Blogger Mobius at Jewschool seems to be bothered by the fact that Israel is not an 100% perfect country, yet American Jews have the audacity to throw a parade to celebrate its independence. He contrasts a quote from the Israeli Supreme Court president, stating that Israel has a number of problems, with a picture of Americans with Israeli flags. See, see?

No, I don’t.

Does this mean before going to the St. Patrick’s day parade we must first read up on Ireland and make sure nothing unfair ever happens in that part of the world? Or how about July 4–America, too, has “experienced failure, social inequality, growing poverty in wide class circles, and lack of faith in all institutions the public is in need of.” So is it disgusting that we don’t all spend the American independence day filling out forms to head to Canada, or perhaps wiring bombs to place in the nearest McDonalds?

Mobius makes the now-classic mistake of not knowing the difference between criticizing Israeli policy and denying Israel’s right to exist. American Jews are celebrating that there is a Jewish state. What precisely does Mobius know about critiques these very paraders do or don’t make of Israeli policies? What many of these “Zionists” want is just for Israel to get judged by the same standard as other states, and not told every two seconds to remove itself from the world map.

Crossposted at WWPD.

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phoebe

79 Comments

  • right well… One COULD try to say, MAYBE we should be holding Israel to a higher standard of moral perfection, than, say, france or Ireland.
    A) because it’s ours (as if!), and B) because the deal the whole time with G-d (whatever THAT means) is/was that our right to the land depends on us doing really good things with it, and not doing bad. TO THE DEGREE that our relationship to that place has anything at all to do with That Story, that we are to be a special people, responsible to do some kind of a special thing, it’s particularly offensive when we can’t walk down the street on any shabbos without being harrassed by police for crimes that are not crimes, and surrendered to a government that everyone in the whole country knows is ruled and organized entirely by corruption and protectzia. no?

    But clear Mobius’s problem is that he’s not secular enough in his lowered expectations of Israel, not impressed enough by the hot Israeli soldier chicks and the infinite light and color, instead waiting for some kind of a fackackta “good government” that doesn’t only abuse, manipulate and lie. What’s HIS problem? Freakin’ Dosim!

  • to accuse me of “the now-classic mistake of not knowing the difference between criticizing Israeli policy and denying Israel’s right to exist” when you are the one who has just erred in this manner further confirms my suspicion that we have reached the final hour, whereas as prophesied, reality has been turned upon its head.

    perhaps nero just can’t hear over the sound of his own fiddle.

    there seems to be a psychiatric disorder prevalent within the jewish community, in which individuals hear anything that expresses displeasure with the triumphalistic behavior of the “mainstream” pro-israel community as a call for the destruction of the state of israel and the success of terrorists in murdering jewish people.

    feel free to disagree with my belief that it’s distasteful to have a parade while israel is collapsing. but dare not for a moment twist my concerns for the fate of israel into desire for either the state’s non-existence nor into a call for our destruction as a people.

  • these pretentious and hysteric claims, that this is the end of it and that the whole zionist dream is shattered and that the whole medinat israel going to fall apart any minute now, sounds lugubrious, sad and utterly frustrated.
    give yourself a break. eventually you will see that mordern Israel has survived far worse times of crisis.

  • this sniping is pathetic. why do you care if mobius says what he wants on his own blog? the man has a beautiful, nuanced and compassionate love for israel and you are reducing it to a hysteria. get to know him, okay?

  • Interesting Rorschach test. Didn’t Mobius just throw up a picture and a quote and little more? I think you’re projecting.

    Besides, he’s right. There’s a lot of misdirected energy in the community.

  • while it’s clear Mobius never said anything about Israel’s right to exist, his original post was less open to interpretation than a simple “Rorschach test.”

    it seems pretty clear that Mobius had a message, and that that message essentially was “it’s not the time to be celebrating Israel.”

    that’s fine as far as personal opinions go, but my question then is: “when IS it the time to celebrate Israel?” on which yom ha’atzmaut exactly are the Jewish people allowed to celebrate Israel, mobius?

    was it appropriate in 1948, when several 100 thousand Palestinians had just been made homeless? was it appropriate in 1967 when Israel had just militarily occupied several hundred thousand more? was it appropriate to celebrate yom ha’atzmaut 1993 when the Israel government had just signed an accord with a terrorist group and agreed to arm them?

    I say yes, yes, and yes. It’s always appropriate to celebrate yom ha’atzmaut. Israel is something to be thankful for, something to fight for, something to strive to improve. it’s also something to be celebrated.

    Mobius your cyncism is just corny sometimes.

  • Rootless’s question is good, even if I differ on the answer.

    I celebrate the re-Judaezation of Jerusalem on Yom Yerushalayim, but I celebrate the Zionist Entity generally on Yom HaShoah, because I consider that anyway solely about the birth of the Zionist Entity, and don’t like to celebrate yom tov shaeni, which is Yom Atzmaooooot.

    Still, it would be appropriate to also celebrate on Save Darfur Day. There are so many days appropriate (and anyway all about) celebrating the medina.

    Judging by Olmert, perhaps we should celebrate on April Fool’s Day, since that is the closest day to Banana Republic Day.

  • TM,

    Sure. Tisha B’Av is the classic day of full mourning for the Jewish people, we don’t need more mourning days anymore than we need a four day yontiff. And Yom HaShoah was reset to eight days (oh how frum) prior to Yom HaAtzmaoot. It was a way of manipulating the Shoah as justification for the Zionist Entity. Whether that is a bad or justifiable thing or not is a separate question, but DK does not recognize Ben Gurion as having the power to create new Jewish holidays for his observance. Yom Yerushalyim is different, as that was created organically. You know — through war.

