Gideon Levy Offers Israel and Her Supporters a Reality Check (VIDEO)

Gideon Levy

Israel and too many of her friends and supporters subscribe to some ideas that are poisoning the Zionist dream:

  1. Jews are God’s Chosen people and therefore have God’s blessings to do anything deemed  “self-defense”
  2. All criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism
  3. The world let the Holocaust happen so the world must still be against the Jews when criticizing Israel
  4. After the Holocaust, it’s not possible that Jews can do anything wrong or be persecutors of other people
  5. All Arabs hate Jews and given a chance, will kill a Jew
  6. Israel’s emergency humanitarian response teams to sites of natural disasters the world over are proof that Israel is not  racist or guilty of administering an apartheid regime on the West Bank
  7. The U.S. and friends of Israel the world over are doing a mitzvah by unconditionally supporting Israel politically and financially
  8. The military occupation of 3 million Palestinians for the past 5 decades is the fault of the Arabs
  9. Israel is the safest place on Earth and all Jews should move there
  10. Israel will be destroyed by Iran at any moment

Is This Young Egyptian, Sherif Gaber a Brilliant Brave Man or Self Hating Muslim? (VIDEO)


Just recently in thinking about Ben Carson and Bobby Jindal, I suggested in a post on FB that some Republicans of color work hard at whitewashing their public persona.  A couple of people suggested my comments were racist.  If a person doesn’t take pride in their own religious, cultural or racial heritage and dedicates his/her life to mimicking the beliefs, values, rhetoric and prejudices of the tribe he or she most admires, who’s really the racist?

As a Jew and a Zionist, I took great pride in the remarks offered Sherif Gaber in this video.  Then I challenged myself to consider whether or not I was not guilty of double standard.  Afterall, isn’t Gaber essentially saying that the Jews and Israel -who are the sworn enemies of much of the Arab world, aren’t deserving of all that enmity?  Is Sherif Gaber not guilty of rejecting his own heritage to celebrate someone else’s?

No.  Sherif Gaber has no desire to be Jewish or live in Israel.  In fact, in spite of being arrested and charged with “promoting immoral values” by Egyptian security forces, he has chosen to remain a Muslim living in Egypt.  Gaber’s message, unlike that of say of a  Clarence Thomas type conservative Black Republican is not, I’m going to reject my heritage and act like the most zealot member of another group, rather it’s just the opposite.  Gaber is saying to his fellow Arabs, get past the argument about whether or not the Jews and Israel belong in this part of the world and let’s take full advantage of what they have accomplished in the cause of improving our own countries.  Look at where we are and where Israel is in regard to democracy, human rights, technology, education, etc?  Can we really afford to hate them and want to destroy them?  For what purpose?

That’s a far cry from Bobby Jindal trying to act more Christian than the Pope or Ben Carson using classic white Christian conservative prejudices about abortion, gays and Muslims as a platform for his Presidential campaign.

In listening to Sherif Gaber I hear a proud Egyptian Muslim reading his own family the riot act about the energy and resources being wasted on hate.  History has proven that no government, no religious tradition or national state can survive and flourish if their primary mission statement has more to do with the vilification of others than building a better world.  Sherif Gaber gets that and wishes Muslims in general and his fellow Egyptians in particular would put more time and energy into building successful, affluent, democratic state, dare I say, like Israel.

(Unfortunately since this article was originally posted, the edition of the video with English subtitles has been removed from You Tube.  Here is the original video with Hebrew subtitles.)  

Herzl Is Turning Over In His Grave

6841_big_Mr._Benjamin_Zeev_Herzl1How do you think the founder of modern-day Zionism, Theodor Herzl would react to knowing that in Israel today there are people of Jewish descent who are quite sure that they have God’s blessings to hate Palestinians and destroy their property?  How would the brilliant thinker who famously said,

“Those of us who are today prepared to hazard our lives for the cause would regret having raised a finger, if we were able to organize only a new social system and not a more righteous one,”

react to seeing Mosques, Palestinian homes and cars burnt and vandalized by price tag Jewish terrorists?   How would the visionary leader who believed that the only answer to anti-Semitism was to create a national Jewish homeland react to seeing Jewish nationalists burning the property of non-Jews in the cause of building that state?  What would Theodor Herzl think of the country he founded being used as a platform to promote the kind of bigotry he wanted to save the Jewish people from?


