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Homeland Insecurity

Young Jewish anti-Zionists struggle to find community

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(Margarita Korol/Tablet Magazine)

The 2010 U.S. Assembly of Jews, a national conference held in Detroit in late June, began at an unusual hour for a Jewish conclave: late on a Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the most accommodating move for participants who observe the Sabbath, but then, the conference’s organizers may not have expected any: This was the first major gathering of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. Given that the term “anti-Zionist” is an epithet to many in the organized American Jewish community, one might assume that any American Jew who’d schlep to Michigan to discuss strategies for “decolonizing Palestine” would fall outside that community’s religious and cultural margins as well.

So, it came as a surprise when, at 11:30 on that first Saturday night, after an exhausting opening session, about a quarter of the 200 conference-goers, overwhelmingly under 30, gathered to celebrate havdalah, the ceremony that ushers out the Sabbath. As they swayed in a circle singing “Lo Yisa Goy,” a Hebrew folksong—“and into plowshares beat their swords, nations shall learn war no more”—the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network felt for a moment like Jewish summer camp. Many Jewish community leaders would not have been enthusiastic about the scene. And, in echoes that reverberated throughout the conference, neither were some leaders of the Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

A growing cohort of young Jews actively involved in Jewish life—often in alternative realms like independent minyans, the Yiddish-revival movement, and social-justice organizations—are taking left-wing positions on Israel that leave them feeling marginalized even in the Jewish communities they call home. Ideologically, they range from those who couch their politics in the language of international law and ultimately favor a two-state solution to those who use the more radical language of anti-imperialism and insist that true democracy can never happen within a Jewish state—with countless shades in between. By flirting with the labels “non-Zionist” and “anti-Zionist” without abandoning other traditional affiliations, they have crossed a line into territory where there exists no well-marked space on the American Jewish ideological map.

Into this vacuum came the first conference of the two-year-old International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, a still-obscure organization (though one now on the watch list of some mainstream Jewish organizations) with a moniker echoing those of long-defunct groups, like the Jewish Communist Labor Bund, that tethered Jewish specificity to the international left. For many of the young Jews who turned out in Detroit—most en route to the U.S. Social Forum, a major activist expo that was held in the city later that week—the Assembly seemed to promise a distinctly Jewish space in which to engage in or try on the ideas that Zionism does in fact equal racism and that only a one-state solution can mean justice for Palestinians—regardless of whether they take such a hard line in their day-to-day lives.

But then they encountered a new problem: Their elders on the radical left didn’t know what to do with them either. They were too Jewish.

“Folks like us get it from both sides,” said a 27-year-old Jewish religious professional at the conference who requested anonymity because, she said, she feared repercussions if her views became known. “We’re not loyal enough to the Jews and we’re not pure enough for the anti-Zionists.”

The existence of non- and anti-Zionist Jews is in itself nothing novel; from socialist Jewish movements in prewar Eastern Europe to the ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta, they have been around as long as Zionism itself. What may be new is the emergence of a group of Jews whose leftism does not automatically equal secularism, as it did for generations of Marxists, and who, at the same time, grew up in or were welcomed into a liberal sector of the religious landscape that has grown exponentially over the past few decades. It’s not hard these days, at least in most American cities with large Jewish communities, to find synagogues or minyans that explicitly welcome feminists, gay Jews, and those suspicious of religious hierarchies—as well as spaces next door for those more interested in Yiddish culture or social action.

“For the past 10 years, and particularly from the Second Lebanon War up to the present, there’s been a resurgence of Jewish anti-Zionism where Zionism had once been strongest: among secular liberal Jews,” said Sam Freedman, a Columbia University journalism professor who has covered the American Jewish community for decades. In a recent New York Times column, he discussed the revival of the American Council for Judaism, a non-Zionist spinoff of the Reform movement. “It’s gone from being a totally peripheral part of the Jewish scene to some growing minority of the Jewish scene.” (According to Hebrew Union College sociologist Steven M. Cohen, no numbers yet exist on the size of the trend.)

The members of this demographic who turned up at the Assembly of Jews voiced a range of complaints about the Jewish institutions in their lives. A 25-year-old environmental activist named Hillary Lehr from Oakland, California, said she no longer wanted to visit the Reform synagogue she’d attended as a child because its pro-Israel stance was casually embedded into ritual life, from prayers for the Jewish state to tzedakah boxes for the Jewish National Fund. “I want to de-Zionize my synagogue because it’s not about being a Zionist, it’s about Judaism,” Lehr said. “There’s a generation that’s ready to go back to those religious and spiritual spaces. I want to say to my rabbi, ‘I want to come back to my spirituality and I want there to be space for all of us because we’re all Jews.’ ”

Avi Grenadier, 27, who helps run a progressive Jewish radio show called Radio613 in Kingston, Ontario, voiced similar objections about his religious education at a Conservative synagogue in a small Ontario town: Israel, he said, had taken the place of religious content—which meant that when he became disillusioned with the Jewish state, there was no other iteration of Judaism to fall back on. “I knew more about Mossad agents’ biographies than about the Nevi’im,” said Grenadier, who said he studied Jewish texts for the first time last year at Yeshivat Hadar, an egalitarian yeshiva in Manhattan. He now wears a yarmulke and observes the Sabbath.

Others voiced a complaint specific to institutions at the left-most edge of the mainstream Jewish world: Because opinion on Israel can be expected to vary widely—and explosively—in such congregations and organizations, some, by dictate or custom, have simply made discussion of Israel taboo.

Some non-Zionist Jews say they want what more pro-Israel factions of the community have: spaces where the Jewish state can be freely discussed and, indeed, turned into a political cause. But others questioned whether creating congregations that organize around the Palestinian cause would simply replicate the inextricability of Judaism and Zionism at more traditional places of worship.

“It’s not like I’m trapped in this synagogue where there’s all these Zionist politics on Shabbat and I want to create a Shabbat where there’s all these anti-Zionist politics,” said Aaron Levitt, 40, a former board member at West End Synagogue, a Reconstructionst congregation in Manhattan, who left the shul after several years of trying to unmoor it from allegiance to Israel (and who was not at the conference). “It would be just as bad; it might even be worse.”

Levitt helped start a non-Zionist minyan this year called Page 36 with fellow Jewish pro-Palestinian activists including a young Reconstructionist rabbi, Alissa Wise—not, he said, because he ultimately wants to pray only with political comrades, but as a kind of stopgap measure while truly “Zionist-neutral” congregations remain few and far between. At the same time, he added, the minyan was inspired by frustration with what he sees as a lack of interest among many of his coreligionist political comrades in aspects of spirituality and peoplehood that go beyond Jewish-flavored universalist politics.

“I care about Palestinians as much as anyone else,” said Levitt, “but I’m engaged in all this stuff because I care about Jews and Judaism.”

It was around precisely these questions of priorities—whether anti-Zionist Jewish movements should be motivated at their deepest level by concern about Jews, or about Palestinians—that the Assembly of Jews became to some extent factionalized. At one end of the spectrum were Jewish Anti-Zionist Network leaders who argued that Jewishness was relevant to the group’s mission primarily to the extent to which it could be used strategically in the public-relations battle over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and that to center their own identities much beyond that would, ironically, become another vehicle for Jewish self-obsession.

“Lots of successful movements have found resources and inspiration in spiritual and cultural work, and none of them have mistaken spiritual and cultural work for the movement itself,” said Sarah Kershnar, one of the Jewish Anti-Zionist Network’s founders. “The reason we pushed back on identity being the central place to act from is it sometimes lacks that connection with what’s really happening in the world.”

That reasoning went down well with some participants, particularly older ones who, in many cases, described themselves as red-diaper babies or as having been alienated from an older and more conservative iteration of the Jewish world for decades over anything from politics to sexuality.

At the other end of the spectrum were those who hewed more closely to Levitt’s view. They got their havdalah service on the Assembly’s program (though everyone else left the conference center before it began) and led workshops on “Jewish Anti-Zionist Spiritual Reclamation” and “Reclaiming Ashkenazi Cultural Spaces From a Zionist Agenda.” But tensions repeatedly surfaced, at public discussions and behind the scenes.

“It’s startling how much easier it is to bring my politics to Jewish spaces than to bring my Jewishness here,” said a participant active in the Boston minyan scene who wanted to remain anonymous because she hopes to apply for Hebrew school teaching jobs. “The organizers kept asking, ‘What is the material benefit this will have? How is this going to end Zionism?’ And it was like, we don’t want to justify why we pray.”

For those who left the Assembly of Jews with mixed feelings, the conference may ultimately have connected them less to the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network than to a nascent, nameless network of similarly minded young people. Interested parties passed around sign-up sheets for non-Zionist Yom Kippur retreats and hatched an idea to participate in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement to isolate Israel by selling their own, emphatically Diaspora-made, Jewish ritual objects.

