Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Pathos of Jewish anti-Zionism

Michael L.

{Originally posted at the Elder of Ziyon and cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

despair gill kayeI must admit, there is often something very touching about heartfelt expressions of Jewish anti-Zionism.

On Daily Kos (a significant left-leaning political blog) we recently saw another soulful "diary" calling for the dissolution of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.  As is sometimes the case, this one came from a fellow Jew... a very sad fellow Jew.

Jewish anti-Zionism often has a pathos to it.

It tends to have a kind of self-indulgent, guilt-ridden, weepy quality.

It enacts or portrays the supposed torment of a Jewish soul before a non-Jewish audience comfortable with Jewish weakness and entirely uncomfortable with Jewish strength.

My suspicion is that such portrayals are sincere and that there is a definite throwing oneself upon the mercy of the court quality to it all.  The saintly David Harris-Gershon fairly ooozed this sort-of righteous self-flagellation as he fretted about what gift he should purchase for the children of the terrorist who murdered two of his friends and who almost murdered his wife in the cafeteria of Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

You know how this goes.  When your typical Jewish anti-Zionist was young he was allegedly filled with the heroic spirit of Moshe Dayan and David ben Gurion.  But now the Arabs, and their western allies, have shown him the error of his ways and he is willing to publicly rend his shirt and acknowledge his immoral mistake.

We have one such example up at Daily Kos written by Burtfrombrooklyn entitled, Israel and the paradox of theocracy.

After much soul-searching over many decades, he tells the world:
I've come around to a belief in a one-state solution.  But that new state could no longer be a Jewish state...
Burt, a middle aged Jew who has never set foot in Israel has decided, on moral grounds - no less - that Israel should no longer exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people.


He writes:
In maintaining its status as a Jewish state, how can it also stay true to its founding vision of a society that offers equal rights and protections to all citizens, not just Jews?
Asking how Israel can maintain "equal rights and protections," which is to say democracy, while being a Jewish state is no different from asking how France can maintain democracy as a state of the French or Britain as the state of the Brits or Ireland as the state of the Irish.

What makes the Jews so special that there is something inherently inconsistent about Jewish democracy, but not, say, Mexican democracy?

There are two issues of primary importance around this discussion that distinguishes Israel from all other countries.  The first is that Israel is held to an anti-Semitic double-standard, which is why it is the only country on the planet wherein millions of people around the world - despite the Holocaust - think that Jews need to return to statelessness and, thus, helplessness.

The second is that the word "Jewish" also refers to the religion, which allows the less well-read to sometimes accuse Israel of being a theocracy.

This is precisely what Burt, from my dear old dad's town of Brooklyn does:
The paradox:  how can a government simultaneously be theocratic and humanistic -- committed to being a Jewish state, and committed to being a social democracy that values human and civil rights? 
Israel is actually the least religious country in the entire region and was set up quite specifically not to be a theocracy, which is why its legal statutes are not Torah-based.  Religious questions sometimes arise in legal proceedings, as they do in the United States, as well, but the last thing that Israel is is a theocracy.

Unlike in Tehran, there is no rule by an authoritarian religious elite.

Therefore, the entire premise of this particular call for robbing Jewish people of even a chance at safety and sovereignty is grounded in dangerous nonsense.

Below are a few comments from beneath the article that will give you a sense of how many of Burt's associates feel:
Thank you for a thoughtful and (4+ / 0-)

thought-provoking diary.

I am sorry for the howls of rage that will no doubt fall on your head for having the courage to question whether an Israeli theocracy can be sustained.
by officebss on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:52:17 AM PST
But there is no Israeli theocracy.
theocrats usually believe they are humanists (1+ / 0-)

In fact they believe that only theocrats can be humanists.  Their argument is that God desires the good of humanity, therefore to follow God is automatically to do good for humanity.

by Visceral on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:05:38 AM PST
But there is no Israeli theocracy.
Excellent and thought-provoking diary. (3+ / 0-)

I, too am an American-born Jew, 64 years old.  You and I share much of the same experience.

Israel as a nation was never a matter of faith, but cultural identity. 
I find your solutions very compelling.

by 57andFemale on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:11:07 AM PST
His solutions mean total war.

If one is interested in seeing very many dead people then definitely advance BDS, because if it is successful that will be the outcome.

Furthermore, of course, if Israel is grounded in cultural identity rather than faith, then how could it possibly be a theocracy and, thus, just what does this person find compelling?

What I find compelling is the shear idiocy of any such Solution to the Jewish Problem that requires war against us, which is precisely what anti-Zionism / BDS will need if it is to succeed.
Expulsion of the local Arabs has been part of the (1+ / 0-)

Zionist toolbox since Day One, back in the 19th C.

Current Israeli policy is not to evict them all or kill them all outright,  but to severely restrict the Arabs' collective airway in hopes that they'll move.

by oblomov on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:45:41 AM PST
oblomov's view is in no way reflective of Israeli history or the history of the Jewish people in the region.

If transference of the Arabs were a general Jewish policy than just why did the Jews beg the Arabs in Haifa to stay during the War for Independence?  As David Margolick wrote in a 2008 New York Times book review of historian Benny Morris' 1948: The First Arab-Israel War:
Transfer — or expulsion or ethnic cleansing — was never an explicit part of the Zionist program, even among its more extreme elements, Morris observes. The first Arabs who left their homes did so on their own, expecting to return once the Jews lost or the fighting stopped. The Jewish mayor of Haifa begged Arab residents to stay; Golda Meir, then head of the Jewish Agency Political Department, called the exodus “dreadful” and even likened it to what had befallen the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
When someone like oblomov makes unjust and malicious accusations against Israel he is, essentially, calling for violence against a long persecuted minority.  He is, for all intents and purposes, acting in the fashion of a Nazi in the sense that he, like the Nazis did, is spreading hatred toward the Jews in preparation for whatever violence is to come.

The truth is, one cannot despise Israel without despising the Jewish people and wishing us harm.

One cannot stand for social justice while simultaneously pointing the trembling finger of blame at the Jewish people.

Perhaps this is something that needs to be clarified.

Some people, it should be noted, stood up and told this "diarist" that his musings were nonsense, but they represent the distinct minority within most left-leaning venues.

The bottom line is that those who call for the dissolution of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people or who, in their consideration of the long war against the Jews, either take the Arab side or constantly denigrate the Israeli side, are playing a very sick and dangerous game with the future of your children.

Self-righteous Jews like David Harris-Gershon, who wear the hair shirt and give public testimony to false allegations of Jewish malice, are spreading hatred toward their own people and this certainly goes for someone like the Daily Kos diarist who believes that Israel needs, somehow, to be dismantled.

The elimination of Israel as the Jewish state can only happen through full-on war.

Ultimately, this is what anti-Zionism points toward.

If you think that Israel should not exist as the nation state of the Jewish people... or if you favor the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the lone, sole Jewish state... or if you think that Israel is a racist, militaristic, imperialist, theocratic, apartheid, colonialist entity... then you are pushing for lots and lots of blood.

But, don't worry, unless you happen to be Jewish - or live in or near Israel - chances are the blood will not be yours.


  1. "Compelling," eh?

    Hmm, let's see...

    com·pel·ling adjective \kəm-ˈpe-liŋ\
    : very interesting
    : able to capture and hold your attention
    : capable of causing someone to believe or agree
    : strong and forceful
    : causing you to feel that you must do something

    Yep, it still means the same thing I always thought it did. I mean, unless it's recently been given a new definition in ProgressiveSpeak? I no longer get their newsletters, though, so I wouldn't know. But let's unpack this thing using the Merriam-Webster definition.

    "I find your solutions very compelling.

    by 57andFemale on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:11:07 AM PST

    In the "very interesting" sense, I suppose it's not that offensive. You know, in the sense that many things one does not necessarily like or approve of can be considered 'interesting.' I find Mars interesting, for example, but I'm not interested in going there. So perhaps this lady finds genocide and war 'interesting,' but does not necessarily want to go there.

