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Why the AJDS are right to support a limited boycott

September 1, 2010 – 9:50 am148 Comments

Stand up. Dissent is Patriotic.

By Larry Stillman

I’d like to argue the moral case for supporting a selective boycott of products from the Occupied West Bank. I take the view that it is illegally held territory in which its prior and current non-Jewish inhabitants (Palestinians, whatever their citizenship) live under a form of military rule and control system which completely privileges Jewish settlers and Israeli businesses and abuses human rights.

There are a number of ways to approach the problem of the occupation and the denial of the right of self-determination from a moral point of view.

This first is a universal human rights approach, reflected in UN principles and international law which is opposed to such things as military occupation or land seizures, of the denial of affective legal remedies against oppression, and second, from the position within the Jewish tradition.

Second, the Jewish social justice view can be summarized as the principle of Tikkun Olam derived from the Mishnah, which is the struggle to repair or install righteousness in the world, as well inspirational mottos like “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof” (Justice, Justice you shall persue”, Devarim 16:20). This also relates to the concept of ethical mitzvot, for both religious and non-religious Jews alike; obligations to make the world a better place, including challenging authority, which traditional Judaism appears reluctant to do. Unfortunately, this tradition barely exists in Australia, with attempts to stomp out dissent on issues relating to Israel going back many decades.

In the US, where I lived for many years, there is a tradition of speaking out and being pro-active for the greater good by rabbis and ordinary people alike, because sometimes, speaking out, even in a symbolic way brings about change. Here are some examples of people (sorry, all middle-aged men) who have supported dissent, including boycotts:

  • Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun magazine, has written for many years about the need to combine a inclusive spiritual dimension into both everyday life and social justice from an inclusive approach. His first major book, Surplus Powerlessness (1986), had a strong influence on my own thinking about contemporary forms of social justice at that time.
  • Rabbi Samuel Korff of the Boston Beit Din developed halachic rulings to support boycotts to support the rights of underpaid farm workers in the 1960s and 1970s.  He was also responsible for the denunciation of Jewish slumlords in Boston.
  • Rabbi Joshua Heschel, who is revered by many Christians and Jews in the US his activity in the Civil Rights movement in the US, was close to Martin Luther King, and he supported the boycott movement of segregated facilities in the South, along with many other Jews. He also opposed the war in Vietnam.
  • More recently, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center, has supported the establishment of a Mosque at ‘Ground Zero’ in New York, and he has also taken a strong stand on Israeli politics.  Waskow has been active in the Reconstructionist movement for decades.
  • Saul Alinksy, who came from an Orthodox background, developed powerful and highly influential organizing techniques including non-violent grass-roots community action and boycotts.
  • Other American Jews have been active in many other causes including the labour movement and anti-racism movement.

Returning to the current excoriation of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society for suggesting the most modest form of boycott—against products from the West Bank. I suggest that people in AJDS who are supporting a limited boycott are coming out of the moral position and tradition I have outlined and are no one’s stooges, nor exploitable by extremists.

AJDS has been dumped in with the ‘deligitimizers’ by the so-called official leadership even though AJDS has indicated its disagreement with many elements of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign and the positions it takes within the Green Line. Thus, those who have seen the countless of posts by me in Facebook of late know that I have been vigilant in attacking anti-Israel extremists, whose views are Judeophobic, and AJDS on its website and elsewhere, has clearly distanced itself from extreme positions.

I do not endorse a BDS position that crudely blocks economic, social and cultural exchange between Israel and the rest of the world.  Tactically, the BDS is engaging in erroneous tactics, creating a gulf with the Jewish community. The position that AJDS supports is a far cry from some of the rhetoric and actions taken (not always with the nicest of motives) by the BDS Movement, including a number other Jewish organizations that support a full boycott.  I hope that supporters of BDS ask us why we have taken our position, and I will argue the case. To claim that the moral position we take threatens Israel, or that it delegitimizes the country or that we are mates with crass anti-Semites is an insult to the intelligence of thinking people who care about the future of Israel.

Furthermore, the tactic of Jewish community ‘leaders’ that claim that proponents of boycotts are no more than ‘delegitimizers’ is in fact a way of turning attention away from the Occupation—that is, what is causing the problem in the first case: the Occupation itself and Israel’s consistent behaviour of playing for time at the expense of others’ liberty.

I care deeply about the future security of Israel, but I know that its future cannot be linked to a continuation of 43 of its 60 years as an occupier and thief of another’s birthright.  Saying that putting a ‘Made in Israel’ label on something from the West Bank is morally wrong and asserting that we should not buy such products is the right thing to do.

Larry Stillman is a member of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society Executive, but is expressing his own and not anyone else’s opinion.

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148 Comments »

  • Eliezer says:

    This author seems to be fantasizing what he thinks is correct based on the Mishna he never saw. There is nothing in the Mishna regarding social justice as he states, if he can prove it, let him tell us the source. The fact that he brings controversial Rabbis opinions only tells us that he is looking for some one to back up his opinion.

    The truth is that Israel wants peace and has always desired peace with the Arabs, even before there was a state. From the beginning of aliya bet, the zionists dreamed of making a secular homeland that would bring prosperity to both Jewish immigrants and indigenous Arabs.

    The Arabs rejected the early zionists, they rejected all calls for peace from every Israeli government and have only answered with one simple answer: war, which since they lost the support of Arabs countries, got re-translated into terrorism.

    There is a place for idealism, but the reality of the situation must be clearly understood. The author shows his idealism, but unfortunately also his lack of history.

  • will says:

    hi Larry

    While I sometimes tend to disagree with the AJDS I cannot even begin to imagine how anybody in their right mind would not support a target boycott of the occupation. That the JCCV would call this “naive” I find entirely incomprehensible.

    However, I wanted to thank you for putting these views in the mainstream. Like many young Aussie left wing Jews out there, I have increasingly felt more and more exiled, or otherwise pushed away from the community that I love for my political beliefs. I hope that your stance will both lead to a strong left wing Jewish community as well as giving people the courage to speak both as Jews and left-wingers, lest we all end up in the swanp that is the JCCV.

    I think such a modest campaign as yours can go a long way.

    Watch out for straw men…

    will

  • frosh says:

    Hi Larry,

    As someone who is opposed to BDS in all its forms, I nevertheless recognise that your efforts at a limted boycott are not made with the motive of deligitimisation or anti-Semitism, unlike most BDS activity.

    However, I would like to pose a few genuine questions.

    Does AJDS currently support any other boycotts?

    Why is the green line the basis for deciding what is kosher and what is treif, so to speak?

    How does AJDS view the following,
    West Bank supermarket a lesson in co-existence

    taken from yesterday’s ABC’s AM program, which is hardly known for positive stories about Israel.

    Should this supermarket be boycotted?

  • frosh says:

    Larry,

    I should add that if you are short on time, then please give my third question priority, as I feel this is the most interesting one.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    I believe the AJDS boycotts are a bad idea – they could be seen to add legitimacy to the idea of broader boycotts, which no-one who cares about Israel could support. It’s unlikley that these boycotts will have any effect on the activities they target – that is Israeli industry in occupied territories or using resources from the occupied territories. By its nature, the campaign positions this as a matter for Israel to address, and in doing so, fails to acknowledge that responsibility for the occupation itself was not of Israel’s making ,and that responsibility for its resolution does not lie solely with Israel.

    I understand that the campaign is about raising awareness in our community about the reality of life under military occupation for Palestinians, and the political factors at play. That awareness is important and is seriously lacking in our community. ButI believe there are better, more politically appropriate ways to do that.

    At the same time I think it is wrong not to look at and understand the motivation of the AJDS . I don’t acept the view that the AJDS is seeking to delegitimise Israel, and I hope our community can refrain from hysteria and black-listing on this issue.

  • Andrew Casey says:

    The settlements are a major obstacle to delivering the 2 state solution.

    We now see mainstream Israelis, big machers in the Israeli Arts Establishment, have announced their own boycotts against the settlements by refusing to cross the Green Line to work at a major new cultural centre in Ariel.

    I can therefore have some understanding of the AJDS position.

    HOWEVER Mandi Katz is also correct. I am concerned that people with less clean hands are jumping on this band-wagon to create a wedge issue.

    They are in-truth totally opposed to the State of Israel but are happy to adopt the stance of ‘useful fools’ if that will help them move along even by one step their deligitimising strategy.

    It may be that there are important nuances to accept here.

    The peace movement in Israel should pressure to end the occupation and end the settlements by cutting off all links with the extremists in these illegal outposts.

    But those in the Diaspora need to be a little more careful lest they are played as ‘useful fools’ by people whose agendas are not just hostile to Israel – but actually hostile to all Jews.

    I accept I may be wrong here – so open to hearing other people’s views.

  • will says:

    Frosh,

    Larry clearly is at pains to make the readers of your blog sure that they are reading his opinions and that he is not making a public comment on behalf of the organisation he is involved in – why are you asking him to speak for the AJDS?

    In any case, obviously (and making certain assumptions) the story of the west bank supermarket is a great one. Practically, I’m not sure you could actually boycott it if you wanted to, but lets say you could, I’m not sure, on the surface, what arguments people could come up with to boycott an institution that promotes coexistence, in such a genuine way. But this shop sounds like an exception to the rule, and a reason why organisations choose to not have blanket boycotts.

    When you say “As someone who is opposed to BDS in all its forms” do you mean that in all cases, or just in the case of Israel? That is to say, do you support the cricket boycott of Zimbabwe (for instance)? (Not baiting, am curious)

    regards

  • frosh says:

    Will,

    I am short of time right now, so excuse my brief reply.

    I was referring to BDS as a proper noun (or abbreviation if you like). If you Google: Global BDS movement, you will find that this abbreviation only applies to anti-Israel activity.

    As it happens, I am also largely unsupportive of blanket boycotts in cases not involving Israel.

    Getting back to the supermarket example, how does blanket boycott of the territories east of the green line avoid boycotting such a supermarket (imagine, for example, that this supermarket also produces its own canned food for export)?

  • ariel says:

    “Our” ABC will have us believe the said supermarket is an exception or one-off.

    Actually there are numerous and varied businesses which operate in a similar fashion throughout Judea (I use that name because “West Bank” is useless. It’s like calling Tasmania “Southern Island”)…

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3943748,00.html

  • philip mendes says:

    AJDS and the academic boycott

    On reading Larry Stillman’s defence of the AJDS motion, and the earlier AJDS statement, I reflected on whether Stillman and his AJDS colleagues were genuinely well-intentioned but naïve, or alternatively could fairly be labelled as deliberately disingenuous.

    I suspect for some of the AJDS activists it is more the former. As with myself and many other Jews, they want to see an end to the occupation and a viable, contiguous Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. They think that boycotting West Bank settlement products might progress this meritorious objective.

    They are, of course, wrong, but at least the well-intentioned group are perhaps wrong for the right reasons. They prefer to ignore the key messages of the last decade concerning barriers to peace – the Palestinian rejection of two-state offers at Camp David and Taba, the pathological behaviour behind the suicide bombings orgy, and the generally toxic nature of Palestinian political culture – because it undermines their optimistic belief in Israeli-Palestinian peace and reconciliation.

    But the dominant group within AJDS – which particularly includes Stillman and his comrade Les Rosenbratt – are wrong for the wrong reasons. And this is how they come to their political position. They do not sit half-way between Jewish hardliners and anti-Zionist hardliners, and identify a reasonable position that supports moderates and condemns extremists on both sides, and demands concessions from both Israelis and Palestinians.

    Rather, they patronisingly reject the entire Jewish mainstream from left to right as inherently reactionary, and then scramble for a position which doesn’t identify them exclusively with the anti-Zionists. Hence they condemn the rhetoric of the anti-Zionists in favour of a universal BDS, but still utilize the core language of the BDS movement in favour of a more subtle and less obviously racist boycott.

    This accommodation of extremist views has, of course, historical underpinnings in the Jewish Left. When Stalin began his slaughter of the Soviet Jewish intelligentsia in the late 1940s, there were three responses. The Jewish Bund, who hated Communism and the Soviet Union, condemned Stalinist anti-Semitism without equivocation. They couldn’t forget what had happened to Erlich and Alter.

    The Jewish Communist groups in Australia – the equivalent of Australian Independent Jewish Voices today – and elsewhere defended Stalin without equivocation. And the left-wing groups such as the Melbourne Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Anti-Semitism – which included both Communists and naïve liberals and social democrats – didn’t actually endorse what Stalin had done, but refused to publicly acknowledge that the notorious Slansky Trial or the Doctors Plot were actually anti-Semitic.

    The analogy should be obvious. The BDS movement is powered by anti-Zionist fundamentalists who wish to destroy Israel. There is no doubt about this, just read the works of David Hirsh and others in the UK who have battled with these political cults.