A few days after the Assembly ended, some participants who had stayed in town for the Social Forum held a non-Zionist Shabbat dinner along Detroit’s waterfront. And almost immediately, they encountered a challenge: One of the few other Jewish contingents at the Social Forum had come from Hashomer Hatzair, a socialist Zionist youth movement. How to integrate the two groups while giving the anti-Zionists the Shabbat they had been promised? The event’s coordinator crafted a text message that she hoped would address the concerns of Assembly folk while also engaging with their Zionist colleagues.

“As most Jewish spaces marginalize the voices of non- and anti-Zionist Jews, this space will privilege the voices of those Jews,” she wrote. But, she added: “All are welcome.”

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Everyone wants their own “personal space.” What would be so wrong with being part of a Jewish community where one actually disagreed with people? Rather than ghetto-ize oneself into self-selecting political enclaves, some of these young activists could engage a community over time and bring about change not only in others but in themselves as well. I think the “pro-Israel” perception that they have of most synagogues is overstated (polling indicates much more diversity of opinion than people think) and that in fact one critical issue here is that as a generation they’re fairly conflict averse and so used to being in their own digital and social bubbles that anything other than like-minded people is a threat. Seriously: What’s a “non-Zionist Shabbat dinner” other than a parody of itself. This is a sad development.

Argamon says:

The statement of one of the participants that they use being “Jewish” as a strategy against Israel is perhaps the most telling comment. I would not be suprised if these ‘Yevsektia’ types have a speakers bureau. Israel hating Jews are very popular among many mainstream churches and “peace” groups.

Israel Ayala says:

I’m glad this is happening. This is very inspiring. I’m tired of being around “ashkenazim”; and a few friends of mine members of a Sephardic shul (that has been invaded by those European looking jews). We have been thinking of expelled those who do not happen to have the same way of thinking, or do not look like us. I mean the Gays have their synagogues, Now not Zionists want their services, It’s time for Sephardim to take on this trend. It’s so liberating to read this. Let’s burn Israeli flags at services, expelled the ashkenazim, and the gays. yay!

I need to write an Op-Ed to make it okay. RIght?

Fnord says:

Its interesting that this piece runs opposite Lee Smiths “Mainstreaming Hatred”. According to Smith, all these would be self-hating jews aiding and abetting anti-semites.

Argamon says:

An iteration of the “Anti-Zionist” strategy of invoking their Jewish heritage in attacking Israel is the “grand child of Holocaust survivors, just returned from the occupied territories” shtick. A local church just hosted one these shameless ….

Sunny says:

I realize that references to communist-leaning extreme left organizations is mostly there for context, but seriously — has no one learned their lessons about what communism has done to Jews? I understand ambivalence about Israel, and I hew to the left myself, but it’s frightening to see how little comfortable, middle-class North American Jewry has learned from history. There’s no pride in having been a “red-diaper” baby and you’re a fool if you think anything good will ever come to Jews (or the world) from the extreme left.

Lucchesi says:

“According to Smith, all these would be self-hating jews aiding and abetting anti-semites.”

And they are, in effect if not in intent. Your point?

It’s such a shame that these Jews adopt positions so largely unacceptable in the Jewish community and feel outcast for it. So unfair!

Maybe they’d get more respect if they weren’t so thin-skinned. Probably not, they don’t deserve it.

Peter W. says:

Jews who imperil the Jewish people. Nu, so what else is new?

It is not hard to figure out the origins of this movement. It is merely a continuation of a centuries old process whereby certain Jews are so cowed by the broader non-Jewish culture that they feel the need, for their own selfish reasons, to distance themselves from something that is often the target of anti-semitic attention, in this case Israel. I would have more respect for these anti-zionist Jews if they moved to Israel and actually voted in a way that reflects their concern for Palestinian human rights. It least then they would have genuine “standing”. The Jews who are actively anti-zionist are probably the same kind of idiots who like to go to liberal wine parties and bash Israeli policies to the other guests all the while assuring the other guests what a different kind of Jew they are. Interesting that these people probably have very little to say about human rights violations in Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Asher says:

How sad & pathetic. There is nothing worse than a self-hating, self-loathing Jew. Do these “Anti-Zionists” really believe that the Anti Semites(Anti-Zionists) will love them if they espouse this nonsense. To quote Sally Fields, ” You like me, you really like me”.

Yoni says:

I’m an under 30, non-zionist, self-adoring Israeli who does not have to struggle to find community among other like-minded Jews. I have a lot to say about human rights violations in Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey (firmly opposed to, in case you were wondering), as well as Israel and Palestine. I’m ritually and ethnically Jewish, but I’m more aligned with the majority secularism of Israel when it comes to religious belief. I welcome opposing viewpoints, debates, and conversations from my friends and family.

But I guess you’d rather set up a straw man to argue with.

Also, what’s with the homophobic hate speech, Israel Ayala?

howard says:

Hmmm, I doubt I’d feel at home in any of these crowds, but I feel an echo of what they are doing in my own life.

I do care about the Jews of Israel. I suppose I’m some kind of supporter of Israel. When Israel is under attack I feel defensive.

On the other hand, my relationship to Israel is distant and I certainly am not convinced that the “Jewish future” is in Israel. Not unlike the ultra-orthodox antiZionists I say that the Jewish future in Israel will wait for the mosheach… in the mean time I have trees to plant, a family to raise, and a life to live in galut. I’m not convinced that Israel has ended galut at all.

Israel is constantly threatening to declare me, my children or my friend’s Jewish children “not Jewish.” Who needs that? Who needs to even think about a state that engages in that kind of nonsense?

I hope Israel works out it’s problems, that Palestinians and Jews in Israel come to peace, but my job as a galut Jew is to live a rich Jewish life and carry on Jewish culture and life, with or without Israel.

Rabbinic Judaism is a solution to the problem of living in exile. Rabbinic Judaism (aka post second temple to the present) has some good solutions to those challenges. Living in and coping with exile has been and really still is the whole point of Jewish life.

Along came Zionism and claimed that it was time to end the exile. Just as the ultra-orthodox objectors said, “slow down there!” A state is not a messiah, Ben Gurion was not a messianic leader, there was no reason for all Jews to move to Israel and most did not. The reality of galut Judaism being the essential existential reality of being a Jew did not change.

So insofar as Zionism is a Jewish self-defense organization in Palestine, I support it. But insofar as people make claims for the centrality of Israel, shrug. I’ve got a Jewish religious and communal life to live and my life in galut may well outlast Israel.

David Star says:

I hate becoming a regular pest commenting on the American Jewish left, but the pompous declarations of the anti-semitic semites kindled a deja-vu experience.
Some 60 years ago, while serving as a sailor on a destroyer escort in the US Navy I heard an old Chief Boatwains Mate comfort a Seaman Apprentice who had been bawled out by a newly commisioned officer.
What he said could very well describe the Jewishness of these so called Jews.
He said,”That little twerp who just chewed you out, couldn’t make a pimple on a real sailors butt!”

Elisha says:

Interesting piece. As a Conservative Jew who feels very alienated from the Israeli government’s policies, I feel sympathy with many of the ideas quoted, and increasingly marginalized in Jewish institutions. (Still, it’s hard to imaging laying down with knee-jerk apologists for Palestinian violence, which is so common on the Left.)

For those of you reading this who want to call these folks “self hating Jews,” etc., you’re just name-calling and refusing to see the real issue. The Rotem bill is going to wake up the Diaspora to the fact that most Israeli leaders, and most Israelis, couldn’t care less about American Jews, American opinions, etc., except insofar as these are strategically beneficial to the State. It’s only a matter of time before the divergence of interests between these groups opens up a chasm between them.

I have studied this phenomenon and note a progression in the thinking of these morons intent on digging their own graves. Look at Alfred Lilientahl who started a lot of this nonsense. He ended up a holocaust revisionist who claimed Anne Frank’s diary was a forgery.

Cone Norm says:

My grandfather – may he rest in peace – called these morons usually
“fresh, gesunt and meshugge”. I don’t have a better name for them.
Judaism and Zion(ism) are inseparable. If you prefer Amalek or the
Philistines, go and be a Presbyterian or a Methodist and don’t make
Judaism a joke.

