Jewish Glasnost Update: Zionist Panic!

Is Israel’s top liberal daily a fifth column?

Apropos my earlier piece arguing that the ferocious backlash by the Zionist right against Jewish critics of Israel — also targeting as ‘anti-semitic’ those like Archbishop Desomand Tutu who seek to judge Israel by universal moral standards — is a sign of panic over losing their claim to a monopoly on representing Jews, evidence is growing that they are increasingly aware of their own predicament. One reader (thanks, Sasha!) pointed out this glum editorial by arch-Zionist and neocon Daniel Pipes, warning that even if it overcomes all the mortal threats that neocons like to see all around Israel, that won’t help it cope with what he calls Israel’s ultimate challenge — “a Jewish population increasingly disenchanted with, even embarrassed by, the country’s founding ideology, Zionism, the Jewish national movement.” (Actually, Daniel, I’d call it the Jewish nationalist movement, but let’s not quibble here.)

It’s worth quoting at lenght from Pipes’ piece:

“Worse for Israel, Jewish nationalism has lost the near-automatic support it once had among secular Jews, many of whom find this nineteenth-century ideology out of date. Some accept arguments that a Jewish state represents racism or ethnic supremacism, others find universalist and multi-cultural alternatives compelling. Consider some signs of the changes underway:

  • Young Israelis are avoiding the military in record numbers, with 26 percent of enlistment-age Jewish males and 43 percent of females not drafted in 2006. An alarmed Israel Defense Forces has requested legislation to deny state-provided benefits to Jewish Israelis who do not serve.
  • Israel’s Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has up-ended the work of the Jewish National Fund, one of the pioneer Zionist institutions (founded in 1901) by determining that its role of acquiring land specifically for Jews cannot continue in the future with state assistance.
  • Prominent Israeli historians focus on showing how Israel was conceived in sin and has been a force for evil. Israel’s ministry of education has approved school books for third-grade Arab students that present the creation of Israel in 1948 as a ‘catastrophe’ (Arabic: nakba).
  • Avraham Burg, scion of a leading Zionist household and himself a prominent Labor Party figure, has published a book comparing Israel with 1930s Germany.
  • A 2004 poll found only 17 percent of American Jews call themselves ‘Zionist.’
  • Noting that these trends simply put young Israelis and American Jews in line with international trends, the only consolation he offers is that things will hopefully get better for the Zionists a quarter century from now.

    Add to this the observations of Phil Weiss, whose blog is must-read for those seeking a smart and sober chronicling of the battle of ideas in today’s America, much of it focused on Jewish identity politics (although far from exclusively so).

    When he heard that the rightwing Zionist media watchdog organization CAMERA was organizing a summit on “Jewish Defamers of Israel,” he did what any good journalist should: He paid his $40 and attended the event. And what he found was a bunch of alte kakkers (he didn’t call them that, of course, simply noted that the average age appeared to be over 60) kvetching in communion with stalwarts of the Zionist right. He writes:

    The CAMERA people are losing and they know it. Near the end Cynthia Ozick was asked how we should go about delegitimizing the delegitimizers of the Jewish state and she sighed and said, “It’s hopeless.” Alvin Rosenfeld, the author of the disgraceful report on Jewish anti-Semitism put out by the American Jewish Committee, was mildly more optimistic. He said exactly what I say: “We are in a furious intellectual struggle. There is a war of ideas going on… it won’t end quickly…. It is steady work.” And it is “serious and worrisome” inasmuch as these ideas may now “enter the mainstream.” Amen.

    …The reason It’s hopeless for the other side is that there was, in the basement of the synagogue, little to zero acknowledgement of the three great realities that are feeding Jewish post-Zionism.

    1. the end of anti-Semitism. My old friend and I talked about a Jewish Daily News columnist who refused to hire Jews. That was 50 years ago. The injury is fresh. As the memories of anti-Semitism are for my parents. And they are virtually meaningless to young Americans. A panelist very briefly acknowledged this at the end, saying that Jews are so comfortable in America, how do we stir them?

    2. the Israeli occupation of Arab lands and Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians were at no time acknowledged, but endlessly rationalized. The separate roadway system for settlers and Palestinian Arabs–rationalized. The incursion into Jenin–whitewashed. And so on. This sort of denial went on in South Africa during the campaign against apartheid. Young people don’t feel quite so defiant.

    3. Not a word about Iraq. I have this feeling often in conservative Jewish gatherings. Iraq doesn’t touch them. It’s not a big deal to them, they are removed from it, they are for a hawkish policy in the Mideast and so they talk about Darfur/Sudan more than Baghdad.

