934 Comments

The continual conflation of the actions of the nation-state named Israel with the people who are Jewish continues to confound me.

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"Never waste a perfectly good crisis."

Israel was established as a state for stateless Jews after WWII. Its purpose was to be a Jewish state as a rallying point for diaspora from all corners of the globe. At the time Jewish was considered a "race" more than simply a religion. All types of Jews were persecuted collectively regardless of specific national heritage or form of worship.

Fast forward several decades and now Israel is a modern multi-cultural nation comprised of many secular Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other religious affiliations. Israel is an anomaly in a secularized world being a theocracy - a religion-based state. A separation of religion and state is seen as necessary and stabilizing in multi-cultural societies.

It is not simply coincidence that the current turmoil in the Middle East can be attributed to a clash of two theocracies - Israel and Iran. What could have been a disagreement between two nation-states has erupted into a holy war over the fate of the Holy City of Jerusalem. Religious fanaticism's first casualty is reason and logic. Iran-backed Hamas will sacrifice themselves and the entire population of Gaza as sacred martyrs for a religious cause. This is not about the states of Palestine and Israel, but a holy war over the Holy Land and as such there can be no compromise. https://johnhardman.substack.com/p/tower-of-babel-in-the-holy-land

Israel is fighting two wars - one with the Islamists and the other internally with Ultra-Orthodox Jews. The only way to disengage is for Israel to declare itself a secular state and to remove the Star of David from its national flag. Just as the flags of other modern nations have morphed over time, it is now Israel's time to let go of its founding Zionism and embrace a new mandate as a modern secular state open to a multitude of cultures and religions. Until then, any action that the state of Israel takes is construed as a religious act in a region with a long, sad history of holy wars. Until religion is removed from Israeli and Palestinian politics there will be no peace. https://johnhardman.substack.com/p/israel-iran-war-second-nekba

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Israel is not a theocracy. You are confusing a government based on religious law (like Iran), with the need for a state belonging to the ethnic group known as Jews. Why do Jews need a state? Because a legitimate sovereign state has a legitimate right to an army which can defend itself. Without that protection, you get six million dead in ovens and mass graves. That's the whole story. Israel is a democracy with many different groups enjoying full citizenship and rights, but Jews are the majority. This is not a holy war. Israel allows Muslims to worship at their sites; it's not really a problem. The minority of Orthodox Jews are often annoying, but so are MAGA Republicans -- everyone gets a voice. As far as removing the Star of David from its flag, again, that star is not just a religious symbol. It has represented a nation and a people for some 3,000 years. (It's laughable how only Israel has people telling it what to put on its flag, how to fight an existential war, how to think, blah blah blah, yada yada yada. It's all part of the perennial anti-semitism).

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Israel is not a democracy and never has been. It is a Jewish supremacist state, codified by law in 2018. It exists primarily for Jews. There are over 60 laws restricting the rights of non-Jews, making everyone else, including the indigenous Palestinian population, including Christian Palestinians, second class citizens. I've seen podcasts of Palestinians living in Israel and in Gaza and they are made to feel inferior and unwanted. It's an American fantasy that everybody's living together in Israel happily.

Your statement that "Israel allows Muslims to worship at their sites" is unfortunately false; as a matter of fact it's this very point that initiated the Oct. 7 attacks. Israel had been raiding the al-Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest in Islam, repeatedly, beating up worshippers in the process. Hamas repeatedly warned Israel there would be consequences if Israel didn't stop. Israel kept raiding.

Most of the rest of the world, certainly the Global South, sees Israel/Palestine as a classic case of settler colonialism. European (Jews) export their problems and prejudices to a weaker country outside themselves (why wasn't Israel established in Germany or Poland if in recompense for the Holocaust?), slaughter the natives, and grab the land for their own purposes. The Global South sees Jews as being neither favored (chosen people), nor privileged (owed something for the Holocaust). And believe me, the Global South knows genocide.

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May 9·edited May 9

So the Israeli parliament isn't real? Hotly contested elections are a phantom? Independent courts a fantasy?

The existence of antidemocratic forces doesn't negate that Israel has been and remains a vibrant democracy.

The European colonialism claim is equally baseless. Jews have a many millenia old claim and a very significant portion of the nation is comprised of Jews who were expelled from neighboring Arab countries, many thousands of Russian refugees and Ethiopians.

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No one said Israel doesn't have a parliament or contested elections; you are twisting my words. I said the Israeli parliament represents the interests of Jews. Israel's been declared an apartheid state by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and smaller orgs like the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), and B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group. It is anything but a "vibrant democracy".

The same about "independent courts", at least concerning Palestinians. Israel currently holds over 9000 Palestinians (there were 6000 before Oct. 7), including several hundred children, in prisons, most in indefinite detention without charges or trial. Palestinians that do come to trial are tried in military, not civil, courts, where the conviction rate is over 99%.

Like it or not, settler colonialism is how the Global South sees Israel/Palestine. Were Jews expelled from Arab countries before or after 1948?

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The occupied territories are, well, occupied. There was a war, in fact several. While I certainly don't want Gaza and the West Bank to be annexed, be careful what you wish for.

Mostly in 1948, more in later years. It's not hard to find out if you look. When you do, you'll see it's just one portion of millenia of expulsions.

The global south's view is hardly objective, granted with reason, but still far from objective.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsions_and_exoduses_of_Jews

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Elections are the pap that autocrats throw to populations to try to delude them into thinking they have a democracy. I don't know how it works in Israel so I will assume it is the same as in the U.S. Elections put the population to sleep, thinking anyone cares about their preferences, then the elected are free to sell their votes to the highest bidder (necessarily the rich since they have the highest money pots by definition), and the population's supposed preferences can be forgotten about until the next election. Majorities in the U.S. want available abortions, universal healthcare, diplomacy not war and etc. but do the elected representatives give a damn? Not at all. Democracy? That's BS. We have a representational autocracy. The Constitution was written to insure that.

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That's a nice little story that collapses a lot of complexity into an excuse for surrendering your agency.

It's hard to move any society to be more caring and equitable, but it's possible even with a structurally flawed representative democracy.

More people today have access to healthcare than ever in America. Is it sufficient? No. Is it possible to make it better? The progress made so far says yes. Will it be hard and take constant work? Of course.

Israel has been more progressive in some areas, but the constant pressure of living among nations that, by and large, have been immensely hostile since before independence cannot help but distort the liberal values the country was founded upon.

It's all too easy for populist demagogues to harness real or imagined threats to undermine democracy. But demagogues can be defeated and we need to all work together here and abroad to do so.

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Obviously you are not someone who can get pregnant. You are not of the LGBTQi community, or BIPOC community, or someone struggling to survive on social security or SSDI. I guess you take your Medicare for granted if you're old enough.

Maybe you're just a Russian/Koch bot. Whatever you are, your elaboration on the classic PR line of the Super Rich ("all politicians are the same") is nihilistic and doing their work for free. I say, #getoutthevote #bethechange

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Hasbara strawmen.

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Or not.

"There are no government statistics categorizing Israeli Jews as "Ashkenazi", "Mizrahi", etc, but studies and estimates have been conducted. In a 2019 study, in a sample meant to be representative of the Israeli Jewish population, about 44.9% percent of Israel's Jewish population were categorized as Mizrahi (defined as having grandparents born in North Africa or Asia), 31.8% were categorized as Ashkenazi (defined as having grandparents born in Europe, the Americas, Oceania and South Africa), 12.4% as "Soviet" (defined as having progenitors who came from the ex-USSR in 1989 or later), about 3% as Beta Israel (Ethiopia) and 7.9% as a mix of these, or other Jewish groups."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Israel

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Disinformation. Arab judges. Arabs in the Knesset. Arab Party.

