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According to msn/encarta this is the definition of "Dilemma":

di·lem·ma [ di lémmə ] (plural di·lem·mas)
noun  

Definition:

  1. situation with unsatisfactory choices: a situation in which somebody must choose one of two or more unsatisfactory alternatives...

Speaking as an American Jew, I want to address a dilemma that many of us face regarding our support for Israel (Zionism), our liberalism, and what is happening in Israel today.

Related to this, the other day a friend of mine sent me some a list of "Paraprosdokian" sentences. Paraprosdokian sentences were defined to me as:

A paraprosdokian is a  figure of speech  in which the  latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.  It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax.

 

The Jewish population of America has long been a bastion of liberal and progressive thought in the United States. As one of the most oppressed minorities in the history of the planet our voting record shows us as overwhelmingly supportive of progressive causes within the American polity.

That oppression has also ensured that the overwhelming majority of American Jews support the concept, creation and current day existence of the State of Israel. We understand that in the end as Jews we have rely on ourselves for protection and support that no one, no matter how well intentioned will afford us on an on going basis. In the United States, (a country which I am proud to call my own and a country I would never turn on) Jews have been given historic freedoms and while I sincerely doubt that would ever end, given Jewish history in the world, knowing that Israel is there for myself and my children, I sleep a little easier every night.

SO.... what happens when Israel, (a country I whole heartedly support) does something that clashes with my own progressive values? What happens when the Israeli cabinet passes and recommends for a general vote a "Loyalty Oath"? A loyalty oath that moderate/liberal Israeli columbnist Carlo Strenger portrays as:
Loyalty oath is not about Arabs, it’s about hatred of liberal values and I agree with him?

Two of the "paraprosdokian" sentences my friend sent jumped out at me in relation to this dilemma the first being:

Ø I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather.  Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

This seemed like the perfect analogy for American Jewish support for Israel. We all want to be left alone to quietly mind our business and support for a State while the "car being driven" is headed off a cliff. All the while, the "passengers" (the world, the U.S., the Palestinians, and the Israeli Civil Rights movement and supporters) are being taken along for the ride. We tout our overwhelming support for liberal ideas until it applies to us. Then things are different.

Here is an example from a blog that supports a different approach to Israel than I do (I will not name the blog or link to it...) but here is a comment and conversation:

As if the conspiratoid antisemites which inhabit all progressive swamps needed more ammo. What is wrong with that boy's head?

And Volley is kinda sane for a "progressive." But that's what Israel is up against; friends like that.

This comment shows "the dilemma" - how do we as liberal and progressive Jews address criticizing Israel in public? Being a diarist and participant in the Daily Kos I/P community has been an eye opening experience. Never in my life had I dealt with those who actually not only did not recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish National Homeland but who actively campaign against Israel's right to exist as a Jewish National Homeland. Any little criticsm made by myself and other supporters was/is seen as ammunition against the legitimacy of Israel. To do or say nothing is unconscionable yet I personally feel helping Israel's enemies is also unconscionable. As much as I disagree with the commentator that I cited... there is an element of truth to that post. And that fact bothers me.

Then there is this gem of a conversation from that same site:

Commentor xxxx: " I'm getting sick of these liberal faggots."

Commentor yyyyy: "I'm a liberal. That is, on the issues I tend to fall on the liberal side of the equation. I favor a woman's right to choose. I favor regulation of polluting industries and a tax code more favorable to the poor and middle class. I opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And I am hugely in favor of Gay rights.

Just sayin.'

Commentor xxxx: yyyy, I didn't mean "faggot" as in hating gays. I meant "faggot" as in like a little bitch, in an Un-PC way.

Commentor yyyy: No worries.

Cheers!

Oh well... no worries then... I mean what's a little keyboard tough-guy prejudice afterall - right (sarcasm here)?

Well, then there is this "paraprosdokian" sentence

Ø When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

And that tells me that in criticizing my own side when I feel they do wrong, I am doing the right thing. Keeping my mouth shut only encourages the keyboard tough guys to keep up with their attacks on democracy and dissent. At DKos I/P it seems many that criticize Israel won't dare criticize their own side. Well, that is their way. People on our side say "fight fire with fire"... but why do I want to be like my opponents?

I know from Krav Maga that punching and kicking a bag makes you tough.... against bags.... it is engaging an opponent that makes you stronger and tougher. It is dealing with your own weaknesses and strengthening them that beats them. Just ignoring them or worrying what opposition will do is the tactic of the fearful. Addressing them and fixing them is the tactic of the strong.

I don't want to die in my sleep like Grandfather (in the sentence above), I want to wake Grandpa up and make sure he doesn't drive off the cliff. Because imagine how sad it would be if he didn't wake up.

Originally posted to volleyboy1 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:24 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Time flies like an arrow... (9+ / 0-)

    Fruit flies like a banana.

    "Problems can't be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Einstein

    by Brecht on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:30:46 PM PDT

  •  Speaking out is in the best long term interest (17+ / 0-)

    of Israel.

    Speaking out when Israeli policy advances peace.