    Also, see "may you live in interesting times."

    Moving on - "able to capture and hold your attention." Public displays of support for war and genocide would certainly qualify as doing that, so I guess it still fits somewhat. Going ahead, however, is where we begin to sense trouble.

    "[C]apable of causing someone to believe or agree." Uh oh. Believing and agreeing in genocidal dispossession is not something one generally admits to in public anymore, for obvious reasons.

    Now "strong and forceful" could fit, because many idiots are easily swayed by racist arguments. This is nothing new.

    The last part of the definition, however, is the most troubling as I see it. Has that diary caused her to feel that she must do something? Well, I guess she can try to join ISIS or see if Hamas is seeking recruits, though I'd advise against that. That likely wouldn't end up well for her. Perhaps JVP or BDS are more fitted to her discriminating tastes when it comes to taking away Jewish rights?

    All in all, clearly a pretty troubled person.

    1. Left anti-Zionism is a funny thing.

      Right anti-Zionism is pretty straight forward. It's not nearly as prevalent as Left anti-Zionism, but to the extent that it is out there, they simply do not like Jews and do not wish us well.

      Left anti-Zionism is a different beast.

      It is for humanitarian reasons that they want to rob Jews of sovereignty and self-defense.

      Some people think that in their hearts they are malicious, but I think that in their hearts they honestly believe that the Jewish minority in the Middle East has abused the Arab majority population and this needs to be corrected as a matter of social justice and human rights.

    2. Left anti-Zionism is a different beast.

      It is for humanitarian reasons that they want to rob Jews of sovereignty and self-defense.

      Some people think that in their hearts they are malicious.

      Count me in as one of those who thinks the left's Anti-Zionism is malicious.

      Many on the left have a "holier than thou attitude" as they claim they don't discriminate when in fact many do. They wear the badge of the progressive left to deflect this. But you still see it come out from time to time. (Such as the disgusting crap on the allegedly progressive Daily Kos)

      As such, people like this can use the suffering of the palestinians as a way to try and hide their true feelings of bigotry. As such, these people when they even push on a full on ZOG message will still refer to palestinians as the "real reason" for what they say and write.

      There are a FEW left-Zionists who don't feel this way, but the majority do!

    3. mannie... I don't think the Hard Left (as we see on DKos) necessarily wants to rob Jews of sovereignty and self defense for the same reasons that the Nazi's did. Don't get me wrong, they hate us for being Jews... but they hate Israel even more because it is friend of America and is considered a "Western Nation" (and it is for all intensive purposes). They don't just hate us.... they hate anything that gets in the way of their gaining hegemony over the Middle East.

      Hence they also hate America and with that the mainstream of the Democratic Party. That's why you see the extreme nutjobs there railing on the President and American foreign policy as well. They see Israel as some "colonial outpost" and so even without having information and by totally ignoring their own stated ethos, they support almost the very worst people that humanity has to offer.

    4. Does it matter whether they are like Hitler or Stalin?

      Read this somewhere and will use the words:

      What arises is a consistent Obama worldview that the present U.S.-inspired global order is not fair, but rather fuelled by neo-colonialism, past imperialism, racism, and capitalist exploitation, Western but especially American in nature. In such a moral landscape, obviously some liberationists, revolutionaries, reformers and dissidents will go too far, in the manner that Castro killed or jailed a bit too many or Arafat himself was on occasion a little bit too much the killer.

      But as Andrew Young once said of Khomeini that he “will be somewhat of a saint when we get over the panic,” so, too, the Obama administration more or less understands why young men in the Middle East take up arms against the U.S.

      In the blue place where I am there are MANY MANY mainstream Democrats who "understand" and have this orientation, toward Israel and/or Jewish "power" and manipulative ways.

      Most anyone can see the Hard Left actors. Others may not voice their beliefs openly, but that does not mean they don't have them or nod when they hear them. They "understand" only the critical, often obsessively, while lacking ability to acknowledge positives.

      They belong, directly and indirectly to what has been dubbed, "The Cult of Occupation." Many see Israel and Zionists much like they see Republicans, as the source of evil.


  2. Mike - I won't lie to you... much of what you write here gets me shaking my head in disbelief, BUT when you say this:

    It (Jewish anti-Zionism)) enacts or portrays the supposed torment of a Jewish soul before a non-Jewish audience comfortable with Jewish weakness and entirely uncomfortable with Jewish strength.

    you "hit out of the park" (in a good way). This is it - a key to a passive aggressive pathos against Jewish pride and Jewish strength.

    I think your comment is exactly right. I saw this earlier when the person who posts as Tamar at DKos posted an article in a Jewish Magazine arguing that the archetype Jewish Male is some sort of Woody Allen like character who is known to rely on his quick with and unending compassion to reason with his oppressors or to suffer in silence rather than rage against the treatment of the Jewish people by those who would /did / still want to oppress us.

    In some way a segment of our population turned it's back on the Joshua Bin Nun's, the David's of our people. They continue that in their conflict with their disdain for the Halutzim who fought and built Israel.

    The pathos exhibited by the Useless Idiot (DHG) is just that. It is a mealy mouthed attempt to ingratiate himself with those who would just as soon see him dead. He seems to think that if he can beg their forgiveness enough, they won't try to blow his wife or family up again. BUT... he is wrong. They don't care how many articles he writes that agrees with Hamas (as he did constantly during the Gaza Conflict this summer). They don't care how much he pushes for his precious BDS against Israel. All of that will not land him a seat at the "Good Jews" table. You know why? Because there is no "Good Jews Table". If Israel didn't exist or if the Palestinians took control of that area.. the Jews who live there would be wiped out. AND those of us who live in the diaspora would be at great risk. THAT is the reality of the world without Israel.

    You (and most of the folks here) and I have very different beliefs in how to deal with the I/P conflict and with how to even approach the situation. I don't agree with much of what you say concerning ... well... almost anything. BUT, I would much sooner side with you than I would side with those folks, because there is nothing but cowardice and fear that prompts their political screeds. To stand against ones blood and to actually call for the Jewish people to be cast out into a hostile world, relying on the "kindness" of those who would just as soon not see us there, is foolhardy and pathetic.

    But (and I admit this) we cannot make ourselves out to be "that brave" because really all we are doing is sitting at our keyboards talking amongst ourselves about how tough we should be while the Israelis are actually living it. I had my chance to make Aliyah, I didn't. Now I have a situation where I can't. So for all the Krav Maga I may do, and for all the Israeli style Tactical Point shooting that I do, I can't claim any sort of bravery that my friends in Israel have (simply by living there);. But what I (and I believe you as well) can claim is that we support a Jewish population that is strong and is proud. That is how I am raising my kids. I have no illusions of anything regarding that, but, I do know that I am proud to be a Jew and I believe that somewhere, somehow, and some way... that has to count for something.

    1. The "useless idiot"?

      Is that what you guys call him?


      That's not very nice, you realize... but I will not lose any sleep, you can be sure. Fizziks seems to think that the guy is insincere. You seem to agree. Do you? Because, the thing is, I suspect that he is entirely sincere. I do not know if you read his book or not, but I got no sense of the disingenuous. This could be because the guy is a good writer or it could be that I am just a lousy judge of character!


      "But (and I admit this) we cannot make ourselves out to be "that brave" because really all we are doing is sitting at our keyboards talking amongst ourselves about how tough we should be while the Israelis are actually living it.

      This is absolutely correct.

      You and I live within a stone's throw and I cannot imagine a safer place for a Jewish person to live as a Jew. This is particularly true given the fact that neither one of us usually walks down the street wearing a kippa. (btw, you may have seen the report by a European journalist who walked around - I think Malmo - wearing a yalmukah and the reaction he received. Very eye opening.)

