Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Have a good one.

Really? Crucified?

I'd known the UNGA president had made a speech demonizing Israel before the General Assembly. So what's new? Didn't realize he went so far as to claim the Palestinians are being "crucified." Damn, that's antisemitic.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Appropriating Jewish opposition to Zionism

Thanks for the links (to me and others), Bob.

As soon as I actually write it, I'll put up a (very mixed) review of Denis MacShane's Globalizing Hatred. However, I want to respond to a point in Christopher Hitchen's otherwise helpful review that's generated some debate. Bob writes:
Eammon argues [here] that "The idea that opposition to the existence of Israel can’t be classed as antisemitic doesn’t stand up to a little serious thought." I am completely with Hitchens on this. My position is summed by David in the comments thread: "Why does a Leftist who adopts coherent and consistent positions opposed to Zionism and other forms of nationalism have to be an antisemite...?" (my italics) Opposition to Israel's right to exist antisemitic if and when (and only if and when) it denies the right to national self-determination to Jews alone.
First off, I'm not sure one can be anti-nationalist, so as to oppose the existence of Israel as a specific case, and identify or be identified as an anti-Zionist. It seems to me that being opposed to Zionism specifically is singling out Jews and Jewish nationalism in a way that's necessarily discriminatory. (It is possible to be neither a Zionist nor anti-Zionist.) I imagine this is Eamonn's point, yet I would agree with Bob that it is probably possible to opposed to the existence of Israel and to think that the creation of Israel was a mistake without being antisemitic (however infrequent such things may be).

But I have a lot of problems with what Hitchens says, which was not quite the above. He notes that some Jews are anti-Zionists for different reasons and concludes that anti-Zionism isn't antisemitism. But if a non-Jew appropriates the strain of liberation theology that some religious Jews use to reject Zionism -that Jews were chosen by God to suffer as part of God's plan for finishing the perfections of the world- that really would be antisemitism. It just isn't true that non-Jews can make the same arguments as Jews without worrying about being antisemitic.

Similarly, when Jews and non-Jews talk about the nature of Jews' oppression and what that implies about solutions, there's a power relationship that changes the context and hence the content of that speech. Individual Jews have every right to describe their own experience (and I emphasize their own experience and not mine), even if that is different from the more common Jewish view. But when a non-Jew appropriates that experience to talk about the nature of Jewish oppression, we are talking about a very different sort of statement, one that necessarily speaks to a general Jewish experience rather than an individual one. Nobody has the right to speak for that experience. Some speech is representative of that experience, and can serve to represent the consensus view on the grounds that most Jews would accept it as such. (I think that last point is often underestimated.) But it is a profoundly colonial act for a non-Jew to appoint a non-representative view as a basis for understanding Jewish oppression.

Frankly, to disagree with the vast majority of Jews on the nature of Jewish oppression requires some very serious rethinking of strategies for opposition. Antagonism that aims to marginalize or 'overcome' the consensus view of Jews on their own oppression, only proves the limitations of non-Zionist solutions to Jewish oppression.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fleshler on Niebuhr

Dan Fleshler on Reinhold Niebuhr. Niebuhr was a Christian theologian, an major influence on Martin Luther King Jr., and the author of the serenity prayer.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
A pacifist until the Nazis made him change his stance, but unlike many others, he understood the Nazis from early on. Today, the Serenity Prayer is probably best known for being popular with Alcoholics Anonymous, but many WWII soldiers carried copies into battle. Fleshler writes:
It is also true, as Basevich points out, that “Niebuhr specialized in precise distinctions. He supported US intervention in World War II - and condemned the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended that war. After 1945, Niebuhr believed it just and necessary to contain the Soviet Union. Yet he forcefully opposed US intervention in Vietnam.”