  • I’m pretty sure I had a conversation once with Mobius wherein he stated that he was an anarchist who didn’t believe in nation states as a general proposition, which means, of course, that he must necessarily disagree with the idea of a state of, by, and for the Jews.

    This is not the same as saying that the Jewish people should not exist, of course, but unless I misunderstood him, he believes that they don’t need a state.

    I don’t know, however, if that necessarily means that now that they have one it should be destroyed. But I’m pretty sure that if he had his druthers there would be no Israel, at least not as it presently exists, anyway.

  • Nation states can be very convenient when one is traveling and having a problem, and needs to call one’s embassy. Perhaps he never had a problem like that.

    What about Marry Your Girlfriend Day? When is that?

  • Ephraim, Mobius also has said that he’s an anti-Zionist. Although that day was a Thursday. I understand that Tuesdays are anarchist days, Fridays are Hugo Chavez days, Mondays are maniacal prick days and Wednesdays are kick in the shin days. Shabbat, fortunately, is shabbat.

    Kelsey, I had no idea Yom HaShoah was eight days long. I would think that commemorating the murder of a few million Jews warrants some occasion in the year. Why not relate it to the rebirth of a significant Jewish community in their historic homeland?

  • TM,

    Ben Gurion did not do as much as he could have to save the Jews in Europe (though he certainly did more than the clowns who ran the American Jewish communal infrastructure at the time, but that’s not saying shit), and is in no position to be commemorating the Holocaust. Additionally, it is Jewish custom to wait until we have perspective on a tragedy before instituting liturgy, something even now we still do not have, but are still frantically building museums all over America like meshugenas.

    Additionally, there needs to be a separation between shul and state, something usually the frummies don’t understand, but in this case, Ben Gurion did not understand. Or respect.

  • DK, are you frum? You know, Shabbat, teffillin, kashrut, etc. Just curious.

    I guess I’m just rying to figure you out. People like the Satmar have a good theological reason for being anti-Zionist: no Israel until Moshiach. There is a logic to it.

    But if you’re not religious, and for some reason I get the impression that you might not be, I don’t get it. It seems to me that the Shoah is of little or no significance to you, at least in the sense that you seem to think that nothing in particular need be done about it. No religious/cultural observance is necessary (we already have Tisha B’Av, thankyouverymuch) and no expression of collective self-defense (Israel) to try to prevent another one.

    FWIW, I don’t “observe” Yom Hashoah either and I find the obsession with the Shoah in thre US Jewish community to be unhealthy. But there is a middle ground between ignoring it and obsessing about it, it seems to me.

    Do you have any view on what, if anything, the Jews should do, or should or should not have done, in response to genocide? Or is it just shrug and go get a cabbage knish at Yonah Schimmel’s?

    This is a serious question. I’m not just trying to yank your chain. I just can’t figure you out. Can you give me a quick synopsis of your views on the subject?

  • Sarah wrote: “the man has a beautiful, nuanced and compassionate love for israel and you are reducing it to a hysteria. get to know him, okay?”

    Sarah, you’re ridiculous. The cutesy gamine approach you take to everything might have been cute if you were a decade younger but now it’s just pathetic. Mobius is a tool. His “critiques” lack any and all “nuance” and he really could have benefited from completing more than a semester or two at whatever joke college he didn’t graduate from. I know this is the blog world but even so, I have issues with being lectured to by mental midgets. And as for you, well, what do you know about love for Israel sitting there all cushy in San Francisco, running your “let’s make it up as we go along” minyan and taking your annual “free” junkets to Israel? You should just shut the fuck up. Mobius is an idiot and you’re not that far behind him. You should just stick to writing posts promoting yourself, your friends and your lame activities on Jewschool.

  • Mobius wrote: “it’s distasteful to have a parade while israel is collapsing”

    If Israel is collapsing for the reasons given in the quote in your post, then the world is collapsing and all parading must cease. The US, for one, is plenty embarrassing–do we need to stop July 4 too? I really want to know what you think.

    Holding Israel to a standard that considers it “collapsing” at this particular juncture, and requiring enthusiastic support for the state’s existence (which is what the parade is–support for the state’s existence) is where the whole “denying the right to exist” element comes in. If Israel can only exist as a spiritual-socialist-Mobiusist utopia, then it cannot exist. That’s my argument, and Nero doesn’t enter into it. I know polisci books that begin with “The End of […]” sell the best, or whatever, but nothing’s over till it’s over, and Israel is not done. Prematurely declaring its death would rightly be perceived of by anyone who supports its existence (or who, say, is Israeli and has not renounced this nationality) as at the very least problematic.

    My question, to reiterate, is under what circumstances is it OK to have a parade, in this imperfect world of ours, with poverty and misery behind every cheerily-waved flag?

    Sarah wrote: “why do you care if mobius says what he wants on his own blog? the man has a beautiful, nuanced and compassionate love for israel and you are reducing it to a hysteria. get to know him, okay?”

    This is the nature of blogs. I’m responding to one post. I don’t know Mobius, nor does he (or she?) know me. If he did, he’d realize that I typically post on Jewlicious to criticize various aspects of mainstream American Jewish politics. But it doesn’t matter–it’s not about the man, but the post.

  • Lame’s big on being a mensch, huh?

    Is that how good Zionists are supposed to talk?

  • “lame,” can you please not talk to Sarah like that? Sarah never attacks anyone like that. Ever.

    Ephraim, religiously, I am an apikorus.

    I am not sure what the proper response is to the Holocaust, but that doesn’t mean all responses are good. We have been operating on just that assumption (even if we don’ t really believe it) — that all communal responses are a good thing.