      I do not think that I am particularly brave. I just think that I have a point of view and I am willing to take the death threats that I know we have both received.

      "Israeli style Tactical Point shooting"?

      Good for you, dude.

      Despite our disagreements in the past, you are always welcome in my fox hole.

    2. Here is a question for you, tho, VB.

      How does one bring about a successful conclusion of hostilities within a two-state solution if the other side absolutely refuses to agree to any such conclusion of hostilities?

      You and I both come from the Oslo School of Thought, but my faith has eroded.

      If neither Hamas, nor the PLO, want it, it cannot be forced down their throats.

      And, yet, Israel still gets the blame from the ideological Left.

    3. Well Mike..

      How does one bring about a successful conclusion of hostilities within a two-state solution if the other side absolutely refuses to agree to any such conclusion of hostilities?

      That is the million dollar question. I don't know the answer, I know what I support but I am not sure that is an answer and I do know that it would not result in an end to hostilities but I do think it would result in more or less in a "cold war" that would eventually fizz out. The thing is that I am not sure that there ever will be a "successful" conclusion of hostilities, just a conclusion that doesn't suck as much (so to speak).

    4. The "useless idiot"?

      Is that what you guys call him?

      Amongst other things. You may disagree but I believe the guy is a truly vile human being. I am not sure what his "sincerely held beliefs" may be because he is all over the map and won't really explain any of them. I sort of agree with fizziks about him (being a grifter) but I think he also has an ideological bent within him that wants to see Israel destroyed and the Jewish people hamstrung.

      As for where we live... I concur. I think it is a safe area for Jews. I occasionally run into some low level anti-Semitism but, for the most part I would say that where we live is pretty good.

      As for ITPS... I recommend it highly. You can do it for either Pistols or Rifles. It's really great training on how to handle and use a Gun. I just finished a course with my Rifle and I would gladly recommend it to anyone. If you ever want to learn this stuff just let me know. It is an open course (a bit expensive, but, well worth it when one considers the benefits).

      As an Off-topic thing... I will say this, and I think it is an unintentional result but as a result of the classes I have taken (both Pistol, and Rifle along with CQB training) I have become more of an advocate for gun control than before. Go figure.

    5. Volleyboy1,

      I agree with you about DHG. To me it seems that he went looking for answers, but then took a bad turn. Once he saw he could shill a book for a few dirty shekels he decided to sell out his own people to prop up a suspect writing/journalistic career.

      Point blank, DHG has become what many Jews have been stereo-typed as...a money grubber

    6. I think it goes beyond money PP90... I think it goes to him wanting a following. That is why in addition to selling out his own people for as you rightly put it, "a few dirty shekels", I think he enjoys the adulation of the "Go Hamas, We Hate Jews" crowd. He thinks he can be the next Glenn Greenwald (though why someone would want that is beyond me but hey... each to his/her own).

      I think in addition to his selling out his own folks for cash, I think he gets a "kick" out of it. I think he ultimately blames Jews and Israel for the bombing that almost took out his wife. So now, he figures he should go the whole route and be "a good Aryan", and hey if he gets rich along the way... well that is a benefit for him.

      That is why I say he is a truly vile human being. Notice he won't ever give a detailed answer about what he really wants. Oh the DKos, neo-Nazi brigade knows but they need a willing Jew to "Jew wash" their anti-Semitism, and this is a role David loves. Believe me, when the "crunch" comes (if it ever does again) and they are looking for Jews to collaborate, you can bet that DHG will be first in line.

  3. You DO realize that American communists such as Lillian Hellman and Langston Hughes were even bigger fans of Stalin and Stalinism when his monstrosity was made public and common knowledge. You cannot shame psychopaths and murderous nutjobs. That's the nature of nutjobbery.

    Similarly the left as embodied in publications like The Forward and the New York Times has always viscerally hated the existence of Israel BECAUSE it exists and not because of some hairsplitting difference of opinion in how its run. If Iran nuked Israel tomorrow half the Jews in America would cheer along with the Nazis and the rest of them. They'd breathe a sigh of relief and tune in to The Daily Show and laugh about it.

    That's the reality of the "Jewish" Israel hating left.

    1. Actually the left would say: "Aw shucks, our bad we didn't really think it would happen" to keep up their facade, while in private many would cheer

  4. Well, this was an interesting evening.

    At around 7:30 this evening, shortly after dinner, Laurie and I were hanging out on the couch watching an old re-run of the Bob Newhart Show when she noticed that our Border Collie pooch, George, needed to go outside.

    So Laurie lets him out back and with 5 seconds he comes screaming back into the house having been SKUNKED right in the face. So, what does he do?

    Naturally, he goes straight for our bedroom and jumps right on our brand-spanking new king-sized bed.

    I grab a leash and race upstairs and drag the poor terrified creature into the backyard where I tie him to an outdoor table.

    I do not know if any of you guys have ever had skunk in your house but, believe me, it is not fun. This is the second time since last spring this has happened and the last time was just two days before we were set for 20 people for Passover.

    But get this.

    So Laurie grabs towels and a bucket and cleaning materials and heads outside to minister to our poor pooch. I run upstairs and grab the comforter off the bed so that I can throw it into the was, but, as I say, brand new bed, brand new comforter, we had never even washed it yet.

    The thing is just too big for our washing machine and it FLOODS OUR LIVING ROOM!

    It was like dominoes, if you know what I mean.

    The next thing that I know, poor old George is locked in the bathroom, as Laurie and I are moving the couch and entertainment center from the living room which is getting flooded by the nearby laundrey room.

    I just could not fucking believe it!

    So then we're pulling up soaking wet carpeting...

    It was just a fucking nightmare and now the house is going to have a vague skunk smell for a day or two.

    My guess is that the Taliban is behind this!



  6. You should see the hate fest over at DKos now. gjohnsit put up a diary talking about how Egypt is destroying Rafah and the Adalah folks including Israeli ex-pat Assaf and his sidekick and wanna be Kapo David Mizner immediately jumped in with a healthy rendering of "It's all Israel's fault". To which the David Duke / Ron Paul crew happily joined in with some real hatred for Jews (not just Israel)... And yet where are those Jews who hate themselves in all of this? Well there is Aunt Martha supporting her fellow wanna be Aryans and of course no one else on that side of the fence pushing back on the haters. It is only JNEREBEL, livosh, dhonig, Jersey Jon, and leftynyc pushing back hard.

    As for DHG, and the so called "human rights activists", I guess their "human rights advocacy" does not extend to Jews.

    1. Awww, shucks. If we've 'lost ' CharlieHipHop, then we've lost America, volley. ;)

      Neo-Nazis and kapos and wannabe jihadis, oh my...

    2. So I pulled two other recent comments from this 'lmanningok' character. You know, we used to 'joke' about them going back to Stormfront, but now I'm pretty sure that some of them really do come from there.

    3. Jay,

      Really, and here I thought the diary (and comments therein) that got me sent to an extended time-out where I called them stormfront members was original!

      And as for the diary volleyboy1 referenced....he didn't even hit the worst of TODAY

      See: by paul racco.

      The author crossposts...well let a DKos slimeball explain

      yeah, and worse, he cross-posts (2+ / 0-)

      to Mondoweiss, which means that he'll be declared HOS in short order.

      Which is a shame: he's really good.

      by corvo on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 11:51:22 AM EST

      BTW the author who goes to that hateful site doesn't have a single HR

    4. I have to say, VB, that I am happy that you are participating here.

      My guess is that if we were to dig into our differences we would find ourselves more in agreement than not.

      That notion might distress you, but I suspect that it is true.