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I've been told this before. Arabs may be in the government but they appear to have a negligible effect on policy, assuming they have the best interests of their own people at heart. Assume they're not for starving Palestinian children or bombing hospitals. The ones serving may be Israeli puppets serving Israeli interests (kind of like the discredited (in the eyes of Palestinians) Palestinian Authority), or they may be window dressing.

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Hasbara retort.

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what does that mean, please?

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Real quick: Al-Aqsa was built ON TOP of the Jewish Temple. Muslims freely visit Al-Aqsa, while Jews are prohibited. EVERY citizen of Israel has the exact same rights. Gaza is NOT Israel. It is governed by Hamas.

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Jews may be prohibited from going to al-Aqsa but they go there anyway, and frequently. It was the raids there that triggered Oct. 7. Israel's claims that the Oct. 7 attacks were unprovoked is baseless.

When you say things like every citizen of Israel has the same rights, you reveal you don't know what you're talking about. I mentioned in a post above Israel's been declared an apartheid state by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), and B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group.

Israel is an occupying force that controls both Gaza and the West Bank.

It's laid a siege on Gaza for the past 18 years (ever since Hamas was elected in) and controls everything that goes in and out. It limited food and medical supplies even before Oct. 7. Most Palestinians are very poor because Israel has destroyed their economy while Israelis are prosperous - this is by design. Hamas runs day to day affairs in Gaza as part of locals masking the face of occupation, a strategy long employed by occupying countries.

Israel has an enormously effective propaganda machine, and western media strenuously limit the Palestinian point of view. You might consider getting the viewpoints of actual Palestinians, and not just that of Israel.

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Thank you for your continual accuracy and honesty Patricia.

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Hasbara lies.

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Please, read more. Jews are not all powerful colonialist. They had no such rights or freedoms. Arabs on the other hand, were the original slave holders of white women and others for centuries.

Israel was not in the mosque. The raid on October 7th had been planned for two years. That's how long it took to get organized to kill Jews, who went out of their way to be nice to their neighbors, taking them to hospitals, helping to irrigate crops, the like.

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Palestinians would be hugely surprised that Israelis are "nice neighbors" given that they regularly steal Palestinian land, drive them from their homes (often in the middle of the night), burn their crops, subject them to 600 checkpoints in Gaza alone restricting freedom of movement, imprison them indefinitely without charges or trial, and, especially in the West Bank, murder them with impunity and no consequence.

The amount of Israeli propaganda is staggering.

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Doesn't Israel have military administration of all the territories it won by war in 1967 (except the Sinai which it gave back to Egypt)? And doesn't it have total control over the all the electricity, water supply and internet connections in the territories it occupies, even though it ostensibly no longer "administers" the territories? including all of Gaza? And doesn't the Israeli government fund and arm Jewish Israelis for the purpose of forcibly taking over land from non-Jews in the West Bank? And isn't Israel supported with billions of US dollars in aid from other colonial powers, including the US?

And aren't those "rights" and privileges the same as those of a colonial power by any other name?

The tension between democracy and the ethno-religious state are at the breaking point.

The huge disparity in power between Israel, with a per capita GDP of over $58,000, and Gaza, with a per capita GDP of $3,800, while Israel controls all of Gaza's essentials, and has one of the largest military forces in the world, are also classically colonial.

We have been blinded too long by our love for Israel as the idea of a refuge for the Jewish people. A true homeland.

It's similar to the way that White Americans are just beginning to grasp the cost of our success to others. Key word "othering." The only chance for peace is to educate ourselves and to accept responsibility for our past transgressions again those less powerful and privileged, and to recognize our common humanity.

By doing so we might even have a chance to focus on our shared existential threat of climate change, caused by the forces of greed that also deliberately try to divide us.

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What has become of the 800,000 Jewish people forcibly thrown out of Moslem nations . They lived in these countries for centuries. One fifth of the people in Israel are Moslem .Half the people in Israel are indigenous to the area. What percent of the people in Moslem nations are openly Jewish ? Why is it that the only people in the world expected to be good Christians are the Jews?

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Silly lies.

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It's sad and disheartening to find that this kind of thinking (or non-thinking) persists.

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Your comment is non-thinking.

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Would you please stop it with your arcane one-liners. Your comments are just a distraction.

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This is a laughable statement in so many ways.

As an American & an Israeli ( My father fought in Golani- 1967- my grandfather fled poland, his entire family wiped out-met my grandmother in Russia, then went to Austria, then Israel when it became a state)

There has been nothing but a constant stream of attempts to wipe Israelies off the map since it's inception.

People like you that talk about Israel like this, have no actual clue how Israel really is.

This is how, and why there is so much disinformation, and falsities invading the narratives & making people hate.

uhh Do you know how many Muslims are in the IDF?

Have you ever seen a video of soldiers on a train, while one of them (muslim) is praying?

Why don't you talk about all the other countries that were created after WWII?

Jordan, Pakistan, etc.

The jews voted in favor of a two state solution back in 47' and the arabs said "noipe" " Fuck y ou guys" and declared war the day after the signatures.

They lost that war, and every war since.

They only wanted Israel back after Jews turned a Desert into a paradise via human innovation and technological advancement.

Oh, and btw? Why did Israel take 2 747s loaded with medical equiptment, and Medical staff to Haiti after the Earthquake?

So much so, the American doctors were so ashamed they had to direct "severe trauma patients" to the Israeli tents, because they, and ONLY they, brought MRI, CT scans, and every piece of Medical equiptment halfway around the world--and were the FIRST to respond.

They also did this in Chile, and many other countries, but you'll never hear about it- you know why?Because they don't have the need to boast their accolades to the entire world like others.

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With your background you naturally embody the Jewish viewpoint and don't want to hear anything else.

The fact is Israel is trying to exterminate as many Palestinians as possible to do a massive land grab in Gaza. It has no interest in allowing the indigenous population anything.

The UN (controlled by western nations) had no right (other than that of force)to go in and carve Israel out of Palestine. The people living there at the time had no say in the confiscation of their lands and homes to create Israel, never received compensation of any kind, and had nothing to do with the Holocaust. If someone tried doing this to you, wouldn't you fight back?

People keep trying to justify Israel on the basis of a "best use" land theory, an "Arabs are savages and sub-human" theory, and Israel "does so much good in the world" theory. None of this justifies the theft of land and murder of the indigenous population.

Prior to the concept of Zionism in the late 19th century, Jews, Palestinians, Arabs, Greeks, and other groups lived in that area in relative peace and harmony. Antisemitism is a European idea, not a Middle Eastern one. But after the arrival of the Zionists everything changed.

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I looked up Matt Himmelstein's claim that the Israelis sent medical equipment to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. 80% of the reports were from Israeli sources but I can believe it. Jews have been helpers and doctors forever. The Jews I knew growing up were mostly socialist humanitarians and many of them became doctors. And most of all, Haitians don't threaten Israel in any way. But then Israel turns around and destroys all the hospitals in Gaza, and insures that many thousands will die of disease and starvation. Does anyone but me think that this more than cancels out a lone humanitarian mission to another distant country? I have thought for years that Israel's right wing plan was to depopulate Gaza radically, by genocide if necessary, and take all the land. And now it's happening. For me, this is nothing new and it has nothing to do with Oct. 7 events. This has been the plan forever. This is the real long term plan, not a 2-state and not a 1-state.

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Why are you not so passionate about the other 26 ACTIVE wars that are going on?

Libya? Syria?

It's so strange to me that no one seems to give a flying fuck about ANY other war, other than the one involving the Jews.

It's genuinely astounding.

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And what is your background?

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We will never convince them. No matter what Israel does, it is wrong. So let's stop trying. Israel exists; we are not giving it up; we will fight to the death to keep it; the Gazans did nothing with the land handed over to them - they squandered pride real estate and built tunnels instead. They should learn how to be productive and stop whining.

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Hasbara response.

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In response to your statement: sorry, not true.

