Culture Clash Israel

The End of Memoir II: Allison Benedikt and Life before Thinking

(Yesterday: The End of Memoir, part I)

Though he did it not well, Jose Antonio Vargas, in “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” had a compelling reason to write. He is not merely affected by illegal immigration: he is, individually, a story of illegal immigration. He has lived the subterfuge, the fiction, and the uncertain future and present of being an illegal immigrant every day since childhood – and he lives it at a status in life that might be surprising to many. Along with his homosexuality, the recesses of his illegal life were a second closet out of which he longed to walk. He wanted to be liberated from fear and falseness. He thought that telling his story might play some small role in altering the reality of illegal immigrant life in the country. This is all very easy to get.

But why did Allison Benedikt write “Life After Zionist Summer Camp”? Peter Beinart, with whom, as Jeffrey Goldberg put it, “I don’t agree with … so often anymore,” but seemingly, these days, a right sympathetic audience for Benedikt, wrote in a tweet,

I found this uncompelling. It’s insular….

Uncompelling is the word. A writer, outside of a journal, and particularly on public issues, needs a compelling reason to write, compelling not simply for her – as she, the writer, is inwardly compelled to write – but compelling to others. How compel? In that the likeminded may agree and feel, so, confirmed and self-satisfied? Well, there is that. Truly compelling, however, means, perhaps, that you have some outstanding first-person account, or some expertise on the subject, or that you have, actually, something – original, remarkable, dramatic, unique, insightful – to say on the subject.

No doubt, Benedikt felt some of these attributes applied to her, at least for her. To others, I think, not so much. Insight? In reply to Jeffrey Goldberg – the primary, incendiary respondent to Benedikt – Benedikt wrote,

I wrote the piece to record what I experienced, not to analyze it, and definitely not to talk policy or really even politics. It’s a personal essay about growing up in a bubble, not questioning because you don’t even realize there is anything to question, and then slowly coming into contact with a wider world, and range of opinions, until you must face that you’ve been fed–and accepted–an incomplete or even false narrative about an issue that is more than just an issue but also a huge part of your identity. If I come off as naive (or, as “faux-naive”), it’s because I was trying to convey that I WAS naive. If I come off as conformist, well, there again, I was–and to think that’s anything but the norm for a kid growing up is to not be honest about adolescence. [Emphasis added]

Mind you, this is Benedikt’s defense of herself. Confirming what I observed yesterday, Benedikt was so self-absorbed – “insular” was Beinart’s term – that she believed no analysis of her experience was necessary to make it a worthwhile read for others. Her experiences (“what I experienced”) are so innately interesting to other people, so compelling a representation of reality and inherent a commentary on life, simply in the record of them, that no thought about them, at least on her part, is required. When Yaacov Lozowick challenged her in a tweet about alterations she makes to the hagada during Passover dinner –

you make up your own hagada? who in the world do you think you are?

– Benedikt’s response was

I am Jewish, you mother fucker. And I’m not unique

Indeed, she’s not unique – she meant in her Jewish discomfort with Israel and aspects of Jewish religious tradition, but neither is she unique in her Jewishness. There are about 13 million Jews in the world. What reason did she offer for why anyone should take time for her account of her Jewish life and her relation to Israel – a mere unconsidered record of her experiences – over the time no one could devote to the other 12 million plus? Because she had the chutzpah to presume that  her not very extraordinary experiences – when her intent, she says, was not to consider policy or politics (“I wrote the piece definitely not to talk policy or really even politics”) – were an inherently meaningful commentary on an inherently political subject, inseparable from issues of policy?

In truth, so dishonest is Benedikt’s essay that it is not what it pretends to be and not at all what she claims it to be, neither a mere record of experience nor non-political. It is not written in some neutral, observant voice aspiring to Flaubertian objectivity. And it is not unconcerned with politics. Even as the essay fails to consider politics in any open, intellectual, or honest way, even as it pretends to be just one Jewish woman’s sad and disgusted record of her alienation from Jewish nationalism, the essay is manifestly, manipulatively political right from its lead-in photo. The essay is offered as a kind of public Jewish coming out: this is my experience as a Jew. How best, then, to head that statement of Jewish experience – from all the images of Jewishness and Israel that might be chosen to begin – than with a photo of Israeli soldiers on the ground in their fatigues taking target practice. This is Israel.

But we’re not talking politics.