    5. Also that was only one of two diaries by that author. The slime seem to be invigorated after getting me sent to an extended time-out. I have tried contacting Kos himself, but if I don't get a reply back, i will have something written up shortly about the cartoon that sent my anger flying

    6. Don't hold your breath waiting for a reply. I was 'NR'ed there for a year once (I do believe that's a record!), and never got an explanation as to why. Never had a hidden comment up until that point or anything.

      I guess being marked as A Known Zionist is enough.

    7. PP90 - I saw that screed. What I love is that the king of non-substantive responses corvo is whining about responses to him that lack substance. It's just plain goofy.

      But yeah the anti-Semites are out of their closet and rolling down there. The thing is that they honestly don't really know that much about the subject. I mean these folks are seriously ignorant. And the one guy who knows (Assaf) is so hit with PTSD that he happily ignores the hatred directed at the Jewish people and willingly enables them to somehow make up for whatever he feels he did.

      What I see is poor bevenro trying to "hold down the fort" against the President of the Morsi fan club David Mizner, and slowly coming to the conclusion that Daily Kos really is just another hate site.

    8. Mike, first of all I will say, thank you for your kind words.

      I don't see myself totally participating here, I think we are simply too fundamentally different in our political outlooks. I do believe that we have an over-arching commonality, and that is that we both would like to see Israel and the Jewish people thrive. But I think we are very different in how we get there and that difference is simply too much at this point.

      That said, I appreciate the forum and I will happily jump in where I am in agreement on these issues (like the general feeling behind this post). As I told Jay on Facebook the other day, there really is no need to for us to be contentious, I don't think either of us is going to change the others mind so rather than having us be continuously frustrated, we just agree where we agree and we blow off the rest.

      Right now, anti-Semitism is on the rise and as Jews we need to stand together in ways that promote unity even if.. in the end some of us would be divided like the Irgun and the Haganah / Yishuv were.

    9. My favorite Mizner moment was in a thread (not Israel-related) long ago, where he said something like "I write fiction," to which the person he was arguing with replied "I know, I read your comments."

  7. Talk about obsession. Check this out. On a Democratic blog, purportedly focused on US politics, there have been 86 diaries under the Democrats tag so far this year; while there have been 59 diaries tagged Israel over that same period of time.

    Says it all, doesn't it?

    1. Daily Kos statistics for 2015: 2.46 diaries per day on Democrats, 1.69 diaries per day on Israel.

    2. Wow.. that is some severe craziness.

    3. And as usual, it's only the same five or six people fighting it, while all the rest stand by, or sometimes even join in. Also, note that this is in a diary on Egypt bulldozing Arab homes and wiping an entire city off the map as a result of Hamas smuggling tunnels.

      How quickly it turned into an anti-Israel hate Sundae topped with a dozen flavors of antisemitic jimmies was almost astonishing, if even fully expected.

    4. Sorry I lost my temper there (It's easy to do with the filth they promote) and can't help out. I have no idea how long my time-out is, but I expect it to be lengthy as it was far from my first warngin

    5. No worries. I'm the last person in the world who can suggest such a thing, anyway. Heh.

    6. Make that "I'm the last person in the world who can blame you." There, that makes more sense!


  8. I seem to be the only one here willing to give the saintly David Harris-Gershon the benefit of the doubt.

    When I read what he writes, I do not assume ill-intention.

    When I read what he writes, I do not assume that he is lying.

    I could very well be wrong, but I suspect that he means just what he says.

    In fact, I suspect that most anti-Zionists, Left or Right, are prefectly sincere.

    If you know otherwise then you are mind-readers and I am pretty sure that none of you have mystical powers.

    1. I haven't weighed in on that, because in the end I don't really think it matters. What ultimately matters is not his intentions, but rather the effect that his actions have.

      And the effect he has makes him much worse than your run-of-the-mill bigot spewing antisemitism on the internet. He's the one who gives them cover to say "see, even some Jews agree with me!"

      As the only one here who met the guy, I get the sense that he's sincere in his naive Oslo delusions, AND that he's a grifter who feeds off the 'love' he gets every time he wrings his hands and does his stupid act.

      The reason I think the last tag fits him is that I don't think he wants to see Israel destroyed (though he may be naive enough to think dividing Jerusalem and the rest of that general package is a 'good' idea), and I don't think he has any particular personal malice towards Israel. He's just figured out that's what will help him build an audience large enough to help launch a writing career.

      And once he gets what he wants out of the more hardcore antisemites among his current followers, he'll ditch them in a second. And maybe even publicly denounce them if he gets the sense it'll help his follow-up effort. Perhaps pulling a Matti Friedman kinda thing will be his next move. "How I unfortunately discovered antisemitism amongst anti-Zionists on the internet!", sorta thing...

    2. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but I will never despise people with such intentions.

      I will disagree.

      I will even sometimes denigrate.

      But I will never despise.

      And speaking to you, personally, Jay, I don't think that you have a hate-filled bone in your entire body.

      I always did want to hear more about that conversation between you guys, tho.

      My bet, as a poker player, is that when you sat across the table from the guy with a beer he seemed absolutely genuine and sincere.

      Am I right?

    3. Yeah, you're correct. We didn't get too deep into anything, but you'd win that bet.

    4. So, why doubt his sincerity?

      The enemies of the Jewish people, from what I can tell, are usually not intentional liars.

      They honestly believe that the Jews are awful people who enjoy killing babies and who are endeavoring to take over the world, one government at a time.

      What Gershon is doing is spreading the hatred, but that does not mean that he is not sincere.

      It just means that he is wrong and has boughten into a false ideology - the "Palestinian narrative" - that is designed to put Jews into the docket.

      But that's what he wants to see, anyway.

      He wants to see Jewish politicians and military people in the docket, in the Hague.

      It would give that guy orgasms, precisely because he is sincere.

    5. I don't see it so much as an issue of (in)sincerity, but rather more one of purposeful enabling and incitement. He's sincere in what he says, but the problem comes with where he says it and in what context.

      It's the difference between, say, posting genuine and fair criticism of Israeli policies at ToI or somewhere like that, versus feeding a constant stream of negativity to a place like Daily Kos, which has a large contingent of people who don't need much of a reason to whip themselves up into an antisemitic frenzy. Another problem is how he sets these raging fires all over the place there, and then floats away as if he's above it all, without ever once confronting any of the deranged antisemites who flock to his stuff like flies on shit.

    6. Jay... That is pretty right on, but I have to disagree with you on one point. That is here:

      He's sincere in what he says, but the problem comes with where he says it and in what context.

      That's just it, I don't think he is sincere when he says that he supports Israel or a true two state solution. Why?

      Well because as a matter of function he will only post negative stories and outright lies about Israel. When asked exactly what it is about Israel that he supports, he refuses to answer. At the same time that he does this he urges that the President say "No" to AIPAC but should host Iranian and Palestinian Voices in the White House, despite the fact that Iran is actively involved with Hizbollah and shipping weapons to Hamas and that the Palestinian Polity as a whole does not accept the existence of Israel.

      Further, he regularly engages in Z.O.G. propaganda and has outright called for investigations of Jewish influence over the U.S. Government. So no I don't think he is sincere when he says he supports a Two State Solution. I think he does that so other Useful Idiots in the Jewish Community will buy his nonsense and his books.

      Other than that, I think your comment is Spot on.

      And for those who think he really wants to help Jews in his own way... Just look at his signature line. He features a person who has said that Hamas and Hizbollah are actually progressive groups who are merely "resistance" and that Israel shouldn't exist. I think he is too much of a coward and a greedhead (because he doesn't want to alienate those who would buy his book), to come clean on what he really believes.

    7. The enemies of the Jewish people, from what I can tell, are usually not intentional liars.

      They honestly believe that the Jews are awful people who enjoy killing babies and who are endeavoring to take over the world, one government at a time.

      What Gershon is doing is spreading the hatred, but that does not mean that he is not sincere.