    A middle ground can only be found after we accept that some responses indeed are not appropriate. When we allow inappropriate responses to continue insufficiently challenged, this says to me we are still too close to it to act rationally, and facing a recent history that defies rational thought. Maybe we’ll never work it out. But we can’t just publicly scream about it all the time. That helps no one, least of all us.

  • Phoebe, I think you’re on point here–celebrating a collective is equally valid when that collective is A-O-K and when that collective is undergoing difficulties.

    For those who think that Israel is collapsing I would recommend learning the history of the State. With the economy soaring, the army under reorganization due to an extensive internal inquiry, and a rebalancing of the political class as the puss comes out from a corrupt government, fact of the matter is that Israel is in a better position than it has been for the past few months, and it has been through far worse.

    As for the back and forth discussions concerning whether it is correct to criticize someone’s ideas–I am surprised that how one perceives of another’ s character weighs so heavily upon whether one feels the right to criticize the content of that person’s ideas.

    In no place in the original post did Phoebe ever disparage Dan’s character. She said his ideas are wrong, and he is making mistakes made by others. You may agree with that point or disagree, but your reaction should be one that focuses on proof and not on personality. That others in these comments would like to silence that debate is oppressive and disgraceful to the ideal of the unfettered pursuit of truth.

  • What about Marry Your Girlfriend Day?

    Isn’t polygamy disallowed these days? Just kidding. Muffti is pretty sure that MYG day is right before Should Have THought It Over More First day.

  • I agree with Phoebe. Since when is the Israel Parade an affirmation of all Israel’s governmental actions and policies? The parade is a celebration of all of Israel – the people, the land, the culture, and yes political statehood too. Sure, the government is corrupt, but the system’s not broken, although it could certainly use some rehab. Like any country it has its issues, but should we forsake the whole country because of the actions of some members of the government?

  • I’m of mixed feelings about the parade in general, during any year. It’s rife with, welll, everything from my Jewish past and present, and it’s confusing instead of comforting. I’ll likely post about that at some point somewhere.

    With Phoebe’s opening words, I knew we were in for another one of these threads, which might not have been intended as character-disparaging and yet seems to disintegrate into name-calling, anyway. But I’m not criticizing any particular person for this. I blame the Jews for being so opinionated and contentious. It happens like almost every post over at JDaters Anonymous too.

  • Yeah, I’d say that the Salute to Israel Parade totally celebrates it’s non-Jewish minorities.

    I mean, if you’re actually including those people when you say “all of Israel”.

    Are they celebrating the occupation too?

    Well, Schechter, no, but Frisch, yes?

  • Wait, phoebe – who is calling on Israel’s destruction? Dorit Beinish. I have my own disagreements with her, but here in Israel, her comments which Mobius quoted were pretty darn accurate.

    I disagree with mobius in that he falled into the fallacy if “If Israel isn’t perfect, then it’s no good.” but I blame that on the hasbara propaganda of the “Israel is perfect, Arabs are evil” US Jewish organizations which have to portray a false view of Israel for reasons of Jewish identity.

    Unfortunately, I have seen too many people come to Israel and actually learn about the reality of Israel and come out anti-Zionist. This is partly because they were sold a propagandish view of Israel.

    Unfortunately, however, you are in Galut and don’t see the problems here — and no, it’s not the Iranian threat or the problems that a disconnected American Jewish elite is mentioning.

    As for me — and which I wish Mobius would do — I made aliya and live in the State of Israel and am doing my little bit to improve the situation and fix the problems from within.

  • “gamine” is a great word though. lame, is that you, Michael?

    No, I use more imagery, and avoid the word “lame” in my takedowns, because it’s lame. Also, I have no beef with Mobius or Sarah – and incidentally, “lame” appears to be writing from San Francisco, which explains the light whiff of hypocrisy carried on the breeze. Cushy!

    And as for you, oh “allofjewlicious”, I’d advise that you not leave comments that do not, in fact, speak for all of Jewlicious.

    But anyway. Fuck all y’all Diaspora Zionists, sniping at each other over the depth of your adherence to an ideology whose most basic tenet you have no intention of affirming. It’s tacky to play Zionist Cock Measuring anywhere, but it’s especially tacky in America.

  • Balaam, should they shut the country down because there are non-Jewish minorities in a country that defines itself as Jewish?

  • Lame, you’ve just busted yourself. Probably less than 5 people in San Francisco know about my “junkets” to Israel. You’re a psycho. Stay out of my life.

  • right, ariel… saying that i think that we should spend yom haatzmaut blowing up buildings in yerushalayim is in no way a disparagement of my character. neither was saying that my fundraiser concert last summer would do no more than pay for hanging a nasrallah portrait on a lebanese family’s home. these things in no way infer that i am an advocate of terrorism against israel and therefore don’t reflect on me at all.

    you people are like the sewer system in jerusalem: so full of shit the pipes are bursting.

  • If Israel is collapsing for the reasons given in the quote in your post, then the world is collapsing and all parading must cease. The US, for one, is plenty embarrassing–do we need to stop July 4 too? I really want to know what you think.

    my concern isn’t about “how every country conducts itself” — my concern is how am yisrael conducts itself. i refuse to judge israel like “any other nation.” the tanakh says if israel wants to be like any other nation, then god will turn his back on israel. i can’t bear his back being turned any more.

    facing similar troubles historically, our response has been to afflict ourselves, to fast, to repent, to seek forgiveness from god for our misdeeds, and to rectify our behavior — to stop our misdeeds.

    to parade through the streets celebrating in a time of crisis is davka the opposite. it’s an act of flaunting our misdeeds.