The essay begins,

It starts at a very young age.

What starts at a very young age? Clearly enough from the first few paragraphs, it is the indoctrination. Why the very idea of Zionist summer camp itself, of course, and Israeli flags, and actual Israelis, and being taught to be proud of Jewish intellectual culture – tikkun olam – and watching Raid on Entebbe. What a brainwashing. As if all cultures do not acculturate their young and seek to inculcate historic and national, even militaristic pride – George Washington minus his slaves and Saving Private Ryan and “La Marseillaise”!

Goldberg writes,

The whole piece is written in a kind of faux-naive, I’m-so-lost voice that I found a bit grating.

That’s only the half of it, because it’s not the naïve, but the faux that really counts. Contextualized – including the opening photo; life after not just Zionist summer camp, but Zionism; all that follows in the essay; and the attitudes of the likeminded – that naïve voice ironizes everything.

There are real live Israelis at camp every summer. They have awesome names like Michal and Eyal and are rock stars with their rolling Rs and Israeli scout uniforms. They make me nervous.

Because we know what they really are, how they really behave. See photo above.

The counselors talk to us about “tikkun olam,” which roughly translates to “repairing the world”—this is something that Jews do very well because we are very good people.

Snicker, snicker.

In her mock naiveté, Benedikt is the thoroughly Americanized Jew encountering Jewish otherness. She is from Youngstown, Ohio and her camp friends’ “lives are more Jewish than mine.” Then later, at a camp for older kids, in Upstate New York,

This is my first real brush with East Coast Jews. I am no longer considered cute, and those that are remark on my “Ohio shoes” and my flat accent. I don’t have Umbros; they do. And they’ve all already been to Israel! They know how to speak Hebrew!

But right from the start, on first attending camp, she observes,

Weird names like Jabotinsky and Herzl float through the air.

Jewish names, she means – European names. This is an experience that many half-assimilated second generation children of immigrants may have, of any ethnicity or nationality – the foreignness, the strangeness of the first generation relatives with their heavy un-American accents, their different names, and their odd customs. A contemplative, analytical authorial voice might mediate the relation, the difference, between childish discomfort and a fuller adult reality. But in Benedikt’s pedestrian, childlike voice (Israeli campers are “awesome” when she is a young girl, her sister’s children are “awesome” when she is an adult) that unworldly childhood perception of strangeness – that difference – is allowed to stand in itself as commentary.

What follows for Benedikt in the essay is the passage in seeming passivity from Zionist socialization to her husband’s loathing for Israel, and to what she later tells Goldberg is not her own hate so much – she self-corrects in writing, which is to say publically – as rage. But the essay, we are to understand, was just a record of experience, it did not, its author avers, seek to consider policy or politics, and its profound dishonesty lies precisely in its cowardly flight from genuine intellectual engagement with the politics even as it attempts emotionally, tonally to sucker the reader into a political stance.

Benedikt’s having presented the essay as one Jew’s lament over Jewish identity has led discussion of the essay, beginning with Goldberg, to be rather insular itself. It’s been mostly Jewish inside baseball: a Jew’s responsibility to Jewish community and what, if any, are permissible alterations of the hagada, with Rabbi Andy Bachman and Adam Holland interestingly weighing in. But every time someone like Benedikt provokes that kind of discussion, they both confirm themselves to themselves and the now active prejudice of so many non-Jewish opponents of Israel and Jewish nationalism: all the Jews care about, it persuades them all over again, is themselves, their chosenness and their own insularity. But this is too narrow. The issue is greater than that.

Allison Benedikt is not wrong as a Jew, behaving as a Jew toward other Jews about a Jewish issue. She, just like her husband, who is not Jewish, is simply wrong – intellectually, morally, and politically wrong. Because she had not the courage to defend intellectually her “hate” and her “rage” toward Israel, and her temerity, to begin, to put her memoir out there – a political attack on Israel disguised as a matter-of-fact memoir of changing identity – she has brought this reaction not upon her ideas, because she offered none, but upon herself.


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Mind Games II: Ideocentrism*

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, working under the direction of al Qaeda in Yemen tries to blow up an American passenger jet. Is this a crime – a law enforcement issue – or an act of war? It’s a matter of perspective. Especially since there is no chemical composition to human acts, and no formulary by which to clearly distinguish them as they mutate throughout history in new contexts and conceptions – “war” without a state actor, for instance – it is a matter of how one contextualizes the event, and context is almost infinitely complex.

