If you want peace in Israel, evict God

This weekend, I travelled to Philadelphia for my grandmother’s unveiling. What is an unveiling? One of the most pleasantly outdated religious traditions I’ve ever encountered.

According to Jewish law, when a person dies they must be buried as soon as possible – generally no more than a week after passing. However, during the early Diaspora it took longer than that to carve headstones or erect small monuments, around which multiple members of the family would be buried. This being the case, the funeral would be held sans-headstone and the family would reconvene at the cemetery some time later – usually a month – to “unveil” the headstone or monument and revisit the memory of their loved one.

In the present day, it doesn’t take that long to carve headstones. However, Jews still observe the practice of “unveiling” the headstone at a time when everyone in the immediate family is available. Because, really, why not?

Despite the tradition’s secular roots, the Jewish equivalent of bureaucracy has retroactively assigned religious justification to the fundamentally secular practice. Depending on which rabbi you ask, and I’ve asked a few, there are different scriptural and/or Talmudic injunctions mandating unveilings, along with mutually exclusive “correct” ways to carry them out. Sometimes a minyan (ten bar mitzvahed men) is required, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes a rabbi needs to be there, sometimes they don’t. Et cetera, et cetera.

Israeli flag

Israel via Shutterstock

Every community and family seems to have a slightly different way of going about unveiling the headstones of their loved ones (I invite commenters to add their own experiences). If you assume secular origins, the tradition makes a great deal of sense; if you assume a religious mandate, this comes off as arcane and pedantic – why bother pretending that a practice borne out of necessity is a religious mandate? Either way, my family likes seeing each other, so we ironically don our yarmulkes and listen to the rabbi say Kaddish – or we skip the yarmulkes and say a few words in English without a rabbi – and then we go get lunch.

My experience with unveilings is, I think, indicative of the orientation that a lot of Millennial Jews such as myself have towards their Jewish heritage. And I use the word heritage instead of religion because a third of Millennial Jews, myself included, have no religion (noodle on that stat for a second) — for us, being Jewish is an ethnicity, not a religion. Sure, we observe the holidays (well, the ones we find it convenient to observe), we idolize Sandy Koufax and we go through the motions at our Bar Mitzvahs — partly at the behest of our families, and partly as a way to establish our identity in contrast to our goyish counterparts in middle school. We appreciate the excuses to get together with our loved ones, such as at unveilings, and we tense up when rabbis claim divine instruction for things that God is clearly agnostic about, like exactly when and how I look at my grandmother’s headstone.

Is it really so hard to believe that American Jews are keeping their culture and losing their religion? Of American adherents to the three monotheistic religions, we have the most educated population and the oldest/least evolved holy book. We debate, we criticize, we laugh off that part in Deuteronomy where it says that bastards and men “whose testicles are crushed” aren’t allowed to take part in religious services (the one part of my Bar Mitzvah Torah portion I remember). And, in the end, we acknowledge that Genesis simply doesn’t square with scientific consensus concerning how the world came to be. And why should it matter? We’ve got a culture that works for us, even if our religious texts are absurd.

The problem here is that, given our experience of Judaism in America, many of us have no idea what if feels like to be involved in a holy struggle, and we don’t understand why the Israel/Palestine conflict is treated as one. To us, the conflict comes off as a straightforward land dispute, and it doesn’t make any sense to us that the best minds in international relations haven’t been able to figure it out for over two thousand years – have we learned nothing from the Crusades? If it will save countless lives in the long-term, why can’t we give the Palestinians some land, especially if a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians support the idea?

I was, along with my peers, brought up sheltered from the idea of Jewish fundamentalism. For instance, it was conveniently omitted from our Hebrew School lessons that there are people in Israel who consider it a perfectly valid question as to whether or not the divine mandate to slaughter (or “smite” or “utterly destroy,” depending on your translation) the Amalekites applies to present-day Palestinians, or really anyone who lives in the area and deviates from a particular flavor of Jewish orthodoxy.

Furthermore, we can’t make sense of the fact that people who hold those opinions have to be taken at least somewhat seriously in Israeli politics. But if you want to understand what’s going on over there, you had better be able to make sense of them, because Israel’s religious right is both part of the Likud Party’s ruling coalition and one of the biggest roadblocks to peace in the region.

Growing up as an American Jew, none of my community leaders or family members had the understanding, or perhaps intestinal fortitude, to explain settlements and their religious justification to me, let alone how central they are to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Part of the reason for this omission, I think, is that American Jews don’t want to teach their children that people who share our heritage can be just as irrationally adherent to ancient, absurd texts, with similarly problematic consequences, as people of other faiths whose irrational adherence to ancient, absurd texts have been the cause of our continued persecution and near annihilation. On the one hand, who could blame them? It’s an uncomfortable subject. On the other hand, one of the measuring sticks of an enlightened culture is its ability to look inward and criticize itself.

In articles like this, the author is supposed to qualify their argument by acknowledging that, yes, there are a ton of people out there whose mission in life is to destroy Israel. However, I don’t think I need to tell an American audience how violent and evil Hamas is, and if anything Hamas’ religious dogmatism proves my point: This is a political problem that is being fought on religious lines. In any case, I think TalkingPointsMemo editor, and fellow cultural Jew, Josh Marshall got it right when he said, “Fight the occupation like there’s no Israel-haters, fight the Israel-haters like there’s no occupation.”

And while ardently religious Israeli settlers aren’t the only reason for the occupation, they’re a big one. As I referenced above, a majority of both Israeli and Palestinian citizens support a two-state solution, and the two sides have been close to an agreement on one before. One of the major sticking points? Settlers would have to move. Instead, they’re building residential infrastructure. As Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said recently, “The settlement enterprise is a security, economic and moral burden that is aimed at preventing us from ever coming to an arrangement.” The settlers know that they are standing between the body politic and a peace agreement, and they don’t care. And why should they? They have God – and, for the time being, Israeli law – on their side.

Settlements didn’t provide the introduction to this particular chapter in the Israel-Palestine conflict, but they are central to the backstory. In the short-term, this news cycle is about petty – and perhaps criminally negligent – politics. But in the long-term, extreme religion – and not just the kind we’re used to – is getting in the way of peace. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have been alluding to Islamic fundamentalism when he hinted that a two-state solution is untenable from a security standpoint, and he may even be correct in thinking that’s the case, but it is Jewish fundamentalism that is preventing the two sides from reaching that bridge, let alone burning it. Until Israel and its citizens begin behaving as if the West Bank may not be theirs forever, Palestinians have no reason to take them seriously when they talk about two-state solutions.

And therein lies the rub: As long as blind religious adherence for adherence’s sake is a respected point of view – more specifically, as long as Israeli citizens can build neighborhoods on other people’s land because they think God told them to –  a rational, let alone agreeable, solution in the Middle East will be impossible. Religious zealots will always be able to point to their respective holy books and say, “No, look here, it says that…” to justify their actions on divine grounds. There isn’t any way to argue with that except to reject the premise that a religious text should be the basis for diplomatic arrangements. We have no problem rejecting this premise when the book in question is the Koran; we shouldn’t have a problem doing it when it’s the Torah, either.

Jews have always been strangers in strange lands, plucky underdogs with a dry sense of humor (As the old Jewish joke goes, Shlomo is walking down the streets of Kiev when he looks up at the heavens and goes, “Lord, I know that we Jews are the chosen people…but couldn’t you choose someone else, for a change?”). It is perhaps for this reason that the values and culture we have adopted neatly fit within Western liberal democracy: we value skepticism, inquiry, free expression and multiculturalism because we’re usually on the short end of the stick when it comes to repression and discrimination. On the other hand, when a cultural Jew/religious atheist like me looks to the Middle East and sees what our nominal counterparts are doing in the name of Zionism, they see the values of a people looking to assert divinely mandated dominance and strength. In short, they see religious bullies.

