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30 December 2012


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After what my 'Jesus Right or Wrong' ultra-religious brother-in-law told me about his recent trip to Israel--he wanted to walk where Jesus walked--I wouldn't call it a divide. I'd call it an anomaly of a sliver that could only get utterance outside the country, and publication in the New York Review of Books, where the idea might appeal. He was never so happy than to reach Turkey after his experience, He said Turkey was clean, vibrant, and prosperous. Of course, there were more religious sites for him to visit.

Even the Israeli tour guides turned him off. He made a cryptic remark, which he wouldn't amplify; he waved me off: "Now I understand why the Jews produced no Berninis. no Leonardos, no great art or architecture, for the last 2000 years, not even in Spain where they lived in peace for centuries." He would only say, "The Jews in Israel have chosen the low road culturally and morally." And that was the end of that conversation.


WOW! Simply and profoundly WOW! On my next trip to Israel I will have to meet the writer. I agree with her sentiments 100% but I have to tell you, this lady is very unusual. I celebrated this Chanukah in Israel and just returned and the right wing rhetoric of dehumanizing the Palestinians is at an all time high. Bayit Yehudi is rising fast in the polls for the January election. Currently the polling says they will be the third largest party coming out of the elections but I'm almost certain they will be the second largest.

The whole mood of the country is far more right wing than I have seen in the last 55 years. Not only is Bayit Yehudi strongly against a Palestinian state, they have no interest in any solution for the Palestinians. As far as they are concerned, not only will Palestinians not be granted citizenship or statehood but they can either leave or simply be quiet. G-d help Israel because, they are blind to what they are doing to the Palestinians, themselves and Israel's position in the world.

Hank Foresman

Did you get a sense many Jews are prepared to leave Israel because of the direction of politics? There has been some indications in the European Press.


Eh? Were not Mendelsohn, Chagal, Mahler etc all Jewish?


Yes. Of Course. All born in the 1800s. All outside of the ghetto.

William R. Cumming

Is the choice of culture for Israel Athens or Sparta?


Hank - By way of background for 55 years I have traveled to Israel a couple times a year for Holidays since my entire side of the family resides there, primarily in the settlements. My grandfather was Irgun and I lived in Israel in the early 1980's.

I have seen the evolution of Israel first hand and it is not pretty. Some of the same forces affecting other developed countries are also impacting Israel. Income and wealth disparity has grown dramatically. The best and the brightest of the secular Jews are leaving Israel. Emigration is currently about even with immigration. It is primarily the young who are sent abroad for their education and they end up staying. The Haredi Jews and the Religious Zionists are growing dramatically with their high birth rates. It is the latter that are becoming the core of the IDF.

In my estimation, Israel has past the tipping point for a viable two state solution. Netanyahu's hands are tied and the best that the Likud-Beiteinu can offer at this point is Area A and most of Area B. Area C is already being cleansed of the Bedouin and pockets of Palestinians to prepare for annexation of Area C.

What Israel will become is a country with a significant underclass and hard core Zionists who will try to shut out the rest of the world. Anyone with brains will eventually flee.



My first choice in the Army was to specialize in China. Unfortunately there were no "quotas' for the year I applied. The Army then ranked me into the most difficult language area. I curse my ill luck.

I find that Israelis I have known for a long time are increasingly following the path of becoming a pseudo-racial colonial nationalist class ruling over alien and "inferior" helots. sad. pl


The NYRB article references a non-violent solution. Didn't the IDF kill Rachel Corrie to make an example to all who would use nonviolence to seek a political solution?


Erm I think you need to do a bit of research on ghettos. If we look at the largest concentrations of Jews in the first half of the 20th Century, please can you tell me where the "ghetto" was in New York or Warsaw (Bar 1939-1943 in the latter)? I believe Jews could live in those places through choice rather than legal compulsion.

If we are starting the clock at 1900 and the Jewish contribution to the arts etc how about Kurt Weill to begin with? While Daniel Liebeskind seems to be very much in demand as an architect and musician these days too


Fred - No, the IDF did not kill Rachel Corrie to make an negative example of her non-violent efforts. She was killed because of a depraved indifference to the lives of non-Jews. The D-9 operator knew there were only Palestinians and demonstrators in front of him. He had a job to do and plowed ahead without the need to look.


So the government of Israel did what to him?


Im very pleased you highlighted this segment of this piece. Modern Israeli is not the Israel I read about in my childhood and it is not the witty and well educated relatives I have met in Europe and Israel.

I know this view is now a minority view but it is not such a tiny minority. I suspect most of the heros who built Israel can see the validity of this point of view. Its Jews in New York who dont understand the humanity of the Arabs who live around Israel.

I truely believe that the ignorance and violence implicit in the Netanyahu view of the world will soon be discredited. It a dead end that Jews have taken before about 2000 years ago give or take. Everyone should read a little Josephus - particularly Israelis.


Yes! Precisely.

Israel today is a racist state. Its current essence is ugly.


It mystifies me that anyone is surprised at what Israel has become. The handwriting was always on the wall.

Israel,the original and entire concept of zionism was based on the idea of eternal hostility between Jews and the world and the need for 'separation' from others.
It also includes the belief that 'the greater good' of the Jews 'justified' and still justifies the disposession and oppression of other people.

Given that these two beliefs are the actual 'Foundation' of Israel..how can it be anything but what it is?

An entity hostile to all others and beleiving it's rights, desires trump all others, and it has 65 years of immunity from all international laws under it's belt to prove it.
It is not going to change.

Eventually it will have to be put down by someone.


They protected him, the argument being that it was all Corrie's fault for putting herself in the place where he wanted to bulldoze. In the end they did make an example of her but that wasn't the point.

I think it was actually just about eventually bulldozing that house, and later about controlling the fallout. Given that, Mr. Ledell is probably right in emphasising that they didn't simply ascribe any value to Corrie's life, or that of the Palestinian family.

There was no master let alone mid term plan in this. It's just what happens when the Izzies do what they do, the way they do it.

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