Don’t give a platform to Israel-bashing

by Isi Leibler

During a recent visit to London, I was depressed to observe that the utterly distorted PC-thinking about Israel prevailing in Britain has now begun to influence Anglo-Jewish leaders. This is reflected in the growing trend of providing respectability to marginal Jewish defamers of the Jewish state by honoring them with invitations to participate in leading community cultural and educational events.

The prime example is Limmud, the wunderkind of Anglo Jewry, a highly successful annual gathering involving thousands of Jews in educational seminars and lectures covering the entire range of Jewish civilization.

If one accepts the premise that Jewish education is designed to strengthen Jewish identity, it is incomprehensible that Limmud organizers are now regularly inviting speakers who represent the antithesis of Jewish values.

The precedent originated some years ago, when an invitation was extended to the non-Jewish anti-Israeli journalist Robert Fisk. It was followed at a subsequent session, when Limmud invited Jacqueline Rose, the Jewish author of a fiercely anti-Zionist book which is today an established icon in the promotional literature of enemies of the Jewish state. Rose was also one of the founders of Independent Jewish Voices, a considerable proportion of whose members only became actively involved in Jewish life as a by-product of condemning mainstream Jewish support for Israel.

At the December 2007 Limmud conference, one of the keynote speakers was Avrum Burg, former head of the Jewish Agency and a previous speaker of the Knesset. Even Burg’s closest former Israeli political allies have unequivocally condemned him for repeatedly bracketing the behavior of Israelis with Nazis and urging his kinsmen to obtain European passports.

Limmud organizers took evenhandedness a step forward by inviting PA spokesman Saeb Erekat, boasting that this would be “the first time that Erekat had addressed an exclusively Jewish audience.” Erekat had just proclaimed his determination never to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, prompting London Jewish Chronicle columnist Geoffrey Alderman to express his “disgust? dismay? and outrage” that Limmud could invite as a keynote speaker “one of the most prominent living enemies of the Jewish people.”

Erekat initially accepted the invitation but declined at the last moment, presumably in deference to his anti-Semitic constituency.

It is surely grotesque for Limmud to justify such participation on the grounds that “for the sake of learning? we try to get a wide range of presenters.” Even more bizarre is the suggestion “that politicians, ours and theirs [Palestinians], take a hard line in public statements” and “it is important to emphasize informal human contact.”

The same approach is manifested at Jewish Book Week (JBW), another premier Jewish cultural event that encompasses many talented Anglo-Jewish and international Jewish writers and scholars. Here again, the organizers saw fit to invite a number of guests who would never previously have participated at such an event. They include Jacqueline Rose, who is billed to discuss the concept of evil and suicide bombers. To chair that session, the organizers invited Dr. Anthony Lerman, the controversial head of the Jewish Policy Research (JPR) think tank.

Last year Lerman was the center of a major controversy when he refused to step down from his position after having adopted a public stance calling for the dismemberment of the Jewish state – which he termed a failed Zionist vision – and its replacement with a binational state.

To top it off, the keynote speaker at the concluding JBW session titled “The Last Word” is Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, a newspaper which has developed a somewhat notorious reputation in relation to its coverage of Israel. To “balance” Rusbridger, the respondent on the panel is non other than Haaretz editor David Landau, who was recently involved in a global media stir when it was disclosed that he had told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel needed to be “raped” into a settlement with the Palestinians.

The participation of these individuals is disconcerting. Not because their presence will persuade participants to reject Israel, and not because the programs are one-sided since a wide variety of viewpoints are represented. But Jewish values are debased when Jewish gatherings elevate and provide respectability to those who consistently demonize and delegitimize Israel – especially in today’s climate of post-modernism.

Nor is this an issue of freedom of expression. In the UK, Israel-bashing is sufficiently prevalent without needing to promote it at Jewish cultural events. If reputable Jewish institutions provide platforms for those who demonize Israel, it becomes next to impossible to protest when mainstream media bodies such as the BBC utilize marginal anti-Israeli Jews as de-facto spokesmen for the Jewish community.

The recent debate at the Oxford University Union on the motion “This House Believes that the State of Israel Has a Right to Exist” is another example. Outrageous as the title is, even more preposterously, all four participants – those for the motion and those against – preach the delegitimization and boycott of the Jewish state. Norman Finkelstein, who “defended” Israel (but voted against the motion), and Ilan Pappe, who argued against Israel’s right to exist, have long qualified as defamers of the Zionist enterprise.

Providing Jews against Zion with platforms at mainstream Jewish events also provides an imprimatur for such scandalous acts as the British Council appointment of Judy Price, an activist for Jews for Justice to Palestinians, as curator for archival film screenings for the Israel’s 60th anniversary film festival.

This lamentable state of affairs unquestionably also relates to the Israeli leadership crisis. Twenty years ago, without doubt, Israeli leaders and Israeli ambassadors would have intervened and encouraged local Jewish leaders to find the courage to stand up and be counted.

Over the years I have been critical of the failures of the Anglo-Jewish leadership, exemplified by the British Board of Deputies, which is reluctant to engage in public protest and insists that the most effective means of combating adversaries of Israel and anti-Semites is by “whispering” rather than “shouting.” Regrettably, the Board has also avoided raising its voice in the above matter also, failing to condemn or even pass judgment on the morality of inviting Jewish demonizers of Israel to assume leading roles at Jewish communal or cultural events.

The responsibility for taking remedial action therefore rests with the silent majority of British Jews who continue to support Israel and are unquestionably sickened by these developments. It is imperative that they make themselves heard and insist that their leaders act.

Failing that, they should demand those leaders’ dismissal.

Unless this rot is soon reversed, the decline of Anglo-Jewry will, alas, accelerate.

February 4, 2008 | 39 Comments »

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  1. Re. Comment 38 —

    I find myself agreeing with the first half of what Yambo declares in Comment No. 38. But I begin to disagree with him starting here and continuing to the end:

    All nations throughout the world and across history came into existence by virtue of their ability to conquer some other country or people or tribe or indigenous inhabitants. Violence, murder, war, rapine, conquest, massacres, burning, looting, pillaging, and sometimes even genocide: those are the costs of nation creation in the real world, throughout all of history.

    The only known exception to this gallery of historical horrors is the modern state of Israel.

    This fits with Yambo’s warrior heroic view of the world, but it is not true. There are conquerer nations of course, but they are not the only nations. The Serene Republic of Venice was not created by war, but by commerce. Switzerland — which I keep mentioning, because I think it could and should be a model for Israel — is famous for its compulsory defense militia (every male between 18 and 60), but that militia has seen no use for hundreds of years. The Nazis developed a battle plan for the conquest of Switzerland (which, given the respective power of their highly disciplined and mechanized military and Switzerland’s militia, would have taken a week or two at most). Given the Nazis stated wish to unite all the German-speaking and Germanic cultures of Europe into one “Greater Reich,” it’s difficult to see what stopped from attacking and annexing Switzerland, using the same rationale that they had used for Czechoslovakia. It wasn’t Switzerland’s great military might that stopped them, and it wasn’t even Switzerland’s formidable geography. It also wasn’t Switzerland’s political neutrality, since neutrality did nothing to protect the Benelux countries. It was the fact that Switzerland was simply more valuable as Switzerland than it could have been as a province of the Greater Reich.

    Switzerland’s value was manifold — and it applied to its relationship with the Allies as well as its relationship with the Axis. This value had been thoughtfully, carefully, and purposefully built up over hundreds of years of retaining its independence surrounded by real and potential enemies during the many local wars and disputes between the Great Powers of Europe.

    First, Switzerland made of itself a haven for the diplomatic services from all across Europe. This meant that even though countries in Europe might be at war, or officially not speaking with each other, the diplomats of those countries and others could (and did) meet, often secretly, in Switzerland. This was desirable, and it was therefore allowed, because it served a need that was not served as well anywhere else. Switzerland also had a sophisticated, reliable, and trustworthy banking system, essential to everyone, whether or not at war, but particularly to those at war. These services were what kept Switzerland out of war — not its militia or its good luck.

