23 thoughts on “Brad Burston Called Me an Anti-Semite – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. When the Israelistan of the Lieberman, Shas and other tyrants came about, DEMOCRACY PASSED AWAY.
    These tinpot despots, just as their Arab confreres, use democracy to come to power only to kill it after them so as to hold on to their seats.
    Current Israelistan is no different than Iran style of democracy.
    Neither do I want to live in a Jewish country.
    Religion isn’t a shield it is something to be proud of.

  2. 1/ Your congregation no longer holds its services in a church like it used to. Why the change?

    2/ On its website it lists 13 staff for a congregation with a sanctuary that holds maybe 60 people. Is this because 13 is a good number in Judaism or because the congregation is wildly mismanaged?

    1. You’re confusing my synagogue with Eitz Or. My shul has never held its services in a church. On the High Holidays there are nearly 1,000 in the sanctuary. I don’t know what you’re talking about nor do you.

  3. Richard,

    I’m not sure if he mentioned you by name or if he intended his argument for you “indirectly”, and you got the message loud and clear. First, let me start by making you feel like you’re still part of a community that above all cherishes its humanity, and we are all brothers and sisters first and foremost in justice and humanity and then individuals, because sometimes our individual beliefs and nationalism make us check our compassion at the door.

    Yesterday Phil Weiss paid you a glowing compliment in this article, check it out!:


    So, you know, some people are more concerned with your integrity and commitment to this struggle, than your patriotism, and I imagine Phil Weiss sees a good person writing some pretty courageous stuff and making a pretty remarkable contribution although there is still much to be done.

    I’ve always believed that people who give with one hand and take with the other, like Burston, often merely for appearances sake, not only lack integrity, but I just don’t trust them. My opinion is that they do this because they’re weak and not completely honest with themselves.

    I agree with you about the “love” thing. I can’t stand when people try to manipulate me with the loyalty, religion, race, country or LOVE thing! Even Einstein called patriots dangerous fools:

    “”He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

    “How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of goodwill! In such a place even I would be an ardent patriot.” [ME TOO!]

    “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.” Lol! I agree 100%!

    So I hope I made you feel better; you’re in great company.

    I should however take exception with one thing. I know once you tried to explain to me the difference between religious and political Zionism, in a way that describes one as violent and unjust and the other not so, but I believe that Burston is coming from the latter opinion and yet if it were up to him and others who believe that there is a good Zionism, NOTHING, would change. You see this is why he is so filled with DENIAL (ie it’s not as bad in Israel as everyone thinks). Even the founders of Zionism, Herzl and Jabotinsky, believed that violence and injustice were necessary “evils” for Zionism to flourish and survive.

    I’ve found you to be very discreet and sensitive with this issue, and I understand why, given the topics discussed here. I still believe however that one day you will be disillusioned even with the Zionism you believe is harmless. As a matter of fact, I think part of the reason you don’t address the issue is because you’re just not so sure about it yourself and you’re waiting for the best side of Zionism to triumph and prove you right. It would be nice, but reality and facts on the ground are proving there is nothing salvageable about Zionism. The “scaffolding of Zionism” that Avrum Burg refers to that is no longer necessary because the house has been built is actually “tearing the house down”.

    I’ll admit, it’s a dicey subject. It’s all rolled up with faith and superstition.

    Again, we are citizens of the universe first. Therein lies our loyalty.

    1. No, Brad is a nice guy. He didn’t address me by name & I’m sure he doesn’t believe that about me personally. But I used that headline in order to dramatize the issue & show that there are perfectly reasonable Jews who have serious problems w. calling Israel an exclusively Jewish state to the detriment of any other religion observed by other citizens.

      It is hard for me to prioritize my loyalties. I feel a strong bond for my religion and ethnic identity as a Jew, while feeling a similar feeling toward all of humankind. But for me Judaism & Jewishness are more tangible than humankind.

      I don’t know what will happen in the long-term to Zionism. It would be fine with me if in 50 years Israel was such a normal, secure state that Zionism became a historical concept which was studied in the classroom. But that time is not here. A classical Zionist of course would say that such a time will not come until every Jew makes aliyah to Israel. That isn’t my belief (nor is it the reality of Diaspora Jewry), which is what separates me from such Zionists.

