Who’s “Beyond the Pale?”, Part 1

In a recent op-ed in the Jewish weekly, The Forward, Jewish Voice for Peace was described as being “beyond the pale” because we “support divestment and … urge Congress to heed Carter’s words.” Interestingly, JVP receives a huge amount of support from the great many Jews all across the country and around the world whorabbis-debating.jpg believe we not only embody the spirit of tikkun olam (repairing the world), but are also working more than most for the best interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Be that as it may, let’s examine this rather arbitrary line that the writer of that op-ed, Rabbi Ira Youdovin, draws.

Let’s start with Jimmy Carter. The hysteria surrounding that book has, at least in public discourse, badly obscured the substance. Carter makes an eloquent and clear case that the suffering of Palestinians is intolerable and must end and that it is unrealistic for Israelis to believe they can ever be safe from attacks while that suffering is going on. This is hardly controversial to anyone paying attention to the realities on the ground.

Yet Youdovin’s formulation goes like this: “Jimmy Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” in his book title is a jarring example of how well-meaning Christians decontextualize facts on the ground, and then make unfair judgments of what they perceive to be Israelicarter1.jpg human rights abuses against Palestinians.”

He doesn’t explain how Carter de-contextualized those facts. Not surprising as it would be difficult to do so since Carter repeatedly throughout his book condemns attacks on Israelis and says that violent Palestinian actions are both immoral and counter-productive. Carter also explicitly connects such acts of violence to harsher Israeli policies. Agree with those things or don’t, but they are clear indications that Carter was not “de-contextualizing” anything.

But more notable is the phrase “what they perceive to be Israeli human right abuses.” Can we not once and for all get past this sort of thing and discuss the conflict with some honesty? The 2005 State Department Human Rights report on the Occupied Territories listed many human rights violations by both Israel and the Palestinians. The World Bank has documented the severe economic and concomitant human impact of the Separation Wall on Palestinians. B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization has a long list of human rights abuses committed by Israel. So do Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN. All of these groups also report on extensive human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian groups, against both Palestinians and Israelis.

If one wants to argue that many countries have worse human rights records, fine, make that argument. If one wants to argue that Israel’s human rights record is being exaggerated, fine, let’s talk about that. But can we please stop the nonsense about “perceived” human rights violations? Virtually every country in the world has at least some human rights issues, and Israel is involved not only in a long-term conflict, but has been in occupation over another people for almost 40 years. Forget the land issues for the moment, the simple fact is that Israel rules over a territory where over 4 million Palestinians live and they do not have basic guarantees of civil and human rights nor do they have representation in the government which ultimately rules them (and, no, that is NOT the Palestinian Authority; the final authority, even under the best of circumstances in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem is Israel). It is not possible for that condition to exist without serious human rights violations.

The tens of thousands of Palestinians whose homes have been demolished because of building violations or because Israel simply decided they wanted that land for a military outpost, a settlement or a bypass road are not merely “perceiving” human rights abuses. Palestinians who have been used as human shields, or who have been tortured by the Shin Bet, or who have lost loved ones in Israeli military operations (which have killed a great many civilians) are not merely “perceiving” human rights abuses. Indeed, neither are Israelis who have lost loved ones in suicide bombings or shooting attacks. There are no innocents here except the civilians who keep getting injured and killed. Let’s stop trying to make one side or the other out to be such.

Back to Carter, JVP most certainly has urged Congress to heed his words, for they are the only path to an American policy that can help, rather than hinder the cause of bringing about a resolution to this vexing conflict. Carter does not urge an abandonment of Israel. On the contrary, his book is filled with concern about Israel’s well-being and its future, a future he does not believe will contain peace if Israel continues on its present course. Most of Carter’s vehement critics have clearly not read the book; this is reflected in the criticisms of it they offer.

Carter used the word “apartheid” and sent everyone into a tizzy. I argue elsewhere on this site that I don’t think the word is very useful precisely because it has that effect on people and shuts down conversation before the realities on the ground can be explored. That’s a matter of opinion on strategy and tactics. But “apartheid” as a term has been expanded out of its original context of South Africa to legally be defined as “inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups…” Israel rules over all of the West Bank, but the laws for Jews and Palestinians are completely different and clearly set up for one group to be dominant over the other. “Apartheid” is thus a defensible word, whether or not it is a wise one to use. Its use is most certainly not ipso facto anti-Semitic or even anti-Israel. It is one way of describing the different rules under which Jews and Palestinians live in the same place under the same government.

