortion!

    3. What you say about the media is blatantly clear during this US Presidential election campaign. The NYTIMES and WPOST which I have been following, and which are considered "prestigious news outlets" have been running an Israeli-Leftist style campaign against Trump (full disclosure-I do not support him) with often up to SIX articles on their internet front page saying "everybody hates Trump" and "even the Republicans are abandoning him" , etc, etc.

      Full disclosure: I'm an anti-trump republican.

      Trump is really a uniquely disliked major party nominee based on his favorability/unfavorability numbers. In addition, major Republican figures avoided the convention including former presidents and the governor of the state where the convention was held. What they are reporting is not bias, but actual fact. This is a winnable election against a weak Democratic candidate that Trump is most likely (based on current polling) going to deservedly lose badly.

      Polling in multi-party elections is difficult; US polling is much more accurate. It is untrue that polls said that everyone was against Brexit. The polls went back and forth on who would win and it was a close result.

    4. >Trump is most likely (based on current polling) going to deservedly lose badly.<

      Actually, Trump currently is primed to win rather easily. You are right, HC is a terrible candidate, and getting worse. Meanwhile, Trump is growing stronger, and his rallies are massive. He has brought it millions of new republican voters, easily enough to offset the few nevertrump losers (especially combined with the offsetting Bernie voters.) Like the comments above you said, you just have to learn to ignore the fake polls. Even if you choose for some reason to believe them, they currently have Clinton up by 1%. Given the fact that all polls skew left even if the pollsters try to be fair, that's not only within the margin of error, to the contrary, that translates to a GOP landslide.

      Just read Drudge for perspective.

    5. This blog will NOT turn into a US elections discussion! No more comments on that!

    6. Sorry, my point was not about the election, but about claiming "bias" whenever you see something that you don't like in the newspaper. Undoubtedly there is a leftward bias in US new reporting due to the left-worldview of the majority of US journalists, but if you use that as an excuse to ignore unpleasant facts, then you live in a bubble. Polls of all sorts done by reputable polling firms with good methodology should not just be ignored.

      The forbidden topic is just an example that I happen to know somewhat well :)

  10. Unfortunately, Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro had it exactly right.

    These people have Jewish DNA, and many are halachically Jewish. But they adhere 100% to a different religion: Leftism.

    The rest of us are just going to have to get used to the fact that these Leftist "JINO"s (Jewish In Name Only) see Israel as a bastion of Western colonialism, and observant Jews as people who put G-d, morality, and family above the leftist god---the State. Anything that smacks of Westernism or G-d or putting anything above their god State will arouse their hatred, to the core of their being.

    I'm not sure we can reason with these people anymore. We might just have to focus on defeating them.


    1. Dennis prager attended a MO day school in flatbush. A client of mine's wife was his 'chavrutah' in gemarah.

    2. I prefer JBBO - Jew By Birth Only. JINO has the opposite connotation - that they aren't Jewish, but want to be considered as such. JBBO implies that they wish they had been born anything but Jewish, and will prove it with their antisemitic screeds and rants.

      Unfortunately, JBBO is not an acronym.

  11. Any consistent liberal, let alone a proper leftist, will support the Palestinians against Israel, for obvious reasons. The real miracle is that their are still millions of Jews who believe in liberalism the world over, but nevertheless still defend the right of Israel, a religious-nation state built on land recently conquered from people of colour, to exist. This is a wonderful thing because it shows that their visceral attachment to the Jewish people is actually stronger than the hogwash they think they believe. More practically, it also helps Israel to survive in a world where we really have no right to exist. On the debit side, the blatant hypocrisy of this position is evident to anyone who cares to look and it anyone's guess how charitable Europeans will be when they decide they want their own nation states back too.

