Obama’s Victory, Romney’s Defeat

8 Nov

 

            Around the world even more than in the United States there is an audible sigh of relief the day after Obama won a clear mandate for a second term as president. Deconstructed it mainly meant that many more were relieved that Romney lost, rather than excited that Obama won. Yet there were some, with whom I partly agree, whose gaze carries beyond the narrow victory in popular vote (as distinct from the decisive victory in the electoral college vote), to appreciate a positive fundamental change in American demographics. The white majority coalition that Reagan fashioned so skillfully in the 1980s, achieving incredibly regressive societal results, seems to be losing out to the rising proportion of the electorate that is African-American and Latino, reinforced by the political outlook of youth and the liberal outlook of many women when it comes to reproductive rights. Perhaps, as indicative of a changing social climate were the successful referenda on state ballots in Maine, Maryland, and Washington to legalize same sex marriage and separate initiatives calling for legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Only a decade ago putting such measures on the ballot in several battleground states was understood as a brilliant tactical move by Karl Rove to mobilize the Republican base that was passionately dedicated to defeating such liberalizing initiatives, widely regarded by conservatives as signs of societal degeneracy.

 

            What makes the Obama victory surprising is that his four years in the White House had definitely demobilized his base that had been so ardent in 2008, and seemed only lukewarm in 2012. Toward the end of the recent campaign, antagonism to Romney and fears about a Republican victory, partially remobilized this base, which the Obama people effectively used to carry on their so-called ‘ground game’ that brought out the minority vote in the key states that were expected to decide the election.

 

            In this sense, the 2012 electoral result is bound to provoke some long looks in the mirror by the Republican faithful. Unless some kind of economic collapse occurs in the years ahead, it is hard to imagine that a similar kind of campaign and candidate that was offered to the American people will be any more successful in 2016, and is quite likely to be less so. After all, Romney turned out to be a great fundraiser, especially after he chose arch-conservative Paul Ryan to stand by his side, and an energetic performer on the campaign trail and a surprisingly good debater. Of course, Romney was unexpectedly assisted by a shift of momentum in his favor after the first presidential debate, a result greatly facilitated by the uncharacteristic gross under-performance by Barack Obama.

 

            What makes the Obama victory more impressive is the degree to which his first term was so disappointing to many of us who had hoped for something more. The escalation in Afghanistan was a costly failure, and the refusal to acknowledge this outcome means that the policy community will remain unencumbered by its past experience of counter-insurgency defeat. The Pentagon will be ready to go forward with yet another military intervention in a non-Western country when so instructed by civilian enthusiasts for hard power diplomacy. Worse than this persisting disposition toward military solutions for international conflicts is the expansion of drone warfare under Obama’s watch. Drone attacks are a chilling reminder that state terrorism remains an officially endorsed feature of American foreign policy, including the claim to kill American citizens wherever they may be on the planet without even the pretense of an indictment and due process. Drones let loose a new menacing technology that kills without accountability, and has been the ability to disregard the territorial sovereignty of states as well as to ignore the innocence of those who are made to live under the threat of such weaponry.

 

            On the home front, there is little to applaud in the Obama presidency to day, and quite a bit to lament. There was no attempt to explore whether crimes had been committed during the Bush presidency despite the promise to govern with a scrupulous respect for the rule of law. The treatment of the Wikileaks disclosures, and especially the abuse of the young soldier, Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking the documents, sends a chilling signal in relation to conscience and criminality. The U.S. Government crimes disclosed in the documents, pertaining to actions during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were totally overlooked while the entire focus of governmental concern was placed on the breach of secrecy. When state secrets are guarded so zealously and crimes against humanity are granted impunity, it is a sure sign that the republic is not morally flourishing. It reinforces the impression that America is still reeling from the combination of trauma and belligerency brought about by the 9/11 attacks. There is no reason to suppose that Obama will take steps to vindicate retroactively in his second term the premature award in 2009 of a Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, among the more disturbing sentiments expressed in his victory speech was to twice boast about the United States having the most dominant military force ever possessed throughout the whole of human history. In Obama’s extravagant words, “We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this world has ever known.” It is seems almost unnecessary to point out that the wishes expressed in the first part of the sentence are perceived to be directly contradicted by the militarist claim in the second part.

 

 

            Perhaps, we can hope for something slightly better when it comes to the economy. Obama could have been far worse, and he not only inherited a mess from the Bush era, but was faced with a Republican controlled House of Representatives that was consistently obstructionist, and did little to conceal its priority of making the Obama leadership fail. His programs of stimulus and bailouts did probably prevent a slide into a deep national depression. It remains disturbing, however, that he relied exclusively on economists friendly to Wall Street throughout the process, avoiding any reliance even on such moderate critics as Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, and Joseph Stiglitz. Nevertheless, there were some moves by the Obama administration to put a lid on the most irresponsible practices of the financial world that had generated the mortgage/foreclosure fiasco in the real estate market and its related crises affecting the leading brokerage and banking outfits.

 

            Romney was reported to have told a private fundraising gathering that the Israel/Palestine problem was not going to be resolved in the near future, and that this was okay. Obama seems to have avoided any commentary, although it became well known that Israel was the only country in the world, including it turned out, the United States, in which Romney would have been the electoral choice of the citizenry. In the United States, Jewish support for Obama declined somewhat, but was still maintained a robust 70% level.  We can expect two kinds of tests in the months ahead as to whether Obama’s approach to the conflict will change:

            –diplomacy toward Iran’s nuclear program, especially with respect to the threat of an attack launched by Israel;

            –degree of Washington’s opposition to the effort by the Palestinian Authority to obtain an upgraded non-member observer status at the United Nations.

 

            Another inexcusable failure of the Obama presidency and the presidential campaign was the widely noticed silence on the challenge of climate change. It might as time passes be noted as the clearest signal that democratic politics, deformed by special interests dispersing bundles of cash, could succeed in keeping issues vital to the wellbeing of the citizenry completely off the agenda. Such a result was aided and abetted by the media that never called attention to the concern despite record-setting heat in the summer of 2012. Fortunately, for Obama, Hurricane Sandy managed what none of the media pundits dared, forcing the recognition that extreme

events could no longer be explained away by reference to natural weather cycles. And it was notable that finally in his victory speech Obama made a fleeting reference to doing something about halting the warming trends that so dangerously imperils human health, food security, and overall wellbeing. [“We want our children to live in an America..that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”] We must watch carefully to see whether this revived concern about climate change translates into high profile national policy, including global leadership, which has been entirely absent during Obama’s time as president, despite his original recognition as a candidate in 2008 of what an important challenge climate change posed for the future welfare of the country.

