A Jew argues that anti-Zionism isn’t the same as anti-Semitism. She’s mostly wrong.

Here we have Michelle Goldberg, a New York Times staff writer, making a deeply misleading argument about why anti-Zionism isn’t always anti-Semitism. And indeed, I agree with that premise, but not with Goldberg’s interpretation of what has happened and what’s happening now. The kind of “anti-Zionism” Goldberg apparently favors is indeed anti-Semitism, for it’s a recipe for the elimination of Israel and a bloodbath of Jews.

First, Goldberg notes that both Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the two new female Muslim Congresswomen, are in favor of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which is true. Tlaib, however, didn’t endorse BDS until after she was elected (that’s a slimy move), and even before her election she wasn’t in favor of even a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine problem.

Goldberg seems to favor BDS as a way to solve the issue—by pressuring Israel. But she doesn’t dwell on the fact that BDS, and Tlaib’s call for the “right of return” and a single “mixed state”, would spell the end of Israel as we know it, and of Israel as a Jewish state:

No current member of Congress supports B.D.S., a movement that is deeply taboo in American politics for several reasons. Opponents argue that singling out Israel for economic punishment is unfair and discriminatory, since the country is far from the world’s worst violator of human rights. Further, the movement calls for the right of Palestinian refugees and millions of their descendants to return to Israel, which could end Israel as a majority-Jewish state. (Many B.D.S. supporters champion a single, binational state for both peoples.) Naturally, conservatives in the United States — though not only conservatives — have denounced Tlaib and Omar’s stance as anti-Semitic.

It is not. The conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is a bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand that depends on treating Israel as the embodiment of the Jewish people everywhere.

But support of BDS, and a “one-state” solution is anti-Semitic.

First, let’s dispose of the last sentence as dreck, for favoring the continuation of Israel as a Jewish state, one established by the United Nations in 1948, is not seeing it as “the embodiment of the Jewish people everywhere,” but as a refuge for Jewish people everywhere. Like many Americans of Jewish descent, I don’t see Israel as an embodiment of me or Jews as a whole. Goldberg is simply making this up.

But forget that statement. It’s more important to remember that the goal of BDS, often stated explicitly, is for the “right of return”. That is, those descendants of Palestinian Arabs who fled Israel (or were expelled for taking up arms against Jews) right after the state of Israel was announced by the UN, should be allowed to return to Israel. But of those fleeing in 1947 and 1948 (a total of about 700,000) did so at the behest of Arab countries themselves, who, planning to invade Israel (they did) after the state came into being, told Palestinian Arabs to leave so that the land would be cleared for the slaughter of those who remained—Jews.

That didn’t work out, of course. But now, by arguing that the descendants of those who left to facilitate Jew-killing should return, BDS—and Goldberg—are asking for at least 4 million Palestinian Arabs to flood Israel. All of us know that that would be the end of Israel, and lead to wholesale slaughter on both sides.  But that’s what BDS wants when they chant, “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea.” If that’s not anti-Semitism, I don’t know what is, for anti-Zionism as a “one-state” solution is a call for the extermination of not just the Jewish state, but also a recognition that Jews themselves will be exterminated.

Goldberg also makes the familiar and ridiculous claim that it’s Israel’s fault that we don’t have a two-state solution now:

A binational state might sound nice in theory, but in practice is probably a recipe for civil war [JAC: doesn’t she recognize that this is what BDS wants?] (Even the Belgians have trouble managing it.) The two-state solution appeared to offer a route to both satisfying Palestinian national aspirations and preserving Israel’s Jewish, democratic character.

Now, however, Israel has foreclosed the possibility of two states, relentlessly expanding into the West Bank and signaling to the world that the Palestinians will never have a capital in East Jerusalem. As long as the de facto policy of the Israeli government is that there should be only one state in historic Palestine, it’s unreasonable to regard Palestinian demands for equal rights in that state as anti-Semitic. If the Israeli government is going to treat a Palestinian state as a ridiculous pipe dream, the rest of us can’t act as if such a state is the only legitimate goal of Palestinian activism.

Yes, Netanyahu and Palestineare both making it very hard (in fact, almost impossible) to get that solution now, a solution that I favor. But historically it has been Palestinians, and Palestinians alone, who have foreclosed the possibility of two states!  Since 1948, when Israel came into being, the Palestinians have rejected peace negotiations eight times, and a two-state solution at least five times. The most favorable was the 2000 Camp David Summit, when Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat two states with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and a land bridge between Gaza and the West Bank. That was rejected by Arafat, and anyone with more than a few neurons recognizes who was responsible for the agreement’s demise. The reason was simple: Arafat simply did not want a two-state solution.

I have issues with other statements by Goldberg, but the above is my most important beef.  By favoring the BDS movement that wants a one-state solution, and arguing that the “right of return” is reasonable, Goldberg is calling for not only the end of Israel as a country, but a bloodbath. Many Palestinians are trained from birth to hate Jews, to think that killing them is a good deed, and to believe that dying in that attempt makes you a martyr. You’d have to be foolish to think that a Palestinian-Jewish “one state” solution, or the “right of return” (a “right” that’s untenable) is a viable solution. It’s a recipe for civil war, as Goldberg herself admits, and a bloodbath in which both Arabs and Jews would die, but the state would end up as Palestine. That is why this particular form of anti-Zionism is indeed anti-Semitism.

Do we have anything to fear from Tlaib and Omar? Not now, as there are only two pro-BDS Muslims in Congress. But their agenda (which, as far as I know, has been the case for both of them, as well as for oleaginous Linda Sarsour) is to get rid of Israel, and that is something we should fear.


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Thanks for that post. Clears up the terminology which can be sticky for the average non Jewish person.

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Antisemites RELY on the confusion. They sow it, nurture it, breathe life into it, then are appalled, shocked, when they are called on it.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. It’s a complex issue and too many people make their decision by relying on the word of charismatic figures like Sarsour, or those they assume know about the issues because they speak in an authoritative voice like Goldberg.

        Smart people reserve judgment until they have time to research the issue themselves, or find someone (like Jerry in this case) on whose analysis they can rely because of his track record.

        And the advantage of Jerry’s opinion is that he doesn’t make pronouncements without research, and corrects himself if he finds out he got something wrong. (Always a good sign.) I may not always agree with his opinion (though I do completely in this case), but I know I can rely on his facts.

  2. Malgorzata
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink


  3. Paul Coyne
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The Palestinians who fled or were expelled were made refugees. Do you oppose a) the return of ALL refugees or b) only those who happen to be Palestinian? If the answer is b) then you are applying bigoted logic that puts the rights of one ethnic/religious denomination above those of another. If a) then you are a monster.

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Nice. Bigot or monster. Nice guy, you.

      The Palestinains were refugees because they made a choice – they chose the wrong side in war they instigated. And since then they have advocated for the extermination of -not coexistence with- Israelis. They’ve bombed buses, cafes and airplanes. They’ve launched thousands of missiles into civilian areas, stabbed children to death, murdered athletes and thrown handicapped Jews off boats.

      So who are the monsters?

      • Paul Coyne
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        Cheap shots – you didn’t deal with the points. Do you not agree that refugee-haters are monsters? That those who apply bigoted logic are bigots?
        Do you believe that running away from barrel bombs and certain death is a real choice? Apply that logic to other instances of ethnic cleansing and you’ll see what a repellent idea it is.
        Nobody denies the violence you cite, and it is to be deplored. But what of ‘civilised Israel’ and its ‘restraint’? How many have died in Cast Lead? How many unarmed protesters have the snipers taken at the fences? Do you recall Deir Yassin?
        If the UN voted to hand over your home territory, would you meekly accept? I suspect not. I know I would not. But time has passed and we can’t simply wind back the clock. Guns and bombs will never provide the answer – this applies to both sides. And compromises have to be made. But creation of an Apartheid/Bantu setup is a deplorable outcome. Israel and its backer, the USA, hold all the cards. They have an opportunity to take a moral stance here, but they show no interest.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted December 11, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

          It really sounds like a repetition of main Arab propaganda point. UN didn’t vote to hand over Arab territory. League of Nation voted to out of collapsed Ottoman Empire give 22 states to Arabs and one to Jews (area about 0,2% of the Arab states).

          No Arab inhabitants of Israel would lose their homes if they didn’t attack Israel a day after it’s declaration of independence. Here you have some interesting quotation about how Palestinian Arabs lost their homes: https://pl.scribd.com/document/21367168/Arab-leaders-tell-Palestinians-to-Flee-in-1948.

          About the battle for Deir Yassin this might be news to you but this is well known and documented: ”Hazam Nusseibi, who worked for the Palestine Broadcasting Service in 1948, admitted being told by Hussein Khalidi, a Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate the atrocity claims. Abu Mahmud, a Deir Yassin resident in 1948 told Khalidi ’there was no rape,’ but Khalidi replied, ’We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.’ Nusseibeh told the BBC 50 years later, ’This was our biggest mistake. We did not realize how our people would react. As soon as they heard that women had been raped at Deir Yassin, Palestinians fled in terror’.”