    1. E"Y was conquered from the British, technically.

    2. Would disagree with pretty much most of what you wrote.

      1. I don't see the "obvious reasons" of leftists to support Palestinians. True, they are the downtrodden vis-à-vis Israel [though entirely their own fault] so that is a reason for leftists to support them. But they are also repressive towards women and homosexuals, causes which liberals, which we are defining as leftists, champion. So its not an obvious target of support.
      2. I don't think today there are millions of Jewish liberals who still defend the land of Israel.
      3. The land of Israel was re-captured [not conquered] by people the same color as people they re-captured it from.
      4. Israel has the same right to exist as any other country, and does not have to prove that to anyone.
      5. Its highly unlikely Europe wants to take over African countries. They will probably eventually tire of political correctness and return to plunder these countries, yes. But they will not return to taking them and their millions of inhabitants. The age of colonialism is gone for good.

    3. DF-
      After years of observing the Jewish and non-Jewish hard Left and having many conversations with a fellow who was a Trotskyite in the 1960's and who later became a right-wing DL here in Israel, I have come to the conclusion that ideology and things like human rights actually play little role in the thinking of these people. The former Trotskyite told me that in his day it would have been unthinkable for Marxists/Communists to march with radical Muslims and to make alliances with them. However, the last half-century, including the collapse of the Communist bloc has lead to a disillusionment with ideology on the part of the hard Left.
      A good example is found in Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President. It was pointed out that she is constantly shifting her position based on what her fellow "progressives" say. At first she was happy with the Brexit, but then when told that European "progressives" opposed it, she switched her position. When Eli Weisel passed away, she posted a piece eulogizing him, but wwhen the "progressives" cursed his memory for being a Zionist and supporting Israel, she removed it. Another example is that Bernie Sanders at one time opposed illegal immigration to the US because it weakened organized labor, but today, since the "progressives" support it (seeing it as a way to destroy the Republican party once and for all) he now supports it. Thus, we see ideology no longer really plays a role with this element.
      What remains in these people is a general disgust with the modern world and society and a basically nihilistic view of politics. George Orwell actually noticed this already in World War II when he heard British hard Leftists saying they hoped for a Nazi victory in the War, thinking that this would lead to the overthrow of Capitalism in Britain and then the hard Left would take over and build a new society from scratch.
      That is what I see in the hard Left today. Their hatred of Israel and nothing to do with human rights and really nothing to do with the Palestinians whom they really have no concern for. What they want is to "overthrow the system" and they view the war against Israel, Zionism and Judaism as a good way to start the world-wide revolution. They rightly view Judaism as a major roadblock to the basically totalitarian society they want to build, in which THEY will decide what is good for everyone.
      Of course, this seems to contradict their basically nihilistic approach but I don't believe they really think their totalitarian utopia is achievable, so their anger at the world is manifested in nihilistic politics...e.g. supporting BLM-inspired urban disorder, supporting Arab terrorism, indifference to the fratricidal slaughter going on in Syria, Iraq, etc.
      In the end, my observation is that these types are basically unhappy people, and they resent people who are happy, like Israeli Jews (as a recent study showed that Israelis are among the most happy, satisfied people in the world), especially as the Torah observant are.

    4. 1) Liberals believe the following
      (i) A legitimate state must be democratic and neutral with respect to race, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. More extreme liberals also assert that it should be neutral with regard to nationality. The exact implications of this are still being worked out, though open-borders is the most obvious.
      (ii) In any dispute between a two groups of people, the benefit of doubt is to be given to the group from a historically oppressed population, which is generally taken to mean the one with darker skin. Again, there are more and less extreme versions of this view. In the more extreme versions, however, it is practically impossible for the the lighter skinned party to demonstrate it is in the right.

      Now, it's obvious that a Zionist state can never be entirely neutral with regard to religion or nationality. it can be as neutral as possible, which mostly it is, but that is not good enough. To take the most obvious example, Jewish immigrants to Israel are actively encouraged, whilst millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants and a perhaps equal number of Sudanese and Eritreans are prevented from coming (not to mention Philippine guest workers, most of whom would stay permanently if they could). The Zionist response is that we cannot accommodate these people and remain a Jewish state. The Liberal response is "so what?" Any Jewish liberal who says otherwise is patently a hypocrite. You might say that a Palestinian state will also not be liberal, in fact it will be less liberal. The liberal will smile and say "we'll address that problem when it comes to it". Again, they are entirely consistent, this has been their position on every analogous situation.