Ben Kelba says:

When did being a Zionist become being on the right (in political terms)? Modern Israel was founded as a socialist country with a Parliment and other instruments of a Democracy. Perhaps the problems that Israel is now facing within the younger Jewish community is that Israel has been leaning to the religious orthodox right because it has been so difficult to get a majority to lead the government. This wasn’t a problem through the first 25 or 30 years when Labor maintained a majority or a coalition with former Labor members. Because of the splintering of the established parties, the small religious minority has been given an unproportional amount of influence. However, that being said, Israel is still the only non-theocracy, freelly elected government in the region. I do not understand how these people, who call themselves Jews, can be anti-Israel. These were the same types who perished in the camps along with the other 6 million. I guess we Jews are really hard headed.

Stephen Speiser says:

These Jews are enemies of the Jewish people.

J Wayne says:

There is a great deal of pride in being a red diaper baby. As one of them, I can say, over the years, that we have tried to bring a more open voice to discussions of what it means to be Jewish and what it means to be a Zionist. My father supported the creation of a separate Jewish territory in the Soviet Union. In hindsight, his devotion to the socialist cause was folly. But even today, the rich tradition of Jewish left-wing thought survives and flourishes. Since 1967, it has been impossible to openly discuss the problems existing in Israel. The squashing of this discussion, its complete exclusion from sanctioned Jewish discourse, put many of us at odds with the Jewish community. It’s not self-hating, it’s just not being able to keep quiet on the important issues. More power to this new group and their courage to question and find plausible solutions to the turmoil in the middle East.

Daniel says:

J Wayne – If you have pride in being a red diaper baby, you have pride in those complicit or who supported the Soviet state’s merciless enslavement, imprisonment, starvation and murder of millions and millions of its own and neighboring peoples. You speak about bringing “an open voice”, but in the Soviet state you take pride in, there was no open voice at all for anyone that disagreed at all with the state. If life and freedom is so meaningless to you, it is no surprise that you would not support Israel or its security.

Daniel says:

I suggest these anti-Zionist Jews find a community together with all the fellow-travelling Arabs they can find, who similarly oppose any form of Arab self-determination.

Louis Trachtman says:

Today, I believe anti-Zionism and/or anti-Israel equals anti-Semitism. If leftist Jews want to be observant Jews to any extent and anti-Israel and/or anti-Zionist at the same time, perhaps they should be reminded of the time not so long ago (1948), when all Jews were expelled from the Jordanian-held old city of Jerusalem, and for the nineteen year period (1948-1967) when no Jews were even allowed near the Western Wall. Further, I do not recall any time in modern Jewish history, when the enemies of the Jews made a distinction between Jews who were observant, those who were not, those who were right wing or those who were left wing. My point is that the Jews mentioned in this article might consider ways to make Israel a better country, but being anti-Israel, anti-Zionist – No!

The idea that there is a growing movement of young Diaspora Jews intent on questioning the legitimacy of the existence of Israel is disheartening, to say the least. I have heard people voice negative views on Israel before, I have heard all manner of rhetoric from both inside and outside the Jewish community in which criticism of Israel has veered dangerously close to ant-Semitism, but to see that the people who espouse and propagate such views are now attempting to organize themselves into a larger organization leaves me feeling decidedly uneasy. The question of how a certain subset of this group will be able to balance their anti-Zionism with their religiosity is an interesting one, because it suggests that these individuals are essentially ignorant of basic Jewish ideas and historical events. For example, how can they say the Amidah, fast on Tisha B’av or even host a Pesach seder, while denying the right of the Jewish State to exist ? It seems very strange. I also find it hard to believe that such groups will not become completely co-opted by the far left, who would be more than happy to use them to advance their own agenda, which often seems to include elements of anti-Semitism just beneath the surface when they make statements about Israel.

Tamar Boussi says:

As an American born Israeli with a Jewish mother and Arab father, I spent years as a history teacher. These anti-Zionist Jews are people who either do not know Jewish history or choose to rewrite it in their own imagination. There are many types of Zionism, religous, political and cultural. To be anti-Zionist is to go back to the idea of Jews at the total mercy of the non Jewish world with no way to defend itself. Jews everywhere have undergone untold levels of murder, torture and death because of this. This may not be important to some Jews who will eventually assimilate into the Golut and there future geneerations will say “I had a great grandparent that was Jewish. American Jews who do not understand Israel do dot have a horse in the race. When you move to Israel, raise a family and take the risks that every Israli takes everyday, you will have a horse in the race. No one disagrees with Israeli polcy makers more than Israelis and they have the right and energy and passion to do so. What kind of future are these others building for the Jewish people. Being anti-Zionist means, to me, no committment to Jewish survival. My suggestion get a good education in Jewish history, live in Israel for a while and stop being a spoiled, safe American who does not believe in anything bigger than yourself.

I’m back. The biggest question I have for the anti-zionist Jews is this: What standing do you have, as a Jew living in the U.S., to attack Israel? If your identity as a Jew is rooted in a rabbinic (post-temple) conception of Jewish identity and you therefore feel that you can be fully Jewish in the diaspora that is OK and certainly rooted in centuries of Jewish tradition. However if you take that as these so-called “non” or “anti” Zionists do then whatever events occur in Israel should have about the same meaning to you as events that occur in Tibet, El Salvador, or Sudan. In other words your tendency to single out Israel for unique criticism is a contradiction of your “post” Zionism. If your Jewish identity is fully matured as a religion in the diaspora, which in some ways is a position that is at least intellectually and textually reasonable then criticism or praise of Israeli policy should be of little concern to you. This however is not where I believe most “post” Zionist are coming from.
Sadly the soil out of which this new movement has emerged is the same rotten place from which anti-jewish sentiment from Jews has always come: self-hatred. No this is not a straw man argument. Jewish self-loathing is real and has had expression historically through centuries of apostasy, and at least in the twentieth century, the embrace of far left politics which intend to take Judaism away from Jews. As one who has gone to school with many Palestinian Americans, many of whom I respect, I have never, ever, heard a single one criticize a single incident of terrorism done in the name of Palestinian independence. Nor have I ever heard an African American organization coming together for the purpose of criticizing Louis Farakhan. It really is sad how this current generation of young Jews has lost any respect for the ideas their grandparents knew in their hearts. How is it that the world’s most persecuted people have come gotten to this spot ?

Josh K. says:


The biggest question I have for the anti-apartheid whites is this: What standing do you have, as a white living in the U.S., to attack South Africa? If your identity as a white is rooted in an American (post-European) conception of white identity and you therefore feel that you can be fully white in the diaspora that is OK and certainly rooted in centuries of American tradition. However if you take that as these so-called post-racialist activists do then whatever events occur in South Africa should have about the same meaning to you as events that occur in Tibet, El Salvador, or Sudan. In other words your tendency to single out South Africa for unique criticism is a contradiction of your “post” racialness.
Sadly the soil out of which this new movement has emerged is the same rotten place from which anti-white sentiment from whites has always come: self-hatred. No this is not a straw man argument. White self-loathing is real and has had expression historically through centuries of apostasy, and at least in the twentieth century, the embrace of far left politics which intend to take white culture away from whites. As one who has gone to school with many black Americans, many of whom I respect, I have never, ever, heard a single one criticize a single incident of terrorism done in the name of the African National Congress. Nor have I ever heard an African American organization coming together for the purpose of criticizing Louis Farakhan. It really is sad how this current generation of young whites has lost any respect for the ideas their grandparents knew in their hearts. How is it that the world’s most persecuted people have come gotten to this spot?

>>What standing do you have, as a Jew living in the U.S., to attack Israel?>>

Well, there are several answers:

(1) Some of us are religious, which means some places in Israel and the Palestinian Territories — specifically Jerusalem — have great importance to us. That Israel has either temporary or permanent jurisdiction over these areas, therefore, concerns us as Jews as much as the Saudis’ jurisdiction over Mecca concerns all Muslims.

(2) Many Israeli politicians would like to portray Israel not only as a Jewish state, but as *the* Jewish state. While it’s true that many of us in the Diaspora would beg to differ with this assessment of Israel, we are nevertheless stuck with it. Thus, when Israel acts in an immoral or illegal manner, it reflects on us, right or wrong. So we hold Israel to account for her actions because we have been held to account for them as well.

(3) Many Jews in the Diaspora identify with Jews elsewhere as an ethnic or religious community (or both). Therefore it concerns us more when other members of our same group act in a manner that gives us pause than if the actors were not members of our group. Because Israel constitutes the second-largest Jewish population in the world, it is therefore only natural that we take a great interest in what happens there. We also took great interest in what happened to Jews in the USSR when that was a large Jewish community. The only difference between the situation of Soviet Jews and Israeli Jews is that, in the former situation, the situation was largely one of persecution, while in the latter, it is not.

This is not to say that we are not (or at least should not be) concerned about injustice elsewhere in the world. But Israel is “closer to home” for us, and so we respond because we see it as a duty — whether religious, ethnic, or human.