          Overwhelming majority of people shot during riots (not peaceful protests!) on the Gaza-Israel border were members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. When you have ten thousand people going on your border with the aim of invading your country and kill your citizens the fact that you manage to kill almost exclusively armed thugs from terrorists organization shows quite a big dosis of restrain. You can compare it with what’s going on in France now where there is no leader of the protests shouting, ”We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies” – like Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas shouted rallying Gazans to go to this ”peaceful protest”.

          And enough was written here about Hamas using its own civilians as human shield and the reasons for the difference between killed Jews and killed Palestinians (who were on the attack). You do not seem to read any of them.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      There has never been “right of return” nowhere in the history of the world. Millions of Hindus who escaped from the territory of today’s Pakistan, and millions of Muslims who escaped from the territory of todays India do not have any right to return. Millions of Germans who were expelled from Poland and Czechoslovakia and millions of Poles who were expelled from today’s Ukraine and Lithuania do not have any right to return. Almost a million Jews who escaped or were expelled from Arab and Muslim countries do not have the right to return. So it was and so it is. Refugees who come to Europe and America from Middle East and Africa demand citizenship and the right to settle there, they do not demand “right of return”. And, according to UNHCR refugees should be settled in their host countries as speedily as possible. The status of “refugee” is not inherited by their children and grandchildren. Only Palestinian of some strange reason claim “right to return” not only for them (there are about 30,000 still living refugees from 1948) but their great grandchildren as well.

      • mikeyc
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        My grandad was given a choice for his participation in the Easter Rebellion – emigrate or prison. I want my family’s old estates in Ireland back. Think if I start bombing buses, stabbing Bobbies and launching missiles into the suburbs of London I will get Paul here to back my claim?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Me too – Ireland and Scotland. The MacPherson’s were run out of Scotland, resettled in Northern Ireland, booted to America then fled to Canada during the American Revolution. My Irish ancestors – who knows what happened to them but I think they came to Canada as “potato” Irish – driven out by a genocidal famine.

          • Kevin
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            If your grandfather was Irish, you can apply for Irish nationality. There are record numbers of UK citizens applying for Irish nationality due to the Brexit. I doubt that you will get your estates back.
            There was great confusion over nationality after Irish independence/partition: even resulting in the UK “Ireland Act”:
            which included the perplexing statement:
            “even though the Republic of Ireland was no longer a British dominion, it would not be treated as a foreign country for the purposes of British law.” There were Irish people living in the British Empire who, on return, had no clear right of citizenship, hence the new UK “Ireland Act”.

            “bombing buses, stabbing Bobbies and launching missiles into the suburbs of London”:

            land tenancy evictions, forced emigration,
            missmanagement of famine with prejudice against indigenous Catholics,
            execution under summary martial law (1916), use of artillery in Dublin to repress rebellion, shooting of unarmed demonstrators (Bloody Sunday 1972), internment without trial (1971-1975), denial of universal voting rights (until 1976), firebombing of houses/ethnic cleansing

            It is true that these methods you cited are deplorable, but when one side has massive superior force (as did the British in the Irish question), minorities will use whatever means they have available: this was true both of the Catholics/IRA and the Protestants/British Army, both sides commiting atrocities to more or less the same extent.

            I would note that the average Brit seems to think that the troubles were entirely caused by the IRA.
            They have no concept of the systematic abuse of civil rights and unequal treatment occuring after partition in Northern Ireland from 1916 to 1968 which then finally blew a fuse.

            I would also draw attention to the relatively good relations between the UK and Eire, notwithstanding all of the above.

            • mikeyc
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

              That’s alright, Kevin. I wasn’t serious about family estates back in the Old Country. I suspect the only thing my granddad left behind was an empty bottle of Tullamore Dew.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

                Pity that, otherwise we could toast the Arabs and the Jews and any other poor b**tard having trouble with his neighbours.

              • Brujo Feo
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

                “…Tullamore Dew.”

                Good godz. My father used to love that shit. I always thought of it like the style of drinking a shot of tequila and then chomping down on a lime. Except that the Dew is like taking a shot of whiskey and then shoving your face into a peat bog.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

                “… like taking a shot of whiskey and then shoving your face into a peat bog.”

                How much would be the freight for that, mate?

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            My mother’s side I believe is similar. The McFarland folks were kick out of Scotland to Ireland, I have been told. Do not know why. Then to the U.S. and eventually married a Schenck. That is why, when people say, oh you are German, I say, I don’t think so. Even my Father’s mother was named Anderson.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

              The English booted out the Scots to take their land and sent them to Ireland to annoy the Catholic Irish.

              • Dave
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

                Wasn’t it the Scottish king James VI (and I of England) who was largely responsible for the “plantation” of Scots protestants in Ireland?

                And when did the English ever “boot out” the Scots to take their land? I live in Scotland, and last time I looked it was still largely populated by Scots.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

                You mean James I of England ;). I should have said took the land of the Irish and shoved the Scots there. The Scots weren’t liked and many left for America, including my adoptive MacPherson family (my father was adopted, his birth father was Irish). They the. Fled for Canada during the American Revolution from Boston to Nova Scotia. It’s a story of constantly leaving. My mother’s family is the same – glee the French Revolution, flee Germany. Always leaving from somewhere.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

                So there you have it. I was a refuge from two countries and tried to take over the world from another one. Never could be satisfied.

              • Steve Pollard
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

                Sorry that is total bollocks. We didn’t ‘boot out the Scots’. At one time there was a policy of encouraging Lowland Scots to move to Ulster. They were delighted to do so. So it didn’t work out so well. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

                Well maybe not forceably boot out but certainly didn’t enjoy a bunch of foreigners showing up there. Enough that it was better to leave for the new world which didn’t exactly work out either.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:26 am | Permalink

              Moreover, Schenk is not uniquely German, there was a great Dutch speedskater Ard Schenk.

      • Robert Ladley
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Well said. it is indeed quite obvious to all what their agenda is.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        “Refugees who come to Europe and America from Middle East and Africa demand citizenship and the right to settle there …”

        Refugees who come to the United States receive refugee status. If they otherwise qualify, after a year they can apply for a “green card” (permanent-resident status). If they are granted a green card, and after residing in the US for a minimum of five years, they can (again, if they otherwise qualify) apply for US citizenship.

        Refugees, whether from the Middle East or Africa or anywhere else, have no right or ability to demand citizenship in the United States.

      • Kevin
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        “There has never been “right of return” nowhere in the history of the world.”


        “The right of return is a principle in international law which guarantees everyone’s right of voluntary return to or re-enter their country of origin or of citizenship.”

        Germany has a Right to Return:

        Spain allows descendants of Sephardi Jews expelled in 1492 to have citizenship after two years residence.

        Israel has a “Law of Return”

        It apparently applies only to Jews, most of whom are not actually “returning”.

        This law causes some polemic even within Israel. It also opens up Israel to accusations of institutionailsed discrimination by race, ethnicity or religion.


        I’m not taking a position on this, just pointing out some information.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          As often, the problem is semantics. There is a difference between the “right of return of a refugee” and the “right of return” of people of German ethnicity to Germany (this they have, but they don’t have the same right to return to Poland); people of Polish ethnicity to Poland (but they don’t have the right to return to Ukraine no matter how much grandmother is pining for Lwow from which she was expelled so long ago); and the “right of return” to Israel for Jews whether they are persecuted and need a safe haven (for which Israel was created) or simply want to live in Israel. It’s for the state to decide who they want to take in. The same words but two completly different phenomena.

    • Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      On the Hili Dialogue today there is a list of the ten logic commandments. You managed to break a slew of them in one short paragraph. Congratulations.

  4. Jayso
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I realize that some supporters of BDS may be anti-Semites, but I know that many are not. A number of Jews support the movement, including my father. You might check out the website for Jewish Voice for Peace to learn more about them. I personally am very conflicted about the movement, but as an atheist, I have a lot of trouble with the idea of supporting a Jewish state as opposed to a multi-ethnic secular one. I would never support a Christian state or any of the existing Islamic ones. I’ve been reading this website for a long time, and I often wonder how other atheists resolve this dilemma.

    • Historian
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      A multi-ethnic state sounds fine in theory; in practice such states are usually rift with conflict, including the United States. In Israel, such a state would mean that ultimately the Jews would be reduced to an oppressed small minority. Also, such a state would hardly be secular. The root problem is that two peoples claim a right to the same piece of land. This is why the problem has been intractable since Israel was established in 1948 despite the efforts of many statesmen to try to solve it. There is no end in sight and one can argue that the animosities over the decades have gotten worse, not better, particularly with the rise of Palestinian extremism and the dominance of right-wing governments in Israel. The future of this area remains bleak.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Which is why, I think, Israel may eventually have to carve out a state of Palestine and simply give it to the Palestinians, peace accord or no peace accord. However unfair it may be, the onus is on Israel, for it cannot survive indefinitely as a Jewish democracy under either the current circumstances or a one-state solution.

        Like you, I despair of ever seeing peace in the region. That goal seems more remote today than at any time in my adult memory.

        • Roger Lambert
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          ” Israel may eventually have to carve out a state of Palestine and simply give it to the Palestinians”

          Actually, Britain did exactly that when they carved the southern region of Palestine (originally, all of which was to become Israel) into two pieces, Arab Palestine and Jewish Palestine, later known as Trans-Jordan and Israel.