In Mind Games 1, I discussed perspectivism and noted three variations of it:

  1. There is a real object of perception, which can only be perceived from a particular perspective – the standpoint of the perceiver, which is singular and not total, and therefore, perforce, partial.
  2. There is an object that is, theoretically, real outside of perspective, but the perception of which, for the observer, is influenced –  shaped – by the observer’s way of perceiving (personal, cultural, historical, religious, gender-based – add the influence on perspective of your choice).
  3. There is no completely independent object of reality uninfluenced by the act of perception. The object exists for us only through the act of perception. We cannot know it apart from our standpoint. To perceive the object is, in part, to construct it.

These are partly gradations along a line, and one of the factors both grading and emerging from them is a conception of truth. Given the influence of perspective, what can we know of truth?

I mean, what’s the truth? Is Abdullah a criminal or a combatant? Well, now, legally, he is a criminal, so declared – but conceptually, what is he?

It’s a matter of perspective.

An act – an attempt to blow up a plane – is not, properly, an object, like an orange, so even theoretically we can’t propose some objective, absolute truth to it. We place the act in a context, which constructs for each of us a reality and a truth, and we live by it. If we have open minds, we entertain the contexts proposed by others, incorporate to a degree some among them that appeal to us, ideally on the basis of reason, and our vision of reality becomes less narrowly focused and more panoramic. This is an approach to truth arising out of variation 1 of perspectivism. Here, we arrive at the truth collaboratively, generally provisionally, adding, improving, correcting, revising, sometimes overthrowing. This is not to say that it is not real, or that it is subjective, but that – with the exception of Slavoj Zizek – it is too great for any individual, from his singular perspective, to arrive at alone.

eye of beholder

The other day Yaacov Lozowick, in his continuing work of monitoring the anti-Semitic blog Mondoweiss, and a similar effort to fathom its community, attempted to post a comment at the site. In his comment, he posed to that community a vital question:

Ask yourselves a simple question: is there a theoretical interpretation of the facts as they seem, which might lead you to a different understanding of the reality; is there any explanation of Israel’s actions which might weaken the template always used here at Mondoweiss? Not: Do we agree with that interpretation, simply: could it exist?

No form of clear and critical thinking can proceed without the ability to construct, even only theoretically as Yaacov terms it, such alternative interpretations of reality. Without it, we live in a world that is nothing but an egocentric projection of our own impulses, whatever the sources of those impulses may be: insecurity and simple-mindedness, intellectual limitation, dogma, pathology. Yaacov might have missed (or happily forgotten) an attempt Phillip Weiss himself made last June to theorize just such an alternative interpretation of reality about Israel to the one he holds. It came after a trip he made to Gaza:

…many in my delegation began to hate Israel. I felt that hatred myself.

I also wondered why Israel could be so cruel. The usual explanations are racism, colonialism, Jewish chosenness, the psychological brutalization of permanent war, the Holocaust, and the endless permission granted by the Israel lobby. All are true, but insufficient. When I was in Gaza, I wondered why Israelis were so afraid of Palestinians. You are in an incredibly poor place. Hamas has rockets but mostly they have ski masks.

Later it occurred to me that the Israelis are terrified of Hamas because of Hamas’s words, that they deny Israel’s existence. As John Mearsheimer has said to me, “Jews are people who believe that discourse really matters,” and look, the Hamas discourse denies Israel’s right to exist. That rhetoric creates a powerful sense of insecurity and wrath among Israelis.

The sympathy I felt for Israelis was the feeling that their sense of belonging anywhere is so fragile that they are easily disturbed by someone saying, We don’t recognize youso they go out and savage innocent children.

You will notice that I’ve done some italicizing. Really, one could italicize, for demonstration purposes, the whole thing. Weiss attempts here, in his strikingly limited way, to understand Israel, but from the very first sentence he cannot escape his own ideocentrism. He cannot pretend to see matters from an Israeli perspective without immediately superimposing on it his own, so rather than any sympathetic imaginative projection of theoretically legitimate Israeli desires, what he attempts to understand is Israeli “cruelty.” He tries to do better in the next sentence, identifying what conceivably could be understandable factors in Israeli behavior – the Holocaust, the “psychological brutalization of permanent war” – but even before he gets to them he has committed a confusion of categories, offering up not potential Israeli explanations, but his own derogatory perceptions: racism and colonialism among others. “Later” it “occurs” to him that Israeli’s are “terrified” of Hamas because of “Hamas’s words, that they deny Israel’s existence.” This has never “occurred” to him before? He has never heard it actually said and discussed? But we see Weiss spends little time outside of his own mind and its pathologies. After all, he “wondered why Israelis were so afraid of Palestinians.” Can’t even imagine?

