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ONTD: Jews!

Real Housewives of the Diaspora

Latinos, Israel and Palestine: Understanding Anti-Semitism
By Aurora Levins Morales (March 11, 2012)

I am a Puerto Rican Jew, born of Ukrainian Jews fleeing war and repression to become sweatshop organizers in 1910s New York, and landed gentry from Naranjito, turned working class migrants in 1930s Harlem and the Bronx, landing in the same garment shops a generation later. I'm also a lifelong activist historian who embraces complexity and has spent decades building alliances between people who misunderstand each other.

It is true that there are specific challenges in the relations between Latin@s (those who are not Jewish) and Jews (the ones who aren't Latin@.) It's true that these challenges are deeply rooted in the anti-Semitism of the Catholic hierarchy, but the belief system that burned Jews at the stake, accused us of sacrificing Christian babies, and held us responsible for the crucifixion of Christ, long predates the State of Israel. And long before that state was founded out of the ashes of genocide and at the expense of a colonized Arab people, Jews were the shock absorbers of Europe's class societies, "Middle Agents" drafted into being the local representatives of distant and definitely Christian ruling classes who alternately exploited and persecuted them while squeezing the life blood out of Europe's peasants and workers.

People are often confused by anti-Semitism They see many US Jews accumulating wealth, moving up, gaining positions of influence, and they say, "What oppression?" Anti-Semitism doesn't work the way racism does. Racism tries to create permanently exploitable groups of workers, people kept in line through discrimination and violence, kept poor and dependent on low wage jobs.

The whole point of anti-Semitism has been to create a vulnerable buffer group that can be bribed with some privileges into managing the exploitation of others, and then, when social pressure builds, be blamed and scapegoated, distracting those at the bottom from the crimes of those at the top. Peasants who go on pogrom against their Jewish neighbors won't make it to the nobleman's palace to burn him out and seize the fields. This was the role of Jews in Europe. This has been the role of Jews in the United States, and this is the role of Jews in the Middle East.


More at the source.

As an Israeli, the types of Jewish permutations I am exposed is severely limited, as is the the ability to talk about first hand antisemitism or the explain why antisemitism isn't racism, but is related - so this was very beneficial for me on that level, interesting on others of course.

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

A car that was bombed by two assailants on a motorcycle in Tehran on Jan. 11, killing Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan, is removed by a mobile crane. The photo was distributed by the semi-official Iranian photo agency Fars.

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem
NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET -- Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

More at source - article is quite, quite long but. Damn. Just... damn.

American Jews confront internal rancor over Israel

By Joe Sterling

Atlanta (CNN) - When the editor of a Jewish newspaper here wrote this month that the Jewish state might consider assassinating an American president, his column made national headlines and provoked a Secret Service inquiry.

The most striking criticism came from the Jewish community itself, which collectively held its nose and harshly denounced the column by Andrew Adler, who is also the owner of the weekly paper, the Atlanta Jewish Times. Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman called Adler's words "irresponsible and extremist."

Adler apologized and resigned as editor, but some see the episode as the latest example of an increase in divisive, over-the-top rhetoric within American Jewish communal life, revolving largely around the hot-button issue of Israel and its policies toward the Palestinians.

The tensions have provoked Jewish groups across the country to launch programs aimed at lowering the political temperature in their own religious communities.Collapse )
this was pretty tl;dr for me, especially considering of all the people i want to hear talking about jewish issues, CNN is not really on that list. but i did read it anyway and thought it was worth discussing. thoughts?

Woman attacked by ultra-Orthodox mob in Beit Shemesh
『betty』fightin' words
Natali Mashiach, 26, was attacked by a mob of ultra-Orthodox men in Beit Shemesh after trying to hang posters in their neighborhood • She was spat upon and hit by stones before police arrived and arrested several suspects.

Three ultra-Orthodox men were arrested after a woman was attacked and injured while trying to put up posters in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh on Tuesday. An angry mob of ultra-Orthodox men allegedly attacked Natali Mashiach, 26, cursing her, spitting at her, hurling stones at her, stealing her car keys and causing extensive damage to her vehicle, including puncturing the tires and breaking the windows.

TW: Assault + Less Than Overt SexismCollapse )


"Is it possible to convert to Secular Judaism?"
『regina spektor』tea
Layman’s Terms
A non-Jew who loves Philip Roth, making challah, and visiting High Holiday services wants to be a Jew, minus the religion

At a dinner party several years ago I was seated next to a good friend who was a professor of Judaic studies. At some point I turned to him and asked, “Is it possible to convert to secular Judaism?”

My friend knew that, for me, this question was not entirely theoretical. He paused for a moment and said, “No. You have to convert the usual way and then have a fight with your rabbi.” He explained that I would be welcomed at shul—“particularly if you are willing to make a contribution to the building fund”—and could participate in many aspects of Jewish life, but to become a secular Jew you must first be a Jew.

Like most people, I grew up in the religion of my parents, which for me meant almost no religion at all. Neither of them were believers. I was baptized, but the only services I attended were at a Unitarian church my mother joined during my teenage years. I remember singing secularized Christmas carols copied on the church mimeograph machine.