    The only known exception to this gallery of historical horrors is the modern state of Israel.

    Israel is not an exception. (I cannot think of anything about Israel that is exceptional, except its unwillingness to admit that its current strategy is bleeding the country white and cannot possibly win in the long run.)

    Unless one closes ones eyes and ears to history, it is not possible to claim that the pre-state era in Mandate-Palestine was peaceful. It definitely and irrefutably was not (the Irgun and Lehi and numerous other ultra-Zionist organizations were not peaceful; they terrorists; the physics Yamit applies to terrorism by Arabs applies as horrifyingly to terrorism by Jews). Furthermore, it is almost impossible to imagine a State of Israel arising or being accepted by the world prior to the Second World War and the Holocaust. So much for peaceful starts.

  2. rebuttle to #24

    No Nation Has the Right to Exist

    In my opinion, Israel has no right to exist. And that is because, in reality, no country in the world and throughout all of history has a right to exist. No country in the world exists today by virtue of its ‘right’. All countries exist today by virtue of their ability to defend themselves against those who seek their destruction.

    Take Tibet, for example, and Israel for the opposite example.

    Tibet did nothing to threaten or anger China. No aggression, no threat of aggression. But in 1950, China invaded Tibet and ended Tibet’s existence as a nation. The world did nothing (except create some bumper stickers). As with all nations, Tibet had no right to exist. It existed only as long as it was not attacked. When it was attacked and could not defend itself adequately, nor garner support for its continued existence from the world’s family of nations or from the world’s governing body, it ceased to exist.

    The same would be true of Israel, except that Israel has defended itself adequately. Israel’s continued existence is not by right, but only by its ability to defend itself against the Arab and Moslem world that seeks her destruction. And if it were ever unable to defend itself, it would soon share Tibet’s fate. Or worse.

    In the final analysis, no nation has a right to exist. No nation exists because of any right. Nations exist because they can defend themselves from those who want to destroy them. Therefore, the question itself, “what right does Israel have to exist?” is a bogus question. It is misleading in its intention. So let’s examine the question from the vantage point of its intention.

    The Origin of Nations

    With only one known exception (Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal are possible exceptions to the analysis which follows, but that is not known for sure) no country ever came into existence by virtue of any right to exist, or any right to come into existence from some previous non-nation status.

    All nations throughout the world and across history came into existence by virtue of their ability to conquer some other country or people or tribe or indigenous inhabitants. Violence, murder, war, rapine, conquest, massacres, burning, looting, pillaging, and sometimes even genocide: those are the costs of nation creation in the real world, throughout all of history.

    The only known exception to this gallery of historical horrors is the modern state of Israel. Israel came into existence by virtue of:

    a. its ability to buy land with the help of world-wide Jewish and Christian Zionists

    b. its ability to reclaim deteriorated waste land

    c. its ability to organize itself in its pre-state existence into a viable well-governed cohesive society with a developing and expanding economy and an effective defensive force.

    d. its ability, via lobbying and political leveraging, to get the world governing body to vote it into existence

    In sharp contradistinction to the manner in which all other nations have been created, Israel came into existence by legal, peaceful, constructive processes.

    A Mechanism for Destruction

    Despite the fact that Israel is the only country in world history that came into existence via peaceful, legal, constructive means and by majority vote of the world governing body, Israel is the one and only country whose right to exist is challenged.

    But, Israel is certainly much better than many countries throughout the world with disastrous records of human rights abuses, aggression against neighboring countries, social and religious and gender apartheid, oppression of minorities. Israel’s track record in these areas is far better than that of most countries. So the fact still remains that it is the only country in the world to ever have come into existence peacefully and legally.

    So why pick on Israel? Because the question has nothing to do with an inquiry into Israel’s rights or lack thereof. It is simply a mechanism for the launching of an anti-Israel diatribe. Its real purpose is to open an avenue of attack, to bash Israel, de-legitimize her, denigrate her; and ultimately to justify the Arab world’s desire to destroy her.

    In the absence of any inquiry into the right of infinitely more reprehensible societies—Russia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, inter alia, come to mind—why condemn Israel as a rogue state with no right to exist? Why not start with the worst offenders?

    Why de-legitimize Israel for a conquest that was far less destructive than that of the Arab states whose Jihad in the 7th to 9th centuries racked up tens, if not hundreds, of millions of casualties and destroyed four ancient civilizations (Byzantine, Coptic, Sassanian, and Berber). Why not start with the most horrific of conquerors? Because the purpose of the question is to attack Israel and justify those who attack Israel!

    The bottom line is that if you think Israel has no right to exist, you are right. And I’m sure that Hitler would agree with you wholeheartedly.

  3. Sidebar: The elderly couple blown to bit in Dimona this week had the bodies blown into many body parts;It took two days for them to positively identify the woman whose head was severed from her body and landed ten feet away. Her Husband whose arm and legs were amputated by the blast lasted 36 hours and died in hospital. They were both PHDs in physics and still doing research at BenGurion U. Their son is also a Physicist. None of the Israeli Newspapers mentioned these facts as they live in a Development Town called Dimona far away in the Negev and they were Immigrant from CIS. (Russia). This is also a form of left wing Racisim here in a Jewish State. They were my neighbors! It could have been me except for providence and a change of plans.


    I call the reader’s attention to sterling journalist, George Will, to his account of the suicide bombing that occurred in Jerusalem’s Sbaro restaurant on August 9, 2001, when 15 Jews were killed and more than 100 were wounded, many maimed for life. Mr. Will first quotes a report by USA Today’s Jack Kelly, who was 30 yards away when the terrorist detonated a bomb packed with nails:

    The blast . . . sent flesh flying onto second-story balconies a block away. Three men were blown 30 feet; their heads, separated from their bodies by the blast, rolled down the glass-strewn street . . . One woman had at least six nails embedded in her neck. Another had a nail in her left eye. Two men, one with a six-inch piece of glass in his right temple . . . tried to walk away . . . A man groaned . . . . His legs were blown off. Blood poured from his torso . . . . A 3-year old girl, her face covered with glass, walked among the bodies calling her mother’s name . . . The mother . . . was dead . . . . One rabbi found a small hand against a white Subaru parked outside the restaurant.


    r. Will, comments:

    As with the June bombing that killed 21 at a Tel Aviv disco, children were not collateral victims—they were the targets. Abdallah al-Shami, a senior official of Islamic Jihad, celebrated “this successful operation” against “pigs and monkeys.” That is a familiar rhetorical trope among those whom the calamitous Oslo “peace process” cast in the role of Israel’s “partners for peace.” In yet another of the constant violations of the Oslo requirement to stop anti-Jewish incitements, this was a recent broadcast from the moral cesspool that is the official television station of . . . [the] Palestinian Authority: “All weapons must be aimed at the Jews…whom the Koran describes as monkeys and pigs . . . . We will enter Jerusalem as conquerors . . . . Blessings to he who shot a bullet into the head of a Jew.

    while Israel is condemned for using “disproportionate force” against enemies committed to her destruction, none of Israel’s detractors condemn Muslims or Arabs for using disproportionate force against teenagers eating in a pizza parlor. And what of children blown up in a school bus?

    A physicist describes what happens when a conventional bomb is exploded in a contained space, like a school bus traveling through downtown Jerusalem: “A person sitting nearby would feel, momentarily, a shock wave slamming into his or her body, with an ‘overpressure’ of 300,000 pounds. Such a blast would crush the chest, rupture liver, spleen, heart and lungs, melt eyes, pull organs away from surrounding tissue, separate hands from arms and feet from legs.” (Toronto Star, June 19, 2002.) These are among the Arab “animosities” apologists for the Palestinians speak of when saying that Israelis—including, presumably, the school children who usually fill these buses—have brought upon themselves in the “intifada” a euphemism for Jihad.

    Anyone who supports, defends, equates, them with us is my enemy no less than the actual perpetrators,as they give the needed moral support that helps to convince the murderers of Jews that they might continue and that much of the world supports them. Without this moral support many might think twice?