DavidS says:

Kind of like the messianic “Jewish” groups in that it’s basically a dead end in terms of building any sort of enduring “Jewish” community.
What are these people united by and what is the primary value they will pass on to their children? Hating Israel? Anyone who can read and think for themselves is able to understand that both Judaism and Israel have many facets, some positive and some needing tikkun, and moreover that both are inextricably linked together.
At least Satmar have a complete, albeit uncompromising and illiberal, worldview that includes more than just hating Israel.

Avner Stein says:

Claims that there is no room for discussion in the pro-Israel world is J street propaganda.

Anti-Zionist Jews whine all the time that they are being marginalized and denied a voice – but no Israeli boycotts the Leftist. Hell, the Israeli government PAYS THE SALARIES OF ACADEMICS WHO SAY ISRAEL IS INSPIRED BY RACISM AND MUST BE BOYCOTTED!!!

AIPAC is loaded with liberal self-hating Jews. The problem with anti-Zionist Jews is they don’t know right from wrong. They don’t want to debate reason and fact, so they claim they’re being persecuted and hole themselves up in silly apartheid week and rachel corrie pancake breakfasts.

Remember – this all started in the soviet union. Communist Jews were leaders in concentration camps during the 1930s and 40s. The original KGB (Chekka) was nearly 100% Jewish.

Jews were persecuted in the soviet union because they rejected the communist philosophy. And the chief persecutor were Jews.

Now their descedents use revised history once again and paint themselves as victim to Israel and Zionism – a country and political ideology exclusive to a country the size of New Jersey.

Of course the dozens of Communist states and their apartheid Arab allies doesn’t bother them in the least.

Funny thing is Marxists have more freedom in Israel than any Marxist state, LOL.

you should see the film” the free voice of labor” the yiddish anarchists made in 1980 by the pacific street
film is a wonderful film…they are all gone..but they did great work when they were here

to be……………………………a mench…………………………..that is the answer….best steve ben israel

Rako says:

Now with DNA evidence we learn that Palestinian Christians are Jews and Canaanites who accepted Christianity. This was something not known to leftist champions of Jewish rights 100 years ago. Rather than a Judaic theocracy over all of ancient Israel based on harsh Old Testament rules, we can have a nonracist Palestinian-Jewish state for all of God’s people. If people are too harded-hearted for this, then a mentally dug-in Jewish Zionist state could be created on Zion’s beaches a’ la Northern Ireland.

The prophets were Israel’s strongest critics. International Law on human rights is an expression of God’s laws.

May the Lord giving many blessings to these brave young egalitarian nonZionist and anti-Zionist Jews.

MotherOfTwins says:

As a member of the International Jewish Anti Zionist Network (IJAN) I feel encouraged. Many quotes sounded as if they had come from IJAN members, and only the attributions revealed that they were the views of critics. Although Tablet’s tone is suspicious of IJAN, the truth is that various expressions of social, spiritual and ideological Jewish trends are making their home within IJAN. Those of us who align with the fundamental human values that support dignity, liberation and justice for all people, join the majority of people around the world who see Zionism as an exclusionary and supremacist ideology. What distinguishes us, is that we reject Zionism’s claim on us just as we reject its dispossession of the Palestinian people.

Yaakov Hillel says:

What does this Anti-Zionist group expect to achieve? Many people living in Israel are children of holocaust survivors which in 1948 made up most the population of Israel. Israel has been attacked more times than can be imagined. Every Jew (almost)serves three years in the military with a tiny stipend to buy tooth paste and soap. During this time spoiled American Jewish children have finished three years of University. By the time they get to University in Israel they have forgotten most of what they learned in High school so they have to take a year of refreshers course. That means after they have put their life on the line for three years in tough field conditions they have to start four years after their American counter part. Every year afterwards till the age of 40 they do 45 days of military reserves in tanks and crawling on the ground.
What does this antizionist group want to do? Do they want to destroy a country of seven million people. do they want to annihalate another six million Jews who live in their own state under harsh conditions with an unending amount of Arab enemies from Yemen to Morroco Somalia till Iran who want to destroy Israel? what do they really want to accomplish. To make our hard live harder? I can only say shame on these Jewish antisemites. They have fallen into the Nazi trap that the Arabs use to say things which are not true over and over until these stupid American Jews believe it. Israel is not an Apartheid state. The Arabs take advantage of everything possible most do not pay taxes they build houses without licenses and the government never touch their homes if a Jew does this his house is proptly taken apart by bulldozers. We gave them Gaza to rule on their own destroying 22 Jewish towns that have been there for thirty five years. people settled there at the age of twenty five at the age of sixty they can find work? who will take them most are sick and hweartbroken. The Jews hired Arab workers and supported ten thousand Muslims

Yaakov Hillel says:

continuation ten thosand muslim families. The most hateful faction has taken over and every day they shoot missles and mortar shells into Israeli towns in a perimeter of twenty five miles from the Gaza border. Haniye their president says he will never make peace with Israel and he will fight till Israel is destroyed. We have forty thousand Missles aimed at Israel from the Hizbullah from the north. that can reach almost every where in the populated Israel. I had these Missle explode not far from my house four years ago when they shot into Israel. What do these anti-zionists want to accomplish.

What Rosstof describes as “unease” of the IJAN leadership regarding Jewish service and spirituality is nothing of the sort. IJAN is a political activist movement. Legitimately, it has a vision and goals, and we want our organized activities to reflect and advance these. Furthermore, spiritual practices vary and reflect deep personal and cultural differences. What is natural to one can feel alienating to another person, and these difference have to be respected by everybody. The relation between any Jewish ritual and a political conference is neither obvious nor automatic. Does Tablet editorial board start every meeting with a Jewish service? If it doesn’t, is that evidence of the superficiality of their Jewish identity? I wouldn’t think so. In planning for the Assembly, questions of Jewish spirituality and spiritual practice were assigned a number of workshops and time slots, precisely because we believe that these questions matter to our common work in addition to whatever private value each of us puts on them. These discussions were welcomed and encouraged, and I hope we will continue to move them forward. Those who think that disagreeing over a particular understanding of spiritual practice and its relation to politics means an “unease” about Judaism should perhaps read their Bible again, especially the books of the Prophets.

By framing the event as a conflict between activists who are “too left” and those who are “too Jewish,” Brosstof activates an essentialized reading of Jewish history from an inherently reactionary, right wing perspective, in which “Jewish” means politically to the right (e.g. Zionist), conservative and authoritarian. This perspective is shared by a certain kind of leftism and a certain kind of Judaism, but it is not IJAN’s. I would submit that some of the things people today have come to naturally associate with “Jewish” are nothing but updated Golden Calves; that includes the State of Israel.

I was in Detroit at the assembly and as an IJAN organizer I have been part of the discussion in preparation and following the meeting. This article is both encouraging and frustrating. It is encouraging, because, to judge by the quality of most of the comments, Brosstof went on a limb just by choosing to be in Detroit with us and by writing without full blown hostility. She was unfortunately driven by a need to put out the “angle” that will allow her to find fault with us. Not that finding fault with us is difficult; we are full of faults. But her “angle,” the alleged “split” between the “old” leadership, and the “young” hungry for spirituality Jews, is imaginary.

To begin with, many older participants shared with us in the workshop moving and deeply personal stories about yearning for Jewish community in the workshops, and Brosstof’s “story” marginalizes them. One of the most exciting aspects of the Assembly was the intergenerational camaraderie, the spread of participants all the way from the low twenties to the high seventies, with little friction and “generation gaps.” That was inspiring and too bad Brosstof missed on that excitement.

Finally, some of the most difficult questions regarding spiritual practice and Jewish history emerge from reflecting on our relation with Palestinians. As activists dealing with the aftermath of the disastrous appropriation of Jewish history by a racist and colonialist state, it is incumbent on us to explore and to propose new answers to the question of Jewish politics, spirituality and theology. But we must do it in a new context, one in which a significant number of Jews collectively exercise power, in the most obscene way, over non-Jews, particularly Palestinians. To remind ourselves of that horrible context, only this week a Palestinian received an 18 month jail sentence in Israel for the “crime” of having casual sex with a Jewish woman without informing her of his Arabness (I wonder where is the coverage of that in Tablet). How to challenge the Zionist claim to stand for Jewish liberation and history without betraying our recognition of this new context by centering our activities on ourselves and our identities, and thus further erasing Palestinians, is a complex and challenging question, both practically and in principle. As a magazine that neatly separates “life and religion” from “news and politics,” Tablet could use some of the thinking about this question that was going on at the assembly.