    Speaking out when Israeli policy hinders peace.

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:32:14 PM PDT

  •  I too experienced a similar dilemma... (7+ / 0-)

    when as a kid I was first called "nigger lover" because I chimed up for some black kid who was getting picked on.

    The dilemma was quickly resolved when I punched the fucker in the face. (I ended up losing the fight, but that's ok. You fight the fights that are worth fighting, not merely those you think you can win, as my dad once told me. lols)

    I no longer even so much as understand those who stick with whatever group identity they have in cases where they're wrong. I no longer see these things as "dilemmas" - I just see the choice.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:36:00 PM PDT

  •  I understand perfectly... (8+ / 0-)

    This is something all of us that love Medinat Yisrael, but strongly dislike Memshelat Yisrael are going through.

    We fight these fights because we love HaMedina, and by criticizing Memshela sheh-lah we know that we are contributing to her strength.  While we're not Israeli, it's similar to the concept of dissent being the highest form of patriotism.

    We cannot help it if there are those out there opposed to Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state that will use our words against her.  Like you say, that is not an excuse to be silent.

    The Hope of 2,000 years, To be a free people in our land - Hatikvah

    by Mets102 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:38:06 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the thoughtful diary. (8+ / 0-)

    There are many thoughtful critics of Israel on this site who I often disagree with, but who make important contributions to the dialogue about I/P issues. However, there are a smaller group of people here who conflate the current Israeli administration, the State of Israel, the people of Israel, and Jewish-American supporters of Israel into one monolithic group, which I find troubling. I don't think the USA or its people would fair well by those standards, where we would all be judged solely by the Bush administration, for example.

  •  I both applaud and agree with your take here, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sofia, InAntalya

    pretty well summed up in "it is engaging an opponent that makes you stronger and tougher. It is dealing with your own weaknesses and strengthening them that beats them. Just ignoring them or worrying what opposition will do is the tactic of the fearful. Addressing them and fixing them is the tactic of the strong."

    There was an interesting study into what arguments people find convincing: arguments that present one side as the absolute truth, or arguments that endorse one side while addressing the other side's cogent points.

    It turns out that those with a high-school-or-less education are more convinced by simplistic arguments (such as all of W's), and those with a college education or beyond are more convinced by arguments that acknowledge points on both sides of an issue.

    We all like to think that progressives are less authoritarian and more thoughtful in their outlook, and that's certainly true in this century in the U.S.

    Even if some supporters of Israel are perturbed by your openness in discussing your own thoughts and doubts, I hope you are getting others to see things from a more complex and realistic, a more fully-rounded view. And you certainly make a more convincing case to those who are pro-P, but open to reasonable debate.

    You also say "At DKos I/P it seems many that criticize Israel won't dare criticize their own side"; it seems to me that this problem is equally common on both sides.

    "Problems can't be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Einstein

    by Brecht on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:48:01 PM PDT

  •  What is 'their side'? (4+ / 0-)

    At DKos I/P it seems many that criticize Israel won't dare criticize their own side.

    Are you saying the two sides are 'those who criticize Israel'?  (By which I assume you mean actions taken by the Israeli gov't, military, and perhaps militant settlers) and 'those who don't criticize Israel?'

    I'm critical of the US Gov't and military when it performs similar actions that result in harm to people, even people I don't like.  Does that get me another 'side'?

    If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:51:21 PM PDT

    •  sure.. you can be on whatever side (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mets102

      you want.

      You can read it - you know what it means.. Claim to be a progressive and never criticize those that you support.

      I'm not a little giant... I'm a freakin' leprechaun

      by volleyboy1 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:53:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who am I supposed to be criticizing, though? (3+ / 0-)

        I wasn't even aware I had a 'side'?  What is the cohesiveness that defines 'my side'?

        If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:54:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're the one who asked about sides. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mets102

          whatever you need. You can be on a side or not... not my issue.

          I'm not a little giant... I'm a freakin' leprechaun

          by volleyboy1 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:56:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But you're the one who wrote it first. (5+ / 0-)

            Surely you weren't merely throwing random words on the page, you must have had something in mind when you typed it, no?

            I want to know how you're defining the 'sides' when you write what seems to be an accusation of some sort, so that I can even figure out if it makes any sense.

            If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

            by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:57:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Tell you what (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hikerbiker, Mets102

              you are focused on a really minor part of the diary.. but what I meant was that if you criticize Israel don't be guilty of supporting the same thing that you criticize for any reason. Don't ignore the shit that goes on around them either.

              You want a One State solution - well then who do you support? Who is any better than what is there now? If you support the Palestinians, understand that Hamas and all it's shortcomings WON their last elections (that were judged fair). If you criticize the U.S. there, understand that other regional players like Iran and so forth don't exactly have general populations best interests in hand.

              Do you really need it spelled out or are you trying to start a pie fight?

              I'm not a little giant... I'm a freakin' leprechaun

              by volleyboy1 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:05:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm 'focused on it' (3+ / 0-)

                because it was the part of the diary that made little sense to me.  When you read something and one part seems glaringly 'off', do you ignore it, or do you 'focus' on it?