      In the pursuit of lofty goals, it's ok to bend the rules, and even break them outright.

      The notion of "repressive tolerance" comes to mind. As does the words of one who cannot be mentioned that "war is deceit."

      This gives license to intentional lies, done sincerely.

    8. "Intentional lies, done sincerely"?

      If that's the case, School, then I have to say, the guy is way too sophisticated for me.

      For all I know, VB is correct.

      How does one spread so much hatred toward a country and a people one claims to be friendly toward?

      That is an excellent question.

      What he would say, I think, is that he critizes Israel for its own good.

      What I would ask you guys to consider is that these are not mutually exclusive categories.

      Ultimately, tho, I am with Jay on this small matter.

      In a sense it does not matter if the guy is sincere or insincere. He's just one guy, after all. He's minor writer that we take seriously because its in our wheelhouse, so to speak, and because he happens to be next door neighbor... also, so to speak.

      The thing about this guy is that he represents a style of advocacy that is directly harmful to the Jewish people because he spreads unjust hatred toward the Jewish state. He believes the worst of the lies. That is what I sincerely believe.

      He honestly believes the worst of the lies about his own people.

      Maybe I am wrong, but I do not think so.

    9. Don't really care if he is sincere or not, and think it's wasted energy to speculate.

      People that sincerely hate something or sincerely believe in the righteousness of their cause are not above telling intentional lies.

      One needs only to read the post titles to see that there is deception with the sincerity.

      In the Cult of Occupation, truth is false and false equals truth.

  9. Mike, May I repost this over there (as my time-out is over)

    1. Post Matti Friedman's recent speech, too, that exposes the facile and discriminatory behavior of these anti-Jewish activists

    2. Yeah, I'd love to see their responses to a post built around Friedman's articles and speeches. My guess though would be they'll either completely ignore it, or pull the usual, tired old 'smear a liberal as a right-wing racist' move...

    3. I just posted it. Get ready for the howls.

    4. Could you add a link back to IT?

    5. Replied under wrong post. In formatting all the links in the repost, I missed the most important one, my apologies

    6. How do you post clickable links here?

    7. The code is <a href="

      followed by the url, a closing quote mark

      the text you want highlighted and then a closing A tag.

    8. also do not forget the closing "larger than" sign after the first part of the code

      That's the way I do it, anyways.

  10. Replies
    1. My. My.

      113 comments and counting.

      Should I bother to read them?

    2. Wasn't too bad when I read through at 70 comments.

      Commenter doc2, if you remember him, who runs hot and cold, appears to now be on the more unfortunate side of his seesaw, seeming to side with those who downplay or dismiss antisemitism.

      Hadn't seen any of Stormfront types there yet, but I'm sure it won't be long.

    3. Mannie,

      I am pretty sure that you are not long for dkos.

      When you leave it, depending upon how long you were a participant, you will over time recognize the extent to which partisan venues patrol the boundaries of thought.

      You may think that you recognize that already, and I imagine that you do, but when you free yourself you will realize it more greatly.

    4. I know I am not long for there. But while I am, I will continue to push the ugly truth of the bigoted anti-Zionist to make them see. If I can get just one person to see the truth, it is worth it!

      The one thing bigots hate is to be called out on it. And I am using a sledge hammer approach, not a scalpel.

      There are elements of antisemitism on both the left and right, as such, there is no good place for Jews in the political landscape of America. We have to choose what we think is the lesser of two evils, and both are evil!

    5. Jay, it has gotten worse since the 70, it is over 270 now

    6. By the way, KARMAFISH, you sure left a lasting impression at DSKF, and in another diary I was even accused of being you!

      Tags in my diary have been vandalized, I am probably looking at another time-out as the antisemitic thought police are close to gaming the system on me again. The double standards of those people are astounding, and I have still yet to receive one response to a single help desk thread public or private.

      Places like DSKF will make more Jews vote against our social principals as they push us out with their hate.

    7. DSKF?

      I assume you mean Daily Kos.

      I have to say, I was fairly indifferent towards Israel until I realized the shear amount of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism which resides in the progressive-left, which was my political home at the time.

      Now I am a man without political affiliation.

    8. DSKF = Daily Storm Kos Front, my new abbreviation for the cesspool I am trying to clean up

      yeah its like taking a single mop and pail to a sewage treatment plant trying to clean it up.

    9. Speaking of, the wastewater treatment plant I used to work at used plenty of Dead Sea Works products.

      If Jew-haters really, truly want to BDS, they probably shouldn't flush their toilets or use indoor plumbing unless and until they can be sure their authority is as 'pure' as they are...

  11. Well the members of DSKF have me on timeout until march 13. I will have to come up with a good diary for my return :)

    1. As School suggested elsewhere, you can't go wrong building something around Matti Friedman's BICOM speech from last month.

    2. I believe I have next months diary :)

    3. A "timeout," huh?

      To be perfectly honest with you, I think that you're banging your head against a brick wall.

      I wouldn't bother with it.

      That place has its virtues and its vices, but it's a rabbits' warren and it patrols the boundaries of "acceptable" thought and thereby limits the abilities of its regular users to think creatively on difficult problems.

    4. I said it before, i will say it again.

      If I can get at least ONE person to see the hate they spew and say no more, then it will be worth it.

      But yes, I do understand that brick will is gonna be bloody and my head is gonna hurt!

    5. "That place has its virtues and its vices, but it's a rabbits' warren and it patrols the boundaries of "acceptable" thought and thereby limits the abilities of its regular users to think creatively on difficult problems."

      There's a comedy sketch waiting to be written and produced in that.

      Kossack Keyboard Kommandos attempt to carry over their 'activism' into the real world; are quickly escorted out of town hall meeting for acting as they do online, and attempting to force all others to do so as well.

    6. That's kinda funny, Jay.

      Imagine a scenario in which people spoke to one another in a real world political venue in the way that kossacks speak with those with whom they disagree.

      Bunnies Gone Wild hitting each other over the heads with chairs!

    7. I imagine such a scenario wouldn't be too different than this...

    8. Was that a netroots nation meeting? lol

    9. Here you go:

      Just classic.

    10. The whole world should be crying right now.

  12. (it must be quite painful the first time one realizes it's not possible to troll rate the mayor for saying something that has been deemed out of bounds...)

  13. So, VB, this is off-topic, but do you think that Netanyahu should bag the speech?

  14. Yes and no....

    "No" in the sense that I think he should give the speech at AIPAC. I think that is a proper forum for it.

    "Yes" in the sense that this is simply the wrong thing to do with regards to his speech to Congress and it very much injects partisanship into the National Jewish Dialogue.

    And Mike I say this as someone who actually supports Sen. Menedez' position on harsh sanctions if there is no verifiable deal. I actually don't really agree with the President on Iran. But I believe that what PM Netanyahu, Ron Dermer (who is a former Republican Operative), and John Boehner did here goes far beyond acceptable protocol and practice. While technically the PM is not the Head of State - he is the leader of Israel's Government. This invitation should really should have come from the President.

    I agree with Isaac Herzog (who leads the Opposition Zionist Camp with Tzipi Livni) and Yair Lapid (leader of Yesh Atid) when they say:

    Israel’s relationship with the US “is strategic and not political. It should stay that way,” Herzog said.

    He made a veiled reference to his father Chaim Herzog, who served as Israel’s sixth president, when he said, his family has a history in which it has “interfaced with 13 [US] presidents.”

    “I am explaining to my countrymen and to my people that the US is a nation led by presidents and it was always the US presidents who were at our side throughout our history,” he said. “As leaders we must put the interests of our country and our citizens far ahead of our own political survival.”


    “The prime minister is causing serious damage to Israel’s strategic relations with the United States,” Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid said on Saturday. “Bibi first managed to clash with the White House and now with half of Congress as well. It’s a political move meant only to gain him a few more votes in the election.”