      Secondly, we happen to be in a conflict with Palestinians who say our country belongs to them. The liberal view is that the onus is on us, not them, to prove we are in the right. For more extreme liberals the bar is set so high that there is essentially nothing we can do to prove we are in the right. This is entirely consistent with their world view.

      2) Most Jews outside Israel support a two state solution. You might say that this amounts to the destruction of Israel, and I agree. However, they believe that such a solution would preserve Israel as a Jewish state, the analogy of which they deny the legitimacy of, essentially, for any other state on earth.

      3) Not true and, frankly, delusional. First of all, even today the average Palestinian is very clearly darker than the average Israeli. Secondly, the Jewish population of Israel in 1948 was overwhelmingly Ashkenazi and so is the political, economic and cultural elite today, as it will be for the forseeable future.

      4) According to liberalism, Israel has a right to exist only if it adheres to the norms of liberalism, which it doesn't and can't. Again, liberals apply this view consistently to every country.

      5) I meant Europeans will want their own countries back. Google "America Israel immigration hypocrisy" for what I mean. Most of the stuff you will find comes from the "far right", but by western standards, Likud is far right too and, sooner or later, so will most Europeans.

    5. 1. The "obvious reason" is that the Left always sides with the "third world" population. Race over gender as well.

      2. Unfortunately true.

      3. "People of color" is an expression. A Jew darker than an Arab is still not a "person of color," a light-skinned Arab is.

      4. Well, it should be true. It isn't.

      5. I think he meant taking back control of their *own* countries.

      You often hear right-wing complaints of how Jews hold Israel to a different standard than their home countries (over which they have much influence) when it comes to immigration, defense, etc. What those right-wingers don't realize is that the types of Jews they criticize don't like Israel much either. But Jews are Jews to those who don't like them.

    6. Many of your points are easily dismissed in view of current reality.

      1. Each identity group is viewed through one filter, which excises or excuses everything else. Palestinians are oppressed, so we don't note the suppression of women and other failings.

      3. Your third point contains two assumptions which are readily denied. Israel's status as the successor state to the ancient Hebrew kingdoms is not recognized even by those liberals who acknowledge that there were ancient Hebrew kingdoms. Palestinians, and Arabs in general, have been declared "colored" while Jews have been defined as "white". Facts are often irrelevant to identity politics.

      4. This point must follow from its predecessor. If Israel's historic legitimacy is denied, its contemporary legitimacy falls away, as well. This is why the Arabs have spent so much effort denying what they formerly admitted: that Israel is the historic land of the Jews.

    7. "Any consistent liberal, let alone a proper leftist, will support the Palestinians against Israel, for obvious reasons."

      Why exactly is that? There is a general tendency among liberals to support challenges to traditional social hierarchies. In domestic politics, there is only one traditional social hierarchy that one could choose to support or challenge. In Israel, there are two such social hierarchies. There is the local traditional social hierarchy that prevailed until the late 19th century of Muslims dominating infidels, especially Jews, and there is the global social hierarchy Europeans dominating everyone else. A liberal focusing on the latter will support the Palestinians, but a liberal focusing on the former will support Israel.

    8. "What those right-wingers don't realize is that the types of Jews they criticize don't like Israel much either."

      There is some truth to this, but I would rate it "mostly false". For example, here is the "election manifesto" for the Board of Deputies, the umbrella organisation for English Jewry.

      It's hard to come up with any conclusion other than that they demand that Britain be a multicultural country that accepts large amounts of immigrants from a round the world, whilst supporting Israel as a nation state that does not. This is the position, also, of mainstream Hillary supporting Jewish Democrats, that is to say the majority of diaspora Jewry. Of course, they support Herzog over Bibi, but what you have to realise is that Herzog is far-right by European/American standards too.

      “I want to maintain a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. I don’t want 61 Palestinian MKs in Israel’s Knesset. I don’t want a Palestinian prime minister in Israel. I don’t want them to change my flag and my national anthem."

      Try to imagine a mainstream western politician saying anything remotely like that.

      Ultimately, unless the Jewish community deals with this hypocrisy, there will be hell to pay when Europeans realise what a terrible mistake they have made and start looking around for people to blame.