                In that sentence, you've taken the broadest brush possible, and smeared everyone who has criticized Israel with an accusation, and, by default, since you didn't bother to include people who do not (ever?) criticize Israel, implied that they don't behave in a fashion you claim to disagree with.

                Now that you've finally thrown a few more baseless accusations (one state solution?  I certainly didn't suggest it.  support the Palestinians without acknowledging that Hamas is a bunch of punks?  again, not me.) I can see that you're more interested in fighting your own strawmen.

                So no, I'm not trying to 'start a pie fight', because now that I see what you're doing, I won't be replying any more.

                If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

                by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:59:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Let me try to have a go at this (3+ / 0-)

                  The sides that vb is talking about is Team P and Team I. He is fond of using those categories to label commenters here. So basically in that sentence you highlighted he is accusing advocates for Palestinians of hypocritical behavior (criticizing Israel but not Arab regimes including the PA) without providing a shred of proof. Of course, when I provide proof that many of us criticise Arab regimes and he is wrong, we get crickets and vb just feels free to recycle those comments all over again.

                  As for vb's striking illogic and false, unfounded assertions about your positions, all I can say is: Aren't the internets fun?

                  "I have a vision of our rights as indigenous people. We didn't migrate to Israel; it is Israel that migrated to us." Haneen Zoabi, interview in the New Stateman

                  by Fire bad tree pretty on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 06:47:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There may be individual criticisms of Arab (6+ / 0-)

                    regimes in the threads, but any of us would be hard pressed to find a diary on the subject.

                    The only ones I can think of were written by a troll who was later banned.

                    But a quick check in the diary-tag list shows that there have been 7283 diaries about Israel (presumably nearly all are critiques of Israeli policy)while there are none tagged Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

                    In other words, those criticisms of Arab regimes that you cite are needles in the haystack, just buried by the mountains of diaries critical of Israel.

                    Consider adopting a homeless pet at PAWS.org (Progressive Animal Welfare Society)

                    by hikerbiker on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 09:44:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  not one person (6+ / 0-)

                      on this site expresses their support for any of those regimes, least of all the Arab posters here. This is in marked contrast to supporters of Israel, who find nothing odd about supporting and making excuses for a regime engaging in blatant human rights violations on a daily basis. In other words, those of us who are Arabs don't face the "dilemma" you all face because we've made conscious decisions to dissociate ourselves from the states we are from, states that we literally grew up in precisely because we cannot in good conscience express support for governments which abuse other human beings so blatantly. Israel's supporters, even those facing this "dilemma" volleyboy speaks of, seem to be unable to similarly dissociate themselves from a regime practicing decades of human rights violations against Palestinians.

                      •  Yup. True. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sortalikenathan

                        I agree.  Hence, the "dilemma", which literally keeps some of us up at night, wringing our hands, reading, debating among ourselves and with our families, confronting all the various contradictions.

                        Don't we all still love and need our families, even when they screw up?  Even when we criticize them and wish they were different?  Even when we try to make them change?  Well, for some of us Israel is like extended family.  Not with us for every holiday, but there for us when we there is a need.  A source of pride, a source of shame.  Very complicated.

                        I don't think anything you've expressed here is in conflict with the ideas expressed in this diary.

                        My point, in my comment above yours, was that there don't seem to be many (if any) diaries in which the Arab regimes are critiqued.  In contrast with this, there are literally thousands of diaries in which Israel is extensively critiqued.

                        (btw, nice to see you...it's been a long time since we've crossed paths)

                        Consider adopting a homeless pet at PAWS.org (Progressive Animal Welfare Society)

                        by hikerbiker on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 01:33:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm responding to this late (6+ / 0-)

                          but I'll only say that my relationship to the country I was born (Iraq) is as important to me as I imagine your relationship to Israel is. And yet, I'm able to make the distinction between the aspects of my affinity for my homeland (cultural ties, familial ties) and the way the government of that homeland actually functions. The machinery of a state is not like a family. That analogy is something I respectfully reject, and suggest that if you want to overcome your dilemma, you reject it too.

                    •  Well I must've missed the (4+ / 0-)

                      mass of diaries discussing the "end game" of this conflict and/or discussing Hamas and their role in the Palestinian polity from certain individuals. I mean we have a ton of diaries from people on the Pro-I side talking about the foibles of the Israeli polity and/or government, but I must have missed the ton of diaries critical of Hamas, the P.A., and the general lack of coherence in the Palestinian polity.

                      Sorry for missing all them. Can anyone point to them. It should be easy as there is a ton of "proof" out there.

                      I'm not a little giant... I'm a freakin' leprechaun

                      by volleyboy1 on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 05:59:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  There was.. (6+ / 0-)

                        ..at one point lots of commentary and some diaries re. "the lack of coherence in PA polity".   That was when some still had some hope in the "peace process" and understood without rapprochement between Fateh and Hamas the Ramallah lead PA had no legitimacy.