  4. Re. Comment No. 24.

    To delegitimate is to undermine the state’s legal right to exist or even its right to exist.

    I don’t know how you conclude that countries have a right to exist. I find no precedent, historical or legal, for this idea.

    Countries as we know them have existed for only a few hundred years. The concept of sovereignty predates them, precicely because the concept of the Sovereign predated them. In any case, sovereignty is not the same as a right to exist. It comes much closer to being a set of privileges and accommodations that first sovereigns and eventually countries accorded to one another to achieve a certain stability. They are by no means fixed and unchanging, as anyone who follows the progress of the European Union knows.

    Countries remain on the map either because no one has the power to knock them off or chip away at them, or because they serve some purpose that makes other countries quite happy to have them around. Countries of the first type currently include the USA, China, and India, but within living memory neither China nor India was on the list, proving that the list is in constant flux. Countries that exist by indomitable strength tend eventually to find themselves slipping down the rankings, and then they have to find other reasons to exist or risk ceasing to exist in the form in which they were once powerful. The British Empire is the obvious example.

    Countries of the second time — those whom other countries have an interest in preserving — include Swtizerland, the Scandanavian countries, Portugla, Holland, Belgium, and so on. The countries of the European Union are all in the category now, though at one time they were not.

    In the 20th century there was a development, or more properly speaking an experiment, without precedent. The idea of countries that a collective of Great Powers (first the victors in the First World War and then victors in the Second World War) decided ought to exist and brought into existence without asking for or obtaining the approval of the parties involved. In effect, such states were brought about as wards of the Great Powers of the moment. A great many of these “countries by fiat” have so far not turned out to be very stable or peaceful, and people are still arguing over the reasons. Yugoslavia collapsed and continues to collapse, with broken bits and pieces constantly vying for the title “nastiest place in Europe.” Iraq is a fiasco. And Israel, a very noble idea, has so far (at least from 1967 forward) failed to accept the obvious fact that it will never be big enough and powerful enough to dictate terms and must therefore somehow seduce its neighbors into approving of it.

    So, if we are to treat Israel exactly like every other country, then we must admit that it too has no right to exist and must instead earn its privileges and accomodations just like every other country. Unfortunately, the playing field has been tilted by the presence and perceived presence of the USA as Israel’s guarantor. I say unfortunately because I believe the USA has contributed to Israel’s hubris and arrogance, which have in turn brought misery down on both Israelis and others — misery that might well have been avoided. And since the USA has no clear, unchanging, and unchallengable interest in preserving Israel at all costs, I think Israel is extremely foolish to rely on the patronage of the USA. Someday the patronage will end — who knows when or why. But these things are matters of policy and convenience, both of which can change almost overnight. When the patronage ends, Israel will have a lot of scrambling to do if it is not to disappear altogether.

  5. “odious” vs “principled”

    JW has said many odious things, at least to my ears, but he purports to live by certain principles. Those principles would be threatened by Islamification yet he is ready to embrace it.

  6. #32: Many people here have given many opinions who do not look like me , talk like me and walk like me. I have never to my recollection advocated not giving them a public platform to express their views even when I disagreed with them 100%. I don’t remember ever coming across anyone as insidious and vile as AH. Ted once called him odious! Today he called him principled go figure? So what is he a smart Odious, principled sometimes antisemite? I make no claims of having absolute truth and I believe I am flexible enough to revise and alter fixed positions but then I need to be convinced by solid argument that I am mistaken! I have apologized on Pundit when I was shown and convinced I was in error, and would do so again but you provide no argument against mine except to say we are different Duh! Narvey you like to debate and argue then do it but not with sophomoric rebuttals such as you just made,

    My saying things differently then you Yamit, does not necessarily mean there is a substantive difference in what each of us believes.

    It is not the difference it is the fact that we are discussing at all with one to whom you and I both agree is an antisemite and a supporter of the enemies of Israel and defacto all Jews who live here and those who support us from without.

    I suggest you pay more attention to what I am saying then how I am saying it.

    I have and that is why I am writing what I have.

  7. Do not think for a minute that I am any less against antisemitism, antisemites, racism and racists then you are.

    So how does this play out with you re: Andy H. should he write on the blackboard 500 times I am a naughty filthy antisemmite? Have you ever heard him admit that he was mistaken on anything? Has he ever apologized for anything he ever said here on pundit? Has he given you any indication he has had a sudden awakening of the errors of his ways and due to yours mine others influences and changed his world view and come back to the side of the Jews ? I think not. So what does it matter if we express ourselves differently I think he is scum and should not appear or be given any public platform and you seem to have found a soul brother that occasionally goes beyond your concept of reasonableness! Evil, and evil people should be fought and destroyed if possible not debated in a polite friendly manner in a public forum. For the same reasons I oppose our local media giving our Arab enemy free air time to spew their distortions and revisionism. It gives these killers of babies and elderly men and women a human face that they do not deserve. The Arab kids who would have but for a quirk of timing and fate have blown me to bits and kingdom come, were nice to their mothers and little brothers and sisters. I do not need to know nor care why they want to kill me . Knowing is enough for me in a given situation to shoot to kill with a clear conscience. These kids did not just wake up one day and say lets go kill Yamit and as many other Jews as we can . They have a whole network of support behind them, those with clean hands intellectuals, polite speakers,who in a debate with you would gain your respect as a worthy debating partner but that doesn’t mean that given the opportunity you would be as dead as me if they can get you in a proper format and envirnment. Andy H. in so may ways and based on almost everything I have heard and read is a moral supporter of those same two kids who would have blown me up without a second of doubt or remorse. He calls himself a Jew but has never defined what that means. He is not a Jew by anyones criteria except maybe his own and those that might have similar views as his own. He can call himself anything he likes even SON OF SAM, but he is not a Jew. I know Jews, I have lived among them for a long time, I have studied Judaism all kinds and varieties that unless you can convince me that we have here a new species, which is impossible, I maintain and can prove he is not a Jew! An antisemite ,that I can prove also!Despite his denials.

  8. Yamit,

    Using and rephrasing your concluding comment, it appears you cannot understand or agree with anyone unless they look like you, walk like you and talk like you.

    My saying things differently then you Yamit, does not necessarily mean there is a substantive difference in what each of us believes.

    I suggest you pay more attention to what I am saying then how I am saying it.

  9. Bill,

    I reject any antisemitic view, regardless of what fostered it and do not care to discuss matters further when that occurs.

    But the next time with the same person its OK, if he stays barely on the right side of an argument. Politeness, trumps the others world view even if he is an antisemite, which he is. Ea. case on its own merits( meaning ea. individual discussion) ? Today I can be an antisemite, tomorrow come across as Mother Theresa, and next time threaten a bullet in your head , next time Superman protector of Humanities downtrodden , next time supporting the microbes that almost blew me up this week. Tell you what Bill I have no problem understanding an Andrew it people like yourself that have me stumped?

    Though Andrew has been given at times to remarks that are antisemitic on Israpundit for which I have taken him to task<

    What are you his school teacher,Taking him to task? an admitted (according to his stated opinion)

    /strong>, his comments in this thread did not in my view cross that line. This time an antisemite was polite, fed your ego, so he automatically gets a pass? past history is wiped out due to politeness and messaging your ego? Are you that shallow? I think I understand why Ted allows him but you have me stumped, where is your moral clarity? Next time you come down on some Muslim or American Politician or what ever look at yourself in the mirror before you offer a negative opinion as from this side of the ocean It’s starting to become cloudy with much fog. I must use this trite ditty but I still believe it holds up! If It looks like an antisemite, walks like an antisemite, and TALKS like an antisemite ?

  10. Yamit,

    You failed to note that my comment to Andrew was that it doesn’t matter to me whether some of his remarks that I thought were close to or crossed the line into antisemitism, stemmed either from his beliefs or his frustrated reaction.

    I reject any antisemitic view, regardless of what fostered it and do not care to discuss matters further when that occurs.

    I am not one who is politically correct. I do try to be correct but polite. When however it comes to antisemitic remarks injected into a discussion, I am less then polite. The same holds true when I read pro-Israel views that are laced with hatred for Palestinians, only because of their faith.

