50 thoughts on “Gaza and the Shame of American Jewish Liberals – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. “Israel has killed 400 civilians in Gaza”
    I assume this is a Freudian slip on your part and you don’t really believe this. But it sure exposes you for your biases.

  2. “crude handmade rockets ”
    these are not crude hand made rockets reaching Beer-Sheva, Ashkelon and Ashdod. And not the ones hitting Sderot either. In fact the “hand made rocket” nonsense is a myth.

  3. @amir: No, it exposes that I was responding to a large number of comments & allowed this slip to occur in the midst of writing quickly & editing hastily. But hey, thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. The death toll is now at 425, at least 25% of which were civilians.

    You ought to check out the definition of “Freudian slip.” It has nothing to do even with what you assume my error to mean unless you believe my error had something to do with sex.

  4. From the wikipedia entry on Freudian slips: “A Freudian slip is not limited to a slip of the tongue, or to sexual desires. It can extend to our word perception where we might read a word incorrectly because of our fixations. These slips are semi-conscious, which is to say that these thoughts are consciously repressed and then unconsciously released.”
    In your case it should say “write a word” rather than “read a word.”

  5. Well said Rickhard.

    Balanced and reflected, but I miss your comment on the alarming silence in congress and MSM. According to Rasmussens survey are the american public split in support of the “offensive” (Not the term I would use).
    This silence adds insult to injury for the people in Gaza, and speaks volumes of how dysfunctional the democratic institutions in US are re. Israel and international law.

  6. Well, the “middle east” is finally getting noticed this morning on CNN, and marches in protest are being covered. Maybe now there will be some response from the “American street” which might have some influence. But those of us who are appalled by Israel’s actions have got to call congress to find any ear that might listen. Thank you Richard for giving me this outlet to express my outrage at the way this is being handled by the so-called Bush government. Bush has, like Pontius Pilat, washed his hands and walked away.

  7. “crude shacks” what are you talking about?
    In 2008 Hamas smuggled 80 tons of explosives into Gaza. In 2007 40 tons at least. These grads are imported. (interestingly they didn’t bring medicine through the tunnels). The Hamas has 15,000 fighters. This is not a “mom and pop” establishment. IMHO, Israel has taken out only the tip of the iceberg with its aerial attack so far.

  8. Richard – Freudian slip is an entirely accurate term to use. I don’t know where you get the idea that it only refers to sex; a Freudian slip refers to any numb
    In this case, this is a perfect description: it’s about thoughts consciously repressed and then unconsciously released – in this case your wish that the IDF had killed 400 civilians, so that it can confirm your pre-established views. In this sense, you’re not that different from a German radio guest who said the IDF had killed 400,000 people, and wasn’t corrected.

  9. @Alex

    No. The term “Freudian slip” or parapraxis is used when the subject use a wrong word (slip-of-the tongue) and thereby unmask subconscious feelings. Factual errors in not slip of the tongue…try biased.

  10. Just to confirm Richard’s point that American public opinion may not be as one-sided as the media’s coverage, go to the Obama transition team site (Change.gov) and look at the questions submitted under “Foreign Relations.” They are almost unanimously against the Israeli attack, and in many cases very angry about it.

  11. @Alex


    Removing sex fra freudianism is like removing god from religion or greed from capitalism. All you have left is an oxymoronic Vacuum.

    But if you should venture at commenting Richard’s article, and refrain from the usual “ad hominem” attack used by zionist right-wingnuts”.
    Operation “Cast Lead” will probably increase Kadima’s support b4 the election if not the same mistakes as in Lebanon are made, but do you really believe that it will increase Israel’s security ? I think not. I’m quite sure it will have an adverse effect, which only will bring more suffering and hostility on both sides.

  12. A Freudian slip, or parapraxis, is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is believed to be caused by the subconscious mind.

    Some errors, such as a man accidentally calling his wife by the name of another woman, seem to represent relatively clear cases of Freudian slips. In other cases, the error might appear to be trivial or bizarre, but may show some deeper meaning on analysis. As a common pun goes, “A Freudian slip is like saying one thing, but meaning your mother.” A Freudian slip is not limited to a slip of the tongue, or to sexual desires. It can extend to our word perception where we might read a word incorrectly because of our fixations. These slips are semi-conscious, which is to say that these thoughts are consciously repressed and then unconsciously released. This is unlike true Freudian repression, which is the unconscious act of making something conscious.