                        Now, since the Obama "peace process" has been shown to be little different than former US admins. there doesn't seem as much point discussing the split, especially since the Obama admin in not in favor of the attempts by Egypt to broker an agreement between Hamas and Fateh.

                        Finally we're talking about the (occupier) Israel and the occupied (Palestinians).   There is no equivalence.

                    •  Bullshit (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      capelza, Terra Mystica

                      Your position has as much logic as saying because I don't diary on Israel I am not critical enough of the Israeli regime.

                      Don't try to set this up as a litmus test on my part or any other poster who advocates for Palestinians. Writing a diary on any topic here is a matter of personal interest and choice. My choice to write or not write diaries is just that and is not indicative of anything else. Whether I state my criticism in a diary or comment has nothing to do with anything.

                      Is there any other litmus test you want to set up for me so that I can meet your Brave New World standards of acceptable thought? Those of us who are Arab posters left countries that tried to impose those standards on us. Thanks for showing us that people outside those countries are afflicted with the same malady.

                      "I have a vision of our rights as indigenous people. We didn't migrate to Israel; it is Israel that migrated to us." Haneen Zoabi, interview in the New Stateman

                      by Fire bad tree pretty on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 06:55:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You are making unfair accusations. (5+ / 0-)

                        I haven't set up any litmus tests for you or anyone else, here or elsewhere.

                        I don't know why you are reacting this way to me, and I had to double check to make sure you were actually responding to my comment.  Bizarre...

                        You may think my "position" lacks logic, but clearly the 6 people who recced the comment disagree with you.

                        Your nasty attitude toward me is a fine example of exactly why I rarely post here anymore and why, when I do, I avoid delving deeply into any heated subject.

                        I just got home and it's late, and I am really not interested in having an idiotic argument with you or anyone else in cyberspace.

                        Goodnight.

                        Consider adopting a homeless pet at PAWS.org (Progressive Animal Welfare Society)

                        by hikerbiker on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 08:51:12 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You are the one who made the accusations (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Aunt Martha

                          I just pointed out your flawed logic. Read your comment again and see the accusation of hypocrisy you made supporting vb's point and how you judged us as failing to meet an arbitrary, ever-shifting standard of the acceptability of our views towards one regime or another. (Comments don't pass your smell test, they must be diaries. That is your litmus test.)  

                          The popularity contest that is tipping and rec'ing here has little correlation to logical coherence. If logic was a popularity contest then the we'd all still think the earth is flat and we'd all be religious.

                          I'm sorry that you see my attitude as nasty. I meant to respond to your argument not to you as a person. I don't have any interest in slighting you personally. In fact, I admit I was surprised to see you making the arguments you made. If I misunderstood you then perhaps you would like to clarify where I went wrong.

                          "I have a vision of our rights as indigenous people. We didn't migrate to Israel; it is Israel that migrated to us." Haneen Zoabi, interview in the New Stateman

                          by Fire bad tree pretty on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:06:02 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

  •  The I/P diaries around here.. (15+ / 0-)

    make other "third rail" issues seem like a nine volt battery.

    I think certainly not all, but the majority of criticism of Israel in here is fair minded, but in an incredibly naive way.

    The most heated of that criticism IMO comes from people who are under 40 years old and are not Jewish. They just can't acceptably frame Israel's actions within the same perspective that American Jews or obviously Israelis are able to. They see things in absolute right or wrong.

    We view Israels actions within the prism of it's right to survive. I don't think the critics sense that danger. They view Israel as an oppressor, we see ourselves as a perennial underdog.

    Not to overly dramatize things, but Israel and the Jews there are making their final stand against a world that has tried to wipe them out. When that is the mindset, it's pretty hard for other ideas to penetrate that armor.

    Israel will stay as strong as they need to, project power when they feel they need to, and make peace on their own time.

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 12:53:03 PM PDT

    •  that mindset is part of the problem (7+ / 0-)
    •  Nicely said (8+ / 0-)

      particularly this:

      We view Israels actions within the prism of it's right to survive. I don't think the critics sense that danger. They view Israel as an oppressor, we see ourselves as a perennial underdog.

      I think your post accurately portrays a mindset that has been formed over 2000+ years.

      I'm not a little giant... I'm a freakin' leprechaun

      by volleyboy1 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:10:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The fact I can't escape (0+ / 0-)

        Our religion was the first of the "big three", if you will. We gave birth to the other two.

        Our calendar is somewhere in the 5700's right now. The Christian calendar, obviously, 2010. Muslims have been around 1400 years or so.

        As of now, we've got 23 million adherents in the whole wide world, while the other guys have several billion apiece.

        Do you see a problem? That's quite a disparity, considering we invented the shit.

        I guess we're just not using the right ad agency.

        As pretty much an atheistic but still "cultural" jew, I view that as a very telling and startling statistic, and one that probably does not escape the Israelis.

        "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

        by jkay on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:23:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're off by about 10,000,000 (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Treg, psychodrew, Mets102, Carboloaded

          There are something between 13,000,000 and 14,000,000 Jews world wide.  

