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Wrestling with American Jewish Realpolitik

Richard Silverstein, Jerry Haber and Verso Books are striving to obtain signatures for an impassioned attack against Israeli behavior in the Gaza Strip.

I thought long and hard about whether or not to sign the statement and then post it on Realistic Dove. The rationales for not associating with it were the same rationales that for decades have prevented left-leaning American Jews within the organized community from saying what they actually believed and felt. I offer a small sample of what buzzed around my mind not because what I do or what I think matters very much, but because it will shed some light on the liberal American Jewish psyche:

o–Don’t do it! A statement that rails angrily against Israeli behavior is so far beyond the pale of kosher discourse that it might as well be an anarchist manifesto. You don’t want to be too far out “in front of the community” because no one will listen to you anymore, no one will take you seriously.

o–Don’t do it! What will you say to L at the next board meeting? He will be really angry. What will you say to F or B in Organization X when they email you and tell you it is beyond the pale?

o–It doesn’t matter what “Jewish progressives” say or do. They are not politically relevant. Clever, calculated realpolitik that maintains allegiances with liberal groups in the President Conference is all that matters, because some day we will need the members of those groups to provide a counterweight to the conventional Israel lobby.

o–It doesn’t balance every criticism of Israel with a criticism of Israel’s adversaries. That is an inviolable law of the pro-Israel peace camp’s hasbara, which you have been practicing for decades.

o–It doesn’t begin to capture the nuances and complexities of the conflict. It leaves out Argument B and Historical Fact C and Historical-Assertions-That-May-Or-May-Not-Be-True D, E, F, M and Y.

But, in the end, I signed it. And I will share it. Even though I might have preferred that certain ideas be phrased differently, even though it doesn’t explicitly express compassion for the people of southern Israel, even though it doesn’t acknowledge that Israel had to do something about the Hamas rockets, it is very compelling. It speaks truth to power. Above all, it is angry. And anger is the most rational response to the Gaza assaults.

“We Shall Not Be a Party to Their Counsel!”

As human beings, we are shocked and appalled at the mass destruction unleashed by the State of Israel against the people of Gaza in its current military operation, following years of Israeli occupation, siege, and deprivation.

As Americans, we protest the carte blanche given Israel by the US government to pursue a war of “national honor,” “restoring deterrence,” “destroying Hamas,” and “searing Israel’s military might into the consciousness of the Gazans.”

As progressives, we reject the same justifications for the carnage that we heard ad nauseam from the supporters of the Second Iraq War: the so-called “war on terror,” the “clash of civilizations,” the “need to re-establish deterrence” – all of which served to justify a misguided and unnecessary war, with disastrous consequences for America and Iraq.

But as Jews of different religious persuasions, from Orthodox to secular atheist, we are especially horrified that a state that purports to speak in our name wages a military campaign that has killed over 1,000 people, a large percentage of them civilians, children, and non-combatants, with little or no consideration for human rights or the laws of war.

While the moral and legal issue concerning Israel’s right to respond militarily in these circumstance can be debated, there is near-universal agreement that its conduct of the military operation has been unjust and even criminal – with only the usual apologists for the Jewish state disagreeing.

As Jews, we stand united with another Israel, the patriarch Jacob, who cursed his sons Simeon and Levi for massacring the people of Shechem in revenge for the rape of their sister Dinah. Like Jacob, “we shall not be a party to the counsel of zealots. We shall not be counted in their assembly. (See Genesis 34. 49: 5-7).

As Jews, we stand united with the Jewish sages who rejected the zealotry of the Jewish “terrorists” at Masada, those who masked ethnic tribalism in the cloak of “self-defense” and “national honor.”

As Jews, we listen not only when the sage Hillel says, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” but also when he says, “If I am only for myself, what am I?” Hillel’s closing words also ring true in this hour of decision when a ceasefire is demanded of both sides: “If not now, when?”