Avner Stein says:

Gabriel is butthurt over Israel’s status as a progressive, modern country. God does he wish Israel was just like the peace-loving racist apartheid Arab states, where women have no rights, ethnic minorities are subjugated, and Jews cannot gain citizenship.

If Gabriel is so cocnerned about Palestinians he/she should go to LEBANON where 10% of the population is Palestinian. That is a true apartheid state where the government has passed specific laws prohibiting Palestinians from working and receiving social benefits.

In Israel, Arabs have full rights. They don’t even have to serve in the military and can go straight to university.

Yes, there is racism. Yes, there is inequality. But ultimately Arabs have more rights in a Jewish, Zionist state than any Arab one.

It’s true. 30% of Israeli Arabs vote for Zionist parties. Only 40% of Israeli Arabs deny the holocaust, compared to 80-90% of Arabs in Arab states.

Notice how Israeli Arabs are not emigrating to Europe, unlike their non-Zionist Arab brethren.

Even in the “occupied” territories, Palestinians have a higher life expectancy and quality of life than their Arab brethren.

Allegations of colonialism is hilarious. Zionism was openly hostile to colonialism and the IDF fought the British in the air, sea and land during the 1948 war.

If anyone is a colonialist, it’s these American Jews who live and eat on Native American land.

Steve from Raleigh says:

My initial sense is that these are people who would rather be hated than ignored. But in fairness, there IS a tradition of observant anti Zionism. Satmars for instance or those NK freaks. If these young hipster observant Jews want to identify with them, have at it. But in either case it’s hard to see why they would find it difficult to fit in. Unless what they object to is standing with a gang of antisemites who hate them because they’re Jews, even though they mouth the same nonsense about wiping out Israel. Maybe that’s it.

Aaron Levitt says:

Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to give Ms. Brostoff the impression that the creation of Page 36 was, in general, motivated by frustration with Jewish activists’ expressions of spirituality. I was only speaking about my own feelings, and in no way intended to attribute them to anyone else. Even in my case, “frustration” isn’t really the right word (though I may well have used it); “wistful regret” is probably closer the mark.

As regards the raw venom in many of the preceding replies, and the predictable accusations of self-hatred: uncritical love is not always helpful, nor is true love always uncritical.

Jew Guevara says:

Great article. I was in Detroit at the Social Forum, and spoke with the author – and felt like the subject was treated quite fairly.
As for standing – folks whining about why these anti-Zionist Jews get a voice on Israel might be amused to find out just how many are dual citizens who carry Israeli passports and would be allowed to vote in Israeli elections.
I hope non and anti-Zionist Judaism grows to become another vibrant and visible part of the Jewish world, where “Jewish” = “the Jewish religion”.

Thank you Tablet! This type of reporting is what I miss at all other sites I monitor. Of course it’s disturbing to read of Jews so disconnected with their own history, or to be so needy of acceptance by their chosen host country or neighbors. But nothing new here. We are the ultimate social “Other,” the available target for societal angst; have been for nearly two thousand years. We are bound to feel insecure and unloved, to crave acceptance even at the cost which History indicates will be the result of our denial.

Just a reminder, anti”zionist” Jews are not only in our own Diaspora, but are a growing danger within the state of the Jews, Israel. And I do not just speak of Netorei Karta. Only yesterday the Israeli press reported that the Haredim, the ultras, who now constitute a minority of Israel’s residents (I hesitate to call them “Israelis” since, for the most part, they contribute little or nothing to the state of the Jews: do not work so no taxes, do not participate in military or civil service; what they do do is procreate at an alarming pace, and given their rate of increase will, in twenty years, be the majority of Jews in Palestine [Israel will no longer be recognizable as a “state of the Jews; probably wont even exist as a Jewish state since it will have an insuficient tax base to support state structures, and no army to even protect its borders]).

Sorry gang, I got away from myself. With all the news about the retrograde conversion bill proposed by the supposedly “secular” Yisrael Beiteinu, the Who is a Jew issue always lurking in the background of Israeli politics; even I am increasingly despairing of a future for the Jewish people in our own land. You see, even Israel is growing increasingly anti”zionist.”

Aaron Levitt says:

I’m fascinated by the recurring assertion that non-Zionist/anti-Zionist Jews are motivated by their need for acceptance among non-Jews. Surely converting to Christianity, changing names to non-Jewish-sounding alternatives, simply assimilating into mainstream U.S. culture, etc., would be more effective means of doing this? Now, I have known a handful of Jews in the pro-Palestinian/anti-Zionist/whatever movements who do appear to be motivated by an attempt to deal with internalized stigma (or “self-hatred”, if you prefer) by identifying with what they see as a counter-ideology, but it really is just a handful. I’d estimate…I don’t know, say 1%-5%.

On the other hand, it’s been my consistent experience that many (though certainly not all) of the most ardently pro-Zionist Jews are those who have minimal connection to any other or deeper aspect of Judaism. Even among those with strong Jewish ties, it’s very common to encounter people who are clearly over-compensating for their own internalized stigma (still “self-hatred”, though obviously repressed). In both cases, it seems abundantly clear that these individuals’ emotional investment in the state of Israel is so rigid and so fiercely defended precisely because their Jewish identities are generally so fragile.

Aaron Levitt says:

Somewhat off-topic, but I think a similar phenomenon is reflected in the recent furor over Israeli conversion law. Many American Jews are reacting so strongly not because they have any intention of claiming Israeli citizenship (most almost certainly do not), but because they have established a political entity as the arbiter of their own Jewish identities. Any failure of the State of Israel to recognize them as Jews represents a serious threat to their personal sense of Jewishness. For people who are not dependent on Israel to validate their own Jewish identities, the proposed law may seem equally ill-considered, but it is unlikely to be particularly threatening.

I don’t agree, Aaron, that your remark is off-topic. I believe it reflects a lack of self-reflection as regards Jewish Identity in place of Jewish Survival. We of the Diaspora created a state of the Jews to address our chronic insecurity in living in the Diaspora. We did not, in the run-up to and facing the event of the Holocaust need to affirm our identity! In fact German law had already done more in that direction than we could ever survive: a Jew is any person, regardless of religion (or name, or nose-job) who the state can trace back to a single Jewish grandparent, even if that grandparent had also converted out of Judaism. No, Aaron, anti-Zionist Jews are not a particularly positive phenomenon among our people, but rather ignorant or self-deluded regarding the risks they, and their progeny back three generations, face in Diaspora.

We were once welcomed in Spain; we were welcomed in Poland. And in that country in which Jews had lived for more than two thousand years, that culture-rich, highly educated and, according to its Jewish citizens, “exceptional” country for Jews, that which initiated Europe’s Holocaust, well, the resent article and comments are yet another proof of how far we will go to defend our own, present, exceptional choice.

Steve from Raleigh says:

I further suspect that the cute term nonzionist refers to an ideal state where there is no Israel. But they are too cowardly to say that out loud. After all, if you sing about beating your swords into plowshares in the name of ending Israel one can only assume that beating your swords into rockets and firing them by the thousands on women and children, hospitals and schools, and blowing oneself up on buses and at checkpoints is an acceptable path to that end. If they really wanted to demonstrate they supported the very words coming out of their own mouths, they would have the courage of their own convictions to become shahids.

Isaac Aaron says:

The anti-Zionist Bund is dead, buried long ago by both the Nazis and the Communists. I see some are trying to revivify it, in the hope that some future universal humanity will liberate Jews from antisemitism. That experiment failed in great tragedy to millions of Jews, which is why Zionism became so popular in the generations immediately following World War Two. They who lived through that experience, and those American Jews at the time whose parents or grandparents left Eastern Europe decades before due to the series of murderous pogroms, understood in the kishkes why Israel had to be. Now, we have a new generation that doesn’t understand what it means to be a powerless minority everywhere and how that choosing to be vulnerable once again is in itself an immoral choice. I would urge my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters who are investigating anti-Zionism to not choose the easy way out, but engage with the moral imperfections and ambiguities of being an empowered people. Powerlessness may allow you to be “innocent” but it also leaves you incapable of physical continuity.

Avner Stein says:

“m fascinated by the recurring assertion that non-Zionist/anti-Zionist Jews are motivated by their need for acceptance among non-Jews. Surely converting to Christianity, changing names to non-Jewish-sounding alternatives, simply assimilating into mainstream U.S. culture, etc., would be more effective means of doing this?”

Yes, in Germany most of the Jews who were killed in the holocaust had converted to christianity. Many changed their hames to non-Jewish sounding alternatives and forfeited their Jewish identity to blend in with German nationalism.

But in the end in didn’t matter. anti-zionists think they are immune simply because they persecute the zionists – they aren’t. anti-zionists and zionists alike were exterminated in the holocaust.