    Such kinds of expressions of hatred are pure racism and to be deplored as we deplore racist antisemitism that is rife throughout much of the Muslim Middle East and which is seeing a resurgence in Euorpe.

    My reference to Andrew’s remarks that I took to be antisemitic were in the main with reference to e mail exchanges I have had with him.

    Though Andrew has been given at times to remarks that are antisemitic on Israpundit for which I have taken him to task, his comments in this thread did not in my view cross that line.

    Yamit you and I have different ways of expressing ourselves.

    Do not think for a minute that I am any less against antisemitism, antisemites, racism and racists then you are.

  11. Narvey you are a wonder of wonders# 17:

    Secondly, at times some of your comments are very close to or cross the line into anti-semitism. Whether those raw comments reflect your true beliefs or reveal your frustrated emotions when your enthusiasm or even zealousness to convince me to your view, fails to move me from my point, does not matter. As you can appreciate, when comments like that are made, for me and many others, it pretty much ends the need for further discussion.

    If you could make your points without expressing yourself in a way that communicates animus towards Israel and Jews and which approaches or crosses the line into what you must be sensitive enough to realize would be taken as an anti-semitic view, I am sure you would find more interested in engaging you in discussion and debate. Just a thought for you to consider.

    Bill are you suggesting that Andrew not speak his true mind and to deceive us with thoughts and concepts not his in reality just so he would be acceptable on this blog. To obfuscate, lie, give opinions that for you and Ted would be for this blog and others; I would assume Politically Correct? Is this what you do as well? Shame on you! He is playing with your deflated ego and you bought hook line and sinker! Wake up and smell the coffee which is EVIL that appears sometimes in sheep’s garb.

  12. #23Zionism:
    The Song of the Biryonim
    (Shir Biryonim)

    by Ya’akov Cohen

    We have arisen and returned mighty youths,
    We have arisen and returned, We are Biryonim!
    To redeem our land in war’s storm,
    We demand our heritage with upraised hand.

    In blood and fire Judea fell!
    In blood and fire Judea will arise!

    War for freedom, War for the land,
    And if freedom dies, long live revenge!
    If there is no justice in the land, the sword will judge
    Even if we fall like sand, we’ll not give up our rights.

    In blood and fire Judea fell!
    In blood and fire Judea will arise!

    (Based on a translation in Shiron Betar, U.S. circa 1990

    this is also part of Zioinism as a national liberation movement!

    Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.

    The foundations of Zionism are:

    1. The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;

    2. Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli Society.

    3. Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.

    4. Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;

    5. Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;

    6. Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.

    “Every people has the right to live in freedom and develop its own culture, language and society. Jews are people like any other people. The Jewish people is a people like any other. We, the Jewish people, have the right to self-determination in our own national home, where we can speak our own language and develop our own culture. Those are the basic ideas of Zionism

    To separate Zionism as a concept from Judaism is a misnomer. The primary objection of the religious to modern political Zionist movement was that the leadership were primary secular non religious Jews. The goals were compatible in returning to the land, possessing the land, and reconstituting Jewish sovereignty over all of biblical Israel, and the in gathering of all the Jews in the historical heartland. Secular Zionism became the instrument for achieving a fundamental religious Jewish obligation. According to Jewish law Halacha, any Jew living outside of the Land of Israel by choice and when he has the ability to return is considerd to be an idol worshiper and will have no place in the world to come. It is considered a desicration of Gods name and a rejection of the Torah itself and God. Do they call themselves Zionists , mainly not, but Zionists in a Jewish sense Yes!

    Simply put, G-d give the Jewish people a place and that place is the Land of Israel. The question of why the Land of Israel is thus answered. If a Jew is to accept one tenant of the Torah, he must, in order to be logically consistent, accept the whole of Torah. Likewise, if a person is to accept that he is Jewish then he must define this concept upon viable and authentic Jewish sources and render precise his own actions accordingly. Any other alternative to this is something other than Judaism. That is, a person may, given free-will, live according to what is right in his own eyes, however, he must be rationally forced to understand that it is of his own devise and should be so called as such.

    Important story: to long to post !

  13. #25
    Pollard was motivated to help Israel rather than hurt the US. I think there is a difference.

    A traitor is someone who sells his country out to the enemy. If you do industrial espionage for money you are criminal but not necessarily a traitor.

    Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: “…[a]…citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].” In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavour.

    According to this definition Pollard was not a traitor.

  14. You obviously accept the transformation of the world with moral equivalence. I find that hard to understand. You are a principled guy, why would you want to accept Islamic principles.

    For me, Islam can join our society as long as they accept it. Any changes they might bring i.e. sharia as an example are unacceptable.

  15. Jerimiah

    To delegitimate is to undermine the state’s legal right to exist or even its right to exist.

    To demonize is to paint Israel or the Jews as the devil incarnate. Criticize all you want but apply the same standard to everyone. I personally think Israel is more moral that anyone else given the duress they are under. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that she is no worse than anyone else.

    The propaganda that emanated from Germany in the Nazi era and the propaganda that emanates from the Arab world is evil and must be condemned.

    Israel does not get a fair hearing and can find no justice.

  16. Re. Comment No. 14 —


    Anti-Semitism is simply racism aimed against Jews.


    Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism and that is all simple arithmetic:

    Nonsense. Anti-Zionism is the expression of the belief that the Jewish people are in the Diaspora for a purpose or a reason, and that the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel that is advocated by Zionism is either premature or otherwise unwarranted, either for religious or other reasons.

    Racism is the opposition to people’s right to be free !

    Racism is the judgment of a people and their worth on the basis of criteria over which they have no control and that do not reflect their value or achievements as human being. Thus, judging Muslims or Arabs solely or primarily because of their choice of religion or their place of origin is Racism.

    Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish nation !
    No it isn’t! Zionism is the political movement, originating in the late 19th Century, that says that Jews have an inherent right or privilege to return to, and to take control of, that part of the Middle East that once comprised the Land of Canaan and the Kingdoms of Judea and Samaria. The Jewish Nation includes all Jews, whether or not Zionists. As for “national liberation movement,” this is a cliche of political rhetoric and provides no illumination whatsoever.

    Therefore Anti Zionism = RACISM !

    And when RACISM is aimed against JEWS it is ANTI-SEMITISM !

    Thus: ANTI Zionism = ANTI-SEMETISM

    The problem is with your definition of Zionism. It makes no sense and contains no content. The truth is that Judaism is, with different degrees of emphasis depending on the Jew, a religion, a culture, a practice, a history. Zionism, by contrast, is a political movement. It is quite possible to be a Zionist without being a Jew. It is equally possible to be a Jew without being a Zionist. Since Zionism and Judaism are different and separable, there is no reason to conflate them, and attempts to do so are spurious. Zionism and Judaism are not coeval or coextensive.

  17. Re. Comment No. 13 —

    I agree, though to make things more complex, the countries of New Europe (i.e. Central Europe) are probably much father to the Right than most of the countries of Old Europe, meaning the countries that were never behind the Iron Curtain and never deeply influenced (or frightened) by the proximity of the Soviet Union.

    Most of Europe has operated under once or another version of the so-called Social Democratic model at least since the end of the Second World War and sometimes longer. This model had a brief chance in the USA during the late 1960s (the “Great Society”) but never caught on, and was completely wiped out by Reaganism. I believe in it myself, since I believe that society is different from a mere collection of individuals. I think society should provide universal healthcare, education, and a minimum standard of living, for all its members, whether or not they are “productive,” and even whether or not they are “legal” members of that society. For that reason, I have enormous admiration for the Scandinavian countries, who have managed to combine entrepreneurship, capitalist achievement, productivity, secularism, multiculturalism, and openness, with the highest standards of living and the most generous programs of social benefits. That makes me a Left Winger. But it’s that kind of Left Wing approach to life and society that Israel began by emulating. The Kibbutz movement, for example, was a Socialist movement.