 

            There are two basic interpretations of the Obama victory among those who were hostile to Romney’s candidacy:

            –the dominant view is that Obama offers the American people and the world a set of expectations that were decidedly preferable to what Romney and the Republicans were offering: more people-oriented; fairer taxation, government regulation of business, and stronger commitments to a government safety net for health, housing, poverty, and education; better appointments to the courts and to government, with greater representation for women and minorities; a more positive approach to the United Nations and foreign policy; and somewhat more forthcoming on environmental issues, including climate change.

            –the minority view that when it comes to plutocracy, militarism, and the general structures of global capitalism there is no significant difference between the two parties, and that the election is in this deeper sense, irrelevant. Those adhering to such an outlook were inclined to support the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, who articulated a genuinely progressive agenda that refused to be swayed by liberal appeals to the differences between Republicans and Democrats. The mainstream media completely ignored the existence of the Green Party perspective, which revealingly contrasted with the great attention accorded the Tea Party from its first irreverent stirrings.

 

            I felt drawn to both of these somewhat inconsistent interpretations, and because I was living in California, which was deemed super-safe for Obama, I felt that I could vote structurally, that is, for the Green Party, rather than tactically, that is, for Obama. When it came to secondary candidates and state and local issues, I cast my votes in a pattern that was the same as that of my liberal democratic friends. Of course, the question that I find more difficult to answer is whether if I had lived in Florida or Ohio, I would have risked the structural choice. There is the memory that George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 election because 90,000 votes were cast on behalf of a Third Party candidate, Ralph Nader. The question comes down to this: is it more important to show symbolic support for a party and candidate that diagnoses the issues in a sufficiently radical manner to offer some promise of a transformative agenda, or is it better to go with the lesser of evils?

 

             I admit that in the excitement occasioned by the Obama victory last night I was prepared to admit to myself that somehow Obama and the constituencies that supported him could be harbingers of a better future for the country. This sentiment was shared, in reverse, by the pro-business community, which registered their displeasure with the electoral outcome by a major stock market selloff that drove the Dow Jones index down by more than 312 points.

 

            There was something I found inspiring and hopeful about the ethnic and racial diversity of the Obama inner core waiting in Chicago for his victory speech as compared to the stiff and formal whiteness of the Romney crowd despondently gathered in Boston for their leader’s concession speech.  At this point, my hopeful side is ready for Obama’s new mandate to outdo my modest expectations, just as in 2008 he disappointed me beyond my apprehensions. Among Obama supporters there is the belief that in this second term he will take risks in an effort to elevate his presidency to the ranks of greatness.

 

            Regardless of whether Obama pleases more than he disappoints, sending the Republicans to the sidelines is something to cheer about! And beyond this, the Green Party effort did remind me and a few others that a progressive alternative to predatory capitalism can be put forward in a coherent and compelling manner by a candidate with talent and impeccable credentials. Perhaps, we can look forward to a period when Jill Stein does for the Obama presidency what Norman Thomas, and the Socialist Party, did for the New Deal presidency of FDR, that is, be both a thorn in the side, and an inducement to stop the bleeding of disaffected party members by adopting important parts of the Socialist agenda.

   

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34 Responses to “Obama’s Victory, Romney’s Defeat”

  1. sudhan November 8, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Thank you Dr Falk for your thooughts on the re-election of Obama. I had also jotted down the following lines for the occasion:

    Those left-of-the-centre Americans who had opted to vote for a lesser evil than the bigger evil in the shape of Mitt Romney have some ground to celebrate. In fact, anything was possible; Romney could have also found his way to the White House. American political system is deeply flawed and has become more mouldy and outdated. It does not represent the hopes and aspirations of the American people any longer.

    The presidential election itself is a contest in which big money talks and imposes its decisions on the masses. Actual problems facing the superpower that has hegemony over a large part of humanity and regions of the world are brushed aside and a diversionary picture put before the electorate that produces much sound but signifies nothing. Big gala shows and rallies make the whole thing look comical and cheap advertisement. That’s not what the democracy is about or can ever be justified for hiding the concerns of millions of ordinary men and women and their economic and social hardships.

    President Obama in his first term proved to be a true representative of American military-industrial complex. He carried out where Bush had left. He also extended the Afghan war of aggression into Pakistan and in most cowardly fashion has been conducting the killings of Pakistani ‘militants’ in Pakistan by his drone attacks. The people of Pakistan and other places who become victims of such assassinations have no means at their disposal to combat the advanced technological robots that kill them at his orders.

    Now the question is: Will he continue his policy of such killings and disregard international law and the Geneva Conventions? Like Bush and Condi Rice, his foreign policy in the Middle East has been a total charade. Has he any sense of moral responsibility towards the Palestinian people who are still under occupation of Israel and its cruel policies? Without American military and financial support, Israel couldn’t have carried out the occupation or oppression of a captive population.

    These things are not a secret and certainly President Obama is well aware of all these things. Now he has a new four-year term of office. Will he be able to change the course of his foreign policy or will he continue what he did during the last four years? Only the time will tell. But he has some opportunity to show respect to international law, the Geneva Conventions and stop the illegal killing of people in foreign countries. He can also advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, not by reiterating the American mantra of the ‘security of Israel’ but stand for the legitimate rights of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation and oppression.

    People will judge President for his actions, not his words. Let’s hope his words and actions match from now on. The oppressed and victimised people and nations at the hands of US imperialism and its allies will be truly glad if he shows resolute courage to stand for what is right and not military might.