Finally, as American Jewish progressives, and as human beings, we condemn Hamas and Israel for violating the human rights of civilians on both sides, although we do not necessarily declare these violations to be morally or legally equivalent. We affirm the rights of both Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to self-determination and self-defense, as we affirm the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

43 thoughts on “Wrestling with American Jewish Realpolitik

  1. I personally would not sign that first paragraph in particular.

    But, I would sign a statement saying “enough is enough” applying to both sides.

  2. There is an element of truth in the first paragraph and an element of bias.

    Hamas has been at war with Israel since it formed, and when it undertook a coup in Gaza in 2005, it confirmed the escalation of the state of war with Israel.

    It is UNREASONABLE to ask for open borders between two states at active war, which was CONFIRMED by Hamas by escalating the shelling during the week following the formal end of the cease-fire, during which Israel did NOT respond militarily, but only in warnings.

    I am in favor of doing EVERYTHING that Israel can rationally in pursuit of peace, unilaterally, bilaterally, multi-laterally.

    Israel has been negligent in that regard relative to the PA (prisoners, roadblocks, settlement expansion, application of law) and towards Hamas (even a slight relaxation of the Gaza borders during the realized cease-fire would have been helpful).

  3. “””#

    # MM Says:
    January 16th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Bravo! Bravo!”””

    Hopefully as a recipient of MMs “Bravo! Bravo!” Dan doesn’t want to give the impression that Dan condones MMs posting of a blood libel on Dan’s own blog.

    I refer of course to one of MMs accusations which caused Thomas Mitchell to refer to MM as “an anti-Semite posing as an anti-imperialist”:

    MM wrote: “””And speaking of nourishment and something to chew on, I just want to congratulate The Jewish People™ on another very well-cooked Arab infant.

    The great thing about White Phosphorus is that it cooks infants so thoroughly that there is literally NO risk of salmonella or tapeworm when the baby is consumed. So bon appetit!”””

    You can read MMs original posting, which alleged that “the Jewish People” eat children, here:

    https://www.realisticdove.org/archives/263#comments

  4. Jonathon,
    The path of response is the best.

    Both Israel and Hamas are presently in free-fall. They have each committed to long-term war that ignores the fate and experience of civilians.

    They are each uniquely unresponsive.

    It is an enormous tragedy.

  5. Jonathan, what is that at the beginning of your post? “””# ? Is that another language? Is that Hebrew for ‘White Phosphorus’? Do you speak Hebrew? I was wondering, how do you say ‘barbecuing infants constitutes self-defense’? Can you write it out in English phonetics for me?

    Also, as “””The Buber Zionist”””, do you know what Martin Buber meant when he said this–

    “We hoped to save Jewish nationalism from the mistake of making an idol out of people. We have failed.”

  6. Richard,
    I agree with your concerns. Not being Jewish, I never have to worry about being asked to sign petitions that are issued in the name of Jews. And in fact I felt much more comfortable with APN’s petitions than with Brit Tzedek’s because I didn’t have to pretend to be Jewish to sign.

  7. Martin Buber said the following in 1963. Buber lived in Israel from Israel’s creation in 1948 until his death in 1965:

    “””
    “I have accepted as mine the state of Israel, the form of the new Jewish community that has arisen from the war. I have nothing in common with those Jews who imagine that they may contest the factual shape which Jewish independence has taken.” (Martin Buber, “Israel and the Command of the Spirit”, Israel and the World, p257.)
    “””

    MM, on the other hand, said this week on RealisticDove, somewhat less loftily:

    “””And speaking of nourishment and something to chew on, I just want to congratulate The Jewish People™ on another very well-cooked Arab infant.

    The great thing about White Phosphorus is that it cooks infants so thoroughly that there is literally NO risk of salmonella or tapeworm when the baby is consumed. So bon appetit!”””

    https://www.realisticdove.org/archive/263#comments?

    This raises an interesting question. Martin Buber was Jewish and thus part of what MM calls “The Jewish People.”

    And MM has already told us that “The Jewish People” consume cooked infants.