  18. Re. No. 18 —

    Dear Ted,

    I read Camus’ The Plague when I was about 17 or 18. At least I think I did, but I am not sure. I know I read The Stranger. Anyway, I appreciate your nudge to reread (or even read for the first time) this classic of existential literature. Thanks.

    “The Islamification of the world….” I don’t mean any disrespect, but I don’t believe this is really happening, and I also don’t believe it matters much even if it is. Once the world was mostly X, then it was mostly Y, now it is mostly Z, and someday it will be mostly A, and then B, and then C. These cycles go on and on. The world is always changing, and always recapitulating — and it is never purely one thing or another. There has been a Jewish world for who can really say how long — longer than anyone can count. 3,000 or 5,000 years, and possibly more. So what about the present era is more threatening than the things that have menaced the Jews in all the previous eras?

    Against all the odds, and often without any support, Jews have survived (around the world), even in the Arab world, even though they have rarely been more than 2% of the worlds’ population, and often less. There are Jewish cultures and communities in many Arab and Muslim countries and cultures today — from Morocco to Egypt, and from Turkey to Iran. Clearly, those culture are not so obsessively intent on murdering all Jews, since if they were they would not accept Jewish cultures in their midst.

    I doubt anyone will get me to observe Islam, or any other religion. It would require more than simply putting a gun to my head, Good luck to them, if they want to try. At the same time, if I have children (none so far, but at 53 I haven’t stopped trying), I will leave it to them to decide what, if any, faith they will follow. You can bet that I will do my best to teach my children to lead, not to follow, and to decided for themselves what makes sense for them. If they choose Islam, or Christianity, or anything other than agnosticism — even Judaism — I hope it happens after I am dead and my ashes have been scattered over the redwood forests of California.

    In sum, I suppose the world is becoming more and more Islamicized, as least in terms of geography and demography. On the other hand, I do not think the world is becoming more homogeneous. The move toward Islam is a question of degree, and isn’t happening at the expensive of Judaism. It is, so I have read, happening at the expensive of Christiantiy. Well, so what? It’s not as though the Jews have done so well when Christians have been running things. Really, an Islamic world is unlikely to be worse for the Jews than a Christians world. The problem for Jews, or for Israel as an expansive and self-defined state — is not Islamd. The problem is geography.

  19. Re. Comment No. 12 —

    Dear Ted,

    “When anyone works to demonize or deligitimate Israel or Jews I find it unacceptable.”

    It may surprise you that I agree (100%) with this statement. However, for reasons that are not clear and may never be clear, you and I cannot agree on what constitute demonization and deligitimization. I believe we also don’t agree on a definition of Israel. I believe this things are difficult and often divisive, but I can only ask you to make the effort to define these terms with specificity, objectivity, and clarity. It isn’t easy, and I know it isn’t easy, but it is essential. If you would prefer that I go first, I will do my best.

  20. Jeremiah Wails — Really? How? Who gets then your priority the Gentile or the Jew? if Jew which kinds of Jews? I helped bring Soviet Jews out of USSR, I was involved in bringing Ethiopian Jews to Israel. There is much more I can’t relate here nor the details. I fought in every war since 67 in defending The Jewish State from those who would annihilate her. My first priority is to family, People (extended /tribe if you want)country. Then I will look around to see if I am needed and then I would do what I can. LOVE OF JEW FOR JEW. The Jewish nation is one. Humanity is a strange and foreign concept in Judaism we have no word for it we say instead Umot Olam or the Nations of the World.

    I get the feeling that the only place you would put your fat ass into is a big easy chair, in a very safe envirnment .You fear physical pain and physical discomfort. But you do have a big mouth that rarely says anything worthwhile, maybe even never?

  21. Though I disagree with the policies of Olmert, Livni and Barak, I do not think they are traitors or are giving aid and comfort to the enemy any more than I think that Chamberlain was. Though as I understand it, Chamerlain had some affinity with the Nazis.

    Do I want to bomb Gaza? Possibly but not necessarily. Do I want to tolerate them bombing Israel absolutely not. Do I want a ceasefire with Hamas? No.

  22. Andrew,

    Your comment about underrating myself actually hits home with me. It is an anchor I have dragged around my whole life, though less so in more recent years.

    As for taking the lead in Calgary, as I have shared with Ted, my ideas have found favor with and even excited a number of Jewish leaders here that I have approached. In the end however, there have been no takers. My ideas call for things to be done to solve problems. While I have found people willing to chat about problems and even agree with me on my suggested solutions, I haven’t found people here willing to make the effort it takes to put good ideas and solutions into action.

    You are right that Ted and I are generally in synch, though along the small lettered political spectrum I am perhaps somewhat more liberal in my centrist, often conservative leaning views. Differences in our views are relatively few and perhaps the differences are more in semantics or degree, then real substance. Ted and I therefor have found very little to argue about.

    I do enjoy a good healthy, but civil and polite debate even when the divide between us is great.

    It has however been difficult at times discussing things with you Andrew.

    Sometimes points that I have raised as relevant to issues under discussion, you ignore, turn aside or try to re-state or mis-interpret in ways I believe you had to know I did not mean. I don’t like people doing that as part of a discussion or debating tactic. I have however conceded a few things at least to you, but explained how that does not change the big picture.

    Secondly, at times some of your comments are very close to or cross the line into anti-semitism. Whether those raw comments reflect your true beliefs or reveal your frustrated emotions when your enthusiasm or even zealousness to convince me to your view, fails to move me from my point, does not matter. As you can appreciate, when comments like that are made, for me and many others, it pretty much ends the need for further discussion.

    If you could make your points without expressing yourself in a way that communicates animus towards Israel and Jews and which approaches or crosses the line into what you must be sensitive enough to realize would be taken as an anti-semitic view, I am sure you would find more interested in engaging you in discussion and debate. Just a thought for you to consider.

    Finally about my beloved California. I have only been along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco. I have seen the coast line of Northern California in pictures only. It is all beautiful and the place I would like to be I could, spending my days driving up and down the whole coast and filling my soul. I am a sensualist at heart and such beauty fills me with awe and wonder and nourishes my spirit.

  23. Fatah praises suicide bombers

    Fatah’s official newspapers, including Al Hayat Al Jadida controlled by Abbas heaped praise on the two suicide bombers who killed an elderly Jewish woman, wounded 39 Jews in Dimona These are the nice moderates that we should talk too?

    Four decades ago, “Entrance forbidden to dogs and Arabs” was a common sight in Germany. Xenophobia was sublimated from Jews onto Arabs. Every nation has a right to live as it wishes, including the right to live without strangers. Had the Germans evicted Jews in 1939 to Switzerland or even to Palestine, that won’t be a crime comparable to Holocaust. Even the impractical UN law differentiates between genocide and ethnic cleansing, the last being a much lesser crime of forcible resettlement. Xenophobia is a powerful evolutionary feature which stabilizes societies. Racism is often rooted in the very real considerations: Jews have a good reason to resist Arabs in Israel, the people whose malicious intent was demonstrated on myriad occasions.

    Racism is insulting. No one likes being despised. The objects of racism can question whether the core population has more rights than they have. But our lives are full of minute insults and injustices. Some are born rich, other – poor; some – smart, other – silly; some – beautiful, other – ugly. The world doesn’t offer absolute justice, but rather statistical: a person deficient in some respects sometimes excel in other respects; sort of the blonde correlation between nice looking and nice brains. The same statistical approach applies to racism. Should the entire world turn on the Arabs, as it turns on Jews, that would be absolutely unjust and worth fighting against. But here we’re talking of a country which took 0.01% of Islamic lands exercising anti-Arab racism. What if one in a ten thousand clubs in Germany exclude Arabs? That’s surely not a meaningful offense. There are clubs for women, not for men; for 30-year-plus, not for teens. Such establishments are technically illegally exclusive (sexist, for example), but only substantial crimes are punished. In practical terms, women clubs do not substantially violate male rights because males can enjoy other clubs. The similar logic applies to Israeli Arabs. Islam bans Jews from the entire Saudi Arabia and practically excluded Jews from most Arab countries. Almost the entire Middle East is a Muslim-only club.