In other words, he was…a realistic dove. A passionate moderate. I choose to believe that he would have seen that the only rational, and moral way out of the Israeli-Palestinian nightmare was a two-state solution. And, just as he called for governmental activism on a host of issues –including the civil rights of black Americans–, surely Niebuhr would have called upon the Obama Administration to DO SOMETHING about the Israeli-Palestinian question, even though he might have been skeptical of its ability to succeed. The establishment of a Jewish state was a bold idea when he endorsed it. But there were times when he insisted upon boldness that was tempered with realism.
More about Niebuhr from this episode of Speaking of Faith, from NPR.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On the power of complaining II

Yesterday, I put up a picture - showing an ADL jackboot stomping on a Christian Church, it reads "Hate Crimes Legislation is Just a Ruse for Censorship" - to illustrate a post, and got two comments asking where it came from. I first found it from a post at Judeosphere (unfortunately, now retired from blogging), called "Progressive" Website Posts Neo-Nazi Cartoon. It appears to come originally from the website

It is, of course, a major theme in antisemitic conspiracism that Jews control the media. The meaning of this is, I think, often understated today. It means Jews have a special ability to reach into American livingrooms with Judaizing hypno-rays, but that's a mocking description. A great deal of less unreasonable thought from the Left as well as genuinely necessary scholarship, can feed into the view that this is possible. Chomsky not only argues that the elite manipulate the ideas common people have by determining the "legitimate" field of debate, but also that the phrase "conspiracy theory" is a ruse of the elite (not that I want to pick on him here). So I don't think the idea that Jews control the terms of debate - whether stated in blatant far right terms, in relatively sophisticated pseudo-post-modern language, or in milder forms such as what I quoted - can be so easily divorced from antisemitic conspiracism.

Now, the individual I quoted is as far from a Neo-Nazi as could be. He is, in fact, a left-Zionist of the sort with which I would generally agree. He does argue that antisemitism has played a large part in the debate over Israel (though certainly not that it is the only relevant bias), and so I don't think he himself would argue for including more blatant antisemitism in the debate. A big part of the reason I didn't cite that person or link to the quote was to avoid conflating him with the sort of people who would post the picture I showed without embarrasment. But I think it does show how common this view is that Jews control the terms of debate over Israel by disingenuously charging antisemitism.

I'm probably pretty radical in refusing to accept any claim that Jews silence debate. I've seen far too often that this charge silences Jews (including me). And, frankly, I've looked at a lot of examples offered by others and generally found there was a real reason to talk about antisemitism. One example that stands out in my mind was a conversation between Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch and the New York Sun, published in the paper as a series of letters. Roth, himself an observant Jew and child of Holocaust survivors, was accused of writing "a slur on the Jewish religion itself that is breathtaking in its ignorance." In fact, Roth had written a variation on the phrase "an eye for an eye," calling it "primitive" and implying that this was the basis of Israeli policy in it's war with Lebanon.
Mr. Bell's distortions do Israel no service. Israel could have maintained the moral high ground if it had responded to Hezbollah rocket attacks by targeting only Hezbollah military forces. Instead, whether by design or callous indifference, Israeli bombing has killed hundreds of Lebanese civilians and left much of the country's infrastructure in ruins. Yet Mr. Bell's see-no-evil defense only encourages more such slaughter. An eye for an eye - or, more accurately in this case, twenty eyes for an eye - may have been the morality of some more primitive moment. But it is not the morality of international humanitarian law which Mr. Bell pretends to apply.
I do think the Sun editors were right that this is a breathtakingly ignorant slur on Judaism. Further, it implies that observant Jews today are primitive. What's especially strange is that Roth should know he was misinterpreting the phrase as it's understood in Judaism, as a way of determining the amount of monetary compensation in certain confusing cases.

But allowing that there may be cases here or there where people are unjustly silenced by being called antisemitic, and allowing that such cases may even rise to a level of significance on occasion - Morton Klein of the ZOA is a notable idiot - it is still important that a response be measured. It is not remotely acceptable that criticism of figures like Klein should be scattershot so as to silence Jews generally. It is necessary that such criticism should be distinguishable from conspiracism. And that does mean being more careful than to use constructions like this:
the organized Jewish community quite often does try to shut down debate over Israel, and often employs the accusation of anti-Semitism to do so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On the power of complaining

I'm listening to the radio, where there's a discussion about a Motrin ad killed by twittering Moms. They found it condescending and factually wrong, so they complained. The host (Lopate, who I link to a lot) and guest both sound quite thrilled that Moms should have such power to affect advertising. They're making fun of the Mommy-power hype a little bit, but still, these Moms "stormed the Bastille." Most anti-racists, I think would be thrilled if the complaints of minorities could affect advertising so effectively. Isn't that a major point of talking about racism in advertising?