    Well, if “The Jewish People” consume cooked infants, and Martin Buber was part of “The Jewish People,” then wouldn’t that mean that Martin Buber must also have consumed cooked infants?

    So my question, MM, is, do you have any evidence to back up your accusation that “The Jewish People” consume cooked infants?

    My follow up question, MM, is do you have any evidence that a particular leading member of “The Jewish People,” Martin Buber, consumed cooked infants?

  8. Thomas Mitchell, with whom I generally agree and in this instance as well, compared the statement which Dan signed unfavorably with a previous one which “I didn’t have to pretend to be Jewish to sign.”

    Apparently others non-Jews have no such qualms. One of Dan’s fellow signatories is Mark LeVine. Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, Culture and Islamic Studies Dept. of History, University of California, Irvine.

    Prof LeVine, a self-described product of Catholic schools, is born and raised a Catholic and is the son of a Catholic mother.

    It is anyone’s guess why he signed a petition which proclaims that its signatories are all Jews.

    Perhaps this professor LeVine is “all things to all men,” to use a phrase from his Bible, the New Testament. A few years ago Prof. LeVine wrote to DePaul University in order to express his outrage that DePaul, a Catholic university, had not granted tenure to a candidate named Norman Finkelstein.

    After announcing that he, Prof. LeVine, was instituting an academic boycott of DePaul and would refuse to participate in joint programs with it, Prof. LeVine noted that the denial of Finkelstein’s tenure was particularly hurtful to him because he, LeVine, was a product of Catholic schools.

    Prof. LeVine was so hurt and so influenced by this betrayal of his Catholic upbringing that he announced that henceforth he would recommend that his students not attend DePaul for graduate study.

    Good luck with your petition, Dan.

  9. Well, Buber Zionist/Jonathan Mark, I must say you are both impressive and tiresome. Are you going to keep collecting the names of people who signed on to that petition, spot those whom you believe have unsavory views, and then use their endorsement to discredit the statement itself? And are you also going to insist that if MM or someone else you detest makes a comment that agrees with me, I am required to reassure you that I detest them, too? That’s two forms of guilt by association in response to the same post, which is quite an intellectual feat.

  10. “””Are you going to keep collecting the names of people who signed on to that petition, spot those whom you believe have unsavory views,”””

    I don’t know that Mark LeVine has unsavory views. I merely point out that he is not Jewish, was not born Jewish, was not raised Jewish, is not halakhically Jewish, etc., yet he chose to sign a petition which proclaims that the signatories are all Jews.

    LeVine is pompous, and rather overestimates his ability to punish DePaul University for its tenure decisions. But being pompous is not unsavory or, for a university professor, unusual.

    “”” and then use their endorsement to discredit the statement itself?”””

    LeVine’s appearance on the list only discredits the claim that the signatories are all Jews.

    “””And are you also going to insist that if MM or someone else you detest makes a comment that agrees with me, I am required to reassure you that I detest them, too?”””

    No. However, you claim that your blog seeks to convince Jews of the correctness of your editorial positions. I shouldn’t need to explain to you how offensive MMs rants are, especially the blood libel rant.

    Your treating MM as if his rants are normal, no big deal, probably makes this blog less likely to convince anyone of anything.

    “””That’s two forms of guilt by association in response to the same post, which is quite an intellectual feat.”””

    It is not guilt by association in the case of LeVine. Rather, it is _falsification by signature_, since the presence of LeVine’s signature is inconsistent with the petition’s claim that all the signatories are Jewish.

    With respect to MM, it is not guilt by association but rather _discredit by publication_, since MM posts his anti-Semitic drivel and blood libel on your blog and and you as editor do or say nothing.