The Jewish experience in America is one where religion is more or less distinct from values and culture. We go to unveilings, but not to temple. We have 30-minute (okay, five minute) Passover seders and perk up when we recognize Yiddish – even if we don’t understand it. So when we are told to (or tell ourselves to) defend the behavior of the Israeli government and the particular segment of the Jewish community it can’t afford to upset, it’s a tough sell. Our values don’t match up with their actions. And when we are told to take God’s side in a foreign policy dispute, we find ourselves asking whether or not God really has taken a side, and whether he should be asked to take one in the first place.

In articles like these – where Jewish atheists such as myself lament Israel’s lost way during its occupation of Palestinian territories – it’s become traditional to invoke “the promise of Israel.” But I’m not entirely sure what people mean when they say “promise of Israel.” Does the promise vindicate Jewish values and culture, or is first and foremost religious? Was the country founded to be a homeland for the Jewish people, or the Jewish faith? The difference is small, but in it lies the difference between the secular, multicultural ideals of inclusivity and free expression embodied in my Jewish upbringing and the reactionary, increasingly violent impulses of Judaism’s worst representatives.

In Israel, as with the unveiling, what began as a secular idea seems to have been co-opted by religious dogmatism. As with my grandmother’s headstone, God apparently wants Israel to exist this way, not that, depending on who you ask. We can accept this dogmatism, or we can laugh it off and go get lunch together. I’ll have a bagel with lox.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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168 Responses to “If you want peace in Israel, evict God”

  1. chrisdarling says:

    Great diary.
    One suggestion to move the discussion a bit. Stop calling the Jews who steal land and build homes on the West Bank “settlers.” They are not settlers and their communities are not “settlements.” Call them so-called “settlers” or call them land pirates. Speaking of them as “settlers” helps legitimize what they do.

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  3. Israel_Reconquista says:

    I respect your opinion, even if I disagree. It’s nice to discuss these issues without the usual hyperbole and vitriol that often ensues.

  4. MJ says:

    Charon : I didn’t read that book (yet, though I’ve heard good things about it), so I don’t know enough about the character. But….I’m not saying SOME Jews don’t make a fuss over athletics as well. Everybody is an individual. (If that’s what you…kinda meant..).

  5. Bill_Perdue says:

    In terms of judging the degradation and utter lack of legitimacy of the zionist bunkerstadt I admit I was much more informed by the large crowds of racists, aka, zionists, who turned out in one the race riots to beat up Africans and steal their property.

    “Violent Anti-African Race Riot Rocks Israel, Black Men and Women BeatenViolence surged in the streets of Tel Aviv as a 1000-strong protest against African immigrants seeking asylum in Israel turned violent. Residents of a low-income Tel Aviv Tal Al-Rabia neighbourhood descended to the streets, waving Israeli flags and chanting “Deport the Sudanese” and “Infiltrators get out of our homes” to protest against the increase of African migrants moving into the area and the country. (Emphasis and change to real name by me BP) http://atlantablackstar.com/2012/05/26/violent-anti-african-race-riot-rocks-israel-black-men-and-women-beaten/

    It won’t do you any good to pretend that the Atlanta Black Star is anti-Semitic. They’re not. Like hundres of millions they don’t like the racism that defines the zionist bunkerstadt.
    Here’s the video of the racists (zionist) skinheads and other racists in the lynch mob


  6. Israel_Reconquista says:

    50 anti-warnicks, in a country of 8 million, that’s all you got?

  7. Actually, “disappointed” wouldn’t come close. “Wrong” would come close.

    A few points. First, I’m confused about this notion that we’ve been “silent” about Gaza when we’ve had two posts about it recently, and both were critical of Israel. If anything, the pro-Israel side of the argument should be complaining that we’ve been “silent” on their side of the story.

    Second, I’m not an expert on Gaza, so i won’t be weighing in any time soon. I don’t generally weigh in about topics about which I have nothing to offer. There are ample other sites out there where people write about things of which they know little. We’re not one of them. :-)

    As for women, this is an interesting argument that comes up a lot. It comes up so often that I’m starting to wonder if it’s not a plant. We write about women all the time, even though the topic is generally a traffic-killer. Ironically, people on the left don’t seem to care very much about women’s issues, and they don’t generally share our posts online, which hurts our traffic and our revenue, and makes it harder and harder to keep this site alive. Yet, silly me, i continue to write about the issue because I think it’s important, and it matters to me. So I take a little umbrage, along with a fistful of confusion, at the notion that we “don’t care about women.”

    You might find this link of use:

    Or this one:

  8. Badgerite says:

    This is precisely why I do not think the 67 borders are realistic anymore.
    Especially after Hamas used the border of Gaza to establish a network of tunnels to infiltrate across the border. However, I still think the two state solution is the only real option for some kind of accommodation and peace between the two peoples. I have no idea how you get there from here.
    I’m hoping Kerry does.

  9. Israel_Reconquista says:

    Thousands of years? No, not quite. Regardless, the land can only have one true owner, and the Palestinians are not it. They have zero national history in the land, and that matters. However, they are human beings and they should not be displaced or mistreated, they should be granted equal rights in Israel, as President Rivlin proposes. Gaza should be integrated into Egypt like it was prior to 1967. That’s perhaps unrealistic, but no less unrealistic than Hamas and the PLO suddenly moderating and agreeing to a demilitiarized state.

  10. Badgerite says:

    I know.

  11. Israel_Reconquista says:

    IMO – Your scenario is a ‘dream’ for the empires who wish to divide and conquer the land. Jerusalem is not an “international city” it is the capital of Israel. Like Jerusalem, Baghdad has shrines holy to all 3 Abrahamic religions but Jews aren’t demanding half the city because it is the capital of Iraq. It doesn’t belong to us, and Jerusalem doesn’t belong to them. Dividing this tiny land is a recipe for war, not peace. It will perpetuate the reliance on foreign powers to maintain security which is bad for everyone.

  12. Badgerite says:

    I don’t consider it much of a ‘joke’. The Palestinians are also indigenous.
    The West Bank and Gaza Palestinians have been almost completely dispossessed.
    In ‘dreamland’, both respective states should be returned to the 67 borders.
    The lands surrounding Israel, and the Palestinians as well, would agree to accept Israel as a ‘brother’ nation, following the example of Anwar Sadat. Though there would be two separate states, there would be a governing body, with equal representation for both states, which would handle coordination which respect to economic issues, security issues, grievances.
    It would operate as a sort of confederation. Jerusalem would become an ‘international city’ under the supervision of the UN which would ensure equal access to all religious sites within the city.
    Like I said, ‘dreamland’. After all that has happened, the best that can be hoped for is a sullen cease fire at the end of all this. And then what?
    A broken people? This is also not acceptable.

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’ve flagged the comment three times but I see it’s still up. I wonder why it’s not considered ‘negative’?

  14. Silver_Witch says:

    Hi FLL – seems I am also being hostile and unscientific to point out the very same thing.

    Thanks for the link – tells the tale perfectly.

  15. FLL says:

    Take a look at how lavishly the tiny elite of the Communist Party in Cuba lives in comparison to the abject poverty of almost the entire population:


    And this is the one example that Bill offers as a genuine socialist revolution? No wonder Cubans risk have been risking their lives to escape over the last 50 years.

  16. Silver_Witch says:

    ::Patting you on the head:: “Okay honey whatever you say”

    What hostility….seriously Bill I think you are reading something I am not posting.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    “It is clear by your posts that you are not really a worker. You have no concept of the hours a worker spends, either working, getting to work, getting ready for work, or resting to get ready for the next day.” I’ve worked all my life. Hostility noted.

