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Cherry-picking your racists: A response to Yossi Gurvitz

Yossi’s Gurvitz latest piece, titled “This sick glee in the face of a terrorist attack”, was probably the most controversial we ever posted on +972. We got loads of comments immediately, many of them very angry. The real bad ones were removed. I guess we lost some readers. I know that some followers on Facebook and Twitter blocked us. And we had strong disagreement over some parts of the piece among ourselves, expressed in the comments to the posts and in e-mail exchanges between the sites bloggers.

Before I deal with some of the points Yossi raised, there is something that needs to be explained about +972: this site is a collective of bloggers. Every blogger is responsible for his or her own channel – the posts, images and even the comment policy. The editors don’t censor anyone and they don’t tell people what to write. If I don’t like something someone wrote, I could write a response (like I do now), but not much more than this.

To the point: I think Yossi is making one strong argument in his post, missing on another issue, and makes a very bad claim in his closing statement.

The most important point in the piece regards the strengthening ties between the European far-right and Israel. It’s not just the political ties Yossi mentioned, but a certain understanding among some Israelis that people like Geert Wilders, (the late) Jorg Haider and Jean Marie Le-Pen “are on our side.”

These ties seems to benefit both sides: Israelis get political support where they are most vulnerable—the relation with the Arab minority—and what could be better for the descendants of the Europe’s fascist and Nazi movements than a stamp of approval from the Jewish state?

The Israeli case has nothing to do with Europe’s debate on immigration. The Palestinian population in Israel is indigenous — i.e., it pre-dates that state — while Europe is discussing immigration. The problem with the occupation is the military control over people with no rights, while in Europe it’s a question of citizenship, and so on. The only thing that bridges those gaps is the mounting Islamophobic feeling in both societies. Shared hate can go very far, as the Jerusalem Post’s Sunday editorial demonstrated. If the world’s most widely read Jewish paper is calling on Norway to reevaluate immigration policies following a horrifying terror attack by a rightwing racist—something even many of those fascists wouldn’t dare say now—then things have gone pretty far.

However, I don’t think that such feelings represent all Israelis, and probably not even most of them. Most organizations still refrain from legitimizing Europe’s far right (the United States’ racists are a different story). As for the “glee in the face of the attack,” Yossi points to a few disgusting comments on the internet, but comments on the internet represent a fraction of the readers, and more often than not, it’s the most extreme ones, usually those who feel that their views couldn’t be expressed in other forms. The Israelis I spoke to where shocked and saddened by the terrorist attack in Norway, just like any sane person would be.

Furthermore, those Israelis who did look for some morbid “educational value” in the murder certainly weren’t alone: the conservative media in the States rushed to blame Muslims for the attacks, and when it turned that those were carried by a rightwing fanatic, some still tried to push their points; others were the inspiration of the killer himself: see here, here, here & here, for example.

Which brings me to my final point. Yossi writes:

The fact that many people could identify with a mass murderer of children spotlights another problem, one rarely mentioned: The de-humanizing effects of Jewish Orthodox education, which most Israeli Jews receive in one form or another. Being taught from an early age that you belong to a master race, and that other people are inherently inferior, that their lives aren’t worth as much as yours, will take its mark.

While Orthodoxy is the official state religion in Israel, it is hardly present in the secular public schools. Yes, when I went to school we did learn of “Am Sgula” (עם סגולה,  a unique people), and of “Or Lagoyim” (“light to the gentile nations”)—as some comments to Yossi’s piece mentioned—but this was, at least in my view, a call to better ourselves and not to see Jews as master race. And as I said, we simply didn’t deal with those issues most of the time. Furthermore, the notion of one nation’s uniqueness is not unique to the Jewish people or to Israelis, but can be found in many cultures.

Many of those analyzing the Israeli public school system have not attended it. I did. Is it nationalistic? Yes. Is racism present? Yes. Does it promote militarism? Certainly (I wrote about it here). Does it teach Jews to see themselves as a “master race”? Not at the schools I attended.

I also think that at the core of my disagreement with Yossi lies a different view of the role ideology plays in society. If I read Yossi’s posts correctly, he is concerned by the combination of a certain interpretation of Judaism and the Israeli establishment. Yossi would not have been as troubled by Orthodox Judaism’s view of the gentile if were not a dominate view amongst the Israeli establishment. Such racism becomes dangerous when it has an army – and Israel has a very powerful one.