          The eastern border of Mandate Israel was exactly down the center of the Jordan River, hence the initial name of Jordan as “Trens-Jordan” ie, on the other side of the Jordan river.

          Trans-Jordan was created specifically as a Homeland for displaced Arab Palestinians (sound familiar?), and get this – to that end, Jews were not allowed to live there, and were in fact simply expelled with total loss of all their assets.There are still no Jews living in Jordan.

          This border was drawn in 1922, after the entire Arab world approved the formation of Israel and was the exact same border under International law in 1948 when Israel claimed independence and was attacked by multiple Arab armies.

          Under international law, the so-called West Bank and Gaza were and are officially within the borders of Israel. Rather puts a different light on the whole notion of just who is occupying who.

          The great majority of the Arabs living in the West Bank are Jordanians who moved there or were Arabs who were to be offered Israeli citizenship but were trapped there and then became Jordanian citizens during Jordans illegal occupation of these parts of Israel from 1948 until 1967.

          So, in large part, the “right of return” of these Arab Palestinians is the right to return to Jordan.In my opinion.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            That’s interesting, Roger, but a resolution does not self-evidently follow from it. Do you favor a one-state or two-state solution?

            • Roger Lambert
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

              I am the wrong person to ask. I am afraid I am completely right-wing on the subject. Probably the only topic on which I would characterize myself that way – usually I am to the left of Bernie Sanders.

              I am an atheist American Jew. I am strongly biased on behalf of the Jewish people and Israel.I believe Jews have the right to Israel as a national homeland. I believe Israel has the right to defend itself and to self-determination. I believe that the legitimate borders of Israel are as I describe them, above, and that the so-called Palestinians have no legitimate claim whatsoever to the West Bank or Gaza.

              I am amazed at the patience and ethic of Israel in the face of the 100-year campaign of lies, historical revisionism, double-dealing, violence and terror inflicted on them by their hostile Arab neighbors and the Palestinians within.

              But I also think this very patience, tolerance, and good faith of Israelis has gone on way too long and way too far. Every day that goes by puts them in a more precarious position. I think Israel needs to change its tactics.

              I think they need to harden their political and legal position on their border, and present the case that it is Israel that is being occupied, not the other way around. That all claims by the Palestinians for any lands within those borders are categorically rejected and will never again even be countenanced.

              I think they need to make the case that disgruntled West Bank Arabs true home is Jordan (or another country of origin)and that Jordan (or another country of origin)needs to take full financial and logistic responsibility for the emigration of willing Palestinians Arabs out of Israel. The same goes for Gazans and Egypt. (Sorry, Middle East countries, this is the price you pay for waging multiple wars of extermination and the 100-year intifada against Israel)

              I think they should outlaw all Arab political parties that do not recognize Israel’s right to exist or its borders, or that aid or abet terrorism, or that teach their school children lies about Israel or antisemitism.

              I think that any Arab Palestinians who do not agree to those conditions should be expelled and it should be the UN’s responsibility to resettle them and compensate them for property loss.

              Basically, I think that the unhappy Arabs within Israel should rightfully become the rest of the world’s problem, and no longer the problem of Israel to solve. And I do not think most the new host countries have any moral right to object – they all expelled Jews or worse, and they have an ethical debt to repay.

              I guess you see why I am not the best person to ask about this? LOL.

              • Steve Pollard
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

                Whether or not one might agree with every element of your analysis, that is a powerful argument. Thanks for putting it forward so eloquently.

                I might just add, as a footnote, that most Arab countries couldn’t give a stuff about the Palestinians for themselves, as was illustrated by Kuwait after GW1. They are mainly interested in using them as a tool in their ongoing opposition to the very existence of the state of Israel.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

                That may be, as Steve says, “a powerful argument,” but it is also a recipe for more-of-less permanent conflict — though I thank you for your candor.

        • max blancke
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          If Israel gave everything but one square mile to the Palestinians, The next day, they would start the campaign to drive the Jews out of that one mile.
          Unless there is a fundamental change in the Palestinian philosophy, there can be no peace while any Jew lives.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            That may well be, Max, but Israel would remain a Jewish democracy. You have an alternative solution?

            • Malgorzata
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

              It is a strange phenomenon that people are discussing so often and with such passion „the problem of Israel”, even when they are not Jews nor Palestinian Arabs. They are asking ”what’s the solution?” as if it were really their problem or if they were experts in international law or members of international organizations trying to solve the conflict. Where are similar discussions and questions ”what’s the solution?” for Cyprus problem? Who asks whether the Republic of Cyprus is democratic enough to exist? Nobody even ask such questions about Turkey and the Turkey-occupied part of Cyprus. And, after all, Cyprus and Greece (which is a part of the conflict) are members of European Union, and both Turkey and Greece are members of NATO. No, nobody is interested. Is it so that something must be done with the Jews?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

                What happens in the Levant, and more particularly between Israel and the Palestinians, is a potential flash point for the world. So I think it’s natural that those of us who are neither Jews nor Palestinians would pay attention to it. Do you really want non-Jewish Americans to cease paying attention to Israel’s well-being?

                And as for “Is it so that something must be done with the Jews?” — that was a question the world asked in 1948, and the answer was, thankfully, a Jewish homeland.

              • Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

                You might find a certain amount of availability huristics at play with the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. The attention it gets on the world stage via media etc. Jewish persecution history looms large for any familiar with the WW2 Nazi progrom.
                For those not so formally attached, the overarching desire to live in a more peaceful world is a pervasive sentiment and this conflict is a nauseating glitch in reaching this state and hence frustration.
                For the Palestinians it’s an exercise on how to eat yourself with no pudding. I would say the Israelis have more to lose and having to look skyward for incoming missiles on a sunny afternoon cant be the best way to exist either.

            • max blancke
              Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

              I wish I had the solution. I do know that appeasement is not going to work.

              What do you offer as a compromise to someone who wants to kill you or drive you into the sea? Offer to let them kill half of your people?

              BDS certainly sells itself as a compassionate movement against oppression, but that is just a sales pitch. BDS was founded by people who explicitly want Israel and the Jewish people obliterated. BDS is run today by people who call for the end of Israel.

        • Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          Israel did this with Gaza. However, the national goal of Palestinians is not creation of their state but destruction of Israel.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:34 am | Permalink

          “…have to carve out a state of Palestine and simply give it to the Palestinians.”
          Isn’t that what is de facto the situation now?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Also, I think Bibi and Jared Kushner and anybody else who supports it are pursuing a pipe-dream if they think that the path for resolving Israel’s Palestinian problem runs through Saudi Arabia.

    • Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      If you want a one-state solution, regardless of your own ethnicity, then I see that as anti-Semitism. JVP is pretty dire, like Students of Justice in Palestine. And I think Jews can be anti-Semitic; why not? Many of them are atheists and don’t have any religious investment.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        What about Jews, like our current ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who favor a one-state solution, Jerry?

        (Personally, I think a case can be made that Friedman’s an anti-Semite, of sort anyway, what with his traducement of Jews who favor a two-state solution as being “worse than the kopos.”)

        • Roger Lambert
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          I do not know his position, but it is not unknown to disallow non citizens the right to vote.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            Sure, non-citizens cannot vote in the United States. either. But we grant birth-right citizenship to all who are born within our borders. To deny the rights of citizenship to a native-born population within a country’s sovereign borders is the very definition of an apartheid state.

            I abhor the idea that Israel should ever become such.

      • Jayso
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Jerry, I respectfully disagree that Jews like my father who support a secular, one-state solution are anti-Semitic. They may be wrong, or naïve in their idealism, but that’s very different. My father is indeed a Jewish atheist, but I’m sure you can understand that he still feels he’s a Jew.

      • Curtis
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink


        I second Jayso’s comment. There are many people who truly believe that a one state solution where Jews and Muslims co-exist is possible. IMO, they are a combination of naive, foolish and uninformed but not anti-Semitic.

        I think you overestimate bigotry and underestimate ignorance and the desire to fit in.

        • Posted December 11, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          Well, perhaps, but then anti-Semitism is replaced with arrant ignorance. ANYONE who thinks that a one-state solution, in which Jews and Palestinians can leave in peace and harmony, is completely deluded.

          Maybe it’s better to be hopelessly deluded than to be anti-Semitic . . .

        • Posted December 11, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          Before 1948 many Jews disagree about the nature of the Jewish state (national or bi-national) and even whether there should be one. Many of them were within the Zionist movement. And of course they were not antisemites.
          However, to come 70 years later arguing that the tiny Jewish state should be dismantled is a very antisemitic proposition. There is not such a demand for any other country. Why should Israel be singled out?

          • Malgorzata
            Posted December 11, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

            The discussions among Jews were before the Holocaust, not after 1948. Most of the Jewish anti-Zionists disappeared in Auschwitz and the Zionists argument – that Jews are not safe without own state – was confirmed by reality. Then there was no Jewish state with over six million Jews. Now the Jewish state is the reality. To be anti-Zionist means to condemn these over six million Jews either to death or exile. For me (and for many others) this is pure antisemitism.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted December 11, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            correction: it should read “not before 1948”

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        “And I think Jews can be anti-Semitic; why not? Many of them are atheists and don’t have any religious investment.”