    The idea that progress by workers is impossible is contempt for workers, pretending that we don’t have the wherewithal to improve our lives by creating a workers state.

    Stalinists succeeded in destroying the revolution because they were a bureaucratic deformation imposed on the USSR by the deprivations of wars and invasions by the English, French, Japanese and American empires. There were no other revolutions except the Cuban Revolution. The other deformed workers states were set up after Stalin’s counterrevolution.

    You pessimism and predictions are unscientific. You crystal ball is deformed.

  18. Silver_Witch says:

    Contempt for working people….who the fuck do you think I am. I am a wage slave – just like most people in america. My life is dependent on the hourly wage my employer pays me…and I have been a worker all my life. As a single mother I struggled to work and pay 1/2 my salary for daycare just for the “right to work”.

    It is clear by your posts that you are not really a worker. You have no concept of the hours a worker spends, either working, getting to work, getting ready for work, or resting to get ready for the next day.

    Why do you think the Stalinist were able to usurp the revolutions – because the workers had to get back to work and earn to live – unlikely the wealthy or elitists that took over the revolution and promised the workers they would fairly represent them.

    My prediction is neither unscientific, nor is it work. Albeit that I wish it were different or there could be a better outcome…there will not be, because the workers will always be the fodder for the revolutionaries and then will be expected to get back to work.

  19. Israel_Reconquista says:

    The anti-Zionists like to taunt Israelis by telling them its just a matter of time before their “colonial project” fails, like all others before it. Well, the joke is on them because Israel is not going anywhere. Colonial projects fail because its a foregone conclusion that the locals will outlast the occupying force. Israel cannot be outlasted because it is our home, not a colony. We will outlast them because the stakes are much higher for us. They have a vast region of brotherly nations, we have one homeland, and nowhere else to go.

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    I wonder if “keep your head firmly up your ass if it suits you” falls under the category of “The tone of your comment is very negative…”

    The answer to that question will answer many others.

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m ignoring the bulk of your comment because it expresses contempt for working people and is unscientific in it’s prediction that progress will fail.

  22. Bill_Perdue says:

    zionists are racists, islamophobes and many are homophobes.

  23. Silver_Witch says:

    Ohhh my friend those were the two I would hoped you would use as an example….why because they were STUNNING failures.

    You miss a very important point – very important. Most WORKERS are working, they don’t have time for politics and silly human games involved in same. They work….after the “revolution” in both countries, the workers had to go back to work, sometimes even harder because of the disruption of the system and the massive changes in the economy. So they find a “group they can trust” to run the political machine – and it fails. Because the “group they can trust” is ALWAY people (like the Stalinists) that think they know what is best for the worker. It is a failure and will always fail.

    So you need to try to find something that can be modeled as a success, which is not likely because those with money will always rule.

  24. BrandySpears says:

    The anti-Jew neo-Nazi rallies in Berlin and Paris are also just pseudo-leftist anti-semites disguising themselves as “anti-Zionist”. It doesn’t take long for them to unfurl the flags of their true colors.

  25. Israel_Reconquista says:

    Incorrect. But please keep your head firmly up your ass if it suits you.

  26. Israel_Reconquista says:

    No one is advocating “kicking out and suppressing” the others. The Arabs should be given full citizenship on the West Bank and Gaza should go back to Egypt.

  27. goulo says:

    You seem confused. The point was that an area can be shared by 2 groups instead of belonging to only one group exclusively at the cost of kicking out and suppressing the other group.

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    Cuba and the USSR until the Stalinists took over. I’m amazed that you’ve never heard of them.

    More importantly do you deny the fact that Democrat and Republican politicians are political prostitutes for the rich and that they’re responsible for economic chaos. unemployment and poverty, imperial wars, racism and the unequal treatment of the LGBT communities, women and people of color.

  29. Bill_Perdue says:

    There is no such thing as racism in reverse. But there are zionists and they are all anti-Arab and anti-African racists.

    The violent and repeated anti-African race riots in the zionist bunkerstadt and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the Lebanese border of Palestine to Sinai border of Palestine in which untold tens of thousands have been murdered are proof positive of the depth of zionist racism and the degeneracy of zionist society.

    And large numbers of zionists are homophobic bigots.

  30. Bill_Perdue says:

    Fiction motivated by support for colonialism.

  31. Bill_Perdue says:

    European zionists have not lived in Palestine for thousands or even hundreds of year.

  32. Badgerite says:

    You cannot name one colonial enterprise that has any history in the land they colonized. Ever. Not one. Because such a thing has never existed.

  33. Badgerite says:

    Yeah. “Democratic, secular, socialist, Palestinian state”?
    Dream on. Try ISIL clone.

  34. Silver_Witch says:

    Do you have an example of a “workers movement, that elected a workers government and state” that worked out well for the poor?

  35. Bill_Perdue says:

    Socialists and the left actually do want to end unemployment and poverty, imperial wars, racism, the unequal treatment of the LGBT communities, women and people of color. That’s why we support efforts to build a workers movement, elect a workers government and create a workers state.

    We understand that the right fears all that because it will end of the rule of the rich and we’re happy to take them on politically. We’re beginning to enjoy some early and modest successes in that.

  36. Bill_Perdue says:

    AIPAC is a small part of the problem. AIPAC is an islamophobic, racist group but they don’t run the American government. They are not the tail that wags the dog.

    The real problem is the racist and imperial Obama regime that arms right wing colonialist regimes like the zionists and American controlled like Egypt and the the Suadi royals and the emirates, etc. The Obama regime has only one goal, and that is to make the world safe for the corporations of the rich.

  37. Bill_Perdue says:

    I think people in fighting to separate from a regime with fascist roots, a regime that employs fascists to burn people alive can be justly compared to zionist thugs.

  38. Bill_Perdue says:

    Zionist colonists have a history that began in 1948. That is an incontrovertible fact.

  39. Bill_Perdue says:

    To end the any confusion, socialists and the left have fought long and hard for free speech in our battles to build unions, for suffrage and to end Jim Crow and it’s latest iteration, the drug laws. Our enemies in this battle have always been Democrats, liberals and Dixiecrats alike, and Republicans. They’ve engaged in voter suppression of the left for decades with laws that deny us press coverage, make it difficult to get on the ballot and deny us funding. Both parties engage in that and both continue to support the totally anti-democratic Electoral College and related provisions of the Constitution.

  40. silas1898 says:

    I had no idea that the Palestinians had this great war machine just waiting to be unleashed on the world. I would think they would just pull it out and flatten Israel right now, then get on with this whole world conquest thing.

    There is only one Likud final solution to the Palestinian problem in Israel. The area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean and from the Litani River to the Red Sea must be made Arab/Muslim – free. Oh, and the Golan, too. Transport can begin any time Israel has some place to send them. Details, details.

  41. PeteWa says:

    “Therefore they have been trying to destroy the nation of Israel since before recorded history.”
    what an asinine comment, but that line alone really stands out for it’s sheer idiocy.

  42. Naja pallida says:

    Sure, Psalms is quite clear that there will be peace… if everyone agrees to worship God in the exact same way, and believe all the exact same things about how to live their lives… of course, only after they enslave or kill anyone who disagrees.

    Excellent example of what Jon was talking about.

  43. AptiDude says:

    Thanks for this. I hope AIPAC is listening.

  44. BrandySpears says:

    Here we go with the “blacks are the real racists” argument. Antisemitism is clearly defined. Sorry about that.

  45. Badgerite says:

    Neither do I. But you seem to think it does when Russian separatists do it.

  46. Badgerite says:

    No known “colonist” has a history in the region colonized dating back thousands of years. Has never happened.