    And then, to cap it all, in the continuing tradition of Nixonesque paranoia that has everyone from Jimmy Carter to Bishop Tutu being closet Jew-haters, the CAMERA people identify a new target requiring urgent pressure: No, not Iran, Haaretz! Turns out the Israeli liberal daily (which, BTW, still pursues what it calls a Zionist editorial line, albeit from the left) is the latest “threat” to Israel, because it tends to report the truth about Israeli actions. And what they’re most worried about is Haaretz’s excellent English-language web site. As Weiss reports:

    The heart of Levin’s concern was the American discourse. When Haaretz was just published in Israel, CAMERA didn’t care about its statements about the occupation and the destruction of Palestinian hopes and dreams and olive trees. “This all happened in Hebrew… causing little outward impact..”

    Outward impact. She means: now Haaretz is affecting U.S. opinion and foreign policy. The most important statement Levin made was that she gets the brushoff from Amos Schocken, the Haaretz publisher, but with the American media, “there is an unwritten contract between them and us.” (Verbatim transcript to come later, when I have a little time…) An unwritten contract: to be fair to Israel, to print CAMERA members’ letters, to pick up the phone.

    Isn’t that amazing and scandalous? Levin is explaining why there is a free debate in Israel and not here. Because of the lobby and its “unwritten contract.” Because U.S. support is crucial to Israel’s existence. And so Americans, who supposedly so love the Middle East democracy that they support it out of the goodness of their hearts, must not read the news from Israel.

    When the Zionist right in America “defends Israel” by going after one of Israel’s most respected newspapers which happens to tell the truth about the occupation and related matters, it’s not hard to see why Pipes & co. have little cause for optimism. The Zionist moment is over, because most Jews around the world (and even many in Israel) are not inclined to a nationalist view of their Jewishness. And remember, Zionism is not much more than 100 years old, arising along with the nationalist currents of late 19th century Europe that accompanied the breakup of the Hapsburg empire. It’s hardly surprising that in a 21st century where we have had a free choice, almost two thirds of us have chosen to live not in a “Jewish State” but wherever in the world we choose to. Many Israelis today are excercising the same choice. And Jews who are not prone to nationalism have no need to rationalize Israel’s abuses against others.

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    116 Responses to Jewish Glasnost Update: Zionist Panic!

    1. Y. Ben-David says:

      To Vox-
      Traditional Judaism views the Torah (i.e. the Jewish Legal system which is based on the Bible and the Oral commentaries expanding upon it) as the “Constitution” of the Jewish people. Just like the Constitution of the United States applies to all citizens, whether they agree with all its provisions or not, and regardless of the fact that it was adopted over 200 years ago, without consulting every new generation about whether they like it or not, the Torah applies to all Jews, whether they observe it or not. That is why I said that there is such a thing as an “atheist” Jew. This is what links Jews together, regardless of their level of religious observance. Regarding your question about what you call the “deeply religious non-Zionist Jews”, it is important to remember that the Land of Israel is holy regardless of whether there is a Jewish state currently functioning on it or not. For example, the Sabbatical Year, which began a few weeks ago, brings many extra laws into play about letting the land lie fallow ideally, or at least restricting agricultual acitivity. Thus an observant non-Zionist Jews living in the Land of Israel will observe these laws, in addition to numerous others applying specifically to the Land of Israel regardless of the fact that he opposes the current secular Jewish state that exists there.
      There has been much debate for centuries over how the Jewish people will reconstitute the state that all religious Jews anticipate in the future. Some require the Messiah to come, others say the work should be begun BEFORE the Messiah arrives. Even for those who hold that it can be reconstituted before the Messiah comes there is also a major controversly about the degree of cooperation religiously observant Jews can establish with non-observant Jews.
      It should be pointed out that Tony was correct in his statement above that the majority of what is called the “Ultra-Orthodox” community DOES accept more or less the religious validity of the existing secular State of Israel as being an important step in the ideal, reconstituted state based on Torah that all religiously observant Jews acknowledge as being the end goal. This does not mean though that there isn’t severe criticism of the policies of the current secular state within the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox communities. It must be emphasized, though, that even the MOST anti-Zionist Ultra-Orthodox communities view the Land of Israel as being holy and care very much about the welfare of fhe almost 6 million Jews living there. Their opposition to Zionism is ideological and regards the degree of cooperation of their followers with the secular state apparatus which is permitted. Their opposition (with the exception of the very tiny ultra-extremist group of anti-Zionists who are frequently in the news and are disowned by the vast majority of the anti-Zionist Orthodox) is NOT political and they do not involve themselves in the Arab-Israeli conflict and do not side with the anti-Israel forces in the world.

    2. Pingback: 800 NOTES » Comment on Jewish Glasnost Update: Zionist Panic! by: Y. Ben-David

    3. Shlomo says:

      Shalom Aleichem YBD,

      I agree with you that the land is holy. But the land is not created in God’s image; the people there are, Israelis and Palestinians alike. To treat a creature in the likeness of God with such cruelty can never sanctify the Holy Land; it can only defile it, and make the Messiah more distant.