I see ideology differently. I think ideologies are the stories societies invent to justify their desires and their often selfish actions. In the Israeli case, it wasn’t racism that brought the occupation and the colonization, but the other way around: the land theft, the deportation and misplacement needed a justification, so a certain view of Jewish morals was accepted – one that allows us to settle all the land, and that viewed Arabs as inferiors, and therefore entitled to fewer rights.

This is why in my view the way to better society is by changing the political conditions, rather than by focusing only on educating people or changing their ideology. Want to make Israelis less racists? For a start, force them to end the occupation.

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    1. Amir-Ras

      Maybe you are just cherry picking your favorite jews?

      Jewish segregation, xenophobia and exceptionalism do not exist in void. You can not fear the evil gentiles without believing that they are inherently evil and immoral, thus inferior on the only level that counts.

      “ההבדל בין הנשמה הישראלית היהודית, מאווייה הפנימיים, שאיפתה, תכונתה ועמדתה ובין נשמות הגויים כולם, לכל דרגותיהם, הוא יותר גדול ויותר עמוק מההבדל שבין נפש האדם ונפש הבהמה, שבין האחרונים רק הבדל כמותי נמצא, אבל בין הראשונים שורר הבדל עצמי איכותי” (אורות, פרק ה’, עמ’ קנ”ו)

      “The difference between the jewish israelite soul… and the souls of all gentiles… is larger and deeper than the difference between the soul of a person and the soul of a bovine” – Avraham Isaac Kook

      Israel cognitive disonnance is incredible, even liberal jewish israelis fail to recognize judaism for what it actually is, just another ancient ethnocentric religion.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Amir-Ras

      Furthermore, your last paragraph is a bit of a copout.

      If we could force the israelis to end the occupation we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      Reply to Comment
    3. engelo

      I think this is a simplified whitewashing of what is happening in reality… The education system in Israel, as well as its institutions are oriented towards Jewish supremacy. From “shfoch hamatcha al hagoyim” (pour your wrath onto the gentiles, an xenophobic expression uttered by Jews every Passover meal), to the derogatory names for non-Jews (Sheigetz, Shikse), a very condescending attitude towards Christianity and Islam, all this feeding to a Jewish-centered Zionist ideology (the right of return to Jews only, segregation practices from cradle, through marriage to grave) – all this suggests that Jews should be kept separate from non-Jews because Jews are better.
      I’m afraid that Jewish nationalism and Zionism have given birth to Rosemary’s baby.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Kibbutznik

      ” Israel cognitive disonnance is incredible, even liberal jewish israelis fail to recognize judaism for what it actually is, just another ancient ethnocentric religion.”

      Not all of us ,
      Israeli Atheists for an Atheist Peace :

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kate

      Very reasonable response. I thought the original article was onto something, but way overgeneralized. I think part of the problem is that in the context of debate within a country, people often use hyperbolic statements to drive home a point. For example, an American activist might say ‘America is a vile and racist country’ when what they really mean is ‘America has a vile racism problem and we should fix it immediately,’ whereas if they were talking to someone from outside the country who might be inclined to think that actually, literally every American is vile and racist, they would probably express it differently. When it comes to Israel/Palestine issues, I think one should know better – it’s no secret that there are people who really don’t think of Israelis as human beings, and likewise for Palestinians. Maybe Gurvitz does think that Israel is a uniformly hateful culture but I rather doubt it. With these types of things I think it’s much better to err on the side of being clear than on the side of being emphatic.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Koshiro

      “However, I don’t think that such feelings represent all Israelis, and probably not even most of them.”

      I agree. However, these views do have a prominent place in major Israeli papers. I do get the impression – but that is an outsider’s view – that Islamophobic, right-wing, nationalist viewpoints are indeed dominating the public discourse and that liberal, tolerant, humanist viewpoints are being sidelined.
      And that is a big problem. Don’t be blind to it. Neither is there any point in denying a strong correlation between religious orthodoxy and right-wing political views. This is of course true of all monotheistic religions – but Judaism is not an exception.