  47. qqjones says:

    interesting writing from a jewish perspective. jews do have a religion, or should i say hebrews cuz when they left egypt they took all kinds of nations with them, including african. they are all mixed now. israel is a state they have achieved with much help from u.s. jews who were in powerful places to help. i know many american jews who don’t practice “religion,” but nonetheless declare themselves jewish which is a kick in the head for anyone on the outside looking in. ethnicity? well, if we include african jews, russian jews, or any other jews, there is alot of ethnicity to claim. jews have repurposed every ethnic culture as their own. they are good at that and are busy changing the u.s. as well, think movie stars and cinema. we get all the images. in fact the american apple pie is one of their slogans america has picked up and enjoys. with overpopulation and diminishing resources, not to mention fracking on gaza coast that may have already been negotiated by tel aviv, a good time to war. god has little to do with it except the extreme hatred all have for one another. that is their heritage.

  48. Bill_Perdue says:

    Some do here and so do some in occupied Palestine.

    “Open Letter by 50 Israeli Army Reservists on Why They Refuse to Fight in Gaza “http://www.countercurrents.org/isr260714.htm

    ““Not in Our Name”: Jews Stage Massive Anti-War Protests In Tel Aviv, New York and Elsewhere”


  49. Silver_Witch says:

    Okie Dokie….

  50. Silver_Witch says:

    Okie Dokie.

  51. Silver_Witch says:

    Okie Dokie

  52. Silver_Witch says:

    Actually as flawed as our government is and as much as it could stand a good redo on many issues – it is by far better than what we would/will have when the loudest among us get their way.

    Revolutions rarely end well for the poor and the oppressed…they just end up with a crueler master.

    And Bill should celebrate the freedom he so enjoys with his speech….as I do…we can say what we will and reveal ourselves and know others by their speech. Freedom of speech is usually the first victim of revolution – for the safety of the people don’t you know.

  53. Bill_Perdue says:

    Zionist colonists have a history that began in 1948.

  54. FLL says:

    Your second paragraph is very interesting. When the government is overthrown, it’s sort of a dice throw as to who is going to take over. Almost always, it’s whichever faction has more or better weaponry. It could be a left-leaning regime that takes over (e.g., the French and Russian revolutions), but maybe not, depending on circumstances. The White Nationalists and NRA folks are probably the most heavily armed private citizens here in the U.S. right now. Would either you or Bill—or indeed any of us—want that kind of right-wing regime taking over? No, I think overthrowing the American government (in addition to be laughably unachievable) would be a mistake both for the loss of the right to hold elections as well as the likely right-wing character of the regime that would probably take over. Not for me, thank you, nor I think for the vast majority of people in Western countries.

  55. Bill_Perdue says:

    Hostility noted.

  56. Bill_Perdue says:

    More hostility noted.

  57. Silver_Witch says:

    Where is there hostility in this post? It is true that often those who are so extreme they end up being what they hate most. That sadly describes you perfectly.

  58. Bill_Perdue says:

    More hostility noted.

  59. Silver_Witch says:

    Sorry this one made me laugh…you had to reply twice to the moderator cause you just can’t stop…you have to have the last last word.

  60. Silver_Witch says:

    Bill can NOT not reply. I have learned that once he becomes hostile it is best to ignore him. As you see below he has to reply TWICE to you. It is his nature to Have To Win…no matter what.

  61. Silver_Witch says:

    Agreed agreed FLL…I don’t know why I engage him ever. I think that there is enough hatred and religious outrageousness in Middle East to destroy everything there.

    I have seen this before in people who go so far left – they end up on the right. Bill has actually advocating overthrowing the government and letting someone, anyone take over – you know the People will rule themselves – that just never works out sadly.

  62. AptiDude says:

    It would be good if American Jews would actually work for peace in the Holy Land, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  63. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re right about one thing. I hate zionist racsim, zionist apartheid, zionist ethnic cleansing and colonialism.

    As for the rest if you quote a rabid rightwing racist to make your point then my saying that is not a debating point.

  64. Colin says:

    Wrong again Bill and I explained what you did not get. Or could not get.
    So feel free to have the last word in this. Not that it ever makes one correct I just simply feel so much hatred coming from you and a fire from the hip at anything that can be construed as disagreement that I would rather move on to other topics. You seem to be able to shoot a friend who is not your enemy in order to see yourself as the winner in a debate . That is sad to me. A juicy discussion of history or what could be done to stop the worldwide insanity we both see would be marvelous! But to automatically attempt to paint me in a particular light concerning any of these subjects we cover here at Americablog is a tactic beneath your intelligence and beneath my patience. You’ve learned the art of debate very well. It is not the only tool in the box.

  65. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Well, then there’s a clearly fair and just solution, isn’t there?

    Jews get Israel/Palestine, and the Palestinians get ENGLAND.

    The US could resettle Limey refugees, as long as they behave themselves and leave the Marmite and Cricket behind.

  66. FLL says:

    I think the operative principle which informs Bill’s comments is to “drive the Jews into the sea,” an oft-repeated phrase that guides fanatics like Bill.

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  68. Bill_Perdue says:

    Add this : “You’re not a leftist you’re what the tea party would be if there was a left equivalent. An obstructionist nut.”

  69. heimaey says:

    Don’t tell me what I am. You’re not a leftist you’re what the tea party would be if there was a left equivalent. An obstructionist nut. You’re not very educated on this matter I suggest you go read. Come back to me when you can talk more about just one angle.

  70. Bill_Perdue says:

    Not replying is what I usually do when when people get very negative and it’s clear that things are going to get personal and stay that way.

    That’s why I said ‘bye’. That was my last word to him.

  71. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m a socialist. Socialists have always opposed homophobia and racism. That cannot be said about zionists.

    The same cannot be said for the colonists ion Palestine, where rabid anti-Arab and anti-Black racism is common and where homophobia is common.

    “THE YOUTHS of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe. The Israelis of the Jewish state are rampaging on social networks, displaying hatred and a lust for revenge, unprecedented in its diabolic scope. Some unknown people from the Jewish state, purely based on his ethnicity. These are the children of the nationalistic and racist generation – Netanyahu’s offspring.

    For five years now, they have been hearing nothing but incitement, scaremongering and supremacy over Arabs from this generation’s true instructor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not one humane word, no commiseration or equal treatment.” http://www.haaretz.com/misc/iphone-article/.premium-1.603232

    Survey by American research institute reveals Israel might be gay capital of Middle East, but lags behind western countries when it comes to accepting its gay brethern: only 40% of Israelis think LGBT community should be accepted, versus 88% in Spain. Huge gap exists between secular (61% support), religious (26%) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4391274,00.html

  72. Moderator3 says:

    I agree that the last three were not polite, so I’m asking heimaey to play nicely. Instead of saying “bye”, try not replying. What you’re doing is sort of like visiting someone, saying “bye” to them, and walking back into their house.

  73. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m absolutely against racsim. Some are not. I absolutely oppose fascism. Some don’t.

    There is no humanity in mass murder. The death toll of children and other Palestinians is now well over 1000. “More than 1,000 people, mainly civilians, have been killed and more than 6,000 have been wounded over the past 19 days, al-Kidra said. Israeli strikes have destroyed hundreds of homes, including close to 500 in targeted hits, and forced tens of thousands of people to flee, according to Palestinian rights groups.” Some people call that respect for humanity. I absolutely don’t.


  74. Bill_Perdue says:

    “We should be able to have these discussions without attacking each other.”

    Exactly. How polite are these?

    “Well they’re so lucky they have Bill Perdue to tell them they’re wrong”

    “You’re looking at it too myopically.”