  11. Here is the link to Mark LeVine’s letter to DePaul, in which LeVine makes it clear that he was born and raised Catholic:

    http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/40058.html

    “””Mark A. LeVine
    Open Letter to the DePaul Administration regarding the denial of tenure of professor Norman Finkelstein

    This email is to inform your administration of my utter disgust at the denial of tenure of Norman Finkelstein…As someone who is also the product of a Catholic education, I am especially offended at this immoral and utterly politically motivated action, which goes against the principles of intellectual honesty, courage and integrity that I was taught were the foundations of a proper Catholic education…”””

    Mark LeVine has a (possibly self-penned) bio up on Wikipedia. It states that he earned his degrees from Hunter College/CUNY and NYU, both of them non-Catholic universities. Hence the Catholic education which LeVine states that he was a product of was the one which he received as a child in New York.

    I have never heard of someone who was born and raised Jewish in New York yet “who is also the product of a Catholic education.” It is unlikely, bordering on the impossible, that two Jewish parents in New York seeking to raise their Jewish-born child as Jewish would send their child exclusively to Catholic parochial schools.

    Given his apparently changed surname LeVine, I would guess that this individual may have had a Jewish-born father or grandfather named Levine, But lots of Catholics and Protestants have some Jewish ancestry.

  12. “However, you claim that your blog seeks to convince Jews of the correctness of your editorial positions.” I never claimed any such thing.

    “I shouldn’t need to explain to you how offensive MMs rants are…”

    They are often offensive to me. They are often way over the top. Sometimes I just disagree with him. And sometimes I agree with him. So we’ve got a difficult free speech problem here, don’t we? I actually don’t know what in the world to do about it, other than to start banning people, which I am not prepared to do, at least not in his case. Or in yours.

  13. Everytime there is contact between an opportunist (say Hamas), there is the possibility of being played.

    At the same time, the dangers of no contact at all, are also, being played; but worse, mis-interpreting, and then escalating aggression from that misinterpretation.

    It pains me to see Jews harmed. It pains me to see Jews harm.

  14. Dan,

    Glad to see you signed the statement and displayed it. Liked your list of “why not’s”, but the ‘despite” is even better. I’ll try to reserve my own spite attacks for those who deserve them (or is that just another promise I’ll fail at*).
    ____
    * like the shorter comments. At which I’ve now officially succeeded, for once. Looks like you got your hands full with M&M’s anyways.

  15. Peculiar as it may sound, LeVine is fronting. He is impersonating a Jew for political reasons.

    Let’s ask LeVine whether he was baptized a Catholic at birth. Does anyone know him?

    LeVine himself wrote:

    “””As someone who is also the product of a Catholic education, I am especially offended at this immoral and utterly politically motivated action, which goes against the principles of intellectual honesty, courage and integrity that I was taught were the foundations of a proper Catholic education…”””

    Persons born or raised as Jews receive Jewish educations or no religious educations, not Catholic educations.

    It wouldn’t matter whether LeVine was Jewish or not, except that he signed a petition which claims that all of the signatories are Jews. That is not true in his case.

  16. Dan, the corner of your blog states:

    “””I spend much of my spare time and some of my professional life trying to convince American Jews to support Israel’s peace camp.”””

    I had assumed that the above was the purpose of this blog as well. If so, MMs anti-Semitic rants, particularly the one where he accused “The Jewish People” of cooking children and eating them, are not likely to assist in this purpose.

    The problem is not so much that MM posts here, but that you do not call him on his anti-Semitism. Again, I don’t have to tell you what blood libel is.

    “””So we’ve got a difficult free speech problem here, don’t we?”””

    The only person who has a legal right to exercise free speech on Dan Fleshler’s blog is Dan Fleshler. There is no free speech problem with you either calling MM on his anti-Semitism or banning him, or me.

    I have been banned by Richard Silverstein. Magnes Zionist didn’t ban me but told me that he was limiting the length of my posts, after which I stopped posting except for two times last week.

    Back when CNN had a comments section (maybe they still do) I was banned from that. You can ban me too. It doesn’t matter to me. Do what is best for your blog.

    However, MM is posting anti-Semitic drivel on your website, and you are responding to him without commenting on or criticizing MMs anti-Semitic drivel.