  13. @Alex
    You have every right to be a skeptic, but hopeless? Let me quote Vaclav Havel:

    ” I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure that everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart.
    Hope is the feeling that life and work have a meaning. You either have it or you don’t, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you.
    Life without hope is an empty, boring, and useless life. I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me.
    I am thankful to God for this gift. It is as big as life itself.

    What you have is a “Teufelkreis” , a circulus vitiosus:

    Psychological –>Triggering or
    and/or physical worsening of
    stress persistent conflict
    \ /
    \ /
    After running around in this circle for 60 years- don’t you think it’s time to change behavioral pattern? To try a different approach ?
    To solve problems in a conflict you must talk to your most ardent enemy, he’s the one you need to move. Talking to your supporters or friends are of little or no use, unless you are so insecure that you need an
    ego-boost or self-gratification by political masturbation.

    Israel must realize that an agreement obtained by political, economical or military pressure is of little value unless the overwhelming majority of Palestinians feel they can live with the terms. Furthermore: The agreement must be between the lawful elected PA. P.t. Hamas and Israel. If Israel wants to play the blame game Dennis Ross is their version of “Honest Broker” and Abbas the selected adversary (read partner.)

    You can force the Arabs to accept the terms of a peace treaty. You have to power to do so. All it takes is to inflict so much suffering and pain that they cave in and ask for mercy. However, such armistice is not in Israel’s interest. Unless the Palestinians feel it’s a just peace the paper is of no value…and remember, they breed martyrs like rabbits.
    So my dear Alex, what it boils down to is this: Can Israel deal with her own fundamentalists and give the Palestinian people enough land and hope for the future ?

  14. Yoffie and the Religious Action Center of Reform are only brave on issues where they don’t matter: Darfur, etc. They are like the government of South Africa, very progressive everywhere but not on Zimbabwe.
    The RAC are liberals on the cheap. Very cheap.

  15. So here we go again. As if aerial SHOCK AND AWE (smart bombs notwithstanding) were not enough, Israeli ground forces have now invaded Gaza. What an interesting way to continue to reverse that democratic election of January 2006 – in sharp contrast to ours of 2000 – when Hamas, yes, Hamas, handily defeated Fatah. But then came the following day when both Israel and its patron, that self-anointed defender of democracy, the USA, denigrated, disapproved and disallowed the election. The operative mantra, of course, was, and is, “They’re terrorists”, and so we and our staunch little ally could easily – and stupidly, whatever provocations – ignore the voice of a people and seek to silence it, with no doubt God’s total approval, since God obviously wants and expects Israel to ignore some 2,000 years and make the Bible, or certain modern interpretations of it, a current fait accompli.

    Back in the years of our sainted icon, Ronald Reagan, his word mongers did a grand job corrupting the word “liberal” (to mean stuff like “feather-brained pinko”) and substituting for “reactionary” the term “conservative”, now applied to such far-right stalwarts as Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, various neocons, and many others of such disgusting ilk. And since 9/11, even before really, terrorist has become a handy term, a catch-all convenience, enabling us to defy logic, history, decency itself. Whether it’s Bush or Condi or various official Israelis and numerous American sheep baaing Israel-right-or-wrong, we hear the same over and over again – “They are terrorists, they are terrorists, they are, they are, they are.” Interesting designation for the representatives of a bunch of ghettoized, starved, occupied, encircled, imprisoned, dehumanized, unarmed people confronting a powerful, heavily armed nation deciding what is right and what is wrong for them, what their very existences shall be. Within the Warsaw ghetto, were those Jews bearing pathetic arms against odds beyond the impossible also terrorists? They did have a few pistols and things, after all, and Hamas has some fairly primitive rockets, along with rocks. Gaza may indeed not be the Warsaw Ghetto, but there sure as hell can be some telling comparison. And in this case, the functioning terrorist, a state terrorist at that, is Israel. Decent and truly moral people, Jews foremost among them, must wake up to what’s happening, examine the facts, the real facts, of modern Israeli history, eschew those manufactured convenient mythologies surrounding that history, and realize that official Israel, as defined by the Likud and other right-wing entities, the settler movement, various fanatic “keepers of the flame”, has become an immoral rogue nation defiant of international law in its determination to be geographically Biblical again, nothing less, whatever the cost to others.