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Kaliningrad! Set aside Kaliningrad as a homeland for European Jews. Near where they lived & were tortured & executed. Formerly Konigsberg in East Prussia, part of Germany, located between Poland & Lithuania, & then seized by the USSR & now an enclave of Russia, which doesn't deserve it.

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The far right in the U.S. consider America to be a "Christian nation" yet we do not have crucifixes displayed on our national flag. You are attempting to be logical when religious zealotry is existentially primal and illogical. The Star of David is a symbol of Judaism and Israel is symbolically a "Jewish nation."

The "minority of Orthodox Jews" are not simply a nuisance but politically prominent in the government of Israel with dangerous consequences. A majority of Israelis would like to be free of Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition but the war complicates the change in government. This is an opportunity for self-reflection and change. It would be a shame to waste it.

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Well, I guess we know what the war is about, now. Thank you for pointing it out. "A majority of Israelis would like to be free of Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition but the war complicates the change in government." He and his cronies don't want a change in government and the people might be pushing for just that.

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And how many Jewish and Muslim presidents have the U.S. had? Right, ZERO. So Christians are still running the show over here and yet they are whining about being ostracized. MAGATs are all over the place. I WISH we could get a Jewish POTUS. We DO have a Jewish second gentleman--a tiny bit of progress there.

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Crucifixes are CATHOLIC, not necesisarily Christian, as in Evangelical Christian or Christian Church.

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Yeah for meaningless details. Besides, your wrong. Trux and the cross are one and the same, christians were just too lazy to put a body on it. learn to laff, its all you got.

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That's not so. Many of the non-Catholic sects do not believe in depicting Jesus on the Cross. Not sure what their reasoning is, but if you go into a non-Catholic church you will not see a crucifix.

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You must not be Catholic. Protestants have crosses, not crucifixes, with a semblance of a dead body attached.

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deletedMay 9
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There are CROSSES on flags. That's CHRISTIAN.

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I think George Carlin figured out a long time ago that religion and politics don’t mix:

"The real reason we can't have the TEN COMMANDMENTS in a courthouse: You cannot post 'Thou shalt not steal," 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, and 'Thou shalt not lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment."

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Israel is wiping out the Palestinians with US weapons. I think the US should have a say, in fact we should be saying a whole lot more.

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Lisa-where are you getting your facts from? Do you not know that the stated intention of both the PLO and Hamas is to eradicate Israel? Who started this back in October 2023 by killing 1200 people and taking hostages. In my book, Israel cannot wipe out the Palestinians fast enough. we have enough terrorist organizations in the world and could easily do without the PLO and Hamas. Grow up and do your homework and stop taking the easy way out by blaming the "Americans". The fact is that the PLO wants all of Israel-not just what the UN awarded them in 1947. Hamas just hates Israel and wants to get rid of them because a Jew should never be over a Muslim according to Muslim beliefs. Both the PLO and Hamas have been very open and up front about what they believe and what they want-or haven't you been paying attention? Israel is at war and what is going on in Gaza is a consequence of that war. Gaza has been self governing since 2005 and look what the PLO and Hamas turned it into- staging area for terrorist attacks into Israel! The people in Gaza supported the PLO and Hamas and allowed them to mingle in the civilian population while they were building tunnels under hospitals and schools to smuggle arms in. When you lie down with dogs, you attract fleas and Hamas is the PLO's fleas. Now they want to whimper that they do not like what it takes to get rid of those fleas. The PLO has rejected EVERY peace offer since 1948 including a two state offer in 2005-obviously the PLO wants violence, if they did not they would come to the negotiation table prepared and ready to do what it takes to ensure that peace takes place-and yet-the PLO has rejected every single proposal in the 75 years since the UN decision to create Israel. It is time that they learned that their wish for violence has come to fruition. This has nothing to do with American weapons. The Israeli's are going to do what is necessary to protect their sovereignty as is their right-the only thing that having US weapons does is make it easier and takes less time. The PLO is like a street fighter who throws the first punch and then whines when their opponent hits them back hard. If you are going to do things like slaughter 1200 people and take more hostages be prepared to get hit back harder and don't whine about Israeli's not playing fair when you give aid and sustenance to the very enemy(Hamas) that started the war.

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"In my book, Israel cannot wipe out the Palestinians fast enough."

Evil genocidal garbage.

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Hasbara

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I reported barbara for hate.

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There are so many inaccuracies and falsehoods in here, one hardly knows where to begin, but I'll try addressing a few.

The Hamas charter says it has nothing against Jews or the Jewish religion, but is against the treatment of Palestinians by Israel, which has been oppressing, subjugating, and dispossessing them since Israel's inception. That is why Hamas exists. This history didn't begin Oct. 7.

It's Israel that wants it all and is unwilling to share with the indigenous population, which it's doing it's best to exterminate. If you look at a map of Israel and Palestine in 1948 and look at the same map today, you will see that there is practically no Palestine left.

It is a flat falsehood that the PLO has rejected every proposal put forth for peace and a 2 state solution (more Israeli propaganda), Israel has rejected many. During the 1990's and 2000's various coalitions of Arab countries proposed recognizing Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state (2 state solution) which of course implied recognition of Palestine by Israel. Israel either ignored these proposals or turned them down flat. (Kind of like it wouldn't accept the ceasefire agreement that had been brokered and Hamas accepted, just so it could invade Rafah).

Israel's not playing fair? It's committing war crimes by the ton, quite a different thing. It's against international law to cut off food, water, medical, electricity to a civilian population, bomb hospitals and destroy medical infrastructure, bomb schools, universities, churches and mosques, residential areas. Gaza's been made uninhabitable. People are starving and Israel fires on them when they try to access food. Israeli snipers target children age 3 and up, ambulance drivers, women waving white flags. It kills parents in front of their children. It especially targets journalists (over 120 killed in 6 months vs less than 20 killed in the 4 years of WW2) in an effort to keep its atrocities unknown. It has 9000 Palestinians imprisoned, most in indefinite detention without charges or trial. Life in Israeli prisons includes beatings, starvation and rape. When it comes to savagery, Israel is second to nobody.

This is not a war - which implies armies on both sides - but the wanton slaughter of a defenseless civilian population. You say Israel cannot wipe out Palestinians fast enough? The Final Solution to the Palestinian problem? You're no better than a Nazi.

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Your post here is so ignorant there isn't even a place to begin. Where do you get your information from? Start by actually reading the Hamas charter, which you clearly haven't done. Then get a few quality history books written by actual historians, not fabulists. There are objective facts and whatever it is you are reading is ignoring them.

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Biden is holding back the bombs now.

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Finally! Nethu replied they'll just use dumb bombs that kill more people. He's psychopathic.

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Is he really?

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Yes.

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I am glad, and emailed Biden to stay strong. Enough killing.

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Israel IS a theocracy, and for decades any Jew was able to immigrate based on BEING a Jew, per the Law of Return, but only on being a religiously-recognized Jew. My mother-in-law, an Orthodox Jew born in Warsaw, converted to B’hai, and she and her children were and are NOT considered Jews, in the sense that Israel sees them. My friend who converted from Catholic to Jewish before her children were born is a Jew and so are her kids. It’s the religion that is central.

Once living IN Israel, there’s so much more culturally going on, but the state is a theocracy set up primarily as a haven for Jewish people the world over … Religiously Jewish people, not culturally Jewish or Jewish by lineage.

Do I have this right?

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As a thought exercise, I like to consider a somewhat similar situation that would be created if the Native Americans in the US were to "buy," say, the state of South Dakota via casino proceeds and votes. They could then declare South Dakota to be a Native American Nation with appropriate sovereignty. Of course, the myriad number of US Government-violated treaties over history would further justify this action. Naturally, non-Native people living in South Dakota would not be too happy about suddenly finding themselves living in another country, and many if not most of them would immediately consider violence as the optimum solution to their problem.

By changing the people involved, from Jews and Arabs to Native Americans and "other" Americans, whole new ways of thinking about these situations evolve. Who's "right"? for starters...