In my youth, religion didn’t make an impression, but science did. My elementary-school days were spent in Park Forest, Ill., a Levittown-like planned community south of Chicago, where I often sat in front of our black-and-white set to watch Dr. Posin’s Universe, a public television science program hosted by a charming DePaul University physics professor. I loved visiting Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, and when the family cat brought home a dead sparrow, I horrified my parents by dissecting the still-warm creature on my desk blotter. I read about the undersea adventures of Jacques Cousteau in National Geographic, and despite living over a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, I dreamed of being an underwater explorer just like him.

Nor did anything in my later years come along to pull me toward religion. College in the late 1960s and early ’70s coincided with a period of great social experimentation. Some of my friends joined the Church of Scientology; others became immersed in transcendental meditation. I got a mantra and started to meditate, and I went to an introductory Dianetics meeting. But in the end, none of it stuck. There were no holes in my life that religion might possibly fill, and nobody taught me to appreciate the ritual and emotion of religious life. As an English major in college, I was sometimes at a loss when novels and poems made references to biblical characters, but this seemed like a minor problem.

When I became a permanent member of the academic world, I began to meet more Jews and to learn bits and pieces of Jewish history and culture. I kept discovering artistic and scholarly heroes who turned out to be Jewish. I loved Bellow, Malamud, and Roth, and long after I left the suburbs, I learned what I had been too young to know at the time—that Park Forest was founded and led by a group of Jews making their mark in post-World War II America. But the real education was still to come, after I entered into a relationship with a Jewish woman.

Read more...Collapse )


I have a lot of thoughts about this, so I'll just post them as a comment.

Anti-Semitic attacks in New Jersey leave questions, raise worries
Weather: Tornadogenesis
Anti-Semitic attacks in New Jersey leave questions, raise worries
By Ronni Berke, CNN

New York (CNN) – Synagogues firebombed and defaced by graffiti. Windows smashed at shops owned by Jewish merchants. Is anti-Semitism on the rise?

The FBI is investigating a rash of anti-Semitic attacks in northern New Jersey, including the attempted murder of a rabbi after incendiary devices were thrown at his home above a synagogue.

Rabbi Nosson Schuman suffered minor burns in the incident Wednesday at Beth El Synagogue in Rutherford.

It was the fourth anti-Semitic incident in the past month in Bergen County. On January 4, a Paramus synagogue was hit by an arson attack, and in December, two temples were vandalized.

No arrests have been made. "We don't know if we're looking at one person or a group of people," said Bryan Travers of the FBI's Newark division.

In November, vandals smashed windows at five stores owned by Jewish merchants in Middlesex County.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie condemned the recent synagogue attacks. "I will not stand for it, and we will summon all necessary law enforcement resources to identify and prosecute those responsible," Christie said in a statement.

The Anti-Defamation League, which catalogs anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, is urging law enforcement authorities to step up security around synagogues. It's offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved in the Bergen County attacks.

But Jewish leaders and scholars contacted by CNN could only speculate on why there is a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the Northeast. Why is there is a surge in antisemitic attacks?Collapse )


The economy? The events in the Middle East? Or a few very active antisemites? /Can/ a conclusion be drawn?

To quote Rabbi Joseph Telushkin on The Scapegoat Thesis (from Jewish Literacy) - "The scapegoat thesis, in any case, does not explain why /Jews/ are hated. What is it about this small group of people that can unite far left and far right, rich and poor, religious and antireligious in opposition to them? Over sixty years ago, the Jewish writer Maurice Samuel pin-pointed the fallacy of the scapegoat thesis in his book The Great Hatred: 'To say that a man has hallucinations when he is hungry makes sense; to say that he has hallucinations about Jews when he is hungry does not.'"

Badass Sephardi Rabbi Condemns Ultra-Orthodox Violence
『regina spektor』tea
In Fiery Speech Noted Rabbi Suggests Violence Against Charedi Extremists Says They Are Animals

Jerusalem - A well known Rosh Yeshiva who is also a popular figure in the Sephardi kiruv world had nothing but contempt and scorn for Charedi Israeli extremists.

Rabbi Rafael Zar, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Ohr Dor – Ohr Yehuda, a noted baal mussar and considered by some as a spiritual leader, had strong words for those who resort to extreme measures, in the name of tznius.

“They are the worst kind of evildoers, far worse than the most secular individual,” said Rabbi Zar. “If I could I would break their arms and legs. This is not just my opinion, it is the opinion of Chazal. They would catch them, give them lashes and break their bones for their appalling behavior.

Spitting on women? I am appalled by this and any true Ben Torah feels the same way about this garbage. The people who do this are nothing more than garbage and they bring a foul stench to the scent of Torah in this world. It is repulsive. To spit on a Jewish Girl? Who do you think you are?

Anyone whose middos are so corrupt, is not a Jew in my eyes. He is an animal.”

“Someone who commits a Chilul Hashem like this does not deserve to have a beard. It is an embarrassment. According to the Holy Tazdik Baba Sali Zt’l there are Jews that when they will go to gehenim, the fire will start from their beard, because they don’t deserve to have a beard.”