Carter’s point was that the US must engage in peacemaking and not be reluctant to pressure either Israelis or Palestinians to make the compromises needed to reach an agreement. That was a position that served him well at Camp David and led to the greatest achievement for Israeli security ever, removing Egypt from the military equation. The man who did that is now being called an anti-Semite. Amazing.

But Carter is neither wrong nor alone in pointing out the suicidal path Israel is on. Its security can never be won by oppression. It can never be won through collective punishment. This conflict has been going on in various forms for 100 years. For the past 50, more or less, it has been clear that Israel has an enormous military advantage, yet Israelis feel as insecure as ever. Military strength has proven not to be the answer, nor are walls, nor is creating facts on the ground with settlements and bypass roads. Carter pointed to the alternative: equal rights and independence for all and honest negotiations on outstanding issues. Does JVP support that? You bet. And so do most Jews. Rabbi Youdovin, it is not we who are “beyond the pale” it is those who would defend Israel by denying the clear realities. Until all of us who have a stake in this issue — be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim or any other religious background; be they American, Israeli, Palestinian, Lebanese or any other nationality — are willing to approach it honestly and to see where the actions of everyone involved have to change, we are abandoning hope.

JVP will not abandon hope. We will continue to press for an American policy that can produce the just peace that is needed if both Israelis and Palestinians are to have a better future. We will continue to work for that better future with the understanding that it cannot possibly come to only one side of this conflict, but must come to both. I fervently believe that many more Jews believe in those principles than believe that Israel’s human rights abuses are merely “perceived.”

In part 2 of this essay, I will address the second point Rabbi Youdovin made about us, divestment.

20 thoughts on “Who’s “Beyond the Pale?”, Part 1

  1. Mitchell Plitnick:
    You wrote:
    “The World Bank has documented the severe economic and concomitant human impact of the Separation Wall on Palestinians. B’Tselem”.
    I think two clear elements of perspective are missing here.
    1) The wall went up after endless years of brainwashed youths, who became convinced that God has ordered them into battle. What Israel would have greatly preferred is neighborhoods, not walled-off areas. They would have preferred a mix of cultures but not a complete mix. A mix whereby both groups prospered greatly and violence was not even a component. A mix whereby, its true that no one expected the Arabs to earn as much as the Hebrews but nonetheless, would still be enjoying normal lives with college degrees and living standards, far in excess of their neighbors. Jews are NOT sadistic (far from it). They are merely (at times) elitist and myopic.
    2) While there has been a negative economic impact of this wall, everyone forgets the large sums of money being pumped into the area. You promote divestment from Israel. Others promote a pause or halting of aid to the Palestinian-Arabs. But here is my point: If there were no violence whatsoever, the Jews would have a surplus of money (without needing help from anyone) and the Arabs would still (likely) be poverty stricken. Hence the continued violence.
    Your essay resumes:
    “But can we please stop the nonsense about “perceived” human rights violations?”
    OK. The Israelis have committed per-se, not just “perceived” violations of human rights. But I make two points here:
    a) There is still no “moral equivalency” because the Arabs themselves typically have little (if any) respect for human life. Not their own and even less so for others.
    b) Why does this single contextual statement cause you to go off? Maybe it was a ‘soft-pedal’. Something being “perceived” does not make it “imaginary”. It can be both “perceived” and “true”. Besides, best I can tell, your comment was nit-picky overall. To the best of my understanding, the group who’s statements your were criticizing, agrees with your position 99.5% of the rest of the time and this time the difference you highlighted was partly semantics.
    You continued:
    “That was a position that served him [Carter] well at Camp David and led to the greatest achievement for Israeli security ever, removing Egypt from the military equation.”
    Plus, $-one billion per year in U.S. ‘tribute’. For Carter to be any sort of high-achiever, he would have had to pulled this off for free.
    You added:
    “The man who did that is now being called an anti-Semite. Amazing.”
    Yes, and I’ll do it again right now. He is a grand-propagandist and an anti-Jew. He fits exactly Prof. Phillis Chesler’s definition of the new type of Anti-Semite. The one that expects Jews to suffer and die quietly, like Jesus did. He also fits Prof. Bernard Lewis’ definition, namely, someone who’s single focus is to obsess on the suffering of Arabs exclusively at that hands of Hebrews, while turning a blind eye and deaf ear to far greater suffering of Arabs, in other places and contexts. I have a third definition, which is someone who frequently bends or breaks the truth (knowingly) to prove a conclusion that is always the same. Namely, the Israelis are guilty and the Arabs are merely acting as any traditionally oppressed people would naturally.
    Regarding “apartheid”:
    Jews often have certain customs and traditions and quirks that creates a lack of comfort when in many ‘mixed’ settings. That is not “apartheid”. If you think so, try living among communities of Polygamist Muslims. They won’t look you in the eye when they pass with their entourage of children and wives and you won’t look at them either, for fear of seeming to stare.
    Try living (with a standard ‘American’ family) among a community of cloistered monks or nuns. That would NOT be any sort of ‘community’, it would be ‘pay-per-view’.
    Your essay continued:
    “Carter pointed to the alternative: equal rights and independence for all and honest negotiations on outstanding issues. Does JVP support that? You bet. And so do most Jews.”
    Yes. If you ask an average Jewish person if they support ‘equal rights’ for Arabs and Israelis, the answer is always yes (and some may not really mean it—though they will agree to it all the same). But that is a simplistic sound-bite for an exceedingly complex problem, which can not be solved with sound-bites. Once you start asking people what they would expect the Israelis to give up in return for this egalitarian utopia, the base of support begins to erode exponentially. There are Jews who are zealot supporters of the ‘Palestinian-Arab Cause’. There are not as many as you think there are. Just as . . . of the four most prominent African American U.S. political figures, three are far ‘right wing’ (Ms. Rice, Sec. Powell and Justice Thomas). The fourth, Sen. Mr. Obama is a Johnnie-come-lately and may not be this famous for as long as people expect. However, in the Black community, 95% of the people are NOT like Rice, Powell or Thomas.
    By the same measure, those Hebrews who debate across the grain get automatic credibility and hi profiles. It neither makes you right nor constitutes any sort of majority.
    Lastly, I ask you and your organization to prove it has any objectivity by publicly supporting and agreeing to the following:

    The teaching of minor children (under 18) that “martyrdom” is either ‘God’s will’ or a ‘path to heaven’ SHOULD BE ADOPTED AS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY BY THE UNITED NATIONS AND ADDED AS SUCH TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS. Not that doing so would necessarily stop it. It would simply help to reveal the clearer nature of the true conflict, to all parties involved.

  2. Isador wrote: “. . because the Arabs themselves typically have little (if any) respect for human life. Not their own and even less so for others.”
    To call this a gross generalization is an understatement. In one sentence you write off an entire race as not capable of civilized behaviour.

    Isador wrote; “Jews often have certain customs and traditions and quirks that creates a lack of comfort when in many ‘mixed’ settings. That is not “apartheid”.”
    Of course it’s not, but the vast majority of Jews in Israel live very secular lifestyles, as do the majority of Palestinian both in Israel and the Territories. I do not support the use of the term ‘Apartheid’ in reference to our situation. I prefer the Hebrew term in common currency, ‘Hafrada’. It is a term used by the Israeli government and the general public to describe their policies of keeping Jews and Arabs separate. South Africans who visit Israel often comment that Israeli Hafrada is much worse that South African Apartheid was. To be sure in South Africa they had draconian laws. Although by law they lived separately, the people mingled on the streets, and in communities. What white family was without their Black servants (most still have them)? However in Israel we have enforced physical separation both inside the country and in the Occupied Territories. Rarely today does one see Arabs anymore working on our farms, construction sites, and in homes. We have replaced them with several hundred thousand Phillipinos, Thais, Africans etc. Almost 5% of our population is now foreign workers. Israeli Hafrada also restricts where people can live. No Arab may lease land from the JNF for residential purposes while millions of Israeli and foreign Jews have this right. Our government has built dozens of exclusively Jewish towns and cities. We surround the Palestinian towns of Israel with ‘Green Zones’ so that they may not expand their housing stock in an orderly fashion. We insert new Jewish communities between Arab localities to break up the contiguity of Palestinian lands. And this is inside Israel! In the West Bank we are far along with the process of encircling all the Palestinian towns of any size with fencing and walls, often with only one or two egress roads manned by IDF checkpoints. Permits are needed to travel from one enclosed town to another. Permits can often only be obtained from the Israeli ‘Civil Administration’ headquarters the Beit El. A permit is needed to travel to Beit El. Catch 22.