In Russia, 90% of the revolutionaries were stone-cold anti zionist Jews. But they still got screwed in the purges. The marxist zionists who stayed in the USSR thinking they could pimp Israel there were wrong, they died as well.

you think when hamas blows up a bus they check to see if there are any fringy meretz on board that bleed their hearts for homicidal Palestinians?

No, no they don’t. Hell, the first victim of a Palestinian suicide bomb was an Israeli arab LOL.

Supporters of Israel overstate the influence of anti-zionist Jews. They are an extremely vocal minority – nobody takes them seriously. 95+% of all Jews have a positive view of Israel or are indifferent, same as the rest of America and other nations that have an informed opinion of Israel (India for example).

Anti-zionism has become a trendy fashionable philosophy that some Jews have latched on to because they have become intimidated by the anti-Israel crowd. They want to fit in and are afraid of being accused of “racism” and dual loyalty.

Aaron Levitt says:

Hi Isaac,

You make an interesting point, though I disagree with key elements of your premise and the bulk of your conclusions. I started writing a substantive reply, but simply don’t have enough time at the moment to do the topic justice. Please feel free to email me at if you would like to continue the discussion.

Shabbat shalom,

Jew Guevara says:

Steve: So wrong.
Non-Zionist is a label reflecting that the original goals of the founders of political Zionism are moot. To what extent has the creation of Israel solved the existential dillemas of Jews living in the Diaspora, as Herzl envisioned? Has the creation of Israel allowed Jews to become ‘like the other nations’? Has the modern state of Israel distinguished itself by adhering to the social justice code of the prophets? Does the struggle for the creation of a state make sense when that state already exists?
It wasn’t me who said ‘Don’t call me a Zionist – call me an Israeli.’ It was Ben-Gurion.
Forcing ‘Zionism’ to the center of the conversation is really a boon for anti-Semites. They’d like to taint every Diaspora Jew with the crimes and foibles of Israel. As an Israeli, I’d rather Israel stand apart from ‘the Jewish people.’ And a Jew, I’d like to live in a state where synagogue and church are separate. As an American, I wish it weren’t our dollars and weapons that Israelis use to dig a deeper hole for themselves.

AntiLieGuy says:

The ones who are claiming to be jews are liars! The real Israelites are Americans, Canadians, Australians, and Britons. America is Zion or the Mountains of Israel in Ezekiel. On 10-10-10, the same day as the next false flag to invade Iran, America will be destroyed by Russia, China and the SCO. This is the war of Armageddon and you can know it is now by all the chemtrails sprayed every day globally to hide the sign in the heavens, Planet X, which is causing the massive increase in seismic and volcanic activity. News here:

gerald says:

Someone states “In Israel Arabs have full rights”
Is that so?
Then why the hell was the Palestinian knesset member fired because she participated in an humanitarian mission to Gaza in a flotilla which was attacked by IDF pirates who slaughtered 19 people (throwing ten corpses into international waters)?
Full rights for Israeli Arabs? Did the Arabs who were murdered only to have their corpses plundered by the government of Israel for body organs have full rights?
The biggest cause of anti-Semitism today is Zionism.
When Israel and Zionists throughout the world trashed and dishonored Richard Goldstone in his report, that caused more anti-Semitism than anything in living memory. If being a Jew means you can slaughter babies with white phosphorus, I am proud to be an anti-Semite. To me, being a Jew means honoring the Torah, and not spitting on the sixth commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” instead of honoring the satanic Talmud which is what Zionists do.I want no part of being satanic.

If there is a community of Jews out there who agree with me, that’s great, but I think it is despicable for Jews to remain silent and hence complicit with the fascist apartheid racist state of Zionism, and especially despicable because the global anti-Semitism engendered by this satanic state targets ME as a Jew in the Diaspora.

Avner Stein says:

“Then why the hell was the Palestinian knesset member fired because she participated in an humanitarian mission to Gaza in a flotilla which was attacked by IDF pirates who slaughtered.”

Tell me which Palestinian knesset member was “fired?”

Clearly you don’t know how Israel’s political system works – it is one of the most tolerant in the world.

Israeli Arabs march lock-step with hezbollah and hamas. During the Lebanon War, Arab-Israeli politicians (paid by the Israeli government) joined Hezbollah rallies and some even went to Syria to congratulate their war against the IDF.

Can you imagine the outrage that would ensue if a congressman were to shake hands with foreign fighters in Iraq? Or make out with Saddam Hussein, or Al-Qaeda militants?

In Israel, it’s just another day.

Considering the way Arab Israeli and Jewish Israelis disagree with each other, the state of Israel has done a fine job containing emotions.

Look at the USA. After Pearl Harbor we interned hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans. Look at Europe and their racist uprising against Arab immigrants.

Israel has rarely taken out its war with the Arabs on its own population. During the Six Day War I think the worst that happened was an Arab ship window was broken.

The IDF even patrols Arab neighborhood and arrest radical anti-Arab Jews.

You know what the Arab states did? They expelled 900,000 Jews. You know what the Jordanians did? They expelled thousands of Jews from the West Bank.

The canard that Jews cause anti-semitism goes back thousands of years ago. It is the worst form of antisemitism where Jew haters try to justify their hatred of Jews as if its some response to Israel’s existence.

I hate the Muslim states and their abusive policies, but I’m not going to take out my hatred on fellow American Musilms.

Clearly the Left has a double standard. Maybe cause Jews don’t murder their critics.

gerald says:

The Knesset voted Tuesday to revoke diplomatic privileges from Palestinian-Israeli MK Hanin Zoabi over her participation in the May 31 flotilla, Haaretz reported.
With a 34-16 vote in favor of the measure, Zoabi loses three main privileges afforded all members of the Knesset. Most importantly, Zoabi will be barred from leaving the country, which supporters of the measure say will prevent her from fleeing charges that might be brought against her over her actions.
Zoabi denounced the vote, accusing her fellow lawmakers of acting purely out of vengeance.


“It’s not surprising that a country that strips the fundamental rights of its Arab citizens would revoke the privileges of a Knesset member who loyally represents her electorate.”

So much for Israeli Arabs having the same rights as Jewish Israelis.

Avner Stein says:

““It’s not surprising that a country that strips the fundamental rights of its Arab citizens would revoke the privileges of a Knesset member who loyally represents her electorate.”

Ever heard of impeachment process?

Israel’s political system is no different. Any US congressman that tried to contact Al-Qaeda or the Taliban would be arrested immediately.

go to Gaza where Hamas hunts Fatah and burns their eyes out. Go to the West Bank where the so-called moderates kill anyone who criticizes them – including journalists.

this has nothing to do with RACE troll.

David says:

To quote Ronnie Kasrils, minister for intelligence in the current South African government and a devout Jew: “The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the ‘Jewish state’, and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans [under apartheid].” (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)

The U.S. State Department’s report on International Religious Freedom: “Arabs in Israel…are subject to various forms of discrimination [and the government] does not provide Israeli Arabs…with the same quality of education, housing, employment opportunities as Jews.”

Ilan Pappe, professor of political science at Haifa University: “[Israel’s] political system [is] exclusionary, a pro forma democracy – going through the motions of democratic rule but essentially being akin to apartheid or Herenvolk (‘master race’) democracy.”

Adi Ophir, philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University: “…the adoption of the political forms of an ethnocentric and racist nation-state in general, are turning Israel into the most dangerous place in the world for the humanity and morality of the Jewish community, for the continuity of Jewish cultures and perhaps for Jewish existence itself.”

David says:

Here’s one of countless examples of racism suffered by Israel’s Arab citizens. (Incidentally, Israel is the only country in the world that differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., there is no such thing as an “Israeli,” only Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. The implications for discrimination or racism are obvious.)

Ha’aretz, Dec. 14/09: “Jewish town won’t let Arab build home on his own land ”
Excerpt: “Aadel Suad first came to the planning and construction committee of the Misgav Local Council in 1997. Suad, an educator, was seeking a construction permit to build a home on a plot of land he owns in the community of Mitzpeh Kamon. The reply he got, from a senior official on the committee, was a memorable one. ‘Don’t waste your time,’ he reportedly told Suad. ‘We’ll keep you waiting for 30 years.’ “

David says:

Day by day, the world is learning the truth about Israel’s “democracy.”

“On Wednesday 28th July, a unique event will take place at the [British]House of Commons. Three Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, Jamal Zahalka, Haneen al-Zoabi, and Talab al-Sana will hold a seminar discussing the significance of Israel’s self-proclaimed ‘Jewish character’ and what it means in practice for the Palestinian minority within Israel’s 1948 boundaries. The seminar will focus on the discrimination encountered by Israel’s Arab citizens in light of Israel’s claim to be the only democratic state in the Middle East. This claim was always inaccurate and today it appears increasingly hollow, with a campaign of persecution and intimidation in full swing against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and their elected representatives and the ongoing occupation and colonisation of the West Bank, which denies even the most basic rights to the Palestinians there.”