    “So they went from them not being an issue at all to being secondary and minor. I would say that’s conceit”

    “English is hrad…isnt it?”

    “or you just suck at the English language and don’t know how to lump adjectives properly. Or you’re just a left wing nut job zealot who likely wears a foil hat on his head to prevent aliens from invading his brain. Or all of the above.”

    “It’s idiots like you that fuck it up for true leftists”

    I keep inviting him to end the conversation. It’s not going anywhere. That’s why I keep saying bye.

  75. Bill_Perdue says:

    Racists uphold the right of zionists to murder, engage in apartheid and steal land. The zionist state has no shred of legitimacy and it will be abolished.

  76. Moderator3 says:

    The tone of your comment is very negative. Heimaey has been polite in his responses. We should be able to have these discussions without attacking each other.

  77. Bill_Perdue says:

    You support Democrat politics. You’re not a leftist. Stop claiming to be a leftist. It embarrasses real leftists.

    The bunkerrstadt was declared in 1948. The dates 1947, 500BCE or 5000BCE or 22,943,856BCE are as irrelevant to the discussion as your theory that the conflict is not one between colonialism and the colonized.

    Your history is full of long ‘discussions’ consisting of vituperative attacks and quibbling. There are dozens and dozens of examples. None of them throw any light on the subject at hand. Quibble elsewhere. Vent elsewhere. You’re not worth my time. Bye.

  78. heimaey says:

    I never said I was a Democrat. I’m not. Stop claiming to know me. And if you think it started in 1948 you’re an idiot because first of all it was 1947 not 48. It also started 5000 BCE NOT 500 BCE – go read a book you don’t know much. It’s idiots like you that fuck it up for true leftists.

  79. Bill_Perdue says:

    If you’re a Democrat you’re a right centrist.

    The fight between Palestinians and zionists is a fight between the oppressed and their oppressors. Period. Full stop. All the other aspects of the fight, the ones you think are equally important are not – they’er minor, secondary, and tertiary. You remain ignorant about the history of the conflict, which began in 1948, not 500BCE and it’s politics – colonial thugs vs the colonized.

    Vent elsewhere.

  80. heimaey says:

    I’m a leftie so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just don’t like ignorant lefties. I’m definitely not ignorant of history and politics – you’re the one simplifying things, ignoring large historical components of the situation, and boiling it down to media ready bad guy vs. good guy. If you think I’m obfuscating the problems there that may well be but it’s an issue with several layers and to call it anything else is to do it injustice.

    Perhaps the media should spend more time talking about the complexities so people can fully understand it, not watering it down like you and making it a very Bush II “us vs them” conflict because then it’s just pitting one group against the other and people pick sides very quickly without truly understanding the issues at hand. If we were educated on the complexities then we’d much better grasp what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, but your method allows for the basest of human tribal natures to take over, and who do you think the populace will side with? Certainly our large military base in the Middle East they call Israel.

  81. chakley says:

    Don’t be foolish Jon Green. Without God there is no such thing is peace. Don’t take psalm 122:6 for granted.

  82. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m not impressed by pedants and even less by those ignorant of history and politics. You seem to not be serious and to be looking for a way to vent your anger at the left. I’m not interested in that game.

  83. heimaey says:

    Secondary, minor and marginal are not the same thing – they’re three separate things and not synonyms. Oy. Sounds like you’re trying to backtrack. Or you just suck at the English language and don’t know how to lump adjectives properly. Or you’re just a left wing nut job zealot who likely wears a foil hat on his head to prevent aliens from invading his brain. Or all of the above.

  84. Bill_Perdue says:

    Learn to read. When you said “So they went from them not being an issue at all to being secondary and minor” you were not talking about me. I didn’t say they not an issue, just secondary, minor and marginal issues. Only ahistorical people who spend to much time listening to MSNBC or their cousins at Fox think otherwise.

  85. Israel_Reconquista says:

    You seem confused. Is the land Israel or Palestine? It can’t be both.

  86. RyansTake says:

    Yes, some of the most significant members of the Zionist movement weren’t even all that religious — and there’s some who would be borderline agnostic.

    That just goes to show how much this isn’t a religious conflict — but is instead a land conflict.

  87. MJ says:

    (Land that has no oil, ironically..)

  88. RyansTake says:

    Both Israelis and Palestinians have historical claims to Israel and Palestine. To suggest otherwise is counterproductive nonsense. Finding a way to share the land is the only way to peace, and peace is a lot better than the status quo.

  89. RyansTake says:

    This is just a bunch of nonsense – rewriting history to sow the seeds of hatred. No thanks.

    Muslims and Jewish people have not been historical enemies. This is mostly a recent thing, the past couple hundred years tops, a hatred that has brewed over land issues.

    This is a land problem. Not a religion problem. If we don’t understand that, it’s very hard to tackle what’s going on.

  90. RyansTake says:

    God is not the problem. It never was.

    The problem is land.

  91. heimaey says:

    English is hrad…isnt it?

    Marginal and secondary are not considered synonyms by any source I checked. Secondary has a connotation of lesser importance, but an importance nonetheless, however marginal means on the periphery and of little to no significance. Which is it? Is it secondary or marginal?

  92. BrandySpears says:

    Translation: “I’m not antisemitic. I just want the Jews expelled. That’s all.”

  93. Bill_Perdue says:

    Reading is fundamental. “It’s not complicated. It’s a war waged against Palestinians by zionist colonists. The rest is of marginal importance.”

  94. Badgerite says:

    Well, you are an absolutist. ideologue. I will agree with that.
    And absolutist ideologues usually fail to see the humanity in one side or another of the conflict. For them, military solutions are always the best.

  95. Bill_Perdue says:

    I read it again. You’re quoting right wingers to promote zionist colonialism.

  96. Colin says:

    Clearly Bill you did not read my post but read INTO it. And that is what is feverishly awful.

  97. Badgerite says:

    This sort of points up two points. 1) both are indigenous people with a history in the land dating back thousands of years. 2) a military solution for either side only brings around more war and conflict.
    If you look at the story of the maps, war has done nothing for the Palestinians but brought dispossession and misery to their lives. The issue of building permits and who gets them is negligible compared to the land lost during each successive war.
    Occupation and war has done nothing for Israel but brought shame and condemnation on them. How secure can you be when you are ringed by people who think you are dispossessing and laying siege ( see embargo ) to a civilian population of Arabs.

  98. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’ll have to try examining the difference between the mass murder practiced for over 50 years by the colonial interlopers and the Palestinians absolute right of self defense.

  99. Badgerite says:

    I don’t agree with everything you say but certainly most of it. And I think there has to be a realization that a political solution must be sought. And it has to be along the lines of some basic democratic principles. I don’t think is it only Israel engaging in militaristic thinking, however.

  100. Bill_Perdue says:

    By colonial interlopers I mean non-Palestinians. Saying that Palestinians don’t have the right to control all of Palestine, the absolute right to return to Palestine, the right to have their land and homes returned and the right to compensation for those who toiled under the worst form of apartheid in history is agreeing with the racism of zionist colonists.

    Saying otherwise is a racist denial of their rights just like pretending that the colonial interlopers are not deliberately targeting and murdering women an children in their attacks on UN safe havens like schools, hospitals and clinics.

  101. BrandySpears says:

    By “colonial interlopers”, Bill means Israelis born on the land (the vast majority of Israelis). Or as racists in the US would say, “anchor babies”.

  102. Bill_Perdue says:

    Zionists have no right to be in Palestine without the acceptance and permission of the Palestinians. Only Palestinians have the right to return to Palestine, the right to have their land and homes returned and the right to compensation for those who toiled under the worst form of apartheid in history.