          "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." --Barack Obama, June, 2008

          by oldskooldem on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:14:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  In the 1970's, Scientific American published (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arielle, corvo

          a big pie graph of world religions.  

          There was no slice of pie for Judaism.  

          When asked why in a myriad of letters, the editors responded: the number of followers of Judaism is so small, we could not accurately represent it on the chart . . ..  citing the 12,000,000 - 13,000,000 numbers, and pointing out, for example, that there were 250,000,000 tree worshipers in Indonesia . . .

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:35:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The Big Three? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rieux, corvo, ferallike, hikerbiker

          How so? You yourself quoted the numbers. The Big Three religions are Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. And "secular/atheist" beats out Hinduism.

          Judaism is 14th on this list.

          Christianity: 2.1 billion
          Islam: 1.5 billion
          Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
          Hinduism: 900 million
          Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
          Buddhism: 376 million
          primal-indigenous: 300 million
          African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
          Sikhism: 23 million
          Juche: 19 million
          Spiritism: 15 million
          Judaism: 14 million
          Baha'i: 7 million
          Jainism: 4.2 million
          Shinto: 4 million
          Cao Dai: 4 million
          Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
          Tenrikyo: 2 million
          Neo-Paganism: 1 million
          Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
          Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
          Scientology: 500 thousand

          A guilty conscience never feels secure.

          by Flyswatterbanjo on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:54:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All true, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Flyswatterbanjo

            but I think the "Big Three" comment was more in reference to the prominence that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have—as a triad—in Western discourse. It's often an eye-opener when people see a list like that one, but for better and for worse, Judaism has salience in the West far beyond its number of adherents.


            That issue quite aside, the thing I find exciting about stats like the ones you posted is the trend lines. Of the groups near the top of the list, only Islam is growing as a proportion of the human population. Moreover, they're the one sizable group that's growing the old-fashioned way: reproduction + indoctrination. Christianity's "market share" in the human population, meanwhile, is going nowhere, as is Hinduism's.

            But #3—the new kids on the block, we seculars, irreligious folk, and atheists—are burgeoning. There were somewhere under four million of us on the planet in 1900, but now there are (as you note) well over a billion. That's a 275-fold growth in a little over a century.

            And, in contrast to Islam, we're not achieving that, in any significant measure, by gonads and indoctrination alone: instead, for several decades we've achieved our growth by the deconversion of enormous numbers of people who were brought up in religious traditions.

            As the sociologists who wrote the article I wrote above point out:

            Disbelief now rivals the great faiths in numbers and influence. Never before has religion faced such enormous levels of disbelief, or faced a hazard as powerful as that posed by modernity. How is organized religion going to regain the true, choice-based initiative when only one of them is growing, and it is doing so with reproductive activity rather than by convincing the masses to join in, when no major faith is proving able to grow as they break out of their ancestral lands via mass conversion, and when securely prosperous democracies appear immune to mass devotion? The religious industry simply lacks a reliable stratagem for defeating disbelief in the 21st century.

            Actually I think there's an all-too-possible answer to this to be found in ecological catastrophe... but barring that, the trends in world religiosity are very much in favor of religious dissenters.

    •  the I/P diaries (7+ / 0-)

      I am 82 years old and Jewish to the core - and an Israel supporter, to the core! But I reserve the right to be thougtful about the problems/issues. The Arabs got the Palestinians into the mess they are in today by telling them to leave their property and after the Jews in Israel were wiped out by them, they could return and have everything. Didn't turn out that way - fortunately for us. But after that debacle, the Palestinians were not helped in any way by their fellow Arabs. That's the history.

      O.K. so, what do we do today? First and foremost, we must stop killing each other! How? Well, first by sitting down to peace talks where decent, self-respecting compromises are made.

      Here is what I would like to see happen:

      ALL Arab states recognize Israel.
      Israel and the Palestinians set up mutually acceptable borders for a Palestinian state.
      And, most important of all, Israel and the Palestinians become economically interdependent! That would go farther to preventing additional trouble than anything I can think of.

      If my "plan" is achieved, no more rockets are lobbed into Israel by angry Palestinians. These are not, after all, toasted bagels - they kill people. The Ultra Orthodox join the party and quit demanding the Bible territories - in other words. no more building settlements in what is West Bank areas. In other words, let's all recognize this is now - not then - and we live in the here and the now!!!! It benefits no one - I repeat NO ONE for this continuation of fighting. We must achieve a self-respecting and "other" respecting truce and live by it and that's where economic interdependence will help a lot!!!

      Just my heartfelt two cents!

      •  This is exactly the outline for peace, (4+ / 0-)

        and I think the majority of people on both sides now recognize this, but the devil continues to be in the details and the general lack of trust among the negotiating partners. America will not be able to force an agreement, contrary to the views of many on this site. The U.S. can help to facilitate this process. However, in the end only the Israelis and Palestinians themselves will be able to forge a lasting agreement leading to peaceful coexistence.

      •  It was Ethnic Cleansing (7+ / 5-)

        The Arabs got the Palestinians into the mess they are in today by telling them to leave their property and after the Jews in Israel were wiped out by them, they could return and have everything.