      “I see ideology differently. I think ideologies are the stories societies invent to justify their desires and their often selfish actions. In the Israeli case, it wasn’t racism that brought the occupation and the colonization, but the other way around”

      Here I do not agree. First of all, this is hen-and-egg sophistry. Intolerant ideology and oppressive action go hand in hand, either way. They are inseparable.
      More importantly, your view would imply that speaking out against intolerant ideology is pointless. That some people have evil desires coming from… well where, incidentally? Are they born that way?
      In any case, they have evil desires and they will find a justification for them. Why discuss, why discredit, why speak out then, if all this only addresses the facade, not the core?
      Discounting ideology as a motivator it does not conform to historical experience. Propaganda and political conditioning are powerful tools for transforming a society. Cultivating contempt for the “other” has empowered countless atrocities in the last century. It will likely empower more in this one.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Sam Smith

      @Amir-Ras: Once again, taking quotes from religious texts that most Israeli Jews have never heard of. What the hell is “Orot”?
      Like I said before, claiming that secular Israeli Jews learn something from bible class or Passover seders is like saying that they learn to love Dostoyevsky from High School literature classes.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Sam Smith

      @Engelo: You say that “the education system in Israel, as well as its institutions are oriented towards Jewish supremacy” and then use the term “sheigetz” as an example.
      Is it just me, or does this fail any basic test of logic and reason? What does “sheigetz” have to do with the Israeli education system? And how is the latter related to your claim that Jews have “a very condescending attitude towards Christianity and Islam”? This is true of all monotheistic religions.

      The level of debate here is not much better than a 2nd grade exercise.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Amir-Ras

      SAM: Avraham Kook is probably the most prominent Rabbi in the history of Religious Zionism. Your statements reflect upon your ignorance not upon the sources provided.

      Your dostoyevsky comment is similarly nonsense, Israeli children are not taught to view the bible and zionist-history-studies as if they are fiction. In Kita Bet I was told I am Am Sgula, observant jews thank YHWH daily for being chosen and for not being born a gentile.

      You misunderstand the points being discussed and do a very bad job at trying to refute them.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Rann B

      @Sam Smith: so Israeli racist attitudes come from nowhere? The education system establishes fundamental values, including hatred of the other, especially Arabs/Palestinians, and a distinct ‘everyone hates us and wants to kill us’ attitude.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Sam Smith

      @Amir: No, it’s you who’s projecting your education onto all Israelis. I was certainly taught to view the bible as fiction. And though I’ve heard of Kook I’ve never heard of “Orot”. Stop trying to speak for everyone.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Sam Smith

      The “siege mentality” comes from the politicians and the media. For most Israelis – who are *secular* – it does not come from Bible studies in 2nd grade. Give me a break.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Noam W

      I hate to be a middle person – but I think, at least regarding the school system, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

      First, Noam, we need to remember that Yossi went through the Orthodox-state school system, not through the school system we went through.

      But beyond that – what does it mean when you learn that you are “A chosen people”, that you have been blessed with the “Jewish Genius” and that you are a “light unto other nations”? If it is isn’t mastery, it is defintely supremacy.

      I think this also ties in to what it means to be a “nation”. Ronald Regan described the US as the “city on a hill” – but becoming a US citizen is a whole lot different than becoming a Jew – so the fact that other countries express their uniqueness or superiority is not exactly the same.

      Reply to Comment
    14. RichardNYC

      OK…you disagree. What would Yossi have to say for you to actually reconsider your participation on this site? Where do you draw the line? Its hard for me to imagine anything worse than ‘Jews teach their children to be a master race that murders gentiles’, which is more or less what Yossi’s said.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Amir-Ras

      SAM: Once again you’re debating against invisible strawman, I hope you find this enjoyable.

      No one is making such sweeping generalizations as you imply.

      The claim is simple: Jewish culture and tradition have prominent xenophobic messages that help breed a xenophobic attitude within the Israeli population.

      Did anyone ever claim that ONLY Jews are xenophobic? no. Did anyone ever claim that it was ONLY jewish religious aspects which are responsible to Israeli xenophobia? no.