    Isador wrote:” . . try living among communities of Polygamist Muslims.” Polygamy is not permitted by law in Israel except in unique circumstances. The analogies that have been used to illustrate why mixing or integration cannot work in Israel make no sense to anyone living here. Our lifestyles and aspirations, for both Arabs and Jews, are very similar. Decent house, decent school for the kids, a job with a living wage, equal rights with other citizens. Again – the vast majority of all Israeli citizens are secular and have similar aspirations. What keeps us apart is racism, fear, and an inability to merge the two primary national identities into a common civic society. When we learn to do this we will have achieved what the South Africans have. despite their ongoing problems Most Blacks and Whites in South Africa are proud to be South Africans. When all of us here are proud to be equal co-citizens of the same country then we will have moved forward.

    So while the term Apartheid may perhaps be more appropriate to describe the former South African Regime, Hafrada is no less dehumanizing, perhaps more. Interestingly enough, both terms mean exactly the same in English – separation.

    regarding crimes against humanity. In my view any person under 21 years old should not be asked to kill themselves, or another person in the name of any religion, ideology or nation state. I have always thought that it’s criminal to take any impressionable 18 year-old and teach them how to kill. We should at least let them go to college before turning them into cannon fodder. Martyrdom per se is taught by most developed cultures in one form or another. In the US I’ve seen and heard the terms ‘giving one’s life for one’s country’ and ‘the ultimate sacrifice’. Surely this means that one is willing to die in order to uphold the ideology and way of life in the USA. So-called heroic activities in time of war are often indistinguishable from martyrdom.
    So why single out any particular form of martyrdom. Let’s all support a UN resolution outlawing the teaching of killing to minors, or the killing of minors in time of war.

  3. “Arabs themselves typically have little (if any) respect for human life.”

    This is a racist slur. More accurate would be “stereotypically.” I would ask that you help keep the discussion above the level of racial stereotypes.

    If it is Israel that is close to your heart, then it’s Israel’s human rights abuses that should concern you. If, on the other hand, it’s Saudi Arabia, then you should write a book about Saudi Arabia’s abuses. If expecting more of Jews than other people is anti-Semitism, then I suppose God must be anti-Semitic, because we are told He expects Israel to be “a light among the nations.” You don’t get to be “a light among the nations” by putting out 15 watts and shaking your finger at a 10-watter. This is not a convincing way to claim the moral high ground.

    All three definitions of “new anti-Semitism” are fatuous (pace Chesler, Lewis, and Farash). Legitimate criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. Israel has a forty year record of egregious human rights violations in the occupied territories, including the systematic state-sponsored torture of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

    The wall is not about security but to create Bantustans. Security was the pretext. The International Court of Justice did not buy that. They have ordered Israel to take it down. This is past arguing about.

    The use of the term “apartheid” and the comparison to S. Africa is of long-standing in Israel. The early Zionists understood they had two options in dealing with the Arabs: “the way of South Africa” (two sets of laws/rights for two different peoples) or “the way of transfer.” After the Fourth Geneva Convention was adopted, transfer was no longer an option. The use of the word “apartheid” did not originate with Carter by a long shot. Even Sharon himself has made the comparison. And actually the situation is worse than apartheid.

    Suicide bombing by Arab terrorists directed at civilians is already considered to be a crime against humanity. However, I would not agree to your proposed definition for the reason that “dying for one’s country” is upheld as the highest patriotic virtue in most countries of the world. See the World War I poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen. Anyway, it’s another of your red herrings. We are talking here about Israel and Israel’s appalling record of human rights abuses in the occupied territories.