    Holding Israel to a standard that considers it “collapsing” at this particular juncture, and requiring enthusiastic support for the state’s existence (which is what the parade is–support for the state’s existence) is where the whole “denying the right to exist” element comes in. If Israel can only exist as a spiritual-socialist-Mobiusist utopia, then it cannot exist.

    arms trafficking, sex trafficking, conflict diamond trafficking, drug trafficking — all these things are expressly prohibited by our tradition, yet in all these areas, israel thrives. a prominent candidate for mayor of jerusalem convicted in france of trafficking arms to the DRC during their civil war, and yet no one blinks.

    1 in 3 children living below the poverty line. 20% of the general public living below the poverty line. 30% of holocaust survivors living below the poverty line. 18 families controlling 20% of the nation’s wealth. rampant privatization and nullification of social services. an israeli general tells the conference of presidents at their annual dinner: if the poverty gap keeps growing, and you keep cutting social services, no one will feel any obligation to defend and serve their country. mort klein quickly changes the subject to palestinian terrorism.
    an economy linked to a falling dollar, a currency correction that will bring about mass inflation that will further increase the burden on israeli families. an army of beggers fills the streets. yet our tradition obligates us to care for the orphan and widow, to provide for the poor and the needy.

    a thoroughly corrupt government, on every level. so much graft it makes the american party machinery of the early 20th century look quaint. an electorate that replaces one corrupt tyrant with another. two failed leaders once again the leading candidates. police on the take, getting paid off by the mob to overlook their crimes. absolutely zero accountability. total non-enforcement of the law. rather, police harassment of innocent civilians.

    every sector of society facing some form of institutional discrimination: russians, ethiopians, americans, mizrachim, hareidim, women, homosexuals, arabs.

    and that’s even before we discuss endless war and occupation.

    no, these aren’t signs of collapse. this is israel, thriving. woohoo! let’s parade through the streets!

    That’s my argument, and Nero doesn’t enter into it. I know polisci books that begin with “The End of […]” sell the best, or whatever, but nothing’s over till it’s over, and Israel is not done.

    oh that’s not a pot shot at all…

    Prematurely declaring its death would rightly be perceived of by anyone who supports its existence (or who, say, is Israeli and has not renounced this nationality) as at the very least problematic.

    tell that to the 70% of zionist youth who, polled during the herzilya conference this year, said the state was in rapid decline and that they feared for its survival.

    My question, to reiterate, is under what circumstances is it OK to have a parade, in this imperfect world of ours, with poverty and misery behind every cheerily-waved flag?

    uh–how ’bout after you’ve addressed the poverty and misery?

  • Michael, do we make it a common practice of revealing admin-only information, such as anonymous commenter’s IPs and cities, etc.? This seems like an abuse of power if you’re doing it to prove your own (inherently biased) point.

  • Let me respond to a few of these comments. But first, Mobius still hasn’t properly addressed when we can have parades–can one have a parade for an entity other than Israel before that entity has fully eradicated poverty and misery? But now, the response:

    1) The religious argument: Israel lives up to the Torah no more than any state lives up to the ideals upon which it is based. Which is for the best–in a true theocracy, everything from drug trafficking to homosexuality to premarital hetero sex would be unheard of.

    I happen to be secular. But that is irrelevant. Out of concern for all Israelis, it’s worth giving up on Israel before one would on any other state. Israel is not a theoretical, biblically-inspired entity, but a country in which actual people live. If it’s a “failure,” then where do these actual people go?

    2) The stop-listening-to-US-Jewish-propaganda argument:

    Anyone who’s read anything I’ve written on intermarriage might have some sense of where I stand in terms of swallowing whole whatever the official American Jewish word is on anything. My interest in Zionism came from reading I did while writing a French BA thesis (Herzl, etc.), so I could hardly claim to be inspired by party-line American Jewish Zionism–if that’s all I’d been exposed to, I’d be the first in a keffiyeh. A bit facetious, but you get the point. That something is a party-line doesn’t make it wrong, but you cannot accuse me of accepting things for that reason.

    3) The you-live-in-NY-not-Israel argument:
    I from this point on speak only on subjects that directly pertain to 23-year-old heterosexual, secular, Jewish New Yorkers named Phoebe.

  • The IP address reveal was useful. Now I know that I have a hateful stalker in my own community. I also have a good idea that it’s a “friend” of mine.

    So, for me, sure, this has been useful. I have actual fear in my real life. Great.

    Frankly, I think you should delete hateful posts that make personal attacks and encourage fearmongering, slander and assault (see: Kathy Sierra’s story) but of course that’s because I’m feeling attacked and hated. I’m some kind of fucker because I write about Jewish events, my friends, and apparently, use a youthful style. Oh, and because I volunteer tirelessly on behalf of a Jewish organization that someone doesn’t like. That could describe anyone who posts on this page. Too bad I’m female, huh?

    From hereon out, I won’t post to any blogs on the Internet that have not resolved this issue with a thoughtful comments policy. I have entered into a dialogue with two major blogs on this subject in the past month and I suppose this is number three. This sort of “dialogue” is dangerous, and threatens the healthy life of the Internet and of human discourse in general.

  • DK, no one can disagree with the contention that all responses to the Shoah are not necessarily appropriate.

    Calling Israel the “Zionist Entity”, which normally only PLO types do, indicates, however, that you believe that Israel was not a proper response (leaving aside whether characterizing Israel as a response to the Shoah is an accurate statement).

    So, if trying to find some way to commemorate the mass murder of 1/3 of the worldwide Jewish community is inappropriate and establishing a state so the attempt can be made to prevent another such occurrence is inappropriate, what is left?

    If you were religious, I could respect you if you said “Pray to Hashem, accept His judgement and patiently wait for Moshiach” but you say you’re an apikoros.