    4. Y. Ben-David says:

      I wish someone would explain to me that if Islam is a “universal, tolerant, non-tribal” religion, unlike the (incorrect) view of Judaism expressed here, then why do Jews, Christians and other dhimmis have inferion status under Sharia law (I am aware that Islamic states do not all follow Sharia law down the line), such as having their testimony degraded in value in courts of law, having to pay a special tax, requiring synagogues and churches to be smaller than mosques, Muslim men being allowed to marry non-Muslim women, but not the reverse, etc.?

    5. naj says:

      Naj-I don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about

      I am talking about what you said:
      Now, what is now well known is that Judaism also expects non-Jews to live according to basic rules of civilization…these are called the “Seven Laws of the Noachide people” which are the non-Jews of the world (all being decendents of Noah of “Noah and his ark” fame). These prohibit theft, murder, blasphemy, adultery, etc.

      “Wow! how stunningly unique!
      And how stunningly ironic too! ”

      I am trying to get through your head, that one doesn’t need to define one’s identity in opposition to others. You can very well say that “the message of judaism is similar to x, y , z, with a minor difference in a and b.”

      But as Judaism prohibits “theft and murder” I think the Jewish state can set an example for good Jewishness and stop those practices. You see, I am just trying to suggest how the Jews can help the world realize how wrong they are to not trust the Jews!

    6. Y. Ben-David says:

      Naj-I suggest you direct your comments about “theft and murder” to the Iraqi Muslims who are slaughtering each other, the “good Muslims” who set off the bombs trying to kill Benazir Bhutto and instead killed 160 passers-by, the “good HAMAS Muslims” who threw handcuffed FATAH people in Gaza off the multi-story building and then tore their bodies apart, the “good Algerian Muslims” who butchered 100,000 of each other in their civil war. Getting these things to stop would be a major step in the direction of “stopping murder” in the world.

    7. Matthew says:

      Vox and Shomo: That’s the problem with proof-texting: it’s nonsense. I say very seriously that the Jews are People Who Chose Themselves because you have to believe the book they wrote–er, they believe was divinely inspired–to believe it. (A little difficult when you see we should be stoning to death adulterers, homosexuals, and unruly children. Read Leviticus.)

      There is nothing in biology, or chemistry, or other physical sciences that proves their “chosen-ness.” I ridicule the idea because it is clearly a hold-over from an iron-age people who invented this tale in their early history. It’s strength as an idea for unity is profound. As to it’s “truth,” I’m skeptical.

      Vox: Quoting other sections of Bible does no good. You are still citing a closed system to prove an externality, i.e., that Jews did not chose themselves. The logical corollary to your argument is a tautology.

      So I ask: What microscope can I look through, what equation can master, what algorythm must I write, that would prove that Jews didn’t Chose Themselves?

      Shlomo: Rejecting the core belief that Jews believe that they are “special” does not make me any more an anti-Semite than rejecting the theology of the Koran makes me anti-Muslim.

      Have you ever considered the reverse of your position: Maybe you are anti-gentile because you believe that your people are special and gentiles/pagans are not?

    8. naj says:

      Naj-I suggest you direct your comments about “theft and murder” to the Iraqi Muslims who are slaughtering each other, the “good Muslims” who set off the bombs trying to kill Benazir Bhutto and instead killed 160 passers-by,

      Excellent point: so you are suggesting that all religions have “atrocity” in common, and the big difference between Muslims and others is that, as opposed to killing the members of “other” religions (e.g. Christians killing Buddhist civilians with atomic bombs, Israelis killing Lebanese civilians with cluster bombs, Christians killing the Muslim Iraqis with carpet bombing of Baghdad …)
      So that seems to be what is differentiating the sons of Abraham from the children of Issak!

      But why would condemning muslims’ fanaticism be in conflict with condemning the Jewish fanaticism?

      Oh wait a minute, it was an anti-semetic Orthodox Jew who murdered Rabin! … I am so confused! 😉

    9. Shlomo says:


      I’m not going to try and prove that Jews are chosen, or that God exists, or that God gave the Torah to the Jews. Frankly, I’m not sure why that at all relates to Zionism, and I’m wondering how we got careening down this track in the first place.

      I think it’s just a little silly to criticize Judaism as “tribal” compared to Christianity. Christians “chose themselves” through Jesus just as Jews “chose themselves” through Moses. But it is Christians (and Moslems, for that matter) who have been involved in hundreds more religious wars than Jews. Only Jews get knocked as “tribal”. Matthew, you’re putting in a double standard for Jews, raising the bar so high that it is impossible to reach. It is this double standard that suggests antisemitism, not your theology.

    10. naj says:

      oh sorry: editorial addition:

      “Excellent point: so you are suggesting that all religions have “atrocity” in common, and the big difference between Muslims and others is that, as opposed to killing the members of “other” religions (e.g. Christians killing Buddhist civilians with atomic bombs, Israelis killing Lebanese civilians with cluster bombs, Christians killing the Muslim Iraqis with carpet bombing of Baghdad …), muslims kill each other!

      addendum: YBD shouldn’t be upset if Muslims kill each other though, right? it would eliminate the world from “lower species”!