Yet when Jews complain about something, this isn't the attitude. Jews "silence debate." For us to complain effectively is somehow unfair. Here's the last place I came across that (reading the comments of an old blog post at Z-Word):
Here in the US, at least, the organized Jewish community quite often does try to shut down debate over Israel, and often employs the accusation of anti-Semitism to do so. Twice in the past year, Jewish groups have tried to prevent anti-Israel professors from getting tenure, and just this past Spring, the Jewish Federation here in Chicago, with the help of a local Jewish newspaper, pressured the Jewish museum in town to close a show it deemed anti-Israel. I’m a fervent opponent of the proposed British boycott of Israeli academics, but I’m sorry to say that the assault on free speech on this issue doesn’t come just from the anti-Israel side.
The writer elides a point. When he says something is criticism of Israel but others say it is antisemitism, there is a debate there over whether it is antisemitism or legitimate criticism of Israel. I think I would probably agree with him on only one of his examples. Though unspecified, one of these examples is probably the denial of tenure to Norman Finkelstein, which I think was entirely appropriate as he is deeply antisemitic. What is up for debate is not whether antisemitic professors should be given tenure, but how we can determine which professors are antisemitic enough that we should deny them tenure.

Yet what is criticized is rarely the reasoning of specific complainants, or even specific complainants (Morton Klein?), but more generally the process of Jews complaining about antisemitism. (And in doing so, Jews are typically described as scheming and disingenuous, either explicitly or implicitly in the assertion that they knowingly aim to stifle debate over Israel with an irrelevant claim.) This will not do.

I tend to think it is an echo of the sort of sentiment that Jews have special hypno rays.

I don't want to speak against the Jews, but when one reads the Jewish press, Jewish publications, and Jewish defence organs, one cannot escape the conclusion that in criticising them, one invites instant rebuke and disapproval. In doing so, you are either a reactionary, an obscurant, or a member of the Black Hundred. Having monopolised the press, they've become so arrogant as to believe that no one will dare level such an accusation against them …

Defining combatant down

A Montreal man accused of firebombing a Jewish school was sentenced to four years in prison for what a judge described as a terrorist act.

Azim Ibragimov, 25, pleaded guilty earlier this year to firebombing the Skver-Toldos Orthodox Jewish Boys School in Outremont in 2006, and attempting to attack the Snowdon YM-YWHA the following year.

He also pleaded guilty to uttering threats in the form of letters that claimed the crimes were committed in the name of Islamic Jihad, a militant group that vows to destroy Israel and set up an Islamic Palestinian state.
Now, there's a meaningful question as to why someone intent on destroying Israel and setting up an Islamic Palestinian state would target a school in Montreal.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sex in Crisis

I first came across Dagmar Herzog in a different setting (audio), but with Prop 8 and all her habit of writing about politicized sexuality is timely. Listen to her on Leonard Lopate talk about her new book Sex in Crisis.

She'll also be speaking in New York on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not anti-Zionism

Roughly 1,000 pupils and left-wing activists who unlawfully occupied Humboldt University (HU) and some of whom destroyed an anti-Nazi exhibition on Wednesday were reacting to the university’s close ties to Israel, the university president has said.
Nope. Destroying Holocaust memorial exhibitions is not anywhere near the realm of legitimate criticism of Israel - even broadly defined. Ben Cohen also makes the observation:
I’m wondering how many of these activists will follow the example of Horst Mahler, who started out in the RAF and ended up a neo-Nazi. It’s not as big a leap as you might think.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pilger on Democracy/Obama on Zionism

John Pilger thinks the American election was a referendum on Israel. As Norm Geras points out, that's absurd and rather an insult to the notion of democracy.
Though the voters voted on the basis of the public campaigns of the candidates, Pilger somehow intuits that what they were really voting for was the sort of thing that he would be in favour of. In this piece as in the pre-election one he emphasizes his attachment to democracy - true democracy rather than the 'pretensions' of 'a corporate dictatorship'. It's a shame his concept of democracy entails knowing the wishes of the electorate, however it is that they actually vote.
Would it be too far off to say this kind of obtuseness is of a kind with conspiracism? Rather than admit that few people agree with him, Pilger prefers to imagine Obama as essentially unelected.