    So I can only assume that the only response you can come up with is to get up, dust off your suit, bury your dead and try not to make trouble.

    Pretty thin beer, it seems to me.

    Seriously, you think we should do nothing? I can’t see any other way to interpret your comments.

  • Michael has lived in Israel for a 2 years maybe?
    Let’s see that you really set down roots before you blast others who have not moved there as yet, or who did live there for many years and were unable to manage.

    If you look at the Yahoogroups called JANGLO,
    There are weekly ads of Americans who have tried to live there but could not manage so they are leaving.

    Maybe they will come back some day, but they did try. It’s not easy living in Israel, altho it is easier, much easier doing so on Pappa’s dime, or if you have the connects to do alot of your work abroad. Not everyone is so well endowed, hehe.

  • Is nobody going to respond to Mobi’s diatribe about how shitty everything is and how we should all walk around wearing sackcloth and ashes?

    Let’s see: vibrant democracy that survived the loss of a prime minister and recovered in an orderly and vibrant election? Check.

    Vibrant democracy the investigates itself and openly critiques its military and political leaders? Check.

    Strong independent press? Check.

    Strong independent judiciary? Check.

    Vibrant Jewish life? Check.

    Vibrant Jewish center for education, etc.? Check.

    The only country in the world where shabbat is shabbat and the Jewish calendar dominates public life? Check.

    Strong economy growing at 4-6% annually? Check.

    Per capita GDP competitive with European countries? Check.

    Broad general contentment in living in Israel by the populace as seen in recent surveys? Check.

    Strong resistance by Israel’s minorities to leave Israel? Check.

    Strong cultural trends in arts, visual arts, music, theater, etc? Check.

    Extraordinary science, technology, scientific progress all done for a fraction of what it takes in other Western countries and with a fraction of the workforce? Check.

    Extraordinary success in marketing these advances abroad, including such successes as being the country with the second most companies on the NASDAQ after Canada which as 4.5 times the population? Check.

    No, nobody is saying there aren’t many problems and we have posted about them openly and critically on Jewlicious. There is a significant difference, however, between recognizing the major successes of a country that was founded merely 60 years ago in war and has lived with war for all these years and only seeing its weaknesses and failures. What, does France have no failings? Is the UK perfect? Does Israel have the luxury of acting like the Belgians or the Swiss without any concerns and with natural advantages that do not apply to Israel?

    It is possible to be supportive and positive while seeking change instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    There is nothing charming or useful in the anti-Israel hysterics. There is also nothing nuanced or beautiful about it. It is ugly and foolish and doesn’t deserve a pass. If the gentleman is so unhappy in his life that he cannot see any of the positive and cannot bring himself to understand why others would celebrate the achievement of creating a Jewish state that has provided a home for several million Jews including many who had to flee their homes to find refuge, that doesn’t mean that we should all respect and sit quietly while he spews his bullshit or angry perspective on real matters simply because he’s got a loud megaphone with which to spew it.

  • What was the name of the commenter who took umbrage when we made fun of the Maginot Line? He wrote a persuasive essay that the French were brave fighters and a little mishap like that does not reflect on their fighting ability.

  • The French aren’t perfect, or even brave fighters. But to give ’em their due, they knew enough to elect Sarko.

    Sixty years on, as this discussion shows, what Isreal is and what it’s supposed to be are still very much up for grabs.

  • That was true sixty years after the United States of America, G-d bless it, was formed, also.

  • True enough, Jewish Mother. It took us more than 60 years, for example, to rid ourselves of slavery.

  • Uh huh. And the Federalist thing. And Interstate commerce wranglings. It really does just take time! Even G-d made the world in six days, instead of in one day, which He certainly could have done if He had wanted to.

    Please don’t mentioin slavery so soon after Passover. It hurts.

    Not that you and yours had it any easier. Organizing the Christian faith, G-d preserve it, took time too, agonizing centuries. Stuff just has to be earned unfortunately; we are no longer in the Garden of Eden. Sweat of brow. Like that. I don’t it either.

    Every Jew longs for Moshiach including me. This idealism can take some very, very strange forms …

    I know everybody, including you, just wants a better world.

  • I don’t normally agree with Middle about anything, but kol ha kavod.

    Glass half full? Yes.

    Glass half empty? Also yes.

    Regarding the Fall of France in WWII: the German attack on France was brilliantly conceived and executed. It was the radically new idea of Blitzkreig against the static defense concept of WWI. Germany simply made a feint at the center of the Line to tie down the defenders and draw their attention away from where the real danger lay, and then made an end run around it with a huge army. The main force went through the Ardennes which was thought to be impassable and which therefore formed, in a sense, part of the Maginot Line itself. Using modern mobile armor, the Germans went through it with ease. The Germans, numbering about a million soldiers, poured into France and simply rolled up the Line from the flank. Once an army has been so thoroughly outflanked, there is nothing much that can be done, really.

    From http://europeanhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa072001b.htm

    “The Nazi plan to invade France, the Sichelschnitt (cut of the sickle), involved three armies, one facing Belgium, one facing the Maginot Line, and another part-way between the two, opposite the Ardennes. Army Group C, under the command of General von Leeb, appeared to have the unenviable task of advancing through the Line, but they were simply a diversion, whose mere presence would tie-down French troops and prevent their use as reinforcements. On May 10th 1940, the German’s northern army, Group A, attacked the Netherlands, moving through and into Belgium. Parts of the French and British Army moved up and across to meet them; at this point, the war resembled many French military plans, in which troops used the Maginot Line as a hinge to advance and resist the attack in Belgium.

