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Neither a Boer nor a Lerner be

By Michael J. Smith on Monday April 18, 2011 09:15 PM

The clammy, creepy Rabbi Michael Lerner (mentioned here before) has pulled another one of his avowal/disavowal stunts. He reproduced, on his Web site, a rather nice piece by Uri Avneri about the recent recantation of Judge Goldstone. Here's Avneri:

MY HEART bleeds for Judge Goldstone. From the beginning he was placed in an impossible situation.

The UN commission which appointed him to head the inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed during the operation was acting on a seemingly logical but actually foolish calculation. Appointing to the job a good Jew, and an avowed Zionist to boot, would disarm, it was thought, any allegation of anti-Israeli bias.

Goldstone and his colleagues undoubtedly did an honest and conscientious job. They sifted the evidence laid before them and arrived at reasonable conclusions on that basis. However, almost all the evidence came from Palestinian and UN sources. The commission could not interrogate the officers and soldiers of the Israeli forces because our government, in a typical and almost routine act of folly, refused to cooperate.

... After the publication of his commission’s report, his life became hell.

The full fury of the Jewish ghetto against traitors from its midst was turned on him. Jews objected to his attending his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. His friends turned away from him, He was ostracized by all the people he valued.

So he searched his soul and found that he had been wrong all along....

Altogether, Goldstone has now paved the way for another Cast Lead operation which will be far worse.

I expect , however, that he can now pray in any synagogue he chooses.

So far so good. But the reverend Mr Lerner characteristically wants to have it both ways. He prepends a long and slithery preface to Avneri's piece:
There is much wisdom in Uri Avnery’s analysis of the Goldstone controversy, but I cannot accept the ironic dissing of Goldstone himself. We did not give [Goldstone] the Tikkun award because we agreed with his report — we knew and said publicly long ago that the claim that Israel intentionally sought to kill civilians was at this point unsubstantiated and weakened the report, and I’m glad he repudiated that part. But we gave Goldstone the award for his integrity and willingness to challenge his own people’s blind allegiance to the government of Israel, and I continue to believe in his integrity even if I believe that the op-ed he published in the Washington Post was confused and ambiguous in many respects.
Honestly, give me a straightforward thug like Netanyahu or Avigdor Lieberman any time, over a writhing eel like Lerner.

Comments (36)


This good cop, bad cop routine goes back 3 generations at least. A loosely floating set of characters occupies the good cop corner and the tag team diagonally across is the group of "fundamentalists". There was the duo of Martin Buber–much admired in some lefty circles–and the likes of Rabbi Kook–admired in circles that transcend the left/right divide–in an earlier era. Discussing role of the former, Israel Shahak wrote:

A chief deceiver in this case, and a good example of the power of the deception, was Martin Buber. His numerous works eulogizing the whole Hassidic movement (including Habbad) never so much as hint at the real doctrines of Hassidism concerning non-Jews. The crime of deception is all the greater in view of the fact that Buber's eulogies of Hassidism were first published in German during the period of the rise of German nationalism and the accession of Nazism to power. But while ostensibly opposing Nazism, Buber glorified a movement holding and actually teaching doctrines about non-Jews not unlike the Nazi doctrines about Jews. One could of course argue that the Hassidic Jews of seventy or fifty years ago were the victims, and a 'white lie' favoring a victim is excusable. But the consequences of deception are incalculable…Buber's sentimental and deceitful romantization has won the day, especially in the USA and Israel, because it was in tune with the totalitarian admiration of anything 'genuinely Jewish' and because certain 'left' Jewish circles in which Buber had a particularly great influence have adopted this position.

Nor was Buber alone in his attitude, although in my opinion he was by far the worst in the evil he propagated and the influence he has left behind him. There was the very influential sociologist and biblical scholar, Yehezkiel Kaufman, an advocate of genocide on the model of the Book of Joshua, the idealist philosopher Hugo Shmuel Bergman, who as far back as 1914-15 advocated the expulsion of all Palestinians to Iraq, and many others. All were outwardly 'dovish', but employed formulas which could be manipulated in the most extreme anti-Arab sense, all had tendencies to that religious mysticism which encourages the propagation of deceptions, and all seemed to be gentle persons who, even when advocating expulsion, racism and genocide, seemed incapable of hurting a fly–and just for this reason the effect of their deceptions was the greater.

Then there is the upholder of left-liberal values ("decent left"), Michael Walzer whom nobody on the Institute for Advanced Study campus would confuse with Rabbi Meir Kahane, yet upon closer inspection the couched desire of the former turns out to be not far removed from frank calls for expulsion that used to emanate from the latter, as Edward Said noted:

…all in all Walzer is at ease with himself and always has been been. In 1972, for example, he argued that in every state there will be groups ‘marginal to the nation’ which should be ‘helped to leave’. Saying that he had Israel and the Palestinians in mind, he nevertheless conducted this discussion (that coolly anticipates by a decade Kahane’s bloody cries of ‘they must go’) in the broadly sunny and progressive perspectives of liberalism, independence, freedom from oppression.

