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Overcoming Jewish America's Israel fantasy

The idea of Israel has long been an integral part of Jewish-American identity. But with a generational change among American Jews and increasingly stark political differences with Israel’s leadership, could this be the dawn of a new era? 

"Pro-Israel" rally, during Gaza offensive, New York Nov 20, 2012 (asterix611/CC BY NC ND 2.0)

For many young American Jews, the 2014 Gaza war was a watershed in their evolving attitudes toward Israel. (Illustrative photo by asterix611/CC BY NC ND 2.0)

Last summer Michael Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009-13, blithely offended virtually the entire policy, journalism and government elite in New York City and Washington, D.C. with a series of accusations directed at President Obama and liberal Jewish Americans.

In a nutshell, Oren accused Obama of deliberately sabotaging relations with Israel in order to achieve the goals of ingratiating himself with the Arab Muslim world and negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. He also suggested the president was soft on terror — because he had Muslim daddy issues (his father, who had not been present when he was growing up, was a Kenyan Muslim). Oren also characterized American Jews who criticized Israel as anti-Israel and/or insufficiently Jewish.

Oren offered up his frank opinions and amateur psychoanalysis in a controversial Wall Street Journal op-ed and in a Foreign Policy essay – both of which acted as pre-publication publicity for his memoir, “Ally.”

The response of the foreign policy people who figure so prominently in the discourse about Israel in the so-called Acela Corridor (the name of the rapid train that links New York and D.C.) was one of outrage and betrayal.  They had regarded Oren as an ally who shared their worldview. Instead he had ripped off his mask of moderation to reveal a strident nationalist who was carrying some heavy baggage packed with Hebrew warrior fantasies, a Holocaust obsession and a fortress mentality.

But while prominent members of the inner policy circle like Martin Indyk challenged Oren’s accounts of his dealings with the Obama White House in testy exchanges on CNN, almost no-one addressed the former ambassador’s curiously clichéd personal narrative, which is like a plot ripped straight from a Leon Uris novel. A nerdy, physically unprepossessing Jewish boy grows up in suburban America, relentlessly bullied at school by anti-Semites. As a teenager he becomes intensely aware of the Holocaust, vows to make sure it never happens again, becomes an ardent Zionist and works hard to save his money so he can immigrate — or make aliyah — to Israel, where he magically morphs into a handsome combat warrior who wades heroically into battle and wins the love of the pretty girl who’s probably a bit out of his league.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to then Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, Tel Aviv, April 9, 2013. (State Dept photo)

For many older American Jews, Michael Oren’s life story is a familiar trope that represents their idealization of Israel. (State Dept photo)

He also runs the risk of taking matzos and religious paraphernalia to Jewish refuseniks in the USSR, returns to Israel, fights in a war, marries his girl and ultimately becomes a distinguished diplomat, continuing to do combat for Israel in the international policy arena.

Any American (or Canadian) Jew over the age of 45 who attended parochial day school and/or Jewish summer camp knows this narrative by heart. We all grew up monitoring the years the Refuseniks had been in the gulag, attending rallies to free Soviet Jewry, listening to Holocaust survivors tell their personal stories at school on remembrance day, hearing our parents and grandparents talk about the petty anti Semitism they had experienced in the 1940s, 50s and 60s – about university quotas on Jewish students, the upper class neighborhoods where home owners had an agreement not to sell to Jews, law firms that wouldn’t hire Jews and country clubs that barred Jewish members.

It is this generation of American Jews, the baby boomers who are old enough to remember the exhilaration and pride engendered by the stunning victory of the Six Day War in 1967, who respond automatically to the tropes in Oren’s artful narrative. Jews born in the 1980s, the ones often called “millennials,” are far less likely to relate.

We don’t care what you think

But while American Jews of a certain age might respond with reflexive nostalgia to the way Oren writes about his childhood and his Zionist aspirations, the angry reactions to his accusation that Obama betrayed Israel and his suggestion that real Jews should not criticize Israel, illustrates that he is out of touch with shifting attitudes in the American Jewish community. Oren seems particularly to have forgotten that most American Jews vote Democrat, and that nearly 70 percent of them cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2008 and again in 2012.