Avner Stein says:


Done promoting your Pallywood propaganda?

I love cites from South Africa – a country that is far more racist than Israel ever has been.

The lengths of the left goes to portray Israel is laughable. Please take your fringe leftist outrage to a website that cares.

gerald says:

“I love cites from South Africa – a country that is far more racist than Israel ever has been”.

I grew up in apartheid South Africa, so I think I have an opinion: While not condoning any apartheid, South Africa never built a physical wall and kept black people prisoner in open air concentration camps like Israel does, South Africa never had a genocidal campaign whereby it murdered innocent black citizens on a massive scale, SA never launched white phosphorus at its black citizens, and perpetrated war crimes, burning down their food supply and depriving them of water, food or medical aid like Israel does.SA never murdered black people and plundered their corpses for body organs, like Israel proudly does.
The Palestinians have every right to defend their own land,and the UN explicitly forbade expropriation of their land in 1948. And let’s not forget the SA apartheid regime came to its senses and ended apartheid without a drop of blood being shed, because there was one visionary on either side.

Indeed I did my medical and surgical internship at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, the biggest hospital in Africa and the standard of medical and surgical care (at that time) was higher than that I encountered when I came to New York City. Israel learned bad things from the Nazis and South Africa and made them 1000 times worse. They are vilda chayas (wild animals) and use MY Judaism to commit atrocities the Torah NEVER permits. And Israel has murdered thousands of Americans on many occasions. We’ll leave that for another time.They are pure evil.
You can’t spin it: Israel is a theocratic garrison apartheid pirate racist fascist state a zillion times worse than Naziism.

As God is my witness, Israel and its silent complicit enablers in the diaspora will be punished one day; Throughout history, occupations have never worked.

Mihail says:

The Cadillac Modern Encyclopedia,page 822,states:
Khazars(khah’-zahrz)a S Russian people of Turkic origin,who at the height of their power(during the 8th-10th cent.A.D.)controlled an empire which included Crimea,and extended along the lower Volga,as far E as the Caspian Sea.The Khazar Royal Family and aristocracy converted to Judaism during the reign of King Bulan(768-809 A.D.)and Judaism was thereafter regarded as the State Religion.
The Jewish author,Arthur Koestler,relates the following concerning Jewish history:In his 1976 bestseller The Thirteenth Tribe.
The Jewish author Alfred M.Lilienthal
Facts Are Facts,by Benjamin Freedman:
The jews of Khazaria by Alan Brook
The Kuzari and the shaping of Jewish Identity 1167-1900 by Adam Shear
The Invention of the Jewish People— by Shlomo Sand
Genesis 35:10,11 And God said unto him,I am God almighty;be fruitful and multiply;A NATION AND A COMPANY OF NATIONS SHALL BE OF THEE,AND KINGS SHALL COME OUT OF THY LOINS
Genesis 15:5 and he brought him forth abroad,and said,Look now toward heaven,and tell the stars,if thou be able to number them;and he said unto him;SO SHALL THY SEED BE
Genesis 17:2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee,and will MULTIPLY THEE EXCEEDINGLY.
Genesis 17:4 As for me,behold,my covenant is with thee,AND THOU SHALL BE A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS
Genesis 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram,but thy name shall be Abraham;FOR A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE THEE.
Genesis 17:6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful,and I will MAKE NATIONS OF THEE,AND KINGS SHALL COME OUT OF THEE.
Genesis 22:15,16,17,18
Genesis 26:3,4,5
Genesis 28:14,15
Genesis 35:10,11 And God said unto him,I am God Almighty;be FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY;A NATION AND A COMPANY OF NATIONS SHALL BE OF THEE
Genesis 48:18,19,20
ZECH 2:1,2:2,2:3

Avner Stein says:


Clearly you did not growing up in apartheid South Africa or else you would know these facts:

*In apartheid SA, black citizens could only run businesses in designated areas and were considered 2nd class citizens (legally) a.k.a migrant workers in their own country.

*In apartheid Israel, Arab/Druze/Russian/Non-Jews can live, work, and run their own business WHEREVER they want.

*Forced relocation-A focal feature of south africa was numerous forced relocations of black citizens from their homes to other designated areas. In Israel, there has never been such an event since the founding of Israel, and those Arabs were not citizens of Israel.

*Unequal rights – in Apartheid SA, black citizens did not have the same rights and freedoms enjoyed by whites – voting, freedom of movement, employment, etc.

*In Israel, Jews/Arabs enjoy the same rights, except the law of return but that’s not an issue for the israel-apartheid movement.

Apartheid is separating one race from another. In this case, Israel’s relations with the Palestinians is not racial but political.

The security response was not inspired by race but hundreds of suicide bombings.

And as far as open-air prison is concerned, the Arabs – not Israel – built and created the refugee camps. The Palestinians and the UN run the camps independent of Israel, and most Palestinians don’t even live in them.

In terms of genocide, nearly 20,000 people were killed between 1980s-1990s. ANC sabotaged the progressive anti-apartheid movements and turned white south africa into a black south africa.

Over 1,000,000 whites fled South Africa after 1992. Whites live in self-contained neighborhoods with foreign contractors.

Over 18,000 people are murdered every year in South Africa. Barely 20,000 people have been killed in the whole 100 years of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The average life expectancy of a black south african is 50.

A Palestinian living in Gaza is expected to live to be 75.3


gerald says:

Avner: I never said there wasn’t crime in South Africa NOW, largely because blacks moved down to South Africa from Zimbabwe, Nigeria and other African countries to commit crimes once apartheid was shelved, but that problem is entirely separate from the Mandela-De Klerk settlement which proceeded without bloodshed. And the statistic
you cite for Palestinian life expectancy is not based on genocidal wars perpetrated by Israel, and infers that everything is hunky dory in Gaza; But it’s not: In 2007 Israel denied 1627 medical visas to Palestinians who were thus denied medical treatment in Israeli hospitals,and that’s before the massacre in 2008.
Apartheid South Africa never ever denied medical treatment to blacks, nor destroyed hospitals and clinics like Israel did which they never rebuilt.Following the Gaza massacre there was a 60% increase in birth defects and an explosion of lukemia and other blood cancers.Moreover, Wikipedia states that most medication allowed into Gaza from Israel is past its expiration date, so that in effect Israel denies medication into Gaza.
Apartheid South Africa never ever did that.
The more you spin, the more you cause anti-Semitism.
There is no justification for Israel’s barbarism, and plundering corpses for body organs and killing humanitarians on the open seas is not defensive but pure evil.
As a Jew who honors the Torah not the satanic Talmud, I want no part of this satanism.The Talmud permits sex with babies–that’s pure satanism.

sabashimon says:

“The more you spin, the more you cause anti-Semitism.”

gerald, the more you write, the more ignorant you show yourself to be, or in the immortal words of Mark Twain….”It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
You pal, are an uneducated fool regurgitating obscene bile. I pity you

I shall vomit!

nevace13 says:

sabashimon, I see you have used the familiar tactic of character assassination when all the facts are in gerald’s favor you must resort to typical Jew trash talk.

Hershl says:

There is a special place in hell for traitors.

These self-hating Jews are always amongst us.

However, as usual, like their Communist parents, they are on the wrong side of history.

Scott says:

It amazes me how interesting the stories are on this site. It is also mind boggling that the detractors have so much time to post diatribes here. This segment will never go away until ignorance and hate are eradicated. Every one is entitled to their opinion but hate is not an opinion.

In reference to the article…

First, it is not easy being Jewish. We are held to a higher standard than everyone else, are unfairly despised, unable to be truly accepted in the countries we live in, are overwhelmingly liberal, successful, and charitable. We also are not homogeneous and have a wide range of thought religion and tradition. Another thing, is we do not sit on our hands. We feel we must act on our conscience.

That being said, my opinion on the Anti Zionist Jews is this. They are ignorant and riddled with self doubt. They cannot bare the fact that Israel is an imperfect entity and that non Jewish people may be being denied rights and at times killed by Jews. This being said, they only see one side of the story. And this is the story. A 2000 year old exiled people have returned to their ancient homeland after half of its population was wiped out in Europe. The land was scarcely populated, mostly desert and swamp. No other indigenous people had ever claimed the land as a sovereign entity, nor had a government, fielded an army or printed money. In fairness to the indigenous population, the British, who controlled the territory set up a two state solution in 1948. The Jews got half and the Arab population half. Not to mention another 2/3 went to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The Arab population rejected their half as did the surrounding Arab countries and attacked the Jewish half in no less than 3 wars. The Arabs lost the wars. They then started a campaign of terrorism blowing up buses and social gatherings. The Israelis do the best job they can. Tomorrow, if the Arabs renounce terrorism and a leader like Nelson Mandela emerges everything would change.