        That implies that Jewishness is inextricably tied up with Jewish religion. (And I have wondered how or why there would ever be such a thing as a ‘secular Jew’? Why bother?)

        I can’t think of any other group where ‘ethnic identity’ (or whatever term one might call it) is so tangled up with religion.


      • Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        I agree, and find it sad when a Jew advocates policies that would destroy Israel in order to appease non-Jews.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I know Jews that support BDS and Linda Sarsour. Go figure. It amuses me that me, the atheist, seems to be the one that argues for Israel’s right to exist.

      Israel is secular state however. There are a lot of atheists there as well but it is a struggle with the extremest minority that want to make it a theocracy.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      It’s quite strange to paint Israel as the opposite of a multi-ethnic state. On top of over 20% non-Jewish population (of which the biggest group are Muslim Arabs, but there are other minorities as well: Christians, Armenians, Greeks, Druzes, B’ahai, you name it – even Vietnamese “boat refugees”) you have Jewish population which is a mix indeed. This country managed to integrate German university professors and almost illiterate Yemeni farmers, architects and businessmen from Bagdad and seamstresses from Polish villages. You have there people from all corners of the world with every hues of skin color, different languages (on top of Hebrew), different cuisines, different clothing. It’s at least as diverse society as U.S. and much more so than Europe.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I would not normally support a state based on religion, but I do in the case of Israel because of the widespread and historic persecution of Jews.

      I don’t support BDS because it includes as a goal wiping out the existence of Israel as a country. I understand why many Jews would want to oppose the way the Israeli government is currently managing the issues re Palestine, but imo BDS is not the way to go.

      The disestablishment of Israel is an original goal of Islam, though, of course, not all Muslims nowadays agree with it. According to Muhammad, all land in the world, but especially in the Middle East belonged to Muslims from the beginning, and Jews were/are interlopers.

      The opinion of conservative Islam is that the land of Israel must be RETURNED to them, and it’s conservative Muslims who never let a two state solution succeed. They consider it a betrayal of God.

      As usual, religion is the problem. It’s also why the current Israeli government isn’t helping. Netanyahu needs the support of conservative Jews to stay in power, and they are making up a bigger and bigger proportion of the population because they don’t use contraception. Conservative Jews, like conservative Muslims, oppose a two-state solution.

      • Jayso
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for addressing the issue! I see your reasoning. I also wonder if it would be possible to establish a secular state that guarantees both the right for all Jews to immigrate at the same time as the Palestinian right to return. But I guess that’s a solution that no one but atheists would want.

        • Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          I somehow cannot grasp Palestinians and secular state in one sentence.

        • Kevin
          Posted December 10, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          I somehow cannot grasp Israelis and secular state in one sentence.

          • Roger Lambert
            Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            But that really is what Israel is – a secular state. It is simultaneously a national Homeland for Jews as well as a democracy.

            It is decidedly not a theocracy. Its laws are not based on the Old Testament. And it fosters religious pluralism. Members of all religions and backgrounds participate in the Knesset and have religious freedom.

            Jews who want to emigrate to Israel are definitely given favor compared to non Jews. But that does not make Israel a theocracy or even less of a secular state.

            No doubt things would be different if the history of the region were different.But, under the circumstances, Israel always bends over backwards to accommodate, to be tolerant, to be ethical. And believe it or not, a lot of Arab noncitizens who live in Israel ( including the “occupied territories”) appreciate it.

            • Kevin
              Posted December 13, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

              @Roger Lambert
              “It is simultaneously a national Homeland for Jews It is simultaneously a national Homeland for Jews as well as a democracy.”

              Please note also that the UK is also NOT a secular democratic state either: Anglicanism, of which the monarch is the titular head,is the state religion and the upper house of parliament is made up of unelected members.
              However it is not defined as a “homeland for Anglicans” or even that the “Nation of Anglicans” exists.

              Jewishness is a SINGLE TERM classification embracing BOTH ethnicity or religion and which cannot be defined geographically. It is an AND/OR distribution in terms of Set Theory (that is two overlapping sets creating three subsets: a)purely secular (non-religious)
              b)purely religious (non-ethnic)
              c)both ethnic and religious.

              This is an extremely unusual identifier in that practically no other extensive group attempts to define itself in this way: other group classifications are EITHER religious OR ethnic.

              Jewishness also embraces ALL members of the group: all secular Jews, all ethnic jews, all religious non-ethnic Jews. Attempts are made to define this group as the Jewish Nation when it is really three distinct groups (or more correctly two overlapping groups).

              Christians or Muslims cannot be defined as a single ethnic group.

              My point here is that your description of “national Homeland for Jews” is implicitly a definition based on BOTH ethnicity and religion.
              Israeli law makes reference to the Jewish State: please note here that this is not stated as the Israeli State but the JEWISH State.

              Israeli nationality does not exist under Israeli law: citizens are defined by ethnic affiliation (“Israeli” being excluded in favour of “Jewish”). I would note here that Jewish is NOT an ethnic affiliation: a person may be a religious Jew and not an ethnic one.
              It is obligatory in Israel to carry an ID card defining “ethnic affiliation”
              Note here the Court pronouncement:
              ” An unanimous court ruled against him arguing that “there is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people.”.
              There is an implicit claim here that Jewishness defines nationhood. That is equvalent as a Greek Orthodox person claiming to have common nationhood with the UK because they are both Christian.

              In the rest of the world, nationhood relates to a well defined GEOGRAPHICAL area, usually containing various ethnic groups with various religions.

              I do not see that ANY state that is defined as “a homeland for [ethnic/religious group]” and which conflates ethnicity and religion and which favours certain groups under law can be defined either as secular or democratic.

              Similarly I cannot agree that a state which defines itself as a homeland to a group which includes in its definition the membership of ONE particular religion/ethnicity can:
              a) separate state and religion
              b) treat people evenhandedly in relation to ethnicity or religion
              c) be considered a secular democratic state.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 13, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

                Kevin, you seem to quarell with history. Historically Jews were a tribe with their own unique religion. There were many such tribes in the world and all had their own religion. There are still such tribes in Africa and Asia. The only difference is that they remained small tribes without any influence on the world while Jews grew into a nation and on top of that their religion gave rise to two great missionary religions: Christianity and Islam. Judaism was never a missionary religion – Jews didn’t have the ambition to convert others to their faith. Now, the two daughter religions couldn’t stand that that the parent religion didn’t die, as a parent should, and for centuries tried to murder its followers. So now, because of historical circumstances we have in the world only one nation with a unique religion and you just can’t accept it. You can’t accept the fact that yes, there is a Jewish nation which encompasses followers of Judaism, atheists and agnostics. That the word Jew means two things: a member of Jewish nation and a follower of Judaism but a Jew is a Jew in both cases. So, do you agree with so many Christians and Muslims that this freak should be eradicated?

              • Kevin
                Posted December 13, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

                “So, do you agree with so many Christians and Muslims that this freak should be eradicated?”
                Who said anything like that?
                You are really fond of straw men aren’t you?
                You are also very fond of insinuations of antisemitism aren’t you?
                Easy way to neutralise criticism of Israel isn’t it?
                Evidently Jews and Israelis can negatively critique Israel or Zionism, but Gentiles cannot: that is not even-handed.

                “That the word Jew means two things: a member of Jewish nation and a follower of Judaism but a Jew is a Jew in both cases.”

                You prove my case (apart from your statements here being inaccurate): you admit two different definitions: religious and ethnic (nation).

                A Jew is NOT by definition a follower of Judaism as you state.
                Neither is a Jew necessarily an ethnic Jew (member of Jewish nation as you state): he may be a religious Jew by conversion.
                There are three groups there, and they do not have a single attribute in common to all three.
                I tried to explain this by set theory.

                a) ethnic but not religious
                b) ethnic and religious
                c) religious but not ethnic

                a, b and c have no attribute common to all three.
                a) and c) have NOTHING in common.

                That’s the same as defining a car as
                a)having wheels AND an engine
                b)having wheels and no engine
                c) having an engine and no wheels.

                What do you MEAN by nation?
                Belonging to a certain ethnicity/religion or combination of such does not mean belonging to some hypothetical “nation”.

                That’s equivalent to claiming that all the Anglosaxon Anglicans (including secular Anglosaxons and non-Anglosaxons who are Anglicans only by conversion)in the world form a single nation and then using it as pretext to claim a right to live in England again after they have been spread around the world for hundreds of years and England itself has been overidden by some other ethnic group.

      • Roger Lambert
        Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        “I understand why many Jews would want to oppose the way the Israeli government is currently managing the issues re Palestine, but imo BDS is not the way to go.”

        People perhaps should be careful what they wish for. Netanyahu is by no means hard right-wing. There are a lot of folks to his right, and they have plenty of support in the population. I think he is a very good statesman and a moderate. It’s just that the moderate position is hardening.