Or perhaps Oren and his ilk don’t really care, but are sufficiently diplomatic to refrain from saying so. Avigdor Liberman, the former Israeli foreign minister who leads the hawkish Yisrael Beiteinu party, does not allow such niceties to affect his behavior. At the Saban Forum held in Washington the first week of December, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg told Liberman that Jewish university students were finding it increasingly difficult to defend Israel’s policies on campus. Liberman’s response, delivered with his trademark lack of facial expression: “I don’t care.” Then he added: “I really don’t care.”

Goldberg, who has in recent years positioned himself as a gatekeeper of the Israel discourse in Washington, was shocked. So was the audience. Not only because Liberman expressed himself so rudely, but also because he had bluntly reinforced what had already become increasingly clear over the past two years or so: that Netanyahu, Bennett and the rest of Israel’s ascendant pro-settler, right-wing, political elite are neither politically nor ideologically aligned with the mainstream Jewish American community. With Netanyahu in power, the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem has become a sort of branch of the Republican Party. But the decisive majority of American Jews identify strongly with the Democratic Party.

A conflict of values

Supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace march among thousands in Washington, D.C., protesting Israel's offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014.

Supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace march protesting Israel’s offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014. JVP saw a surge in membership following the 2014 Gaza war.

For American Jews of the baby boomer generation, the widening gap between Israel, the country to which they have to a great extent outsourced their Jewish identity, and the United States, which is their home, has raised the specter of warring dual loyalties. They can’t really identify with Netanyahu, given his racist comments, far-right governing coalition and overt hostility to Obama, but Israel as a place and an idea is very important to them. That is why they were likely to condemn Netanyahu’s election day race baiting, which flew in the face of their liberal values, but support the 2014 Gaza war, because the army and the Israeli media said it was a war of defense.

But for millennial American Jews, the 2014 Gaza war was a watershed in their evolving attitude toward Israel. The massive destruction in Gaza and the huge gap in the death toll, with nearly 1,900 Palestinian casualties (including over 500 children) compared to 67 Israeli dead, left a powerful impression. After the war, the progressive Jewish Voice for Peace saw a surge in membership. According to Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson, the number of JVP chapters around the country has doubled since the summer of 2014. The number of followers on social media has tripled.

Read also: The American Jews prying open the conversation on the occupation

For the establishment Jewish community, defined by their liberal social values and by their generally uncritical attitude toward Israel — which is now being severely tested by Netanyahu’s policies — the JVP with its BDS-supporting ways is anathema. It is still infinitely more acceptable for a Jew to question the existence of God in synagogue than to criticize Israel. And while JVP is growing, its paid membership is now at 10,000 — which is not huge. But rapid growth indicates there are widening fissure lines in the community’s once solidly unified base.

Out of touch white men

For the Washington insiders, though, it’s not so easy to follow the path of those fissure lines. The policymakers take their cue from a small group of insiders who are nearly all Jewish men in their 50s and 60s. They are the same men who make up nearly every think panel and CNN news analysis panel. Martin Indyk, David Makovsky, Aaron David Miller, Dennis Ross, Philip Gordon, Jeffrey Goldberg. When they want to hear from an actual Israeli, they might call in Ari Shavit or a retired Shin Bet director like Ami Ayalon. It’s not that there’s any shortage of female experts, non-Jewish experts, younger experts or progressive experts. But they are not part of the inner circle and they are not policy influencers. So very few people outside the Beltway hear from or about them.