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This thought experiment demonstrates the weakness of melding ethno-religiosity with statecraft. My ancestors are from the Balkans, where grudges persist for centuries because your neighbors use a different alphabet. Everyone needs to see Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” and come clean on their ethnic presuppositions. Either we’re one humanity or forever at war thanks to ethnocentrism.

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Thanks. This is spot on. I have used this comparison over the years, only to have people look at me as if to say. "Well, that's not going to happen", and then go on to defend the creation of Israel without the Palestinians even being at the table.

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Many of my own family members were born in a little town in the Alps in Austria. After a while, their town was no longer in Austria, but in Italy.

That sort of thing is not so unusual as you may think. Colonial rule drew arbitrary lines in the dirt, sometimes fragmenting long-held lands of ancient peoples, lots and lots of times in lots and lots of places.

And, YES, the arbitrary lines have and still do cause all sorts of trouble regarding which entity various people feel a sense of loyalty to.

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No. That is incorrect. Ethnic Jews have a right of return, even if they are secular.

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Thanks,

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May kids aren't considered Jewish for the purpose of the faith, but I read about The Law of Return passed in 1950, and that says {so far as I can determine} they can immigrate to Israel, if they so desire.

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Pat Goudey O'Brien, that's really interesting.

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I think ideas about matrilineage are mixed up and morph from place to place, but that’s how it was explained to me. I have several friends who converted to Judaism before starting their families for these reasons.

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I converted to Judaism before I married my Jewish husband 43 years ago. He mostly wanted me to so that our children would be Jewish. And should the need arise, they’d be able to emigrate to Israel. I was very comfortable with this because I was already attracted to the religion and the people.

I had an Orthodox conversion procedure which included the mikveh and a questioning before a Bet Din.

The need for Israel as a refuge is very important to most Jews. History does repeat itself.

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Despite what you said about Jews in other countries being able to return to Israel, they are not a theocracy. Because of the Holocaust, Israel needed such rules in order to provide a refuge for Jews worldwide. Other countries have similar policies: Ireland comes to mind and I’m sure there are others.

Being Jewish is more than an ethnic group (like the Irish) and more than a religion; it’s both.

No, it’s set up to provide a haven for anyone considered Jewish—they could be an atheist, it wouldn’t matter. It didn’t matter to the Nazis, which is very salient to this discussion.

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THAT part is certainly true. My own children would have been in the gas chambers, and at least half of my nieces and nephews and in-laws. But also my sisters, who were disabled, and not Jewish. It was a horrible time. The status of Jews as a people AND a religion, that has been the subject of books about how it came about. I have not read them, but plan to ....

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Once again, that old tired, detestable chestnut. Adolph Hitler is the final authority on who is Jewish and who is not. My father tried to pull that on me too. I thought I should have the final word on that subject.

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You seem to have missed the point of that “old, tired chestnut”. It’s so obvious, I won’t insult you by explaining it.

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May 9·edited May 9

Jewish by lineage is a way to become a citizen/emigrate to Israel. I was unaware that a born Jew that has converted is not considered Jewish. A non Jewish woman that has converted is okay? and so would her children be Jewish then because it's the mother that matters in terms of being considered Jewish- my understanding. As well I have heard from my (Jewish) religious relation that a person can convert, but can never leave their Jewishness. ( You can be verbally excommunicated by those who don't like what you did). In other words you are Jewish regardless. (I believe the Nazi's also felt this way) I understand religiously there is always the hope ( from the J community) that you will return. Of course there are so many opinions (Rabbis etc) and rules from different quarters. In Israel it's the Orthodox rabbis that make the rules for acceptance and they are very strict. To emigrate to Israel, one has to prove lineage/connection. That's what I know from personal experience/jhistory/relations over the years. Things may have changed.

PS. You don't have to be an observant Jew to be considered Jewish in Israel, if that is what you mean by "religiously" Jewish.

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I have not researched this issue — I have what people {religious and not religious} have told me. My mother-in-law converted before she had kids, so they were not Jewish, because when she had them, she was not Jewish.

It’s all pretty arcane.

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May 10·edited May 10

We have to be clear about who us making the rules. To be a Jewish citizen of Israel or to have “the right to return “ you have to prove you are Jewish. What that means beyond being born Jewish (having a Jewish mother) I am not sure. They have their rules in Israel that the orthodox rabbis agreed on.

I believe for your mother-in-law’s kids to be considered Jewish they too would have to convert. Then they can claim citizenship in Israel .

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If your peaceful demonstration involves a tent, you're doing it wrong.

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Why?

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Joan--Because peaceful demonstrations and camping don't mix.

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I’m not sure if that. It is a sit in of sorts. Placeholders. A place to be while staying one’s position.

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Troll.

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Are there other historic ethnic groups that have been so ill treated throughout history that they have needed their own state; yet, surrounded by those who may not like them? I think most recently of the Tibetans who do not have a sovereign country of their own.

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Armenians

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As someone said above, indigenous American tribes.

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The Kurdish people (44 million, I believe) had their land carved up and handed out by the careless English, French and others...

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Thank you for articulating what I could not.

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You really are laughable. We all know the truth now.

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The Jews are the majority now. But their birthday rate is falling. In a few years….?

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"annoying" yeah, it's so annoying when your leaders slaughter tens of thousands of innocent women and children while screaming "You will die, your children will die, your grandchildren will die!” in the Knesset ...

How can you be so dismissive of the current threat to democracy in Israel AND in the US? Both are hanging by a thread.

We are once again being played by the Oligarchy, the JP Morgans and Bushes and Duponts and Musks whose grandfathers supported the Nazi rise and who are now supporting the simultaneous rise and fall of Israel.

They already took the Supreme Court of the United States. How annoying!

Bibi's coup attempt was stopped, this time.

Do you think the Big Boys will stop there? Do you think Bibi will stop even after Gaza is bombed into dust and bone? What will happen to Arabs in Israel if he and his backers make it to the Sea? "From the Jordan to the Sea."

Do you think there will be a secular resistance in Israel and the zealots will just shrug and walk away from power? Or does the coalition have its own Project 2025?

The Oiligarchy and the Military Industrial Complex behind both MAGA And the rise of vicious racism in today's Knesset and Settlers and IDF are extremely dangerous to the viability of both our nations.

Bibi and Donny are just twin tools of the Billionaire class that wants Putin style power. They want kleptocracy, sanctified with a veil of Christian Jewish patriarchy.

Emphasis on the Christian.

The "existential war" isn't against the corrupt, weak terrorist groups, its' against the powerful merchants of death, the merchants of climate change and of chaos. The same group of merchants. From Koch and Tillerson to Putin and MBS to Modi, to Xi and Khameini, to all the greedy bastards waiting in line behind them.

Do you think Jews will be safe in the United States if the WASPs install The Don back in the White House and never hold another election?

Do you think the Leo Lewis crowd will keep supporting Jews after they have taken over? The Kushners maybe. Ackman? Mmmmm... not so much. So many assets to "acquire."

What would stop the Christian Nationalists from just taking the Holy Land itself, "their" holy land? They have their Red Heifers ready and they look forward to rising while the Jews "burn in hell for eternity." (I know because my neighbor talks about it all the time real loud on his front porch. He belongs to a "Temple" of Jews for Jesus.

Are you a billionaire? If not you are dispensable. Collateral damage. So annoying.

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Hamas and all radical Islam is the threat to democracy in Israel and the entire West. I hate Donald Trump; he's a would-be dictator, no doubt. I was never a fan of Bibi but I'm guessing his primary motivation is to stay out of jail. Israel is bigger than him. Jewish patriarchy? LOL. You don't know Jewish women.

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You have the chutzpah to say Israel is not a theocracy. And I take the pro-Zionist tone of the rest of your paragraph. You are delusional! And then you equate anti-zionism with anti-semitism. I suppose you think genocide is an unfortunate necessity.