      Thanks too for yr kind words. They mean a great deal.

      1. “I left Burston’s talk during the Q&A when the local Stand With Us board member, David Brumer, began his question with the lie:

        I don’t disagree with anything you said tonight.

        I knew it could only go downhill from there, and I didn’t have the heart to listen to the rest of a statement from someone who once wrote me an e mail saying I should be spanked for my views.”

        How do you know what he stated in Q & A? Isn’t it prejudicial to form judgment of another on an incomplete view?

  4. why did you leave and not ask him to clarify his statement?

    im sorry, but i find it the height of american arrogance when we decide what is and what isnt a democracy

    canada and germany do not allow for pure freedom of speech…are they not democracies?

    britain has the church of england…is it not a democracy

    part of the new iraqi constitution is based on islamic law…is it not a new democracy?

    there are still blue laws in many states right here in the us….are we not a democracy?

    1. I’ve e mailed him the link to my post & he plans to respond to it when he gets home.

      i find it the height of american arrogance when we decide what is and what isnt a democracy

      Oh, I see, because one of the most functional democracies in the world we aren’t allowed to judge the democracies of other nations? Perhaps we should let North Korea or Moldova rate Israel’s democracy since they have none of their own & would therefore find Israel likely a paradise. It’s all relative. If you want to be compared favorably to North Korea, be my guest. I’d rather be compared to a true democracy, even if found wanting. At least, if anyone really cared, they could improve it.

      Canada & German do not throw their citizens in jail for espousing legal political views, which is what the Shabak does.

      Britain happens to be a country full of religious, class, & ethnic prejudices some of which may relate to the fact that it has a state religion. BTW, non-CoE religions in England are treated far better than non-Jewish religions are treated in Israel.

      is Iraq not a new democracy?

      If Iraq is a democracy it is barely functional. It’s legislature hasn’t met in months if not a year or more due to ethnic political stalemate. Is that what you want to compare Israel to?

  5. I have followed Burston’s writings over the past years and all I can say: he’s something like the little brother of Nethanyahu. Burston is a shill.

      1. Lame?

        Consider this: if a not so very informed person will have conversation with Nethanyahu about achieving peace with the Palestinians…Nethanyahu will be judged as a fair man, however if one had followed Nethanyahu’s acts over the past 15 years, one could have known that he’s a blatant liar.

        Avigdor Lieberman isn’t vague on his stance and neither is Gideon Levy regarding the issues with the Palestinians.

        So what about Burston’s agenda and opinions? IMHO he’s just a little Nethanyahu, people consider him to be fair but I have never witnessed a straight line in his writings. Its just a little to much a fair guy today and tomorrow the right-wing hawk.

        Real and honest people have a certain clear / straight political stance – which may be either reasonable or extreme – but they do have it. Though how about the agenda’s of guys like Bradley Burston, Ehud Barak, Bibi Nethanyahu and Shimon Peres…??
        Today they claim to want peace and tomorrow they endorse the wildest dreams of Lieberman.

        That’s why Burston is a shill to me.

        1. Burston wrote this commentary on Palestinian non-violence.


          And here he says, “”God protect you from us, and from your own people. You will be scoffed at even as you are shot at. There are people on both sides for whom non-violence causes a sense of unease, a sense of being, forgive me, emasculated.

          Teach us to grow up.

          Teach us what we have lost. Our sense of shame.”

          So I ask myself, if he knows the IDF is capable of shooting unarmed Palestinians in cold blood, does it cross his mind that maybe there’s something he can do to prevent this, or at least attack the ideology that produces these soldiers, instead of disparaging anti-Zionist Jews in American. Burston still views himself as part of a nationalist conflict with the Palestinians even those who practice non-violence. His conflict should be with the ideology that views the native population as a demographic threat. Palestinians, teach us to grow up, but not yet.

          1. Thank you for posting the material above.

            Exactly articles like that one by Burston reveal the fact: he’s a double faced guy.

            What he wrote: “God protect you from us, and from your own people.” If a Palestinian had wrote instead:…god protect you from Israel and the Jewish people, such would be marked as “the Palestinians are no partner for peace because they obviously hate Jews.”

            Burston writes in the same article following phrases: “Someday, because of you, Gaza will be what it was meant to be. The pearl of Palestine.”