    Nasir Khan
    Peacde and Justice Post http://sudhan.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/the-re-election-of-barack-obama/

  2. walker percy November 8, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Dear Richard,
    I appreciate your reflections on Obama’s victory. I know that you have reservations about his first term, but I think that in retrospect, you should put those aside and see what he does now. The real triumph of Obama is that he managed to keep the world from completely falling apart, as it seemed about to do when he was elected President the first time. While he has obviously allowed some of the miscreants who brought about our nation’s recent catastrophes to continue to behave as they like, we may now see a change, because he is no longer encumbered by the need for re-election. While everyone has their wishlist, I personally am hopeful that he will populate the Supreme court with at least two more moderate liberals. This will neutralize the pernicious effects of the existing conservative justices for the next couple of decades, allowing us (maybe) to dig out of the hole that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Greenspan, Kristol and Rove put us in (notice I don’t say Bush: he was just a compliant puppet for those who really tried to undermine our democracy). I am also hopeful that he can make it clear that the behavior of kingpins like Sheldon Adelson and the Zionist billionaire hedge fund managers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Any further efforts on the part of Zionists should be met with mass public condemnation. Social shunning and boycotting of such miscreants by all good Americans should begin now.
    Good luck to you in the next four years, I hope you will continue with your excellent in-depth analyses of our most pressing problems.
    Walker Percy

  3. deepaktripathi November 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    Thank you for such an honest and nuanced analysis of the Obama reelection. I hope that in the next few days I will be able to make an attempt to write some notes as a foreign observer (some eye trouble prevents me doing it right now). I do understand that there are those who are relieved, but I feel there is not much to celebrate. Thanks to President Obama, drone attacks will continue, executive orders limiting civil liberties and giving the president the prerogative to choose and kill US and foreign citizens remain in place; a worse president one day may well use these tools more mercilessly. And in failed states in Africa where hunger and famine fuel violence (Somalia, Mali, parts of Nigeria for instance), it will continue to be drones, special forces and client militias of the US, not aid.

    That these serious domestic and foreign-policy issues played next to no role in the US election is a great pity. I doubt that in the next four years the world will be a more happy place under Obama than it has been in the past four. That things could have been worse under Romney will be small comfort to many, certainly outside America.

    Kind regards,
    Deepak

  4. rehmat1 November 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Dr. Falk – Relief, YES – because Barack Obama is a known Evildoer – while Mitt Romney is ‘unknown Evildoer’. However, both are confirmed to be the two faces of the same ‘Zionist coin’.

    All world leaders, with the exception of Iran and Venezuela – showing their sigh of relief on the defeat of Mitt Romney. So how some American see Obama during his next four years?

    “America does not have a representative democracy. If you vote for someone for his rhetoric and promises, which he promptly ignores after the election, then you’re not being represented, I’m sorry, though with your votes, you’ve just sanctioned (Obama) him to go on abusing you and the rest of the world. Ignoring his kill list, undeclared wars and other violations of justice, you’ve chosen to swallow whole his sound bites, so you will fully deserve what’s coming to you, though it’s unfortunate that so many other victims will have to suffer also,” Linh Dinh, writer and blogger from Philadelphia on RT’s ‘Cross Talk’ show debating with Neil Sroka, an Obama fan and Ilya Shapiro from Israel advocacy group, the Cato Institute.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/11/07/netanyahu-obama-victory-is-good-for-israel/

  5. monalisa November 9, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    Dear Richard,

    I doubt very very much that President Obama will reverse his political course/agenda during the next term.

    Maybe he couldn’t do what he wanted because of hindrances created by the puffed-up military complex (and its political affiliates/companies) as well as the Secret Services and with it its political involved companies and last not least the FED with its ugly and dangerous face already shown openly within the banking complex (together with a very few very rich).

    President Obama’s speeches are hollow and as he didn’t keep his promsies his first term why should he keep it the second term ?
    His advisor was maybe his feeeling of danger if he would act stronger. However, he served long enough within the political arena to know what awaited him.

    The backbone of any state on our globe are taxpayers. If not enough middle class income, if the working class has barely enough for living and if not enough smaller companies (big companies don’t pay enough taxes, they put their profit off-shore!!) the balance within any country is in danger.
    USA neglected this point far too long and politicans served either their own pockets or those of their relatives/friends and so forth.
    Making wars where only a handful of companies got extremely rich with only a few thousand working people can never save the economy of any country.
    And in other words: in my opinion the only wars where USA got profits were the WWI
    and WWII and the short time afterwards (until the sixtiees). Wars and turmoils instigated by USA were and are still costly and didn’t make the US economy stable and rich. Quite the contrary. Additionally, no wars were really won !!
    So for what ? To fuel the high esteem of the military, of a handful rich people, of a few politicans with their aspirations, of the FED ?

    I don’t know if it isn’t already too late for USA to curb this dangerous trend, dangerous insofar, as US citizen are facing a totalitarian military and police governmental rule.
    It works against its own state: no creation of more export possibilities for a broader range of smaller US companies (by war destabilized and damaged countries will not be able to buy goods) as well as not trying to mend negative feelings against the agressor USA (illegal invasion of foreign countries, breaking International Law). Therefore those wars (since 2001) will not show profitable neither in the short nor in the long run.

    Sorry dear Richard, maybe I am too pessimistic –
    we can just hope that somehow things will go better the coming four years.

    If the foreign policy of USA will be reversed the domestic situation will improve accordingly, that’s for sure I think.

    Take care of yourself,

    monalisa

    • Rabbi Ira Youdovin November 9, 2012 at 7:27 am #

      Richard,

      Thanks for the interesting and helpful post-election summary. However, I must say that the items you select as potential indicators of change in Obama’s approach to Israel/Palestine are curious.

      1. Iranian nuclear development is not a bi-lateral US-Israel issue, much as Netanyahu and Jewish Republicans have tried to portray it as such. Israel would be Ground Zero for an Iranian bomb, and is understandably less patient than the United States. But Iranian nuclear weapons development would assuredly ignite an arms race in the Arab/Muslim world, which is populated by states that fear Iran’s designs on establishing regional hegemony, and make Iran virtually invulnerable to efforts to arrest its funding terrorism throughout the world. I know that you advocate making the Middle East a nuclear free zone. This might be reasonable goal in the long term, but not as a means of defusing a situation that likely will become critical by Spring or early Summer. However, should sanctions and diplomacy fail so that Israel and/or the United States would be compelled to exercise a military option, it would tell us nothing about Obama’s intentions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      2. The PA’s UN initiative is no more than a sideshow, and distraction, to the larger issue of bringing both sides to negotiations toward establishing peaceful relations, most likely in the context of a two-state solution. The real test of Obama’s intentions, and also his will and ability, is whether he will lean on both sides for concessions that could make this happen. A symbolic victory at the UN won’t help. Indeed, it might lessen the pressure on the PA and Hamas to reconcile their own internal conflict, and increase Israel’s anxiety about making territorial concessions that could be deleterious to its security.