Jeffrey Goldberg
links to an interview he did with Obama, published in May. Here's some of what Obama had to say about Israel and Zionism during the campaign:
You know, when I think about the Zionist idea, I think about how my feelings about Israel were shaped as a young man -- as a child, in fact. I had a camp counselor when I was in sixth grade who was Jewish-American but who had spent time in Israel, and during the course of this two-week camp he shared with me the idea of returning to a homeland and what that meant for people who had suffered from the Holocaust, and he talked about the idea of preserving a culture when a people had been uprooted with the view of eventually returning home. There was something so powerful and compelling for me, maybe because I was a kid who never entirely felt like he was rooted. That was part of my upbringing, to be traveling and always having a sense of values and culture but wanting a place. So that is my first memory of thinking about Israel.

And then that mixed with a great affinity for the idea of social justice that was embodied in the early Zionist movement and the kibbutz, and the notion that not only do you find a place but you also have this opportunity to start over and to repair the breaches of the past. I found this very appealing...

I think that the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience. I know that that there are those who would argue that in some ways America has become a safe refuge for the Jewish people, but if you’ve gone through the Holocaust, then that does not offer the same sense of confidence and security as the idea that the Jewish people can take care of themselves no matter what happens. That makes it a fundamentally just idea.

That does not mean that I would agree with every action of the state of Israel, because it’s a government and it has politicians, and as a politician myself I am deeply mindful that we are imperfect creatures and don’t always act with justice uppermost on our minds. But the fundamental premise of Israel and the need to preserve a Jewish state that is secure is, I think, a just idea and one that should be supported here in the United States and around the world.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bérubé on bloggingheads

I've been a fan of Micahel Bérubé for a while. (Given the difficulty of typing his name, my consistent effort should be proof of that.) Though I would have probably gotten a B in one of his classes for this, here's a review I wrote of Rhetorical Occassions. (Hurry, as Newsvine will take it down fairly soon* and, in all honesty, it's one of the best bits of writing I've done.) With some help from an editor/friend, I wrote in an imitative comic style - which I've since learned not to try on my own - and I know I got at least one conservative to read his book!

Anyway, he's gone and become a blogginghead. (Complete with a pronunciation of "ZOMG".) It's worth watching through, but it gets especially exciting where they start talking about 'rootless cosmopolitans.' They actually don't mean Jews there, but I think it still has relevance to what I imagine my audience is.

Also, the bit on Nader demonatrates a few things I would try to argue - especially that a section of the left that thinks it's anti-racist is indeed anything but.

*In all honesty, because they don't like having uppity Jews around (and I'll continue to characterize it that way until they either invite me back in such a way that indicates my speach won't be heavily censored or at least get rid of even just the obvious antisemites).

Bias in reporting Jewish/Israeli view of Obama

Lisa Goldman has a good post that comes to me via Deborah Lipstadt:
Meanwhile, 65 percent of Israelis who visited a site called If the World Could Vote (for the president of the United States) chose Obama; and on a similar site called The World For, 82 percent of Israelis clicked on Obama.

Amongst Jewish Americans 78 percent, including New York Times columnist Frank Rich, voted for Obama.

And yet, the international media come to the conclusion that, as the IHT put it, “if Israel were on a US map, it would be bright red.”

Look, here’s the Associated Press reporting that Israelis were totally into McCain, by a margin of three-to-one. The LA Times’s correspondent in Israel, Ashraf Khalil, reports the same story on his blog for the newspaper’s website: apparently 76 percent of absentee American voters polled in Israel said they would vote for McCain, and most Israelis were barely controlling their panic at the prospect of an Obama presidency.

So, let me get this straight: 78 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Obama; somewhere between 65 and 82 percent of Israelis who participated in two online polls indicated their preference for Obama; and the Israeli media was practically holding a party for the Democratic candidate on election day. And yet, a sizeable proportion of the international media is reporting that Israelis prefer McCain to Obama by a margin of three-to-one. Doesn’t anyone think this discrepancy a bit odd?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


According to Raza’s definition, all a Muslim must do to be labeled an Islamist is defend Muslims against the racism and Islamophobia of institutions. Institutions who Raza seems to think that, contrary to what the work of anti-racists has found, are free of Islamophobia and racism.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MacMillan might be somewhat responsible

There's been some controversy over an entry on Zionism in an encyclopedia, to be published by MacMillan, on racism. There were serious concerns that, in an encyclopedia that was to have no other entries on nationalisms of any sort, or even an entry on generic nationalism, to single out Jewish nationalism was unfair. According to AJC the facts of the entry were in serious error. And it make pronouncements many people consider to be blatantly antisemitic. Additionally, the author, Noel Ignatiev, is without any expertise in the areas of antisemitism or Zionism.