    11. naj says:

      But it is Christians (and Moslems, for that matter) who have been involved in hundreds more religious wars than Jews.

      Have you wondered why?

      Could it be that it is because teh Jews have never had a state, and that their religion, until after WWII, was never politicised?
      And would it be entirely crazy to suggest that ever since the Judaism is given a statehood, and the political/economic/media power in US has been handed over to the zionists, we have seen just as many wars, conducted in the name of “defending Jerusalem” and the “chosen ones”?

    12. Donald says:

      Matthew, you are making me uneasy. I’m a Christian myself (a believing one), and so I actually do think God chose the Jews, but even if I didn’t, I think criticism of Judaism itself is getting pretty close to antisemitism. You shouldn’t be lumping all Jews into one category of self-righteous self-choosers, any more than you should lump together all Muslims as potential jihadists, or all Christians as potential antisemites and crusaders.

      A religion is pretty much what its adherents make it. Some people see their religious beliefs as providing justifications for oppressing others, and some do not. A Jew who thinks God chose the Jews might see this as an excuse for feeling superior, or he might think it imposes a responsibility to fight for social justice in the manner of the Old Testament prophets, or he might not think either. As an example of the second, you should read the blog of “the magnes zionist”, for instance. Or read Michael Lerner (though I admit some people are put off by him for various reasons, I think it’s clear he doesn’t see Judaism as a religion that justifies the oppression of Gentiles.)

    13. naj says:

      I actually do think God chose the Jews,

      How do you think that Donald? What does “chosen by god” mean exactly? How does god “choose” humans?

    14. naj says:

      Just out of curiousity:

      Does anyone know that in Iran, for example, the basic religious teaching in elementary schools is something like this:

      “-Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad are the great prophets sent by god.

      -Mohammad has come to renew the same message of god already given by Moses and Jesus.

      -Because there is only one god, the message of god has always been the same and will always be the same.

      -Mohammad was illiterate but learned from the Jewish and the Christian priests and that is why he was different and enlightened and that is why he was chosen by god to be the prophet. ”

      This is why it is so hard for me to understand why Muslims, Christians and Jews claim to be fighting wars of religion, while all that these bloody conflicts are, are struggle for power, nationalism, and economy.

    15. Donald says:


      I mentioned my religious beliefs to show where I’m coming from, but I have no interest in discussing them in any detail.
      Besides, assuming you were actually interested, I’d have to say in response that I don’t know how it works, so the discussion would be a short one. But you can go read a Bible and see St. Paul arguing with himself what it’s supposed to mean, if you’re interested in what an 1st Century Jew turned Christian thought about it. It appears that he was confused about it himself.

    16. dass says:

      btw, in case anyone missed this, there is an excellent episode on Iran done by PBS frontline. It was aired on oct 23rd, and its regd the up and coming war with Iran. Its free to watch online (although would sure appreciate a small donation)

      I am actually a bit disturbed by frontline’s approach to this investigation regd US claims that Iran is attacking US troops (considering they were one of the few news organizations that asked hard questions in the run up to Iraq war)

      In this episode, they seem to be buying the govt claims that Iran is responsible for attacking US troops (they ask Vali Nasr and that bald ex-state dept guy who was colin powells sidekick, cant remember his name now, but those 2 say of course Iran is attacking US troops though sophisticated IED’s because they wanna show US that Iran is a force to be reckoned with). There is no investigation of whether that is really the case, because according to most analysts the single cause of death of US troops has come from sunni insurgents and nationalists, so I wonder why they didnt explore that ( maybe that GOP hack Ken Tomlinson threatened ti cut PBS’s funding if they didnt support the Bush aggression towards Iran)

      btw, I just watched Lawrence Wright give a presentation at Yale. man that guy is a total GOP hack. I really enjoyed reading the Looming tower, but I always felt his intentions werent exactly fair, but this presentation confirms he is just another neocon

    17. Shlomo says:


      Of course, Jewish nationalists can have a militant streak. I do not deny that. I just think Matthew’s double standard is absolutely ridiculous, considering the atrocities that have come out of God’s Christian Warriors in the past.

      I am not asking anyone to give Jews moral superiority here. I’d settle for equality.

    18. naj says:

      Shlomo, Donald, sorry I was actually addressing YBD! I am interested in his response as he is so adamantly convinced that it is Muslims who are the crazies because they kill Muslims!