      The prospect of Obama using the full weight of his presidency to resolve a long-standing overseas conflict is questionable, given the myriad of vexing domestic issues already on his plate. Certainly, it will not happen within the next year. But to take one’s eye off that objective is to support Romney’s gloomy conclusion that nothing good will happen. And demonizing Israel as being intractable while turning a blind eye on Palestinian intransigence only encourages elements on both sides who see the conflict as a zero sum game to continue their misbegotten fight to the death.

      Ira

      • Richard Falk November 9, 2012 at 9:20 am #

        Ira: I appreciated your response, and understand your concern about Iran’s intentions and behavior, but if there was a moment when a nuclear free Middle East makes sense, and for Israel, it is now. Without regional tensions, it will seem like a needless move imperiling a stable status quo.

        I am baffled by your assessment of the Israel/Palestine situation. The PA is falling over itself seeking to resume negotiations, has suppressed militants
        under its control in the West Bank, and its maximal demand is the recovery of 22% of historic Palestine. Israel, especially after the Netanyahu/Lieberman coalition, is essentially a settler government, it has made many moves to legalize the 100 or so ‘outposts’ spread throughout the West Bank that have been hitherto unlawful under Israeli law, and is expanding the settlements at a rate far beyond the rate of population growth in pre-1967 Israel. What sort of Palestinian state can emerge from such a combination of political climate and behavioral realities. The PA is more compliant with Israel’s demands than could have been imagined a decade ago, and yet Israel continues to take steps that send an unmistakable message to the Palestinian people.

        It is not a matter of ‘demonizing’ Israel, it is rather taking account of the clear differences in behavior and circumstances between the two sides, which weight responsibility for the failure to resolve the conflict on the Israeli side of ledger.

      • rehmat1 November 9, 2012 at 9:36 am #

        Ira – Here is reality check for you to ponder upon:

        1. Which country already posses nuclear bombs? Israel.

        2. Which country has attacked all its neighbors within last 60 years? Israel.

        3. Which country has been threatening Iran for the last 32 years? Israel.

        4. Which country was established on a foreign land? Israel.

        5. Which country has been wiped off the map in modern time? Palestine.

        6. Leaders of which country are in the habit of calling the leaders of other nations, Hitler? Israel.

        The ‘Zero Ground’ is the Zionist regime doesn’t believe a nuclear Iran as “existential threat” – but it’s afraid that a future nuclear Iran will make it impossible for the Jewish army to defeat Hamas and Hizballah.

        On January 17, 2012 – Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, head of the Israel Occupation Force (IOF) planning department, told reporters in Jerusalem that once Iran posses nuclear arsenal, it will make hard for Israel to defeat Hamas and Hizbullah.

        “If we are forced to do things in Gaza or in Lebanon – under the Iranian nuclear umbrella it might be different,” said Amir Eshel.

        http://rehmat1.com/2012/01/24/israel-nuclear-iran-makes-hard-to-defeat-hamas-and-hizbullah/

      • walker percy November 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

        Rabbi,
        I hope you have been well since our last discussion. Regarding your first point: I don’t see how you can point at Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons’ capability as destabilizing to the region, rather it will be a re-stabilizing force. The current situation, where Israel possesses the only weapons of this type is probably driving the Iranians in their efforts to achieve threat parity. I’m sure that it is highly humiliating and intolerable for a large, ancient country of great refinement and culture to be threatened in this way by what appears to them to be a criminal enterprise that is slaughtering (and worse, emasculating) fellow Muslims. If Israel is to avoid causing any more death and hardship, they MUST give up their nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, with full international verification and inspections. Israel can no longer expect to be treated as a special case. Only if this happens can we expect the Muslims to stand down.
        Walker

    • Richard Falk November 9, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Dear monalisa:

      We are not so far apart. I agree that an Obama administration is unlikely to make significant changes on the core issues, which is what I tried to express by indicating why I voted Jill Stein. Your assessment is, as usual, thoughtful and perceptive, and unfortunately, probably all too correct!

      With unflagging admiration!

      Richard

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin November 9, 2012 at 11:27 am #

        chard,

        Thanks for your prompt response, which elicits a prompt response from me.

        1. Iran. I did say that a nuclear free zone might be a reasonable goal in the long term, and I acknowledge that it might be in Israel’s interests to have one right now. But it’s not going to happen in the brief time frame before Iran is able to cross the nuclear threshold. It would be a game changer if Iran announced its willingness to suspend development, and also allow credible inspections, on condition that work commence on moving toward a nuclear free Middle East. What are the prospects of that happening.

        2. Two critical facts are absent from your analysis of Israel-Palestine. One is that a party opposing settlement expansion and calling for negotiated borders won a plurality in the last Israeli elections. The Likud government’s settlement activity is, to my mind, wrong and counter-productive to peace efforts. But numerous opinion polls have found that West Bank expansion is not popular among Israelis, that 60-70 percent favor negotiations toward a two-state solution, and that the diminution of the Israeli peace camp responds largely to a perception that the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular are not yet reconciled to Israel having a permanent place in the Middle East.

        Which brings us to the second omission. PA may accept Israel, but its hold on power is extremely tenuous. Territorial concessions made to Hamas could make way for Hamas, whose Charter continues to call for Israel’s annihilation, to install guns and rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ben Gurion International Airport.

        However, where I find your analysis most unhelpful is its conclusion that things can’t change. If so, what’s the advantage of Palestine gaining some measure of status at the UN? The key is changing circumstances on the ground, not in a building halfway across the world. Which is why I suggested that Obama might do much for peace by leaning on both sides for concessions, an approach you appear to reject because you see Israel as being intractable. And, as night follows day, the approach is rejected also by Israeli and Diaspora Jewish hardliners who see Palestinians in the same way. This is what characterize as demonizing, which is no help in seeking a just peace in the region. Nor is it helpful to tally up score sheets of rights and wrongs. The pro-Israel right wing can do just as good a job as you have in making their case. But both are irrelevant. The two sides and their supporters need to look beyond their troubled history and reach a mutual determination of what each needs to satisfy its reasonable political, military and economic needs, and negotiate a settlement that best implements this consensus. I believe the United States and some of its western allies can help. It is would be a great advantage to have the participation of moderate governments in the Middle East.