Settlers celebrate Lag B’aomer in Hebron Photo by Emil Salman

(reprinted from Haaretz)


Lag Ba’omer in Hebron: Settlers torch Palestinian orchard

Haaretz photographer who tried to take photos of bonfire from up close, was attacked by settlers.

By Amira Hass and Yair Ettinger | May 18, 2014 | 1:48 PM |  12

Settlers in Hebron celebrated Lag Ba’Omer Saturday night by lighting a bonfire in an olive grove in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhood Tel Rumeida. The grove, which belongs to the al-Knibi family, is in the front of a house inhabited by the Youth Against Settlements center, an organization that documents settlers, soldiers and police in Hebron.

The owners of the orchard and their children looked on with concern as the fire approached their olive trees, while the young Israelis who were celebrating burned the flags of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and the team of international observers. The group, which began setting up the sound system right as Shabbat ended, played loud music, jumped around and sang as they passed around Palestinian homes, whose windows are protected by iron bars.

Haaretz photographer Emil Salman, who requested to take photographs of the bonfire from close up, was assaulted by several settlers. A policeman who was there asked he leave the area for fear he would disturb the peace.

A bit after midnight, a member of Youth Against Settlements called the police to complain about the music and the disruptions to residents. About 10 minutes later, the band stopped playing and several dozen youths remained in front of the dying fire.

In the past the owners of the orchard have filed complaints with the police and the Civil Administration about the dangerous and unauthorized use of their land, but in vain. A Civil Administration officer requested on Friday that the bonfire not be prepared on the private land, but he was ignored.

The residents of Hebron settlements began gathering trees and planks already on Thursday, and the foundation for the bonfire was prepared the next day in advance, so as not to desecrate Shabbat. The residents of Tel Rumeida say that the planks were taken from among the shops in the closed Palestinian market place.

On Mount Meron, at about midnight, the traditional lighting of the bonfires of the admorim (leaders of Hasidic sects) and the rabbis began, and will continue throughout the day, in daylight. The tanna (mishnaic sage) Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, whose eponymous celebration is marked on Lag Ba’omer, was accustomed to disputes with other tannaim, but it is doubtful whether he imaged a dispute about the commemoration of the day of his death like the one taking place this year.

While most of the educational institutions, youth movements and organizations will light bonfires Sunday evening on the eve of the 34th day of the Omer, according to instructions of the Education Ministry and the Chief Rabbinate, a large group of people refused to give up the bonfire on the original date, the 33rd day of the Omer (“lag” is the Hebrew equivalent of 33), the 18th of the month of Iyar. (According to tradition, Jews count the days between Passover and Shavuot, when the offering of the first wheat, the omer” was brought to the Temple.)


Anti-Semitism Camouflaged as “Legitimate Criticism” of Israel


I am a proud Jew, a proud Zionist and someone who is not ashamed to admit that I am at times, very unhappy with the Israeli policies regarding the settlements on the West Bank and Israeli military rule over 2 million Palestinians.  That said, this  J-Street   member and child of the Holocaust is all too aware of the sad fact that anti-Semitism was never eradicated and seems to blossom anew in every generation the world over.  And no, anti-Semitism is not limited to right-wing supremacists who believe their race, religion or nationality is somehow superior to everyone else. In fact, many  supposedly enlightened, progressive thinking  people who want to believe that they are too sophisticated to be guilty of holding prejudices towards any group, can be quite contemptuous of the Jewish people.

The above cartoon was published on the web sit of Ministry of Education in Belgium. According to the Times of Israel:

The cartoon appeared on the ministry website as part of an exercise in which teachers are asked to analyze the cartoon with one of three statements: “This is a Palestinian fleeing Jews;” “Jews want the entire area of Palestine back;” or “Jews call Palestine Israel.”