    Jews are entitled to the club of our own.

    To prove my point I suggest Andrew fly to Mecca on a Polish or German Passport which ever is the more fitting/ Where a Star of David around his neck or carry a sign saying I AM JEWISH AND WAIT \I would bet it takes no more than five min. to have done with an antisemitic Jew hater, and worse than that Jewish Traitor in all that counts. Humanity that you love so well might remember you but I doubt it!

    Listen to what I am saying as I have said it many times in the past her and I will recap as you seem constantly to overlook all and relate only to what fit s your narrow minded and racist view of us and Jews in General:

    THE JEWISH PEOPLE IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER. It is a Divine, special, holy and different
    nation, chosen by the Al-Mighty at Sinai to live a specific life under Jewish law and
    commandments. Jewish destiny – that which will be – depends on one thing only: Jewish
    adherence to their special mission of obedience to that Law. There must be a return to
    Jewish faith and observance, or tragedy will strike regardless of whether Right or Left
    guides the Jewish ship of state.

    others. Not assimilation or amalgamation or integration with the nations is the Jewish role
    but rather the creation of a separate people, living in a separate state, and building a
    separate and special society. That is the Jewish injunction and that is the true meaning of
    the Jews as “a light unto the nations”. The Jewish people must, thus, be isolated from
    foreign cultures that corrupt and destroy the authentic Jewish Idea.
    There must be an unrelenting campaign to make intermarriage and assimilation anathema,
    with no compromise on rejection of the concept of marrying out of the faith. In particular,
    no Jew who is intermarried shall be allowed to hold a Jewish leadership post.
    And Jewish policy must also be one of isolation from a corrupting world political process. To
    that end, the Jewish state must leave the United Nations, a band of international
    desecrators of the name of the L-rd. No fear of isolation! We are a people that dwells alone.

    LOVE OF JEW FOR JEW. The Jewish nation is one. There are no boundaries that separate
    the Jews and the pain of one is the pain of all. There is an obligation to rush to save
    oppressed and suffering Jews, wherever they may be and in whatever way is necessary. The
    weak Jew who is threatened must be rescued by the Jew of strength. Jewish power, in such
    a case, is an obligation.
    It is unacceptable to speak of internal affairs of any country in which Jews are threatened.
    In particular, while Jews remain in the Exile and are endangered by Jew-haters, it is the
    role of the State of Israel to do all in its power to defend them and to put an end to attacks
    on Jews. Israel was established as the Jewish State, as the trustee and guardian of Jews all
    over the world. It must live up to that obligation.
    For the Jew, there are no permanent allies except the Jew himself and the Al-mighty. For
    the Jew, Jewish interest comes first, for who will care about him, if not himself? Public

    NO GUILT. To be Jewish is to be the Chosen of the L-rd and Jews must rid themselves of
    the guilt, self-hate and inferiority that grip so many today. Not guilt but pride; not self-hate
    but intense love; not inferiority but the knowledge that Jews have been chosen from all the
    nations upon the face of the earth to receive the Divine truth. Jewish pride! But combined
    with the humility of bowing to the will of G-d.
    What is moral and ethical, what is just and merciful, must be based not on western and
    gentilized concepts but on Divine values that can be derived only from the sources of Jewish
    Law. The concept of the yoke of Heaven must be accepted and must be the only yardstick
    for Jewish values regardless of how they differ from western and gentile ones. Jews must
    become conceptually Jewish
    Jewish funds must stop going to non-Jewish causes and a new order of priorities must be
    established that set Jewish education – the real and substantive kind, the Jewish day school,
    the yeshiva – as the most important of Jewish projects. Public Jewish funds must be set
    aside, not for community centers with huge numbers of non-Jews as members, but for
    Jewish defense, aliya – immigration to Israel –

    THE ESSENCE OF JUDAISM IS FAITH. Faith in a G-d of the Jews who is Omnipotent and
    who holds the world in His hands. The sadness of our times is the lack of true faith that has
    gripped all section of Jewry, including the Orthodox, so many of whom believe in
    commandments but not really in G-d.

    THE JEW MUST THROW OFF HIS FEAR OF THE GENTILE and the tragic misconception
    that his future depends on the love and support of the nations. The Jewish people is
    indestructible and the Jewish State that arose after 19 centuries of agony in the Exile, can
    never go under. It is not the gentile who holds the Jewish destiny in his hands but only the
    Jew. Fear of the gentile betrays lack of faith in the G-d of Israel and in His power to
    determine history. Furthermore, to violate Jewish law because of that fear is to desecrate
    the name of the L-rd.

    JEWISH STRENGTH, NOT WEAKNESS. Jewish strength is not only a sanctification of the
    name of the L-rd, but an imperative to save a Jew who is oppressed and suffering. What
    immorality cloaked in hypocritical “ethics” it is, to condemn violence when someone else is
    suffering! Violence is tragic but sometimes tragically necessary, and when it is necessary, it
    is obligatory. The dream of Israel is for the nations to beat their swords into ploughshares,
    but while our enemy still has his sword, let us not have a ploughshare.
    Let the Jewish response to any Western threat to cut off conventional arms sales be the

    specifically, will never consider themselves an integral part of a country that is legally
    defined as a Jewish state. They can never feel love and empathy for it. Only those who live
    contempt for the Arabs cannot and will not see this. Only they believe that national pride,
    dignity and self-determination can be bought in exchange for economic benefits. The Arabs
    who refuse to live as resident strangers – and the numbers of these must be limited so as to
    endanger neither the security nor the economy of the Jewish state – must be given a choice
    of leaving willingly with full compensation for their property or being compelled to leave
    without compensation.
    The truth is that there is a contradiction between the concepts of a Jewish state and a
    western democratic one. We must choose a Jewish state.

    belongs to the G-d of Israel and the Jew, given it by G-d, has no right to give away any part
    of it. All the areas past liberated (including those currently under the “Palestinian
    Authority”), or areas which may be liberated in the future, must be annexed, made part of
    the State of Israel, and populated by Jews as rapidly as possible. Jewish settlement in every
    part of Eretz-Yisrael, including cities that today are sadly Judenrein , must be unlimited.
    Maximum continuous expansion of Jewish settlement must be encouraged by wellcoordinated
    national policies binding upon all agencies of the State of Israel and all related
    Jewish institutions with authority or influence over urban and rural development, housing,
    agriculture, transportation and industrial investment.

    THE ARABS DO NOT WANT PEACE. It is illusion and delusion to believe the Middle
    Eastern problem is a dispute over the occupied lands of 1967, or the creation of a “Palestine”
    that would exist next to Israel.

    is the sanctification of G-d and to remain in the Exile, the embodiment of desecration, at a
    time when it is possible to return home, is to consciously choose to reinforce the
    desecration. The Al-Mighty will never allow it and the Exile is being ended whether the Jew
    agrees to it or not.

    The transfer of Arabs will complete the exchange of populations begun 1948, after which
    almost one million

    Jews fled Arab countries with no compensation. These Jews were
    integrated into the Jewish state of their brothers and sisters. Let the same be done for the
    Arabs Israel by their brethren. Social support payments which the government of Israel has
    squandered on Arabs and other enemies must be directed to help needy Jews, and
    especially, Sefardi and oriental Jewish communities in various development towns and
    economically disadvantaged ‘shikunim’ (neighborhoods) around Israel. >From those Arabs who
    receive compensation, a percentage will be taken off the amounts to compensate Sefardi
    Jews who received nothing when they were expelled from Arab coun
    production and deployment of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that will, at the
    same time, equalize any arrogant threat by any arrogant superpower.


    Anti-Semitism is simply racism aimed against Jews.

    Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism and that is all simple arithmetic:

    Racism is the opposition to people’s right to be free !

    Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish nation !

    Therefore Anti Zionism = RACISM !

    And when RACISM is aimed against JEWS it is ANTI-SEMITISM !

    Thus: ANTI Zionism = ANTI-SEMETISM

  25. As for the distinction between Jews of Europe and Jews of America, I would say in general that both Europeans and the Jews among them are to the left of Americans and the Jews among them.