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There is no religious entity ruling Israel. This is a fact. There is a religious faction that participates in its Parliament. This really isn't debatable.

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So who was defending the 40K dead Palestinians from the IDF GENOCIDE?

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Apparently no one. That’s the point. They want ( and these orders come directly from leaders in Qatar ) the women and children to die. Good PR.

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I'm a Jew; I don't need a state. And I reject your hasbara lies.

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Here's the reason for a "Jewish" state (and by Jewish I mean ethnically, racially, however you want to slice it but NOT religiously): without a state a people cannot have a legitimate military and cannot defend itself. It's that simple. Look at the Holocaust. Jews have been thrown out of European and Middle Eastern countries with no recourse, and slaughtered. The only thing that fixes that is having your own state. You may not feel the need for it -- that's fine. But there is a need.

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Thank you Robin.

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I don't have strong disagreement with the thoughts expressed by John. However, Israel is still regarded by secular as well as religious Jews who don't live in Israel as the last refuge for Jews. Jews have been kicked out of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, etc. as well as not welcome in many other countries. The fear of being exiled is real. I would recommend Israel having stronger Constitutional protection for Non-Jews (and I confess to not knowing what protections currently exist) but to divest religion entirely from Israel is 1. A nonstarter and 2. contrary to Jewish convictions around the world who regard Israel as their ONLY safe place

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Alan, did it never occur to you that Israel is not a refuge for Jews, that Israeli Jews will not be "safe" until the other half of the population, the Palestinians also are safe? If I were an Israeli Jew, I would emigrate to any number of democratic countries in which Jews are not locked into an interminable struggle to deny half the population its basic human rights.

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Israel is a visceral place. It's home. Its mentioned in our Torah, or the old testament. As a jew, I feel at home there in a way I can't describe. And I agree with you, that Israel isn't really safe until the Palestinians are too. However, there have been sabotages coming from both sides, over and over again. If Hamas would stop indoctrinating their population and children that Jews are pigs and deserve to die, it would help get us to peace faster.

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Yet it's well-known that Israeli children are indoctrinated to see Palestinians as sub-human, etc.

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Actually it's not. Im ending this thread.

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Well known by whom? Have you ever been to Israel or is that just more garbage? I've been and that was way back before the 6

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You seem to have missed the statements about the inhumanity of Palestinians made by members of Netanyahu's government who regard each and every Palestinian child as a current or potential member of Hamas and therefore expendable. You also seem to have missed the fact that where Israel now stands was equally viscerally home to many generations of Palestinians before they were driven into exile when the modern state of Israel was created. For several decades, the increasingly "conservative" Israeli government has gone far beyond protecting Israel and done things which seem dedicated to making the Palestinians are unable to feel at home where they now live, but re as miserable as possible (destroying farmer's olive groves, etc.). Today's "war" is just a massive expansion of that approach seemingly in the hopes that the Palestinians will all just exile themselves from Gaza so that Netanyahu can recreate the Kingdom of Solomon with absolutely no appreciation or acknowledgment of what happened to that Kingdom nor how briefly it existed. The Netanyahu government's current paths do not lead to safety but destruction. If they continue, you will absolutely NOT feel safe.

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Jews lived in Israel for over five Centuries. Arabs came later ot coexisted with them, until the crusades, the Romans and others drove people out.

Hardly anyone like Netanyahu. When they finally have elections, he will be defeated and jailed. Few Jews ascribe to his warped visions.

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Sally, Israel is a visceral place for some Jews but by no means all Jews. When I visited Israel and the West Bank in 2013, as an American Jew, I felt that Israel was alien to me, and that is because Israel isn't a democracy. A democratic country cannot be a democracy on the front end and a tyrannical state on the back end, that is in the occupied territories, where 5 millions stateless Palestinians are devoid of political, legal and basic human rights. Stand on any rooftop in the West Bank, and a person will see evidence of the occupation ebbed in the landscape: miles and miles of separation walls, a duel road system, and the presence of black water tanks on the roofs of Palestinians homes but not on Jewish Israeli buildings. The Palestinian homes need water tanks because of restricted water supply from Israel, whereas the settlements don't.

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I understand your point. Israeli has a lot to do to improve with their neighbors. The walls are up to keep some semblance of peace and order. The murder rate from the Arab military went way down after their building.

Much more needs to be done to speed up entry, with water and the like.

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Those of us who grew up without a religion that is also an ethnic identity, don’t have a desire for a homeland. I refer to Christianity, which is a credo instead of a bloodline. Q: is Judaism still a bloodline-based religion?

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Somewhat.yes Jewish people are born into our faith. While people convert, we don't proselytize.

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No, that will never occur to me.

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Sadly us humans invented different religions around the world that has caused misery for thousands of years. I think a new awareness must emerge that's healthy and embraces wellbeing.

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As a child of the 1950s-60s, I know that many in my age group searched for a process-based path to truth such as Zen Buddhism (Alan Watts, Kerouac, Ginsberg) or Sufism (Meher Baba) or yoga (Swami Vishnudevananda, Maharishi) in reaction to our perception that our heritage religion (Lutheranism, Methodism, Judaism) is self-limiting, leading inevitably to our tendency to make spurious distinctions between other people and their traditions. Historical religion seemed to me and many of my young friends as an impediment to perceiving and achieving the oneness of humanity.

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Stan of Stanistan, I agree with your view. I don't know if you are familiar with Deepak Chopra but I also think he would agree with you. Here's a great talk he gave last December that I think you would really enjoy: https://youtu.be/YU04HibKx9o

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Yes, Joan, I attended a lecture in Palm Beach by Deepak Chopra in 1989. His worldview is based in empiricism, not ethnism. As a child of Balkans ancestry, his worldview is invaluable to me.

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Israel is not a theocracy. It was founded by secular Jews. Jewish law is not the law of Israel. It is a democracy. Lots of Jews do not practice or believe in Judaism, and they have full right of return. Israel was founded for ethnic Jews, both those who are religious and those who are not. There are also plenty of non-Jewish citizens of Israel and they have full rights of citizenship.

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The Holy Land does not appear to be very holy these days. Religion is the bane of humanity.

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'..these days'?? The so called 'Holy Land' has to be the most blood-soaked soil on the planet...for at least 4 thousand years.

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While I tend to agree as regards religion, Lee, history has shown that the persistent persecution of Jews, practicing or not, assimilated or not, makes it necessary to have a place of refuge where Jews can live free of anti-semitism. The events of late, such that everyone wants a ceasefire yet somehow fail to raise their voices to demand release of hostages, only make it all the more clear. Now more than ever, Jews need a homeland.

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Until individuals stop identifying with a particular and exclusive ethnic group, they will inevitably be persecuted by some other group. It occurs to me that Marx’s greatest contribution was to try to re-focus our mind on economic class and away from ethno-religious identity.

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Do you think that German Jews in the 1920s identified as an exclusive ethnic group and so invited their own persecution? German Jews had pretty much fully assimilated into German society. Then they were blindsided by Nazism.

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From what I’ve read, the Jews of Germany had assimilated and yes were blindsided. I fear we have a similar situation with Drumpf, whose plainly stated intent for unwanted people is to put them into camps. Many republicans say, “Oh, that’s just Trump being Trump: he doesn’t mean it.” Same with Hitler, I’ve read. The old hands of German politics thought they could contain Hitler — until he declared a state of emergency and assumed dictatorial powers till May 1945.

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I was just today looking up the photos shot by Elizabeth “Lee” Miller in 1945 showing the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp. Impressive lady.

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“Israel is an anomaly in a secularized world being a theocracy - a religion-based state”

Far from it. There are many religion-based states. Iran and the Vatican just to name an obvious two.

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It was created that way. Go look at the founding documents before opining.

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I don't get your point. Are Iran and the Vatican not theocratic states because of something in Israel's founding documents?