    The mainstream Jewish Left, which opposes the West Bank occupation and settlements, completely rejects this movement. Have a look at the websites of Meretz USA, TULIP and similar left groups internationally. But the AJDS can’t do this because this would mean taking the same in-principle position as the dreaded JCCV. So instead they use the language of the BDS movement which will no doubt soon claim that it enjoys Jewish support in Australia.

    If the AJDS wish to be taken seriously as a Jewish-identifying (rather than solely Left) organisation, then they need to start talking to the broad plurality of the Jewish community. That plurality is represented within the JCCV and other umbrella organisations. It is about time that AJDS humbly listened to the views of these people, and the reasons why they hold these views. They might then understand why campaigns for ethnic boycotts of all Israelis are seriously viewed as reminiscent of events in the 1930s, rather than as discretionary criticisms of West Bank settlers.

    Philip Mendes

  • frosh says:

    Hi Ariel.

    Thanks for sharing that link. It should be compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to have an informed opinion on this issue.

    Clearly, the situation is far more complex than suggested by the popular mantras that demonise every Jew living east of the Green Line.

  • Mark Baker says:

    I agree with Philip on this; even though one might be tempted to support a boycott of West Bank settlement goods, the language simply feeds the BDS rhetoric which is harmful not only to Israel, but to the entire peace process. Unlike BDS against South Africa (putting aside the faulty analogy between Israel and SA), Israel offers an avenue for free speech in academia, culture, media and society, that is the strongest force for peace.
    Mark

  • Andrew Casey says:

    Alright – but I ask is it different and OK for Israelis, such as the Habima actors, to boycott settlement institutions in the search for peace, but not Ok for Diaspora Jews to promote boycotts?

    Am I wrong to see a nuanced difference?

  • philip mendes says:

    Andrew: the difference is about terminology and context.

    I regularly used to call John Howard a racist bastard. But I wouldn’t accept a non-Australian calling Australia per se a racist country because of what the Howard Government did to indigenous Australians and asylum seekers. Similarly, the Habima actors rightly (in my opinion) refuse to appear in the settlements. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they want outsiders boycotting all Israelis including themselves.

    Similarly, I wouldn’t personally purchase anything from the West Bank settlements, or support in any way a group or organisation that gave the settlers legitimacy. Just as I wouldn’t give any support to reactionary groups in Australia. But that is very different to a boycott based on essentialising all Israelis – left and right, working class and middle class – as evil.

    Philip

  • Larry Stillman says:

    I deeply resent being associated with Stalinism or being a fellow traveller, or similarly, Les Rosenblatt being subjected to a snide use of ‘comrade’ by Philip Mendes, implying that AJDS is some sort of Cold War cell. This use of untoward labelling is all-too-common in Mr Mendes’ way of constructing a critical argument against me, Les, or numerous others. I did not know that being mildly left, even mildly Green was a crime or inherently Stalinistic.

    Aside from this use of labelling, as appears in many of his articles and commentaries, Philip is using a determinist view of history (often couched, without academic analysis as ‘structural analysis’) to try to prove that I and others are somehow inextricably linked to some weird, manipulating historical force that frames what we do as inheritors of Stalinism in a period well before I was born. Thus, in other essays,he has associated past members of AJDS as Jews willing to be manipulated in the interest of various political causes. I believe they are now passed on and they have no recourse to defence. And he has also lumped in AJDS with other Jews whose politics I don’t support.

    It is bumpkin to associate me with his flawed and misleading form of social analysis,a tactic that he consistently uses in his writing to try and discredit views other than his own.

    What I do believe, however, it that reasonably educated, thinking people, with 20, 30, or even more years of direct and indirect experience with Israel (37 years now for me), and deep connections to Israel, actually have the capacity to make choices and independently assess the information before us about the current facts of the Occupation and the need to take a symbolic stand. I don’t know how that is patronizing to others.

    To argue that we are out of touch with the Jewish mainstream is a bit silly– as we all know, 20 or more years ago, it was heretical to even talk about talking to the PLO…or even recognizing a Palestinian state…yet today…everyone seems to be in favour of a Palestinian state (even if many Palestinians and some Jews aren’t in favour of it anymore, and would prefer one state, albeit for different reasons). And to make another analogy, the Orthodox establishment casts other Jewish denominations as not the mainstream and condemns them as threatening continuity etc. This has been a constant political issue in the community, which surfaces from time to time on various issues here, and is certainly an explosive one in Israel. Thus, 20 years ago, I wan involved with setting up an alternative Jewish humanist/secular group, which resulted in a Hebrew School that ran for many years, and there were various bits of condemnation in the AJN and from the pulpit and yet today, there are various religious alternatives, including calls for a new secular group which I see that Phillip in one post in Galus, was very positive about. Sometimes, one needs to push the envelope, but also make clear where we stand. I think that has been made clear. Thus, once again, Mendes is deeply wrong in carrying on about people such as me who need to be more Jewish-identified rather than Left-identified. I think he would be surprised in fact, that there are people who have quite strong Jewish identities in AJDS, but here, I only speak for myself. In anycase, it is disgraceful that Mendes should be demanding, it seems, proof of Jewish affiliation.

    Another point. Because other progressive organization have not taken the same view, on BDS is well, their right, and as I suggest below, they are concerned about the fall out. And from what I can see, contrary to what Phillip claims, there is debate in Meretz USA about boycotting settlement products (see posts from a couple of days ago @ http://tiny.cc/31a1e and http://tiny.cc/97ob4), even though at this time, it is not the policy. People are obviously conflicted about this issue, and it is a difficult one, and I have seen similar discussion elsewhere. And of course, Gush Shalom has been supporting not buying from the West bank for years. Thus, to take apart another of Mendes’ nostrums, his distinctions about mainstream and left really are not firm on this issue, particularly when ‘left’ is such a diffuse term. And when I look at various sites in Hebrew on the I am sure that the position that we would take because of its nuance, would be supported. In fact, I received such congratulations from an Israeli active in Mahsom Watch in Hebron.

    Phillip Mendes in fact, is falling into the same trap as the essentialists of the anti-Zionist left (and left isn’t the right word anymore), who essentialize all forms of Zionism as exactly descending from a racist, extremist, exterminating ideology etc because 1) it’s easy 2) it’s a useful political tool to make it all seem black and white. If anyone bothers to look (which he hasn’t obviously), I’ve been arguing quite vehemently for some time that this view of Zionism (and a related flawed understanding of Jewish identity) is frankly ignorant harah, even though I personally, as you all know, have strong differences with a lot of what is practiced as Zionism (detailed in contributions on Galus and elsewhere–but aren’t they part of a long, ongoing debate about the nature of Jewish identify in relationship to Israel and its claims on us).

    On the BDS issue, I’ve made it abundantly clear, and I have a much original longer piece that I will put on line soon, that the view I take on sanctions is very different from that held by many in the BDS movement. There is nothing in what we say to offer ‘extremists’ (once again, lumping Christians, pacifists, Palestinian secularists, Islamists, fruitloops all in the one boat, as a political cult) succour. I suspect, as Ron Skolnik of Meretz USA does, that a key reason why so many Jews have been reluctant to even support partial BDS is a just concern that it could get caught up into the slipperly slope of anti-Israel/Semitic inventive. Plus it can be emotionally traumatic for some people to take such a position due to the response they get. But, despite this, if the view I take makes a few people in the ‘full’ BDS movement have a ‘think’ and they change their tune, isn’t that a good thing? In fact, given some of the feedback I have got, there is interest in learning a new perspective–perhaps there is hope.

    Or is it all to be a quiescent, fearful, one-way street, ruled by respectful elders in which taking on such critical issues is frowned upon? I fear to think in fact, what Phillip Mendes makes of organizations such as Mahsom Watch which challenge the facts of occupation on the ground. Aren’t they engaging in much more treasonous behaviour in hauling up settlers? Are they out of line with the JCCV and non-mainstream as well?

    Nor, as Phillip implies have I suggested an essentializing Israelis (to quote old left sociological analysis–working class, middle class) Far from it.

    Dear me–in fact, I am trying to build academic links with Israel which is in complete opposition to what I am supposed (apud Mendes) to be supporting. (In fact if anyone has information about Zefat Academic College (www.zefat.ac.il/) could they please contact me by email as I would like to follow up on a research opportunity with them? To BDS critics I will quite happily say I’d much rather support the development of educational instutions that develop the rights of deprived people of all communities in the Galillee than engage in an academic boycott (thus, I am following the line of the late Baruch Kimmerling of Hebrew U, and not that of other Israeli supporters of an academic boycott. Kimmerling at the same time was trenchant in his critique of the Occcupation and completely unflattering in his sociological analysis of contemporary Israel [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Kimmerling]

    Or am I to be considered by Mendes to be so essentially anti-Israeli that I cannot be taken seriously as wanting to help Israel develop its educational system? Or am I engaging in what Mendes suggests is disingenuous behaviour as a member of AJDS–that is, doing one thing but really meaning another, and thus really, part of a secret stalinist coven?) Or that, wearing another hat that as as member of the commitee of Liberty Victoria, I was not serious in votingto hose down the BDS movement as well as an orchestrated campaign by China by awarding its Voltaire (Free Speech award) to the Melbourne Film Festival for standing up to campaign against films and people supported by the Israel Film Fund or showing a film about a Tibetan activist?

    I know I haven’t take up other points raised by people such as Frosh, but I particularly feel that Mendes’ assertions are part of a deliberate pattern of his extaordiinarily simplistic, dated, and egregious assertions taken up against AJDS at every opportunity. Unfortunately, such views appear to make the rounds.

    Finally, as Andrew Casey suggests so succinctly, what’s the different between people in Habimah saying no!! and me? I don’t get it. Or maybe the answer is that Israeli actors and I are of the same ilk–inglorious fools. Somehow, I don’t think so.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    I apologize for spelling and grammar in the previous post, but time runs against me at the moment.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    hi Andrew – nice to see you can take your mind off the election for a few moments.

    Maybe this is also about the bigger piece on what if any ‘lobbying’ and advocacy supporters of Israel should participate in.

    I don’t imagine there’s too many people in the world who care about Israel and about peace for all the people who live there, who this morning, don’t want to put up signs about Hamas and its evil brutality, and the agenda there. But that just plays into the cycle of no. Although I suppose that’s easy for me to say, living here.

    In our community the prevailing view is that lobbying and speaking out for support of Israel is always good, but questioning Israeli policy is bad, even where that policy is patently clearly unjust as in the case of support of settlement activity. I tend to agree with Philip that a better way would be through organised community forums. But I don’t often to see serious critical discussion on these issues. By contrast there is AIJAC which would never be shameless enough to say that it wouldn’t criticise Israeli policy that was clearly unjust , but I don’t think ever does criticise Israeli policy – however unjust, or just plain stupid. And to boot it positions itself on its web-site as the “the premier public affairs organisation for the Australian Jewish community” – so unless you actively dissent, you’re in, as we all are.

    So moving from critical discussion (which really doesn’t happen much I don’t think) to lobbying or political action I think it’s very fraught – although it would be good to have a real alternative to AIJAC. I’d be interested to hear what other people think.

  • Steve Brook says:

    Is BDS in relation to Israel effective in altering Israel’s policy on settlements? Is it halachic? Mishnaic? Naive? Is it identifying Israel as “them” instead of “us”? Surely this is mostly about washing dirty linen in public — it’s something we (or they) don’t want to do, for a variety of reasons. The Guardians of Israeli Laundry feel that their territory is being violated, and it’s they who are generating most of the heat.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    With respect to the Mishnah and social justice, of course, the idea of social justice is a modern one, though it has roots going back to Mesopotamian tradition: to protect the poor and the week, the widow, the child etc, but this was not about challenging authority, because some statements, as in the Code of Hammurapi, in presenting normative law were a statement from the King. This is taken up in the Biblical tradition. To quote an old translation, though the original is even better:

    “The great gods have called me, I am the salvation-bearing shepherd, whose staff is straight, the good shadow that is spread over my city; on my breast I cherish the inhabitants of the land of Sumer and Akkad; in my shelter I have let them repose in peace; in my deep wisdom have I enclosed them. That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans, I have in Babylon the city where Anu and Bel raise high their head, in E-Sagil, the Temple, whose foundations stand firm as heaven and earth, in order to bespeak justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my precious words, written upon my memorial stone, before the image of me, as king of righteousness.”

