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8 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Can Israel\'s New Arab... · 43 replies · -15 points

It is important to note that the joint Arab list calls for a "just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue based on the right of return as enshrined by the United Nations". Throughout the years of conflict, the term "just solution" of the refugee issue is often used, and many optimists understand that this means a negotiated solution that both sides could accept. The pessimists always answer that "a just solution" is simply a code word in the Arab dictionary for the return of the descendants of the refugees. Very surprisingly, the Arab list is clear about the term "just solution", and so for those optimistic readers who believe that some understanding could be reached - the intention is "the right of return" as the only definition of "justice".

It's also interesting to note that there isn't any "right of return as enshrined by the United Nations". UNGA 194 tells us that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors SHOULD be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date". Just as "just solution" is understood as a codeword for the "right of return", so too the phrase "should be permitted" is understood as a codeword for "must be permitted" (i.e. right of return). The understanding/misunderstanding of words is also part of the conflict.

According to the Oslo Agreements, a negotiated solution of the refugee issue will be reached in the final status that ends the conflict. Moreover, according to Oslo, the status of the settlements will also be agreed upon in the final status. Sadly, it turns out that the joint Arab list rejects the understandings of Oslo, an agreement that was signed by Mr Arafat himself in the presence of the international community. For the joint list, neither issue is a matter of negotiations - the settlements must be dismantled and the refugees must be allowed to return, period. It's really a pity. It's hard to imagine reaching a future agreement when the past agreements have no validity, even in the eyes of those who claimed to support these past agreements when they were signed.

8 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - French Chief Rabbi Hai... · 0 replies · -22 points

What is wrong with haredim? I think that anti-haredi prejudices are no different than any other hate-ideology.

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - French Chief Rabbi Hai... · 5 replies · -25 points

Telling us that “France without Jews is not France" is not a statement that explains what is best both for France and the French Jewish community. It is a statement that places the interest of France as supreme (it's the only interest that was defined): "It is not good for France that the Jews leave". Why should the Jews stay in France from a Jewish perspective? That doesn't appear in the article. So, if the chief rabbi is a servant of two masters, in the article he is presented as the servant only of the French Republic.

In any case, the chief rabbi shouldn't advise the Jews to stay. That is a terrible mistake. He cannot possibly promise the community that the French Republic will protect them. He should remain silent. In the past, in Nazi Germany of 1933, the Jewish leadership called upon the Jewish community to remain in Germany, "our home". By 1938, it was clear that these leaders had betrayed their constituents. The situation in France is very different, of course - but, still, "seyag le-hokhma shetiqah" (protect your reputation of wisdom through silence). No one knows the dynamics of the present situation. Just imagine if a family decides to stay in France because the chief rabbi recommends it - and then some terrible thing happens to them.

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Is It Time for a Rever... · 2 replies · -12 points

But what would you suggest to show the Israelis in Seattle? In Birthright, the participant is showed sites that have meaning in the shaping of Jewish identity or in the understanding of Jewish history. Bringing a Birthright program to the Jewish community in the USA will have to include seeing sites of Jewish interest and importance, and these sites should be "wow". What is "wow" in the American Jewish world that we would like to share with the Israelis? It's a great idea to organize a reversed Birthright, but first we have to figure out what it is that we want to brag about.

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Is It Time for a Rever... · 1 reply · -12 points

Israel's best interest is that the Jews come and live in Israel - so, Bibi's call for aliya meets your bottom line.

Your view is a bit confused. The Six-Day War is not the success story that enabled Israel's survival, as you understand things. The Six-Day War is the event that demonstrates the reality of the new State of Israel - a very organized, determined and capable society firmly rooted in its ancient soil. In other words, Israel first had risen up as a very successful state, and the Six-Day War was merely the opportunity for you to take notice.