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Both of which have long histories of holy wars which is my point about the secularization of nations bringing an end to nationalization of religious zealotry.

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Non-Jews are full citizens of Israel with full rights, including voting, running for and serving in office. Arabs are exempt from military service, which is compulsory for others. Israel is not a theocracy, but many of the right-wing want it to be, as in the United States. The flag bearing the Star of David is not exclusively a religious symbol, but a historical one. David was a monarch, not a priest. Some laws of the Torah are incorporated into Israeli government, just as in the United States. There have been no "holy wars" instigated or fought by Israel in modern times. The last one I can recall was the Maccabean revolt in 167 BC. And that wasn't fought to try to enforce Judaism on the occupation forces, but to stop being forced to adhere to their religion.

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I would contend that Israel has been in an almost constant series of "holy wars" from its inception in 1948. As long as the Star of David is its national symbol, any war it engages in sparks subconscious religious zealotry both internally and externally.

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Now those are truly antisemitic statements. Blame the victim for being invaded, and using a symbol that "sparks subconscious religious zealotry".

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As opposed to Europe in the Middle Ages? The Hundred Years War? what a drag that must have been on society and the economy.

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Excellent points, thank you.

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I agree with your point about Iran; I think the analogy is weak as relates to Vatican City State. With 764 inhabitants and an area of .19 square miles, Vatican City is minuscule compared to Israel. As small as it is, in 2016 Pope Francis welcomed several Muslim Syrian refugee families to live in Vatican City.

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Sure, it's small and has accepted refugees. But despite its size and actions it remains, by definition, a theocratic state. Which was the point being made.

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It is NOT and never was a theocracy. It was founded by secular Jews. Do you not understand that not all Jews practice religion? Being Jewish is an ethnicity. Some Jews practice religion. Many do not.

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Wait. The Vatican was founded by Jews?

I think your comment isn’t really responding to what I wrote.

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what you are proposing would make no difference whatsoever. Remember what the Nazis did to secular Jews--even to Jews who had converted and become Christians or even Christian clergy?

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Yes, Hitler’s attempt to eradicate Jews, even those who had fully assimilated German culture (think of “Die Fledermaus”) was based on the idea of bloodline, which of course also characterized those who were truly German. It was an exercise in bloodthirsty idiocy as we all agree. Not being much of a historian, I don’t understand how the Vatican could have signed an agreement with Hitler in apparent disregard of his maniacal tendencies.

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If you mean Strauss, he had no Jewish origins

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Thanks for the info. Since a major character in Die Fledermaus is named Eisenstein, I assumed he was one of the wealthy Jewish residents of Vienna, who owned, according to Timothy Snyder, 70% of the real estate in the Ringstrasse.

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Zionism was created because no matter how long Jews live in a country no matter how valuable they are to a country when things get rough the non Jews have a target . In 1947 after the world knew some of what the Nazis did ,approximately 60% of Americans believed the Jewish people must have done something to cause the murdering of 4 out of 5 Jewish people . There has been no group in this nation that supported civil rights for all minorities like the Jewish people and we now see the growth of anti semitism among the left as well as the right who have always been bigots. I don't have any love for any nation that is run by any religion ,but if one looks at this country today ,if you look at history from well before Hitler ,one fact is obvious . Jewish people will become targets eventually .

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The real religious clash in the Middle East is not between Islam and Judaism. It's between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. It's Saudi Arabia vs. Iran. Everyone else is caught in the middle.

Israel and Saudi Arabia are inching closer together and Hamas (funded by Iran) stages a terrorist attack on Israel. Hezbollah (another Iranian client) attacks from Lebanon), the Houthi rebels (another Iranian client) stirs up trouble off the coast of Yemen. All co-ordinated by Iran.

Netanyahu is a short-timer. As soon as there are elections, he's history. Let's focus on that. He's lost the confidence of his own people, due to his conduct of this war.

Your theories are completely off-base.

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And, all those missiles and drones launched against Israel by Iran were just for show...

I do not argue your thesis of the power struggle between Sunni Arabs and Shi'a Persians, but the fate of Jerusalem is at the core of the religious fanaticism on both sides. The problem for Israel is that it currently occupies Jerusalem and Iran is infiltrating Sunni Islamists to be proxy martyrs in a Shi'a drive to "purify" the Holy City. https://johnhardman.substack.com/p/israel-iran-war-second-nekba

My theories are still valid as long as Israel is a "Jewish state" occupying Islam's holiest shrine. The only way out (other than genocide or ethnic cleansing) is for Israel to become a secular state and cede Jerusalem to a neutral party such as UNESCO to become a cultural heritage site rather than a flash point of religious extremism. The ousting of Netanyahu is the beginning of the formation of a secular Israel but not the end solution.

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Israel is not a theocracy. It is a secular state. There goes your entire theory, I’m afraid. Care to revise?

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Julia: So you're saying that any Hindu or Rohinga or Catholic or Bahai is just as likely to arrive at the gates of Israel claiming to be returning and be welcomed in and end up in the Knesset as a Jew would be? Since it's such a secular state, right? What is there about a Zionist membership card that comes with an obligation to disdain truth and start quoting Israeli propaganda?

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Nope, like I mentioned, secular Israel is being attacked internally by far right religious fanatics hoping to transform Israel into a full theocracy - a "pure" Jewish state.

"Thirty-two of the coalition’s sixty-four members in the Knesset (out of a hundred and twenty parliamentary seats) are disciples of so-called religious parties, the political arms of theocratic communities. These parties, and factions of parties, can be divided into three groups: The largest alliance, with fourteen seats, is religious Zionism, whose forebears were preoccupied with preserving the rabbinic privileges afforded by the British Mandate in the new state of Israel—such as supervision over marriage, burial, conversion, and dietary laws, and state-supported religious schools—but which, since 1967, has been overtaken by the messianic claims of West Bank settlers. The Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, with seven seats, represent self-segregating communities living mainly in and around Jerusalem. Shas, with eleven seats, are a populist, anti-élite party of Orthodox Mizrahi immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East, who tend to be poorer and less educated.

In recent years, the three groups have meshed ideologically into the “national camp,” adhering in particular to the ultranationalist, Greater Israel vision of the religious-Zionist alliance: prohibiting the surrender of Biblically promised land, and moving the state further toward Orthodox law. Indeed, the other, anchoring half of the government majority, Netanyahu’s Likud party, includes many rank-and-file members who also openly identify with religious Zionism. (The new minister of environmental protection, Idit Silman, is a former backbencher of a religious-Zionist party who jumped to the Likud last summer, abandoning the “change government” of Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, thereby helping to bring it down.)

So, at least half of the coalition government cannot be said to be on the right in any ordinary sense, because its leaders and followers aren’t really committed to the secular social contract..." https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/netanyahus-government-takes-a-turn-toward-theocracy

While in theory Israel is still a secular country, in actually it is drifting towards religious zealotry and to becoming a true theocracy. My point is Israel was founded precariously as a "hybrid" democratic religious state. That balance has been violated and an insurgence of Orthodox Jewish zealotry is transforming the nation into something more resembling Iran than the founding secular socialist state. As protestors have remarked, they are repulsed by rabid Zionism and rightly so. I miss the old "hippie" Israel and its secular Jewish leaders.

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Are you writing to get published by the college crowd with obscure words like " diaspora " or are you trying to impress us with your heady language? As a career broadcast TV newsman, I learned to write PLAIN ENGLISH so as to not exclude the majority of my potential readers. Academics should learn from that notion. Suggest you find a copy of Rudolf Flesch's book "How to Write, Speak, and Think More effectively." He's passed away but he was a well known consultant for lawyers and regulation writers to speak our language clearly.

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Fwiw, I don’t consider “diaspora” to be an obscure term. Anyone who reads history will be familiar with the word—it’s often used when describing both the Jews and the Irish.