    As for the Mishnaic tradition, not being a religious scholar or person, my understanding comes from Montefiore and Loewe, A Rabbinic Anthology, and selections from Glatzer, the Judaic Tradition. I find Mishnaic Hebrew and commentaries difficult, and it’s not my thing, though Bialik and Ravitsky’s collection is helpful. But of course, as one who is far from rabbinic ‘normative’ Judaism, my interpretations, and those of others about how to understand such injunctions in the modern world may not accord with the views of others. And just regarding non-conforming rabbis or other thinkers (Buber, Kaplan) as ‘controversial’ does not negate their insight. But this is another issue entirely, because it relates to the split between conservative orthodoxy as it has emerged, and other interpretations.

  • philip mendes says:

    Everything that Larry Stillman says confirms that he is out of his depth on this issue. He has not followed the UK boycott debate for ten years as I have (via the wonderful Engage website), and he doesn’t understand the politics.

    The reference to Les Rosenbratt as his “comrade” is a reference to the fact that Rosenbratt is his close collaborator within a faction of AJDS. Nothing more, nothing less.

    It is my assertion that: 1) Rosenbratt is part of a group formerly involved in the now defunct far Left Jews for a Just Peace group (Rosenbratt was an active committee member of that group) who have taken over AJDS in the past decade. This group are responsible for transforming AJDS from a moderate peace now-type group into something quite different politically. Stillman, who to be sure was sometimes involved in AJDS prior to that time, is also a key player in that faction.

    2) This alignment explains why when forced to take sides between moderate two-staters and anti-Zionist fundamentalists who wish to abolish Israel, AJDS always align themselves with the latter. This is what happened in the recent Overland Magazine affair when Rosenbratt issued his notorious press release as an official AJDS spokesperson supporting Overland’s publication of Michael Brull’s open defamation of moderate Left supporters of Israel, and instead attacked Brull’s critics. My report on that shameful affair “Demonisation on the Left” is available online on the Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission site at http://www.antidef.org.au/adc-special-reports

    I might add that Nick Dyrenfurth sent a polite email to Rosenbratt and other more sensible members of the AJDS Committee on 6 May 2010 seeking clarification as to why they endorsed Brull’s abusive defamation. To date, they have rudely failed to reply.

    Philip

  • ariel says:

    Philip, I agree about Larry being out of his depth.

    It seems his ultimate authority on the history of the Middle East is wikipedia!

  • rachsd says:

    Ariel,
    I don’t agree with Larry on this issue but I don’t think that the fact that he links to Wikipedia in his article means that Wikipedia is his main point of reference for information on the Middle East.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Ariel.

    Stupid, asinine, and actually really undeserving of comment, but for a representative of a culture that is renowned for scholarship, your remark seems consistent with a broader culture of contempt for non-conforming opinion.

    Is that all you can offer, rather than a reasonable defence of not having a selective boycott?

    My wikipedia references are convenient links to biography with reference points to published books and or articles in academic journals or online materials. I spend hours going over books and journals and so on as any well-trained scholar does in a variety of lanaguages, including Ivrit.

    One of the good things about Wikipedia in highly contested areas in in fact that it is easy to spot the crap from the quality.

    Good articles are heavily referenced, particularly when it comes to current events that refer to newspapers and so on. And as you know, some reports and so forth are only available on line. So it is increasingly a good source to start, always with care.

    I know you will claim that Wikipedia is anti-Semitic, and cite a new campaign to correct it, but they won’t get far because of the virtue of having a world-wide democracy of writers to ensure that both sides of the fence are heard on many issues. And even if some articles are not great, it is precisely the same problem in published books and articles if you believe that they are obiter dicta.

    In writing for the web as distinct from writing academic articles, it is a virtue to be able to refer to online material.

    Of course, come up and visit me in my library some time if you doubt my commitment to high quality scholarship.

  • ariel says:

    Wow! I’ll never be able to work in this town again!

  • Pavel says:

    The Arab boycott which started before the establishment of Israel allowed the Yishuv to become self sufficient. Ever since, not only has there been clandestine and open trade between Israel and Arab states despite the boycott, but israel has grown and thrived economically. The BDS is more of the same and it too will fail to stop Israel growing and thriving. The AJDS, like the Stalinist Yevsektsia must show its ideological purity. It dresses up its leftist ideology in Jewish garb. Wow, a boycott of products from the West Bank! That will shake the Occupation to its core! Wankers.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    I’m going to ignore all silly invective and pseudo-analyses from the past few posts.

    There is a very interesting discussion about the developing internal to Israel selective boycott movement against West Bank Products and Services (hereinafter IISBMAWBPS) and an argument similar to the line that I have been taking. In particular, the righter argues that the ‘full’ BDS movement has missed an opportunity here to build bridges (my argument) and instead become aligned with more hard-line and divisive issues (such as the ideological one staters)which alienate many Israels and diaspora Jews.(also see חרם על מוצרי ההתנחלויות, for the long-standing campaign http://tiny.cc/8w3r5)

    See http://mitchellplitnick.com/2010/08/30/408/

    To more serious-minding posters (and lurkers I hope), this is well worth looking at.

  • Dan Lewis says:

    The AJDS are the Jewish Community’s own Useful Idiots.

    By selectively choosing a mere 1% of the boycott movement, they are giving it 100% legitimacy.

    It’s like arguing that the Communists got the trains running on time, so they weren’t all bad. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways when you lie down with dogs.

    (Then again, I daresay many of the AJDS are washed up old commies anyway, so they probably think a lot more highly about the Communists than most people anyway).

    Personally, I’d love to boycott Palestinian products, except like most Arab countries, they have never exported anything more significant than Jihad.

  • Dan Lewis says:

    In relation to Michael Brull, he’s one of the few people who make Antony Loewenstein appear knowledgeable.

    In a Crikey piece, Brull wrote:

    “More suicide bombings had been committed by the (secular) Tamil Tigers than any other group”.

    Even if you’d never studied anything about the Middle East, a mere five seconds in Google would show that more suicide bombings were carried out by Muslims in a single year, just in one country (Iraq) than by the Tamil Tigers in the last 100 years.

    That’s before you account for Jihadis blowing themselves up in dozens of other countries, let alone suicide bombings in Israel.

    Just like Antony Loewenstein, Michael Brull takes pleasure in people like me calling him an idiot, believing they must be doing something right in order to attract such criticism.

    In reality though, it’s simply because they’re idiots… Useful Idiots to be precise.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Dan, would you like to make your accusation against me in a court?

  • Steve Brook says:

    (Then again, I daresay many of the AJDS are washed up old commies anyway, so they probably think a lot more highly about the Communists than most people anyway.)

    Thus Dan Lewis. There speaks a man who quite possibly has never taken up a good cause in his life, never signed a petition, never lived outside the suburb where he is now, never questioned the official wisdom of his time. He probably believes that social reformers, whatever label they wear, are primarily motivated by sheer jealousy and that the AJDS, by extension, are jealous of the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinians. If only it were so simple!

  • Michael Brull says:

    I’m not quite sure why I’ve been dragged into this by Dr Mendes and Mr Lewis. Nor on what basis they make their claims. Lewis’s attack is at least a recognisable distortion of what I wrote (not for Crikey), but how exactly I am comparable to Stalin supporters is a little puzzling for me.

  • Steve Brook says:
    September 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm
    (Then again, I daresay many of the AJDS are washed up old commies anyway, so they probably think a lot more highly about the Communists than most people anyway.)

    Thus Dan Lewis. There speaks a man who quite possibly has never taken up a good cause in his life, never signed a petition, never lived outside the suburb where he is now, never questioned the official wisdom of his time. He probably believes that social reformers, whatever label they wear, are primarily motivated by sheer jealousy and that the AJDS, by extension, are jealous of the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinians. If only it were so simple!

    Steve, you are guilty of stereotyping. So, this is how a progressive like yourself shows tolerance for a diversity of opinion. Can’t say it surprises me, since I have seen ths type of leftie double standard many times before.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    If I am a useful idiot then the Pope’s….

    On useful idiots, I have actually written blog post for Galus. http://ajds.org.au/node/302

  • You don’t know who Saul Alinsky is, all you know is the propaganda you so gullibly swallow whole. Want to know who Saul Alinsky really is? Go here:
    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2314

  • And Michael Lerner, who is not really got semicha but calls himself ‘Rabbi’ nonetheless, is one of the most vile anti-Zionist self loathing Jews in America today.

    read about him here: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=632

    These lefties are excellent as using sweet nice words like ‘peace’ and can be convincing, but all it takes is a little bit of research and reading to find out who they really are and what they represent. Traitors, every last one of them. If Jews/Israelis weren’t such a compassionate people they would each receive the treatment that traitors deserve.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Shoshana, come on, you have clearly never worked in community development. Alinksy was dealing with great problems of inequality in Chicago in particular. If it wasn’t for people like him, the US would be an even more unequal society than it is, but I know that you also regard Obama with contempt as well.

    I really don’t know what to say. You seem to take a John Birch Society view of the world, coupled with a good dose of people who are former leftists gone over completely to a bizarre conspiracy theory view of the world.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Lerner anti-Zionist?

    Come off it. Neurotic and self-obsessed yes, not anti-Zionist. Just highly critical. And Cornell West Marxist?

    Eh? This site is just paranoid ultra right stuff, a step above that S.H.I.T site. The word Marxist, and others are thrown around as labels. Steve Plaut who is in cited in the site has been subject to law suits for defamation.

    Try harder. Stick with problems of oppression, not character assassination by the American right.

  • ariel says:

    All interested parties are encouraged to engage in a BUYcott of all Israeli products, no matter where they are made.

    Its clear no one other than frosh read the link I posted earlier showing how Jewish enterprises across the “West Bank” provide gainful employment for Palestinians. If you care about their livelihood, you’ll buy their products.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Shoshana

    I assume this is also you?

    http://repentingjewess.blogspot.com/2010/07/this-was-too-cute-so-i-had-to-post-it.html

    Why would you want to post a poster that depicts the Obamas communists?

  • Obviously Larry, you have not taken any care to read and study that site or else you would have seen it is quite well researched and scholarly. But why confuse yourself with a few pesty things like stubborn FACTS, right? They might shake some of your ideological foundations. You call me ultra-right, I see you as falling off the left side of the world into fantasy land. I guess that sort of makes us even, somehow.

  • Ariel, I read it and you make perfect sense. It makes me wonder if this is really about caring about the Pals or is it about their own anti-Jewishness and lack of loyalty?

  • Andrew Casey says:

    Ahem the people who run this site really should review these comments.

    I wonder if some of the recent stuff really fits into their policy of ‘ Be nice. Keep it clean.Stay on topic’

    There really is some stuff here which verges on defamation.

    I think some people should remember we are now in the month of Elul and the Days of Awe are coming upon us.

    Shana Tova Chaverim

  • And Larry, as for Steve Plaut calling some people Marxists, I say if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck.

  • Yes, in the month of Elul, I daven that the misguided Jews who are our enemies within, who toil day and night to destroy our state and our people, and who collaborate with those who wish to wipe us off the planet, open their eyes. I daven that Hashem help them to find their way out of the darkenss and do teshuva for all the damage they have done to Klal Yisroel.

  • Andrew Casey says:

    Dear Shoshana

    May I gently suggest to you that you might re-read your own words and consider whether you just might be verging on committing Chillul Hashem when you name a fellow Jew as an ‘enemy within’.

    Why was the first Temple destroyed? Exactly because of such baseless hatred.

    I again appeal to you to remember the mitzvah of Ahavat Am Israel.

  • Tragically, throughout history there have always been kapos and Jewish traitors. I have ahavas yisroel for them, that is why I am davening for them to find their way out of the darkness and to see the error of their ways and to do teshuvah. I also have ahavas yisroel for the blood of the innocent Yidden who have been murdered. What about the scores of victims who resulted from the actions and policies of our bretheren who collaborate with the goyishe enemies of our people? Don’t they count?

  • Steve Brook says:

    Shoshanna…be careful about the company you’re keeping! Your attitude to Obama recalls that of the Tea Party, the KKK, the White Power crowd and those benighted Jews and Israelis who believe the only good Arab is a dead one.

  • Steve, so you think anyone who dislikes Obama is a KKK sympathiser? Oh please, you should stop typing and start thinking.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Steve–I have been called worse.

    There is a phrase from the New Testament–about the only one I know–that was quoted to me out of respect at the funeral of a friend’s father by her very religious Catholic mother: ‘In My Father’s house are many dwelling places’–meaning, there are many different ways of expressing and identifying one’s ethnic and religious identity –my pathway is certainly different, but it is definitely not treasonable (and I am sure that this expression has a Hebrew antecedent from which it is drawn). It is a spirit of tolerance that doesn’t come out in this community.

    But to regard something like the site used by Shoshana (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org) as “well researched and scholarly”, when it is a creation of David Horowitz is a bit beyond the pale.