    Here is the link to MMs rant blood-libeling “The Jewish People.” Do you agree it is anti-Semitic?

    https://www.realisticdove.org/archives/263#comments

  17. Jonathan,

    As you seem to be worried about impersonation you should consider what the chances of someone who is a BuberZionist, which in itself is nearly a contradiction in terms, writing under the signature of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Using a pen name is one thing, even if it is the name of an historical person, but just throwing out historical names without consideration of how your own views match those of the person whose name you are writing under is something else.

    I’m not surprised that when you quoted me you only mentioned the first part of my statement and not the second part.

  18. Jonathan,

    I’ve in the past been guilty of signing on to Brit Tzedek statements that state “We as Jews…” although I’m not halakhically Jewish. I joined a local chapter of Brit Tzedek and was very upfront about my background and it wasn’t a problem for them. I too could claim to be the product of at least a Zionist education, if not a Jewish education. I consider myself to be more culturally Jewish than many American Jews.

    Before you make further accusations about Prof. LeVine you should do some further research.

  19. “””#

    Jonathan,

    As you seem to be worried about impersonation you should consider what the chances of someone who is a BuberZionist, which in itself is nearly a contradiction in terms,”””

    Tom, as well informed as you are, you need to become better informed.

    I have previously quoted Buber in 1963, expressing his post-1948 beliefs. I shall do so again:

    “””
    “I have accepted as mine the state of Israel, the form of the new Jewish community that has arisen from the war. I have nothing in common with those Jews who imagine that they may contest the factual shape which Jewish independence has taken.” (Martin Buber, “Israel and the Command of the Spirit”, Israel and the World, p257.)
    “””

    When I call myself the Buber Zionist I am referring to the evolution of Buber’s thought over his lifetime, ending with his “I have accepted as mine the state of Israel, the form of the new Jewish community that has arisen from the war.”

    Israel was created in 1948. Buber, an Israeli, died in 1965. That left 17 years for Buber to decide whether he supported the existence of Israel, opposed it, or didn’t care.

    Clearly Buber supported the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. He said so repeatedly from 1948 on. You should know this. I should not have to be telling it to you.

    “””writing under the signature of Ze’ev Jabotinsky.”””

    I posted under the name of a lot of figures from Israeli history, including Ahad Ha-am and Eli Cohen. I stopped because I ran out of names. One of the names I used was Vladimir Jabotinsky, a founder of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. I also used the name Dov Gruner, an Irgun soldier who the British executed.

    I used the name Ahad Ha’am, a socialist writer, and Abraham Isaac Kook, a religious rabbi and Zionist.

    In using those names I did not mean to say that I agreed or disagreed with them. I drive on the Sabbath. I do not carry explosives and fight the British like Dov Gruner.

    My intent was that those who know would recognize a name or two that they had not thought of in awhile. I had not thought of these people until I started dredging them up from memory.

    If perchance I named a few people that you had not heard of, such as Leon Pinsker, perhaps you might want to look them up.

    “””Using a pen name is one thing, even if it is the name of an historical person, but just throwing out historical names without consideration of how your own views match those of the person whose name you are writing under is something else.”””

    Okay, what was it? In any event, I am now the Buber Zionist.

    “””# Thomas Mitchell Says:
    January 17th, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Jonathan,

    I’ve in the past been guilty of signing on to Brit Tzedek statements that state “We as Jews…” although I’m not halakhically Jewish.”””

    You are not Jewish at all. There is no reason for you to be Jewish, unless you want to be. You were not born Jewish. Your parents probably raised you to be whatever you are.

    Just as I do not call myself black, I see no reason for you to call yourself Jewish and sign statements calling yourself Jewish.

    Anti-Israel statements by alleged groups of Jews carry less credibility because everyone knows that some of the “Jews” signing it are not.

    “””I joined a local chapter of Brit Tzedek and was very upfront about my background and it wasn’t a problem for them.”””