(Found via Wikipedia, there's also this bizarre incident.)

Seth Armus reports to the H-Net Antisemitism listserve:
She acknowledged that this may have been a mistake, explained how it happened, and indicated that they were in the process of providing "multiple entries" on Zionism, including one written by (I believe) Michael Oren (or someone from the Shalem center). In addition more entries on nationalisms and their relation to race will be included. While she was very upset by the controversy, she was not, to my mind, sensitive enough of the distinctions between objective and subjective criteria in scholarship. Still, I was pleased with the degree of seriousness the press was taking. They have stayed in touch with me and have requested my input. It seems they will not remove the original article, but will take a variety of other steps to address concerns. Not good enough, but better than I expected.

One of these things

Here are the rules.

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I spend a lot of time doing Buddhist stuff. This weekend, I did a one-day retreat in upstate New York on Saturday and an event called Meditate NYC on Sunday. Next weekend, I'll be doing a one-day retreat, and possibly part of a three-day retreat as well. Later in the month, the Zen Center is having a fundraiser. I'll be cooking something (?), juggling, and hopefully not butchering Guided by Voices' "I Am a Scientist" more than is appropriate. Yet I still find daily practice (which is a far better way to go about this Buddhist thing) vexing.

2. My favorite permutation on "I like my coffee like I like my women.." is "cold and bitter."

3. The wedding is in January. She is anything but cold and bitter.

4. I work in psychology. Last week, I had reason to take a cognitive test (to test the software on our computer). I was a bit surprised to find the test suggesting I don't have a clinical attention disorder like ADHD, though it didn't say I'm completely without problems.

5. I am a Ravens fan, having grown up in Maryland... but look at this photo.

6. I have issues with these sorts of meme things. Not that I think there's anything wrong or bad about them - it's just me. As a compromise, I'll answer them usually, but not pass them on. So, David, feel free to add someone else to your list of tagged people.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The problem with self-criticism is that it's always someone else expected to be self-critical

A review of the latest exhibit at the Spertus Museum asks a few questions.
With "Twisted," Spertus had an opportunity to distinguish itself from other Jewish museums, becoming self-conscious and thus vulnerable. Instead, it settled for being just another PR voice for American Judaism, piling up even more evidence that Jews are marginalized and oppressed. Until it manages to grapple more fully and honestly with the provocative topics it raises so promisingly, it will be hard to treat the museum as much more than a $55-million building with a great view of Lake Michigan.
Perhaps this is fair; I don't know. Self-conscious reflection usually sounds like a good thing, but not necessarily when it's only some groups expected to make themselves vulnerable.

I certainly don't expect to walk into El Museo Del Barrio or the National Museum of the American Indian expecting to find something challenging those identities. In fact, NMAI describes it's mission like this:
It is the first national museum dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans. Established by an act of Congress in 1989, the museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to protect and foster their cultures by reaffirming traditions and beliefs, encouraging contemporary artistic expression, and empowering the Indian voice.
El Museo Del Barrio describes itself like this:
When Puerto Rican educators, artists and community activists founded El Museo del Barrio in 1969, they envisioned an educational institution that would reflect the richness of their culture. Thirty years later, as New York City's only Latino museum dedicated to Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American art, El Museo retains its strong community roots as a place of cultural pride and self-discovery, yet projects itself nationally through exciting exhibitions and programs.