If Chief Justice Roberts of the United States Supreme Court can in 2013 state that he is skeptical that discrimination against Black Americans is still an issue in the deep south, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that governments and educators in the western democracies of the same continent that gave us  the Crusades, the Blood Libel myth, pogroms, the Dreyfuss Affair and the Holocaust are still actively promoting hate for the Jewish people. This cartoon which was published by a government agency reminds us that anti-Semites these days have the convenience of hiding behind the banner of legitimate criticism of Israel.  That said, hate is hate.  You can put  perfume on a skunk but only a liar would tell you that it doesn’t stink.

Jewish Teens Lynch An Arab in Jerusalem: What Has Happened to Zionism?

The Arab teen who was beaten into a coma by Jewish teens is in serious condition in a Jerusalem hospital.

In my wildest dreams I never imagined myself reading and writing about Jewish people lynching others.  “We” were the oppressed, not the oppressors.  For centuries, “we” have been victimized by hate, intolerance, discrimination and ultimately genocide.

“We” are the nation of priests who are required by God’s law to pursue justice.  If any Jewish youth believe that another human life is in any way shape or form less sacred, valued less by God and humanity, we have failed that Jewish child as parents, teachers, rabbis, government leaders and as a community of people.

Shame on us.


August 20, 2012, 7:12 pm

Account of ‘a Lynch’ in Jerusalem on Facebook

Some of the Israeli teens arrested for lynching an Arab in Jerusalem.


As my colleague Isabel Kershner reports, several Israeli teenagers who appeared in court on Monday following their arrest for beating a young Palestinian unconscious expressed little remorse for the attack after a hearing.

According to the Jerusalem Post, their attitude inside the courtroom was similar. The newspaper reported that a 15-year-old boy admitted beating the 17-year-old victim, Jamal Julani, claiming that it was in response to a perceived slight on his mother. “He insulted my mom,” the boy told a magistrate. “So I caught him and beat him. I hit him and I hope he gets it again. I hope he dies. You can’t go by Damascus Gate without getting stabbed. So why do they come here? I beat him and I’d beat him again.”

A witness to the attack, who described it in an emotional account on her Facebook page, referred to it as “a lynch,” using the English loan word that is common in Hebrew. Mairav Zonszein, an Israeli-American writer and translator, included a translation of the witness account in a post on the Israeli news blog +972.

It’s late at night, and I can’t sleep. My eyes are full of tears for a good few hours now and my stomach is turning inside out with the question of the loss of humanity, the image of God in mankind, a loss that I am not willing to accept. But today I saw a lynch with my own eyes, in Zion Square, the center of the city of Jerusalem.

The witness added that she watched in shock as dozens of young Israelis “started to really beat to death three Arab youths who were walking quietly.”

When one of the Palestinian youths fell to the floor, the youths continued to hit him in the head, he lost consciousness, his eyes rolled, his head at an angle started to twitch, and then those who were kicking him fled and the rest gathered in a circle around, with some still shouting with hate in their eyes

When two of our volunteers went into the circle, they tried to perform CPR the mass of youths standing around started to say resentfully that we are resuscitating an Arab, and when they passed near us and saw that the rest of the volunteers were shocked, they asked why we were so in shock, he is an Arab.

When we returned to the area after some time had passed, and the site was marked as a murder scene, and police were there with the cousin of the victim who tried to re-enact what happened, two youths stood there who did not understand why we wanted to give a bottle of water to the cousin of the victim who was transferred to hospital in critical condition, he is an Arab, and they need don’t need to walk around in the center of the city, and they deserve it, because this way they will finally be afraid.

A Speech That All Thinking, Intellectually Honest Zionists Must See

Amos Oz

Amos Oz (Hebrew: עמוס עוז‎) (born May 4, 1939, birth name Amos Klausner) is an Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist. He is also a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva.

Since 1967, he has been a prominent advocate and major cultural voice of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Oz’s work has been published in some 41 languages, including Arabic in 35 countries. He has received many honours and awards, among them the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France, the Goethe Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Heinrich Heine Prize and the Israel Prize. In 2007, a selection from the Chinese translation of A Tale of Love and Darkness was the first work of modern Hebrew literature to appear in an official Chinese textbook.

Prof. Oz delivered the following address at the recent ‘J Street‘ conference.