        My perception is that Israelis are coming to understand that the long-term problem is that the main Palestinian political entities do what they do because their long-term goal is the removal of Israel and its Jews from the map. That they still believe that Israel has not won, has no right to exist, that eventually they will wear the b******s down. This is why they never compromise – they do not really want peace.

        But a lot of the Arabs living in Israel DO want peace. It’s their government which is radicalized.

        So, the new strategy of moderate Israelis is to claim victory. To stress that Israel is going nowhere, that it too is ready to fight for 1000 years. And I think less Israelis are willing to trade land for a promise of peace. As well, more Israelis are taking the stance that Judea and Samaria rightfully belong to Israel, but also that they are crucial to its defense. There is no way Israel is going to give up that land. That is a hardening of the moderate position, I think. But there is so much I do not know about or understand about internal Israeli politics I may well be completely off-base here.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 13, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          I mostly agree with you. Netanyahu is a moderate, as you say, but he needs the political support of those to his right to stay in power, thus he panders to them. An example is just before the last election where he made that really nasty speech in Hebrew to a conservative audience, hoping it would escape the attention of the English-speaking overseas journos. Of course, it didn’t. He tried halfheartedly denying it, but that didn’t really work. Anyway, it got him the votes he was needing when it was looking like the left would win the election.

          Too many Muslims see accepting Israel as going against what Allah wants from then according to the Qur’an, and so it’s all but impossible for a two state solution agreement to be reached. There is always going to be a really large proportion of the Muslim world who just won’t accept it for religious reasons. And if you believe that you’ll lose your place in heaven, that’s a pretty big disincentive to agreeing.

          As usual, Religion Poisons Everything.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:09 am | Permalink

            Reply to Kevin:
            Either I’ve written in a very unclear way or the rather unique situation of Jews is so complicated that it’s very difficult to fathom. One is a Jew even if one is an atheist without any knowledge of Hebrew or Yiddish , and one is a Jew after conversion to Judaism even if one’s family were Irish Catholics as long back as the human memory goes. Both constitute one nation and both can be persecuted by antisemites. I understand that you would like to have clearer limits to nationhood but in the case of Jews no such clear limits exist because of historical contingencies.

            It never matters who is doing demonization, delegitimization and treats Israel with double standards. Anybody – Jew or Gentile who does it is an antisemite. There are plenty of Jewish antisemites and they are a great comfort and fig leaves for Gentile antisemites who just adore them. Criticism of Israeli politics, of Israeli government, Israeli culture, Israeli cuisine, Israeli whatever is not antisemitizm, no matter who is criticizing. Demonization, delegitimization and double standards towards Israel is antisemitizm, no matter of the ethnic, racial, national and religious situation of the doer of these three ”Ds”. This shouldn’t be so difficult to fathom

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted December 15, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

              Well said Malgorzata.

            • Kevin
              Posted December 15, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

              “Either I’ve written in a very unclear way or the rather unique situation of Jews is so complicated that it’s very difficult to fathom.”
              It’s not difficult to fathom. It’s just that I disagree.
              You are using the argument that Jewishnes is an ethnoreligious group.

              Oxford dictionary:
              ethnoreligious group is an ethnic group whose members are also unified by a common religious background.

              A secular Jew is not is any sense united by ANY “common religious background”.
              A converted Jew is only connected to the group by religious assimilation.

              EVERY member of a “nation” has to have THE common factor which defines the nation itself.
              A Christian is defined as a member of the Christian group (Christian nation if you like).

              “One is a Jew even if one is an atheist without any knowledge of Hebrew or Yiddish , and one is a Jew after conversion to Judaism even if one’s family were Irish Catholics as long back as the human memory goes.”
              The latter is true only in terms of the rules of the Jewish faith. If that person is a black African his ethnicity is more correctly black African even after conversion.
              Ethnicity is such a wide definition as to be fairly meaningless: secular, Ashkenazy, gay vegetarian is also possible (religion, religion, customs and eating habits are acceptable in Britain).

              Jews themselves have tried to claim that they have genetic origins in the fertile crescent so they place the argument in terms of race(that is genetic): your argument for acquired ethnicity by assimilation/conversion is in contradiction to this (this would not be racial but ethnic). If the ethnic argument is correct then
              and not based on genetics, then the claim of Jews to have originated from the Fertile Crescent is not relevant since Jew is defined as as ethno-religious and independent of race/genetics.

              You can’t have it both ways.

              Also you claimed that Judaism was not proselytory, but you are now arguing for assimilation of ethnicity by conversion.

              “Both constitute one nation and both can be persecuted by antisemites”.
              They constitute two nations: (A) Jewish by genetic or racial identity and (B) Jewish by religion.
              These two groups overlap but do not form a single group with any identifiable ethno-religious coherence.

              Persecution by ant-semites may be of two separate types: persecution on basis of race (that is the first group A and constitutes racism). Persecution on basis of religion (that is the second group (B) and constitutes.

              “I understand that you would like to have clearer limits to nationhood but in the case of Jews no such clear limits exist because of historical contingencies.”
              Nationhood (the sense used here) is generally an abstract argument which has little significance as a legal argument.

              Nation (in the sense of United Nations has a clearly defined sense which is actually geopolitical).

              Nationhood in the Biblical sense related to a local tribe with a particular religion. However this tribal group (like all others) was formed by genetic and cultural drift: splitting off from the Canaanite group and evolution of a monotheistic religion.
              After 1500 years (perhaps 100 generations), claiming Jewishness is suspect because of a certain Haplotype only indicate that ONE ancestor 1500 years ago came from the Fertile Crescent. Unfortunately, in 100 generations we have 2^100 ancestors.

              In any case leaving the area (as most Jews did) does not give much credence to their rights to the land after 1500 years.

              The main problem that I have with the idea of nationhood is that it is an artificial construct which can be manipulated to mean what you want it to mean, to give the impression of coherence to a group which is not coherent.
              Add another variable, eye colour, and you have the blue-eyed Jewish nation and the brown-eyed Jewish nation. Not very meaningful.

              As a construct, the idea of Jewish Nation in the modern context, is really a political position created and promoted as the central argument of modern Zionism (19th century onwards), different from the biblical, tribal notion of nation.

              Not agreeing with a political argument does NOT constitute antisemitism: antisemitism is prejudice against race or religion. NOT against a political claim made on the basis of race or religion.

              Political/Nationalist claims to territory based on ethnicity and ideology/religion make me extremely uncomfortable. WWII started this way.

              Please don’t think I am anti-semitic: I have very good Jewish friends (mostly secular) who are not Zionists either.
              I am only trying to answer the question of the thread:

              anti-zionism ant-semitism

              • Kevin
                Posted December 15, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

                typo: anti-zionism ant-semitism

              • Kevin
                Posted December 15, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

                typo: the web site is filtering out special characters:
                anti-zionism does not equal anti-semitism.
                one is political applied specifically to Israel, the other ethno-religious and applied to Jewishness in general.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 16, 2018 at 2:16 am | Permalink

                Unfortunately, Jews (because of their history and because of millenia old hatred of Jews) are not such a neat group that it fits into your definitions. The majority of Jews are ethnic Jews and by that I mean that genetic studies show their origin in the Middle East and show that Ashenazi, Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews have genetically more in common than they have in common with the populations in which they lived until they were expelled or escaped. At the same time it is the only group of humans in the whole world who are followers of a unique religion, Judaism. The admixture of people who converted to Judaism is rather small and it is up to Jews if they want to welcome such ”conversos” and treat them as members of their tribe. You do not have a vote in this matter. This group was persecuted in every country they lived in and when the culmination of horrors came in the form of Holocaust, it didn’t matter whether you were religious Jew, atheist, vegetarian, Catholic nun or protestant pastor. If there were Jews among your ancestors you burned in Auschwitz. So this group with ethnic and historical roots in the Middle East, which had a state there which was destroyed two thousand years ago by Romans, which was persecuted and decimated for centuries, now has a country in which they are not a hated minority, in which they can defend themselves so the words ”Never again” may have real meaning. And you, your Jewish friend and other anti-Zionist think that this is all wrong because of a definition of ethnoreligious group in Oxford dictionary. With your line of reasoning ”Never again” is just an empty slogan.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

                I know all the arguments for Israel, the horror of the Holocaust, “Never again”.

                I told you that I am arguing about the definitions of antisemitism, anti-Zionism, anti-Israel and how those definitions relate to practical reality: particularly the protection of rights, the right to express opinions and have open political discussion.

                I agree entirely that Jews, like anybody else, require:
                a) protection from racism and
                b) should have their right to practice their religion
                These include the prevention of the most serious manifestations such as physical violence and genocide).

                However, I do not agree that they should be defined as a “special case”. They are entitled, in my view, to the same protection under law as any other, NO MORE NO LESS.
                They also have the obligation to respect the same rights of others.

                I do NOT agree that political arguments (such as claims to territory, statehood based on race or religion) are used and conflated with civil rights based protecting race and ethniicity (as is the case in the IHRA definition).

                What I object to is the attempt to make a “special case” and legislate for it. Is not acceptable under law that a Jew is given special advantage as a result of questionably biased definition of antisemitism (the IHRA document has been highly controversial in this respect, since it specifically attempts to shield Israel from political critique and various other issues).