    BTW, I get that the PM is deeply distrustful of President Obama and his handling of Iran and feels that "desperate times require desperate measures", but it is not his place as a foreign leader to do this. And honestly, if he makes the same speech at AIPAC, everyone will hear it just the same. The fact that the Republicans called him and he accepted without even checking with the President is what I (and many other if not most other Americans) consider a "slap in the face".

    1. It's only escalated because Obama chose that path and called out his minions, who have acted to further demonize Netanyahu and make this a zero sum game.

      Otherwise, it would have been easier for Netanyahu to change the venue to a place like AIPAC. Instead, we get manufactured reasons like "protocol" while Biden and Kerry meet with Herzog. Not to mention that the WH was notified in advance.

      Remember that Menendez said:

      "the more I hear from the administration and quotes. The more it sounds like talking points coming out of Tehran. And it heeds to the Iranian narrative of victimhood, when they are the ones with original sin"

      Why does it seem that Obama always calls on others to take the high road, search their souls, get of their high horse, yet he never seems to do it himself. I am trying to think of even one example when Obama was magnanimous in the face of disagreement. I guess one could say Iran.

      This would have been an excellent opportunity to practice what he preaches to others.

    2. And see here is another issue.. The White House was notified AFTER the invitation was sent and was accepted. The invite should have been sent by the President after Rep. Boehner asked him and the Democratic Leadership. He did not do that. One does not invite a foreign leader to address Congress in that partisan manner.

      AND even if you believe the PM and his minions (which I don't believe for one minute) and they say that the White House approved, before accepting he should have vetted it. That is just plain incompetence if he took the word of John Boehner in a matter like this. Is the Israeli government that stupid that they would think the White House would be cool with a speech in direct opposition to a major policy initiative that they are trying to pass.

      No, I don't give PM Netanyahu much but I don't think he is a stupid man. I give him that much respect.

      As I said.. I agree with Herzog, Lapid, and a plurality of Israeli voters who all think this speech is a mistake.

      Speaking of being magnanimous apparently the White House COULD be practicing what they preach.

      Jewish Political News and Updates is reporting:

      "Democratic lawmakers are working these days on a compromise that would solve the current crisis between the Israeli government and the WH and give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and House Speaker John Boehner the ladder to climb down the tree. According to the proposal, revealed by two members of the New York Democratic delegation on Sunday, Netanyahu would cancel his planned speech to Congress and in return President Barack Obama will invite the Israeli leader for a meeting at the White House."

      I am looking for confirmation on this...

    3. I think you are mistaken. This mirrors what to some extent what occurred in 2011:

      over at American Thinker, Ed Lasky notes that a visit like this is not exactly unprecedented: “In 2011, Boehner sent a notice to the WH stating his intention to invite Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress. The White House never responded (spite? incompetence?) and Boehner proceeded to extend the invitation to Netanyahu. Netanyahu accepted the invitation and spoke. The White House did not express any outrage in 2011.”

      In the same article:

      The White House knew about the invitation before Netanyahu accepted it, and it hardly seems worthy of a major diplomatic incident that the Israelis relied on Boehner to convey the fact of the invitation.

      Remember the reaction, that the "chickenshit" Netanyahu "spat in our face."

      It's good that NY Democrats want to find a solution. But they are not the WH. They know there will be fallout if they follow the WH lead and don't show. Hopefully it will work itself out. But Obama has shown over and over that he is far from magnanimous, and aside from the fact that I cannot identify one example to disprove this, I do not say so with glee.

    4. oldschooltwentysix: "I am trying to think of even one example when Obama was magnanimous in the face of disagreement. I guess one could say Iran. "

      You have identified the problem with this statement.

      CANDIDATE Obama went over to israel to pander for votes, PRESIDENT Obama would never visit Israel, but would visit countries in the ME hostile towards Israel.

      So when you make the statement that only time when Obama was magnanimous was towards Iran, it shows (along with past behavior) that Obama is not a good friend to Israel!

      Obama (and/or his administration) has called Bibi chickenshit. Well I say Obama is. That is why he won't visit Israel AS PRESIDENT, because the chickenshit Obama knows the type of reception he would get (AND DESERVE)

    5. I was just reading again about the time when Netanyahu WAS magnanimous and apologized to Turkey because Obama asked. That sure paid benefits.

    6. Interesting... But not surprising that Boehner would pull this kind of crap again. Yet I still don't think it is relevant nor do I believe am I "mistaken" as I cannot see where I said that this had never been done before or was unprecedented. If I did... then I stand corrected. But, that I think that is besides the point.

      What I did say is that it goes "beyond accepted practice and protocol". I believe that to be true. I don't believe that this scheme cooked up by Boehner and Dermer, is acceptable practice or protocol regardless of whether Boehner pulled this nonsense once before. I completely stand by my original statement that this invitation should have come from the President or at least been cleared with bi-partisan support and vetted through the White House.

      But forget that because it is not germane to the original question which was Mike asking me what I thought about whether PM Netanyahu should or should not speak.

      This is a bad move all around. As we see here it divides the American Jewish Polity. More than that it also is not looked with favor on by the Israeli voting public;

      According to the survey of 509 respondents, carried out by Millward Brown, some 47% say Netanyahu should cancel the speech, 34% say he shouldn’t cancel, and 19% say they don’t know.

      The planned speech, on Iran’s nuclear threat, has angered the US administration and threatened to further fray ties between Jerusalem and Washington.

      Newsweek has an interesting take on this:

      President Barack Obama may have reached a George H.W. Bush moment in his long-simmering confrontation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran’s nuclear program. And Netanyahu may be facing his own moment of truth.

      With the White House’s unprecedented announcement that Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when the Israeli leader comes to Washington to deliver a speech before a joint meeting of Congress in March, the famously strained relations between the two men have reached an all-time low. The last time relations grew this toxic was back in 1991, when Yitzhak Shamir, then Israel’s right-wing leader, wanted $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees so Israel could absorb the large numbers of Jewish immigrants arriving from the former Soviet Union.

      Bush demanded assurances that the money would not fund Israeli settlements in disputed territories claimed by the Palestinians—a pledge Shamir refused to give. Amid the standoff, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the largest pro-Israel lobby, sent swarms of its members to Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to vote for a bill that would have given Israel the guarantees over Bush’s objections.

      Anyway, Mike asked my opinion and I gave it. I think AIPAC would be a more appropriate venue for the speech. It would be far less contentious AND the PM could get his message out in a venue where everyone would hear it.

      Personally, I applaud the President for not meeting with Mr. Netanyahu and I am glad that Vice President will be meeting with Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. I would not meet with the guy under these circumstances either. I do hope that the Prime Minister will heed the wishes of his public and do the right thing and step away from the Congressional speech in favor of getting his message out at AIPAC

      So we shall see what happens. It is sad in the face of all the anti-Semitism and hatred out there particularly what we get from the Left and the Right that the Republicans would try a maneuver like this.

    7. Mistaken= "The White House was notified AFTER the invitation was sent and was accepted."

      As for protocol, back in 2011 Obama invited the S. Korean president to speak to Congress without even asking Boehner.

      Rather than use the fake protocol card, perhaps it's just that they want to squelch the substantive case that Netanyahu and many in Congress make concerning Obama's giving the store to Iran because it may resonate and show what a bad deal this could be.

    8. In this case the White House WAS notified after the invitation was made and PM Netanyahu accepted it and then told the White House that he was coming according to what I have read - so I guess our sources differ....

      In 2011, the South Korea invite was a direct slap at Boehner but that was an invite from the President, not a lower official inviting the leader of a government as it is in this case...

      But anyway, of course the White House doesn't want the leader of a foreign nation trying to turn Congress away from a major policy initiative that it has been pushing. Is that actually a surprise?