    Horowitz moved from the anti-Vietnam new left (as it his right), into a position that reeks of racism, contempt for African Americans, all sorts of very very nasty sleaze bags on the far right of American politics, and support for a McCarthyite harassment of academics, based on an extraordinary ignorance and simplification of what goes on in higher education–the seedbed of the views that Im Tirzu now holds.

    But what is worry some to me is that such views have been transferred holus bolus into Australia, a very different sort of society.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    This discussion has been turned into a (very bad) joke. I’m not sure how the editors could keep repeat offenders from ruining discussions on this site. I have previously suggested an approach which involves vetting high frequency and bothersome posters – a kind of two per day rule…but from what I have seen the editors say on other discussions, they prefer an unmoderated approach even if it does mean offensive things get said and discussions get derailed.

    One thing that might work is just to ignore certain posts. And never ever respond to them.

    Shana tovah to all.

  • Obviously Larry Stillman has not read David Horowitz very carefully at all. And instead of arguing issues on facts, he is doing what the left is famous for–smearing DH with the usual canards of racist, blah blah blah etc. The tactic you are employing is right out of the Alinsky playbook which is to “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it….” Larry, you are the one who cited Americans like Michael Lerner and Saul Alinsky as your mentors, so you are the one here who is bringing American politics into Australia. But it seems you wish you could censor anyone researching any other source but Wikpedia about these American Jewish communists.

  • Steve Brook says:

    Shoshanna — maybe you should stop being an American, from Long Island no less. I did not say that everyone who opposes Obama is a KKK sympathizer, but only that certain of their ideas bear a family likeness. For instance I know Jews here in Melbourne who believe that Obama is a closet Moslem and a secret Communist. I’ll warrant that the KKK and the White Power flapdoodles hold similar beliefs. On other matters they differ widely, of course.

    Not apropos…how do you think non-Jews see Lubavitcher propaganda about the imminent arrival of Moshiach? Some might even draw parallels between this and the End Times nonsense of the Rapture devotees. They too ask: “Are you ready?” So what gets here first — Moshiach or the Rapture? Maybe both together?

  • Sara says:

    Correct Mandi,
    engaging with fanatics and zealots derails intelligent discussion.
    This one in particular was really quite enjoyable to read until it fell into the keyboard of the SS.
    Best thing is definitely to write around them.

    I would like to draw back to Mark Baker’s comment, which seemed a practical reminder about the actual repercussions of such a boycott.

    whether right or left wing, surely its possible to reflect on how a boycott could derail any chance at victory for either side?

  • Larry Stillman says:

    No wonder, folks, I pushed Shoshana’s button when I mentioned Alinksy–who I only know through reading him–Obama was trained with Alinky methods in Chicago.

    But the full entry on Horowitz’s site is right-wing pap (the energy put into this is extraordinary) — see http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1511

    But I would like to bring it back to the problem I posed several thousand words ago–what is wrong with a selective boycott? It it raises consciousness about the terrible effects of occupation, what is the problem?

  • Steve Brook,
    and what’s wrong with being an American from Long Island? Somehow my opinions are not legitimate unless I am from Australia? Sounds pretty intolerant to me.

    I believe BO is a cryptic Muslim, in other words he strongly identifies with the Muslim culture and religious outlook. And he has as much admitted as such on several occassions. I also believe his vision for America is a European socialist style nation, which is one I am vehemently opposed to.

    And if there are KKK, White Power, Red Necks, etc who think BO is a Muslim/Commie, so what? There are left winger progressives who believe that Israel does not have a right to exist, but I don’t lump you into that catagory just because you are to the left of me.

  • Sara says:

    how ‘selective’ is ‘selective’?
    I re-ask my question above.

  • ariel says:

    Larry,

    You are putting Palestinians out of work by boycotting companies that employ them.
    We call it throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  • And Steve Brook, to answer your question, I know nothing about the Rapture and don’t care to.

  • nd putting Israelis out of work, does that bother you?

  • Larry Stillman says:

    With respective to ‘selective’, there is a list published by Gush Shalom.

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/campaigns/boycott_settlements_products/

    With respect to putting Palestinians out of work, the P. community itself is engaged in the boycott. A similar argument has been made for ever about people who go on strike or have pickets and boycotts: sometimes the collective need is greater than individual good when the circumstances are such that people are being exploitated That is why unions often have solidarity funds etc (I will let Andrew Casey who works with the unions deal with this issue).

    There is an FAQ on the site above which deals with these questions.

    With respect to Israelis out of work–this is a selective boycott. Some of us don’t support products and services made in the West Bank, based on (subsidized) exploitation of others resources etc.

  • Steve Brook says:

    Shoshanna…my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek. Some of my best friends are from Long Island. From the US, anyway, and a whole raft of cousins too, mainly in LA. The US as a “European socialist-style nation”? Why not? They have nothing to lose but their world record in gun crimes, school shootings and the like. If the US can get its house in order, it might even lose Michael Moore too.
    ;)

  • Mandi Katz,
    You’re branding me an extremist, fanatic, overzealous etc is totally unfair. This is what I believe:
    Jewish thought is comfortable with the belief that there are many paths to G‑d. Our Torah outlines the 613 precepts that define the path for Jews. Within that paradigm there are many paths of religious Jewish expression that are legitimate. I love Eretz Yisroel and do not believe in any territorial concessions. There are certainly Jewish extremists, troublemakers and whackos, but they are not in significant numbers in the religious world.

    But more important than territorial issues or boycotts is the issue of Jewish identity and pride. Do we Jews believe that Eretz Yisroel is ours, that we deserve it? That is at the crux of all other disagreements.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Obama as a crypto Muslim- reveals where you are at Shoshana.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories

    The loony tunes, fascists, racists, flying saucer conspiracist etc come out here. If you took a few steps more you will of course find that they have by and large, ‘firm views’ about Jews.

    And I say, so what if he was or is a Muslim? Some of the nicest people I know happen to be Muslim or Jewish….

    I won’t even start with European social democracy which is what we kind of have here in any case (including a far better medical system, parallel to that in Israel)

    But I want to get pose another question then: can this limited boycott be equated with the general BDS/delegitimization movement and particularly its rhetoric? I don’t think so.

  • Andrew Casey says:

    Is there some way I can block emails from this particular discussion which I now find to have got quite offensive.

    I still want to get updates fro Galus – but not from this discussion.

  • ariel says:

    Larry,

    Thank you for providing that list of companies.

    I will now try to buy more Barkan wines…

  • Steve Brook,
    European Socialism with all of its violence, rioting, racism, the resurgence of good old fashioned pre-WWII anti-Semitism, high crime, alienated youth, government encroachment on every aspect of life with Big Brother (lack of privacy and freedom), chronic unemployment, lack of economic opportunity or mobility, economic stagnation and low productivity, ennui, extremely high drug addiction and alcoholism, decadence, no thanks, and while Australia is not there yet, I pray it doesn’t get there, as you should too.

  • oops I meant the above to Larry Stillman

  • ariel says:

    PS “sometimes the collective need is greater than individual good when the circumstances are such that people are being exploitated”

    Spoken like a true Communist!

    They are not being exploited. Read the article again. They love their work and the paycheck and even go to each others homes for bbq’s!

    It reminds me of my grandfather and his brothers in pre-war Ukraine. They owned a large factory employing hundreds of local Ukranian and Romanian labourers. When the Russians marched in, they threatened to kill my grandfather for exploiting the workers. The workers laughed and told the Russian officer that my grandfather was the best employer in the world; he gave them free product, sick leave and time off for family reasons, unheard of in those days! As a result, my grandfather and his brothers were allowed to live…

    You seem to accept the outright lie that all employers are evil and all workers are exploited. Please move into 2010.

  • And the left has its share of kooks and conspiracy theorists like Noam Chomsky, the 9/11 Truthers, and let’s not forget Hillary Clinton’s expressed belief in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. There are kooks on all sides, right and left, so citing them does not make for a good argument of the issues.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    I think people are tired of this argument. Please discuss the boycotts issue or nothing at all.

  • <>

    I am unequivocally reject your characterization of Israel as an occupier who stole its land. I am against any boycott in this case as I believe it is immoral and disloyal as it will hurt Israelis and our fellow Jews.

    People will not be able to differentiate between a BDS and a more restricted or lesser type of a boycott, most will see a boycott as a boycott and that’s that. And it will be bad PR for Israel, as if she doesn’t have enough of that already.

  • Akiva says:

    nu, but shoshanna – really, what exactly is a ‘cryptic muslim’? Is it a) an imam who is exceptionally good at crosswords; b) a muslim who lives in a crypt; c) a Yoda-esque Mufti, whose central mantra is “Judge me by size, do you”, or d) an (ungrammatical) attempt at inciting baseless fear and hatred?
    Thanks for giving me the first really good belly-laugh I’ve had reading this comment thread. Or in fact any Galus thread for quite some time.

    Larry, Will, I have no time to comment now, as per usual – but please, keep talking; there are some out there in the community who don’t have the courage to speak out and face the inevitable barrage of vilification – thanks for talking one for all of us :)

  • Ann Fink says:

    re Boycott of goods produced in west bank settlements.

    1. Please note Palestinian workers are paid at lower rates than Israeli workers doing the same job in Israel. That is why many companies have relocated to the occupied territories. When American universities took on companies like Nike, threatening to boycott their goods if they didn’t improve the wages and conditions of their workers, it worked like a charm. But it needs to be constantly monitored.

    2. Why do these companies label their goods “Made in Israel” and not in the town/ settlement in the Occupied Territories where they are actually produced? Because Israel has a special relationship with the EU. Israeli made goods are exported to the EU without incurring special duties or taxes. Thus there is more than an element of fraud involved.

    One doesn’t really need to use the term boycott in relation to not buying goods produced in the OT. One can say one supports only Fair Trade products or as near as one can judge, to what is produced under Fair trade conditions.

  • Foob says:

    I’m with you Akiva. Good on Larry for taking all this stuff. I’d rather keep my head low, and keep some energy for my family and others I love or care about. It’s only the fact that people like Larry are around that let me keep a toe in Judaism. If people like SS have their way, we’d have a far more homogenous, narrow minded and smaller (though more fearful of Hashem) community. I’m so close to going and having suckling pig this Yom Kippur, because the mainstream community is so tediously, reactionary, dull, predictable and full of hate. Thank G-d for the AJDS, who at least keep other spirits in the community alive. For now, at least

  • Foob,
    While you decry the narrow mindedness and hatred of the frum, your own comment seethes with hatred and bigotry of religious Jews as a group which you paint with a broad ignorant brush. You see, this glaring contradiction causes one to wonder if your motivations are more out of a sense of outrage to some injustices you perceive, or more out of your own anger and animosity towards your own people and its tradition.

  • Akiva says:

    Well Shoshanna,
    I’m really quite frum, and I too am seething with a sense of outrage at the injustices committed by my community – it’s perfectly possible to honour and value your place within a tribe yet be horrified and appalled that your people are breaking the moral and ethical principles on which they have prided themselves for centuries – and all the while praising themselves for their open-mindedness.

    And I think that anyone who has the balls to come out and speak about it will not be deterred by the typically automatic accusations of self-hatred. We’re used to it, at first it made us do some serious soul-searching – thus have we been taught to unquestionably respect and accept the judgments of our elders and leaders – and we know it’s not true.

    Next!

  • You don’t know me Akiva, I have spoken out at injustices all my life. So, the secular do not behave unethically? I am appalled at the sexual decadence, immorality, and drug use so completely acceptable by a vast majority of our secular community. However, the difference between your approach and mine is that I do not reject them, hold bigoted hatred views of them as a group, nor do I pass judgment on them as a community. I may disagree vehemently with their views, but always remember that each and every Yid is a part and parcel of Hashem, and that underneath their confusion is a beautiful holy Jewish neshoma.

    Wishing you all a good and sweet year and we should all have the ability to see all of Klal Yisroel as one, just as Hashem will see us all as one when He is passing judgment on Rosh Hashana, and may that judgment be for the good.

  • Akiva says:

    I’ll never accept that I have to deny the essential equality of all people – not just Jews – to be a good Jew.

  • Akiva, All human beings are equal creations in Hashem’s eyes.

  • And while I have the opportunity, if I offended anyone on this website, I ask mechillah.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Enough with the Ha-shem please. She is busy with other problems.

    Look, I don’t see myself as the grand leader of anything, or any faction or push/putch, despite the deterministic theories of Phil Mendes or others that I or AJDS are part of some international anti-zionist conspiracy that is blind to the real enemies in our midst. As if.

    Compared to the huge funds and resources in the international hasbarah industry, we are just the off-cuttings of toenails, which is of course used to discredit us. The rich and powerful are always wiser.

    I just have a head on my shoulders, I think.