      My education within the Israeli public education system is anecdotal but corresponds to the experiences of people who commented to Yossi’s article. I think however that you won’t find many Israelis who’ll claim that they were encouraged to view the bible as fictional literature. FYI, in Israel bible studies are mandatory and are distinct from ‘literature’ studies.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Amir-Ras

      RICHARD: We don’t need you to paraphrase Yossi. Please provide the full quote next time.

      Reply to Comment
    17. RichardNYC

      I wasn’t talking to you.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Please refrain from personal attacks on this channel. This is not Ynet.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Amir-Ras

      No you were re-framing Yossi’s statement in a deceitful manner on a public forum. You got a public implying you’re a liar.

      We all know what he said, we can read, arguing by creating phony strawmen is nothing but cheap propaganda.

      Reply to Comment

      Yossi is a brilliant analyst of the decline of Israeli democracy and I am happy to write with him on the same site. I didn’t find his post anti-Semitic. If I would have, i’d written this.

      Reply to Comment
    21. I think you underestimate the power of ideology.

      For atrocities to happen, you need a small group of fanatics to carry them out – but you also need to deaden the human instinct within the rest of the population, otherwise you’ll have problems, possibly an insurrection. What the settlers are doing would not be possible if most Israelis told themselves it is not important, these are other people, lesser people.

      Now, most nations have developed stereotypes against their neighbours and, of course, their enemies. Jewish Orthodoxy, which unlike Christianity in Europe was not subject to rigorous attack in the age of Enlightenment, is seeped in the hatred not of specific nations, but of all nations. Every Orthodox Jew begins his day by thanking God he did not make him a gentile (or a woman, or a slave – coincidentally or not, the three parts of society, with “barbarian” instead of gentile, which Aristotle considered to have lesser souls). He is forbidden from showing grace to a foreigner, giving him a gift, or even praising him. In the most extreme case, he is forbidden to save his life.

      All of these strictures are suspended, for fear of violence; but I think it is preposterous to suggest that the legacy of two thousand years of hatred have left no mark on Israeli Jews, even those not raised in Orthodox schools.

      Case in point: On a Yom Kippur, I was walking among the secular kids riding their bikes, taking pictures of the road full of people and bikes, which for is the best part of the holiday. I was reproached for taking pictures; I was asked several times whether I was a “Christian”.

      I am willing to bet a good beer these kids never met a Christian. It was just the opposite to “Jew”. They were ignorant of Jewish law – there’s a strong case to be made that riding a bicycle breaks more strictures than taking a photo – but were aware of its shadows, and those shadows they were willing to protect, to the point of accosting a stranger. And, again, these weren’t religious Orthodox kids; just secular-Orthodox kids. This point – often made as “so go and convert to Christianity” – is often made by commentators on sites, in response to criticism of Israel or Zionism – but, of course, to do so would be tantamount to treason.

      Israeli Jews are, mostly, uneducated Orthodox Jews; and they have inherited all of the hatreds and the prejudices of previous generations.

      Hmm. This is long enough to be a counter-post…

      Reply to Comment
    22. Sam Smith

      this comment was removed. no personal insults. last warning

      Reply to Comment
    23. Sam Smith

      “Yossi went through the Orthodox-state school system”
      This bears repeating a hundred times. Yossi – fight to change the stupid system you went through, and stop smearing everyone else.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Jenny Kastner

      Zionism is a racist, colonialist ideology that has really nothing to do with religion. It hides behind the skirts of Judaism for its own convenience, and shrieks “anti-semitism” at the first sign of criticism. As a Jew, I will only be happy when “Israel” no longer exists–not through war, but with pressure from the rest of the world, reverting to Palestine–a secular, democratic, diverse state with human rights for all! We must all admit that Zionism was a cruel and cynical myth, perpetrated on the Jews and Palestinians by the racist West.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Amir-Ras

      “reverting to Palestine–a secular, democratic, diverse state with human rights for all!”

      That’s a funny way to phrase it. “Reverting to something that never existed”.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Zionism is a racist, colonialist ideology that has really nothing to do with religion

      One word: Messianism. Or, in three words: Zion, not Uganda.

      Reply to Comment
    27. @sam Smith:

      What the hell is “Orot”?

      Oh, nothing of great importance. Just Kook’s main book, a second bible to many national-Orthodox. Perhaps you should not comment on issues you have no understanding of?