Meanwhile this small group of middle aged men who really do not understand the complexities of the situation on the ground, either in Israel-Palestine or in the American Jewish community, are to a large extent dominating and influencing the conversation about Israel-Palestine at a very high level in D.C. The result is strikingly discordant speeches like the keynote Joseph Biden gave at the J Street conference two years ago, or the one Samantha Power gave at the HaaretzQ conference in December. Both delivered AIPAC speeches to restless progressive audiences that were uninterested in platitudes about the only democracy in the Middle East and faux nostalgic references to Israel’s iconic late leaders from a bygone age, like “Golda.”

Young American Jews take part in the Jewish People's Assembly outside the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, Washington, D.C., November 8, 2015. (photo: Gili Getz)

American leaders of late have expressed their understanding of Israel through faux nostalgic references to its idealized past. Pictured: Young American Jews take part in the Jewish People’s Assembly outside the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, Washington, D.C., November 8, 2015. (photo by Gili Getz)

There’s another factor that must be taken into account in analyzing the potential ramifications of the fissures and shifting attitudes toward Israel in the American Jewish community. And that is that for the majority of Jewish Americans, Israel is not a top issue. A 2013 Pew study showed declining interest in both Israel and Judaism among the 30-and-under generation. Within a decade or so, members of Congress and presidential candidates might no longer have to campaign on Israel. Or Israel might become an issue that dominates with right-wing Evangelical Christians far more than it does with Jewish voters.

In 2014 and 2015, the gap in ideological views between Democratic Jews who are affiliated with the organized Jewish community and the Israeli political leadership’s Tea Party-esque views became impossible to ignore. Wars can be justified in the name of Israel’s security, but not so when it comes to race baiting, book censorship and attempts to shut down human rights NGOs. For most American Jews, Israel is more of an idea than a reality. They don’t speak Hebrew, they don’t visit the country more than once or twice in a lifetime (if that) and their knowledge of its society is shallow and limited. But the country is important to them, and not just as a symbol. The idea of a safe haven for an insecure people that has been displaced and subjected to genocide is very significant.

But now many are grappling with the existential crisis that occurs when the insurance policy and the identity symbol conflict with one’s core values. As one friend put it, he’s not religious at all and he doesn’t speak Yiddish or Hebrew, so his identity was based on the Holocaust and Israel. “And now,” he said, “What am I going to pass on to my kids about their heritage?” That question could well be one of Netanyahu’s most enduring legacies to the diaspora.

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    COMMENTS

    1. David

      It is more than a generalized distance from the holocaust, the idyllic and idealized history of the state or the relative absence of anti-semitism that has caused young American Jews to feel distance from Israel. It is also the belief that Israel is a colonialist state on a journey toward apartheid. There’s not much to love with that vision.

      Reply to Comment
      • JeffB

        The vision of Zionism is that Judaism would stop being the ghost of Judaea and rejoin the living as a nation. Being a real nation, existing in real space and time means losing the moral perfection of a ghost and having to make the complex choices of the living. Being alive means defecating, halitosis, and jock itch. The dead experience none of those things.

        What’s to love in that vision is life. It is easy to fail to come to terms with the reality of life and prefers the perfection of the ghost.

        Reply to Comment
        • Rich

          Exactly. Israel is a real nation state existing in the real world. Like any nation state, its actions will never be perfectly just or fair or pretty. If judged by the standards of nations states, it looks pretty good. Judged by the standards of its neighborhood, it looks stellar.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Ginger Eis

      Dear Ms. Lisa Goldman,

      Here Is The Epitome Of What YOU call “The American Jewish fantasy”:

      “As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost: To be a free people in our land, The land of Zion and Jerusalem”.

      That which you call “fantasy”, Ms. Goldman, is The Hope. That Hope is and has been The Only Hope Of The Jewish People around the world since memorable times in exile wherein our People suffered as no other and faced near extinction. That Hope Has Become Reality Today. That Reality Is Called Israel Our ONLY Home. And No Force Known TO Man, No Amount Of Internal Arguments/Bickering Is Capable Of “Overcoming” and Undoing That Reality. The Destiny of the Jewry and Israel are ONE. The sooner you understand that, Ms. Goldman, the better for your own peace.