                This one page document mentions the State of Israel or Israeli some nine times.
                The State of Israel is a political entity, with disputed issues in the UN, it is not recognised by many members, and is the subject of a disproportionate number of UN condemnatory resolutions (45 up to 2013: 49% of the total country-specific resolutions).

                In my view, the State of Israel as a political entity, should not be included in ANY definition of antisemitism. A different issue totally.

                The IHRA document is intended as a working guideline and has not been tested under law. It does not for example define what a Jew is. It does not define what “right to self determination” is. It attempts to protect the State of Israel from accusations of racism (this would, if validated, enable Israel to commit racist actions with impunity).

                Because the IHRA is flagrantly pro-Zionist and pro-Israel (it defines specific rights and legal exemptions to Israel based on territorial claims, ethnicity and religion under the guise of regulation of racist behaviour) it is ironically racist in itself (conferring specific political rights, exemptions and protection to Israel).
                The IHRA document is racist.

                The IHRA defintion is not politically impartial and effectively denies the right to hold a non-Zionist position (more specifically a non-Israeli position).
                It exceeds its remit: it strays from a document of definition to a document enforcing political views (it effectively makes the pro-Zionist position the only one acceptable within its definition – no space even for dispute).
                The IHRA document is anti-democratic.

                Fortunately, the document is a guideline with no legal weight. It has not been tested. My view is that it is oppressive of opinion, incompatible with democratic debate and should be thrown out as worthless.
                (If I were given a technical document at work written and expressed like the IHRA, I would reject it: confused thinking, poorly expressed)
                It needs rethinking and rewriting (the writer of the current document is unknown: either does not understand the issues or is deliberately devious with a political agenda).
                Strangely, the document seems to have been progressively modified (by whose authority or consensus is unclear) and those entities (political parties, governments, local councils etc) that have ratified it have ratified a number of different versions across the board so there is no consistency of content between parties.

                Such a definition will have MANY opponents (not least because of its sloppiness and internal contradictions) because of its intrinsic pro-Israeli and pro-Zionist bias.

                Paradoxically, as written, it will likely worsen the situation, polarise and harden attitudes and entrench views even further, making any agreement of a solution even harder.

                Now we also have :
                Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People

                Nation state defined by race and Hebrew Law?

                I would genuinely like to see a working solution for Israel/Palestine, however I do not see it being reached by these undemocratic methods.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 16, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

                ”They are entitled, in my view, to the same protection under law as any other”

                For two thousand years Jews were subjects to laws of the countries they resided in. As you say, you know the results. For minorities, be it Jews, Yazidis, Kurds or any other, the only guarantee that they will not be a subject to persecution or genocide is the ability to defend itself. During the times of Evian conference Jews had the same rights in Europe and America as any other human beings (of course, with the exception of Germany, where these rights were legaly taken away from them by a democratically voted government). It didn’t help them much.

                ”IHRA document has been highly controversial in this respect, since it specifically attempts to shield Israel from political critique”

                From IHRA document: “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

                ”The State of Israel is a political entity […] not recognised by many members”

                You seem to be in the company of really democratic and free societies which support your anti-Zionism and refuse to recognize Israel: 31 UN member states do not recognize Israel. These include 18 members of the Arab League: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. A further 10 are members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Chad, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Niger, and Pakistan. Other countries which do not recognise Israel include Bhutan, Cuba, and North Korea.

                ”and is the subject of a disproportionate number of UN condemnatory resolutions (45 up to 2013: 49% of the total country-specific resolutions).”

                And, of course, you do not have any suspicions that this ”disproportionality” may stem from any kind of bias.

                ”the State of Israel as a political entity, should not be included in ANY definition of antisemitism. A different issue totally.”

                Well, since over half of world’s Jews live in Israel and overwhelming majority of Jews in Diaspora support Israel, it’s for them to define antisemitism. Not for you. You would never dare to tell black Americans how they are to define racism directed against them but you feel free to tell Jews what they may or may not think is antisemitic.

                And now to the Basic Law: Nation-State and Jewish People:

                “national home for the Jewish people” Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917

                “The Arab State and Palestine in all their relations and undertakings shall be controlled by the most cordial goodwill and understanding, and to this end Arab and Jewish duly accredited agents shall be established and maintained in the respective territories.” Agreement between Emir Feisal Ibn al-Hussein al-Hashemi, and the President of the World Zionist Organization, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, January 3, 1919

                “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” San Remo Resolution, April 25, 1920

                “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country” League of Nations, July 24, 1922

                “The High Commissioner shall be guided by the statement of British policy in Palestine presented to Parliament by Our Command on the 1st day of July, 1922. While ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, he shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage close settlement by Jews on the land,” Palestine Order in Council, August 10, 1922

                The mandatory Power shall use its best endeavours to ensure than an area situated in the territory of the JewishState, including a seaport and hinterland adequate to provide facilities for a substantial immigration, shall be evacuated at the earliest possible date and in any event not later than 1 February 1948…Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in part III of this plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948. The boundaries of the Arab State, the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem shall be as described in parts II and III below. The period between the adoption by the General Assembly of its recommendation on the question of Palestine and the establishment of the independence of the Arab and Jewish States shall be a transitional period. United Nations General Assembly, November 29, 1947

                I don’t think I need to comment the above statemets about Jewish National State.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 16, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

                “And, of course, you do not have any suspicions that this ”disproportionality” may stem from any kind of bias.”

                Of course, you do not have any suspicions that this ”disproportionality” may stem from political rather than antisemitic motives.

                Malgorzata, you continually fail to grasp the arguement that I am making:
                Zionism is POLITICAL.
                Antisemitism is a question of PROTECTION RIGHTS of ethnicities and religions. Not a political argument.
                When I say that free political discourse includes the right to criticise Israel that is a question of a right, not as you insist on taking it, that I am criticising Israel: it is that the right to criticise Israel on ANY political issue is fundamental.

                You repeatedly take this as an anti-Israel critique, and spew forth your views on Zionism.

                It does not matter what the Balfour Agreement says or the history of Israel is. That is not what I am discussing: I am discussing definitions and the right to hold views and discuss them.

                I was making a point about the difference between Zionism as a political position and antisemitism as a rights issue and the right to discuss and debate.

                To conflate anti-semitism with ant-Zionism, is, as I stated, racist (pro ethnic Jew, pro-Zionist) and anti democratic (stifles discussion).

                Your cherry-picking about the point in the IHRA conecerning right to criticise Israel is irrelevant because Israel should not be mentioned in ANY definition of antisemitism because Israel is a specific POLITICAL entity.


                The IHRA seeks also to protect Israel from accusation of Racism, which as I pointed out, is not reasonable.
                Any Nation State which defines itself according to race and religion (as Israel does as evidenced by the new “Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People” Law) is intrinsically racist.
                While that law stands, I am afraid that “the State of Israel and the Jewish State are a racist endeavour”.
                The above is true in my view: racism cannot protect itself by coverup claims of antisemitism.
                Jews have bee subjected to appalling racism, they should be capable of better.

                A people does not define what prejudice against itself constitutes beyond contributing opinion. Any meaningful concept of prejudice is not to be defined by the group concerned (in this case Jews) as you claim but by general consent of all concerned and due legal process.
                The idea that Zionist Jews or the “Jewish State”, as you imply, should define what antisemitism is bizarre. Its intrinsically biased.
                I would go for definitions defined by law, national or international.

                Your recital of the history of Israel/Palestine is not addressing the issue that I am making at all.
                It seems to me that you are not getting my argument, but just respond with a knee-jerk pro-Zionist diatribe because you think I am attacking Zionism: as I told you, that is a strawman.
                It just takes you off point.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 1:47 am | Permalink

                Life is too short to continue this meaningless discussion. To me (and, thankfully, to so many other people) stance which – if realized – would lead to murder or exile of over 6 million Jews is pure, undiluted and unaltered antisemitism aka hatred of Jews.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

                “Life is too short to continue this meaningless discussion.”
                In what way meaningless?

                “To me (and, thankfully, to so many other people)”
                unfortunately not to many millions in the Arab world, whose grievances against Israel are mainly political rather than anti-semitic.
                (antisemitism will exist in the region, just as Israeli anti-Arabism or anti-Palestinianism will exist by now).
                The root causes which nurture it are political, in part due to the actions of the State of Israel: it would be the same if Israel were a state of Jehova’s Witnesses).

                “stance which – if realized – would lead to murder or exile of over 6 million Jews is pure, undiluted and unaltered antisemitism aka hatred of Jews.”
                The Holocaust was a European problem whose consequences were dumped by European colonialism in the face of the mainly Arab Middle East for a series of political reasons.
                Israel has nuclear weapons (the only such power in the area) and is supported by US weapon technology, massive aid and US UN veto: nobody is going to murder 6 million Jews under that scenario. One overriding cause for international concern is that Israel might actually be stupid enough to use its atomic weapons (against antisemites naturally).

                In what way is this “unaltered antisemitism aka hatred of Jews”?

                You use the “antisemitism” accusation yet again as shield against recognition of the political attitudes and mistakes made by Israel both in the past and present (deflecting responsibility, scapegoating, siege mentality).