        You can stop doing the revisionist history bit now. People with guns told them to get the hell out of town, they were not leaving because they wanted too.

        The European colonial project that is Israel displaced the indigenous population and showed little regard for their wishes. It was a undemocratic land grab by the latest batch of European colonist following the same pattern as previous instances of colonialism. The excuses, the right to a state, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, is just a re-run of a old play book we have seen in other colonies all over the world including the 13 we started with.

        You want something and you took it. That is basically what happened, if it were ancient times people would consider resist the same but accept that these kinds of things often occur. In modern times it appears as ugly as it is. With a generous helping of spin and propaganda you can conceal the foulness of it all but not for those who choose to keep both eyes open.  

      •  I would take it even further.. (0+ / 0-)

        I would agree to withdraw completely from the West Bank.

        A transition time of lets say 30 years where Israel would buy back all settlers homes and rehome them in Israel Proper.

        Of course, the shitstorm that would be created from that would make the Tea Partiers here look like a real Tea Party!

        If you could get the Palestinians to recognize Israel and give up right of return, I think a total withdrawal of the West Bank should be on the table.

        I think that stuff can be worked out, Jerusalem is going to be the tough one.

        "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

        by jkay on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:37:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The only problem I have.... (0+ / 0-)

        ....is the whole economic interdependency bit... mostly because I'm not exactly fond of that kind of thing under any circumstances.

    •  not just non-jews under 40 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman, corvo, Fire bad tree pretty

      the shift in attitude towards the state of israel is also true of jews under 40 as well (in direction, if not identical in terms of absolute numbers). it is a generational watershed in many ways, in large part because of the different historical contexts of different generations when they were forming their worldview. israel in the past couple decades is a very different place than back in the 60s, and young people's perspectives reflect that.

      granted, the generational divide is radically different in israel than it is in the states. both shifts are tied to the consequence of israeli policy.

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:53:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not just under 40. Israel gave up the moral (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo

        high ground a long time ago.  

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:32:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And who does have the "moral high (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JNEREBEL, Treg, Mets102, canadian gal

          ground" over there?

          However, that is not the point of this diary who has the moral high ground or what. It actually has nothing to do with this diary.

          Just FYI, the diary is about a dilemma facing the American Jewish community on speaking out and giving those such as yourself more ammunition for their anti-Israel rants. Thank you for providing the example.

          I'm not a little giant... I'm a freakin' leprechaun

          by volleyboy1 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:42:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The children on both sides, who deserve (0+ / 0-)

            a world they can live in in peace.

            "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

            by bobdevo on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:08:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I agree. (17+ / 0-)

    Any little criticsm made by myself and other supporters was/is seen as ammunition against the legitimacy of Israel. To do or say nothing is unconscionable yet I personally feel helping Israel's enemies is also unconscionable.

    That's one of the huge problems with the I/P diaries on this site. The sheer vitriol and the ceaseless drumbeat of the Israel-Always-Wrong diaries and comments makes it difficult for the friends of Israel to say something like 'hey, I like you, but this sucks'.

    I had that conversation last night over dinner, watching that 60 Minutes segment on Silwan. That whole situation looks bad and is objectively bad. But how am I supposed to be able to say that when some troll like Tom J would immediately have made some agonizing propaganda piece out of it, complete with 'Apartheid' and 'Ethnic Cleansing' tags?

    So yeah, I understand where you're coming from.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:10:56 PM PDT

  •  You are definitely right about a (8+ / 0-)

    dilemma, and I like the metaphor of Grandpa's car. I wish more saw it like that.  

    I think Kinzer's recent book Reset is mostly correct. He generally argues that the US is too close to Israel and Saudi Arabia and both countries are not pursuing rational long-term policies. The US inability to correct Israeli policy, combined with US regional militarism is leading to further regional instability. This in turn, is re-enforcing the worst elements for long-term US interests in the region. US policy has been very counter-productive, to say the least.  

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:13:59 PM PDT

    •  agree. Jimmy Carter brought more security for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimball Cross

      Israel via the camp david accords, removing Egypt from the equation, and permenantly changing the balance of power.

      He did it by twisting Begins arm, and forcing him to compromise, earning the permanent enmity of alot of gullible right-wing US jews in the process.

  •  I was so happy to find this diary (9+ / 0-)

    because I thought you had been banned, and it's a really nice diary.

    the diaries that time put in a safe place

    by InAntalya on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:20:00 PM PDT

  •  Flip it around (10+ / 0-)

    the other way.  I almost never comment in I/P diaries because I'm afraid that I may have unknown biases.  I am half Lebanese.  My grandparents came here 100 years ago.  They never went back, even for a visit.  I have never been there at all.  I try to understand both sides.  I think Israel needs a place.  I think Palestinians need one, too.  I don't like violence when either side employs it.  

    For all those reasons, I stay out of it, and for those same reasons, I understand how you feel.  Seems like no one can offer choices that make sense and don't hurt anyone.  I hate the whole mess....