      Let us all rise and sing together in humility and thankfulness:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4pjKopHoHg

      Reply to Comment
      • Cindy

        I recommend the book Contemporary Jewries Convergence and Divergence, Edited by Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Yosef Gorny and Yaacov Ro’i, Chapter 7: the significance of Israel in modern Jewish Identities. It goes into details about how central Israel is in Jewish lives and offers one tools to imagine Jewish life without Israel. It forces one to think about Jewish life pre-Israel and the horrors that befell Jews everywhere for centuries, including in the United States to a lesser extent. Israel transformed Jewish life and experience immensely. Israel put an end to “Der Ewige Jude” and all the horrors that concept symbolized. Jews working for the destruction of the Jewish state better think twice. Israel is not about Israeli Jews only.

        Nice vid. Love it.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        First of all, Eis, Goldman did not call it “American Jewish fantasy,” she called it “Jewish America’s Israel fantasy.” Words matter. As David here suggests, American Jews are no longer fantasizing en masse in tune with Leon Uris’ kitsch version of reality. They are increasingly having nightmares about a colonialist state on a journey toward apartheid. Your video no more accurately depicts the IDF’s true deployment and purpose in these latter degenerate days of the occupation than ‘The Sound of Music’ accurately depicts the realities of the Austrian Anschluss. It is kitsch. Enjoyable kitsch, but kitsch. Like all sentimentalists you don’t want to face reality. Sitting in your comfortable suburb, somewhere in the States, you don’t have to. The Palestinians in the occupied territories do. Here, Eis and Cindy, is a vid you won’t love but is a much more accurate and unsentimental version of what goes on in the occupied territories. It’s an IDF soldier speaking. Yehuda Shaul of Breaking the Silence. He faced reality. Head on. I admire him and his fellow IDF soldiers very much:

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JxHE4KrLvj0

        Reply to Comment
        • Daniel

          Ben, you and Merkava have had that debate on Yehuda Shaul and the BTS here: http://972mag.com/why-do-so-many-israelis-hate-breaking-the-silence/114763/

          You were not able to defend yourself in that debate. Why do you like repeating the same thing you are unable to defend over and over again and trying to have the same discussions over and over again even though you have nothing new to add? Don’t you ever get tired of circular logic?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I received your ridiculous message. You remind me of that nazzy punk, Rolf, in ‘The Sound of Music,’ Israeli version. Here, I dashed off a song for your part:

            I am 14 going on 15,
            I know that I’m my age,
            Arabs I thump,
            they tell me to jump,
            but Benzti he tells me I’m sweet.
            And just as I wish,
            I’m purely Jew-ish,
            so willingly I believe.
            I am 14 going on 15,
            Lehava boy through and through!
            I’m just a punk,
            but the Arabs are sunk,
            And that makes me feel less blue!
            When I roam the streets,
            looking for Arabs to beat,
            I know they’ll fall in line!
            Oh I am 14 going on 15,
            I know I act my age!….

            Kinda catchy, huh?

            Only in ‘The Sound of Music’ the Captain memorably says to Rolf: “You’re not one of them, Rolf. You’ll never be one of them.” But here is where we have to be less sentimental. You ARE one of them, Daniel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            There you have your evidence among many that Ben likes to spread smears and lies around against Israel, but whenever he is challenged to debate his own false claims and so that we can get to the truth, Ben runs away as fast as he can and starts rambling. Some here would say: “poor little old Ben”. But, I WILL NOT SAY THAT. Never.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            And here is further evidence supporting that:

            Ginger LIES is from the “US”.

            Ginger LIES has no job;

            Ginger LIES is not looking for a job;

            Ginger LIES is dependent on foodstamps to survive;

            Ginger LIES has PAID subscriptions for “Jewish” publications ONLY, and NONE form her own country or elsewhere;

            Ginger LIES dwells on different “Jewish” websites EVERY SINGLE day fixating on and obsessing about Arabs, “Ben”, Jews, Muslims, Palestine and Isghael, ranting and raging with multiple aliases (Daniel, Merkava, Donkey of Judah, Hercules, Hannibal the Cannibal, “Big Cat”, “ICat”, etc.) and supporting crimes against humanity being committed by Israel. Ginger LIES’ damaged brain is under occupation: occupation by Zionism.