Rabbi Zar further continued to lambast those have created the furor over segregation in Israel, saying that those who refuse to sit next to a woman on a bus should get off the bus and take a different bus with fewer women because a true yarei shomayim would not raise a commotion over an issue like this.

He also added that he suspects that many of those who pretend to be overly pious in public are probably guilty of transgressing the gravest sins that can be committed by a Jew in private.



Video of Speech (Hebrew)

I had to share this here! This man is fierce as hell. Also, he talks so fast!

What’s in a Name
『regina spektor』tea
What’s in a Name: A Call to Re-brand the Extremists in Israel from “ultra-Orthodox” to “Sikrikim”

Over the course of Jewish history, groups of Jews have occasionally splintered off from mainstream Torah Judaism, in terms of theology and observance. For example, in the Second Temple period, there were the Sadducees and the Essenes. In the early middle ages there were the Karaites. And in modern times, Jews have broken off to form non-Orthodox denominations. While the system of halacha (Jewish law) has many paths within it (i.e., there is often more than one halachically valid answer to a question), at a certain point, an idea or practice is simply outside the scope of normative Torah belief and observance.

There is a group of Jews in Israel, who while still being referred to as "ultra-Orthodox" by the media, can no longer be considered part of mainstream Torah Judaism. They have conveniently given themselves a new name--"Sikrikim"--and we should only refer to them by this name from now on too.

Read more...Collapse )


So, y'all, what are you're thoughts? I really dislike this idea. It seems like a) it's an attempt to rebrand "troublesome" haredim while still maintaining an Orthodox stronghold within Israel; b) it's ignoring the systemic problem that's coming from within the haredi communities. It also smacks of Christian rhetoric, honestly: "They're not real Jews/Christians/etc."

Also, I can't be the only one posting here. :'(

State of Her Own
『regina spektor』tea
State of Her Own
In March, we’re going to have a daughter in Israel, our chosen home. But recent events have us doubting if this is the best place to raise her.

If all goes according to plan, this March we’re going to bring a daughter into the world. Specifically, we’re going to bring her home to our apartment on Chen Boulevard, in the center of Tel Aviv, the city we’ve made our home, though we were born in the United States and Canada.

Had you asked us six years ago where we dreamed of raising a family, we’d have answered “Israel” without hesitation. But recently we’ve begun to doubt whether we should raise her in the Jewish state.

It’s not the escalating situation with Iran that gives us pause, or the fact that our daughter will one day serve in the army: We decided to live in Israel with full knowledge of the security threats it faces. The reason we are concerned about raising a daughter here is that the government is standing by as war is waged against girls and women.

Read more...Collapse )


Feminism tag? But yeah, this is an extremely interesting editorial. Tablet never fails to deliver on good reading material.

Replace Israeli Democracy w/ Halachic Law
『regina spektor』tea
Dismantle Israeli democracy and replace it with Jewish law, says settler leader
Benny Katzover tells Chabad journal: Israeli democracy has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism.

Israeli democracy must be dismantled and in its place a halakhic state, based on Jewish law, should be established, says settler leader Benny Katzover in an interview to a a messianic journal of Chabad.

In an interview with Beit Mashiach, the journal of the messianic faction of the Chabad Movement with ties to settlers, Katzover says that "the main role of Israeli democracy now is to disappear. Israeli democracy has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism. All leads toward recognition that there is no other way but to place Judaism at the center, above all else, and this is the answer to every situation."

Earlier in the interview Katzover commented on the campaign against the exclusion of women, saying that his group had information of the pending campaign.

"Our activists are linked to all the networks of the left, and we knew they were planning an incitement campaign. This is just another wave of incitement, targeting the hilltop youth and the Haredi community. The leftist activists prepare well-timed campaigns against anything which smells of holiness, and their aim is twofold: political, to undermine the government and score points among the public, and to strike at all the fundamentals of Jewish faith.

"In Jewish faith, the Land of Israel is central... The media campaigns over insignificant issues in order to undermine Jewish identity. I think there can be cooperation between the Haredim and the religious [national] communities. Incitement against us stems from the same anti-Jewish root which seeks to uproot everything," Katzover said in the interview.

Since 2008 Katzover has headed the Committee of Samaria Settlers, an NGO which has fought against the freeze of settlement construction and the razing of outposts. Katzover believes that Jews should stay in the territories even after they are evacuated. He is well respected among the hilltop youth because of his views. His ideological line has been gaining popularity among settlers since the evacuation of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.

Katzover was one of the first leaders of the settler movement, joining Gush Emunim, and then the nucleus of Elon Moreh, which was established in Samaria in 1979.

"I think that Israeli democracy, under its current structure, is in constant conflict with its Jewish identity, and in recent years, every time it bends its Jewish identity backwards. This structure of democracy has only one mission: to dismantle," he told Haaretz.


OT Note: Can we have these tags maybe: palestine, hardalim, ultra-orthodox, settlements? Don't expect to use hardalim often but they are different from most ultra-orthodox groups so I feel like that would be a nice splice.