  4. To Fred and John:
    More to follow but for now:
    Any group who practices indoctrination procedures, to convince their populous to commit suicide, is worthy of being labeled as “typically having no respect for human life”. It is not only those who TEACH AND ACTIVELY PROMOTE this practice, it is ALSO those who ALLOW it to be promoted, under their noses, which accounts for a MUCH greater percentage of the total grouping.
    When Yasser Arafat would make his famous speeches before grade-school children, yelling “fight-fight-fight” and alluding to the glory of Allah for doing so, this became a state sponsored ‘crime against humanity’, at least in my book-of-business.
    John wrote:
    “Suicide bombing by Arab terrorists directed at civilians is already considered to be a crime against humanity.”
    Typical blurring of distinctions and Orwellian double-speak.
    My suggestion was to ban the TEACHING of minors that suside is any sort of a “path to heaven” as a ‘crime against humanity’. Notably absent from both your responses is any acknowledgement of this as being a morally valid argument. Fred employs the usual “moral equivalency”, by suggesting that ALL war is by definition, not suited for anyone under 21. Let’s go one small step further and suggest that ALL WAR is not suitable for anyone of any age. Where would that get us? A utopian concept with no practical moment or purpose.
    As far as I am concerned, anyone who does NOT agree that the TEACHING of suicide to minors should be SPECIFICALLY banned under international law, is practicing politics, or perhaps prejudice, before they are contemplating any sort of peace.
    My suggestion was developed more to reveal this hidden decay, then it was to expect that such a rule would actually become ratified as law.
    As a practical suggestion, it lacks potential for success, either in its wide-spread adoption or even more far-fetched, in its chances for general implementation. That’s not the point at all.
    The point is to aim, with laser precision, where the hypocrisy can be found in your collective positions. Any peacenik knows that teaching (and glorifying) of suicide attacks to minors (some as young as 5) is a profound abomination. It only becomes acceptable when the group so engaged turn out to be Arabs.
    Hypocrisy and favoritism. You and your high-horses included. BULLSH*T.

  5. “It only becomes acceptable when the group so engaged turn out to be Arabs.”

    But you are trying to define it so that it includes Muslims exclusively. Take out the religious barbs and you end up with something close to the rhetoric of patriotism with which children are unfortunately indoctrinated (“dying for one’s country,” etc.) in every society, including Israel itself. Personally, I’m with Wilfred Owen.

    In any case, you can stop waving this red herring around. The topic is Israel’s human rights record in the occupied territories.

  6. John Baker:
    You wrote:
    “The topic is Israel’s human rights record in the occupied territories.”
    That’s your topic. My topic is slightly different.
    While this Web site promotes financial divestment from Israel, in reality what is being supported is financial divestment against Jews worldwide. I have seen too much. I am a lower-mid range Hebrew independent business person with 25 years of experience in my field. In the year 2000, my humble company did $11.3 million in sales and was sold out. From 2001-now, we have not done ½ that much in total (not per year). I am not alone. I have polled dozens of other independent Jewish small (mainly wholesale) businesses. Either bankrupt or well on their way. Some, who were so financially well off that they could go on loosing money for decades, have, nonetheless, been loosing money ever since (roughly the same time period). These businesses include: Insurance brokerages and Security supplies firms, that you might expect should be doing twice as well after 9-11. Plus, typically, the few customers we do still retain are themselves other Jews or Jewish owned/managed businesses.
    You say that you are endeavoring to protect the rights of the downtrodden Palestinians. I say they are merely a smokescreen. They are pawns of a much larger event, namely the attempted liquidation of the Jews of the world. Those Jews who lived through the 1930s (particularly in Europe) will confirm that the taste, smell, look and feel of year 200x is similar to that of the depression years.
    You and your cohorts are at best, dupes in a much grander scale event. The deionization of Israel, as a strategic step in the greater process of the mass deionization of Jews, per-se. We hear about the Jewish lobbying organizations and Jewish control over the media (and government) and what sinks into the average set of human ears is: ‘These Jews need a good beating’. Anti-Semitic assaults and attacks have been doubling in recent years, in many parts of the world, I will again quote Hugo Chavez:
    “”Some minorities, descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ … took all the world’s wealth for themselves,” Chavez said in the Dec. 24 speech.”
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1136361025285
    Your people, (the Cindy Sheenan disciples of the world) consider this guy a hero.
    Last summer, Israel came under military attack on two fronts, nearly simultaneously.
    The leading candidate for the Democratic nomination spent 7 years of his young life in a Madrasa school in the Mid East, learning every word of the Qur’an by heart.
    If you wish to fool yourself into the ridiculous belief that all of this is the result of a few dozen of sq. miles of land in Jerusalem, feel free. I know better.