    If you are concerned about the occupation, should all speak out, even among your friends and family, share websites, print off articles and opinions, put stuff on Facebook. Think. Maybe even join and support the AJDS and provide more voices and reasoned argument.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    There is a very thorough discussion about boycotts, pro-con, middle, by a number of Israelis and Amerian Jews at http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/20100830211159859 (but you have to scroll all the way down to find it).

  • “It stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. These are ugly words, especially when applied to Jews. They were first applied in Nazi Germany and enforced by Sturmabteilung troops – SA Storm Troopers.

    BDS is BDS is BDS. BDS by any other name has the same stench

    In 1943, the Arab states began their “BDS,” when they resolved not to purchase any goods manufactured by Jews in Palestine. The inspiration for this initiative was very likely the Arab Palestinian Grand Mufti, Hajj Amin Al Husseini, who was busy recruiting troops for the SS and hobnobbing with Adolf Hitler.

    That boycott evolved into the Arab boycott, a part of the Arab strategy for eliminating the state of Israel, that has been, and remains, in place since 1948. Except for Egypt and Jordan, the boycott is observed throughout the Arab world, in violation of World Trade Organization agreements. The Arab Boycott violates US law. The BDS movement is an extension of the Arab boycott.

    So we don’t want to use a nasty word like “Boycott,” especially not if we want to attract young Jewish people, just as we would want to avoid using nasty words like “venereal” and “disease,” with their unpleasant associations. BDS sounds so much more innocuous, doesn’t it?

    All those things with initials get odd theories attached to them: “You can get it from a toilet seat.” “It’s not transmitted the way people think it is.” “It is not as dangerous as people tell you.” Again, BDS is not much different. Emily Schaeffer, who is either ignorant or mendacious, tells her readers:

    As more and more people come to realize that BDS is simply a non-violent, creative, temporary tool for highlighting what is really happening within Israel and in the
    territories … Israelis will have to start looking inside …

    The Palestinian call for BDS is not a campaign to bring Israel to its end, but rather a campaign to force Israel to uphold its commitments under international law and the moral and legal standards of a real democracy.

    Emily Schaeffer and anyone else can know, if they care to, that BDS is not a “temporary tool,” but a campaign to bring Israel to it’s end. It is not “Zionist propaganda.” It is what the BDS supporters and initiators say.

    ‘We must turn the one-state solution into a relevant political agenda…’
    ….
    About sanctions/boycott campaigns as a necessary means:
    – The legitimacy of Israel’s regime must be challenged for its racism on the one hand, and its colonialist character on the other. The only way this regime can be brought to collapse is from outside. We have to call for boycott and sanctions against Israel.

    – There is no chance to change Israeli society from within, we are at a dead end and Israeli society is becoming increasingly fascist.

    – We are dealing with the dismantling of power, and the question is how to convince this power to voluntarily dismantle. I totally agree that something more drastic is needed. (Source: Originally at badil.org/Campaign/Expert_Forum/Haifa/Summary.htm),

    The Bay Area Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid states “We are opposed to imperialism, sectarianism, and Zionism.” (source: baceia.org/about-us/ ).

    There is no doubt that BDS is not a “temporary measure.” BDS really is aimed at ending Israel as a homeland of the Jewish people. The liberal J Street group has pointed this out in a circular letter:

    The BDS movement, whose dogmatic, counterproductive approach underlies “Israel Apartheid Week,” aims to delegitimize Israel’s very existence – making no distinction between West Bank settlements and Israel proper, and refusing to support a two-state solution that results in a viable Palestinian state and a secure, democratic Israel that is a homeland for the Jewish people, living side by side in peace and security.

    Moshe Warshawski, a BDS enthusiast stated:

    Peace, or, better, justice, cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionisation) of the Israeli State…

    Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Those who seek to end Zionism seek to end the existence of the Jews as a people. In other words, they advocate cultural genocide. But the one state solution they seek to impose would leave a defenseless Jewish minority prey to a Muslim/Arab majority intent on its destruction. There is every likelihood that the end of Zionism will end the existence of the Jews- the physical genocide of the Jewish people in Israel.

    Most of us who are alive today cannot remember when there was no Jewish state. The parents of most university students were not alive when there was no Jewish state. Human beings have limited imaginations. We tend to believe that what exists now, always existed, and will always exist in the future. In reality, nation states have arisen and disappeared many times in the past. Think about a reality in which there is no Jewish state at all, and what it would mean to Jews living in the Diaspora. The time when “Jew” was an epithet for a creature of derision, when there were quotas that screened Jews out of universities, when Jews were objects of contempt in literature, may seem like ancient history, but all this existed in the United States and other “enlightened” parts of the world in the last century. That time can very easily return.

    So, by all means talk about BDS. Ask the BDS spokespeople and the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week, “What is your real goal?” What do they mean by “peace?” What is behind their talk about “justice?” What hides behind the rhetoric about “occupation?” And where is the “occupation?” Is it in Nablus, according to them, or in Tel Aviv and Haifa? Ask them, and ask yourself, why Israel and Zionism are being singled out for delegitimation. China has brutally occupied Tibet since 1949. Nobody seriously proposes a boycott of China. Nobody is trying to delegitimize the Chinese state, or deprive Chinese of the right of self determination. Russian brutality in Chechnya was unimaginable, but the BDS people are not calling for an end to Russia, and not asking for a boycott of Russia. Iran has terrorized its own people for the past thirty one years, murdering dissenters, religious minorities, homosexuals and religious transgressors. Iran is threatening regional peace with its nuclear development program, conducted in defiance of the United Nations. But the BDS people are, of course, opposed to sanctions on Iran.

    Perhaps you think it is “hysterical alarmism” to point out the possibility of ending the Jewish state. Think again. If the BDS movement did not believe Israel and Zionism could be eliminated, they would not be doing what they do. ”

    from: http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000730.html

    ——————————————————————————–

  • ariel says:

    Larry says “Enough with the Ha-shem please. She is busy with other problems”

    Whilst I assume it was meant to be taken in humour, there is still so much wrong with that statement that represents a complete misunderstanding of Hashem. Perhaps if more of us would study the nature of G-dliness, we would get rid of our misguided understandings of it as perpetuated by Western/Christian society. It is in this respect that the Judeo and Christian portions are completely different and don’t belong in the same hyphenation.

    Akiva, I admire your passion and share the view of all humans beings are in the Divine Image. However, I fail to see the congruency between that and supporting a boycott of mostly innocent businesses that are trying to make a difference under the circumstances of their geopolitical surroundings.
    Perhaps its because these business owners share our views on humanity, they treat their Palestinian neighbours and employees so well…

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Around and around and around.

    Isn’t it clear that what AJDS, Gush Shalom, and some artists in Israel, and the National Council of Churches in Australia and others stand for is entirely different from what you have pasted?

    I’m not taken by the argument that it is hypocritical to pick on Israel when the situation is dire in many other countries.

    Israel claims my attention and ‘loyalty’. It claims to be a democracy. Its actions betray that of a democracy. I am not trying to deligimize Israel. I, and others, wish to see it a better place.

  • Larry Stillman,
    I believe you are not trying to deligitimize Israel, but you simply do not comprehend that the effect of your activism accomplishes just that. We all would like to see Israel be a better place, but first and foremost she must continue to exist, and your activities are threatening that existence.

  • ariel says:

    As Jackie Mason would say, Netanyahu is trying desperately to give the Palestinians land on which to build their state. Unfortunately, there are legal issues preventing that at the moment as it’s all registered in his wife’s name.

    Larry, I’m wondering if you would also support a boycott of Abu Alla’s (Ahmed Qurei’a) cement factory near Ramallah. It supplies the materials for building Israel’s security barrier…

  • Larry Stillman says:

    I cannot see why not buying hommous or pickles or makeup from the west bank threatens Israel. There are good pickles from inside Israel, but in any case, aren’t Australian pickles or Yummi’s hommous good enough?

  • Like Jackie Mason’s joke. I would just comment that Hashem’s land is in His wife’s name, namely Klal Yisroel, it’s one true legal and G-d given owners, now and forever.

  • Steve Brook says:

    I don’t know if you can put percentages on this, but I would think that most people who support BDS are NOT, repeat NOT calling for the elimination of Israel, but for its decision-makers to change their attitude to the Palestinian minority, to seek non-military solutions to the conflict. No doubt Shoshanna sees this as limp-wristed, Leftwing and even unmanly, but her attitude of relentless hatred is a sure guarantee that thousands more innocent lives, Jewish and Arab, will come to a violent end. I know about Hajj Amin Husseini and the history of antisemitism in the Middle East, and also about the fact that the Hamas Covenant is based on the Protocols of Zion. This has been mentioned more than once in AJDS publications as a serious obstacle to the peace process. But to see this as typical Palestinian thought is as erroneous as seeing the ravings of the Kahanists as typical of Jewish thought. It’s extremes we are dealing with, all-or-nothingism.

  • And where are the Pals’ moderates with any significant power? Nowhere to be found, and after all these decades why would you still hold out any reasonable hope that they are viable parnters at all? I guess some people are dreamers. I am a realist.

  • ariel says:

    Steve,

    The aims of the South Africa BDS (lehavdil pi elef) was to end Apartheid. It did so, but also ended up virtually destroying the country. If something is not done soon, RSA will become another Zimbabwe within a generation.
    I suspect the Israel BDS (if, G-d forbid succcessful) would lead to a one-state solution like in South Africa where the Palestinians will rule and the Jews will be a minority living in gated communities in fear of their security.

    Also, you miss one fatal point. The Hamas Charter may be indicative only of extremists, but they are the ones in power in Gaza and indoctrinate children of all ages to murder Jews. The Kahanists are not in power and in fact have to this day only maintained a handful of Knesset seats.
    So we see the Hamas Charter in put into practice and not just an academic paper to be dismissed as “an obstacle to peace”. It is the entire entity of Hamas that is an obstacle and they must be destroyed so that ordinary Palestinians can live a decent life.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Er, on South Africa. Not quite. I will be there in a couple of weeks. I will provide an update. Do you propose the re-establishment of white rule?

    Hamas has its charter, but from all I hear/see/read there is a realist faction that will come to the table, and this is the argument of secular Palestinians as well.

  • I remember how the media played a constant drumbeat against apartheid, showing us he horrible oppression and suffering of the blacks on a daily basis, until the din of the media created a huge crescendo against South Africa as a pariah nation. Mandela, an avowed communist and vehement anti-Zionist was presented as a saintly hero. And since the revolution, does the media inform us of the oppression of the whites in that same country by a corrupt black racist SA government? The silence on that is deafening.

    And do the proponents of the BDS movement against Israel wish to see a similar fate happen to the Jewish state? Do they wish to help the media influence world opinion to transform Israel into a pariah state?

  • ariel says:

    Re Hamas

    When I was in Israel a couple of years ago, I met a guy who does reserve duty with the Israel Border Police. He told me that he has watched interrogations of Hamas terrorists and they mostly say the same thing to their interrogators: The Jews have no right to live in the land if they don’t observe their own Torah.

    Hamas want nothing short of the destruction of Israel. Some might come to the table and will view any peace agreement as an interim stage to the destruction. I say let Mubarak take over Gaza and deal with them.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    You’ve obviously never been to South Africa, to learn about a very close relative of Hitler’s Germany. I am more than appalled by your remarks–I am disgusted in your simple characterisation of SA politics and the struggle it is going through.

    You forget what they were fighting against, and a reason for the hard-line taken by many of the old comrades was a reaction to the oppression they suffered under the regime. Neither Begin or Shamir or many of the labour elite in Israel had blood-free hands either and fell into the same ideological trap of party line politics.

    But the one group of whites I feel truly sorry for are the Afrikaner working class who had jobs reserved for them under the old regime and lost them. Many live in dire, terrible poverty. I never thought I would see white beggars there but they are not uncommon, and they are lost and abandoned by the new regime.

    But that pales into significance against the millions of blacks who still live in terrible slums & poverty–much of which was caused by the white regime which carried out ethnic cleansing or destroyed black families by forcing men to live in barracks.

    Crime of course, effects everyone, and the ANC is at fault for not, from the very beginning setting a moral standard and not tolerating misbehaviour amongst young people. This set in place a culture of impunity with respect to the law that has infiltrated the society. The corruption of the ANC should not be used to stigmitize the more equal relations that now exist between communities in the country.

    When I am in Jo/burg I listen to ChaiFM, the Jewish radio station and here many programs with local Jewish businesses touting their stuff, Chabad–your mob, having some very interesting programs actually– and you come out with this bag of well…… about the oppression of whites.

    White people do what they want with their lives in South Africa. Their life choices and opportunities far exceed what the vast majority of people can do.