      Reply to Comment
    28. Sam Smith

      @Yossi: My point was that I have no understanding of “Orot”, like most Israeli Jews, because we went through the secular system.
      Here’s a test for you, claiming to be a responsible journalist: survey Israeli secular society and find out how many people know what “Orot” is.

      You’re talking about the national-Orthodox as if you represent all Israeli Jews. And I must say that I view this as a personal insult no less harmful than the supposed insults you remove here. It’s a baseless, stupid smear.

      Reply to Comment
    29. RichardNYC

      You didn’t answer my question. What would Yossi have to say about Jews for you to question your participation here? Do you have any standards as far as antisemitism is concerned?

      Reply to Comment
    30. Leonid Levin

      “I think ideologies are the stories societies invent to justify their desires and their often selfish actions. In the Israeli case, it wasn’t racism that brought the occupation and the colonization, but the other way around …”

      Noam, I find this a very interesting perspective. This sounds very much like rationalizations that individuals use in order to justify their behavior and not to look at their real problems.

      However, I don’t think that the occupation, etc. are the primary causes of Jewish racism, nationalism, etc. I think that Jewish nationalism is like any other nationalism and is rooted in fear and distrust of other people and in the (often unconscious) inferiority complex. In our case, it is aggravated by centuries of persecution and by a very ancient tribal religious cult.

      Almost every nation in the world has a myth or concept that they are superior to the rest. It may be dormant, but it manifests itself openly in the times of insecurity and hardship and gives people the illusion of belonging to something great even if their circumstances are poor. Nationalist leaders sense this and use these feelings to gain and keep power.

      I think the way to tackle this fear and distrust is to recognize them and then reach out and connect on a deeper level with those we distrust, share our stories, listen to their stories, learn to live together, become friends, develop understanding of and knowledge about each other. This is not an easy task, neither for an individual nor for a nation.

      Reply to Comment
    31. RichardNYC

      I don’t think that black, hispanic or other minority journalists in the US would engage people who regurgitate hateful stereotypes on the level that Yossi has. It beggars belief that Yossi’s blanket condemnation of Orthodox Jews (“seeped in the hatred not of specific nations, but of all nations”) is treated as part of respectable discourse on this site.

      Reply to Comment
    32. RichardNYC

      There’s something very discouraging and a bit scary about the fact that you and Dahlia don’t seem to get that Yossi’s words are malicious. No intelligent person, who understands the history of antisemitism, says what he has said without an agenda. I sense a bit of denial, and a fear of confronting Yossi, lest you become not cool.

      Reply to Comment

      I won’t let this campaign continue here. no more comments along this line please.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Amir-Ras

      the mentality of the jewish minority in the diaspora was reinforced by the conditions in the diaspora, which greatly differ from the conditions in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    35. the mentality of the jewish minority in the diaspora was reinforced by the conditions in the diaspora, which greatly differ from the conditions in Israel.

      Certainly true. I would argue, however, that after all the words about Zionist liberation, most Israeli Jews still carry the fears of the diaspora with them. And that the government is making a cynical use of the memory of the holocaust to increase those fears.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Carrie

      Actually, I think Yossi’s article was very normal for 972 and when compared to the usual on here it was not controversial at all.

      And as far as Israelis thinking Jean Marie Le Pen is on their side, I really don’t think this is true at all. The man could not hate Jews more and I think most Jews familiar with his history know this.

      Reply to Comment
    37. “I think ideologies are the stories societies invent to justify their desires and their often selfish actions.”
      Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, cites an experiment by the Israeli psychologist George Tamarin. He let 1000 children answer a moral question about the text of Joshua calling for the destruction of Jericho.
      66% fully agreed with the atrocities, and the ones who did not fully agree did that for even more racist reasons, like “Arabs are impure” or “Joshua could have spared the animals”.
      But then it became fascinating:
      Tamarin also ran a control group for the study. He took a different group of Israeli schoolchildren and gave them the same text from the Book of Joshua, but with Joshua’s name replaced by ‘General Lin’, and Israel replaced by ‘a Chinese kingdom 3,000 years ago.’ Now the experiment gave the opposite results. Only 7% approve of General Lin’s behavior, and 75% disapproved. In other words, when their loyalty to Judaism was removed from the calculation, the majority of children agreed with the moral judgements that most people would share, that Joshua’s action was a deed of barbaric genocide.