  7. Isidore, it sounds like you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you. A lot of businesses find themselves in a new world since 2000. I always feel like my line in the bank is the only one that isn’t moving, and maybe there’s some of that involved. The marketplace is always changing and we all have to think outside the box to stay ahead of it. New ways for new days, as they say. Remember that discouragement is the real enemy. Stay in touch with good friends. Mazel tov!

  8. I have posted this in the comments to another blog post, but it is worth repeating. I do so here with a couple of additions.

    Everyone:

    Every blog has at least one. They’re called trolls.

    From my reading of this blog, I’ve concluded that Isidor Farash [formally Goldstein] is our very own local troll. For an example of why I so conclude, see the comments section under the 5-Feb-2007 post “Attack Iran?” (You’re looking for Isidor’s repetition of the David Brooks et al. canard that “neocon” is simply a code word for “Jew” — which he posts in the form of a rhetorical question — and my responses.)

    A troll’s mind will not be changed. A troll is not interested in rational discussion or enlightenment. A troll’s reason for existence is to oppose and provoke, distracting the rest of us from more important business. They will post ludicrous, and THOROUGHLY DISCREDITED, assertions taken straight and uncritically from wingnut blogs and Faux News, such as the one here that Barack Obama attended a madrassa, “learning every word of the Qur’an by heart,” no less, (without explaining why, EVEN IF TRUE, it would disqualify him from being President) or the equally discredited accusation that Chavez’s remarks were targeted at Jews.

    The most important rule about trolls is: Don’t feed them. That means ignore them. Completely. Do not be baited. Do not be provoked. Do not attempt to correct or enlighten, for it will not work. If they are not fed, on the other hand, they will eventually crawl back under their bridge.

  9. Mr. Farash has a style all his own, he’s opinionated, and he’s certainly frustrating to debate with at times, but I don’t find anything malicious in his postings. With trolls, you usually don’t have to scratch too deeply to find the malice. And they usually are not particularly well-informed, which Isidore is. I could be wrong, but I think he’s sincere.

  10. Anybody who still claims that Obama went to a madrassa or that Chavez’s remarks were targeted at Jews, despite the copious information out there discrediting these claims, is not only ill-informed, but willfully so.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/22/obama.madrassa/
    http://thinkprogress.org/2007/01/22/cnn-obama-debunk/
    http://thinkprogress.org/2007/01/24/gibson-obama/
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0315-28.htm
    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2805

    The AJCommittee and the AJCongress both agreed with the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela that Chavez’s remarks, when not taken out of context, were not aimed at Jews.

    http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=31767

    “‘It appears to us that Chavez did not intentionally speak about Jews,’ said David Twersky, director of the AJCongress’s Council on World Jewry. ‘I don’t think we should raise the flag of antisemitism when it doesn’t belong.'”
    http://www.forward.com/articles/venezuela%E2%80%99s-jews-defend-leftist-president-in-fla/

    How much more evidence do you need?

    As for trolling, I don’t require malice to fit the definition. Deliberate provocation, otoh, fits the bill. And I strongly suspect that such repetition of willful ignorance can also amount to malice.