    Obviously Israel has become a nation that must be forced to come to its senses for its own ultimate salvation. Its controlling leadership, certainly since 1967, has never really possessed the intelligence, the sensitivity, the courage, and the will to do anything other than to create Frankenstein monsters deliberately in order to have the ever-handy excuse to grab more land, settle said land in defiance of international law, and commit various forms of ethnic cleansing. Perhaps the Jabotinsky Zionists have all along been the dominant thrust in the history of modern Israel, and there was never a truly honest desire to fashion a state less than that as defined by fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. And there is only one nation that can move Israel, short of violent force, to act on its own behalf in the creation of a truly viable Palestinian state, and that is of course the United States that might examine most critically the 3 billion dollars it hands over each year to Israel. Of course it would take generations to diffuse the hatred that Israel has managed to generate in the very soul of the people it should have been working to cultivate as peaceful neighbors if it had had the wisdom, courage, and decency to do so. To realize a Palestinian state now might well be impossible, but if it could be achieved it will most likely have to be done through coercion, and then how many generations after that for the hatred to subside is anyone’s guess. But a beginning must somehow be made if we are to see an end to this arrogance, slaughter, terror, and unending war.

  16. This is such a sad and complex situation. I do not believe that giving up Gaza and the West Bank with open borders will ever satisfy Israel’s enemies, and I believe anyone naive who believes it will. I like the idealism Richard and others hold. I wish they could be right.

    In my opinion the problem begins at home. Each home. The Palestinian home; the Israeli home. Until each family chooses forgiveness over revenge, this conflict will continue to propagate.

    What really suffers here is the truth. There is no trust of either side of the ideological divide. Each side stretches or buries the truth. Richard’s Freudian slip is an unintended example. Rabbi Yoffie’s flaws is another.

    If, as Richard implies, Hamas is justified in “home-made” rocket attacks, and Israel should respond with talk. Why does Hamas get a pass with the same requirement. No more rockets: send phone calls, letters, go in person. Negotiate for a solution that you will keep and mean it. I believe the majority of Israelis and American Jews prefer peace, but there really is no reason to trust that “giving back” lands will really do any good.

    Yes, if Hamas is the democratically designated Palestinian leaders, then they should act like it and negotiate. They have an opening now.

    Sadly, I fear that the reality is they will not, or if they do, they will not keep their side of the agreement either.

    So, I return to families. The fabric of the Palestinian society is no stronger than the families within it. The same with the Israelis. A critical mass of forgiving people is required. Could an international body hold peace together long enough to let memories fade? Could violence be stayed that long? I hope and pray it can happen.

  17. @amir: Israel calls the buildings they destroy “workshops.” They deliberately do not call them labs or factories because they are jerry-rigged, improvised operations.

    interestingly they didn’t bring medicine through the tunnels

    And how would you know? Where does yr information come from?

    On the contrary, EVERYTHING that Gazans need including medicine comes through the tunnels. If it didn’t come through them there wouldn’t be any except for the bare trickle that Israel allows in.

  18. @amir: Since when has Wikipedia become the authoritative source on defining technical terms like “Freudian slip.” At any rate, I told you the mistake derived from writing quickly, late at night, and on less than optimal sleep. That has nothing to do with anything that is “consciously repressed” or other such drivel.

    As Freud himself used to say: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

  19. @Richard
    That is the use that I have heard for decades-it doesn’t necessarily have to do with sex-it can mean when someone has something on their mind and they bring it up in another context. People often cite it like this-this is a common usage.

  20. It gets harder, Shabbat by Shabbat, to say without weeping the words “Shabbat shalom” – a sabbath of peace — when the present government of Israel has used last week’s Shabbat and yesterday’s to massively increase the level of its violence as a response to the violence of Hamas.

    The ground invasion of Gaza that began yesterday/ Shabbat is likely to kill many many Palestinans and Israelis. “Shabbat shalom” could instead have meant seeking such elements of “shalom” as ending the blockade of Gaza and ending the assassination of Hamas leaders in exchange for an end to rocket attacks on Israel. –– As 10,000 Israelis, marching yesterday in Tel Aviv, were urging.