            Correct me if I am wrong, but if I am well such was exactly the vision of Ariel Sharon and when one would ask Lieberman…he will agree promptly.

            So Burston portray’s himself as the empathic mr. Nice Guy who tells to the world “A prayer for the Gazan armed only with a flag”, but in the mean time he’s not showing any genuine compassion at all. His words are IMHO proof that the guy is just full of himself.

            Forgive me, but I just dislike such people. IMHO real people have a real opinion and that’s why I have ceased reading Burston’s opinions long ago.

  6. RE: At one point, Burston said: About the progressive Jew who [1] sees nothing wrong with the many Muslim nations in the world, but who [2] cannot allow the Jews to have a single state of their own anywhere in the world, I say that person is an anti-Semite. – R.S.
    MY COMMENT: I wonder what he meant by part 1. I see plenty wrong with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt etc. But I don’t know whether I necessarily have a problem with there being so many “Muslim nations” (or Christian nations) in the world. Perhaps I should.
    As to part 2, what does he mean by “anywhere in the world”. Iowa? That would suit me, but some people in Iowa might object. Uganda? Same deal. Okinawa? Ditto. I wonder why he can’t be a bit more specific about the location. Between the Nile and the Euphrates, perhaps? Part or all? What part?
    At any rate, I suspect that I would not qualify as a “progressive Jew”, so he can’t very well be calling me an “anti-Semite”. Consequently, I suppose it’s no skin off my (or Helen Thomas’ humongous) nose(s).

  7. From what I know of the early Zionist movement, the notion that a Jew against Zionism is an anti-Semite (Props for saying what it is and dispensing with the euphemism of “self-hating”) is not just laughable, it’s an insecurity. Zionism was superfluous at the turn of the century which is evidenced by how Jewish emigres from E. Europe chose America over Palestine around 100-1. And America wasn’t exactly a stopover on the way to Palestine, it should go without saying. It essentially took the Holocaust to give Israel the population it has now. So in claiming to be the rightful heir of the Holocaust victims, Zionists get to throw their weight around at anyone who dissents from the need for a Jewish state, even though Zionism did no more to save Jews than any given gentile effort. The yishuv survived because they were defended by the British, not because of their location.

    This is before going into how the views of notable leaders such as Herzl, Nordau and Ruppin overlapped with anti-Semitic nationalism. People who say what Burston said are covering a lot of baggage they’d probably rather not deal with.

  8. Also, I have to note that qualifier of his, “who sees nothing wrong with the many Muslim nations in the world.” By this wording, I can’t tell if his problem is with self-defined Islamic states or simply having a Muslim majority. Either way, the only time someone’s opinion on the existence of a state matters is when they are affected by that state. Palestinian refugees have the greatest say in whether Israel should exist because they are paying the price for it. Jews outside Israel get to reject the benefits of Zionism because their identity is expropriated for moral support.

  9. I like Bradley BECAUSE he can carry in himself two conflicting themes, and still choose the humane one.

    Noam Chomsky stated a few months ago in an interview, that he was a strong dissenter particularly focused on Israel/Palestine because it is personally close to him, that he loves Israel and wants it to be the best (integrity) that it can. (I’m paraphrasing).

    Radical approaches to Israel often claim to be pursuing “tough love”, but sadly neglect to convey their love, so rational observers become very confused.

    1. Also,
      Did Bradley even infer “anti-semite”, even indirectly, or is that solely your projection of language?

  10. Harvard Professor Noah Feldman seems to be the first to have come up the idea with justifying the existence of an extremist organic nationalist racist ethnic Jewish state by analogy with the plethora of states that take religious and occasionally legal inspiration from Islam and therefore declare themselves to be Islamic.

    A Jewish state like Israel simply is not comparable in any way shape or form to an Islamic state like Egypt, and it makes sense to object categorically to the existence of a Jewish state as defined by Zionism while merely demanding reforms from Egypt.

  11. I have found Burston a little baffling sometimes. What is a “garin” Please? Anti Semite label is weak and some may feel not even worth responding to. Its ludicrous to put on a Jewish man living in Israel in my opinion. I have met Israelis critical of their government or pro human tights. None were anti Semites! Maybe this form of zionism in place now will fall prey to Jewish morale in the info age?

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