Serge says:

This was an interesting article. I must admit that I do not understand very well the goals of some of the people it profiled. In particular, one described having returned to a Reform congregation in order to “de-Zionize” it.

Yet the 19th century European “Reform” movement is the most sweeping effort in Jewish history to de-Zionize, de-Middle-Eastern-ize, and generally rewrite the Jewish tradition in the European model. No matter how slavish one’s Eurocentricity, I just do not see how it is possible to make any more changes in the Jewish tradition and still recognize anything Jewish about it. Surely the Reform movement already jettisoned all of the Jewish roots they possible could in what was already a very intense de-Zionization?

That said, I understand that the Reform movement has also, in recent years, moved away from its own 19th-century roots and begun to drift, in some respects, back towards more traditional forms of Judaism. This includes praying in Hebrew, referring to a “bar mitzavh” rather than a “confirmation ceremony”, and even facing Jerusalem during prayers once again. Is the goal simply to return to a purer form of the Reform ideology? If so, I must say that I doubt it will be successful, for exactly the reasons that the drift has taken place. In any case, it is interesting to hear about.

ShalomBen says:

Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

And so the argument about whether Zionism and Judaism are intrinsically connected continues…

Judaism and the Land of Israel are clearly inseparable. How this translates into an attitude about the State of Israel is a hotly debated topic on both the non-religious and ultra-religious sectors.

Avner Stein says:


you are grasping. You can’t prove Israel is an apartheid akin to south africa because even in post-apartheid, south africa is still more racist than israel, even in the 60s/70s when arab’s were considered to be “hostile” and the government installed martial law in arab cities.

life expectancy and infant mortality rate are clear-cut parameters in defining standard of living.

gazans have a higher life expectancy and lower infant morality rate than egypt, turkey, iran, south africa, syria, and lebanon.

as far as israel refusing medical trips – so what? gaza is not PART OF ISRAEL. the fact that israel even services gazans is beyond me.

hamas has declared war on israel, and yet israel has delivered nearly 2 billion lbs of aid?

unlike south africa – which has totally shut out zimbabwe, where thousands starve every month and hundreds of migrants have been killed by racist black south africans.

but in israel, blacks FLEE to israel. they flee arab apartheid in sudan and egypt.

im sorry so-called south african citizen, you don’t know apartheid, you never experienced apartheid, and you have no idea what israel is all about.

go back to counterpunch or stormfront.

For those (like myself) uncomfortable with ethnocentrism, a better option than anti-Zionism is alt or universal Zionism, as outlined by Robert J. Lewis at :

“Reduced to what is universal in its objectives, zionism is the appeal of a people (identified by either race, religion, ethnicity, language or combination thereof) for a special territorial dispensation necessitated by imminent threat. . . . Since no nation or identity is exempt from the vagaries of history, we are all implicated in the zionist prerogative in that we all recognize the legitimacy and right of an endangered people to defend and preserve itself.”

The nuptial of zionism and socialism says:

Zionism for liberals in just a few easy steps!

1. Legitimate justifications for the existence of the state

a. All peoples have the right to self determination
b. Jews are a people and a nation (Judaism is the religion for the Jewish people and is one facet of life as Jewish person)
C. No other physical location on earth has as much significance in Jewish history, religious texts, language, etc.

2. A complicated relationship with Israeli national institutions

a. Support for Israeli politicians and policies is not a given
b. We as members of the Jewish people have the responsibility to hold representatives and institutions accountable for their actions and policies.
c. instead of extricating ourselves from its flaws (and there are so many…) it is up to us to build a state that reflects the Jewish and universal value of the Equality of Human Value (Shivyon Erech Ha’Adam)

3. Refutation of Anti-Zionism

a. Jews in Israel need our help– how can we say we care for the safety and wholeness of the Jewish people if we abandon Jews in Israel to government that is undermining itself?
b. What is the best way to create change in Israel– by distancing ourselves from its existence (and thus only satisfying our own guilt) or putting ourselves in the center and saying “yes, I care about Israel, so I have the right so say it needs to change”

There! Identity crisis solved!

The nuptial of zionism and socialism says:

By the way, Zionist liberals, you are not alone!

Check out…
Habonim Dror (the builders of freedom)

Hashomer Hatzair (the young guardians)

Hanoar Ha’Oved V’Halomed (the working and studying youth– an Israeli movement with Jewish, Arab and Druze sectors)

Adnan says:

Israel is one of a kind bros. After they killed 9 Turks they call the head of turkish governement terrorist.Wawwww

Gene says:

Those who call Israel “apartheid state” do it for one of two reasons: either because they are themselves racists (anti-Semites) or because of their pure ignorance. I believe that Jimmy Carter belongs to the second part. “Apartheid” as a “legal racial segregation” does not exist in Israel. There is however a “legal political segregation” between Israeli citizens (Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians) and non-Israeli citizens (“Palestinians”). Such legal segregation (the law that treats people differently depending on their status as the citizens of the state) exists in every country in the world. Carter, I believe, mixes stuff up: rather then putting Israeli citizens in one hat and non-Israeli in another he separates people according to their ethnicity and not nationality. This tells us about his mental abilities or maybe about his desire to see the resolution of the Middle East crisis in a certain specific way. What he misses though is the fact that “apartheid” (legal racial separation) exists and flourishes in his own country. For how, if not an “apartheid”, you would call the system of Indian reservations? More than that: the legal status of individual is determined according to the racial principals similar to those introduced by Nazis in the infamous Nuremberg’s laws. How would you call the president who criticizes the foreign country for something he himself promoted in his own?

Barry says:

Its not liberalism which is causing these liberals to fight Israel – if so they would fight Apartheid Arabia and the American Muslonazi community 1000 times as much – it is hatred of G-d and his Chosen.

Apartheid Saudi Arabia is a good test case.

Those that worship Mohamed and their liberal friends have engaged in thousands of violent protests in support of Jihad since 9/11. What percentage of those protests were against the vile, left-wing, and wicked Saudi Arabian monarchy? And what percentage against Israel?

Jews who are “Leftists” and believe in human rights should be at the forefront of exposing, fighting and destroying Islamofascist Apartheid in Arabia and in the West. Stop the Islamisation of America by Pam Geller is one organization you can join that would help promote authentic progressive and Jewish values by fighting the American Muslim community and their vile, fascist and Apartheid policies. BDS’ing the Ground Zero Mosque and any person who provides aid or comfort to them, would be a good start.

A Jewish “Leftist” can also join the American or Israeli army to kill Islamofascists and help destroy the cesspool where they breed.

But instead these “progressives” protest against a State that allows a Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem.

Serge says:

I am against apartheid Lebanon. But, dang it, what do I call my movement? What am I anti?

Celia says:


Why should Americans get free health care in Canada? Do they pay Canadian taxes?

Why should Gazans get free health care in Israel? You might as well complain that Jordanians or Lebanese should as well.

Tom Mitchell says:

I suspect that neither you nor Pappe knows what a Herren Volk democracy is. In a Herren Volk democracy only members of the Herren Volk have a vote. If Israel was one of these the Arabs would not have a vote.

Sociologist Sammy Smooha classifies Israel as an ethnic democracy, in which the dominant ethnic group is privleged but other groups have some rights such as the vote. This type of democracy was prevalent in Eastern and Central Europe in the interwar period of the 20th century and after the fall of Communism. To illustrate the difference between the two: in antebellum America there was a Herren Volk democracy in the South and ethnic democracy in the North, with blacks having the vote in some Northern states but not in others.

But Israel is still the only real democracy of any type in the region.

TheDevilCanDance says:

I wont call you antisemitic but I will call you ignoramus……

Most of you third graders don’t have a clue about what Zionism is. In its purest conceptual form, Zionism is the negation of Judaism. Hertzl initial project was the mass conversion of Austrian Jews to Catholicism.

Zionism has associated itself with totalitarian ideologies and regimes since its creation (Italian Fascism etc….) Zionism is a direct offspring of the
German Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil) movement.

Most of the intellectual midgets who post here don’t understand that Zionism is grounded in Antisemitism

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I think much more men and women need to read blogs like this. Its so important to know how you can construct a great blog to obtain individuals interested and youve done just that. The content is fantastic, the videos are perfect for what youre attempting to say. Awesome, man. Actually awesome! Cant wait to read more.

I’ve said that least 4020389 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean


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