    Of everything I have heard, from you, your implications are appalling for both SA and Israel.

    I hope you don’t represent the Lubavitch movement views on this issue. Your view of SA is the sort of stuff that comes out from the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, the guys who want to start a new war in the country.

  • Larry Stillman,
    I ask you this question: do you believe in the just war theory?

  • You see, Begin and Shamir were not murderers or terrorists (like Hamas, Fatah, PLO) but rather, they were statesmen who fought a just war for the liberation of their nation state.

    And why do you ask if I speak for all Lubavitchers? That is a ridiculous assertion and smacks of bigotry on your part, again.

    And you remind me of every young starry eyed leftist who is duped by propaganda and a simplistic but skewed view of human nature and the workings of this world. As the quote says, ‘If at age 20 you are not a socialist then you have no heart but, if at aged 40 you are still a socialist, then you have no brain.”

    Apartheid was immoral,and good riddens to it. That however, was not my point. I was making an analogy to the media vis-a-vis Israel which, if you re-read perhaps it wil become clearer to you.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    If you are wondering about intelligent Palestinian commentary, here is an example that just arrived, from a young Palestinan woman who writes frequently. Her reflections are worth reviewing.

    It’s Not as Hard as it Seems
    By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
    September 07, 2010

    Some people just don’t get it. Reaching a lasting peace with Israel is a difficult, arduous and detailed-riddled feat, but it is not impossible, unless of course, the Palestinians (and Israelis) stay on the path they have been on for years. Much has been said about the Palestinians returning to direct talks with Israel, mostly critical. The criticism, in all fairness, is appropriate given that the Palestinians are diving head first into the talks with nothing to fall back on other than faith in President Obama’s good intentions. Israel, on the other hand, is more confident given that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid down his conditions prior to accepting the invitation. Hence, despite the ‘optimism’ Washington has expressed about the start of talks, most are in consensus that the hullaballoo is really “much ado about nothing.”

    It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Palestinian society is complex and political pluralism has always been a source of pride for us. There are opinions across the spectrum, many of which have not been given a voice. In short, Palestinian society is not as polarized as it would seem to be. There is a sector in between the rejectionists in all their glory and between those perceived to be bending over backwards to international pressures. This writer is going to take the liberty of representing this middle-of-the-line.

    In Palestine, a serious problem has arisen, largely due to the political split between Hamas and Fateh, which of course also manifests itself in the geographical divide between Gaza and the West Bank. One ramification of this has been that the world – the US, Europe and Israel mostly – now classifies the Palestinians in much the same way. There are those who support President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority and government in Ramallah and there are those who support Hamas and its de facto government in Gaza. Those in the middle are either completely disregarded or simply marginalized to the point of ineffectiveness.

    This is unfortunate, to say the least. As Abbas and his team of negotiators delve into the murky waters of US-brokered direct talks with Israel, there are those who may criticize the methods and the circumstances surrounding these talks but not necessarily the principle of a negotiated peace deal. This group, which includes Palestinians working in civil society, in the private sector and even in the government has something to offer but is just not being heard enough.

    A peace deal is not impossible. Most Palestinians have long ago resigned themselves to the fact that Israel will eventually be a neighbor in some capacity or other. This, my friends, was not an easy recognition and not one to be taken lightly. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their homes in 1948 never to return. Today over five million Palestinians can call themselves refugees, an unenviable plight that has yet to be rectified. For a real peace deal to be reached, the refugee problem must be addressed, based on their right to return. Once this right is acknowledged by Israel and the world, the details of implementation or compensation can be discussed between the parties. Without this, no lasting peace can ever prevail just like no person can survive for long with an unattended gaping and bleeding wound.

    Jewish settlements in the West Bank are another point. President Abbas has insisted that Israel must continue its settlement freeze for talks to continue, but honestly that is not nearly enough. Settlements are and always will be illegal under international law. Nothing can and should change that. Even some Israelis know this to be true. Over 150 Israeli artists have signed a petition saying they would not perform in Ariel – one of the West Bank’s biggest settlements – or in any other Jewish settlement for that matter. Another 150 American artists followed suit.

    “We support the theater artists refusing to play in Ariel, express our appreciation of their public courage and thank them for bringing the debate on settlements back into the headlines,” the petition reads. “We’d like to remind the Israeli public that like all settlements, Ariel is also in occupied territory.”

    Then there is Jerusalem, the city of gold. Palestinians have already been kicked out of more than half of it and have resigned to the status quo. However, Israel is an occupying power in the east side, international law says so and even the US cannot refute this fact. If Israel does not accept for Jerusalem to be an international capital for all (unfortunately so) then Palestinians will have their capital in the eastern sector. This does not mean that an arrangement for worship in the holy sites can not be made or that the Palestinians will begin bombing the western sector of the city the moment they take power. If peace is reached, it will be lasting.

    Of course there is a list of other issues that must be hammered out but these could all be settled if a sound framework is set. The negotiations in and of themselves are not the problem. On the contrary, they are the best tool utilized in any conflict resolution scenario. How many sticky conflicts in history have been resolved through a negotiated settlement? US special envoy to the peace process George Mitchell himself was party to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland in 1998. So, the majority of Palestinians who are opposed to the negotiations with Israel are only opposed to the framework and conditions (or lack thereof) of these negotiations and not the principle itself.

    This is not to say that there is a sector of Palestinian society (namely Hamas) that is completely isolated from the entire negotiating scene because of its rejectionist nature. Even they, however, can be persuaded if a fair and just solution is reached.

    That is the key phrase though – “fair and just”. The negotiating experience so far has failed for this reason – the solutions proposed were neither fair nor just. The leadership now has an opportunity to tap into this energy among its people to strengthen its own position and realize that its nation will rally around them only if and when they truly represent them.

    Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at mid@miftah.org.

    Article: http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=22550&CategoryId=3

  • Steve Brook says:

    Reassuring to know that a faction of Hamas is prepared to negotiate with the Israelis. Unfortunately it is not this faction which seems in control over there right now. The election of Hamas in Gaza, whether by fair means or foul, was a disaster for Palestinians and Israelis alike, even more so because the Hamas leader looks like George Clooney’s twin brother.

  • Foob says:

    “If at age 20 you are not a socialist then you have no heart but, if at aged 40 you are still a socialist, then you have no brain.” And how many times have people who have ill thought out, bigoted arguments, dragged out that quote.
    Sometimes, for reasons of pure masochism, I look at Andrew Bolt’s blog, surely the holiest grail of far-right blogging in Australia. Without fail,every day, a commenter will issue this quote. I think something akin to Godwin’s law should apply to people who do this.
    The stuff about South Africa leaves me flabegastered, and almost amused, except for the fact that Shoshana is an active member of a serious, well funded, politically powerful religious organisation which claims to represent the apex, true interpretation of Judaism. Which makes it less funny and more toxic.
    The article by Joharah Baker is beautiful. Unless we humanise the other side in any conflict, really severe damage will occur. I think that people on the right of Jewish politics need to walk in other peoples shoes for a while. I think their resistance to doing so is leading to all sorts of controtions and dangerous hatred, as exemplified by Shoshanah’s latest post, and Ariel’s glib insults on a deadly serious issue.
    I’m not saying that Palestinian organisations are composed of angels, but they’re not my community, and they need to walk their own paths to peace. I see know desire for peace and co-existence in many of these comments – just a desire to destroy and to win. Which is never going to happen, and nor should it, because it would be a poorer and more toxic world should this happen.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Thanks Foob

    It is a tactic of those who defend the status quo and wish to deny any voice to the ‘other’ to pose a series of disruptive questions such as those posed by Shoshana, for example,

    “What is your real goal?” What do they mean by “peace?” What is behind their talk about “justice?” What hides behind the rhetoric about “occupation?” And where is the “occupation?” Or particularly, the issue of deligitmization comes up or the why Israel argument.

    [to even ask ‘where is the occupation is well…’…if there is no occupation, why are there guard towers, soliders, and a system of control in place?]

    But then, if Joharah, or someone like her poses a response, it is instantly dismissed as non-serious, non-representative, or hiding another agenda etc.

    I would like Shoshanah to actually respond to Joharah’s article. And admittedly, Joharah supports full BDS (as I can see from other writing), but then, think WHY she might be in favour of such actions, and listen to her experience of living under military rule.

    For those who consider themselves Zionists or even post-Zionists, you also may want to read this admittedly American perspective.

    http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/september2010ben_ami

    [The New Zionist Imperative Is to Tell Israel the Truth]

  • Steve Brook says:

    Ariel…OK, I agree. Hamas is more than a minor problem. It is bound by its antisemitic Covenant, and has managed to convince a significant number of Palestinians in Gaza that it alone represents their interests. It has done this by running soup kitchens and other social welfare schemes as well as by brutal strong-arm tactics. The point is that it has established deep roots in the Palestinian community and cannot be “destroyed” without a huge amount of bloodshed. So obviously its fangs have to be pulled somehow. This task is probably best left to other, less aggressive Arab/Moslem forces in the area, if these can be found. But there’s not much we can do from Australia, except cheer and boo.

  • Hey Foob, your calling me a bigot is classical psychological projection. Your type of bigotry is described brilliantly here:http://frontpagemag.com/2010/02/16/the-pathology-of-jewish-anti-semitism/

  • And Foob, your utterly ignorant and completely false characterisation of Chabad, with its veiled reference to Jewish power hints to your own anti-Jewish bias.

  • Apparently, Foob, the fact that I am a member of Chabad, in fact the very existence of Chabad, bothers you as something that is as you say ‘toxic’. That says much about your mind-set, indicating it to be an intolerant, pernicous, and totalitarian one. You are no ‘live and let live’ progressive who is content to allow religious Jews to live as we see fit within our free pluralistic society. On the contrary, it is quite obvious that you want to live in a society in which we don’t have religious freedoms and our ‘toxicity’ doesn’t rub off on you. Didn’t Hitler see the Jooooos as a germ-like ‘toxic’ influence on society too?

  • And let us not forget, the people of Gaza are surely far from being angels, indeed, Foob, very far indeed. The people of Gaza are not innocent by any stretch of the imagination. The majority of the people in Gaza voted democratically to have the Hamas terrorist organization represent them. The widely support Hamas, which is responsible for murdering thousands of innocent Jews and has in its constitution is explicit comittment to racial genocide. The people of Gaza, who are not merely being duped by Hamas’s nice social welfare programs, but rather these are people who are colluding with Hamas who intentionally hide within the civilian population during war time and use their own population’s csualties as public relations tools. These Gazan people permit their homes and towns to be used as rocket launch pads against Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and the Negev. These people of Gaza dance in the streets and give out candy when news comes of the cold blooded murder of innocent (civilian) Jews. They have built a perverse society built on hatred, anti-semitism, extreme sexism and mysogynism, child abuse, and love of martyrdom and death. In short, their suffering, as all Arab suffering, is self-imposed, a result of their own rejectionist policies. They chose the rocket over the olive branch and war over peace and they are now paying the price. And all you ‘progressive’ leftwing Jews can do is scream, “It’s Israel’s fault! blah, blah blah (regurgitation)”

  • Steve Brook says:

    It isn’t Israel’s fault. It isn’t the Palestinians’ fault. It’s the fault of a situation in which one population is in the process of replacing another on the same piece of land. Anything outside this is indeed blah blah blah. Forget all the nonsense and bullshit about God/Allah being behind it.

  • Steve, As the American Indians would say, you speak with forked tongue. From one side of your mouth you assert it is neither the Pals’ nor the Jews’ fault, and then without skipping a beat you also assert that the Jewish population is replacing the Pals on the same piece of land. You were not clear as to which land you are referring. In other words, it seems that you believe the root of the conflict is that the Jews stole it, therefore we are at fault. It makes no sense to say that you do not believe it was not Israel’s fault, and then say that the Jews populating the Pals’ land is the root of all the tzoris. Either you are intellectually dishonest, or confused, or both. Nevertheless, at the end of the day you ARE BLAMING Israel!

    The fact is that the Jews did not steal the Pals’ land. The land was part of the old British colonies and there was never a Palestinian people or nationalism until the 1960’s or thereabouts, when it appeared as a made-up entity for political purposes only. They didn’t want the territory, which was a barren wasteland, at all until Israel came about. The Pals are actually Arabs from Jordan and Syria, the orphans of the Arab world, pawns being used by the Arabs to serve their own nefarious genocidal political purposes.

  • Steve Brook says:

    Shoshanna…you are DEMANDING that I take sides. Sorry, I refuse to take any side not of my own choosing, especially a side that will guarantee the spilling of innocent blood for generations to come.

  • At the end of the day the land is ours only because Hashem gave it to us.

  • Steve, I am not demanding you take sides, I can only read your own words which clearly show you are blaming Israel.