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Greg Byron: You call yourself a journalist/newsman and you think diaspora is a ten dollar word? You didn't really go to school or do any reading before calling yourself a newsman, did you? Or did you mistakenly read the companion work How to Write More Dumb?

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My undergrad degree is in journalism and my masters degree is in psychology. I know how to write in a broad variety of formats depending on the audience. I have a high regard for the Substack audience.

Diaspora is a common word regarding the fate of Jews after their enslavement and dispersal by the Romans during the first century CE. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_diaspora#:~:text=According%20to%20Josephus%2C%20about%2097%2C000,to%20Carthage%20by%20the%20Romans.

Here's another difficult word for you - "ad hominem" - Latin for attacking a person rather than staying focused on the facts. I notice you have no comment on the discussion but choose to attack my writing style instead. I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln: "Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." https://www.txst.edu/philosophy/resources/fallacy-definitions/Ad-Hominem.html

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Too bad Mr Reich can't get his mind wrapped around this.

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Oh, I. believe he can but we are all so caught up in the minutiae of the moment and the mythologies of the past we all remain in our “boxes.” How to secularism the Holy Land is a mind-blower.

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Palestine was always multicultural, this is not a new development. Also, this is not a religious war and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians started before Israel was even a state. I'll remind you, there is considerable number of Christian Palestinians. This is a war about land first and foremost and who has a right to it and also about the methods used to secure and exercise those rights. The Israelis use systematic brutality to ensure what they think of as their rights. Furthermore, Zionism was secular to its core from its founding!

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If it were simply a war about land, it could have been settled decades ago. The UN Partition Resolution envisioned two states. Israel agreed but on declaring its statehood it was attacked by tribal Palestinians and joined by neighboring Arab states Egypt and Jordan who had designs on Gaza and West Bank territories.

"After looking at alternatives, the UN proposed terminating the Mandate and partitioning Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized (Resolution 181 (II) of 1947)." https://www.un.org/unispal/history/

The forgotten history of the region was heavily influenced by Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who was an ardent Nazi collaborator during WWII and adapted European fascist ideology to become the basis for the radical Islamist movement after the war. He was a rabid antisemitic and generally anti-Western. He was also implicated in the assassination of Jordanian King Abdullah I for collaborating with the West and the new state of Israel. https://johnhardman.substack.com/p/hitlers-grand-mufti

Yes, systematic brutality and terrorism has been prevalent in the region since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. The PLO has a long violent history in the region which is why Palestinians are not welcomed now in Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon.

"In 1969 Yasser Arafat, leader of Fatah, was named the PLO’s chairman. From the late 1960s the PLO organized and launched guerrilla attacks against Israel from its bases in Jordan, which prompted significant Israeli reprisals and led to instability within Jordan. This, in turn, brought the PLO into growing conflict with the government of King Hussein of Jordan in 1970, and in 1971 the PLO was forcibly expelled from the country by the Jordanian army. Thereafter the PLO shifted its bases to Lebanon and continued its attacks on Israel. The PLO’s relations with the Lebanese were tumultuous, and the organization soon became embroiled in Lebanon’s sectarian disputes and contributed to that country’s eventual slide into civil war. During that time, factions within the PLO shifted from attacks on military targets to a strategy of terrorism—a policy the organization fervently denied embracing—and a number of high-profile attacks, including bombings and aircraft hijackings, were staged by PLO operatives against Israeli and Western targets." https://www.britannica.com/topic/Palestine-Liberation-Organization

Yes, as I mentioned Israel was originally founded by secular Jews with a distinct socialist agenda. It has only been recently that the Ultra-Orthodox sects have gained political power pulling the nation to the far right politically and the rising militancy against the Arabs in the region. The present struggle is between ultra-conservative Islamists against Netanyahu's coalition of Ultra-Ortodox Jewish zealots. There is also the sub plot of Shi'a Iran infiltrating Sunni Islamist factions to cause turmoil with its rival Arab nations and to regain control of Jersaleum to muddy up the water. No, this is NOT a simple land dispute.

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Two words: Deir Yassin, carried out by secular Jews before the Nakba

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Oh, if only that simple. You left out the part about the 1947-48 civil war in Mandatory Palestine with Arabs and Jews fighting one another and the pathetic Brits caught in the crossfire. You are also leaving out Nazi sympathizer and rabid antisemite Al-Husayni Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who lead the attacks on the new nation of Israel.

"On 22 February 1948, supporters of Mohammad Amin al-Husayni organized, with the help of certain British deserters, three attacks against the Jewish community. Using car bombs aimed at the headquarters of the pro-Zionist Palestine Post newspaper, the Ben Yehuda St. market and the backyard of the Jewish Agency's offices, they killed 22, 53, and 13 Jewish people respectively, a total of 88 fatalities. Hundreds of others were injured." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947–1948_civil_war_in_Mandatory_Palestine

All this happened in the chaos of the aftermath of WWII over 76 years ago. There was lots of blood on the hands of both sides at that time. https://johnhardman.substack.com/p/hitlers-grand-mufti

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Btw, Britain was hardly just caught in the crossfire. They were the deliberate target of the Zionists in such capers as the bombing of the King David Hotel, among other things

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Yes, your remarks prompt me to read up on the Polish Zionists, who apparently were socialist rather than exclusively religionist in orientation.

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Israel in the beginning was highly socialist which drew the attention of communist USSR hoping to bring the new socialist state into its sphere of influence. Israel wisely resisted choosing to align with prosperous Western nations instead. My, how far Israel has strayed from its kibbutz beginnings shifting from the far left now to the far right. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-04-25/ty-article/.premium/israel-at-75-how-a-young-socialist-nation-became-capitalist/00000187-b3fb-d803-ad8f-fffb87c30000

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Zionists were both secular and socialist before the founding of the USSR

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Yes, and can be again...

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Then ALL theocracies must be disbanded. Why should Israel do that when Iran isn't doing that? Yes, I like living in a secular state where we are trying to keep church and state separate. But as long as there are other theocracies, Israel should keep its status as a Jewish state. The King of England is the head of the Church of England. So you got your Christian state right there. Iran is your Muslim state. Israel is your Jewish state. Are there Buddhist states? Tibet was one until Communist China got in there. The Dalai Lama lives in exile as the head of a Buddhist state. So there you are. . . .Keep Israel Jewish.

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Some of my relatives have considered converting to Judaism — just for the humor of it all.

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True, but fat chance! More’s the tragedy!

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Reminds me of the statement by the famous Jew Einstein: "Insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results."

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@ Hardman. Oy. Balfour Declaration 1917 established a "homeland for the Jews."

Crusaders attacked Jews and Muslims in Haifa and Jerusalem. They still live side by side peaceably in Haifa but in 1948, the Arab Legion/Jordan took the old city of Jerusalem. It was restored in 1967. Meanwhile more than 650,000 Sephardic Jews were expelled from Moslem countries and sent to Israel. More than a million Jews in Israel speak Arabic as their first language. Maybe a hundred thousand speak Farsi. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_the_Muslim_world#:~:text=Primarily%20a%20consequence%20of%20the,these%20Jews%20resettled%20in%20Israel.

Most Christian Arabs are vehemently anti Islamist. .

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And, my point is much has changed since 1917 and this is an opportunity for self-reflection and an overdue revision of its original mandate. The Israel of the 20th century may not fit the 21st.

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No mystery there, Don. The power of hatred is such that any rationale, real or manufactured can fuel its expression, especially the truth.

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In Pennsyltucky, Tree of Life is Exhibit A. 11 murdered. The perp was influenced by Soros hatred. Happened long before Oct. 7, 2023. Here's my brother's book .Lives 2 blocks from the murder scene, is a member. He depicts us as honorary white people, not the kind that represent MAGA. . https://www.amazon.com/Tree-Other-Poems-Jonathan-Solomon/dp/1662872534

Unfortunately hatred resides in the collective racial subconscious of a large part of the population. C.G. Jung.