    On The Shalom Center’s website (lead story at http://www.shalomctr.org ) is our analysis of alternatives to the present death machine, including our approach to building the politico-religious base in America to make those alternatives real.

    And at the same time, we need to resist recurrent efforts by some Jews to define what is kosher for other Jews to say and do –– even when they are urgently trying to protect Israel from attack.

    In ancient Israel, the word “shibboleth” became a communal password. Since some versions of Hebrew included the “sh” sound whereas others used “s” and some of their speakers could not pronounce the “sh,” that word became a way to demonstrate you were a kosher Israelite (specifically, a Gileadite rather than an Ephraimite). If you could not pronounce it but said “ssiboleth” instead, you got killed. (See Judges 12:5-6.)

    The “shibboleth” of today is the sentence, “Israel has the right to defend itself from attacks.” Say it, just like that, and you are a kosher Jew. Add complexities or qualifiers, like “Defend how?” in any form, and you are unkosher.

    The most important and most disappointing use of this shibboleth is by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Union of Reform Judaism. Within the URJ are many views about the Sderot-Gaza Crisis. The situation is complex enough that this is hardly surprising. It would be nice for URJ’s head to make clear that this is so, though of course he is entitled as well to his own opinion. Though I disagree with Rabbi Yoffie’s views about the war, they are certainly worthy of discussion.

    But I think that this past week, in a column for the Forward, Rabbi Yoffie transgressed menschlich discussion by attacking J Street. It is the newish lobby group that has committed itself to the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” task of supporting with money and with information Congressional candidates who can love Israel and love peace as well. J Street has, inevitably, been called the alternative to AIPAC, but its key staffers — Jeremy Ben-Ami and Isaac Luria – have firmly insisted on defining what they are for, not what they are against.

    So what was their sssinful violation of the shibboleth?

    Instantly upon the massive Israeli bombing of Gaza, J Street called for a cease-fire — an immediate end to the bombings, to rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel, and to the Israeli blockade of food, fuel, and medicines from entering Gaza.

    Perhaps Rabbi Yoffie might have ignored this, but J Street did something much worse – it actually amassed 14,000 signatures for its one-line call for a cease-fire.

    Now Rabbi Yoffie says wars “sicken” him, even the wars he supports. So what was wrong with J Street’s effort to end this war, including ending Hamas rockets against Israelis?

    Ahh, they violated the shibboleth. Rabbi Yoffie attacks J Street for saying: “Neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right or wrong. While there is nothing ‘right’ in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing ‘right’ in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them.”

    Rabbi Yoffie explains that “These words are deeply distressing because they are morally deficient, profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment and also appallingly naive.”

    Ahhh. To pronounce “shibboleth” right and be a kosher Jew, you must not say that Israel is not doing right, even if you are crystal clear that Israel’s enemies are not doing right.

    What should we do if we think J Street is basically correct in what should happen, morally right-on and politically knowledgeable rather than “naïve,” and if we believe that being “in touch with Jewish sentiment” at any given moment in the polltakers’ notes is no measure of Jewish wisdom?

    I urge our readers and members to click to the J Street website and make a contribution of $36 or more. (This number is in Hebrew numerology the symbolic affirmation of two lives – in this case, Israelis and Palestinians.)

    At that URL, you will find a space called “In honor of.” I suggest that if your sense of humor leans that way, you fill it in with “In Honor of Rabbi Eric Yoffie.”

    The URL is this:

    (Be sure that what goes in your browser includes the whole thing, all the way to “2338.”)

    Now I know that the informal “rulebook” for non-profit advocacy organizations is never to ask your own members to give to another organization.

    But I also know that the menschlich obligation of those who stand for peace is to stand TOGETHER when one of us is under attack. Instead of berating Jewish peace organizations for not working together more, the worthy response is – whaddayaknow, working together!

    So at this moment, since Rabbi Yoffie has not for right now done The Shalom Center the honor of denouncing us and has done J Street that honor, we wholeheartedly encourage you, our members and readers — kosher Jews, unkosher Jews, and everybody else — to make the contribution we’ve suggested.

    Meanwhile, let me report that The Shalom Center is in the process of exploring a public multireligious statement on US policy toward the Middle East. Bringing together Jewish, Muslim, and Christian opinion at such a moment is not easy, but I think we will be able to do it very soon. We will be back in touch with you about it.