      Also, I have no religious affiliation, and YBD can be assured that irrespective of my areligiosity, I have neither stolen, nor murdered 😉

    19. Y. Ben-David says:

      To Naj and the rest of you who are disgusted with the Jews because they dared to set up their own state and demand self-determination, whereas you all praise Palestinian nationalism, and the such please answer the following question:

      If you oppose “ethno-religious” self-identification and demand for political independence, then why do you not complain about the Muslims who carved up British India-demanding an ethno-religious state (Pakistan) that ended up massacring or expelling MILLIONS of Hindus and Sikhs and stealing all their property. Their first leader, Mohammed Ali Jinnah did not even speak Urdu or Bengali, the dominant languages of the country, nor was he even native to the Bengal or western provinces that became West Pakistan, he was an alien to those regions. This “ethno-religious state” then attacked Kashmir, started wars with India, then tore itself up with civil wars that killed hundreds of thousands more fellow Muslims (East Pakistan-Bangladesh) and is still subject to internal violence, in addition to having nuclear weapons which they helped proliferate to rogue states and threaten other countries with.
      I don’t hear any complaints about this. HYPOCRISY. Why were the Indian Muslims entitled to a state and not the Jews?

    20. Matthew says:

      Thanks, Shlomo, Donald and Vox:

      I enjoyed your responses. However, I think the pychoanalysis may be a bit of stretch. This statement, unfortunately, is typical, whenever someone questions the Jewish foundational myth:

      “Only Jews get knocked as “tribal”. Matthew, you’re putting in a double standard for Jews, raising the bar so high that it is impossible to reach. It is this double standard that suggests antisemitism, not your theology. ”

      My answer: Jews are not the only ones who get knocked for tribalism. Anyone who believes believes that they are “special” or “exceptional”, etc., is equally deserving of ridicule. The idea of Jewish “chosenness” is relevant to Zionism because this land dispute between peoples is contaminated by a lot of dangerous religious ideas. To the extend, Shlomo you want to discuss how I reject Exceptionalism in all forms, well, that conversation probably needs to occur on another site. And, Shlomo, by the way, I am big Semite-ophile. I love Jewish contributions to just about every intellectual field. I just don’t buy into the “specialness” of Judaism, nor Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.

      Donald: Your “unease” is based upon your assumption that my rejection of the special value pf Judaism translates into hostility to Jews. That conclusion is erroneous. I have no hostility.

      Vox: Just because I don’t except the error-ridden Old Testament does not make me a non-Christian. The New Testament is also a flawed text, but my personal relationship with Jesus still exists. Remember when Nietsche read the Gospels in their original Greek versions, he commented that God must speak bad Greek. Obviously, He doesn’t; but religion is man’s attempt to understand God, and the Bible is a flawed instrument of that understanding.

      Good luck on your exams, Shlomo.

    21. Vox_in_Deserto says:

      Schlomo wrote:

      “Then I read Vox, taking a perhaps-superior tone with “Of course, for us Christians this text now holds in a spiritual sense” because presumably Christians have wised up or something.”

      That was addressed to Matthew and related to his comment on Gen. 15: 1-16. I wouldn’t jump in a forum of Jewish people and start throwing unasked-for Christian views, much less trying to sound lofty. But given your comment, let me say that we Christians have _been_ wised up by the Wisdom made flesh, the Logos who “in the beginning was with God, and was God”. Just as the Israelites were before wised up by the Torah given through Moses. Neither you nor we have wised up out of our own wits.

    22. Vox_In_Deserto says:

      Naj wrote:

      “Christians killing Buddhist civilians with atomic bombs”

      You may know that Christian denominations may differ more of less in their views. Having said that, this is the doctrine from my denomination:

      “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”

    23. zed says:

      Compare and contrast:

      “To compare Israel to pre-1994 South Africa is simply not valid,” Pogrund said. “Apartheid relates to the color of your skin, a means of separating race by a physical contrast. End of story.”
      Levin said that after Haaretz ran an opinion column describing the separate roads in the West Bank as “apartheid” roads, CAMERA members wrote letters to Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken saying this was a false charge. She then read from Schocken’s responses. In one he said “the term ‘roads for Jews only,’ which may be mathematically incorrect, is fine with me.. because it describes the true nature and purpose of the roads.” In another reply, Schocken wrote, “Your legalistic response is exactly the type that is used to blur reality, rather than clarify it. It is utterly ridiculous not to call these roads apartheid roads because the entire presence of Jews in the Occupied Territories is of an apartheid nature…”

    24. John says:

      On the question of whether Judaism is a more tribal religion than Christianity or Islam – of course it is. While conversion to Judaism is certainly possible, it is not easy, and Judaism has historically not been a proselytizing religion. As such, Jews more or less form an ethnicity (or, more accurately, several ethnicities – Sephardim, Ashkenazim, and so forth).