    The key difference was Army Group B, which advanced across Luxembourg, Belgium and then straight through the Ardennes. Well over a million German troops and 1,500 tanks crossed the supposedly impenetrable forest with ease, using roads and tracks. They met little opposition, for the French units in this area had almost no air-support and few ways of stopping the German bombers. By May 15th, Group B was clear of all defences, and the French army began to wilt. The advance of Groups A and B continued unabated until May 24th, when they halted just outside Dunkirk. By June 9th, German forces had swung down behind the Maginot Line, cutting it off from the rest of France. Many of the fortress troops surrendered after the armistice, but others held on; they had little success and were captured.”

    I supopose the French could have resisted to the last man. But there is no way they could have won. The Germans, as is only to be expected, I suppose, understood war better than the French and learned the lessons of modernity, which they used to construct a highly mobile army. The French were still fighting WWI. Generals who fight the last war usually lose.

  • Ephraim shows true nobility of spirit by cutting the French far more slack than they deserve. The Schlieffen Plan of 1914 had involved invasion of the Low Countries– a flanking maneuver; and the Nazis had demonstrated their mechanized, tank-oriented approach to warfare in Poland. So the French had ample notice. And their government collapsed like a house of cards in June, 1940.

    A distinguished French Jewish historian, Marc Bloch, wrote an excellent account of this in ‘Strange Defeat.’ Bloch died in 1944 for his Jewish ancestry and activity in the Resistance.

    All the French needed to do was employ the same tactics against Hitler as they’re doing against Sarkozy– rioting, burning cars, refusing to work, etc. A little well-timed rabble-rousing back in the day, and the Nazis give up and go home.

  • Oh, I didn’t say the Frogs weren’t damn slack and, well, just too damn Froggy.

    Yeah, they should have had their heads in the building and not let themselves get flanked. But once you’re flanked like that it’s all over.

    I think the looting and burning cars thing is not the way to go. If the Frogs had acted like against the Nazis like the mujaheddin are acting against the US in Iraq now, maybe the Germans would have packed up and gone home.

    But I doubt it. They simply would have murdered people wholesale until they stopped being uppity.

    Nazis, you know.

  • Tom, that’s positively antedelluvian. Been there, done that.

    It is pretty funny, though.

  • Ephraim,

    You said, “So I can only assume that the only response you can come up with is to get up, dust off your suit, bury your dead and try not to make trouble.

    Pretty thin beer, it seems to me. Seriously, you think we should do nothing? I can’t see any other way to interpret your comments.”

    You are asking if I have a response to the Holocaust. I have none. It’s off the charts. I can’t find a satisfying response, and therefore choose not to insist on a response, but rather, hold all responses with suspicion because they do not satisfy, and often lead to problems and complications, because they are emotionally based, and not formed in a logical fashion.

  • Wow–what a string!

    Staying out of the Holocaust comment, I’ll just say that I very much appreciate the openness of this conversation. It wouldn’t happen on Jewschool because Dan–sorry, Mobius–has a penchant for banning people like me from even commenting on his site. Anarchy, huh?

    And since I cannot reply to Dan on his site, let me take the opportunity to respond to this: “neither was saying that my fundraiser concert last summer would do no more than pay for hanging a nasrallah portrait on a lebanese family’s home. these things in no way infer that i am an advocate of terrorism against israel and therefore don’t reflect on me at all.

    No Dan, I never wrote you are an advocate of terrorism. I said quite clearly that your money will not have it’s desired effects–which is hasn’t. And yes, Dan, your actions and the opinions you publish do reflect on you–since they are in the public sphere, and you have a readership that is influenced by your opinions.

    Ideas get debated in a healthy society.

    So this is my question to those who think Israel is in the pot, and think we should jump ship on celebrations: What would convince you otherwise? That is, would a strong economy prove you wrong? Would a healthy press prove you wrong? Would a political system that knows how to critique itself prove you wrong?

    Or is it all just a matter of faith–that is, Dan and friends, are you so Neturei Karta, so intent on swinging your Tanakh quotes around like a blunt object, that no proof can shake you from your perfect belief in the evil of Israel?

  • No, I never posted on Jewschool. But I was banned from commenting on it. Check out this screenshot of just one of my comments which was never permitted to show. And while I won’t share the emails explaining Dan’s logic for censoring voices on his site at this moment, I can assure you everything is well documented.

    I’d hope we all learn to respect the right to disagree.

  • DK:

    Holy freaking cow.

    So you think that since there is no perfectly logical solution there is no response to the Shoah that can be acceptable?

    What kind of a world do you live in, man?

    Just imagine, people getting all friggin’emotional about losing one out of every three Jews on the planet. How fucked up is that?

    Whoa, dude, calm down! I know your whole family was, like, wiped out, man, but that doesn’t mean you have to, like, freak out, man. You’re bringin’ me down man! Chill out!

    Just curious: would you tell a black man not to get pissed off at the fact that his people had been enslaved for hundreds of years, beaten, murdered, raped and bought and sold like animals and that the effects of racism in America were still wreaking havoc on the black community?

    Yeah, the Shoah is off the charts. Yeah, I agree that there is no perfect logical, neat, clean solution to The Jewish Problem. Ain’t it a fucking shame. That’s an excuse to sit around with your thumb up your ass?

    At least tell me that you’re married with a mess of Jewish kids. Please. At least something.

  • never permitted to show, huh? so what’s this?

    http://jewschool.com/?p=11180#comment-112321

    actually, ariel, you were banned after you refused to stop spamming the comments on my blog with solicitations for your magazine. i offered to facilitate connections with my writers for you, over email; an offer which you refused.

    the only other people i’ve ever banned were those like adam hyman and avi green, who can’t seem to present an argument without throwing around political epithets like “self-hating jew.”