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:44:57 PM PDT

  •  The rabid Israeli right has murdered one sitting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman

    Israeli Prime minister, and is responsible for countless other acts of political and non-political violence.

    This movement is the greatest threat to Israeli security, IMO.

    Obviously we have problems with our crazies over here too.

    But I don't see too much "conflict".  Calling crazy for what it is isn't anti-semitic, period.

  •  A tip, a rec, and 2 thumbs up -- b d (7+ / 0-)

    What words of wisdom:

    It is dealing with your own weaknesses and strengthening them that beats them. Just ignoring them or worrying what opposition will do is the tactic of the fearful. Addressing them and fixing them is the tactic of the strong.

    I'm going to tape this up in my office.

    Consider adopting a homeless pet at PAWS.org (Progressive Animal Welfare Society)

    by hikerbiker on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 01:59:20 PM PDT

  •  Volley, I think I see it this way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treg, Corwin Weber, canadian gal

    In the end it may not be all that consequential to the IP dialogue in places like this to what extent liberal American Zionists like us bemoan the rightward lurch of politics in Israel.

    The reason is that discourse about I/P is so thoroughly off the deep end.  Yes, it is off the deep end in many quarters on both sides, but lets focus on Daily Kos and other liberal forums, where most of the off the deep end stuff is on the "P" side.  (This is not to say that all pro-P discourse here is off the deep end, of course)

    Anyway, with so many people in these type of forums convinced that Israel is the absolute worst thing evah (tm) and really embracing frankly Neo-Nazi level rhetoric about media control, the Khazars, and other ridiculous conspiracies, and this stuff is becomming ever more close to mainstream in left wing anti-Israel sentiment - does it really matter, in the context of liberal or left wing forums, that you or I throw in our 2 cents against something Israel does?  

    When the level of anti-I discourse on the left has already gone over to defending what Oliver Stone says, or lobbing false quotes attributed to Ben-Gurion, or conspiratorial accusations about where Israel settled its Moroccan immigrants 50 years ago, is there really any potential harm that we could do to Zionism by criticizing contemporary actual politics in Israel in these forums?

    If you are talking about dialogue in non-liberal forums that is a very different story, and I think liberal Jewish criticism of current Israeli policy is of the uttmost importance.

    •  fizziks, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arielle, Treg, Mets102

      Thanks for the well thought answer. I am not sure I agree completely but I will say this. I think it does matter what guys like you or I say (even if only a tiny, tiny bit). The reason is that as the dialogue goes so far off the wall it is important to see that there are those of us who actually support progressive values arguing points. I think it is important to show that "we" (Zionists and Jews) are not cartoon characters as some in the Pro-P camp paint us. I think it is important that people see what is reality not just a propagandized version of what reality is.

      Still, I appreciate the thought you put into that answer. If I could uprate I would.... "b"

      I'm not a little giant... I'm a freakin' leprechaun

      by volleyboy1 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:18:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I support this comment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arielle, Mets102, canadian gal

      and all your sentiments.

      But can't rec because of the way the Neo-Nazi line is phrased.  

      But yes, the choice isn't just the hard one vb presents in the diary.  People need to know that if they're going to support Oliver Stone and Helen Thomas' sentiments, that has an effects as to whether many Jews will feel comfortable criticizing the Jewish state.  Or whether people will decide not to add to, as arielle put it, the karmic toxic waste dump.

      •  out of curiosity (5+ / 0-)

        what is it that you object to in that line?

        Agree with this

        People need to know that if they're going to support Oliver Stone and Helen Thomas' sentiments, that has an effects as to whether many Jews will feel comfortable criticizing the Jewish state.

        Anyone with a long view of history knows that the position of Jews has been percarious.  I mean, it has been a mere 65 years since the most advanced country in the world tried to wipe us off the face of the Earth.  So when supposed liberals in America endorse hateful sentiments, a Jewish person will have to think twice about allying with that person on anything.

        •  Well, (5+ / 0-)

          you make a sadly true point, that there is some rhetoric here that actually mirrors Neo-Nazi talking points, like the Khazar bull.  I don't agree with the prevalence "so many people."  There is way too much antisemitic rhetoric here and there's an expectation that people will acclimate to it.  Only HR the most egregious things and let most of it slide.  But, that said, I don't think the Neo-Nazi rhetoric is all that common.  That's sort of the problem, because when it's two to five steps shy, it suddenly becomes acceptable here.  If it were the blatant stuff, it would get dealt with much more swiftly and quickly.

          I do though, really appreciate that you bring up all the other points.  Because I've witnessed a lot of things you talk about in your comment and because I was there for your last diary on one of those subjects.  It's not right.  And it does make people shut up.  

          And if people here even blast volley for not criticizing enough, certainly nothing I say will be good enough.  There are certain people who won't be happy until every last Zionist rejects Zionism.  

  •  Great diary .... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treg, Mets102, canadian gal

    Tipped and recced.

    I alway appreciate your take on I/P issues.

    Tropical weather info and discussion at Storm2k.org

    by jrooth on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:12:44 PM PDT

  •  Hey Volley (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, psychodrew

    I don't want to be accused of hijacking, so I'm posting this for you at the bottom, but it is very relevant to the diary.