When you say that the American Jews rallied to the Zionist cause, you mean to say that many American Jews now took notice of Israel for the first time in their lives. American Jews do not identify with Zionism, i.e. they do not consider aliya to be an ideological obligation. They firmly believe in Jewish life within the framework of integration into American society - which is another ideology altogether.That's why you'll see so many articles here in the Forward criticizing Bibi's call for aliya. There will never be an article calling for aliya or defining it as the proper course of actions. American Jews call themselves "Zionists", meaning that they are "pro-Zionists" (they are happy that someone else lives in Israel).

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Start Birthright With ... · 3 replies · -10 points

It's hard to understand what it is that bothers you about Taglit. You know what it's all about, and if you're interested - you come along. If you're not interested - you decline the offer. If you believe that the offer negates the definition of Israel as a western country - then, fine, Israel is just another one of the Middle Eastern countries. If you think that Taglit is another edition of the Soviet Intourist style of tourism - well, that's fine as well. Israel is just another one of the Soviet-style countries. I rather doubt that you indeed see Israel as a non-western state, just as I doubt that you really see Taglit as an Intourist-style project. What you are expecting is that Taglit should be another platform in the ideological struggle against Zionism - paid for by those against whom the struggle is being waged. It's an interesting point of view - surely very altruistic - but, unfortunately, Taglit doesn't reach such high standards of mea culpa. It's a program that wishes to celebrate Israel, if such a thing could be imagined. It turns out that there are many people who wish to join the celebration, if such a thing could be imagined.

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Start Birthright With ... · 0 replies · -6 points

Yes, the settlements will be negotiated in the final status deal. And in the meanwhile? In the meanwhile, they have the right to exist - with the consent of the international community and with the signature of Mr Arafat. You'll have to wait and see what the final deal that ends the conflict will mean for the settlements. It's really unfortunate that you wish to nullify the validity of the Oslo Agreement. If you can nullify a signed agreement, then you are saying that there's no point in negotiating in the future. Only if we respect existing treaties can we have confidence in the signing of new treaties. So many pro-Palestinian activists like yourself claim that Oslo is irrrelevant - but in essence that is an anti-Palestinian point of view. There will not be a negotiated end of the conflict if the existing arrangements are considered void.

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Start Birthright With ... · 3 replies · -10 points

Well, you actually do care what I think. You always answer me on every single point. It is important to you to justify yourself. If you didn't care, then you would not have bothered to answer. It was important to you not to be defined as anti-Israel, and you made very interesting maneuvering to refrain from denying the accusation (because it's just true) while voicing a stern protest. That's not exactly "watch me not care".

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Start Birthright With ... · 7 replies · -11 points

"Stressing the pluralism of the American experience" is also ideological propaganda. It ignores the reality of the European settlement and the destruction of the native civilization. It assumes as self-evident that the making of American society was good - which is not exactly criticism even though the Americans take pride in being a democratic society. We all have our ideological "shtik" - including you.

9 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Start Birthright With ... · 6 replies · -7 points

There is nothing wrong with announcing plans for constructing new settlements. No one has put the Palestinians "on a diet", so the statement of an official in this regard is just a silly statement. Someone called the latest Palestinian moves "diplomatic terrorism". So what? All three of your grievances have the same common denominator: Someone made an announcement. In the framework of running a conflict, throwing around words is actually a breath of fresh air. It's certainly much more pleasant than hearing an announcement on Hamas TV that "Palestine will be the graveyard of the Jewish people" (takun filastin maqbarat al-sha'ab al-yahudi) which I hear every so often. I wonder if such words ever reach your ears and receive a reaction (do you speak any Arabic, or did you tour around the West Bank in English).

Here's my opinion about Taglit. A ten day trip to Israel is not going to change the reality of a lost battle for Jewish identity in America. The process of assimilation will continue unabated. However, it is interesting to note that so many American Jewish thinkers believe that a short trip to Israel will boost the quality of Jewish life in the Diaspora. It's an admission that Israel is a dramatic Jewish story, essentially "the only show in town" in today's Jewish world. It's good that young Jews have a chance to see such an historic Jewish setting, but the problems of assimilation will not be solved through a tour to the Kotel.