    The anti-African and anti-Arab racism of zionists, along with colonialism, mass murder and targeting children for mass murder are the only things you have to know about the zionist bunkerstadt. Pretending that these colonists have some rights is racist.

  103. BrandySpears says:

    No matter how many times you say it,, it doesn’t make it true. Denying Jews a right to self determination while advocating for the rights of another group to self determination IS antisemitism.

  104. Bill_Perdue says:

    I hate mass murderers, racists, brigands, people who practice apartheid. Arabs and muslims are defending themselves from that. You side with the murderer. I don’t. That makes me an anti-racist, an anti-colonialist and anti-apartheid.

    You side with the colonists.

  105. Bill_Perdue says:

    So you believe right wing lies and take the side of zionists? That’s awful.

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  108. PeteWa says:

    Jon, great article, if I somewhat disagree with your point about Hamas being “evil and violent”.
    Hamas is doing what any number of Davids throughout history have done when faced with a Goliath.
    It is not pretty, but those actions do not occur in a vacuum.
    And even that is an inapt metaphor, as in this case David constantly loses, and suffers horrible, tragic defeat at virtually every turn.
    Or, as might be obvious, this is the real life version of the fairy tale sold to us as children.

    I realize you are making that point for the most part, I just think using terms like “evil” in particular are not helpful.
    Doing so one will also be forced to also call the Israelis “evil”.
    That type of thinking stops one from looking at each party as human, it oversimplifies, it allows for more and worse reactions and a continuance of the cycle.
    Humans will do awful things for various reasons, inflamed hatred is one, grief, fear, etc. are others, but the primary facilitator is the ability we have to see each other as “evil”.

    According to B’Tselem’s initial figures, at least 686 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel in the time between early Tuesday, 8 July 2014, when Operation Protective Edge airstrikes on Gaza began until the 23 July at 8PM.* The fatalities include: 163 minors (one minor participated in the hostilities), 69 women (under age 60), 38 senior citizens (aged 60 and over). Initial findings indicate that 153 of the people killed participated in the hostilities.
    Two Israeli civilians and one foreign citizen were killed within Israel during this time, and 32 soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

    roughly 5% vs. 95%. as usual.

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  110. rk4262 says:

    WhatWhat this author apparently hasn’t learned, is the actual history of Israel. This author asked what would be wrong with allowing the Palestinians to have some land, originally on 14 May 1948, the Israelites announced they were breaking away from British rule and becoming an independent country. Then the following, year there were lots of planning, and on 1 May 1949 the U.N. recognized two separate countries Palestine and Israel. They were equal in size and power. However the Palestinians being descendants of Ishmael, they have centuries old hatred of Israelis just because they are Jewish. Even though they now have no reason to hate the Jews, they do just because they are descendants of Isaiah. Therefore they have been trying to destroy the nation of Israel since before recorded history. This latest attack on Israel is just another in a very long line of attacks. The Palestinians don’t just want more land, they will not stop until Israel is completely destroyed and no longer exists.

    All of this because 5000 years ago Ishmael was done wrong and what he was supposed to receive being the first born, was taken from him and given to Iseah. Yes he was treated badly, but it’s time to let it go. What was done was done it’s been long enough to get over it. The Jews alive today had nothing to do with the actions of Abraham, holding them accountable for it is just as wrong as the original betrayal.

    My point is that if you give the Palestinians what they want now it won’t be long until you have given them the entire country. That’s what is wrong with meeting the demands of the Palestinians. They are never be satisfied until they rule the entire world. Their plans don’t stop with just Israel, if they manage to destroy Israel They will then turn and attack another country, and another after that, then another and another and another. When does the author think would be a good place for the extremists to stop, at what point are you going to tell them no you have enough you can’t take any more countries. Will you stop them from getting their hands on nuclear weapons are after. Will you give them an opportunity to kill half the world’s population, or tell them that they can not kill any more innocent people? Or are you willing to do whatever is necessary to stop the extremists where they stand.

    Your title says to evict God, two problems, first is that Israel is God’s chosen people and He lives with them, the second is that Israel’s God has been the only thing standing between you and a horrible death. You think you understand the issues, but you need to go back and re-read the entire world and Biblical histories, and pay attention to the dictators such as Hitler, Robert Mugabe, Blog as d III, and so many others that were not satisfied unless they were either torturing someone to death, or invading another country to expand their empires. The only thing standing between us and a painful death.

  111. Colin says:

    Bill , you and I have had some great conversations and shared some good info. I’m thinking back to our posts concerning the 1850’s at this moment. I am not out to change your mind. You have set yourself on a particular path and you are determined to walk it. My opinions have not changed either. What is the bottom line in my opinion concerning the Middle East ? The same one that I have concerning Human’s history from the start. You have something I want and I am going to take it from you. That’s it. Whether ‘god’ is used , or you are white on the opposite side of your face from me doesn’t matter. I have rationalized a reason to destroy you and take your goods. You are the ‘other’ and must go. And THAT is what must be confronted. The quotes I gave are from opposite sides of the equation yet they pretty much agree. That was my point. They are both wrong. Wrong because they both are using the same reasoning to destroy the other. It’s insanity. I am not going to choose sides and count myself among the insane. Apparently the lizard portion of the human brain makes it damn near impossible for people who are consumed to say that it is time to stop murdering one another’s children . Until we have truly grown into the Humanity we claim the circle of violence that can be counted back for centuries is simply not going to end. And that is a world wide forest fire that we can either continue to feed or starve, and the odds I fear are with the ones with the gas cans.

  112. Israel_Reconquista says:

    Don’t lump all those players together. For us the land is our one & only home, for them it is a land of imperial conquest. Big difference.

  113. Silver_Witch says:

    The hatred is strong in you. There can be no discussion with a man who can not see that there is evil on both sides of this argument. The “Arabs and Muslims” have engaged the Israelis in war, bombings and the declaration of their desire for there to be no more jews.

    When you are unable to separate the “government” from the “people” you have a real problem. In my world your rage is bordering on anti-semitism which is also very ugly.

  114. Israel_Reconquista says:

    You may be Jewish even without keeping Judaism, because Jews are an ethnic-nationality. But your nation has a religion, and if 2/3 of millennial Jews don’t keep it (dubious stat, at best), living outside the Jewish homeland, it basically means nothing for the national consensus inside the homeland. In America you are living on the sidelines of Jewish history.

    As for your assertion that God is the problem, I’ll say that God has nothing to do with the conflict. At least for us. The conflict is between a displaced nation asserting its rights in its ancestral homeland, as defined by borders that are historically-documented and further confirmed by extensive archaeology, and other groups demanding that the nation remain displaced, or at least trapped & vulnerable to indefensible borders and vicious enemies. No, God is not the problem, history is the problem, particularly for those that claim to be indigenous owners of the land, but have no national history in it, and refer to the land using a name coined by the Roman colonial occupation.

  115. heimaey says:

    So they went from them not being an issue at all to being secondary and minor. I would say that’s conceit. Good day!

  116. Bill_Perdue says:

    You mean you believe right wingers?

  117. Bill_Perdue says:

    They’re secondary and minor.

  118. Colin says:

    Like I said above Bill.

  119. heimaey says:

    I thought you’d come around. Thanks for agreeing finally. :)

  120. Bill_Perdue says:

    Religion and the false ethnicity question – they’re both to blame – are secondary.

  121. heimaey says:

    I never said I didn’t want to discuss those things, I simply said that’s just not all there is to it. You may think you’re so above the MSM, but really you’re myopic view is just as narrow-minded and trivializes the situation. Knowledge is power, and if you don’t understand the entire picture then you don’t understand it at all.