            Zionism is a psychiatric illness. In her specific case this illness is very advanced given that she dwells permanently in the comments sections of “Jewish” websites: copying and pasting other peoples’ ideas and legal arguments, ranting and raging and spreading vile anti-Semitic blood-libels about Palestinians, hallucinating that everyone is “Ben”, whitewashing the war crimes that the Israel commits daily “in the name of all Jews”, glorifying the continual crimes against humanity that Israel proudly perpetrates in Palestine “in the name of all Jews”, employing multiple aliases to do this, incl. posing as a chic with a dic!

            Please seek professional help, Ginger LIES!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Daniel/Merkava I am quite pleased to have everyone in the world go to the link you provided and have them read what actually takes place there rather than your fantasies about “a debate.” There was nothing to “defend” against. No one has ever been able to discredit a single report of Breaking the Silence. Ever. Con artist, reputed criminal and mocker of the disabled, Oren Hazan tried, but was exposed as a liar. (And mainstream Israeli society rewarded him for that with a spot in the Knesset. Nice.)

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            Ben,

            First you responded with gibberish and thought yourself to be a great intellectual. But when you woke up, you realized that your response was quite stupid.

            Then, you came back and responded as “Israel” and thought yourself to be a great intellectual. But when you woke up, you realized that your response is that of a psychotic moron.

            Now, you come back again as Ben to try again, but still ended up with empty statements and empty declarations. More delusions.

            Perhaps you want to try again? Perhaps a fourth trial might succeed? Oh well, I guess we would have to wait and see what happens.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ‘The Sound of Music’ is not Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I think my “14 going on 15” song about you spontaneous, truthful and modestly clever not “intellectual.” This is already playing into your off-topic troll games to respond to this, but you in your reply reveal your inveterate capacity for dishonesty and you are not even good at that. To wit: All one needs do to expose your true nature is juxtapose two things you wrote on the same day, but thought their appearing on separate pages was cover enough:

            1. “The least you can do is be grateful to Cindy. She shows you that Israelis speak their minds honestly. Unlike Marnie/Carmen/Israel who lets you take the fall for her anti-Semitism, Cindy did you favor [by explaining that ‘Israel’ is not you].”
            2. “The psychotic ‘Carmen Ben “Israel”’ is back….”

            Oops. Daniel, touting honesty, caught in the same breath with his/her pants down. [*chuckle*] And, obviously, I would not have to “take the fall,” as you gangster-trolls put it, if you were not gangster-trolls in the first place. Now would I?

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            “Israel” Ben Carmen’

            You are still talking gibberish and not addressing the false accusations against Israel which you yourself raised citing BTS.

            FYI, Ben, I was not endorsing what Cindy said. Cindy has her honest opinion and she expressed it. I appreciate her candor. That is what honest people do. But you, Ben, called Cindy a “troll” and the fact that you cut out that part from what you copied and pasted, again, says a lot about you: incompetent, dishonest and delusional.

            Perhaps you would like to try again? Perhaps a FIFTH trial would succeed this time?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What’s to address? Not a single report of Breaking the Silence has ever been refuted, despite the thousand of soldiers who could have and would have, had anything in the reports been false. There are powerful forces in your country that long to discredit Breaking the Silence, to silence it, but they have not. The burden of proof is on you. And remember, there are thousands of extensively corroborated and cross-checked reports. Attempts to cast some sliver of possible doubt on one odd report here or there won’t cut it. Go get em tiger. We’ll wait for you. But put your pants back on first.

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            Ben/”Israel”,

            “What’s to address?”