        I feel like a lone voice on this one, but I believe this is a good time to try moving forward.

        Ira

      • Richard Falk November 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

        Ira: I appreciate your sense of the symmetry of responsibility, and the resulting emphasis on leaning on both sides, but I am too far from your view of the relevant assessment of the situation to join the issue. What Israeli public opinion may feel about the settlements is not very relevant, especially when it has such a low priority. When the anti-Netanyahu demonstrations took place a year ago it proceeded on a basis that agreed not even to mention the policies toward the occupied territories. I cannot agree to equate the Hamas covenant, which is a vague aspiration, with the concreteness of building unlawful armed settlements on territory set aside by unanimous decision of the Security Council for the Palestinians. Israel, in my mind, has all along been seeking to create enough facts on the ground to make withdrawal from the occupied territory unrealistic, and they have succeeded. The Israeli right wing is now trying to formalize de facto annexation in a number of ways. The time for negotiations on the basis of the two state consensus seems to have passed, and there is no evidence that a Netanyahu leadership would grant the Palestinians more than a pitiable remnant of what seemed to be the agreed premise of a territorial solution to the conflict, even for the moment leaving aside the right of return and Jerusalem issues.

      • Fred Skolnik November 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

        I will pitch in here by saying that there is nothing vague about Hamas aspirations: it wishes to destroy the State of Israel (the “Zionist entity”). It states this explicitly and does everything in its power to accomplish this aim. I am amazed at your naivete about the nature of this organization, which has acted with a degree of savagery that is rarely seen among civilized nations.

        You know that the envisaged solution, accepted by Netanyahu and the overwheming majority of Israelis, involves a trade-off of land to allow the big Jewish settlement blocs like Gush Etzion to remain part of Israel. All of this involves just 5% of West Bank land. And of course, once an agreement is reached or the terrorism stops, the security fence, security roads, roadblocks and curfews will vanish. It is precisely these measures, along with PA cooperation, which by the way you once dismissed as “collaborationist,” that has prevented the terrorist attacks. And you know too that it is Abu Mazen who refuses to renew negotiations, again demanding a freeze of building activity, which is irrelevant, as whatever building activity exists is going on within the boundaries of existing settlements. It is simply absurd to deny your own people a state because “the enemy” is building another kindergarten or a few housing units inside a settlement, or because zealous settlers transport three or four caravans or sheds to a barren hilltop, or because Israel’s Housing Ministry announces future plans to build on disputed Jerusalem land, since the final status of all the Jewish settlements will in any case be determined in negotiations and Jewish settlement will be dismantled just as they were in Gaza.. Since Netanyahu has proclaimed time and again that he is willing to resume negotiations with no preconditions, all Abu Mazen has to do is take him up on it – or you might wish to say “call his bluff” – and then all the world will see who is really preventing peace.

  6. Rabbi Ira Youdovin November 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    rehmat1: As always, your post is long on guile and short on accurate information. But so long as you want to play Quiz Game, I’ll go along. Let’s see how my answers compare to yours.

    Ira – Here is reality check for you to ponder upon:

    1. Which country already posses nuclear bombs? Israel.

    ISY: Your are correct.

    2. Which country has attacked all its neighbors within last 60 years? Israel.

    ISY: Sixty years is a long time, but it doesn’t go back quite far enough to 1947. If you’ll allow me those five years, I’ll note that when the UN voted to partition the territory the League of Nations had mandated to Britain into Jewish and Arab sections, Israel accepted and the armies of five Arab states immediately attacked.

    In 1955, Israel joined France and Britain in invading the Egyptian-held Sinai peninsular. This is the only instance of an unprovoked Israeli attack.

    In 1967, Israel mounted a pre-emptive attack on Egypt and Syria after they had amassed troops along the border. Nasser ordered the UN peacekeeping forces to leave and blockaded the Straits of Tiran, which is a casus belli. It invaded Jordan on the third day of the war, after Jordanian artillery fired on populated areas inside Israel.

    In 1972, the armies of Egypt and Syria launched a massive attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Israel responded.

    Israel’s 1982 incursion into Lebanon was to root out terrorism mounted by Palestinian terrorists who had infiltrated into southern Lebanon. When that mission was accomplished, Israel withdrew, maintaining only a narrow security buffer along the border

    Similarly, the 2006 Lebanese incursion responded to terrorism—including the capture and murder of two Israeli soldiers on Israeli soil, and rocket fire from guns provided by Iran.

    Operation Cast Lead (Gaza—2009) responded to many months of sustained rocket and artillery attacks on populated areas inside Israel.

    You see, rehmat1, the answer to this question is not so simple as you make it out to be.

    3. Which country has been threatening Iran for the last 32 years? Israel.

    This is a new one for me. Please tell me how Israel has threatened Iran for the past 32 years.

    4. Which country was established on a foreign land? Israel.

    This is highly debatable. The Jewish People have historical roots there, going back 4000 years. They didn’t leave voluntarily but were driven into exile. Some number of Jews and their progeny never left.

    5. Which country has been wiped off the map in modern time? Palestine.

    Palestine has never existed as a country. To be sure, there were Arabs living on the land when the first Zionists arrived in the late 18th century. But they didn’t regard themselves as Palestinians, nor have a national structure, government, parliament, king, prime minister or president, etc. Please note, I write this only to correct your misinformation, not as an argument against creating a Palestinian state now, a concept I wholeheartedly endorse.

    6. Leaders of which country are in the habit of calling the leaders of other nations, Hitler? Israel.

    This is true, but the instances are few, far between and come only in response to genocidal threats, such as those by Nasser, Ahmadinajab and Hamas—which emulate Hitler.

    The ‘Zero Ground’ is the Zionist regime doesn’t believe a nuclear Iran as “existential threat” – but it’s afraid that a future nuclear Iran will make it impossible for the Jewish army to defeat Hamas and Hizballah.