    I also don’t understand how my bringing up that it’s more than colonization issues is too popular? If you want to just focus on colonization fine, and yes, the MSM should bring this to people’s attention, but they should also bring the ethnic and religious issues up because they are a large part of it.

    The MSM is focusing on very superficial things, just like people who think it’s only a colonization issue would. There’s a lot more involved and honestly the MSM is not presenting a rounded picture of the complexities and most (like you) can’t be bothered to learn how it’s not just about colonization but about 5000+ years of turmoil over god.

  122. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re looking at from the viewpoint of the popular press. They don’t want to discuss colonialism, mass murder and apartheid.

    They want to deflect blame from the role of the colonists and their American sponsors and blame it on religion and pretend that ethnicity – code for it’s the fault of both sides – is a key factor. Both are secondary factors.

    The ‘popular’ MSM press is wrong. As always.

  123. heimaey says:

    You’re looking at it too myopically. It’s so much more than just a occupied/occupiers conflict. I hope Palestine gets more help and I hope their allies grow, particularly in the West, but it’s much more than just that. Israel/Palestine is the crossroads of three of world’s major religions and countless ethnicities, ideals and interests. I guess we agree, at least, that the Palestinians are being slaughtered for no good reason.

  124. Jonas Grumby says:

    If you want peace in the world … same thing.

  125. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s a war bloody, one sided war between colonizers and the colonized. “If Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of industrial warfare against a helpless civilian population then that population has an inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The international community will have to either act to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift the blockade of Gaza or acknowledge the right of the Palestinians to use weapons to defend themselves.” And in that war, Palestinians have an absolute right to self defense. For now, though, they’re no going to get real aid because most of the region is controlled by islamists (Iran, Turkey, Iraq), royalists Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the emirates and regimes controlled or cowed by the US (Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan) etc.

    That will change as the Arab (and Muslim) Springs matures, acquires an more hardened working class base and breaks with the islamists. Then the Spring will turn to Summer and the Palestinians will get the allies and the instruments for self defense that they so desperately need.

    I’m not sure I can explain it further to someone who can’t see the essential causes of the war, which is one of the last gasps of western direct colonialism.

  126. heimaey says:

    Well they’re so lucky they have Bill Perdue to tell them they’re wrong. Luckily you have me to tell you why you’re wrong.

    1. It’s an ethnic conflict because Jews are an ethnicity as much as a religion. Jews from far and wide are different races, have different backgrounds (Eastern European, Ethiopian, Sephardic, Ashkenazi, the list goes on and on…). It’s a very diverse ethnic group – go ask most NY Jewish people and they’ll tell you they feel more culturally Jewish rather than religious. And ethnicity is a socially-defined category of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience; i.e. not a race of people but a cultural group of people. Therefore, not just Israelis but Jews around the world have interests in this region (not to mention the Christian segment that believes Jews have more of a right over Muslims – Crusades anyone?). And this extends beyond Jews in Palestine, but cultural Jews from around the world, the ones that left in the diasporas.
    2. It’s a religious conflict because despite the strong cultural leanings here in the US (although we do have many zionist Jewish nut cases – just go to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and have a look for one example) the Jews and Muslims (and the Arabs before Muslims who had many different religions) were constantly at each other’s throat over this land. Arabs and Muslims (generally speaking) have wanted Jews out and Jews have wanted Muslims out. They hated each other’s religion and thought they had a right to the land as defined by god. If that’s not a religious conflict I don’t know what is.
    3. And then we have zionist colonists who came into Palestine and displaced another group of people when they needed a place to go after WW2. There you have your native vs. invasive colonists portion.

    So you see it’s not just #3, there’s a long history of religious and ethnic tensions between the two groups.

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  129. Reasor says:

    Bullies are going to bully. If they didn’t have religion to use as an excuse, they’d find another.

    There will be lasting peace when there’s a one state solution, and that one state abandons its doctrine of racial purity and recognizes both Palestinians and Jews as equal citizens. I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen with this generation of leaders, but I don’t see a lasting peace taking any shape other than that.

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  131. Bill_Perdue says:

    They’d be wrong.

  132. Bill_Perdue says:

    The zionist colonial bunkerstadt began in 1948. It’s defining characteristics are mass murder, land theft and the most viscous kind of apartheid. They and their supports are guilty of hatred of Arabs and muslims and enablers of their destructiveness.

  133. Bill_Perdue says:

    Zionism is racism. Zionists are racists. Please stop confusing Jews and zionists.

  134. Bill_Perdue says:

    You didn’t explain why you thought it necessary to quote a rightwing extremist in defense of zionist right wing extremists.

  135. MJ says:

    And why would anybody idolize Sandy Kaufax when his people produced Jonas Salk ( or even Rodgers and Hammerstein, or Maurice Sendak…. )?? Don’t try to keep up with the gentile Jonses as far as athleticism goes. Even Phillip Roth wrote about taking pride in being unathletic in high school, because only the gentile would give so much energy and atttention to something so unimportant.

  136. MJ says:

    The Hasidim seem to think Israel’s problems are Zionism, which they see as adopting Nationalism in place of true religion/Judaism. But….that’s the Hasidim.

  137. Silver_Witch says:

    Colonists – I think not…a people rejected by every other country after being devasted by a Word War – where they were the losers – seeking a home and being PUSHED by the US and Churchill to go back to their “homeland”.

    Now 60 years later they have lost their way and after experiencing hatred, denial of their right to be there and being attacked they are blinded by their anger.

    We can hope they find their way…..but for you hatred and destruction is the better way.

  138. BrandySpears says:

    A state for Jews is “racist”, but you also support a Palestinian state which apparently doesn’t meet your concocted definition of racist. . If the one state/people you treat differently is the Jewish state/people, you are an antisemite.

  139. Colin says:

    Giggle. Clearly you have made up your mind so I will not get involved in the history or lineage as it would only waste time for both of us. I simply do not agree for many reasons. Actually , I do not care who lobbed the first rocket. This is not the Human Race as I believe it should be and could be on any level. Nobody has clean hands. Nobody. The world is once again running towards violent insanity and the pace is quickening. Lincoln I fear was right. But the suicide will not be confined to just the U.S.

  140. Myrddin Wyllt says:

    If we could evict God then we wouldn’t need to consider a two state solution at all.

    I don’t see any purpose or need to uproot the settlers. Just provided all forms of discrimination whether public or private against non-Jews is prohibited. So just as it is illegal for an Arab to refuse to sell their house to a Jew in the US, the reverse should be the case in Israel.

    The Palestinians have to be given equal access to all the roads and infrastructure built to support them, including the right to buy houses in settlements and there has to be compensation for all the confiscations of land and property. But trying to move the settlers out is just creating unnecessary misery.

    Another thought is that if the folk who claim to be religious took the religion seriously, they just might ask why putting their faith in God turns out in practice to mean putting their faith in soldiers, guns and a separation wall.

    People complain about militant Islam and Mohamed was after all a military leader in his time who conquered a large patch of territory for his day. But even militant Islam is pretty tame compared to all that old testament smiting that we are told was going on all the time.

  141. TruthNotReligion says:


    Pat Boone wrote the lyrics to this song.

    Yup. THAT “Pat Boone” wrote the lyrics to this song.

    To fulfill what “God” told him to do. Or something.

  142. Indigo says:

    Based only on observing the behavior of believers who follow those war gods, I have the impression they believe that their deity is above moral and ethical norms.

  143. BeccaM says:

    I figure that any deity — ANY god — who allegedly orders his followers to commit genocide is by definition morally and ethically bankrupt.

  144. heimaey says:

    I think they would disagree with you that the rest is of “marginal importance.”

  145. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s not complicated. It’s a war waged against Palestinians by zionist colonists. The rest is of marginal importance.