  • and Steve, how do you know what will happen in generations to come? Are you a soothsayer or (lehavdil) a prophet? What makes you so certain that you are correct about how to achieve peace?

  • Steve Brook says:

    This began as a discussion about BDS as a means of putting gentle pressure on the Israeli authorities. People like Shoshanna clearly think that those authorities are beyond criticism, or at least that they should be. Don’t wash dirty linen in public, is the general idea. In other words, if you have something critical to say about Israel’s policies regarding anything at all, keep it to yourself. The enemy is listening. That enemy is everything in a spectrum ranging all the way from the Melbourne Age and the ABC through to Hamas and Antony Loewenstein. Go Paranoia!

  • Steve, interesting, you know what will happen in generations to come and you know what I think too! (sarcasm meant)

    Seriously–I often criticise Israel. I criticise her for making territorial concessions to the enemy for nothing in return but a useless piece of paper. I criticise her for worrying about world opinion which causes her to fail to defend herself as any nation has a right to. I criticise her for allowing fifth columnist terrorist sympathisers and Arab enemies in her Knesset. I criticise her forcibly removing Jews from their rightful homes, destroying synagogues and Jewish businesses, destroying Jewish livliehoods, and giving those homes and land to the Arabs. I have heaps of criticism for the State of Israel..and yes, she has many enemies, as we are a nation that stands alone, and those enemies have their many enablers on the Jewish left.

  • Steve Brook says:

    So the main grounds for criticizing Israel is its lack of ferocity. This mirrors what an Israeli spokesman, evidently a Lieberman fan, said at Limmud Oz — that we Jews have to learn how to be cruel, no matter what the goyisher world thinks. A great philosophy. I always thought we Jews were better than that. We have our share of narrow-minded fools, but how sad that it’s these fools who set the agenda.

  • Thanks for the compliment Steve. I am not narrow minded nor a fool. I am in no way advocating cruelty either, rather, I am advocating self defense against an mortal enemy bent on our destruction, and therefore I am advocating the ability to fight a just war. According to your way of thinking war accomplishes nothing worthwhile. Without fighting and winning just wars Nazism would have prevailed, and there would still be black slavery in America, just to illustrate a couple of historical examples. There is no peace without decisive military victories, as history shows us time and time again, the peace finally comes and the spilling of blood only stops when the enemy is rendered too weak to fight, loses its motivation, or is defeated. The left wing is delusional in believing that a negotiated peace is possible, in fact the Arabs perceive this as weakness and hope to gain from the negotiating table what they cannot gain on the battlefield–more land and a weakened Israel until they G-d forbid reach their final goal of its total destruction. Only the extremely starry eyed naive dupes believe that a Pali state is anything but another step in their ultimate goal of the total annihilation of the Jewish state.

  • Here is some Torah wisdom on the subject (so you won’t have any excuse for being a fool about it):”One who is merciful to those who are heartless will end up being heartless to those who are merciful.”(Midrash Zuta, Midrash Tanchuma, Yalkut Shimoni)
    This quotation ia attributed to Resh Lakish, R. Elazar, R. Shimon Ben Levi, R. Yehoshua Ben Levi. It is apparent that this belief was widely held.

    The proof brought is from Shaul who against Divine decree, spared Agag, the Amalekite leader, and then seven chapters later Shaul slaughters a town of Kohanim blinded by his jealous rage for David. The Rabbis read I Samuel Chapter 22 in light of what Shaul had done in I Samuel Chapter 15 where Agag is temporarily spared only to be killed by Shmuel.

    It is difficult to understand how one’s sympathy even for a heartless monster could cause one to be heartless toward an innocent. Maybe the Sages felt that when one loses a moral compass for right and wrong, cruelty and kind, all things are possible. A moral order requires judgment, and without that, the wrong people will be on the receiving end of ones wrath.

    We live in a world where phrases like “objectification of the other” indicate a sin akin to racism. We hardly ever ask the question, “When does “the other” deserve to be “objectified” as cruel.

    The Sages knew that we have never been, nor ever will be always “the same”.

    This is the flaw of proportional response in certain conflicts. If the expressed goal is to wipe one off the map, should the fact that the enemy is not successful at it be a mitigating factor? Or, as those on the left say, do we choose not to believe them because he knows that this is merely overblown rhetoric contradicted by the kindness that he has been afforded by some of the local citizenry.

    Whatever political strategy one adopts, it would behoove one to heed the notion that to enter the brotherhood of man there needs to be an entrance exam.

    The leftist way of thinking, political correctness, or whatever one wishes to call it, renders a person incapable of knowing right from wrong, leaving a person with a broken moral compass.

    There is a heartless nihilism that in the name of human decency should not be “understood” and doing so, will ultimately cause one to be cruel to the merciful. Words are powerful and they often reflect the deepest held passions and beliefs of individuals.

    In the new age of dirty bombs one can’t afford to dismiss them

  • Foob says:

    Actually Shoshana, and I know that the discussion has moved on a bit since, there was no veiled reference to Jewish power in what I wrote. Maybe it’s the fault of electronic communication not allowing any immediate clarification to points. Chabad are a powerful organisation within Judaism was what I meant – say compared to AJDS, Meretz, even J-Street in the US. They influence the debate, have more airtime in the AJN, and if I walk into GLicks, I am more than likely to read a poster by Chabad. That is what I mean by powerful. Nothing insinuating anything further, Shosahana. Not that I expect you to recognise this clarification. I was not even thinking about political influence in the wider world, as this discussion is about Jewish organisations, and the support Jews might or might not give to a limited boycott. No antisemitism, but, you are, right, plenty of anti- Chabadism. What you said about South Africa is horrifying, likewise about not letting Arabs into the Knesset. I’m definitely no live and let live person when it comes to views like those – some things are beyond the pale, and if Chabadniks feel comfortable expressing views like these (and other horrible views that I have come across), then I would hope that I could argue against them within the Jewish community. Throwing self-hating and anti-semitic barbs at me are not helpful, well thought out, or remotely true. I think differently to you, do not recognise your Judaism as remotely close to my own, but that does not make me an antisemite.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H

    In this day and age, when we make excuses for criminals and terrorists (Like I had a bad childhood therefore when I dismember people or rape young children I should get sympathy because I am a poor thing that cannot help myself. So give me a slap on the wrist and put me in a cell with colour tv, internet access (preferably high speed broadband, several choices of meals three times a day, allow me to get an education in order for me to be an even better criminal or terrorist when I leave the prison cum hotel you have so graciously placed me in and I will promise to rehabilitate myself to the extent that next time my crimes will be smarter and more deranged than before because prison ain’t so bad if I get caught by the incompetent police force who are full of criminals like me except they are legally endowed with authority to commit crimes.) we ignore the needs and the pain of the victims to focus on the perpetrators of the crime.
    It always amazes me that so many terrorists are released after some time and they are often recaptured time and time again. Israel and all other countries would be far better off just shooting them if it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are guilty. If this could be done effectively and efficiently, there would soon be less terrorists because of the attrition rate and it would not be such an attractive career option for lazy ‘dispossessed’ people looking for some glory and excitement in their lives or those lusting after 72 fictitious virgins who may even be of indeterminate ages anywhere between 6 and 100 years old

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    Foob

    Just read your comment. Intrigues me what your Judaism consists of…how do you know you are Jewish? What defines you as a Jew, really deep down? don’t tell me please that you are culturally Jewish, because there are a lot of cultural Jews who live lives so disconnected from Judaism in a spiritual sense it is awesome that they still consider themselves Jews. How do you connect to your Jewish sense of self, and I mean really connect. There are some who are actually ashamed to say the words ‘I am Jewish’ out loud for fear that they will be taken seriously and then they will get asked questions like,’But you are just like us. You don’t eat Kosher. You don’t keep your Shabbats or your Holy Days except for going to the Synagogue on some of the days like Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur and then you drive and park the car down the side street. I actually admire that by the way. I am a scaredey cat, I would not dare drive because Hashem might not be so forgiving of such chutzpah one day and I might come back to find the Glen Eira rubbish truck has collected my car and crushed it on orders from above.
    It just intrigues me how do you express your Judaism and Jewishness apart from reading the Australian Jewish News, dressing up in finery and going to shule two or three times a year apart from bar mitzvahs or call ups? What do you do that makes you feel a Jew?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Andrew – were you able to work out how to stop getting these comments? I sure hope so….

  • I’d be interested to hear comments on the relevant sections of this piece by Robert Fisk, just published in the Independent:

    Nine years, two wars, hundreds of thousands dead – and nothing learnt

    Michael.

  • Mandi Katz reveals the true non-democratic nature so prevalant on the left by calling for censorship of any comments that are not in lock-step with left wing political correctness and the blame-Israel-first crowd.

    Anyone here ever see the movie Independence Day? There is one scene that stands out in my mind as an analogy of those who believe with a negotiated peace. The alien ship is hovering over a city. No one knows the alien’s purpose or intentions yet. One group of starry eyed dupes convinces themselves that the aliens came out of love. They make sings saying things like ‘We Love you!” and stand on the roof of a skyscraper waiting for the alien spaceship to hover over them and come out to meet them. The alien ship appears abovce them and the scene shows their shining happy excited faces in anticipation of this beautiful, loving, peaceful initial encounter when suddenly without warning the alien ship zaps them and they all get fried in an instant.

    That is what I picture in my minds eye sometimes when I listen to these saps talk about making peace with the jihadist nations.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H
    How does the philosophy that defines the Peace Now-niks and the Jihadists run parallel?

    Both believe in suicide missions. The Jihadists are active proponents of suicide as a political statement and support their members going out and committing suicide and ‘kindly’ taking as many others with them as possible. The Leftist factions of Israel and Peace Now-niks are helpful and supportive of the radical Islamic factions that actively part-take in such missions and feel that these people are ‘oppressed and misunderstood’. Therefore they support their suicide missions by providing themselves and other more unwilling citizens of Israel as sacrifices if you like, I had trouble thinking of the right term to describe the victims of suicide bombings, especially those in the majority who do not wish to participate in such activities in any form what so ever.
    I find it incredible that any Jew or any sane person for that matter can support a peace process that runs counter to their existence and that of a Jewish State and indeed I hope, despite the fact it is known we are all a bit crazy, we can have some sanity and self preservation and elect a Torah government in Israel that does allow this ‘suicidal’ path to continue indefinitely.
    Shosh’s analogy is very apt. Only idiots high on some sort of ‘peace’ drug can smile and say I love you in the face of unbridled aggression and hatred. The Islamic extremists treat them with the contempt they deserve for being so deluded and frankly irrational.
    It is time to be serious and have thoughts about self preservation and deal sensibly with deluded peace-niks bent on playing happily in the poppy fields among the bombs about to go off.
    It is good to have faith in Hashem but Hashem also expects us to be sensible and act with due caution. If the other side believes in a dark god of destruction rather than a G-d of light and peace and building, then one has to assume while we may share a monotheist faith and one has its roots in the other, but that the path by the later religion has deviated to the opposite of its origins and is a mirror opposite of the original faith. You can draw your own conclusions as I have but I think we need to go back to the source.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H

    Sorry that should read ‘we can have some sanity and self preservation and elect a Torah government in Israel that does NOT allow this ‘suicidal’ path to continue indefinitely.
    Typo early in the morning. Have a good day all.

  • Foob, you are not, as you admit above, happy to live and let live. In other words, you are not tolerant regarding my views banning Arab terrorist jihadist sympathisers from being representatives in the Knesset. You are therefore, a self admitted totalitarian-minded individual who wants to suppress views that you deem as ‘beyond the pale’.

    Moreover, you are happy to give aid and comfort to the enemy in the name of open-mindedness, fairness, or democracy. That is simply insane. You are in essence a proponent of Israel’s suicide.

    Why make a broad generalisation about Chabadniks’ views? That is not only bigotted but totally innaccurate and unfair. I speak for no one else. I represent only myself when posting these musings.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    I propose a herem on religion in this discussion.

    Shoshanah and Ilanah–it seems you are friends, you are engaged in over simplification of other viewpoints,tossing around of alleged fact, and casting the views of a host of people on this discussion into the same sewer as that of Jihadists in quaint language “deluded peace-niks bent on playing happily in the poppy fields”.

    You know that this reminds me of–precisely the kind of language used by Maoists such as Ted Hill of the Community Party (Marxist-Leninist) in their crazy leaflets in the 1960s and 1970s to denounce their enemies.

    By and large, we have respected your right to believe what you want and your attempt at missionizing. But I think you have really crossed the line with your crude insults at Muslims and others’ beliefs.

    I’d much prefer everyone stuck to politics or just not engage in the conversation.