            Well the starting points raised by Merkava in the link I posted. There he challenged you on the BTS-accusations and posed questions to show you how wrong BTS is. But you ran away. You could not defend yourself there, because you are not quite an intelligent person and you don’t have the facts. All the BTS dose is make false allegations without evidence and specifics of who did/said what, where, when, to whom, etc. and then have people like you say: “prove BTS wrong”. But you’re not intelligent enough to understand that the key information and facts that are missing in those allegations you parrot are already proving that the BTS accusations are partly embellished and for the rest made-up. Maybe you should go back to the link and answer Merkava’s questions? When you do so (assuming you have not done so yet), the date of your response will tell us if I succeed in driving you back into the ring you ran away from.

            So, another fail.

            Perhaps you want to try again? Perhaps a SIXTH trial will succeed?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Go to my post of Jan. 2, above, and proceed. You are now stuck in an endless loop going nowhere. It was fun catching you with your pants down but believe me, once is enough. Bye bye.

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            AGAIN, there you have Ben alias “Israel” running away and unable to defend his claims.

            Ben alias “Israel”: the non-Jew who assumes Jewish names online to lie and smear the Jewish state.

            Ben alias “Israel” makes false accusations in this thread against the state of Israel citing a BTS-video he posted. He did the same thing sometime ago on Haggai Matar’s thread which I linked and where Ben posted the same video he posted on this thread. There Merkava challenged Ben to debate the accusations in the BTS-video. Merkava posed just a few starting specific questions to Ben to test the truthfulness of the allegations BTS made in the video Ben posted. But time and time again Ben could not deliver. Ben could not defend himself. Ben just ran away!

            And on this thread again, Ben could not deliver. After much rambling and zigzagging, Ben is on the run AGAIN. Those questions remain unanswered. And the unanswered questions are just the opening questions! Ben says “Bye bye”. But those who know Ben also know that Ben will be back again as “Israel” to start screaming about Ginger Eis. Here comes “Israel”…………..

            Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Uri Avneri is a disgruntled old man who is full of regrets about not having been offered positions of influence in Israel to which he feels he had a natural entitlement. He is full of resentment towards Israeli society for not granting him “due recognition” so knocking Israel is his his revenge. His way of saying …

        “…if I can’t have it, then you can’t have it….”

        In other words he is a spoiled child except that he is an octegenarian. So never mind, soon he won’t have anything. Like all Israel haters, he will die as a bitter old disappointed man. What a waste of a life…

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Just hilarious, Gustav. Because Uri Avnery published “Don’ t Let the State of Israel Certify the Perpetuation of Literary Abomination” in 1960. Uri Avnery was 37 years old at the time. He is 92 years old now. So your hatchet job is both an abomination and invites ridicule.

          By the way, his wife, Rachel Avnery, was lovely. Marvelous human being. Like Uri is.

          http://uriavnery.com/en/

          Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Just hilarious, Gustav, if it weren’t so vicious. Because Uri Avnery published “Don’t Let the State of Israel Certify the Perpetuation of Literary Abomination” in 1960. 1960. Uri Avnery was 37 years old. He is now 92 years old. So your hatchet job is both an abomination and invites ridicule.

          By the way, his wife, Rachel Avnery, was lovely. Marvelous human being. Like Uri is.

          http://uriavnery.com/en/

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BS Uri Avnery is a nobody. His only claim to fame is that he is a tool ofIsrael haters.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            Nah, Gastuv the one-eyed antipodean Araby is Dazed and Confused. And his only claim to fame is that he is a one-eyed Zionist tool.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Keep up your good work BEN/”Israel”. Your rants drag down the already poor standards of this so called journal.

            I want to see more of your posts. No, really, I do. From time to time, I’ll even egg you on.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            And I would like to thank you for your endorsement of my good work, antipodean Aghaby.

            Ok, Antipodean Aghaby, now go gather all your little sockpuppet friends so you can play a game of “EGG the psychotic one-eyed Zionist anti-semite…IN HIS ONE-EYE”, you psychotic one-eyed Zionist tool.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “And I would like to thank you for your endorsement of my good work….”