      Whatever story you invent, it becomes an ideology when you feed it to your children at a very young age. And once it becomes part of a culture, it becomes harder to distinguish the religious from the secular. The people I saw with their picknick baskets watching the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza in 2009 where not orthodox jews.
      Education comes first, ideology follows.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Deïr Yassin

      Jean-Marie Le Pen is out, his place as the leader of the National Front has been taken over by his daughter, Marine Le Pen, and she’s done a lot to attract the Jewish voters. She has on various occasions said that she does not share her father’s point of view on the WWII and other controversial topics. She has already been interviewed by Jewish communautarian radios, and was on her way to Israel before someone said stop. It was maybe too early.
      I consider Marine Le Pen not only a ‘populistic right-wing’ but an extreme right-wing. Still, she is left-wing compared to Bibi.

      Reply to Comment
    39. I think the Jewish story is a reasonable one, as an explanation of how we got where we are as a community, where we are asked to try to get to as a community.

      The “supremacist” orientation is certainly held by some.

      The association of the Jewish community or even the land base, is spoken of only as a means to an end, not the end in itself.

      Many self-talking religious right ignore the part of the vhavta “IF you keep my commandments, I will give you the rain in its time…” (a conditional statement). Koran describes the Jews as rejecting the commandments, that the “if” became permanently renounced, a void contract.

      A related conditional statement is the current religious view (from those that I study with) “WHEN you keep my commandments, I will give you the rain in its time.”

      That represents a live potential contract.

      The end is to be a “nation of priests”, and to evolve our individual and collective skillsets to heal what is broken, what is unhealthy.

      To make whole what is disparate, relationships, livelihoods, families, communities, nature, mystery.

      The religious ideolog Zionist view is of two streams:

      1. A zealot view that these are the repetitions of the Mosaic exodus, after the fourty years in the desert, and they are soldiers of Joshua, held to that standard of determination (the same word as “sumud”).

      2. A related view that the land is Jewish, as a prerequisite to coherent community, and that once a coherent community then the obligation to evolve to a light among the nations, a nation of priests.

      The positive approach is work to fulfill the obligations now, not to wait until the land is secured and then start thinking about how to be a good neighbor.

      The ideolog religious Zionist approaches are guesses, gambles, that like other gambles don’t do anyone any good.

      To those that survived the holocaust, these do feel like the mythic times, maybe the Joshuaic times, surviving despair to the 100th power.

      To those that seek to heal the holocaust, these also seem like the mythic times, to bring one’s all to humanizing the other, of which politics is a small part.

      I don’t think that politics is the answer, but that politics represents only a small component of the answer, which is of a culture of Abrahamic graciousness and sensitive intelligence.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Richard NYC, it is surprising to me that you insist on ignoring precisely what I wrote about Yossi’s post yesterday. I do not agree with several of his central points nor his tone. But it is not for our readers to tell us what to write, nor to throw ultimatums at us. Why don’t you look at it the other way: that Yossi’s consent to write with us implies his legitimization of our rather different perspectives, or at least openness to them.

      Finally, I urge everyone to read Leonid Levin’s outstanding comments, in all posts. It’s time we stop giving the squeaky wheels all the grease and channel our serious readers toward those who make important, substantive contributions.

      Reply to Comment
    41. RichardNYC

      I read what you wrote quite carefully and I do not see what about my responses to Noam would suggest otherwise. I’m beginning to find 972 bloggers’ oversensitivity to criticism to be quite amateurish, and not becoming of writers who aspire to influence intelligent, critical people. Kristof and Krugman are capable of answering challenges to their integrity. Are you? Are any writers here? When Eliot Spitzer goes on TV to give his opinion about the economy, people force him to defend his credibility and he accepts the challenge. It seems incredible that, for instance, I am not allowed to discuss the fact that Joseph Dana, a non-lawyer, is publishing what amount to legal opinions on a subject that even very few lawyers are qualified to talk about. Are his credentials not up for discussion? When Noam personally engages the subject of anti-semitism, am I not allowed to ask him about what he thinks constitutes anti-semitism? It simply won’t do for you to leave issues of credibility and good faith off of the table if you are to have a comments section. These subjects are integral to substance of any argument, as anyone who has to persuade people for a living can tell you. I’m not telling anyone what to write or presenting ultimatums. I’m asking people who’ve said extremely inflammatory things, that beg questions of integrity (among reasonable people), to defend themselves. You can’t seriously expect an intelligent person to read Yossi’s opinions about Orthodox Judaism and engage them without questioning his motives. Its absurd. If what you’re trying to do here at 972 is to leave that kind of thing off the table altogether, you’re left with an emasculated discourse. This isn’t a high school class where the point of discussion is to learn how to listen and respect others’ opinions. This is supposed to be an adult discussion about the real world.