    THUS:

    Today’s Haaretz has a report of thousands of additional homes to be built on occupied territory. Other than contributing to a deliberate bantusantization of the West Bank, how do these contribute to equitable peace-making?

  • Larry Stillman writes, “we have respected your right to believe what you want an attempt your missionizing…” Gee! Wow! So BIG of you, so tolerant of you to allow us to express an opinion that goes against your party line!

  • Larry Stillman,
    Judea and Samaria are a part of every single Jew, an instrinsic part of our heritage, history and it is JEWISH land. We must continue to build and hold it.

    And how, prey tell, will ceasing construction there, or giving the land to the Arabs bring peace?

    You want to make Judea and Samaria Judenrein? You want to re-locate 300,000 Jews living there? What will this accomplish? Will this make the Arabs stop wanting to destroy Israel?

    “I sincerely hope that when the president goes in for his annual check-up, the doctors at Bethesda will do a brain scan. Surely something must be terribly wrong with a man who seems to be far more concerned with a Jew building a house in Israel than with Muslims building a nuclear bomb in Iran.” – columnist Burt Prelutsky

  • Regarding my previous comment, I was asked to post some fragments of the article I was referring to. Perhaps this might stimulate some discussion on the topic Larry’s piece was addressing.

    Michael.

    And of course, the one taboo subject of which we must not speak – Israel’s relationship with America, and America’s unconditional support for Israel’s theft of land from Muslim Arabs – also lies at the heart of this terrible crisis in our lives. In yesterday’s edition of The Independent, there was a photograph of Afghan demonstrators chanting “death to America”. But in the background, these same demonstrators were carrying a black banner with a message in Dari written upon it in white paint. What it actually said was: “The bloodsucking Zionist government regime and the Western leaders who are indifferent [to suffering] and have no conscience are again celebrating the new year by spilling the red blood of the Palestinians.”

    The message is as extreme as it is vicious – but it proves, yet again, that the war in which we are engaged is also about Israel and “Palestine”. We may prefer to ignore this in “the West” – where Muslims supposedly “hate us for what we are” or “hate our democracy” (see: Bush, Blair and a host of other mendacious politicians) – but this great conflict lies at the heart of the “war on terror”. That is why the equally vicious Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the atrocities of 9/11 by claiming that the event would be good for Israel. Israel would now be able to claim that it, too, was fighting the “war on terror”, that Arafat – this was the now-comatose Ariel Sharon’s claim – is “our Bin Laden”. And thus Israelis had the gall to claim that Sderot, under its cascade of tin-pot missiles from Hamas, was “our ground zero”.

    It was not. Israel’s battle with the Palestinians is a ghastly caricature of our “war on terror”, in which we are supposed to support the last colonial project on earth – and accept its thousands of victims – because the twin towers and the Pentagon and United Flight 93 were attacked by 19 Arab murderers nine years ago. There is a supreme irony in the fact that one direct result of 9/11 has been the stream of Western policemen and spooks who have travelled to Israel to improve their “anti-terrorist expertise” with the help of Israeli officers who may – according to the United Nations – be war criminals. It was no surprise to find that the heroes who gunned down poor old Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Tube in 2005 had been receiving “anti-terrorist” advice from the Israelis.

    And yes, I know the arguments. We cannot compare the actions of evil terrorists with the courage of our young men and women, defending our lives – and sacrificing theirs – on the front lines of the ‘war on terror”. There can be no “equivalence”. “They” kill innocents because “they” are evil. “We” kill innocents by mistake. But we know we are going to kill innocents – we willingly accept that we are going to kill innocents, that our actions are going to create mass graves of families, of the poor and the weak and the dispossessed.

  • This is where Oslo has gotten us:

    SINCE SEPTEMBER 1993, 1,442 Jews have been murdered by their so-called “Peace partners.” The number wounded and the amount of heartbreak to their loved ones is incalculable!

    The United States has a population of 300 million people. Israel has 5 million Jews. Based upon this 60:1 population ratio, Israel has lost the equivalent of 86,300 Jews AFTER signing a so-called “peace treaty” with the Arab-“Palestinians.” Add to this the 17,000 attacks upon its citizens (nearly 1,020,000 in American terms!). Just how long do you think the American government and her people would keep seeking “Peace” with those who were THIS intent upon killing them! How many Americans would even call this a “peace process?”

    On September 11, 2001 nineteen fanatic ARAB Moslems caused the deaths of 3,000 Americans at New York City’s World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The American government responded accordingly by declaring her own “War on Terrorism.” Yet when the Israeli Government declared its own war against nearly identical Arab/Islamic sources which cause [proportionately] 28 times the number of deaths, she is told to use “restraint!” Unless the U.S. changes this hyper-critical policy, the terrorists will take note and America will lose its “War on Terrorism!”

  • Steve Brook says:

    There’s the truism that politics is all about perception. Michael Barnett writes (or quotes) about “stolen” Palestinian land — and that’s certainly how Palestinians and other Arabs see it. But to people like Shoshanna, that land was a gift from God and Israelis/Jews have every right to get it back, by fair means or foul…and no matter who gets hurt in the process. Shoshanna — if you were a Palestinian Arab woman, how would you feel? A tad resentful maybe? Go see the Israeli film “The Lemon Tree”.

  • Steve Brook, where is your compassion for your own bretheren? I do not see any evidence of it. Then you wonder why you may be called self -hating or a traitor?

    The Pals should lay the blame where it belongs, on their Arab brothers and sisters who callously use the Pals as a pawn (for their own power games)and do nothing to help them.

  • Steve Brook says:

    Shoshanna — it was precisely compassion for my own brethren that put me on what you regard as a traitorous, leftward path in the first place. In England directly after the war, two of my aunts were involved in relief work for Jewish concentration camp survivors, brought to England after their liberation. Most were in pitiful condition and needed medical attention. They were sent to country houses outside London, and my aunts drove lorries of supplies to these houses, and occasionally took me, a ten-year-old boy, with them. Then I discovered that in the chaos after the war, Jewish aid agencies may have been a little slack and some of the survivors were not Jewish at all. But all credit to those agencies anyway.

    You don’t have experiences like that as a child without being affected for the rest of your life.

  • I thank G-d everyday I am a proud Jew who doesn’t wimper in the shadows in fear, and grovel to the Jew-haters, and feel I have to apologise out of misplaced guilt to an anti-Semitic world for being who and what we are.

    I admire and love the tough Israeli warriors who take no nonsense and thumb their noses at the UN/US/Arab/EU Jew-hating Alliance and have a clear understanding of the justice and morality of our cause.

    I daven that there will be peace speedily in our days.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H

    Crude insults at Muslims, I do not think so as I mentioned Muslims not once in my posts and while we are talking crude insults think a moment about how you are insulting your fellow religious Jews. As for missionary activity, I think not, as I personally have the greatest respect for people’s beliefs except where it infringes on the freedoms and rights of others to believe as they are wont to do.I think you need to take a good long hard look at what you believe and how you present your beliefs and yourself.
    There are many paths to G-D and I believe in a fair and peaceful G-D who allows that except where the pathway destroys others in its way. Every person who sits in the Knesset or even the parliament of Australia for that matter should be LOYAL TO THE CONSTITUENTS OF THE STATE THAT THEY WERE ELECTED TO REPRESENT. It goes without saying. If we had an anti Australian MP I would be concerned and want that person to stand down. A MK who does not take the oath of allegiance to the State of Israel being allowed to sit in Knesset – that is insane.
    I think some people insult their own intelligence by what they post and there are some here who frankly need to have a good long hard think about where the state of Israel will be in five or ten years from now if this sort of peace continues. There can be no piece of land for peace. The Land of Israel including the Shomron region and Judea and Sumeria are Jewish sovereign land. The Arabs living there need to simply get over it and live at peace with their Jewish neighbours and observe the laws of the land which do not, by the way, disadvantage them.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H

    Oh and Steve think by the way about the fact that the Jewish Agencies did take on board some non Jewish people who had also suffered in the Holocaust and I think that is indicative of Jewish compassion and humanity. As a Jew I respect people and I help if I can a non Jewish person because it may be what Hashem wants at that time.
    Jewish doctors treat many Palestinians at Israeli hospitals, however I bet that there would not be any Israelis who would be willing to pop over to Aza for medical treatment as it might take the form of euthanasia and not so quick or painless.
    However there are many, many Arabs who come to Israel for treatment because Jews do have Pekua Nefesh.

  • I have never written anythig on this blog that was even remotely offensive to Muslims. I have nothing against Muslims. Muslims are good decent wonderful people who I respect and admire.

    I detest and am completely oppossed to RADICAL ISLAMISTS in every way, as any decent person, be they Jew, Christian, or Muslim, ought to be. A majority of decent well meaning people everywhere in the Western World are too.

    The Arab world, however, is different. Radical Islamism has taken over, much like a murderous immoral brand of Christianity took over Europe during the Inquisition, Radical Islamism is now the dominant force in the Arab world. There are no real moderates with any significant power to talk to.

    Telling is the fact that when Islamic terrorists murder innocents there are no prominent or powerful Muslims in Arab governments that condemn such attacks. Contrast this to the fury of condemnation that came out of the Israeli government and the Jewish world when Baruch Goldstein made his (defensive) attack as a preventative against a planned attack by Islmaic terrorists against Jews.

    The civilized Western Judeo-Christian world is facing an implacable foe and Israel faces an existential crisis. We are facing an clash of civilizations. That is the cold hard reality.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    one Israeli perspective on boycotting settlment products
    http://972mag.com/boycotting-settlements-made-easy-the-buy-no-evil-app-yossi-gurvitz/

    “The Knesset is considering a bill (Hebrew) which will make it illegal to for an Israeli citizen to boycott the settlements and their produce. Should it become law, the bill will be will be enforced retroactively: it will allow any settler to sue any Israeli who “encouraged or provided information for a boycott” up to one year before the bill went into effect. The settler-boycott activist stands to be fined 30,000 shekels without need for the settler to prove damages. This bill is intended to frighten Israelis who oppose the settler movement.”

    still think its a bad idea as a political expression out of Israel but I have downloaded GE’s product list…

  • Dan Lewis says:

    I rediscovered this post having searched for my Michael Brull comment, after he tried it on with Andrew Bolt, who has just smacked him down quite nicely for his dishonesty.

    Brull’s reply to me above, was typical. He claims I’ve distorted what he said. Riiiight… All I did was quote him directly in a comment he has made in a published article, together with some earlier Facebook comments which were forwarded to me as an example of his cluelessness. It remains on show for all to see.

    Like Loewenstein, Brull’s ego won’t let him admit he was wrong and out of his depth. Whereas Loewenstein has a long, documented history of erasing such posts from his blog to cover his mistakes, Brull can’t really get Crikey to rewrite history as easily.

  • I am an avid reader of Andrew Bolt and he has never written anything remotely resembling what Brull accuses him of. Could it be that Brull has a reading comprehension problem? Any words he reads that aren’t in line with his views look like the words ‘racist’ to him.

  • Steve Brook says:

    I note that Shoshanna did not attempt to answer my question about swapping shoes with a Palestinian woman. I would address the same question to Palestinians, male or female, who cannot ever admit to being less than 100% right.

  • I thought I answered your question. Here it is (again?). If I were a Pal I would be blaming not the Israelis for the Pals problems, but I would be pointing my finger at where the blame belongs- the Arab leadership and its failures to give a hoot about their own people and because they use the Pals as a pawn for their own purposes.

  • Steve Brook, You don’t know me at all so how can you say I always think I am 100% correct? You are projecting from yourself perhaps?

    The Arab narrative of the Pals as victims of the Joooooos and their evil State seems to be believed by most of the posters on this blog. I happen not to buy it.

  • ooops, I put this under another article but it belongs here:

    The Jewish Community Council of Victoria placed the AJDS as persona non grata:
    JCCV denounces BDS decision
    17 August 2010
    By resolving to support “selected BDS actions”, the AJDS has placed itself clearly outside the prevailing views of Victoria’s Jewish Community. The JCCV formally distances itself from the statements, and calls on the AJDS to withdraw this resolution.
    read more at this link:
    http://www.jccv.org.au/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=268&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=59

  • ilana Leeds says:

    B’H
    This is such a non issue. I am very very proud of all the kosher products that are manufactured at great risk at times in the Shomron region of Israel because of people like Mr Stillman who would see these G-D fearing Jews be thrust homeless into the night in their own land.
    Perhaps we should find out what business Mr Stillman is in and boycott him or his services or products for a while so he gets a taste of his own medicine.
    Pity those who have no tolerance and who have a flawed perception of what is Israel proper and what is ‘Palestine’. To be honest he is somehow 2000 years in the past and would have probably been a Roman ally of the Occupiers of Judea and Sumeria.

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