            Yes, Benny dear. Keep it up. Your rants under the misleading pseudonym of “Israel” shows your true colors and it is sure to attract all the like minded weirdos and repel serious people. Which is a good thing. Keep up your good work.

            Reply to Comment
          • Cindy

            @ Gustav and Ginger

            Remember Marnie who was banned from this site? Well, she’s back, this time as “Israel” and “Carmen” and with vengeance. Both of you exposed her as a fraud. She has been reliving everything you said to her long ago. She modifies your words and expressions, arguments etc. and tries to use them against you. The lady is not only seriously disturbed but apparently not original as well.

            Reply to Comment
    3. As someone of Michael Oren generation- I in fact was a Columbia undergrad at the same time he was, but who lived at least part of his saga- I moved to Israel and went into the army after graduating I think your narrative is missing historical context. During my University years, there were many young Jewish American who had not interest in Israel or opposed its policies. It was the period of the New Left, and instead of J Street there was Briera. There was plenty of anti Israel policy on campuses, and the Jewish community was far from united. Yes there was a government that I personally liked more in power- but remember the position of Golda on the Palestinians. Furthermore when I came to the army I personally knew every American serving. My daughter came back to do the army four years ago and we moved back with her. The number of American Jews serving is many times the number who served in my time. Surprising I am not talking about religious kids either, almost none of the ones I have met over the years are religious or right wing ( that could be a function of my daughters friend and the fact that we live in Tel Aviv) , so in my mind nothing has really changed, other then the fact that we have had a government that has had policies that I disagree with for most of the last 38 years. The saying goes more things change the more they stay the same. For better or worse that is how I would describe the American Jewish relationship to Israel

      Reply to Comment
      • Israel

        A ticking time bomb is how I would describe “the American Jewish relationship to Israel”.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          You wish.

          Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            I wish you had more than half a brain, antipodean Aghaby. Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…

            Reply to Comment
          • Araby

            I wish you had more than half a brain, Benny from New York. Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…

            Reply to Comment
        • Cindy

          That’s the fantasy you have always had since your obsession with Jews started. Hold on to it since it makes you feel better.

          We know as fact that “Marnie”, “Israel”, “Carmen” are the same person.

          We also know as fact that “Marnie” was banned from this site. You were asked to explain that on Edo’s channel, but you ran. Marnie ran, like most fraudulent anti-Israel gangsters do.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @Gustav: I can’t control this ‘Israel’–who I do not endorse–and I can’t control your troll smear efforts to blend me with ‘Israel,’ and it looks like you can’t control “Cindy’s” contradictory efforts to say ‘Israel’ is not me but is someone else besides–too funny–but I can control what I write. So please tell me how writing about Uri Avnery and Yehuda Shaul is bringing down the standards of this journal? Hmmmmm?

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            There you go, Ben, angry and TRYING TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

            Gustav’s debate with you was about Avenery. His comments about was about “bringing down the standards of this journal” is about “Israel/Marnie/Carmen” who defends YOU with anti-Semitic diatribes on other threads, whom you NEVER condemned, never told stop and that you don’t need her kind of support and who let you take the fall for her own anti-Semitism. Yehuda Shaul did NOT play any part in your discussions with Gustav.

            Here is what I posted to you regarding your comment about Yehuda Shaul:
            “Ben, you and Merkava have had that debate on Yehuda Shaul and the BTS here: http://972mag.com/why-do-so-many-israelis-hate-breaking-the-silence/114763/ You were not able to defend yourself in that debate. Why do you like repeating the same thing you are unable to defend over and over again and trying to have the same discussions over and over again even though you have nothing new to add? Don’t you ever get tired of circular logic?”

            Did you miss that part, Ben, or are you running away and trying to save face?

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            There you go, Ginger LIES, an angry butch American Zionist lesbian and TRYING TO CHANGE YOUR SEX. AGAIN. Why are you ALWAYS on the RAAAAAAAG, Ginger LIES?