      Furthermore, because of the Zionists’ deal with the ultra-Orthodox, Judaism in Israel is defined such that conversion by Reform or Conservative rabbis don’t count, and those converts (who, I would imagine, form the vast majority of all converts to Judaism) are not considered Jewish for the purpose of immigration to Israel. Furthermore, the child of a Conservative Jewish father and a mother who converted to Conservative Judaism, and who is raised as a Jew and bar/bat mitzvahed, etc., would also not be considered Jewish for purposes of immigration to Israel – he or she would have to go through an orthodox conversion process to qualify. On the other hand, the child of, say, a Catholic father and a Catholic mother, whose mother’s mother’s mother had been a Jewish convert to Catholicism, and who were themselves a devout Catholic, would be considered a Jew, and would have the right to immigrate.

      That this is essentially a tribal distinction seems difficult to deny. I would add that I think modern Reform and Conservative Judaism have progressed a fair distance away from the tribal roots of Judaism. In the Reform tradition, at least, which I’m most familiar with, there’s not too much discussion of the “Chosen People,” and when it is mentioned, it is not in the sense that Jews are better than everyone else.

    25. Matthew says:

      Thank you John. Likewise, in Roman Catholicism, we call ourselves the “People of God,” but we are increasingly embarrrassed by the consequence of this belief. It obviously implies a dichotomy, otherwise it’s redundant.

      Only in 21st Century America would one be considered a bigot for rejecting another’s religion’s claim to exclusivity, i.e., a claim that they are “God’s Special Possession.” This is the idea that I ridicule.

    26. Vox_in_deserto says:

      please refrain from speaking for all Catholics. I am such and am definitely not embarrased by the consequence of that belief (or of any other).

    27. Matthew says:

      Vox: Please refrain from telling me what I can speak about.

    28. Sweet post.
      I am sure you’ll link to our blog..

    29. Pingback: But, why, how you dare challenge Israel? | Antony Loewenstein

    30. naj says:


      I know no religion condones the killing of the innocent people. And I think Christianity doesn’t even condone the killing of the guilty.

      The point I was drawing was that “it is invalid to describe religion as the cause of war” it it but the dress that the warmongers cloak themselves with or against.

      To Naj and the rest of you who are disgusted with the Jews because they dared to set up their own state and demand self-determination,
      you see your starting argument is false! Who said anything about being disgusted with Jews?????

      I just simply told you that a Jewish person, and not a crazy muslim killed Rabin!

    31. Morry says:

      Just happened onto this site by chance. What a fascinating discussion! And how much space time and effort has been put in by so many to assure so many like-minded that they have have no interest in the subject and Zionism means nothing to them. And neither should it.

      A few things are missing from your discussion, however. Zionism began as a national libration movement, much like the ANC of South Africa, for much the same reasons. It was a movement advocating self-determination for a group of Jews with a rich history, culture and language that defined them as a nation … something that most of you have made it abundantly clear you are not part of. So one has to ask, why do you care??? Do those who do care not have the same right to self-determination as every other national entity in the world?

      If you have troubled yourselves to read the Hamas and Fatah charters you would know that their bid to destroy Israel is not “Zionist paranoia” … but of course, it’s not your children being traumatised by daily rocket attacks, nor your citizens being killed, so you can afford to be blase about it, and that, too, is fine.

      But the Zionist discussion is moot anyway. Today you have fourth generation Israelis, who I take it you would agree have the right to live their lives in peace and security. They have paid their dues. The cell phone you use was devoloped in Israel, as was the Intel chip that drives the computers you’ve been posting with. The web and phone security you rely on are also Israeli products. The imaging equipment that may one day save your lives in hospital, or that little camera in a pill that may discover that hidden tumour … all Israeli. Six Nobel prizes in the last 5 years, some that will open up new fields of genetic medicine.

      But I understand that you don’t want to be part of that enterprise, a measure of Tikun Olam. But why in the world are you so hot under the collar? Why can’t you let the rest of us simply enjoy the wonder that Israel represents to us?

      There are some real abuses in the world you can put your skills and energies into … Darfur with its genocide of countless bodies, Iran which as Ahmadinijad says “has no gays” because they are publicly hung when discovered, Saudi Arabia … wow … Saudi Arabia, where women have no rights at all, gays are sentenced to 9000 public lashes (not in one hit, but over a period so that they’ll have something to look forward to), where the bulk of our terrorist troubles seem to come from.

      And I’m just scratching the surface of the long list that is far more serious than Israel’s perceived ills. Where is your sense of proportion. So I have to ask again, a objective cosmopolitan people, why Israel?

    32. Matthew says:

      Morry: My interest is personal. Zionists are suffocating the life out of my wife’s family in Palestine. To me, Zionism is an evil to the extent it requires dispossession of Palestinians. It is as simple as that.

    33. Morry says:

      In that case, Mathew, you have a poor sense of history, and are subject to the Arab narrative. I suggest you go to primary sources, as I do.