As a card carrying Semite, I don't think Robert has a handle on at all. He now recognizes that Biden has been clandestinely working on a solution, but after his false allegations the past couple of weeks he needs to apologize.

To get rid of Netanyahu, the most effective way is to elevate Benny Ganz. Even if the primary motivation of the protests may not be antisemitism, antisemites took advantage of the situation. Robert does not mention Benny Ganz, who leads in the polls in Israel, would displace Netanyahu, supports a two state solution, which is US policy, is at 85 %. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Gantz

From onset, the Knesset had the ability to do a deal in principle on the table. There was a pause, but Hamas would not deal. Qatar, Egypt etc are not principals and are not honest brokers. Qatar is NOT a mediator. Qatar grants amnesty to murderers, rapists. Egypt and Jordan, only a few miles from the action refuse to accept innocent Gazans.

Both the US and Israel say the numbers of dead are half Hamas. And the numbers are BS. Hamas has a history of killing its own people and blaming Israel. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/05/gaza-palestinians-tortured-summarily-killed-by-hamas-forces-during-2014-conflict/

To me, card carrying Semite, the acid test is whether the leaders of those protests would support Ganz. to achieve removal of Netanyahu?

Congress makes appropriations. Besides Gaza, we were close to war with Iran, and some of the hostages in Gaza are US citizens. US ships have been attacked by Yemen, who says they did it to support Hamas. Hamas is a proxy of Iran and maybe Russia.

Meanwhile the Trump blueprint is laid out in Heritage foundation Project 2025. Reinstate Muslim bans. Concentration camps. Mass deportations. Trum allies want a country where only "Christians" have full citizenship.

Robert has not called out the bots, trolls and others who attribute congenital evil to all Jews, misrepresent the nature of Israel, which has an Arab Party, Arab members in the Knesset, and Arab Druze voluntarily serving in the army. I do not know this as a fact but I bet the Arab Party supports Ganz. What about Robert? What about the mayor of Dearborn? The leaders of the Columbia protests?

Nobody is protesting the hundreds of thousands of Arabs killed by their brethren in Syria and Yemen.

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thank you for your thoughtful comments, Daniel. I, too live near the Tree of Life Synagogue and lost several close friends in that dreadful massacre which left a miasma of existential fear hanging over the city that iit seems will never go away. Witnessing unbridled hatred leaves a permanent scar on memories.

I agree that Netanyahu must be deposed. He and his power hungry cronies are a clear and present menace to the world. Benny Gantz is indeed part of the solution and though I support the idea of a two-stage solution in theory, I fear it will not eliminate the ingrained hatred that has poisoned the entire Middle East. Establishing a legitimate border between Palestine and Israel may provide merely a"formal" border between the two countries but it will be one that is easily breached by the smallest of hateful expressions from either side. I hate to sound so negative here but aside from divine intervention, we still have much work to do to correct our species flaws.

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My sense of Mr. Reich is he’s been living in a fog when it comes to Israel and these protests. I still can’t get over his statement that some of the protesters “may be antisemitic”. Really, Robert? Ya think?

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You’re reminding those of use who feel the intensity of this war, to spend some time in Israel and get a feel for what’s really happening. After all, if it goes wrong, it could be the start of WW3.

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founding

Thank you, Don A. I am Jewish and I think Israel's behavior is appalling.

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Don, I agree that conflating Israel with Judaism is just wrong. It is like conflating Nazi Germany with all Christianity.

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Hitler claimed that his movement was ultimately Christian in nature. An obvious falsehood.

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Hitler did indeed call himself Christian and was raised Catholic. And based his pogram against the Jews on Bible claims.

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Do you know the definition of "Jew" as put forth by the orthodox who strongly oppose Zionism? If you did, I believe it would clear up a lot of the confusion.

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Yes . . .the Orthodox did oppose Zionism but, now, only some of the various Orthodox sects do.

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Alan, don't feed the reptiles.

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Alan, I will offer my path as an example. Over a dozen years ago, I came to reject Christianity as a result of studying Torah/Tanakh. I am what orthodox Jews call a "Noahide." -- a non-Jew who is on the way to convert to Judaism.

My views come out of this life experience -- which has not been easy. But dedicating one's self to truth never is.

I am not a "reptile." To understand why some so-called orthodox corrupted themselves to service to nationalist idolatry, I recommend becoming familiar with Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro's work.

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And why were the devout Orthodox so opposed to a nationalist movement that sprung up in the late 1800s?

Chaim Potok -- from The Chosen: "You Zionists are WORSE than Nazis. Hitler destroyed Jewish bodies, but YOU are destroying the Jewish soul." B"H

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Yes, we witness the rabbit hole that these discussions lead to in disregard for our common humanity.

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I understand. I try to avoid using words that demonstrate a lack of respect for my fellow human beings.

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I find it difficult to think that Zionists are worse than Hitler. Gimme a break, Chaim Potok.

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Agree. I see four strands in this conflict: the Israeli people (in favor); homicidal maniac Netanyahu (not in favor); the Palestinian people (in favor); the hate-filled, Iran- and China-funded terrorist group, Hamas (not in favor). Let's keep these four strands separate, shall we? I think they have little to do with each other, although of course they overlap to some degree. For instance, only 15% of the Israeli people support Netanyahu, according to a recent Israeli poll.

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They (the Genocide supporters) use the term (antisemitism) to hopefully quell dissenters. Crying wolf too often and eventually no one believes you. Anti-Israel government is NOT ANTISEMITISM.

Being anti-Netanyahu is NOT ANTISEMITISM

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The injustice that has Americans and others angry is the math...Netanyahu has punished the loss of a thousand Jews with 25,000 mostly women and children as UNPROPORTIONAL. When we punish other nations for warlike activites OUR government tries to keep retaliation proportional. Clearly Netanyahu didn't... what kind of pressure in ISRAEL is on him for that mistake? (I presume he and his advisors don't believe it's a mistake, but is required to ferret out Hamas and do it quickly.

I do not understand why Israel can't blockade shipment of weapons into Palestinan areas just like all countries do to protect their borders. Why is Israel in such a hurry to weed Gaza of the terrorists there? Yes it does sound a bit like genocide.

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Blaming every Jew, everywhere, for the actions of the state of Israel is the very quintessence of anti-semitism. I can't even begin to think of what would be a parallel to it.

But these campus protestors are holding all Jews in America responsible for the actions of Bibi Netanyahu--even though very few of them (and very few Israelis) support what he's doing.

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That is absolutely false, Marla. Many of the protestors are Jewish.

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Have you read or seen what's been said in the encampments? Those Jewish protestors are delusional. Being singled out as a Zionist, simply for being Jewish and denied passage to your classes or access to the library or to your dorm by these protestors, Jewish or not, is anti-semitism. They're best described as Chickens For Colonel Sanders.

Trust me, when they come for you, it won't matter. All they will see is that you're Jewish.

The residents of those kibbutzim in southern Israel who worked with and helped the residents of Gaza, were sympathetic to them, provided medical care, delivered their babies? Slaughtered along with everyone else on October 7.

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A right-wing government is generally 99% wrong, especially in military matters.

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Another great post. It's especially important for Jews to say that being against Israel's actions in Gaza does not constitute antisemitism. Thanks, Robert!

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Some can't tell the players, even with a scorecard. Most American Jews, probably north of 70% are Democrats who opposed Netanyahu.. We are the babies thrown out with the bathwater.

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I remember saying OCT 7th. "man.... if there was one cat us Jews don't need in power right now.... it's Netanyahu... He's gonna fuck this up." And a VERY important part of the story has just been swept under the rug.... Netanyahu was elected AS A HARDLINER. So how on earth is this guy even allowed to go near power after OCT 7th happens under his watch?! He got intel from egypt. He had displaced military elements to the west bank front.... Day 1--you're gone, awaiting trial. Next in line, you're up.

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