  146. Bill_Perdue says:

    Your sources are racists. Joseph Farah is founder, editor and CEO of WND, a right wing rag. “On July 22, 1990, Farah became editor of the Sacramento Union. … Farah and the paper’s owners envisioned the paper as a conservative alternative to the Sacramento Bee. “We just thought the way to go was to be unabashedly conservative in our approach,” explained Farah to the Washington Post. Among other things, Farah convinced Rush Limbaugh to write a daily column, which ran on “Page 1.” …. Farah received the Washington Times Foundation National Service Award, in 1996. He currently writes a weekly print column for the Jerusalem Post…” wiki

    The quote is from Zuheir Mohsen, a Palestinian leader of the pro-Syria as-Sa’iqa faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization between 1971 and 1979. Previously active as a refugee in the Jordanian wing of the Ba’ath Party, he was chosen for this position after defense minister Hafed al-Assad’s 1969–70 takeover in Syria, which he had supported against the previously dominant regime of Salah Jadid. Mohsen was also a member of the National Command of the Syrian Ba’ath Party. (wiki)

    His loyalty is to Syria and the Assad dynasty, not Palestine. The quote is widely circulated in racist (aka) zionist circles.

  147. heimaey says:

    You are always going to say you’re right so I shouldn’t answer but for once get off your high horse and admit it’s incredibly complicated and that maybe someone knows something you don’t or has thought of something you haven’t.
    It’s ethnic, it’s religious and it’s absolutely a conflict between two native peoples (although the nativeness of modern Jews in Palestine is debatable as it’s more recent unless you want to start counting back millennia).

  148. just_AC says:

    hmmm, not sure if this has already posted, but here goes – why do we have to push our beliefs of countries and borders when all of the Mideastern people have believed in tribal borders?

  149. Thom Allen says:

    Thanks, Jon, great work. Haven’t had my socks knocked off in a while. Interesting, informative and a somewhat different perspective.

  150. Colin says:

    “There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. Joseph Farah, “Myths of the Middle East”

    “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel”.
    Zuhair Muhsin, military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council

  151. TruthNotReligion says:

    Religion is nonsense, and poisons everything.

  152. SomeYankInRio says:

    Nicely put Jon. Organized religion has been a major source of strife since memory began. If you haven’t seen this yet check it out. Only 3 minutes to succinctly put it in perspective


  153. Bill_Perdue says:

    Not really.

    Religion and ethnicity are just aspects of the central fight which is between colonizers and the colonized. Just as it was in Algeria until they won and just as it is in English occupied NE Ireland.

  154. FLL says:

    If you want peace in Israel, evict God.

    Ditto for the rest of the world, but yes, especially in the Middle East.

  155. heimaey says:

    Actually it’s all three of those things.

  156. heimaey says:

    The most educated people are often the least religious, so it’s no surprise that there are so many Jews who only feel that their “Jewishness” is cultural.

    There will never be peace in Israel/Palestine because Israel was created to house a displaced people, and in the process, displaced people. The religious zealots on both sides believe the right to this land that goes back since not long after the dawn of agriculture. So yes, until religion is factored out it will continue. And people may blame Hamas as being the nutty religious but they should just look at some of Netanyahu’s tweets. Sounds like a religious nut bag to me…

  157. Bill_Perdue says:


    The English still play the game of divide and conquer. That was their thinking when they created Iraq and Kuwait.

  158. Indigo says:

    This is one of a number of inappropriate land distributions that echo from the world wars, leading to conflicts of one kind or another in the Middle East. Blaming G-d, by whatever name, strikes me as blasphemy but I’m not really much of an authority on that topic. Perhaps under the ceremonial surfaces, these are in fact old-fashioned Mediterranean war gods duking it out. The whole thing is disgusting, it smells to high heaven. Is this really what pleases the gods? Those folks need new gods.

  159. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s not an ethnic conflict and it’s not a religious conflict. Those are just excuses. It’s a fight between native peoples and colonial interlopers.

  160. Bill_Perdue says:

    Absolutely. Zionist racists and rightists use religion as an excuse and it has it’s effect. Zionists recently burned a boy alive. The kind of mass sentiment that can produce that effect or approve of it is genuinely depraved.

  161. Houndentenor says:

    The British Empire promised the same land to both the Palestinian Arabs and the Zionist Jews, as if it were theirs to give to anyone. This happened all over African and the middle east and is that cause of a great deal of the conflict worldwide.

  162. Houndentenor says:

    Given the number of Zionists who were atheist/agnostic (even 100 years ago), I don’t think that religion is the sole issue here. This is an ethnic conflict. The fact that they practice different religions is only part of that ethnic identity but I don’t think that the conflict would disappear if suddenly they all dropped their religious beliefs (which isn’t going to happen anyway).

  163. goulo says:

    Thanks for the good interesting article.

    About more and more modern western Jews becoming secular (cultural/ethnic instead of seriously religious):
    I recently read an interesting journalistic/autobiographical comic “We Won’t See Auschwitz” by Jérémie Dres, about 2 French brothers of Jewish descent who travel to Poland to explore their roots (grandparents on both sides fled Poland to escape the invading Nazi threat). They are not religious but identify as Jewish in a cultural/ethnic way. The interesting story includes a lot of info about modern Jews in Poland, who are also more cultural/ethnic Jewish and not so religious.
    Coincidentally the first religious Jewish wedding in over a decade recently took place in Wroclaw, Poland… with the couple being a Jewish Polish pair who long ago emigrated to the US but wanted to get married in Poland.

  164. goulo says:

    I agree that the Palestinian’s motives are not based in religion, but rather in a quite reasonable desire to stop having their land stolen and being generally treated as worthless scum with very few rights.

    But a lot of the rationale for the Israeli policies are based in religion (as Jon describes the crazy fundamentalist hard core religious extremists in Israel).

    (Although I’d certainly concede that, as in any religious war, religion is cynically used by some to gin up support for war/imperialism/etc.)

    So It might be fair to call it a religious conflict in one direction.

  165. tamarz says:

    This is a very interesting piece. You’re a lot younger than I am — my older daughter’s age and I think she would agree with a lot of your thinking.
    However, I don’t think it’s all about religious belief. There are secular Jews (I know some) in Israel who are just as rabidly anti-Palestinian as religious ones. But there’s no doubt that the religious right in Israel has made things far worse and is a huge stumbling block to peace. The ironic part of that is that in the 1940’s, the most religious Jews pretty much opposed the establishment of the state of Israel. Yet now they’re the worst jingoists in this battle.
    BTW, our family (and my husband’s) has unveilings a year after the burial of our family member. I always assumed it was based on a religious law so am very interested in what you said about the origins.
    And you forgot one of the main reasons to be Bar or Bat Mitzvahed — party & presents! My daughters all loved this event and not because they’re particularly religious.

  166. BeccaM says:

    Very good post, Jon. And you’re absolutely right: Negotiation is not possible when one or both sides claim — without any means of proving so — that their position is dictated by God and as such is non-negotiable. Even worse when that position isn’t over some arbitrary but otherwise unimportant matter, but when it’s used to justify atrocities in the name of religious faith.

  167. Bill_Perdue says:

    The war between zionist colonialists – whose policies have been characterized exclusively by mass murder, land theft, rampant racism and apartheid worse than that in South Africa – and Palestinians is no more a religious conflict than the fighting in English occupied NE Ireland is a war between competing christer cults.

    Palestinians want the absolute rights of return, the independence and reunification of Palestine under Palestinian rule, the return of their land and other stolen assets, an end to the mass murders and day by day murders an end to apartheid, along with full compensation for those who toiled under the apartheid regimes.

    They want all the rights that most peoples and nations enjoy,free of colonial and racist oppression.

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