      Reply to Comment
    42. RichardNYC

      Is 972 up to the challenge? Or this is just blog just a sounding board for a certain clique? You tell me.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Peace Advocate

      this comment was edited.
      Just a reminder that the URL of that piece is “Israelis’ perverse support for terrorism”.
      And this Judeophobe is not talking about Israeli-Mohammedan actual, literal and material support. No, this libel alleges that Orthodox Jews (who? The anti-Zionist chareidi community? The R’ Forman-style live-and-let-live Jews-a-minority-in-Palestine folk?) support terrorism.
      If Israel had group libel laws (um, silly question, but does it? Should we ask lawyer Joseph Dana) he and +972 should face civil liability. And based on the precedent for how ‘incitement’ is investigated on the Israeli right, should he not be called down for questioning? And shouldn’t all who gave him a ‘haskamah’ be investigated – just like Toiras haMelech?

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    44. directrob

      I think Yossi has a sharp and honest pen. Right now it is also an angry pen but still I think he has a very strong case.
      Al ma’arri already noticed that logic and religion do not combine. It is really useless to fight religious arguments with reason. It might be better Yossi to simply expose the logic some groups of Israeli use.

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    45. Woody

      I think it’s a bit of a straw man to pretend the issue is about Orthodox Judaism and then attack the argument. It’s about Jewish Nationalism at core, which has some elements in common with Orthodox Judaism – but let’s not elide the issues. At core is the political maneuvering necessary to uphold a Jewish-Ethnonational state. The truth is that Jewish Zionists in the US/UK/EU have long been touting the same anti-Islamic/pro-Israel rhetoric that the Right in Europe promotes.

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    46. You can’t seriously expect an intelligent person to read Yossi’s opinions about Orthodox Judaism and engage them without questioning his motives. Its absurd.

      My motives, Richard? They’re quite simple:

      Once more, alas, I find myself unable to follow the best Liberal thought. What the World’s contention amounts to, at bottom, is simply the doctrine that a man engaged in combat with superstition should be very polite to superstition. This, I fear, is nonsense. The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame. – H.L. Mencken

      Might take a while, I know. But what’s good for fundamental Christian bullshit ought to do for fundamental Jewish bullshit.

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    47. Ben Israel

      My question for Yossi Gurvitz is “what are you gonna do about it”?. Freedom of religion in a basic right. It is written in the UN Charter of Human Rights. Are you going to try to close down the religious schools? Stalin and his Jewish helpers, the Yevsektsia tried to do it. It failed, in spite of the thousands of religious believers who were sent to the GULAG or shot outright. So what can you do other than scream about it on a blog? Jews are a stiff-necked people and have confronted things like this in the past and survived them.

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    48. Ben Israel

      To Englebert Luitsz-
      During the height of the air battles of the Battle of Britain in 1940, Sunday was a day off of work and the English would pack picnic baskets and go out to the country to watch the air battles. It has nothing to do with education and ideology.

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    49. Ben Your bizarre comparison proves my point.

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    50. So what can you do other than scream about it on a blog? Jews are a stiff-necked people and have confronted things like this in the past and survived them.

      Actually, they haven’t. A majority of Jews over history have abandoned Judaism. The emancipation and the Enlightenment made Jews abandon rabbinical Judaism in droves. Now we just have to show the liberals among them the hideousness of the Jewish texts – such as Maimonides supporting the rape of gentile children – and force them to re-evaluate them. And yes, this will take time, but we will make rabbinical Judaism “forever infamous and ridiculous”.

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