One Step Closer to Being Pushed Into The Sea

“Palestinians Still Embrace Spirit of 1947”
Jonathan Tobin
Commentary Magazine

Jon Tobin and I don’t agree on everything, but even if you are the furthest thing from a neocon, you need to read this op/ed from yesterday.

The quote that everyone should have emblazoned on their consciousness is this one:

The main truth about this conflict has always been guided by one fact: neither the Palestinians nor their backers were willing then to acknowledge the rights of the Jews. It is only now after decades of intransigence that the Arabs say they want a state. But the common thread from 1947 to today’s debate is the willingness of much of the world to delegitimize Jewish rights and to bypass negotiations.

Even to a moderate like me who has never hesitated to lambaste Israel’s leadership (especially Bibi’s Likud) for the continuing idiocy around the settlements issue, it is becoming painfully clear that the Palestinian goals have never changed. A two-state solution increasingly appears to be a stepping-stone toward a single-state solution. For if it were not, the Palestinian Authority would have recognized Israel’s right to exist long ago.

The painful truth is that successive waves of Palestinian leaders – starting from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1926 to Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, et al – have talked themselves into a corner. Even if they wanted to recognize Israel, their legitimacy among their people now depends on their dedication to pushing the Jews into the sea.

That is sad. Because that makes this conflict less about a land agreement and more existential for both sides. And an existential conflict can never lead to peace.

Egyptian authorities reportedly seize 1.7 million documents proving Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo

Egyptian authorities reportedly seize 1.7 million documents proving Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo | The Times of Israel.

Nice. Between this and the Egyptian President’s trip to support Gaza, how long until Egypt abrogates the Camp David accords.

A Thoughtful Point on Atheism

Furthermore, to say that religion is evil because religious people have committed heinous acts in the name of religion is like saying medicine is evil because Dr. Josef Mengele committed heinous acts against the subjects of his Auschwitz experiments in the name of medical research. One can take any constructive enterprise and use it for destructive purposes. This offers no grounds for condemning the enterprise itself.

via The Atheist Crusade.

I would not condemn an atheist or secularist because of the acts of Josef Stalin. Why is it that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens would condemn my faith for the acts of a totally unrelated fanatic?

Sharing is a Two-Way Street

Is Israel’s left justified in suspecting that the diaspora leaders’ efforts to strengthen Jewish identity are coloured by the country’s rightist-religious Zeitgeist? If so, they will always exclude Jewish liberals. Worse, they will shore up an aggressive pro-Israel loyalism that denies the only feasible future for a Jewish, democratic Israel: sharing the land with a Palestinian state. Israel needs to recover its pragmatic Zionism. It cannot afford a governing ethos infused by a religious fundamentalism concerned chiefly with settlement, conquest and conflict.

via Looking ahead: A Jewish spring? | The Economist.

I’d feel a lot better about sharing the land with a Palestinian state if I could be sure that the Palestinians weren’t just going to use the two-state solution as a stepping stone to shoving us into the Mediterranean.

UTJ – A Denomination, or a Post-Denominational Movement

Union for Traditional Judaism.

I was fascinated in my reading of the recent special report in The Economist about the growing movement toward post-denominational Judaism. For those of our faith who are moving past institutional distinctions, it’s not about whether you’re Haredi, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist, but whether you’re on the path of Teshuvah.

My first exposure to this approach came through Chabad in Beijing, and radio personality Denis Prager also openly practices a trans-Denominational form of Judaism, incorporating the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements in his life.

But there are more sparks of the movement, and one of them is the Union of Traditional Judaism, a group whose beliefs fall between Conservative and Modern Orthodox articles of faith. The group seems interesting, but I wonder whether it is trying to hew a road between Orthodox and Conservative, or genuinely attempting to transcend such distinctions. I sincerely hope it is the latter.

Washington blames Hamas for escalation

Washington defends Israel, blames Hamas for escalation | The Times of Israel.

Thanks, Mr. Obama.