      If you check it out, and I hope that you do, you will find that the nations of the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq etc) were carved out of Ottoman land that belonged to nobody at the end of WW1. The geographic area known as Palestine was very fairly partitioned by the League of Nations between the Arab and Jewish residents, with the Arabs receiving about 80%. Britain was mandated by the Lof N to turn one area into an Arab state(the term Palestinian as applying to any Arab person didn’t exist at that time, and under the British mandate the Arab residents refused that title in their ID, going instead with “Arab”. Ironically, the Jews were termed “Palestinians”), and the smaller area into a Jewish one. That fair division should and would have been the end of it, had the Arabs in the region been able to cope with a Jewish state. Clearly, at this point, not a soul was dispossed. Googling “the British Mandate of Palestine” should take you directly to the documentation on the UN site.

      All of this came about long before WW2 and the Holocaust, which feature broadly in the Arab narrative. You will also find the pre-partition 1947 report of land ownership. Local Arabs (Palestinians if you prefer) as opposed to absentee landowners, owned a mere 3.9% of that part of Palestine that had been earmarked as a Jewish state, but was now to be again subdivided giving the Arabs almost 90% of Palestine.

      In 1948 Israel, land registry records show that Arab residents owned 3.3% of Israel … hardly a massive dispossession. Nevertheless, one of the first laws enacted by the Knesset was one to fairly compenate any Arab who had lost property. Subsequent laws allow the state to seize absentee land, but the owners will be fairly compensated by law.

      As to Zionist suffocation, Mathew, and that’s largely what my preamble was about, if today’s Palestinian leadership were not so determined to wipe Israel off the map as a Jewish entity (Google “Hamas charter” and “Fateh Charter”) there would be no fences, no roadblocks nor any of those other means by which every nation protects against terrorism, including the long security checks we ourselves encounter more and more at airports. Israelis go through much the same kind of security checks on entering every bus depot, shopping mall and public building in Israel.

      Given that Israel well and truly exists, the term “Zionism” has little meaning beyond describing a person who supports Israel’s continued secure existence.

    34. Shlomo says:


      My interest is also personal. I am a devout Jew committed to Tikkun Olam, and I am finished watching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict poison our collective counsciousness.

    35. Morry says:

      Not sure what you’re saying, Shlomo, but ignoring it is no solution. We are responsible for the misery the Palestinians are suffering. It was we, the rest of the world, who insisted on a terrorist leadership for Palestinian farmers and shopkeepers, it was we who imposed first the PLO on them, then, by extension Hamas and Fatah.

      The brainwashing hate education their children are receiving in schools, mosques and on TV, to turn them into terrorist canon fodder is our responsibility and we must do something about it. We started the problem in the 70s, and we need to end it in the 00s by finding a way to remove the terrorist leadership holding ostensibly peaceful people hostage, and replace it with a truly Palestinian one. One need only look to Gaza with its arbitrary executions and rule of fear to know what I mean.

      Arafat and Edward Said were both Egyptian born and bred, drawn to the conflict by the glory, much like today’s “leaders”, certainly not for Palestinian interests.

    36. Shlomo says:


      You are totally right that the Palestinian leadership has been morally bankrupt. You are also right that Hamas’ leadership is unproductive.

      But then, how could you support Israeli actions? During the Gaza civil war last summer, Israel made no effort to stop Hamas militants in Gaza. Instead, it imprisoned Hamas’ civilian leadership in the West Bank. A majority of the Palestinian Parliament is in Israeli jails today. So it is ridiculous to talk of the leadership “holding Palestinians hostage”–Israel holds the leadership hostage!

      Israel has been disenfranchising the Palestinians for over forty years now. It puts Palestinians under military rule, in a system with zero accountability so that gratuitous human rights abuses are tolerated if not encouraged. And all the while, the settlements continue to expand, pushing the Palestinian people into the Jordan River.

      I agree with everything you said about Hamas. It is a terrorist leadership holding its people hostage. I think many people on this website underestimate what they will do. But this is exactly the type of moral corruption I am talking about:

      Since when has it become OK for Jews to behave JUST better than terrorists?!

    37. Matthew says:

      Morry: (Massive chuckle): Go to the “primary sources”? All I have to do is pick up the phone to find out how the Zionists treat my wife’s family. You may have posted the single most stupid comment in the history of the internet.

    38. Peter H says:

      “In 1948 Israel, land registry records show that Arab residents owned 3.3% of Israel … hardly a massive dispossession. Nevertheless, one of the first laws enacted by the Knesset was one to fairly compenate any Arab who had lost property. Subsequent laws allow the state to seize absentee land, but the owners will be fairly compensated by law.”

      Wow, you are really living in a Zionist fantasy world.

    39. Matthew says:

      Peter: The fact that one has to create a “fantasy land” to justify their own history is a sign of utter despair. Not to be out done though, I have checked the “land registry records” and Native Americans only owned 3.3% of North America before 1492.

    40. naj says:

      Strop the Second Holocaust Campaign

      Compare and contrast Bush, Hilter and Ahmadinejad! Who is more likely to cause the 2nd Holocaust?