    9. I think the discussion here is trying to understand the thinking process of the liberal Jewish community--and how their principles actually lead them to do things that are detrimental to the Jewish community.

      Although this may be off-topic, there is a YouTube video of a discussion between Yaron Ya'adan and Gideon Levi, regarding a certain scandal a few years ago where there was a petition going around among residents of North Tel Aviv (a predominantly secular neighborhood), to try and stop any encroachment of Charedi Jews (well, Chabad) into their neighborhood:

      I found it interesting that Gideon Levi was actually rather upset by the bigotry of those who don't allow religious Jews in his neighborhood. Although we would consider his views on many issues of the Israeli-Arab conflict to be repugnant, at least he is consistent in his approach (as R. Gavriel M. stated above) of "A legitimate state must be democratic and neutral with respect to race, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation." It's immaterial to him whether his neighbors are Charedi, Arab or Ethopian.

    10. Gavriel M - If I'm reading you correctly, you seem to think that most Europeans and American are leftists. Not sure why you think this. Americans certainly aren't. Even if we say America is a divided country, many (most?) of those voting Democrat are doing so for government benefits and programs, not because they care or even know about international politics. So Bibi and for sure not Herzog is "far right" by American standards. Not at all.

      As for Europeans - they've never exactly loved Jews, and it has nothing to do with politics. If anything, the mounting Muslim problem they have is making more of them come around to more right-wing positions. Merkel and Hollande are despised.

      With Scandinavians, yes, I would agree, they are more liberal. Peres said, they are all יפי נפש. Of course, it comes from living in homogenous countries, where they don't have to actually deal with the problems caused by leftism. If their Muslim problems continue, they will sing a different tune.

      British - I don't know enough to comment, but the UK isn't really a major international player anyway.

      As for Europeans

    11. Well, they would (rightly) blame those Jews- and blaming some Jews always become blaming all Jews- regardless of their position on Israel. And those Jews will, unfortunately, begin supporting Israel less and less.

    12. DF-
      There is a school of thought that says increasing anti-Muslim feeling in Europe will lead to INCREASING antisemitism because it will be translated into a general dislike for ALL "foreigners". Don't forget that both Jews and Muslims perform what the European consider "barbaric" customs like circumcision and both have dietary restrictions, kashrut in our case and 'halal' for the Muslims. It is easy to stick us all into one basket.

      Yehuda P-
      If I might be somewhat cynical regarding Gidon Levy, it is very possible that he thinks a political alliance can be made between non-Zionist and anti-Zionists Haredim and the Left based on a supposed mutual dislike of the Religious Zionists and opposition of many Haredim to Zionism in general, and Israeli policies in Judea/Samaria in particular. Recall this was attempted in Rabin's 1992 government which attempted to coopt the SHAS party for the Oslo Agreements, but which ended up falling apart due to Haredi public opinion which does not view the Left as a natural ally

    13. DF. Here's Herzog

      "“I want to maintain a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. I don’t want 61 Palestinian MKs in Israel’s Knesset. I don’t want a Palestinian prime minister in Israel. I don’t want them to change my flag and my national anthem."

      Now try this:

      “I want to maintain a American state with a American majority. I don’t want 61 Mexican Senators in the Senate. I don’t want a Mexican president in America. I don’t want them to change my flag and my national anthem."

      Or let's try this.
      “I want to maintain a British state with a British majority. I don’t want 61 Pakistani MPs in parliament. I don’t want a Pakistani prime minister in Britain. I don’t want them to change my flag and my national anthem."

      Or this
      “I want to maintain a French state with a French majority. I don’t want 361 Algerian MPs in in the National Assembly I don’t want an Algeiran prime minister in Israel. I don’t want them to change my flag and my national anthem."

      So, yes, Herzog is far-right, but then Eisenhower, Churchill and De Gaulle would also be far right today. To be blunt, almost anyone alive today in Europe and America would be a considered a fringe left-wing whackjob by almost anyone born before 1930. Or as one of the internet's wits put it "my grandparents fought the Nazis so I could call people Nazis for believing the exact same thing as them".

  12. What does any of this have to do with Rationalist Judaism?

    Lawrence Kaplan


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