      In my opinion the protocol is the major issue. Whether a Dem. or Republican did this I would not be pleased.

      But here is the thing. Why cause this kind of a row when the PM can make the same speech to AIPAC and that would not alienate or drive a wedge in the Jewish American population? I mean even the ADL opposes this... What is the PM doing?

      Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti Defamation League said that the political uproar ignited by Netanyahu’s invitation to speak to a joint meeting of Congress makes such a move unhelpful and therefore it should be scrapped.

      “It’s a tragedy of unintended consequences,” Foxman told the Forward, describing how the idea of presenting Israel’s view on Iran spiraled out of control, reaching even the Jon Stewart show, a step, Foxman said, that “turned the whole thing into a circus.”

      “One needs to restart, and it needs a mature adult statement that this was not what we intended,” Foxman told the Forward. He said that going ahead as planned with the speech would be counter-productive, with all attention given to the political controversy rather than to the issue at stake. “It has been hijacked by politics,” Foxman said. “Now is a time to recalibrate, restart and find a new platform and new timing to take away the distractions.”

      Foxman noted that he does not dispute the seriousness of the Iranian nuclear issue and that he agrees with Netanyahu on the need to strengthen sanctions against Tehran, but he argued that recent events have derailed the initial intention of Netanyahu’s address to Congress.

      Read more:

      We'll see how it all plays out. I think this was not a well thought out move and I think it will hurt U.S. - Israel relations. That makes me sad it really worries me.

    9. If you do not think that Obama blew this out of proportion, unnecessarily, then we differ. His feud seems more important than potential damage to the relationship.

  15. PittPanther, Obama has been to Israel as president.

    He snubbed the Knesset, as well as a university located somewhere in Judea or Samaria, and spoke directly to college students, telling them that they needed to see the world through "Palestinian" eyes... as if the "Palestinian" propaganda narrative had failed to take among Jewish college students.

  16. Hey, School

    it looks like Kayla Mueller may been a member of the International Solidarity Movement.


    1. I read that earlier. It just means that she may have been misguided at some point, and the ones that kidnapped care nothing for allegiance if you are not one of them.

  17. VB,

    thank you for taking the time to lay out your thoughts on this matter.

    You probably will not be surprised to learn that I, too, consider this episode to be grounded in manufactured outrage.

    At the end of the day - as my good friend Markos Moulitsas used to say - what matters is that nuclear weaponry be kept away from the ayatollahs for the simple reason that they are not to be trusted with any such responsibilities, for reasons that should entirely obvious.

    Do you mind a follow up question?

    Over at EOZ, beneath one of my columns, fizziks said something to the effect of, "Of all the things to criticize about this administration, you choose this Muslim Brotherhood nonsense" or something along those lines. The implication was that he has significant criticisms, although not including the one that I chose to write about.

    Would you be willing, as an Obama supporter, to describe any reservations you might have about President Obama?

    You probably consider this place to be vaguely hostile territory, or whatever, and I understand that most people share such concerns mainly with political allies, but if you would be willing to take a few moments within the next couple of days, or whatever works for you, I think that what you have to say would be of interest to my readership.

    Or, at least, it would be of interest to me.

    1. Mike thank you for the offer but I must decline. Though I do feel in that I should explain

      I do have some reservations regarding President Obama (though not really on I/P) but this is not a forum in which I feel comfortable voicing them. Honestly, I don't think they would be used for honest debate but rather they would be used as "talking points" to further pushing the divide between Republicans and Democrats in the Jewish Community. And experience tells me that any argument I would make really would not be read in full nor addressed in full.

      Further, I will say that despite any reservations I have regarding this President, I strongly believe that he is light years ahead of any Republicans out there and thus, I see no reason to voice those concerns in what I consider an unfriendly forum.

      As I said previously Mike, I am happy to jump in and contribute in places that we agree (your article on Jewish anti-Zionism for instance), but I really don't think at this point I am going to change your mind on other issues and I know you aren't really going to change mine. So why be contentious? Instead, as Jews we can work together to further issues that are important to our community.

      So rather than look at criticisms of President Obama's Administration, let's explore ways to make things better as they exist. For instance, what are good strategies to deal with growing threats to American and Modernist / Western interests in the Middle East? Outside of Israel (because they are already our friends), what are ways to effectively fight the growing Shia Hegemony (which comes from Iran) as well as the fanatics that make up the Islamic State? I think those are positive directions for the conversation to go.

      Since I am not an isolationist, I believe we need to make alliances in the region, so what is best? I personally support the Kurds and I think supporting a Kurdish homeland would be a good step forward. Also, I think that supporting more Moderate (relative term) Arab forces like the Jordanians would also be positive HOWEVER, since the kingdom is not exactly the most stable polity right now, I would keep a close eye on any equipment going there. Same with the Sissi Government in Egypt, where I would recommend helping them against IS in the Sinai AND containing Hamas around Rafah (which they are doing). Are there flaws here? Of course there are, but no strategy is perfect. There are just better strategies and worse strategies (like arming the Syrian rebels who are mainly IS and al-Qaeda - the current push from Sens. McCain and Graham).

      Anyway, that is what I foresee as a productive discussion. Your thoughts?

    2. Volleyboy,

      please excuse my delay in responding.

      Laurie snapped her left fibula while walking the dogs in the storm last Friday night, after taking a tumble and today she's back in the hospital for a tune-up.

      I want to get back to this and, for the moment, I just want to let you know.

      I will return to this either tomorrow or the next day... assuming the minor catastrophes don't keep coming in.

  18. Mike... No worries.. Please give my best to Laurie and take care of her... She is far more important than responding to me.

    Being in the process of recovering from a devastating leg injury , I fully understand.

    My best to you and her, and I hope she has a speedy recovery!

    1. A devastating leg injury?

      Holy Christ, what happened?

    2. We were doing an escape drill during a Krav class and I was running away ;-) so I cut hard to my Left just a move like I had when I played Rugby in college and POW! I destroyed my knee. My LCL, ACL Gone... Hamstring... Poof!, Fractured my Tibial plateau, and have nerve damage. Seven months after surgery I still can't run and though I am back at Krav I am not clear for kicking or leg defense. I even still limp a bit.

      My doctor said "I don't want to insult you, but how the hell did you get this injury - we see this in 20 year old athletes" I said, "No insult, at least it shows I was going for it".

      I am 8 months away from sprinting... maybe... they say these injuries are 1 1/2 years in recovery. It is very similar to what happened to RG III's knee.

      SO... I fully understand what Laurie is going through and I really hope she feels better soon!

    3. Jeez.

      I can't even begin to imagine how single people go through this kind of thing.

    4. Funny, but you know I was thinking the same exact thing!

      I was so screwed up for the first month that I had no idea how I could have handled it on my own. Thank G-d I have an amazing wife who really stepped up.

      That too got me thinking of our Health Care System. Thankfully I was covered, AND have a great boss who allowed me to work from home for a week (and yep despite pain and lack of mobility I was working all the next week). But If I didn't have either insurance or a really good boss... I would have risked losing everything, because this injury was major.

      But that is a discussion for another time and probably another place.

      I think these kinds of injuries would be devastating to someone who had either no, or a minimal support network.

    5. Volleyboy,

      finally I have a moment to respond and, in truth, if I had known that my response would be so simple I would have made it a few days ago.

      what are good strategies to deal with growing threats to American and Modernist / Western interests in the Middle East?

      I would very much recommend disallowing Iranian nuclear weaponry, by any means necessary.

      Do you agree?

    6. Mike,

      Do I agree? Good question. I honestly don't know. Why do I waffle? Because you used the term: "By any means necessary". It's easy to be a keyboard commando and think that our military could go in and "easy peasy" shut them down and honestly that is what it would take. AND remember it is not you or I that will be getting shot at by Iranian troops and guerrillas

      If you ask would I agree to a blockade and sanctions, the answer would be yes. But really that will probably not stop the Iranians at this point

      If you ask would I agree to a campaign based around special forces, again the answer would be yes because that is already happening.