    Israel does regard a nuclear Iran as posing an existential threat. How could it not when the Iranian president repeatedly threatens to annihilate Israel. The last time he did it, recently at the United Nations, he was rebuked by the Secretary General.

    On January 17, 2012 – Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, head of the Israel Occupation Force (IOF) planning department, told reporters in Jerusalem that once Iran posses nuclear arsenal, it will make hard for Israel to defeat Hamas and Hizbullah.

    “If we are forced to do things in Gaza or in Lebanon – under the Iranian nuclear umbrella it might be different,” said Amir Eshel.

    This is a simple statement of fact. Hamas and Hizbullah are determined to destroy Israel. Are you suggesting that Israel doesn’t have the right to defend itself using conventional weapons? A nuclear Iran introduces the threat of nuclear attack, which makes conventional self-defense more difficult. The same logic applies to North Korea. And a nuclear Iran is opposed by most of the other nations of the Middle East who hear that it would enable Iran to impose its hegemony over them.

    How did I do on your quiz?

    Ira

    • walker percy November 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      Ira,
      See item 1 on your list and then go back and reconsider item 3, please.
      Walker

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin November 11, 2012 at 8:19 am #

        Walker,

        Thank you for your good wishes which are reciprocated.

        Though you may find it hard to accept, the belief that a nuclear Iran would be a destabilizing force is shared almost universally, including among Arab leaders. The near-unanimous view is that Iran would use the threat posed by its having a nuclear arsenal as a weapon in its drive to establish regional hegemony (witness what’s happened in Lebanon), and to spread its influence via terrorism throughout the world.

        Besides, your thesis that Iran is building a bomb only as a deterrent against Israeli nuclear weapons is not reflected in any Iranian policy statements.

        Israel has had a nuclear capability for forty years or more. It has never used it to threaten anybody, and has repeatedly pledged not to be the first state to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East. It does not pose a threat to Iran.

        But please note that I recently posted it would be a game changer should Iran announce that it would abandon nuclear development if Israel agreed to a nuclear free zone Middle East

        The Arab/Muslim Middle East is inherently unstable and has been for most of the past 1400 years. You refer to Muslims as if they constituted a unified group. But much of the fighting between and within states is drawn along Muslim religious lines, primarily Sunni vs. Shia. Syria is a prime example of this, although other Muslims (Alawites) are also involved in that tragedy.

        Ironically, Arab/Muslim dictators have used Israel to create some measure of stability in their countries by using jihadist language to draw their people’s attention away from domestic problems such as poverty, high unemployment and political repression. The Arab Spring demonstrated that this tactic had lost much of its potency. Israel was almost never mentioned in Tahrir Square and elsewhere. And while it now plays some role in Egyptian politics, it’s no more than one of dozens of issues dividing the various factions vying from power.

        When one blames everything on Israel, which tend to do, missing the larger picture in inevitable.

        Ira

      • walker percy November 11, 2012 at 11:24 am #

        Ira,
        I don’t disagree with you that Arabs and some other Muslims are fractious and react emotionally and violently to situations where they perceive disrespect from other groups. You are also correct that this state of affairs has been going on for a long time. Partly, this is due to their low levels of awareness of how the modern world works, because until recently their populations have been cut off from reliable sources of information, and have relied too much on guidance from their religious leaders, who often have nefarious purposes for their demagoguery. Once we understand these things, it becomes obvious why it is not possible to create an artificial, ethnically pure Jewish state in their midst, especially one with a reputation for duplicity and violence. I know that you believe that Israel has acted honorably, but you must wake up about that. Israel has earned the deep enmity of their neighbors, and for very good reasons. Just consider the latest episode, where Israel came out and admitted that they assassinated the PLO second in command in Tunisia, after decades of adamant denials. Don’t we have to start reconsidering all of their other statements proclaiming their innocence, for example that they had nothing to do with the death of Arafat? There are 2 billion muslims and 14 million jews in the world. The US MUST stop disrespecting this large group of fellow human beings by their unfair support of Israel. Otherwise, terrorism will never end, and our civilization will continue to sink, just as Osama bin Ladin predicted.

        Ira, you seem like a gentle, wise man, and I hope that you can be persuaded to reconsider your consistent support of this rogue nation that has caused so much pain and suffering for those around them. They seem to be engaging in some kind of twisted game of chicken, daring the rest of the world to condemn them for their greediness and plotting, as if this would somehow validate their claim that the world hates Jews our of some universal but irrational impulse. It must end, and it will require that Jews in Israel and the US begin to shout loudly: “not in our names”! I, for one, will never stop shouting that, and while it hurts, you are better off accepting that many, many people share my feelings but are unable to express themselves because of social pressures. I happen to be a free-thinker (and self-employed) so I have dedicated my life to bearing witness to the atrocities being carried out by this tiny, tiny group of selfish nut jobs.
        Walker

  7. monalisa November 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    yes, I think too that our thoughts aren’t far apart.

    However, I wonder why almost half the voters (for Romney/Republicans, approx. 48 %)
    still have a way of thinking as of twohundred years ago.

    The weapon industry got its share as after re-election of President Obama those voters against him went to buy rifles and therefore the weapon industrial complex in USA is a winner too !!!
    This “leave as alone” way of thinking of far too many US citizen concerning its government actions is still prevalent (at least almost half the population thinks so ??!!) and hasn’t adapted to modern times ! It seems to me those people forget that Drones will kill immediately, will spy directly and new laws will not change by rifles/handy weapons.

    My question is: don’t those people have more information about electronics ? Do they live in reclusions ????

    Maybe I am wrong and the percentage isn’t so high but if almost half of the population in USA is in such a way divided how can change take place ? When such a great percentage of citizen has no idea how other developed countries handle the government ? When no adaption to up-to-date structures are in their minds ? Do those citizen leave on an island in their thoughts ?

    During the election-time I saw different TV-interviews with US citizen. Some of them, Republicans, had a way of thinking I got slightly shocked. And yet reading that those people – I think a good share of them, maybe not all – have armed themselves against the Ofama-administration I cannot deny wondering if those people don’t see that we are living in a higly electronic-driven world. To arm themselves with hand-arms in order to fight against electronic-driven weapons is a really retarded way of thinking.

    How can USA go into the 21st century if almost half its population thinking in terms of twohundred years ago ?