Into the new millenium, El Museo del Barrio will continue to offer a forum for the unique creative languages of the varied communities of caribbean and Latin American descent, and to provide positive role models for cultural exchange.
It seems to me that at least some museums ought to act similarly for Jews. There certainly seem to be many Jewish museums in the US (though maybe I'm extrapolating unfairly from New York), but I'm not really sure that implies there is space in the American discourse for a Jewish identity to emerge free from the weight of thousands of years of oppression. I'll allow that perhaps enough museums already cater to Jews that there's room for the Spertus's quite different mission, but then I think it may be even more important to ask not only how the museum is supposed to best serve it's community, but also which community that is.
As for a question Weinberg did not ask: Why doesn’t "Twisted" tackle stereotypes of Jews by Jews? If the museum really wants viewers “to closely examine stereotypes and clichés, and to reflect on them and discuss them,” wouldn’t it have been fascinating if the show included ads from the Yiddish press at the beginning of the twentieth century which were designed to assimilate Eastern European immigrants? What about cartoons from Jewish newspapers, in which Jews of one denomination denounce other types of Jews?
I think it would be great to deal with how Jews are encouraged to see themselves and their fellow Jews in distorted ways. So often it's been Jews at the forefront of antisemitic movements. In part because antisemites promote these Jews to the front of the movement to avoid criticism, but also, I think, because assimilation ultimately demands assimilating to an antisemitic environment and rejecting the validity of a Jewish perspective. It's enough to get lost in a funhouse of relativistic mirrors.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


An 18-year-old New England Patriots cheerleader was booted off the squad yesterday after pictures from Facebook surfaced that showed the Sharpie-packing pompom queen posing over a passed-out pal who has naughty words, pictures - and two swastikas - scrawled all over his face, arms and back.

[The cheerleader] and an unidentified pal appear to be writing on the unconscious prank victim and the words “penis,” ‘I’m a Jew’ and a pair of swastikas are clearly visible on his face, neck, arms and torso.
Since I've been writing this, I've yet to put up anything about football. Shame this is the first.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A friend sent email with the line, "How much is hope worth?"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Belsen after Belsen

Knowledge of the conditions for Jews in Europe immediately after WWII seems confined to obscure branches of academia. So people often naively (and sometimes maliciously) ask why Jews left Europe for Palestine. In fact, for five years after the war, people stayed confined at Bergen-Belsen. They didn't have homes to go back to. Many people, even many I imagine weren't so antisemitic before the war, perversely blamed Jews for the war. So, even if the "displaced persons" had homes, they couldn't go back. A half hour radio show, well worth listening to a few times.
"We have no desire to go back to Poland because we knew what happened. My husband's sister was saved by Poles. And, war finished, she came back to the town where they lived, and Poles killed her."
"There was no place for them. They could not go home. The doors of the USA and England were not going to open very widely. They had no future. Their only future was to go to Palestine and so the fervor to go grew. The passion to have a home, to feel safe, to feel it was theirs, to feel no longer that they were not wanted."
"They got some material; they made a Magen David; and they gave me the honor of unfurling it. That was great, but the British forced me to take it down the next day cuz Bevin said they all have got to go back to their countries of origin. And they didn't want to - We're not going back to cemeteries."
Via Engage, which took a title from that last quote.

Message from a swing state

I've been asked by a friend to "Distribute to as many people as possible before the end of which point my first post will be somewhat obsolete."

Monday, November 3, 2008

No wonder they want to boycott Israeli academics

This is worth reading. (Unfortunately, I forget where it was recommended to me.)
In short, he says, "the whole argument is absurd." So absurd, in fact, that Yakobson wonders if "the right to national self-determination is some kind of a club with a 'no Jews allowed' sign hanging at the entrance. The principles of national self-determination are widely accepted by the Left worldwide as a universal principle. We support this right when it comes to the Palestinians. Why do many people on the Left refuse to apply this principle to the Jewish people?"
AT THE end of the day, Yakobson and Rubinstein are doves, and their motive for writing the book reflects that sensibility. Efforts to undermine Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state are not just intellectually dishonest, Yakobson argues, but they are actually preventing peace.

"When you regard Israel as an illegitimate foreign element, any peace with it is a humiliation," he says. "The Palestinians look at a map of the Middle East and cannot believe this tiny foreign body is irreversible. Even if part of the leadership accepts the need to make peace with a foreign invader, there will always be significant forces refusing to accept it. [Faced with such a challenge,] it is extremely difficult to use force against your fellow Palestinians in defense of an entity that is a foreign intruder."
Which is why moderate anti-Zionists, who claim their moderation in 'allowing' Israel to continue exist (though it was a mistake in the first place) are being silly. I, for one, would not gladly accept that anyone should 'allow' me to continue to exist.