    Europe may kiss ass if it likes. For me, Islam and the west are incompatible. I don’t want to change to accommodate Islam. Islam must change. Our way or the highway as they say. That doesn’t make me a racist. Just as resisting and criticising any totalitarian ideology doesn’t make me a racist.

    When I think of the Islamification of the world, I think of Camus’ The Plague.

  26. No one, not even Jews should be allowed a double standard. I do not equate criticism of Israel with giving aid and comfort to the enemy. I have no trouble recognizing acceptable criticism from criticism which is antisemitic in nature. When Jews join Israel’s enemies in common cause i.e. the destruction of Israel, I find this unacceptable. For that matter when anyone does so I find it and them unacceptable.

    When anyone works to demonize or deligitimate Israel or Jews I find it unacceptable.

    I hope I have made myself clear.

  27. Re. Comment No. 8.

    Bill, you underrate yourself. First, I assume there is at least a Minyan in Calgary. But even if it’s just you and another guy, you can still be a leader. The real test of leadership is whether one leads or follows. For example, on this blog Ted leads and all the rest of us follow. That is not only because it is Ted’s blog. It’s also because he always positions himself out in front on each issue, and he is always prepared to take the hit. This doesn’t mean that he is superman. It’s only a question of attitude. My impression is that you could be a leader, and to find out you need only try. Maybe it’s not so easy to be a Jewish leader in Calgary. But you can be a community leader nonetheless and apply Jewish values and the Jewish sense of service to what you do. In fact, from writing back and forth with you, I feel sure you do this as a matter of course. So the only thing is to do it more consciously. There are lots of ways, and a lot of contexts, in which to be a Jewish leader.

    As for California, I guess we all wish for someplace else. (Excepting Yambo, who is living out his dream.) The California coastline is actually two quite different geographies and I am not sure which one attracts you, or attracts you most. From approximately Monterey south, there is the gently sloping, sandy coastline beloved of surfers and sunbathers. From the Golden Gate Bridge north, there is a rugged coastline of sheer cliffs, rocks and boulders, and redwood forests, where the wind is nearly always blowing too hard, and where the fog comes in most afternoons about 4 pm. Between Monterey and San Francisco are various gradations of the two types.

    I am a northern Californian. I lived in La Jolla (near San Diego) for about a year when I was 18, and another year in Beverley Hills when I was 33. I discovered that if I never see Southern California again, it will be too soon. On the other hand, I never tire of the northern California coast, which in my opinion only gets better as it moves north through Oregon and Washington into British Columbia. Since I am an admirer of rocky coastlines, I also find myself sometimes longing for the coast of Maine (there is none more beautiful, I think), and the west coast of Scotland, where it is still possible to experience solitude. I’m sure there are others, but I’ve never seen them.

  28. Re. Comment No. 7 —

    I will defend and put my ass on the line for any Jew anywhere who is in need or in trouble. I love Jews and hate those who would demean or seek to harm a hair on a single Jew.

    If I had written this sentence I would have put it this way: I will defend and put my ass on the line for any human being anywhere who is in need or in trouble. I love mankind and hate those who would demean or seek to harm a hair on a single one of them. My version includes Jews — absolutely — but it doesn’t exclude anyone categorically. I can’t imagine why you think your version is better.

  29. Re. Comment No. 6 —
    Ted, Mine was not a general comment, but rather one directed at Yamit82 (“Yambo,” as in Rambo), who appears from his writings on this blog to have the most black-and-white, purely Manichean, view of the world imaginable. You and Bill Narvey may distinguish between Jewish and Zionist, and so may many others on this site (more on this in a second), but judging from Yamit’s comments, he doesn’t, at least not very often. I expect he will nit-pick this critique, or simply blow up at it, so I will say that whether or not I have read him 100% correctly is neither here nor there at the end of the day; even without his example, we all know people (frequently enough they are converts or people who only became religious/Zionist late in life, but I am not referring to anyone we know) for whom being Jewish and being Zionist are so completely the same thing, that they don’t admit the possibility of the former without the latter. My comment was directed at them — and was also meant to allow for the whole spectrum of Jewish-Zionist affiliation from those who separate the two completely, even zealously, to those who conflate the two completely, even zealously. All I wanted to say was that a number of Jews (apparently about as many or even somewhat more than the population of Israel itself) find it possible to live and work and bring up families outside Israel without a perpetual gnawing feeling eating away at them. Furthermore, I have found the greatest number of those Jews who appear able to do this without angst or guilt to be in Europe, in notable contrast to North America, where fairly often the apparent (and sometimes even the stated) purpose of a synagogue is to raise money for, and consciousness of, Israel. Maybe this is because the Jews of Europe have learned to (or been forced to) make this accommodation to practical realities so often and for so long that it has become second nature, part of their survival strategy. Those who don’t accept the authenticity of this strategy are inclined to call such people “Uncle Toms,” or the equivalent, in much the same way that the Black Panthers referred to the NAACP and Martin Luther King, Jr., as Uncle Toms, even though they were all working toward the same or very similar things.

    It’s interesting to me that both Ted and Bill Narvey acknowledge the distinction between Jewish and Zionist, but then add a very complex proviso without any hint that they recognize or want others to recognize how complex it is. I mean the “aid and comfort to the enemy” proviso. I think we all have enough respect for the traditions of freedom of speech and freedom of association to give them lip service at least. The question is, however, where on the spectrum we call “too far.” Yambo expresses the classic “If you aint with us, you’re against us” viewpoint. Ted apparently holds the view that it’s okay to disagree with him, so long as you keep your mouth shut about it in public. Bill appears to follow Ted, though I suspect he’s a degree or two left of Ted, admitting the possibility of respectful public dissent, so long as it remains only that and doesn’t rise above the level of white noise. I, as you might guess, actually believe that it’s important — even important to the survival and success of Israel — that there are those prepared to question everything about it, and to do so as loudly and brashly as those who question nothing about it. So, for each of us, “aid and comfort to the enemy” is going to mean something different, and so, as a delineation, it isn’t that helpful unless we take the time to say what we mean by it and to give some examples. Have Olmert, Livni, and Barrak been giving aid and comfort to the enemy. From both Yambo and Ted, I expect a yes. From Bill a maybe/sometimes/probably. And from me a “You must be joking.” Someone like Bill Levinson, and probably also Yambo, and maybe also Ted, will say that simply by not immediately bombing Gaza (and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Syria, and Ramallah, and Condi Rice, and the UN Headquarters into oblivion, while also demanding the “return” of Jonathan Pollard, the three named elected leaders of Israel are committing treason.

    If one’s definition of “aid and comfort to the enemy” includes the things that are not done, as well as the things that are, then it’s a pointless concept. A more difficult case is the one that has been at the heart of the Bush (and Israeli) foreign policy: that even talking to one’s enemies amounts to giving them aid and comfort. Implicit in this is the view that talking could, and probably will, lead to compromise, and that compromise of any sort is weakness incarnate and therefore unacceptable. The Allied powers in World War II fairly on (1942, I think) set out the non-negotiable nature of the war: “unconditional surrender”. Did this prolong the war (and with it the Holocaust)? Make it bloodier, more damaging, and more wasteful? Play into the hands of Stalin’s expansionist strategies? If the answer to any of those questions is Yes, then for me that is enough to discredit the policy of not talking with one’s enemies.

  30. Thanks Andrew for the vote of confidence.

    I am however far from the centre of the largest Jewish communities from which Jewish leaders emerge. I can’t be a long distance leader, so I will have to just continue to offer my 2 cents on various issues and hope some of those opinions reach and strike a responsive chord in some of our Jewish leaders in Canada.

    Obviously not all Jews are Zionists. I concur with Ted’s comments as regards Jews and Zionists.

    As to your view that Britain and California are better places to live and work then Israel, I can’t argue with your personal opinion. As for my dream place to live and work, it is coastal California. The word beautiful is inadequate to express my impressions of the area.