Meanwhile, this profound act of “sympathy” goes so far as to project the Israeli conception of its response to Hamas’s refusal of recognition as one in which “they go out and savage innocent children.” Note, though, how he gives himself away: he can stray from his own bias for only words at a time, for the “we” that begins that last sentence is not Israelis – it is Hamas. Then he switches to “they.” He is incapable of entering – even as an intellectual exercise – into the Israeli perspective.

Amidst all this, Weiss entertains the wisdom of John Mearsheimer, that “Jews are people who believe that discourse really matters.” This puts me in mind of my professor in a graduate school seminar on Thomas Mann, who replied to some apparently fervent statement of mine: “You’re talking about all this as if it actually matters.” But religious, cultural, and ideological commitments to murder Jews and destroy Israel fall somewhere beyond the pale of the aesthetic commitments of Thomas Man, or at least Mein Kampf one might imagine Mein Kampf that Jews Mein Kampf might have some reason to thinks so Mein Kampf.

* Ideocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s ideas so fixed that one is unable to credit opposing ideas as worthy even of sustained exploration; the incapacity to intellectually stand outside one’s own point of view.


Mind Games: the Interregnum

Soon after posting Mind Games 1 and promising anon a climactic II (yes, treasured readers, I felt your pent up need), I came to think that the period commonly referred to as “the holidays” might actually be suggestive of something. Rather than continue in my increasing detachment from those recurring, totemic calendar events around which we all dance, it occurred that I might actually, myself – how do you say? – holiday. I had been posting at lengthy, fevered pitch, and all at once some attention to real life, and the application of the writing gene to something that might possibly make a buck, seemed to be in timely order. So I’ve scaled it back these xmasy, new-yearsy days.

You had noticed, yes?

Shall I weep?

I’ve put up some small posty delights just to say – it is that time of year – I love you, and will continue to do so until I return in full fighting trim the first week of the new year. Somehow, though, the world, and my compulsion to comment upon it, has not withered on the fir.

Somehow, in addition to the wretched wealthy of the earth attempting to cure their loneliness by igniting their undies (and you and me with them) the subject of Israel and the Jew has remained, millennially, current.

Of course, it might be what I read.

My goyisha Jewel has asked on more than one occasion why it is that Jews talk so much about their – not to put too fine a point on it – Jewishness. Ah, sweet naïf.

One would like to say that the answer is that, quite obviously,

  1. because they’re Jews – and that really, when you think about it, should be all of the answer right there.

But it is an answer that would basically please Jews and nobody else.

A partial and more serious answer is that very distinctive minority populations, in order both to protect and preserve identity, are forced to, and then actively themselves, embrace their otherness. That is why, for instance, African-Americans – even as they struggled so long to be fully enfranchised as, simply, Americans – so relish and assert their cultural distinction. And they can, and do, you know, play their own version of Jew-Not a Jew.

In the midst, then, of all the good holiday cheer, we have the “Gaza freedom march,” fit exemplar for Mind Games II, but, oh, no, I will not be tricked into doing any real writing (heaven forefend thinking) on my holiday. This is in the manner of a very casual essay. Don’t get slick with me.

Yaacov Lozowick – he of the Ruminations – has, with his usual droll sobriety, been pointing out the idiocy of this abortive effort at fun house mirror, human rights righteousness, while I await the Sudan, Congo, Chechnya, Turkish Kurd, and Burmese “freedom marches,” should you want, in that last instance, the case of a true national concentration camp. Or the Egyptian freedom march, hell, as long as they’re there.

Yaacov’s focus on the march of the misguided has been largely through his occasional appraisals of Mondoweiss, that hate fest masquerading as handmaiden to the coming of one philip_weiss_150love, one world. Yaacov has a stronger stomach than I, and, I must say, more compassion than do I for the blog’s Weiss, Phillip, it’s dull, tortured fool for utopia. When I descended into the depths of the self-debasing turmoil of Weiss’s consuming anti-Semitism long enough to produce The Malice of Mondoweiss, it was, for me, a culminating event. I turned away, bathed and dressed, and set off into the daylight.