  11. Mr. Jim (without a last name):
    You wrote:
    “Every blog has at least one. They’re called trolls.
    From my reading of this blog, I’ve concluded that Isidor Farash [formally Goldstein] is our very own local troll.”
    I come here because I feel that the popular positions being promoted are often unjust. I really don’t have any expectations of altering the beliefs of the chorus, although, stranger things have happened.
    Your post has added exactly nothing to the discussion.
    If I am ignored, it won’t effect my opinions on the subjects being posted by the Web Master. Nor would I stop posting them.
    “ . . . distracting the rest of us from more important business.”
    Of what? Agreeing with one another??
    “Barack Obama attended a madrassa, “learning every word of the Qur’an by heart,” no less, (without explaining why, EVEN IF TRUE, it would disqualify him from being President) or the equally discredited accusation that Chavez’s remarks were targeted at Jews”
    Reported by Fox news. I did not say it should disqualify him from anything. I leave that for the reader to decide. I did NOT mention that his middle name is ‘Hussein’ (also reported by Fox news) because such an item would not have any relevance to any issue that I can think of. However, viewed overall, my post was an inference that the ‘common consciousness’ of the world has been shifting in the same direction, including the deionization and disempowerment of Jewish persons, the dramatic increase in Anti-Semitic attacks and assaults and more.
    “ . . . discredited accusation that Chavez’s remarks were targeted at Jews”
    Are you for real? Me Troll?
    What OTHER ethnic minority is traditionally stereotyped (for thousands of years) as the:
    “same ones who crucified Christ … took all the world’s wealth for themselves”?
    Let me guess . . . THE NEOCONS???
    By the way, you never answered my questions on that subject. What makes a the fabled “Neocon” any different then Ronald Reagan?? I forgot, your ignoring me so that I hobble back under my bridge. Never mind.
    Re: madrassa school:
    They teach the student to memorize the Qur’an word-for-word. By heart. That’s what they do. A school of physics teaches the students quantum math and differential equations. A madrassa school teaches intense Qur’an study. I have read the Qur’an a few times myself. That does not disqualify me for running for president. I just believe that Mr. Obama’s attendance of this study, particularly at such a young age, should be one of the considerations for people when they write checks and vote. For some voters, his curriculum would be a great advantage to their decisions. What do you call those people, who consider that Islamic schooling as an advantage? Anti-trolls??
    PS (as further illustrations of my above posted statements):>
    “Iran: U.S., Israel to blame for world’s problems:
    Ahmadinejad makes remarks during show of support for Sudan government.”
    “There is no place in the world that suffers from divisions and wars unless America or the Zionists’ fingerprints are seen there,” Ahmadinejad told his audience in Farsi translated into Arabic. . . We have to pay attention to the devils’.”
    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declared support for Iran’s nuclear ambitions while Ahmadinejad said Iran viewed Sudan’s progress as important as its own.”
    Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany have begun discussing a new round of sanctions on Iran for failing to halt uranium enrichment by late February.
    Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor accused a junior member of al-Bashir’s Cabinet and another suspect of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
    The Sudanese government has rejected the allegations and said it would not hand the men over for trial.”
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17396804/
    Darfur, by the way has a majority Muslim population. Their social/political misfortune is solely that they are Blacks. Long forgotten from memory are the approximately 2-million slaughtered Blacks from Southern Sudan, along with those who have been sold into the (mainly Arab) slave markets in the North. Their compounded misfortune was the fact that they were Christians (and ancient ones at that). Their (Nubian) ancestors were the first Christian nation/state to engage in a formal peace treaty with the Islamic caliphate. While Rome was at war with Islam, these peaceful souls protected their Muslim minorities and their houses of worship. Amazing that all you peaceniks, including Mr. Carter, have all but ignored this ongoing genocide for decades. Not cause these people are Blacks but more probably because of whom their adversaries are. Instead, our attention is redirected, over and over, to a place where the ‘adversaries’ are far easier to condemn.
    Lastly: Thanks Mr. Baker. I herewith do my troll-voodoo in your favor. Feelin it yet?

  12. It has taken me about six years to get a handle on what is meant by the term “neocon” but I don’t think it is code for “Jew.” A number of people who call themselves “neoconservatives” are Jews, including some prominent members of the group, but roughly an equal number who claim that name are Gentiles, including Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wm. Bennett, Ashcroft, Chalabi, Khalilzad, Jean Kirkpatrick, Fukiyama, etc. Besides, there are many Jews who are liberals, libertarians, and ordinary conservatives.

    The “neo-” part referred to the fact that these people were originally leftists but converted. However, I don’t think all neoconservatives started out on the left. Ronald Reagan did, and I would probably call him a neocon. As I see it, neocons differ from other kinds of conservatives in mainly being interested in an imperialist foreign policy in which we establish a Pax Americana across the globe. Neoconservatism in this full-blown form is a post Cold War phenomenon, I believe, and so it is really post-Reagan. From what I can tell the current crop of neocons are more aptly called radicals than conservatives, in that they don’t talk much about small government. They seem to uphold constant war as an ideal, and for that reason have been called Trotskyites. But in any case, I don’t think “neocon” is code for “Jew.”

    In my book most of them are “cons” and their lies and deceitfulness in the past six years have qualified them to be permanently exiled from policy making in this country.

    Ah, but we digress….