  31. Andrew according to you printed Bio maybe you should put a big S on your uniformed chest but I could also suggest another letter E for enemy. Enemy of the Jews enemy of what and who is right. I am sure you will proffer some specious argument such as one mans terrorist is another freedom fighter or some warped and overly used inane come back but even if I were to concede the second I would leave the E in place. The Arab enemy we face here and the Muslim enemy the world faces there are essentially the same animal with different headscarf’s or shall I say schematas on their heads. Since they are an extension of Nazi ideology coupled with Islamic fascist ideology any one who supports them or tenders relativism or equivalence to them is by definition no better or in your case worse. You tacitly support the enemies of your people and do what ever you can to denigrate those with a deeper commitment to their people and religious beliefs. Your are arrogantly opinionated but know very little, you never address head on any opposing arguments with credible first source material to back up what you argument. At best you ignore what you cannot refute.

    In short while I am not religious I do respect if not always agree with all Jews even those in the Black hats and white stocking variety. I will defend and put my ass on the line for any Jew anywhere who is in need or in trouble. I love Jews and hate those who would demean or seek to harm a hair on a single Jew. Yourself excluded as you have placed yourself in the enemies camp. Your choice! There are many like you here and abroad but I promise you your days of feeling superior and in control are numbered. Eventually you are going to fall between the chairs so to speak not with us the Jews and not with the Antisemites that will have your ass someday in a sling. When that happens pls. don’t call on us to save your despicable ass. I hope no one will ans.

  32. Jerimiah says

    Jews in Britain, at least all those I know and spend time with, do make a distinction between being Jewish and being Zionist. They find it entirely possible, and not something to feel guilt over, to live and work and raise families in the UK without a constant yearning for a Jewish state or even the Jewish state.

    Just as Jews everywhere have the right to be more or less Jewish in their beliefs and practices, so do they have the right to be more or less Zionist.

    My problem is when some of them lend aid and comfort to the enemies of the Jewish collective whether that is the religion or Israel. Sure it is their right to do so. It is also my right to attack them for doing so.

    I have always maintained that Jews can differ on what’s is in Israel’s interest i.e. to capitulate or to fight. So long as they have Israel’s best interest at heart. That is not to say that each side doesn’t view the other as being an enemy. Such is always the case when people feel passionate about things. And the issue is not an academic one. It is an existential one.

    But there is more to the debate. Some Jews both religious and secular believe that Israel should not exist, but for different reasons. The secular who take this position argue either its existence increases antisemitism and thus harms Jews which is a legitimate argument or they do so out of hate for their fellow Jews and want to injure them.

    I say to both of them, you go your way, let me go mine. My problem is when they try to deny me that right or support my enemies..

    Anytime a person turns against his own he is a traitor and a turncoat.

    Liebler argues the establishment shouldn’t give a platform to these people. I agree.

  33. Two comments —

    To No. 2. Bill, you speak of “the Jewish leadership” as though it were a caste into which you cannot be admitted. You have the skill-set. Go for it. You should become a part of it — as I am sure you could with only a small effort and a reasonable commitment of time — and lead it, and the whole community, in the direction you believe it should go. Complaining won’t achieve much, I suspect. If it’s broke, fix it.

    To No. 3. Yambo, I watched the first clip and imagine the others are in the same vein. OK, what’s your point? I’ve never said that the UK is paradise — only that I don’t think Israel is paradise or a solution to any of the problems facing (or that have faced) the Jews. If anti-Semitism is on the rise in the UK, and it seems it is (I plan to download the Parliamentary report featured in the first clip), it also appears that it is being dealt with promptly, responsibly, and with sensitivity by the police, parliament, and the various communities affected by the issue. No one is firing Qassams into Stanford Hill or Golders Green or Finchley.

    On the whole, I find the UK a very much preferable place to live and work than most places — including Israel. Including also California. Some people say this makes me a nut — so be it. One thing I definitely am not is a Haredi Jew who self-segregates and lives according to a rule book supposedly 3,000 years old. I think self-segregation and living by the strict imposition of out-dated rules creates problems very nearly as troubling as other forms of segregation and strict enforcement. We can discuss that if you like, but please don’t claim that I hate Haredi Jews. I don’t. But I do not understand them, and for the most part I don’t respect their choices, which strike me as irrational (to say the least). I do feel that they make life harder for themselves by their insistence on being different and being apart from those around them. It’s the same for the Amish and for certain other Christian sects. No doubt, there are other examples as well. So it has nothing to do with being Jewish, and everything to do with being deliberately strange. Trying to hang onto to a way of life that is at least 200 years out of sync with the world around one is almost certain to bring about ridicule and worse. What’s the solution? I don’t know — my usual chant is “education, education, education” (on both sides), but it seems to accomplish only so much. And it has almost no effect when the desire to self-segregate is as strong as it is among some Haredi groups. Is the answer for everyone to buy a Kalashnikov and move to the Negev? I don’t think so. Is the answer to become an agnostic or an atheist like me and to stop dressing as one’s great-grandfather did back in Minsk in 1910? Probably not, at least no completely — though I think it would help a lot, but I find orthodoxy of any kind (in any religion) distasteful in the extreme. (I seem to recall that you do, too.)

    Seriously, to whom do you think I should apologize with my “arrogant stupidity?” Jews in Britain, at least all those I know and spend time with, do make a distinction between being Jewish and being Zionist. They find it entirely possible, and not something to feel guilt over, to live and work and raise families in the UK without a constant yearning for a Jewish state or even the Jewish state. Furthermore, again based on personal experience and on what I’ve read, Jews throughout Europe are generally less emphatically Zionist than the Jews of America. Does this make me, or those around me, “arrogantly stupid”? I don’t think so. We have come to a different conclusion from the one you’ve come to. And fortunately, as I see it, we have also come to a different — and less hypocritical conclusion than the one that so many American Jews seem to have come to. For American Jews, it makes some sort of sense to live in America but to send their money (their loyalty, their love, and their allegiance) to Israel. I say: If you love the place so much, get off your butt and go. I don’t love the place, and I’m not going. You do love the place, it seems, and you have gone. But it doesn’t make you more of a Jew than all those who have stayed in the Diaspora. And if you say it does, then I say you are welcome to it.

  34. Jeremiah Wails: Intelligent people know of what they speak; fools speak of what they know. Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas.

    British Jews, bless them, actually recognize a distinction between Jewish and Zionist, and do not require that to be one means to be both or neither.

    Watch these clips and then apologize to all you have insulted with your arrogant stupidity!

    The War on Britain’s Jews?

  35. Liebler seems to be saying that his words that need to be heard by Jewish leadership and acted upon, amount to his shouting into the wind.

    The bottom line for Liebler is that Jewish leadership is greasing the wheels of British anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiments by either as Limmud does, giving antisemites a platform to speak to and influence the Jewish community or by failing to stand up and shout against anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiments and to denounce antisemitic/anti-Israel advocates.

    It is sad and angering that we too often see evidence that supports Liebler’s assessment of this problem of Jewish leadership aiding the forces of anti-semitism and anti-Israel views by either participating in one way or another in support of or standing mute and paralyzed against those forces.

  36. I admire Isi Liebler for having hounded the egregious Israel Singer out of office. Bravo, and thank you for that very real service. However, no one ever accused Liebler of patience or moderation — and chutzpah flows through his veins in place of blood. Where does he — an Australian Jewish multimillionaire retired to Israel, with the traditional Australian ill-feeling for “Poms” — get the cojones to criticize someone of the intellectual and ethical stature of Tony Lerman “while visiting London.” I’ve met Tony Lerman and heard him speak — he’s not politically correct, but he is refreshingly responsible and broad-minded. He recognizes that Jews in Britain, indeed Jews everywhere, live amongst others. Jewish self-segregation is not the British tradition (except amongst a tiny sub-culture of Haredi Jews). Furthermore, British Jews have never been as fanatical and uncritical of Israel as their co-religionists elsewhere. British Jews, bless them, actually recognize a distinction between Jewish and Zionist, and do not require that to be one means to be both or neither.