    And also let me alert you that we have under way two related efforts to reawaken the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King and his friend and co-worker Rabbi Abrahasm Joshua Heschel as a pointer toward an America of hope and change, as Barack Obama becomes president.

    Let me send you blessings for both “shalom” and “salaam” —– for I can pronounce both “sh” and “ss.” I hope that makes me a kosher Jew, an unkosher Jew, and something more than either. Together –– ALL of us together —- let us serve the God of peace and justice and healing and compassion.

    — Arthur

  21. Jeff Foster wrote: “This is such a sad and complex situation. I do not believe that giving up Gaza and the West Bank with open borders will ever satisfy Israel’s enemies, and I believe anyone naive who believes it will. I like the idealism Richard and others hold. I wish they could be right.”

    Jeff, you provide nothing to back that statement up. Israel takes Palestine, bulldozes down peoples homes, farms, and businesses to construct settlements, starves the people in Gaza because they elect leaders whom Israel opposed who actually stated that they recognize Israel within the pre-June 1967 borders, and the Israeli government with U.S. backing still refuses to negotiate with the Palestinians to bring about the just settlement that is needed. Jeff, I have to remind you that during the time that Yitzhak Rabin was Prime Minister there were very few terrorist attacks against Israel. Rabin was on the path to a final settlement with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, a Jewish settler aided by Israel’s Shinn Bet assassinated Rabin. In addition to those Israelis who believe that all of Palestine belongs to the Jews whose parties are included in Israel’s government, another reason that this dispute goes on is because of American corporations that benefit from this such as Catapillar which supply Israel bulldozers, Apache which supplies helicopter gunships, Raytheon, and other corporations. Click on this link http://www.democracynow.org/2006/7/21/u_s_arming_of_israel_how or paste it into your web browser and hear this Democracy Now program. You can also just read the transcript.

  22. Dont worry. In the next few days Hamas will repel the IOF and advance and take Asheklon. Israel will be sorry it ever started this war

  23. @Trans fat

    Dont worry. In the next few days Hamas will repel the IOF and advance and take Asheklon. Israel will be sorry it ever started this war

    A David- Goliath rematch with reverse result ? unlikely . Besides, I dont think it’s in the Palestinians interest to win a military victory.

  24. Trans fats wrote: “Dont worry. In the next few days Hamas will repel the IOF and advance and take Asheklon. Israel will be sorry it ever started this war.”

    I don’t know about that but as I said and so did someone else, if the U.S. doesn’t insist that Israel negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians and end the occupation, the Palestinians will themselves give up on the idea of a two-state solution and demand a one-state solution instead. The Palestinian population is growing much faster than the Israeli population, and Israel can’t keep the occupation going forever without escalating violence including inside Israel proper. If this dispute isn’t settled soon, down the road we will likely see a one-state solution to the problem which will be a bi-national state. In fact before the establishment of the state of Israel, there were Jews like Rabbi Judah Magnes http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/magnes.html, Ehad Haam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehad_Ha%27am Martin Buber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Buber and many other people who advocated for a bi-national state. They wanted that Jews settle in Palestine and share the land with the indigenous people there. Had those Jews not been overruled by the other Zionists, we wouldn’t have the problems that we have today. It must be noted that for centuries before the Zionists came along, those Jews who remained in Palestine after the Roman occupation and the other indigenous people got along very well.

  25. Carlos and Shamwow:

    Never be ashamed of who you are. And Shamwow, your words sound like some emo teen who would rather wish troubling things away rather than confront them.

    Just because the Jewish state is engaging in some pretty despicable acts now doesn’t mean we should abandon it altogether. Be embarassed now, but also work towards not making it an embarassment.

    I wonder if R’ Yoffie was ever this pliable in the Lebanon fiasco. Like I said, too many liberal Jews throw their principles to the wayside in times of war. Especially when the election of a liberal government is at stake! I also wonder if these same people would be the same if Obama was a warmonger?

  26. Jill wrote: “I challenge everyone here to answer one question: do you support a one-state or a two-state solution? Your answer to the question will be closely aligned with what tactics you support in the current conflict.