    Today, PM Netanyahu instructed the loyalty oath to be changed so that ALL people wanting to become citizens, regardless of race, creed, color or religion need to swear to it.  I'm hoping this becomes a position of consensus, as it addresses my critique of the bill.

    "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." --Barack Obama, June, 2008

    by oldskooldem on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:47:08 PM PDT

    •  It doesn't address my concern with the bill. N/T (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman

      The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

      by Rich in PA on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:59:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting... (0+ / 0-)

      Looks like UTJ and the Arab parties are going to form a coalition on the loyalty oath.

      Seems to me that if on one side you have ultra-religious Jews and the Arab parties, and on the other side you have the middle of the country ideologically, you're doing pretty well.

      It remains to be seem if mainstream Jewish organizations like the AJC, the ADL, etc. remove their opposition to the law.  If they don't, I think Bibi might have to go back to the drawing board.

      "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." --Barack Obama, June, 2008

      by oldskooldem on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 04:02:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great, great diary. (7+ / 0-)

    "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

    by canadian gal on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 03:32:30 PM PDT

  •  Not just Israel, but Jews worldwide... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, Treg, Mortifyd

    who see the greater problem.  Jews are huge minorities in EVERY state besides Israel, and there is anti-Semitism in EVERY state, directed against this minority.  

    Yet too often there is an equivalence drawn with other religions and cultures as if the numbers did not matter, nor the collective history of persecution and genocide.

    Jews still endeavor for justice, and to rise above the enmity directed at them by majority groups.

    Some Israel lovers may be aggressive, but many who conflate Israel and Jews are no less vile and can exhibit plenty of their own venom toward people who do not adopt their views, not to mention showing little or no understanding of the Jewish experience at the hands of majorities.

    Insults do not change minds. I likely will choose not to reply. And my view does not invariably depend on your interpretation or projection, just my own.

    by citizen53 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 04:10:56 PM PDT

  •  just noticed.... (6+ / 0-)

    that there are a bunch of comments that i am not able to see... i suppose that's not a bad thing ; )

    "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

    by canadian gal on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 05:03:07 PM PDT

  •  Two points (7+ / 0-)

    One, the dilemma you write about is one that has been present since the founding of Israel itself. That is, how do you reconcile basic ideas of justice, equality, and anti-racism with your belief in a state that does not practice these values?

    Second, it is also true that American Jews and Israelis have the luxury of debating all of this from a position of power over Palestinians. The issue faced by Palestinians is literally an existential one, and has been for decades: as a people in exile (the new Jews of the Middle East) they do not have the luxury to face such dilemmas; their fight is for the very survival of their nation.

    I am glad you sleep better at night; the hypothetical fear that you have is one experienced in real life by most Palestinian parents daily. In no small way, this state of affairs is perpetuated by your "dilemma".

  •  Thanks for this diary, Volley (6+ / 0-)

    What you speak about is important, indeed.  No doubt there are some who don't understand the "dilemma." And, there certainly are those who don't care to understand. But, so be it. Keep speaking out.

  •  Both thoughtful and thought-provoking (10+ / 0-)

    You do a great job at describing one of the dilemmas we are faced with, whether or not to we speak out.  The decision also extends to where we speak out.  Online is not everything.

    Like fizziks, however, I don't believe the choice is that simple.  People have to recognize that they if they don't condemn antisemitism within the mass of Israel criticism, then they lose the credibility to complain that Jews don't speak out.  When, for example, an antisemitic source is used and then people complain that the Jews here should get over it, they've lost the credibility to complain.  When they won't HR Nazi analogies and then complain that the conversation gets derailed, they've lost the credibility.

    Both online and in the real world, if critics of Israel don't loudly tell the haters that hate has no place amongst them, that creates an unsafe environment.  Jews have long enough, withstood this type of hate.  There is absolutely no reason to join with people in condemning other wrongs, when those same people won't condemn hatred of Jews.  Teapartiers are faced with this choice and liberals stand clearly on one side.  They need to do a much better job at rooting out the hatred on their own side.  Speech matters.  Hate grows when people continually look the other way.  Hate gains power when good people say nothing and criticize those who do speak out.

    One of the other dilemmas is also illustrated in this diary's comments.  That is, just because one can criticize Judaism, does not always mean one has to.  When, for example, the concept of choseness gets abused by raging antisemites, sometimes it would be nice if people just said "No, that's unacceptable."  And leave it at that.  When, on the other hand, comments in Israel diaries so often veer off into a criticism of Jews and/or Judaism, it is one more thing that clearly indicates this is not a safe space for dialogue.

    So, as important as it is to speak out, it is as important to make sure we do not keep silent on hate.  Kind of defeats the purpose.

    There are other ways to speak out besides Dkos.  

  •  Thanks volleyboy (5+ / 0-)

    for this thoughtful diary.  It helps me understand some things I've wondered about, but dare not ask, probably because I'm too ignorant to frame the question properly!

    Thanks for the honest and clear perspective.  

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