                You did not answer the accusation of Israel’s inherent racism due to its recent Jewish Nation Law. Or the attempt to favour Israel by using a racist, Zionist definition of antsemitism (inclusion of Israel in the IHRA document of antisemitism is a politically motivated distortion giving advantage on the basis of race and religion and is therefore intrinsically racist).

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

                Meaningless, because you will never convince me, with all your sophisticated arguments, that Israel is a rasist endeavour and that Zionism is anything else than a view that Jews, like any other nation, should have a chance to live in peace in their own country. Meaningless, because I will never convince you that the blame for this conflict is not on the Jewish side: from the very beginning Jews were trying to come to agreement with Arab inhabitants of the land. Every one who welcomed them was killed by the forces of Hitler’s admirer, Hajj Amin Al-Husseini. A few days ago a Palestinian Arab who sold a house to a Jew was killed by „unknown perpetrators”. Another one is sitting in Palestinian Authority prison, accused of the same crime – selling a house to a Jew – which is punished by death according to the penal code of Palestinian Authority. While I see it as a symbol of deep hatred towards Jews, you may see it (like so many do) as a „just fate of the traitor who suport occupation”. I will never convince you that the root causes are not political but religious and antisemitic. For me the massacres Jews experienced in Arab lands long before not only Israel was established but even before the birth of modern Zionist movement are quite telling. But not for you. So I think my time can be better used for more meaningful tasks than discussing with you.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

                You have done it again: sidestepped the issue by churning out another pro-Zionist diatribe supporting Israel.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

                I do not doubt that you will get over it and continue with your views inherited from Soviet and Arab propaganda, not paying attention to history nor to reality. Good luck to you.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

                “Soviet and Arab propaganda”
                Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas.

                I suppose Zionist/Israeli propaganda does not exist? You should know, it’s apparently your daily diet.

              • Sarah
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

                Sorry for interrupting, but my eye was caught by: “A people does not define what prejudice against itself constitutes beyond contributing opinion.” Priceless! Really priceless.
                The same arrogant attitude leads white people to tell black people what isn’t offensive, or men to decide for women what women should overlook because it shouldn’t offend them. We’ve seen how that works, too. People know what they find offensive without instruction by outsiders.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

                “A people does not define what prejudice against itself constitutes beyond contributing opinion.”

                The same arrogant attitude leads white people to tell black people what isn’t offensive, or men to decide for women what women should overlook because it shouldn’t offend them.”

                I’ll give you an example of what happens when an ethnic minority/majority defines what is offensive to itself or what constitutes a prejudicial view.

                Islam does not tolerate (and finds offensive) visual depiction of Allah, discussion of the Prophet’s prediliction for underaged girls, non-conformity to the heterosexual norm, women apearing in public with their faces covered and a whole bunch of other things.

                If an ethnic group is allowed to define what prejudice is and it is in a position to impose them the end result is legal action in an Austrian court claiming offense that Mohomed was a paedophile (don’t offend my religion). (Discussed in another WEIT thread), murder of gays, murder of apostates, muder for adultery (especially women).

                Muslims find homosexuals “offensive” to themselves and to their God, so in extreme cases they kill them.
                As a result of “offensive” cartoons, Muslims committed the Paris shootings.

                “People know what they find offensive without instruction by outsiders.”
                So what. You are not protected against ALL and ANY offense.
                An evangelical might live next to an abortion clinic and be incensed by it. It does not give them the right to murder the staff (who are living within the law).

                In the case of Jews, the IHRA document seeks to define antisemitism by including political issues such as Zionism, which effectively means that having certain political views contradictory to Zionisn become defined as anti-semitic.
                The definition allows only for one political view: pro-Zionist.
                This is what happens when a group defines prejudice against itself. It defines itself as a “special case” and seeks advantage and authority, which it will then abuse by imposing it on others.

                When such a group as the Israelis (note I specify Israeli and not Jewish) attains the majority and constitutionally enshrines its own ethnicity ( racial, linguistic and religious) as the preferential group, (as it did recently with its new Jewish Nation State Law) that is intrinsically racist.

                That is where I find it “bizarre” that anyone can think that an ethnic group should define what prejuduce against itself means. It is a recipe for other prejudice against others.

                Everyone has a right to practice their own religion. They cannot impose it on others. Their religious ideas (often extremely bizarre and cranky) must be subject to critique (like any idea). Statements not inline with their religious views may well be offensive to them, but they are not prejudice. Religious claims (such as claims to land because of a special covenant with God) have no weight under any logical legal process: they do have weight under religious Zionism however.

                Certainly, a group, whites, blacks, men and women can ALL decide what is offensive to them personally: they may have to tolerate that offense. What is acceptable by them personally, is not what defines the law. The law is defined by the society in which they live and hopefully open to contributory debate, as I said. We all have to tolerate offense from others (within the law).

                As I said they can contribute their opinion to the legal process.

                Nobody is protected from ALL offence.

                I find it “priceless” that you might think otherwise.

              • Sarah
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

                Kevin, I understand your argument, but you are confusing an emotional response with actions resulting from it and with legal remedies resulting from, or supportive of, those actions. I agree that touchy Muslims are a problem in non-Muslim societies (and in Muslim societies, too, for that matter), but the solution is not to tell them their emotions are invalid.

              • Kevin
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

                “you are confusing an emotional response with actions resulting from it and with legal remedies resulting from, or supportive of, those actions.”
                I don’t think I am confusing anything!
                Can you give me an example of what you mean?

                If a religious Zionist claims that Jews are entitled to the land of Palestine because he has a covenant with God, and I then disagree, he may then claim that I am denying the right of the Jewish People to self determination or to attain their destiny as prophesied by God. The fact is that I am denying a territorial claim based on somebody’s religion, irrespective of the specific religion or territory.

                This is obviously not ant-semitism. However the IMRA document as written gives credence to the Jewish People’s right to self determination.

                In this case the person concerned may have the emotional response that he is being treated anti-semitically. He obviously is not (purely religious based claims to territory of this type are obviously delusional: the “God says so argument”).

                My point here is that the emotional response of this type is invalid (both psychologically and legally). Its all in the person’s head.

                “the solution is not to tell them their emotions are invalid.”
                In the example that I gave you, his emotions ARE invalid, though he may unreasonably feel that he is being victimised: he may even feel that he is persecuted or victim of racial descrimination or hatred.

              • Sarah
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

                Interesting. Which of your own emotions are valid? How do you know? Do you wait for a consensus of other people before you can tell?

              • Kevin
                Posted December 17, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

                The consensus will relate to what is socially or legally acceptable.
                The internal validity of your thinking (or call it emotion perhaps) will depend on your mental faculties as to whether the feeling you have is valid in social context.
                I would say that, if you can believe in your right to something because it is ordained by God or is prophesied or destined, then you are not aligned with the thinking of those around you (unless surrounded by people who think the same delusion).

                “Which of your own emotions are valid? How do you know?”

                I do not think you do know. In the example that I gave, the person will be convinced that he is victimised purely because somebody disagreed with his delusional idea.
                If others agree with him to the level of a majority (this might actually happen in a theocratic state), then the delusion will be deemed acceptable, perhaps even obligatory in law. The person who logically disagrees (having the objective truth on his side) will be deemed in the wrong and will unjustly take the consequences.

                I’m sure it happens a lot. I think that is largely how religious a political dogma based thinking works.

  5. Kevin John Leslie
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I agree with you Jerry. I read Michelle’s column twice a week and I think this may be the first I disagreed with. Someone needs to talk sense to these two incoming freshmen.

  6. Andrew Harter
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    My main concern is the statement that Ms Goldberg is advocating for the BDS movement. Read the article: She does not. Please enlighten me as to how she is doing so: Her actual words. Nothing in this post
    provides evidence in support of such an accusation. Pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of championing the virtues of a secular, multicultural society for everyone else but Israel does not make you a Jew hater either. Complaining about leftist snowflakes who need trigger warnings and safe spaces while slamming the door on discussion on all current Israeli political policies is childish. I am an American Jew and married to a Sabra and have the right to say Netanyahu is a schmuck who has more in common with Trump and Orban than Ben Gurion or Rabin. Why is PC culture condemned everywhere except when it involves Israel? Dr. Coyne makes it quite clear he is incapable of discriminating between antizionism and antisemitism. Arguing that the BDS movement leads directly to the “end of Israel” and a genocidal bloodbath should be recognized for the hysterical hypocrisy that it is.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      The founder of BDS, Omar Barhouti, does not hide his goal of destruction of Israel. How can a movement, intitiated and led by him, do not ‘lead[s] directly to the “end of Israel”’? On this video statements about the demise of Israel start at 2:52

    • Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      I perceive “secular, multicultural” is an oxymoron, because where I live (Europe), “multicultural” is an euphemism for “more and more and more Islam”. I am against this fake multiculturalism and for the right of every nation to survive and develop on its territory. Your last sentence, to me, seems a hysterical denial of an obvious truth.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:39 am | Permalink


    • Posted December 11, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Okay, Mr. Harter, you have violated the Roolz with your last two sentences. See you around (NOT).