    So this is my question to those who think Israel is in the pot, and think we should jump ship on celebrations: What would convince you otherwise? That is, would a strong economy prove you wrong? Would a healthy press prove you wrong? Would a political system that knows how to critique itself prove you wrong?

    israel presently has a strong economy, it’s true. but it’s one modeled on the failed “trickle down” model that imbues the wealthy with greater wealth, while the people at the bottom of the food chain see little benefit. how can you uphold the strength of israel’s economy without acknowledging the widest income disparity and child poverty rate in the west — one that, despite all economic growth, continues to worsen? it’s absurd.

    and wow, so the press is critical of the government and they don’t lock their journalists up for it. i didn’t say israel was a dictatorship where freedom of expression is stifled. but a free and healthy press does not a free and healthy society make. (oh, and by the way–arutz sheva’s license was revoked, the station was shut down and its operators were imprisoned because they “incited” against the government. likewise, the original radio kol hashalom was forced to broadcast from a boat in the mediterranean because the government also revoked its license for inciting against the government. ie., they loudly and publicly disagreed with the government’s actions. if haaretz didn’t have the power it has, i’m sure it would’ve been shut down too.)

    rich people are getting richer and everyone else is screaming their heads off about how the government is fucked. that to you is a sign of a flourishing, healthy society? you’re kidding me right?

    i don’t believe israel is evil. i believe israel is in trouble. and i believe the refusal of yourself and others who think like you to see anything beyond the security situation is directly responsible for the trouble israel finds itself in.

    btw–CK: there’s something f’d up with your wordpress template or something, because the page keeps refreshing while i’m writing my comments, causing me to lose my writing.

  • also, why are my comments on jewlicious getting marked for moderation? who’s censoring who?

  • Oh Dan. It’s all automated. I don’t think we’ve ever censored anything you’ve ever written here. I know stuff I’ve written on Jewschool hasn’t been posted but it’s your gig. You’re free to do what you like.

    btw… don’t know why it went into moderation – maybe one of the words you used was in our suspicious list. But we define suspicious based on spam, not based on ideologies.

  • Ephraim, you asked,

    “Just curious: would you tell a black man not to get pissed off at the fact that his people had been enslaved for hundreds of years, beaten, murdered, raped and bought and sold like animals and that the effects of racism in America were still wreaking havoc on the black community?”

    I would tell him that staying pissed may be counter-productive, and note that though white people enslaved him, white people also freed him.

    Jews get so excited that a couple of Jews died in Civil Rights marches. How many people died (including some Jews, by the way) in the Civil War to stop the enslavement of others? Yes, there were other issues, yes it was processed through the issue of The Union, but the core issue was absolutely slavery.

    Do I have anger? Sure. Fear? More still. But I do not know of a public policy or program that I see as helpful. Remember, as a shtetl galus Jew, I am concerned about loud policies if they aren’t working or helpful, especially if they are too loud. So I see the museums, and I become concerned at how we are presenting ourselves to others, and how we are presenting Jewish identity to young Jews.

    I don’t think being The People of the Gas Chambers is a good step up from being The People of the Book.

    My point is that “doing something” is not better than doing nothing if the something is counter-productive.

  • FWIW, Dan, my comments often get marked for moderation too, especially if they have HTML in them. That’s just the way the blog bloggles, I guess.

  • My comments not only go into moderation but sometimes they go directly into the spam category, as did one of R. Yonah’s comments yesterday.

    Ck, Mobi is right about the auto-refresh that causes comments that are in mid-writing to be lost.

    There’s a difference between saying that Israel is in trouble and not acknowledging its achievements. The parade was held to acknowledge its achievements.

    The economic system which you so abhor in Israel is still socialized, although to a much lesser degree. To remind you, it was socialized and provided kibbutz-like ideals to large segments of its population, namely those families with over 3 kids, for decades. Also, don’t forget Israel’s socialized medicine, state-subsidized education, state-assisted immigration and other benefits intended for all of the people.

    These benefits leveled the playing field for most Israelis, allowed upward mobility, enabled people who chose to not work to still feed their families, and ensured that health care was available to all. The cost to Israel was growth, a heavy tax on incomes and imports which made life quite challenging especially for those who were in the middle – workers. Worst of all, the government continued to accrue debts because its budget always had a significant deficit. Israel’s national debt is around 86% of its GDP. This is down from about 105% a couple of years ago before many reforms came into place. This is a very large burden and one that makes managing a country almost impossible. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/853945.html

    Whether or not one agrees with Netanyahu’s economic reforms, it is hard to ignore their success. 6% GDP growth rate is pretty significant, especially while the national debt is pared by 15-20%. Israel’s budget is far better managed now than when it subsidized every family with more than a couple of kids. This is critical for its long term sustenance especially considering the need to constantly upgrade and maintain the army. If poverty has increased, it is because the government has begun the process of letting go these vestiges of a welfare state which it couldn’t afford anyway. It does take time for people who are not in the workforce to enter it or to receive the education they need to enter it. Also, as you know, the poverty numbers are heavily influenced by Ultra-Orthodox families whose numbers are large but whose traditions have enabled gazillions to survive in Israel without working (or perhaps getting the wife to work between child-bearing stints).

    I’m not understating the harshness of the situation for many families or saying that it’s okay to have a huge discrepancy between the have and have-nots. However, if poverty is measured by the per capita income of an ultra-Orthodox family where nobody works for a living versus a family that has sent its kids to university and who make money doing computer science or biotech for a serious technology company or VC funded startup, then I have to tell you that it’s not beneficial to Israel to have too many of those non-workers while the contribution of those who got an education is significant.