            Pls. answer ONLY the question. Long tell-tales are not needed. We will get to all your questions, one-by-one, step-by-step.

            We are waiting, Ginger LIES…..

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I know that you can’t control yourself Benny. But you can’t hide your disgusting tactics either they are transparent.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Well you don’t quite get it yet:

            Each time you do this you give the impression that you can’t handle me without resorting to troll tactics.

            Since I’m confident I handle all of you very well, I have no need of troll tactics.

            It’s that simple.

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            How foolish of you, Ben, to make that quite astonishingly false and foolish claim.

            The records of your debates with Gustav say your are wrong. The records of your debates with others also say you are wrong. You do not have original thoughts, ideas and arguments. You copy and paste the opinions of pundits to compensate for that. And when you are challenged to defend what you copied and pasted, you run away as fast as you can with rants and ramblings.

            The only thing you have going for you is that you are commenting every hour of every day on this site talking a lot without saying anything. You are the easiest to handle, Ben. Do not fool yourself about that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            How vvvvery, vvvvery butch of you, Ginger LIES, to pose as a chic with a dic!

            OK, Ginger LIES, because you are verrry, verrry, brrrave here is a video of my little antipodean Aghaby, i.e your champion Zionist “debater”, Gastuv, in top form:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHtyYbFR_d8

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            LOL, you are a legend in your own mind Benny.

            But it seems that by your own admission, you can’t even handle/control yourself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            I know that you’re a psychotic Zionist neanderthal and that you can’t control yourself, but you’re actually not completely wrong, for once, antipodean Aghaby. Because you can’t hide your disgusting Israel’s tactics either, they are transparent.

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            The psychotic ‘Carmen Ben “Israel”’ is back. Go ahead, show the world what a lunatic you are and the kind of haters attracted by +972. Let’s have the best of your rants, Ben.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Whatever you say, Benny-leh. Now go and take your medications.

            Hey, I know a good Jewish doctor in New York, he is a good Zionist. He specialises in cases like yours, I can put you in touch with him. Interested?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            There… there…. Benny-leh, calm down…no more dummy spitting ok?

            Poor soul, it can’t help itself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            “That’s the fantasy you have always had since your obsession with Jews started. Hold on to it since it makes you feel better.”

            Yeah, “Cindy”, but only if you say so, LOL…,

            …Nah, Zionist oxygen thief, it’s actually the fantasy YOU have always had since your brain became infected with Zionism and your obsession with Isghael started. Hold on to it, “Cindy”, since the more persecuted you can fantasize that Jews are, and the more “anti-Semitism” you can will into existence and project outwards, the better it will make you “feel” about that malignant state built on a malignant ideology that has “anti-Semitism” as its sine qua non.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Wayne

      @ Lisa Goldman

      URGENT

      Why do you allow comments from the person posting as “Israel” on your site?

      Reply to Comment
      • Israel

        Awwww…shucks…the precious little Zionist tattletale has had enough. So he slides on a sockpuppet and runs off crying to Auntie Lisa hoping she’ll call a “national” emergency.

        Come back soon, Gastuv…oops…err…”Wayne”,don’t be a stranger…LOL.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          “Come back soon, Gastuv…oops…err…”Wayne”,don’t be a stranger…LOL.”

          Did you ring Benny-leh? I am back.

          Have you taken your medications yet? It’s good for ya, take it from big Daddy. Gustav knows what’s good for ya, Benny-leh. You’ll see. Tomorrow you will wake up, you will look in the mirror and you’ll think you are human. Today? Not so much. But hey, we forgive you. We know this is an urge you just cannot control. Especially when there is a full moon.

          Reply to Comment
    5. American Jews are rapidly intermarrying or alternatively staying single. In another 30 years, only the frum will remain. This explains the ongoing disengagement from Israel and loss of ethnic identity.

      Reply to Comment
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