    Take care of yourself

    monalisa

  8. monalisa November 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    Sorry, some mistakes:

    …citizen live on an island ..
    living in a highly electronic-driven ..

    monalisa

  9. Barry Meridian November 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    How long would Mexico or Cuba last if they fired rockets into the US on a daily basis? Israel has shown tremendous restraint to these attacks from Gaza for years. Let’s not forget the joy in Gaza too when our twin towers came down on 9-11.

    • Barry Meridian November 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Mr Falk Israel has accepted the 23 State Solution: 22 Arab states and 1 Jewish state.

      • Barry Meridian November 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

        Arab world compared to tiny Israel.
        Look at the 22 Arab countries compared to Israel.

        http://www.iris.org.il/sizemaps/arabwrld.htm

      • Barry Meridian November 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin totally destroyed the lies of Rehmat.
        Keep in mind though, Rehmat thinks 9/11 was done by the Jews and the Jews killed JFK.

      • Barry Meridian November 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

        Richard Falk says, The PA is falling over itself seeking to resume negotiations.

        For the last 3 1/2 years Abbas has refused to negotiate with Netanyahu, so why Mr Falk do you continue your lies.
        Why are you silent on Hamas war crimes against Israeli civilians.
        You cant even criticize Hamas for firing over 100 missles at Israeli civilians in the last day.

        Instead of barring my posts, why dont you condemn Hamas fascism?

        http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160793

        Hamas Advisor: Israel Must Disappear
        Kana’an ‘Obeid, an advisor to Hamas, calls on the movement to disconnect itself from the PLO and declare that Israel must disappear.
        Elad Benari
        10/12/2012

  10. Barry Meridian November 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Why is Israel giving these Hamas war criminals water, electricity, food and fuel while they are trying to kill Jews.
    Only Jews do that. What next? Send Swiss chocolate in return for every rocket?
    Israel needs to stop playing defense to the thousands of rockets being fired at them and punish the Gaza regime and its terrorists where it hurt.
    Israel needs to target all the leaders of Hamas.

  11. Barry Meridian November 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Why does Islamic Jihad and Hamas fire rockets from a school at Israel praying that the other side return fire and kill some of it’s children. Thats Gaza today. The Arabs are the only people in the world that go out day by day figuring ways to get their children to die in front of the world press.
    Hamas knows Falk will never condemn these war crimes.
    Falk is an apologist for Islamo fascists.

  12. Fred Skolnik November 12, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    Well, Professor Falk, anyone who pretends to have borne witness to Israel’s “atrocities” when he hasn’t, like your Walker Percy, should be called out on it. When you protect him, and occasionally even congratulate him, you are just encouraging the kind of hatred that he has been spreading ever since I began looking in on you.

  13. Fred Skolnik November 12, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Dear Professor Falk

    To continue, here is Percy in all his glory (July 27):

    “Jews are always ultimately the victim, having set up circumstances to ensure their persecution by the larger community in response to their unethical business dealings, cultural insensitivity to other groups, nepotism, flaunting of wealth, and self-organization into exclusive ethnic enclaves…. If you go back to the 1930′s, you find the same complaints about German Jews.”

    I’m sure you understand what you are dealing with here. I hope you don’t believe that because these characterizations are not “personal,” they fall within the scope of civilized discourse. If that were the case the “complaints” of the Nazis would also fall within the scope of civilized discourse since they too generalized about Jews in this way, as Percy himself points out. Therefore, when I get personal in response to Percy’s diatribes, it is for a good reason. It is precisely the antisemite that has to be attacked and not his arguments. Do you seriously expect a Jew to argue with an antisemite about whether Jews are unethical? to try to convince him that they are not? Since Percy has established his credentials in your pages, he should be exposed whenever he appears there. One would have hoped that you would be the one to repudiate him, but sadly you are not.

    • walker percy November 12, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      fred,
      I am pleased that you have been stirred by my rhetoric. I must be doing something right! I would be very happy to enter into a debate with you here, but I don’t think that Professor Falk would approve. First of all, his original post was not about Israel or Jews, but about Obama’s victory. Therefore it is somewhat rude to simply switch back to our favorite topic. On the other hand, Jews and Israel have placed themselves at the very center of this discussion because of their brazen behavior in trying to unseat our President through all manner of deceit (and now their equally brazen claim to have done nothing of the kind). The other reason that I am declining to engage with you (in this forum) is that you, like many other zionists, don’t really take issue with my points, instead you seem to object to my speaking at all. As a way of refuting my response to a different post from Falk from over a month ago (!), you just cut and pasted what I said, and complained again that moderator Falk seems unwilling to delete what I said. Your argument seems to be, “see, look at the things he wrote, he is a classic anti-semite whose speech should be suppressed”. This does not qualify as argument. If you disagree with me, then please explain your reasoning, and then maybe we can take our discussion to another place on line where it does not interfere with the civilized tone that Falk seeks for his blog. But please don’t expect me to stop speaking just because you feel entitled to set the parameters of the debate. Tell us what it is you disagree with, and be ready to engage with clear logic and facts we can all agree about (there are many). We see how zionists like to engage in Barry Meridian’s many inane comments; he just wants to control the public square by making so much noise that other people just give trying to be heard. That is highly damaging to civil discourse. Maybe he will get bored and disappear, but I doubt it.
      Walker

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin November 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

        Mr. Percy,

        You challenge Fred Skolnik to substantiate his assessment that your posts are tinged by anti-Semitism. Allow me to have a crack at it. The words in quotation are yours, shadow-copied from your posts and not taken out of context.

        “Jews are always ultimately the victim, having set up circumstances to ensure their persecution by the larger community in response to their unethical business dealings, cultural insensitivity to other groups, nepotism, flaunting of wealth, and self-organization into exclusive ethnic enclaves…. If you go back to the 1930′s, you find the same complaints about German Jews.”

        You allege that Jews bear the blame for their being persecuted—it’s called “victimizing the victim”—by being disrespectful, or worse, toward non-Jews. But how much do you really know about the history of anti-Semitism? Apparently, not much, other than baseless stereotypes perpetrated by vicious anti-Semites.
        Your implied justification of the Holocaust is particularly reprehensible

        However, you have managed to spring a new wrinkle on me by describing the enforced ghetto-ization of Jews as “self-organization into exclusive ethnic enclaves.” Yeah…like the Warsaw Ghetto.