    41. Morry says:

      It’s taken a while to get back here. Let me take it one at a time. Shlomo, what kind of double standard demands self-determination for the Palestinians, but demands that Israel intervene when they begin killing each other. Surely that is an internal Palestinian issue that has nothing to do with Israel. What does have to do with Israel are the rockets lobbed into Israel on a daily basis, and the suicide bombers trying to make their way through Israeli checkpoints, sometimes dressed as pregnant women, in order to get at Israeli civilians. As long as that continues, Israel is obliged to protect against it, even if that means putting the Palestinians out and not allowing them access to Israel. Every nation in the world has the right to close off its borders … why would Israel not have the same right? So Shlomo, since when should Jews be denied the right to protect themselves?

      And Mathew, all I have to do is pick up the phone to find out how the Palestinians treat the Israelis. Certainly any poor Israeli who has ever strayed into Palestinian territory has has died a horrific death (am happy to provide a list starting with the two lynched reservists) … the same cannot be said of Palestinains entering Israel, nor for the million and a half living there … so what it your point? Certainly given the recent news from Gaza, life seems to be far harder with far less freedoms for Palestinians under their own, than it ever was under the Israelis.

    42. Morry says:

      Land registry? Cute Mathew, but it seems that yours is the “fantasy land”.

      Had you actually checked you would have foung that native Americans had no official “land registry”, whereas the Ottomans who ruled Palestine for over four centuries did, as did the British during the mandate, as did the Israelis. Your comparison is innately irrational, comparing as it does, a group with no native land registry to one with. So again, in an environment where all land ownership and sales were registered, it is a matter of UN record that local Arabs owned 3.9% of Palestine at a time when Jews (1947) owned 8.9%. If you have a problem with these statistics I’m happy to point you to the UN reports that historians use as sources. But to dismiss it as “fantasy” is the lame response of the irrational.

    43. Matthew says:

      Morry: My heart bleds for the suffering that the land thieves have undergone….boo hoo…..

    44. Matthew says:

      Morry: On a more serious note now that I have finished sobbing over Zionist suffering… hoo….(my tears have started again)….please offer your “sources.” Of couse, me knows that liviing on the land for centuries and “land registration” distinction will be a distinction with a real difference. In Texas, for example, if you used “land registration” records to prove whether people live here, you would think the state was 95% white, instead of state with a plurality of whites.

    45. Morry says:

      Mathew, you can blind yourself to the fact that Jews have inhabited Palestine for centuries, that Palestine was fairly partitioned by the League of Nations in 1922, with 80% going to the Arabs. You can pretend that there was a Palestinian nation (please name one single polical leader, whether king, President or whatever prior to Yasser Arafat declaring himself president in 1992) rather than that it was a shard of the Ottoman Empire on which all the nations of the Middle East were established, Israel being one of them.

      You can pretend that the Jews didn’t own the land they settled, but “stole” it. And of course, that is the Palestinian narrative, which you have clearly swallowed hook line and sinker.

      Unfortunately we don’t get to choose a narrative and pick a side, the most we get is to interpret history, not make it up. And in history there were no Palestinian people, there was only an Ottoman Empire which owned the bulk of the land. That put it up for grabs, and Arabs can cry as much as they like “it is mine” … but neither history nor records support that.

      As to your family, well, there would be no “occupation” if Jordan hadn’t attacked Israel in 1967. If you have a problem with it, perhaps you should berate the Jordanians. There would be no “occupation” if Palestinains weren’t attacking Israeli civilians on a daily basis … if they simply accepted the fact of Israel, and got on with their lives.

      Clearly you have a stake in this which makes you far less than objective, and for that I’m sorry, as it makes rational discourse difficult.

    46. Morry says:

      I’ve mentioned it before, Mathew, but surely the partition of Palestine in 1922 by a world body who has no stake in this conflict at all, the League of Nations, should convince even you that Israel sitting on three quarters of what it was allocated, a mere 15% of Palestine, is more than fair given the Jewish population that was taken into account in that partition. How much do you think would be fair? Or is it your position that Jews are entitled to nothing, because … well because they are Jewish, I suppose?

    47. Matthew says:

      Morry: Your credibility fell to zero with this lie:

      “As to your family, well, there would be no “occupation” if Jordan hadn’t attacked Israel in 1967. If you have a problem with it, perhaps you should berate the Jordanians. There would be no “occupation” if Palestinains weren’t attacking Israeli civilians on a daily basis … if they simply accepted the fact of Israel, and got on with their lives.”

      If you think the 1967 War began because “Jordan attacked Israel” then you really are living in la-la land. I thought your phony land registration claim was a slip. Now I see that you are serial fabricator.

      And by the way: My wife’s relatives were evicted at gunpoint from their homes in 1948. So here’s my reaction to your facile statement that “if they simply accepted the fact of Israel, and got on with their lives….”: Shove it!

    48. Nice post.
      I think you will link to our diary..

    49. Sweet post.
      I guess you’ll like my diary..

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