    It shouldn’t be a problem for them unless they release a statement with your name on it which says “we are Jews.”

    “””I too could claim to be the product of at least a Zionist education, if not a Jewish education.”””

    How so? Tell me the Jewish schools which you attended. Were you bar mitzvahed? Confirmed at a Jewish religious school? Did you attend Hebrew School? A Jewish day school?

    Tell us more about your “Jewish education.”

    “””I consider myself to be more culturally Jewish than many American Jews.”””

    Look. You are not Jewish. Face it. If you want to become Jewish, then great. If you don’t want to become Jewish, also great.

    But you are not Jewish.

  20. BuberZionist/Hannah/Joseph/Jonathan Mark and all of your other names, I think the statement from MM that you refer to was deeply offensive. Indeed, it is one of the most offensive comments that have been posted on this blog. Here it is:

    “And speaking of nourishment and something to chew on, I just want to congratulate The Jewish Peopleâ„¢ on another very well-cooked Arab infant.

    “The great thing about White Phosphorus is that it cooks infants so thoroughly that there is literally NO risk of salmonella or tapeworm when the baby is consumed. So bon appetit!”

    I am often offended or annoyed by comments made on the blog. While I cannot possibly call attention to every one of them, I should be much more vigilant about monitoring them. And you’re right, the aforementioned comment, expressed by an obviously furious person in the heat of a furious argument (provoked by you, BTW), does qualify as one that should have been singled out. It was tasteless and beyond the boundaries of acceptable discourse.

    But, Buber/Eli/Hannah/Jonathan, I don’t think what MM wrote was a “blood libel.” I don’t think any reasonable person woould believe that MM was invoking dark myths about the Jews and actually accusinng them of eating Christian babies. That is not how I interpreted his statement when I first read it and my interpretation hasn’t changed.

    Regardless, what I will NOT allow is for this blog to be overtaken by arguments between two people who are bound and determined to prove that their ideological antagonist is a monster. It is a waste of everyone’s time. I promise to be more vigilant and even to delete commments if I believe they don’t pass my own “smell test” for being racist. But I need some help.

    MM, when you write comments, I would request that you use the same test that people in the business world are taught to use when they want to send an angry email. Before you send it, let it sit for awhile. Take a break. Ask yourself if it accomplishes anything other than making yourself feel better. Ask yourself if it is going to help anyone understand anything.

    And Jonathan, I want to ask you to stop arguing about this now. Please. I beg of you. If you want to give a long explanation of the boundaries of acceptable discourse, or the definition of a blood libel, or why it is vitally important to you to prove that Michael Levine is Catholic, please communicate it to me privately. Thanks

  21. Jonathan,
    I attended and graduated from Hebrew University, studying in Hebrew. While there I studied Israeli politics and history during the prepatory year. If you prefer to call this an Israeli education rather than a Jewish education, so be it. Although under Israeli law there is no such thing as Israeli in terms of nationality or ethnicity, one is either Jewish, Arab, or other. My education in Israel certainly was not Arab.

    I have never claimed to be a Jew, other then signing statements drafted by others. When it was possible–i.e. cut and paste–I attempted to change these.

    I find the support by American Jewish groups rounding up signatures of American Jews, many of whom know very little about Israel to be the equivalent of the IRA going and collecting support from Irish-Americans who know little about Northern Ireland.

    There are a great many Jews who have never received any Jewish education, have never

  22. Dan asked me to stop arguing about this matter, but since I am retracting a claim and thus arguing against myself I believe I am covered by an exception.

    Certainly Mark LeVine’s comment about his being the product of a Catholic childhood education is singular. However, I may have misinterpreted it.

    It appears that he is Jewish. I found the following on the pursuitofjustice.blogspot.com blog:

    “””UCI Professor Mark LeVine, a Middle East scholar who once wanted to become a rabbi, said he tried to mediate between the two student groups, but gave the task up as hopeless.