  13. You wrote:
    “It has taken me about six years to get a handle on what is meant by the term “neocon”
    Thank you for enforcing my point so eloquently.
    If it had any real definable meaning, it would not take even 6 weeks for the standard definition to become a part of the human lexicon. Remember “Branjolina”? That term took all of six minutes to populate the “Borg” collective. So, I submit that Neocon is a still a code term for something. Perhaps a “Nazi” who is most probably NOT of Germanic heritage.
    By the way, Jean Kirkpatrick recently died, so I guess she is now a . . “Post-neo-cono-mortumo” in the original oldo-Latin. Now I digress.
    “being interested in an imperialist foreign policy . . “
    Formally a ‘leftist’, who converted in all but this feature. What if, when they were still leftists, they believed an a broad U.S. role in world affairs? Wouldn’t the more appropriate term then be “Left-o-cons”? Was Cheney ever a leftist? News to me.
    I frankly do not see that a single difference of such a nature can create an entirely new type of conservative. While it’s true that people like Pat Buchanan tend to oppose most (if not all) U.S. actions outside the USA properly, remember that he was a senior foreign policy adviser to Richard Nixon, during the last few years of the Vietnam War.

  14. Trolls can be very useful for throwing up talking points. This one gave Fred Schlomka and John Baker the opportunity to masterfully address several related issues. I am full of admiration for their posts. The downside to trolls is when they flood the threads with the same complaints, wearing out serious readers and posters, obstructing forward motion of the issue.

    Mitchell Plitnick’s essay is marvellous, both parts 1 & 2. I wish him well, he is one of those who make one proud to be an American again. Much hope offered by way of the divestment action.

  15. Like most men, we can be useful when needed and a nuisance the rest of the time.
    Its really not that difficult to read the author’s name and skip down past the post. It’s when people begin to object to OTHER people reading the “Trolstein’s” stylings wherein the more typical nature of the ‘NeoLouis’ [pronounced: Neo-Louie] shackles become brandished.
    ):>>>={
    (Universal symbol of Troll power)

  16. I frankly do not see that a single difference of such a nature can create an entirely new type of conservative.

    The term was first used by Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz and others to refer to themselves as being an entirely new kind of conservative. I think everybody had pretty much figured out they were Jews, don’t you? So, this was obviously not a code term for “Jew [wink, wink, nudge, nudge].” Let’s put it this way. If it’s code for “Jew” it’s a pretty lousy one because a great many neoconservatives are obviously not Jews. It is actually a pretty darn good code word for “red state fascist,” however.

  17. I’m glad you “called out” Youdovin on his outrageous characaterization of JVP. Actually what he meant to say was that any Jewish group not espousing a pro-Zionist position was “beyond the pale.” This too is outrageous. While I’m a progressive Zionist I don’t ask JVP to be. All I ask of any group before I ally with it on the I-P question is that it not adhere to deliberately polemical or overtly extremist views that demonize one side or the other in this conflict. JVP satisfies this admirably.

  18. Mitchell,

    I enjoy your analysis, but you really need to think about moderating the comment section. I don’t know about your other readers, but there’s nothing more boring to me than long-winded tangents about the meaning of madrasses or neocons. Maybe you can set up a discussion forum on the JVP website where people can blow off steam on these kinds of topics. Right now, the comments section is not fulfilling its mission of fostering intelligent debate.

  19. Peter H.:
    The inevitable fundamentalist Stalinist censorship drive has begun in earnest. Too difficult is it to read the author’s name and skip down. That would NOT fulfill the internal longing to control OTHER people’s thoughts.
    The fact is that Mr. Plitnick is himself rather repetitive in his postings. If this blog were to be confined to ‘approved’ thought and speech, what would remain is an often sanblusitic and certainly predictable mix of ‘point’ and re-confirmation of those points. Essentially a ‘mutual admiration’ society, reserved exclusively for self-deprecating (arm-chair) “intellectuals”.
    ):>>>={

  20. Ode to the Troll:
    Me admit it. Me are a Trollstein, far worse then even a Goldstein.
    Me visit the proletariat areas in order to contract Venereal decease deliberately and to spread it throughout the members of the inner-Party.
    Except that . . . being a troll, no one wanted to do me.
    They did not know . . that once you go troll, it never gets old.

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