        “I am also hopeful that he can make it clear that the behavior of kingpins like Sheldon Adelson and the Zionist billionaire hedge fund managers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Any further efforts on the part of Zionists should be met with mass public condemnation. Social shunning and boycotting of such miscreants by all good Americans should begin now.”

        I didn’t like Sheldon Adelson’s policies and how he used his wealth to promote them. But what do you mean by saying that his behavior was “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” All Adelson was doing was exercising his civil right to free expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States’ constitution, and using his wealth in a manner judged to be constitutional by the United States Supreme Court (in Citizens United). Adelson isn’t your problem. The Constitution is.

        Your singling out “Zionist billionaire hedge fund managers”, ignores the fact that the vast majority of billionaire hedge fund managers are non-Jews, and that numbers of billionaire hedge fund managers, Jewish and non-Jewish, supported Obama. This kind of selective targeting is racist; or, in this instance, anti-Semitic.

        Worst of all, you call for “social shunning and boycotting of such miscreants by all good Americans” has disturbing echoes of Germany in the 1930’s. For record, while I am not a billionaire hedge fund manager, I am Jewish, a Zionist, a U.S. Air Force veteran…and I consider myself to be a good American.

        “On the other hand, Jews and Israel have placed themselves at the very center of this discussion because of their brazen behavior in trying to unseat our President through all manner of deceit (and now their equally brazen claim to have done nothing of the kind).”

        “All manner of deceit…” What in God’s name are you talking about? In a political campaign, all manner of accusations are hurled from both sides. Many are false. Why not condemn Donald Trump for suggesting that Obama was born outside the United States? Once again, your allegation of “deceitful Jews” can be found of page #1 of the lexicon of historic anti-Semitism.

        And btw, 70 percent of the Jewish vote went to Obama, the largest percentage other than for African Americans.

        Finally, a woefully inaccurate characterization of Israel taken from an earlier post,

        “Once we understand these things, it becomes obvious why it is not possible to create an artificial, ethnically pure Jewish state in their midst.”

        Twenty percent of Israel’s population is Palestinian (Muslim and Christian.) They vote in national elections, etc. This is not to say that Palestinian Israelis enjoy the same economic and social standing as Jews (just as African Americans and Latinos suffer these inequalities in the United States). Their plight needs to be addressed more energetically than it is at present. Dedicated individuals and groups of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora are working toward that end. But it’s simply wrong to accuse Israelis of seeking to create an “ethnically pure state,” especially as the non-Jewish population of both Israel and the Occupied Territories has increased since 1948. In fact, it’s more than wrong. The false allegation stems from the anti-Semitic slur about Jewish exclusivity.

        Mr. Percy, I hope this satisfies your request for particulars.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Fred Skolnik November 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

        No one wants to shut you up, Walker. The more you talk, the more you expose yourself, but by extension you also discredit Professor Falk, for creating a forum where people like yourself feel at home, unless, of course, he agrees with you, but that’s for him to say.

      • Richard Falk November 13, 2012 at 7:34 am #

        There is no implication of approval or disapproval by allowing comments to appear on this site.
        I make no claim to respond to comments, and do not pretend that my filtering of comments is unfailingly
        consistent.

      • walker percy November 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

        Rabbi,
        In some ways, I admire the vigor and consistency with which you defend the indefensible, out of a quaint determination to defend your clan to the bitter end. After all, this is what Jews are bred to do from earliest childhood, in all those Passover sedars where they cheer, as five year olds, for the violent death of a de-humanized “enemy” in the desert. It is this systematic indoctrination, the Jewish religion itself, which causes these problems, and probably always has.

        Even the most cursory investigation of Judaism reveals the pattern of thinking which underpins this belief system, and which becomes embedded in the psyche of its practitioners. Most jewish holidays are celebrations of Jewish victories over those who (they are convinced) seethe with jealousy at Jewish accomplishments, wealth and deep spirituality. And, magically, this same ethos ends up driving world events today: Israel itself is only the latest embodiment of this peculiarly Jewish neurosis, the mother of all self-fulfilling prophecies, and one of the greatest danger that human civilization has ever faced.

        You might ask, why me? Why is it only my religion that is so evil and false? Well, I would have to say that it is a product of evolution: In biology, only the fittest species survive, and there must be a socio-religious analog: only those creeds with the most effective tools for shaming its members to avoid inter-marriage or killing a coreligionist can last 5000 years. Only a religion that inculcates an us-against-them attitude will enforce the kind kind of pugnacious insularity demonstrated by the Jewish state today, as well as nasty figures like Sheldon Adelson, only the latest in a long serious of shady characters.

        You were especially indignant about my comment that Jews self-organize into exclusive ethnic enclaves. You suggested that making that statement was akin to saying that the Warsaw Ghetto was a voluntary condition. But that is disingenuous. Of course Jews do this, and again, it must be an outcome of their religious practice, where certain arbitrary “rules” require particular lifestyle choices that lead to self-ghetto-ization. Teaneck. Monsey. Lakewood. New Square. Boro Park.

        It is time these things were said. There is too much at stake to avoid investigating, as Gilad Atzom has begun to do, the nature of Jewishness. But I think we have to go one step farther, and to question Jewish belief itself, something he is still squeamish about, although he hints at it.

        Walker

      • Fred Skolnik November 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

        Dear Walker

        Your hatred of Jews is pathological. But here are a few lines from Jean-Paul Sartre that you may wish to ponder:

        “There is a passionate pride among the mediocre, and antisemitism is an attempt to give value to mediocrity as such, to create an elite of the ordinary…. To this end the antisemite finds the existence of the Jew absolutely necessary. Otherwise to whom would he be superior?

        “The antisemite is a man who fears himself, his conscience, his freedom, his instincts, his responsibilities, solitude, change, society and the world…. Antisemitism, in a word, is fear of the human condition. The antisemite is a man who wants to be a pitiless rock, a furious torrent, a destructive force – anything but a man.

        “He has made himself an antisemite because that is something one cannot be alone. The phrase “I hate the Jews” is one that is echoed in chorus; in pronouncing it, one attaches oneself to a tradition – the tradition and community of the mediocre.

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