    You can read more about my perspective here:


    Jill, I enjoyed reading your perspective. I didn’t have a chance to click on all of the links, but I read enough on the subject anyway. I can’t answer your question with only a yes or no answer. If you read my last post which is a few posts below yours, you’ll notice that I mentioned Jews like Martin Buber, Rabbi Judah Magnes, and Ehad Haam who advocated a Bi-National state and I said that if they were not overruled by the other Zionists, we wouldn’t be in the situation that we are today. I agree that this is what should have happened. However the Palestinian leaders are calling for a two-state solution, and as I mentioned before even the Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Heneyeh stated that he recognizes Israel within the pre-June 1967 borders. Click on these TWO links http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fwp-dyn%2Fcontent%2Farticle%2F2006%2F02%2F24%2FAR2006022402317_pf.html&ei=sR9fSaKmO5KasAPB-t2ZDQ&usg=AFQjCNGV4IFEZjORZtHNMigArBSzVNPd6w&sig2=DgPlr9gEn1bBeTonA6qf6w AND http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035414.html Most or all of the major Jewish peace organizations also support a two-state solution, so that is where I am now. I really expect Obama to put pressure on all sides including Israel to settle this dispute. However if I am wrong about this and this dispute goes on much longer, then I will only be in favor of a one-state solution meaning a Bi-National state. I don’t believe that Israel should exist as an oppressor and occupier nation, and it can’t exist that way anyhow for much longer considering that Palestinians are outnumbering Israelis.

  27. @Rabbi Arthur Waskow: Thank you, Rabbi Waskow, for your eloquent drash that, as usual, teaches us something important about Jewish tradition, while making a cogent comment on political realities.

    I would also urge my readers to follow the link here or at Rabbi Waskow’s comment to make a contribution to his Shalom Center. Anyone Jewish leader who can stand up for another as he has deserves our strong support.

    And DO support J Street as well as Waskow suggested.

  28. Hamas was democratically elected to the legislature, part of the government, but then they took over completely after a battle with Fatah in 2007. So I don’t know if it is correct to sat “democratically elected” anymore. In a way they are a dictatorship.

    I, at times, feel like Jeff Foster above. His comment stands out.

    I want to note, if no one has mentioned this, that Mayor Bloomberg was on both CNN and MSNBC I think it was yesterday- talk about Freudian slips- saying “Israeli’s are being killed every day by these rockets”. He said this twice. I was really taken aback. It was not a slip but more what I feel the mind does when there is a moral issue that conflicts with a perceived survival issue. My strong feeling and continuing horror is that Jews, Israeli’s in particular, are less and less able to feel the humanity and suffering on the other side, particularly with the walls ( iron and concrete) and checkpoints. And it is this that is happening to the collective psyche of a subgroup that diminishes Jews on the whole in the eyes of the world and amongst themselves (subject of ongoing debate here). This is what hurts me more than anything- the numbness to suffering, the easy imposition or disregard of it, the justification of it. That is what so many, like David Grossman, Uri Avnery, Henry Siegman and other mentioned above are saying really. One could of course make the same case about the other side and this is war, but that doesn’t help us move out of this downward spiral.

    There are some who can see that Israel’s survival depends on the well-being of Palestinians. This is not idealism. So the real enemies are those who refuse to see this.

    This is what David Grossman has said in his short but very strong book-“Death as a Way of Life”. All the unsold copies should be bought and distributed accordingly.

  29. @Walter Ballin

    Thank you for your response. I studied Buber extensively in my college years and agree with your assertions. I’m not 100% sold on the terminology of “binational” but I would say that this is my main hang up with Israel, in general re: its identity as a Jewish state only. It’s a problem – I don’t know how it’s solved with stability though – which of course is why we are where we are – or they are where they are.

    I’m also not as convinced as you sound to be re: Palestinians wanting two states. I think there’s a Venn diagram waiting to be drawn to show the breakdown of how Palestinians feel re: one versus two states, and then there are the Israeli Arabs – 1.7 million strong – who say that they don’t want to live under Palestinian rule. If there was a viable healthy Palestinian state, who knows if that would hold. But still – I’m thinking about a Venn…

  30. Suzanne wrote: “Hamas was democratically elected to the legislature, part of the government, but then they took over completely after a battle with Fatah in 2007. So I don’t know if it is correct to sat “democratically elected” anymore. In a way they are a dictatorship.”