    Finally, a free press is the foundation of a free and healthy society.

    Update: this post went into the spam filter.

  • OK, you seem to be comfortable with being a shtetl gollus Yid. That explains everything, I guess.

    We’ve been over this before, but to repeat: I agree about the museums.

    I don’t see how Israel is counterproductive, though.

    Anyway, we’ve seen how well your “keep your head down, don’t make trouble, don’t make the anti-Semites mad, maybe they won’t kill us” approach works. It works until they decide to, well, kill us.

    If and when, G-d forbid, it should ever happen again, I want to go down swinging and take as many of the bastards with me as I can. I don’t want to go down on my knees begging for my life or shuffling along hoping something will work out.

    BTW, people lose teeth by telling black people to calm down and be thankful that the white man freed them so they should shut up and stop being so pissed off. But if you want to eat oatmeal for the rest of your life, go ahead and try it.

  • Ephraim,

    I do not advocate pacifism in the face of violence. And I am not saying Israel was a mistake. I’m saying it might have been.

    We will see.

  • So all of this “Zionist entity” shit is your idea of humor?

    Yes, we will see whether Israel was a mistake. However, since every other solution was worse, I’ll go with it.

  • Ephraim, you wrote,

    “So all of this “Zionist entity” shit is your idea of humor?”

    Ephraim, I prefer to capitalize the e in Entity. Anything less is disrespectful.

    “Yes, we will see whether Israel was a mistake. However, since every other solution was worse, I’ll go with it.”

    Well, I think we’re mostly all running with it, worrying a lot, but hoping for the best. I know I am.

  • Calling it “Israel” would be a lot more reseectful, you know.

    Yeah, running with it, worrying a lot, but hoping for the best.

    What else can a Jew do?

    Other than calling the place by its proper name, I mean.

  • How “enlightened” of you.

    But since you can’t be bothered to call Israel by its real name, I’ll return the favor.

    Can anybody help me choose a suitable name for Kelsey? You know, not the one he chose for himself, but the only one he really needs, one that expresses our view of him?

    How about I start it off: Instead of DK, I’ll just call him BG (short for the “Big Galut”) from now on.

    Galut=Galoot, get it?

  • I’ve called Kelsey the Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Jewish blogosphere, because there is no father to his style – but that’s a compliment.

  • Kelsey already calls himself The Kvetcher. What’s with the attack on Kelsey’s tongue in cheek hat tip to the fanatics of Hamas and Hizbullah?

  • It was not at all clear to me that it was meant in jest, Middle. The distinct impression I get is that he is really anti-Israel, deep down. If I’m wrong, fine.

    The main thing I get from BG is that pretty much every organized expression of Jewish solidarity is somehow wrong. Trying to find a way to commeorate our martyrs is tacky victim-mongering; Israel is the “Zionist Entity”, etc. Haas anyone heard BG make a positive comment about the place? I haven’t.

    I know he calls himself The Kvetcher. So he’s a farbissener. Great.

    Zie gezunt, but include me out.

  • Sorry, I don’t speak Yiddish.

    I don’t know whether he’s anti-Israel. I think he’s on the fence. He should make a trip and live there for a few months, preferably on a moshav with some hard core secular Zionists. Girls among them.

  • I’m not anti-Israel. I just don’t know if this whole Medina thing was a good idea. I wish the best for Israel, but I have my doubts. I call it the Zionist Entity because I think it sounds funny and bad-ass. Especially when some psycho dictator of Iran employs the term in a poem.

    “The Zionist Entity is a dry brush that will be wiped away by the next storm.”

    And there was one like, “The Zionist Entity is a sinister and artificial regime that cannot live normally.”

    Look, Ephraim — the Right-Wing Modern Orthodox put on orange t-shirts and listen to all boy acappella bands and parade up and down 5th avenue — that’s how they deal with this. I don’t like to do that, okay? I deal with my fear, worry, angst about Israel’s predicament in my own way. I pace, and call it the Zionist Entity among friends. And most people don’t mind, unless they are flaming right-wing Zionists. You can’t expect non-Zionists to handle and process this stuff the same way Zionists do. The same way you do. It’s absurd.

    So you don’t like it fine, but stop pretending I’m hostile to Israel. I’m not. Here’s a couple of links for you to read that wrote about anti-Zionism that I think you will like, and hopefully calm you down just a wee bit. Jesus. Don’t go calling the ADL n’ shit.

    http://jewschool.com/2006/08/23/why-stop-at-1948/

    http://jewschool.com/2006/06/04/hannah-mermelstein-one-state-solution-advocate/

  • Anyone who uses the word “nuanced” in a serious way about themselves or others is a tool. Period. And in case said person is wondering if I, too, am a stalker, you’ll trace my IP to LA. Tootles.

  • Uh… hey ridiculous. Doesn’t that kind of make you a tool? I’m in LA right now too! Wanna stalk me? I dare ya …

  • Since I only know you from this blog, it wasn’t clear to me what your true feelings are. The two posts you linked to are good.

    I have my share of angst about the medina, too. Any Jew must. Where we seem to differ is that I simply think that it was the least bad solution, given the situation.

    In Lord of the Rings, Frodo said “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish that none of this had ever happened”. But he was stuck with the Ring, no matter what he wanted.

    That’s really how I feel about Israel. If I had a choice between turning the clock back and having all of the six million back alive or having Israel without the six million, I would choose the people without batting an eye.

    But that’s not how things worked out. As much as he didnt want it, Frodo was stuck with the Ring, and we’re stuck with what happened. Wishing things were different doesn’t help anything.

    I don’t like orange tee-shirts and acapella boy bands either, so I guess we agree on something else too.

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