Yaacov, however, has it as his mission to monitor the web and other activities of Israel’s foes: he reads regularly the Guardian’s virulently anti-Semitic Comment Is Free, of which Mondoweiss might be judged the customary Jewish corollary. Discomfort with Jews, let alone Jewish empowerment, lacks a certain frisson if there aren’t some Jews themselves to actually share it.

One of Yaacov’s recent posts focused on a Mondoweiss dispatch from Emily Ratner, a romantically charged paean to Gazan nobility in the face of Israeli wickedness:

We remember the more than 1,400 that were murdered. We remember the hundreds more who have died as a result of this horrific siege. We remember the tens of thousands who are still homeless, one full year later. And we remember our sisters and brothers on the other side of the Rafah border who have breathed life into this historic march every day for months, who have guided our feet to Cairo, and who light the shadowy path to Gaza. Most of all we remember that they will still be caged in Israel’s massive open-air prison long after we’ve safely returned home.

You can see Ratner to the right, wearing her Palestinian scarf no doubt as merely a simple gesture of solidarity with the oppressed, which Israeli Jews ceased to be somewhere aroundemily ratner the fourth time they managed to beat back the surrounding Arab democrats and human rights advocates who sought – and in many cases still seek – to annihilate them. It is to be understood that one does not reason with the empathic otherness-romance of a Ratner, the embrace of her own aspirant holy self in the victimized form of world-historical oppression: a baby and the bomb. What madness! she cries.

Something, instead, like deprogramming. Or the grace of a richer life, more broadly visioned. Or moving on to the next person.

If I seem awfully hard on Weiss and these other well-meaning souls (and perhaps I don’t – you may be tougher and meaner than I), it is only, really, because they deserve it. You can ask Mrs. Conroy, my third grade teacher: I was a nice boy.

It is, simply, that of all the bad actors in the world, middle-aged men of conflicted ethnic identity who seek to alter the course of world events, to delegitimize nations and thwart the millennial-long aspirations of whole peoples, whose actions effectively promote war rather than the peace for which they cry out like a tic, and who do so because they have frequently and prominently discussed issues with their mother are a very bad thing. Better sit down and negotiate with a tyrant who knows what he wants than a man whose political pathology is openly steeped in mother-anger, because the former’s demands conceivably can be satisfied.

But I regress.

What I newly note about the Mondoweiss site is that it prominently displays the declaration that it is “A Project of The Nation Institute.”

The Nation is many other topics for many other days, but as any effort might continue that is aimed at preserving a liberalism of ideological balance and sanity, it is worth recalling the left’s many unconscionable affiliations and rationalizations of yore and today. The magazine offers many stingingly accurate and worthwhile critiques of the right, but its current-era shamefulness extends to its weak-willed and morally flabby response to 9/11. Now it underwrites a blog enterprise that credits only one side in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, deeming Israel a racist, criminal, war-mongering state and explicitly espousing a one-state solution, i.e. that calls for an end to the state of Israel, and concerns itself with the nature of Jewish power and influence in the U.S.

If these are not the positions and concerns of The Nation and The Nation Institute, what are they doing with Mondoweiss as a “project”? If they are, then the stain of irredeemable extremism is there to be seen.

But more on all such in 2010. Now I prepare to be drunk.


The Political Animal

Are You Experienced?

“Ah, have you ever been experienced?”

Despite the political space between us, I am a great admirer of Yaacov Lozowick. I link to him with praise and pleasure, and I offered a particular shout out here. He has written kindly of me. But yesterday he erred. He repeated the conservative mini-meme, in a post titled Novice or Underqualified, that President Obama is “in over his head.” There are those on the right who question whether Obama is really all that intelligent.

You could laugh if it didn’t make you want to blow up the box. This is the kind of absurdity, the kind of failure to think outside the narrow bounds of one’s own predisposition, that barack_pinmakes productive political debate so hard and rare. Can one support Obama while acknowledging he can, himself, err? The question and answer really shouldn’t be necessary. Can one perceive him in potential error and not believe him a fool? You’d like to think so, wouldn’t you?