      You are incapable of being civil towards your host, and either haven’t read the Roolz or have ignored them.

    • Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      Harter, you will apologize for insulting the host or leave. You can make your arguments without that insult, and civilly, but apparently you don’t know how to do that.

  7. Roo
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Eh, I don’t know. You know I adore you Jerry, but aren’t you a staunch atheist and liberal? Admittedly I don’t know a lot about the history of Zionism but I have a hard time saying countries should be founded on religion or ethnicity. People would find that horrifying in the US, and rightfully so. So if people are envisioning one state as a “we’ll all join hands and sing kumbaya” situation, I don’t think that’s anti-Semitic. It may be *incorrect, but people who want open borders or no police and such do in fact apply that thinking in other areas, it’s not unique to Israel. I disagree but I find that thinking hopelessly naive, not malicious.

    Given what the Orthodox have been through in that area, I can’t say I’m thrilled with the way Israel has behaved. (I’d encourage you to talk with a Palestinian who is not a scary extremist to get a feel for the view from the other side, maybe even interview them on your website.) That said, now that the far Left has gotten involved in the whole situation it’s just…. I don’t know, it’s what it is any time the far Left gets involved, that particular brand of weird. And a disproportionate number of my friends and favorite people are Jewish so it’s a topic that I just avoid – but again, I think it would be really cool if you ever wanted to interview a nice, rational Palestinian on your website to get a feel for both sides. Given the demographics alone, at some point some serious bridge-building has to happen, I think.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I would suggest reading some Palestinian dissidents (whos life is threatened by other Palestinians), for example Bassem Eid or Khaled Abu Toameh. Or a young Muhammad Zoabi who had to go underground because his life was in danger. Of course, Mosab Hassan Youseph as well. And a few others.

      • Roo
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        I’m not clear on what point you’re making here as this relates to my original comment, can you clarify?

    • Harrison
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I think it would be a very different story if we were talking about a group of well-off people attempting to establish a theocracy or ethnostate (say, Mormons) vs. a global response to a global crisis of ethnic and religious refugees creating a state for them.

      • Roo
        Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        I’m actually not clear on the ins and outs of what it means to say that Israel is “a Jewish State” when it is also a democracy, so I guess I’d need to know more about it. I am not opposed to things like tribal reservations in various countries, where the relatively powerless are protected; but obviously I do not support things such as theocracies. The difficult is that there is not a state that is analogous to Israel, that I know of, making it more difficult to draw comparisons and such.

        • Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          After reading the post and comments today I decided it meant a state with a majority of its population ethnic Jews, (Jews by ancestry not by religion) with the state having a secular government. Nothing else masked any sense to me. A state with religious requirements or preferences would not meet my definition, sand would not have my support.

          Not sure anyone else would agree with me but to me that is the only acceptable definition of Jewish state.

          • Roo
            Posted December 11, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            Based on your comment below, I’m assuming you’re from another country (not the US, I mean,) as being ‘ethnically Jewish’ in the US is often like being of Italian or Irish heritage. You might show pride on certain days, buy various holiday decorations, talk about how you make a mean (whatever food dish your grandma made), laugh at a few in-jokes and make a fuss over calling your grandparents by the name for grandma and grandpa in their language… but still have way more in common with your yoga-loving, NPR listening, Ted Talk loving, aromatherapy obsessed friends of all ethnicities than a person of the same ethnicity from another country. (Then again, maybe this is a thread in Jewish culture that I just don’t get – I’m part Middle Eastern, and I have absolutely no desire to go to the Middle East. Like ever. My grandparents made sure not to even speak Arabic around my dad so that he would only know English. So why Jewish people have long been scrambling to get back to that area is beyond me, maybe they do feel more of an ethnic bond than I’m aware of.)

            Also, apart from what is even meant by the identity of “Jewish” in “Jewish State”, I’m sure there are many groups, some more conservative and some more liberal who have oscillating amounts of influence and different opinions on policies and so on. Without really knowing the culture I assume it’s like asking “How do US citizens feel about immigration?” – the answers are varied and nuanced.

            At any rate, while I can understand how fears of persecution would loom large for people of Jewish ancestry, US politics has become so divided that some people don’t really want a ‘two state solution’ with Mexico – which is, I’m *pretty sure, actually another state already. If people want open borders between states that already *are different states, then it’s not surprising that they’d want that in states where the boundaries are less clear. It’s a topic that I’m torn on. In terms of ideals, of course I think the best thing would be for people to live wherever they want to live and can be happiest. In terms of pragmatic realities, I’m not sure that this type of thinking wouldn’t end up hurting more than helping. I admire any truly altruistic (vs deluded) individuals who, even realistically understanding the sacrifice involved, would happily give up their own safety or resources to help others (in Israel, put aside safety concerns; in the US, put aside monetary concerns and pay enough taxes to support programs for anyone who wants to come here); but, if that level of generosity ended up not helping but destabilizing society and hurting everyone involved overall, then even if it’s done with a totally self-sacrificing attitude, it would still be harmful and morally the wrong choice. I feel a lot of guilt – probably rightfully so – in comparing my situation in life with that of people in various parts of the world. I wish that we could offer a safe and prosperous environment to any kind, law-abiding citizen living in difficult circumstances via the dice roll of where they happened to be born. But acting out of guilt can be just as harmful as acting out of fear, I think, difficult situations require a lot of wisdom and compassion.

            • Posted December 14, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

              I am from another country or another nation, it seems anyway.
              I grew up in southern Appalachia, north Georgia mountains to be more exact. Not sure what to call my ethnic group. Most people in Appalachia described themselves as Smeruxans, by ethnic group. That is what I always put down.
              My ancestors gave all been here in the US for well over 300 years, and some in North America for ten or fifteen thousand years. America is fine is me for ethnic group.
              Thanks for your response. It is a problem as you stated in your comment.

              • Posted December 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

                That jumbled word that started with an S was supposed to be American.

              • Posted December 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

                That jumbled word that started with an S was supposed to be American.

              • Posted December 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

                That jumbled word that started with an S was supposed to be American.

              • Posted December 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

                That jumbled word that started with an S was supposed to be American.

  8. Posted December 10, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I agree that multi ethnic starters do not work very well. I am in favor of states made of the same ethnicity. I also believe states should be secular as opposed to theocratic. That means a state with the majority composed of ethnic Jews but is a secular state.

    I do not understand why any ethnic Jew would favor the one state solution. That state would not have a majority made up of ethnic Jews. Such a state would be in constant conflict and would not work. I do not know what the Jews who want one state purpose to do with the Arabs who would make up more than fifty per cent of the population. I have never heard that explained. How do they expect to have an secular ethnic Jewish state that has a minority Jewish population. It would eventually split either by agreement or by civil war.
    Most wars are results of conflict within countries containing different ethnic groups. We don’t need another multi ethnic group state in the Middle East.

    The only solution I see is to continue on the present course with Israel divided into basically three states.

  9. CAS
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    A religious aspect, that may contribute to the intractability of this conflict involves the end times beliefs held by most Muslims, this involves the coming of the Mahdi the guided one and reformer of Islam (check Wikipedia under Mahdi for details). These stories are in the Hadith, not the Quran. In the Sunni version, the Mahdi will conquer the world for Islam helped by Jesus who has be waiting in Heaven for 2000 years (crazy stuff!). It is said that together they will “break the cross and kill the swine”. One step in this process involves taking over Jerusalem as a world headquarters and killing most of the Jews.
    Christians have Revelations in the Bible which has Jesus killing off all unbelievers, but most Christians don’t take Revelations nearly as seriously as Muslims take the story of the coming of the Mahdi. Unfortunately, violent, extremist Muslims in many countries have the moderates cowed partly because these violent stories are actually in the holy Hadith that describe the words and actions of Muhammad. Of course, the extremists also kill people to shut them up.

    • Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      As far as I know, such apocalyptic beliefs are spread among Shia Muslims, who are a minority of Muslims and especially of Palestinians.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Such eschatological views are a major reason why American evangelical Christians (whose religious traditions bear a strong hallmark of Antisemitism) are such fervent supporters of Israel against the Arabs. They think it will ensure their access to Mount Megiddo, site of the final, apocalyptic battle of Armageddon, where they will have the opportunity to “perfect” the Jews by converting them to Christianity.

      With friends like these …

  10. I Heart My Cat
    Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I used to live in Tlaib’s district. I will say that as a state Rep, she was pretty responsive to problems and very involved with her constituents. But she loses me on this particular issue. If I were still in her district, I couldn’t have voted for her in this election.

  11. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    I recently watched a Netflix show on Tanks and there was a little bit about some Israeli tanks and there commanders.
    One guy said, roughly, that he was fighting with Auschwitz at his back. (Or the memory of)

    Have people forgotten?

    There is no way Israel will or should give itself up.

    There have been genuine attempts by Israel, as far as I can see, to make peace.

    The world is made up of dictated borders, so what.

    Maybe my history is biased, if any one knows a different, real, account from the Palestinian side, I would like to know.

    In the meantime, Israel is there to stay.

    Ads it should be.

  12. Kevin
    Posted December 15, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I am wondering if you are aware of this:

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