    “The only thing that would satisfy the critics now would be if they expelled every Muslim student and painted stars of David on all the buildings,” said LeVine, whose criticism of Israeli policies has caused some critics to dub him as a “self-hating Jew.””””

  23. Jonathon,
    One thing I love about this blog, even though there are fewer participants than say in Mondoweiss, is that the majority of posts are thoughtful and about content.

    I’m truly disappointed when MM name-calls rather than attempts to convince, but he does periodically acknowledge, that black/white is not representative of what is going on.

    I don’t think that you will convince of much by attempting to browbeat him, as he is not particularly effective at changing others’ views by rhetoric and browbeating.

    When confronted with the view that everything Israel does is good because it is Israel (black/white thinking), the majority of those that post on this blog will differ with you.

    I will certainly. My sense of what it means to be Jewish is to invest IN the Jewish community, and in all of creation, by attempting to improve it and its relations.

  24. The Jewish nation needs “enough” and security, soberly assessed and negotiated for.

    It does not need to punish.

  25. Dan, Richard, Man of Many Hats, I apologize for being so offensive. I do believe in the shock value of words and images, just as Zionist (and other) propagandists do.

    Dan is right, I wrote what I wrote in a state best described as furious. And I have serious questions about anyone who would not be furious having witnessed what took place in Gaza this month, or anyone who would attempt to change the topic to a) the Holocaust, or b) anti-Semitic myths.

    That said, I will try to take your advice from now on, Dan. It’s good advice–thanks.

  26. The drafters write that there is

    “universal agreement that its [Israel’s] conduct of the military operation has been unjust and even criminal – with only the usual apologists for the Jewish state disagreeing”.

    I guess I believe that the military operation has been unjust in many respects because how can anyone “justify” the death of even one innocent child. I don’t believe that that the action has been “criminal”, although criminal acts may have occurred. But, if I crossed that threshhold into believing that there had been criminality, I wouldn’t presume to call those disagreeing with me on that score “the usual apologists for the Jewish state”. I won’t sign it, and I think focusing on those who disagree and calling them apologists is a perfect example of why we folks on the left never make inroads beyond the signing of petitions with like-minded thinkers.

  27. I appreciate Bruce Levine’s letter. I also think that Dan’s reference (because he signed the letter) to the “usual apologists” is mild compared to what we hear from the real haters.

    A 1/16/09 article in Canada’s The National Post describes some of the more vitriolic invective:

    “”” None of this should come as any surprise in Britain, where earlier this week at an anti-Israeli protest, a man dressed in a mask with a hideously large nose and bulbous eyes — described as a “Jew mask” — stood in front of the Israeli embassy and graphically pretended to eat a baby doll while fake blood splashed from its plastic body. Not one of the labour union activists, church peaceniks or Marxist egalitarians around him tried to intervene. Jews eat children it seems, just as Jews own coffee shops.”””

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1182505

    The reference to coffee shops was to two Starbucks which were trashed by anti-Israel rioters during protests this month.

    I am offended by the “labour union activists, church peaceniks or Marxist egalitarians” milling about this scene and doing nothing to stop it. It is time we recognized what is going on here, and stopped pretending that our many of our ideological opponents are persons of goodwill, which they are not.

  28. More good faith toward the goyim from The Jonathan Mark Zionist! Heart-warming!

    Jonathan, should Jews have a right to kill non-Jews with impunity?

    That is to say, do you support war crimes trials for the architects of the slaughter in Gaza?

    And is it your strategy to conjure up anti-Semitism for the rest of eternity so that Israel will have at least some justification for its loathsome existence as a bellicose, racialized rogue state?

  29. Dan, I visited your book’s website, and I noticed that you are “a board member of Americans for Peace Now.”

    My mother Elizabeth Wyner Mark was on the APN board for many years until her death in late 2006. APN has an annual dinner in her honor.

    My 86-year-old father, pursuant to my mother’s wishes, continues to support APN financially, although he is not otherwise involved.

    Did you know my mother?

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