      BUT if you ask: "By any means necessary" then the answer is I don't know. And why? Because I think to stop this process now, it will take a full on military invasion and Iran, is nothing like Iraq. Their military is more disciplined, they just signed a defense pact with Russia and they have a ton of troops that are getting combat experience in Syria.

      Also, if you feel that Israel is in danger from an Iranian Nuke, just think of the effect on Israel when Hamas opens up from the South, the Palestinians start intifada III in the Central sector and Hizbollah starts firing some of it's thousands of batteries at Northern Israel. Because all of that would happen IF we invaded Iran.

      Now do I think our military could win a ground war... Basically as much as we won in Iraq. We can take them out (though it would take time). But you have to take into account the economic fallout from such a war. Oh and don't forget, we would be fighting it on our own. No Coalition, nada.

      And as a nation we would have to be ready to commit hundreds of thousands of troops to this. What would be the economic cost and could our nation handle that?

      This is one of those things that may eventually become necessary but I don't really think so yet. Military strikes very rarely work out to be clean and simple and taking on Iran in this case most certainly won't be. Oh and how will we pay for this?

      If you have a better scenario, I would like to hear it, because I can't much think of one and honestly destroying the village to save the village is not really an answer in my mind.

      Also, "By any means necessary" means we might have to use Tactical Nukes. I am not on board for that. So really would starting WWIII be the call.. my answer would be NO...

      Oh and I almost forgot - don't underestimate the Russians. They would be most displeased by this and would probably move on some of their old holdings (with Ukraine going first) while we were otherwise engaged. It is no secret that Vladimir Putin wants to re-establish the old Russian / Soviet Empire.

      What are your thoughts here?

    7. I don’t want war, VB, but if the Obama administration wanted to it could take out Iranian nuclear potential and probably without a major ground offensive.

      It seems to me that the question that people around the world are asking themselves is whether or not an Iranian nuclear weapon is acceptable?

      Given the theologically strained Iranian malice toward both the US and Israel, in my opinion it is absolutely not acceptable.

      Furthermore, let us not forget that an Iranian nuclear weapon would set off a Middle Eastern arms race.

      If Iran has the bomb then so must Egypt and Saudi Arabia, if not Jordan.

      The West can prevent an Iranian bomb, but it requires the will to do so and I definitely do not see it in this US government.

      I do not know enough to say that it would require a major ground offensive.

      Do you?

    8. Honestly Mike I gotta disagree.. I think they can limit nuclear production with air strikes but the Iranians have both secret and hardened facilities. I think surgical air strikes can stop the Iranians for a few years at most. Of course, I am not a military expert so I may be completely off base here but I do read about this a lot and that seems to be a consensus from military people that I have read.

      It seems to me that the question that people around the world are asking themselves is whether or not an Iranian nuclear weapon is acceptable?

      I think that is the question and I think that the calculus is changing to where it is convenient for some nations to support an Iranian bomb as a counter balance to Western Power. Hence, Russian signing of a defense agreement with Iran.

      Furthermore, let us not forget that an Iranian nuclear weapon would set off a Middle Eastern arms race

      I believe you are 10000% correct here, and it sort of has. The Russians just offered to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt. Yep...

      Honestly, I think if you want to make sure that Iran never gets a bomb there will have to be a major Ground Offensive. The Iranian people don't particularly like the Mullahs, particularly in Teheran BUT they don't like the West telling them what they can and can't do more. I am not a believer in air power solving situations like this. I think it is temporary without changes on the ground.

      So that is why I qualified my response because to me the phrase "all means necessary" takes it to the furthest level and I believe that is where this one would go.

      It's a crappy situation any way you look at it.

    9. Volleyboy1,

      Does this mean that you would support a ground offensive if it was the only way to prevent an Iranian bomb?

  19. I'm sorry, VB, but your words have me a tad confused.

    I should take it to mean that you would oppose any such ground invasion.


    1. At this time, I do oppose a full ground invasion but in the future it may be necessary.

      Currently, I support strict sanctions, and if Iran does not cooperate a blockade. If they want Nukes then I believe they have to pay.

    2. So, we are in agreement.

      If the only way to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weaponry was for a ground invasion, you would favor such an invasion.

      I am certainly not arguing that we should immediately undertake such an invasion, but it would be helpful if the Iranians were made to understand that such an invasion might happen if they fail to cooperate.

      Where we are possibly not in agreement is on whether or not Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium at all?

      If I understand Obama's position, he is willing to allow Iran to develop its program to within a one year break-out capacity, but not beyond.

      I do question whether this is sufficient.and possible to maintain.

    3. To a degree, yes I think (but I would like to know more about what you think here) based on the info. here that we are in agreement on this particular issue.

      At this point in time, I would only favor a ground invasion IF and only if it was a very last resort AND the safety of Israel could be maintained. After all, if Israel is going to be attacked by 50,000 missiles is it really different than Iran using nukes?

      So, in other words, if sanctions were tried and failed AND if a naval blockade, and strategic strikes failed and Iran STILL went after nukes then I would have to say I would favor insertion of major ground forces if all else failed.

      You said "By all means necessary" so I should be clear that under no circumstances do I favor the use of Nukes. Ever.

      I don't know if the Presidents plan would work either but that coupled with Menendez' (or a modified version of Menendez) works for me at the current time.

      I think you are right to question it and right to wonder if it is possible to maintain. I feel the same way. But war is a horrible thing, so I think that it is important to try all other measures before war.

    4. I largely concur, but this raises a very interesting hypothetical, now, doesn't it?

      If the only possible way to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weaponry was to nuke that country, would we prefer to see Iran nuked or Iran with nukes?

      Fortunately, I doubt that it would ever need to come to that, but if it did could we support such an action?

      In truth, when I said "by any means necessary" the last thing that I had in mind was nuking Tehran.

      It's a good question, but I do not think that I have a good answer to it.

      For the moment, I will simply have to pass on that one.

    5. Fair enough... That is a tough question

  20. I can't see it ever coming to that. And Israel has said it would never be the first to use a nuke.

    1. I think that would be an extreme thing as well Doodad but, the question was "By any means necessary". A nuke might be the only way.

      I don't think it would come to that either. And now in thinking about it, I agree with Israel's position. I don't think I would be the first to use it either even if it cost me my life.

      Nukes are a whole different ball game.

      Maybe a better question would be "How far are you willing to go to stop Iran from getting a nuke?" OR "If it would start a conventional WWIII would you risk that to stop Iran from getting a nuke?"

      I think the Mullah's are so invested in this now that that would be the only way to stop them. Then the question is.. "Do you think they would use one if they had it?" The answer to that is that I have "No Idea'. Pakistan has one and has bonified Jihadi's in their military and they haven't. North Korea is run by an evil batshit crazy dictator who is not too unlilke Hitler / Stalin (just without Jews to kill) and he hasn't used it (though I would say there is a chance he might). So, maybe they don't.

      I think as Mike rightly pointed out, the danger here is with a Middle East Arms race. Now that is a scary thought.

    2. Let's take a nuclear attack against Iran off the table.

      I think that it is fair to say that we all, hopefully, have serious reservations about any such thing.

      So, the question remains, how far are you willing to go in order to prevent an Islamist Iranian regime from gaining nuclear weapons?

      The funny part is, I bet most of the people here opposed the war in Iraq, if not Afghanistan.

      I opposed both, by the way.

      But VB and I agree that under particular circumstances we would support a ground invasion.

      My suspicion is that given the right leadership we would not need a ground invasion of Iran in order to decisively cripple its nuclear program.

      But the first thing that it would require is American will.

      Obama is not the man for this job simply because his heart is not in it.