    Suzanne, I know that Hamas took over completely in Gaza after a battle wit Fatah. However it is my understanding that Fatah with Israeli and U.S. backing had the Hamas members who were elected to the Palestinian national legislative body removed and arrested. I don’t recall the exact details and I don’t have time to do a google search on this. Perhaps someone like Richard could fill us in on this.

    I agree with you on everything else that you said. Also, a good book to read is “The Lemon Tree” by Sandy Tolan, which is about a Jewish family from Bulgaria that was given a house in Israel in 1947, as the Palestinian family like many others was forced to flee. The Jewish families who were given these houses were falsely told by the Israelis that the Palestinians simply abandoned those homes. Years later the daughter Dalia from the Jewish family and the son from the Palestinian family became friends. The Jewish ended up making the house an “Open House.” It’s a wonderful story! I actually had a nice email conversation with Dalia. Check out these TWO links http://sandytolan.com/the-lemon-tree AND http://sandytolan.com/the-lemon-tree/open-house-ramle

  31. Jill, I read a couple of polls a while back showing that a majority of Palestinians support a two-state solution. I don’t have time to search now. Certainly the Palestinian Authority under Abbas supports this, and I already mentioned what the Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Heneyeh said. But then again, if this dispute isn’t settled soon support even among the Palestinians for a two-state solution will dissolve.

  32. Jill and All, Regarding the Israeli Arabs, it concerns me that they are never included in the Israeli coalition governments. Certainly if they were, that would help pave the way for peace. So to me Israel is a theocracy the way it’s set up. I still go along with a two-state solution, but the time may come where I won’t if this dispute isn’t settled soon as I said.

  33. @Walter – Interesting. Here’s an article this week at Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/id/177757) which talks about what you state, but I think it’s best to clarify that there currently are 12 Israeli Arabs serving in the Knesset, but they’ve not been invited to join a coalition of any type – correct? I’m not very learned on this so any additional links or clarification you’re willing to take the time to give would be helpful.

    Given that Livni’s efforts failed to produce a gov’t and that’s why they have an election coming up, it’s an interest point to examine. I’m against Netanyahu and his plans – I would think most Israeli Arabs would be as well. Contemplating some kind of alignment with Kadima – wow – think that might bring Sharon back to life? 🙂

  34. @Walter re: support for two-state – I don’t doubt that at all, I’m only saying that when I was there and visited w/the Mayor of West Bartaa in the Triangle, he made it very clear that he and most Israeli Arabs he knew would never consider being under a Palestinian gov’t even with two states. He also spoke at length about his son, who is in his 20s and in university in either Tel Aviv or Haifa – I forget which – considers himself 100% Israeli but wants, as that Newsweek column suggests, complete parity with Jews in Israel. That is a civil rights battle which, again, going back to that Newsweek piece, really does have to succeed in Israel in order for its national building to progress.

  35. @B.BarNavi
    “Just because the Jewish state is engaging in some pretty despicable acts..”
    Is it despicable for Israel to defend it’s own citizens? How about fighting Hamas which is hell bent on killing Jews? R’ Yoffie? Oh my! One mistake after another…

  36. Jill, Thanks. I read the Newsweek article. I neglected to mention that there are Israeli-Arabs serving in the Kenesset, but they’ve never been invited to serve in the coalition governments. Unfortunately the ultra-orthodox religious parties like the Shas do serve in the coalitions. It’s the Shas Party that insists on the Israeli government allowing the building of more and more Jewish settlements in the West Bank. For anyone who thinks that Israel is 100% right in its actions, how can anyone expect there to ever be peace and security for Israelis or anyone else?

  37. @Noah:

    Is it despicable for Israel to defend it’s own citizens?

    Do you call systematically destroying every piece of infrastructure in Gaza, killing over 100 women & children & 500 overall a “defensive” act?? If so, your priorities & judgment are seriously askew.

  38. When you reduce the fact that infrastructure and civilians have been blown up down to purely abstract acts of countering-attacking Hamas in self-defense, of course it’s justified. But then that’s ignoring reality.

    Israel CAN AND SHOULD defend itself without resorting to such DESPICABLE actions.

    Yasher Koach to Rabbi Waskow. He never ceases to amaze me (in a good way).

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