Yaacov is Israeli, and like many – apparently most – Israelis, and other supporters of Israel, including me, he thought from the start that Obama made a significant mistake in the way he framed his original position on a settlement freeze. He didn’t acknowledge well-known verbal agreements between the Bush administration and Israel, and he demanded more, as a starting point, than the Palestinians had themselves been asking. Hope of progress stalled at the start. Combine that with otherwise verbal efforts to project a more balanced, mediating image to the Palestinians, and Israelis, thinking through the prism of their own interests, form a quick, I believe rash, judgment.

About other aspects of Obama’s foreign policy, I wrote a little yesterday, and I will write more next week.

However, to note that among those who wonder about Obama’s experience are those who praised, supported, or even tolerated Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential nominee is to return one to the acid trips of yore. Despite his brief gubernatorial years, George W. Bush was himself a complete novice on the world stage. Let us not forget the names he neither knew nor could pronounce, or that he advocated in debate with Al Gore a less arrogant foreign policy. It is only to describe the facts of known contradiction to say that George W. Bush, prior to taking office, had no coherently developed set of foreign policy convictions – did not know what he believed.

Obama has no greater, no less experience than Bush had. Originally, I reluctantly supported Hilary Clinton for just that reason. But a Clinton will always disappoint (see reluctantly). For me it was the moment when Steve Croft asked Clinton if she knew that Obama isn’t a Muslim and she said, no, he isn’t – and then, her lying eyes shifting in their sockets, added, “Not as far as I know.”

And experience is no guarantee, we should know. The dangers Obama faces are enormous, so it is possible, though not likely that any error he makes will be fraught with the danger of the only important decision the very experienced John McCain made.

Regarding intelligence, one might wish to rest one’s case with two obvious words: Palin and Bush. But that would be facile. (It is fun sometimes.) One can acknowledge the possibility of a person’s being right – making some good policy decisions – and his still not being, intellectually, you know, all that impressive. We know the right believes Bush pursued some good policies. We know that’s the position. Okay. But do we have to pretend he was, like, really, really smart? And Palin, we know she’s sorta the thrilling anti-intellectual-elite anti-matter, but, there, you see, really by definition….

In Obama’s case, well, you know – in contrast to Palin or Bush – normally a person who graduates magna cum laude from Harvard, serves as president of the Harvard Law Review, and teaches law at the University of Chicago Law School gets – normally a person with those creds get his automatic props, you know what I mean? Credit is given for significant credentialed achievement. That’s why we have CVs. I’ll let those who dismiss the CV this time around account for it themselves. But, hey, let’s not be superficial here. We’ve all met boobs with badges. So where the intellectual rubber meets its recognition road is in the encounter – with the mind itself. Smart people recognize other smart people, even people not as smart often recognize a superior mind.

Where I’m standing, I’m lookin’ at pretty smart. If you don’t see it, I …really…don’t … know… what… to …say.

And that’s how the conversation ends. You got different ideas, let’s debate. Let’s argue – in the real sense – and argue and argue and argue. You start talkin’ shit, and then people talk shit back, and then we’re all in a world of shit.




Yaacov Lozowick and The End of Israel

I have encountered no clearer-eyed writer about Israel, its situation, and its place in the world than Yaacov Lozowick, author of the blog Yaacov Lozowick’s Ruminations. He wishes to live in peace with Palestinians and other Arab peoples. He is no fanatical supporter of settlements. But he does not excuse and will not ignore the animus long directed and acted out from those quarters against Israelis and Jews. He will not ignore the frightening growth of left wing anti-Semitism masquerading as postcolonial advocacy for the oppressed. He does not ignore the array of hypocrisies in the consideration of Israel by its opponents, or by NGOs or news media driven always by the dog of what’s hot and what’s not.

Yaacov is former Director of Archives at Yad Vashem. He is the author of several books, including Right to Exist, A Moral Defense of Israel’s Wars. Norm Geras at Normblog profiled him here.

Today, apropos of the growing anti-Zionism that actually imagines an end to Israel, and the inclination of some to blame Israel for that possibility (about which I’ll write more later) Yaacov offers this essential statement. It’s a must read.



Hypocrisy and Holiness

The always worthwhile Yaacov Lozowick offers two strong posts today. Lots of Wars, Many Standards, Endless Hypocrisy is a short but not sweet jab on the subject of civilian casualties in war time.  A Pope at Yad Vashem (not this one), where Lozowick was once Director of Archives, is a perceptive glimpse into the nature of the holy.