Peter Ward:

Don't worry--Goldstone may be lauded without qualification by all, for admitting maybe-kindof Israel might have been naughty in what it did to the Palestinians, after Truth and Reconciliation. I.e., after the Palestinians have managed to liberate themselves and "we" can all, with due humility, admit we were wrong...if well-intentioned.


maybe at long last and for reasons obscure
this post enlightens me
and not specifically but broadly

i think i suddenly understand
all the fuss and fury over anything fortress zionical

its the brain power stupid

all the brain power brought to bare
here on that one patch of desicated marl

all that brain power
building on itself

building the ever more dense and fiberous
cloud of controversy

the talmudic pseudo-bramble that is the jew/arab tussle
viewed from the jew side

all the contending intentions
sedulously tirelessly expressed

the depth of intrications
refutations counter refutations
and counter recapitulations
all the self elaborating
mind sized tower of babel of it
daring one to contain it
in ones solitary little mortal head

and to think
after all the goal post shifting
and shadow cross hatching
there's never time to rest

one must ever preceed
to the next installment
the next crookedly complex motion
even before the last one has left
the bench of history

the new notions fly at you as if
to create another plenitude out of nothing

another set of facts
besides our own real world

a plenitude of illuminated evolving

a relm of possible even plausible details
patterned and repatterned in fashions endless
out of pure intention

their fellow semite neighbors
those of the third faith
can't keep up of course
any more then those of the second faith can

is there grounds to blame them or us ??

try as they/we may to hack it all
down and away
too much mentaion power on hand here
its like roach control in manhattan

the invention
of further novelties
further cheap tricks
further fast shuffles
brilliant elisions insertions and leaps
further castles of false deduction
wilful induction
stubborn abduction
ceaseless conduction ...


an unconquerable empire of artificial truth

now for any peoples or class of peoples
suffering from pandemic meme adhd
this is the valley of death no ??

since its the curse of oral cultures
to shrink b4 vast deductive structures
that never fail to evolve new members

--you know cultures of herdsman
and or commuters
like us outer celts once languished in
or most inner arabs and homer simpsons
languish in today

why we can only enjoy
madness as a complexity
not scholarship
not ink worm weavings and knittings
that way lies an intricacy that bores

for us it's gotta be purely free style
so to speak
an intricacy
that if not just mad gibberish
is intentionally without semantics
a non figurative intricacy

that is our mode of complex expression

vast abstract norhern lines
only in the end mystic
ie ...decorative



but better more industries mind sweat soaked concentrating minds
minds that tend to constipation not the runs
minds in search of endlessly chewable
meme meat
real deep meaningful textured seasoned meme meat
NOT minds like celtics and arabs
and travelling salesmen have

NOT minds that
turn in our boobish abandonment
to scribbling mustaches on isaac newton

those minds blessed
with a really stocked idea bin
minds replete with carefully sculpted value totems
full of fungible wares not
cinderfella wishes

these higher minds of course
turn in time
to modern palestine

the limitless problematic

the policy banquet on a bun

the pequod of the present global conjunture

god bless that sump of shameless casuistry
petty dudgeon and blood sport

they are not just stiff necked and persistent
are they ..those zionicals

they have a certain anti jinn guile
that always crosses your T

like visa
is always everywhere you want to be

let us all praise these ..."writhing eel"'s


If you have millennia of feeling oppressed by others and you are a social club, your brighter members might want to investigate why the oppression persists.

Is it an immutable-trait-based oppression, like racism?

Is it a tribalist oppression, one which says "sure my club is cool but yours is evil"? Is the club-styling of the social gathering forgiven?

Could it be that people gathered in your club because your club's origins are rooted in some theme related to privileges ascribed the club's members?

From or by whom were these privileges granted?

Why would the club have among its membership some who do not claim to be The Elect, if one of the club's flaws, as seen by non-Clubmember, is this claim to Chosen status?

Is the Club not a microcosm of humanity? Doesn't it suggest that the problem is the human traits leading toward inhumane treatment of others?

And not in Clubs?


op... the Book.


from tribe to club ???

in rough hands
that analogy gets sinister quick

Beliefs matter, Karl. If you believe that you are entitled to a piece of dirt because a book says your putative forebears raped and pillaged their way into possession of it, you have at the minimum motivation to grab it "back."

It helps if you have the backing of industrialists in the US, France, Italy, Germany, Russia and Britain who believe they are natural inheritors to the collapsing monarchies, and who commit a tidy portion of their accumulation of extraordinary wealth (and zeal) to the latest colonial cause.

Wealth which itself in part owes to the belief that a person's labor belongs to a category, job.

A job that can be legally and practically owned by another party, which also owes to accumulated beliefs about law, custom, right, property, and tradition.

Et cetera ad nauseam ad infinitum.


I think the tribe-club tree may be unbarkable-up -- or at least unsuitable for barking-up. Far as I can see, it's just a question of another sinister -ism -- Zionism, of course, in this case.

No doubt every group has its chauvinistic energies that can be liberated under the right circumstances. A Zionist acquaintance of mine used to argue that Zionism was the characteristic national liberation movement of the Jewish people. My response was that no, Zionism is the characteristic Fascist movement of the Jewish people. Fascism, after all, sings a siren song to which no people is guaranteed immune.


Your questions, Karl, are all answered in Mein Kampf.

As for the rest of you goyim, we know your likes. Nothing new here. You sit safely in your cushy abodes typing away, never once having to fear a missile will be fired at you or your children. You drip with smug comfort and privilege, not least the goyische Michael, your shepherd, who on the one hand would consign the poor children of this country to running wild and ignored during school days, with no future, while of course having sent his own loved ones to an elite private school. Father Michael of course never feared the bus he rode with his kiddies and Bill Keller (oy, the names he drops, this prole!) would blow up. He never feared it, because he had nothing to fear, and writes like a protected, pampered goy who NEVER HAS ANYTHING TO FEAR!

(My apologies, Father: you don't do autobiography. Dimestore psychoanalysis of others, like Ms. Power? That's OK. Such are the hypocrises of privilege.)

The goy Mr. op? If I could make sense of his incoherent verse, which is much like making sense of the ranting homeless.......

You all speak of Israel. You speak endlessly of Israel. While you either cheer a slaughterer like the charming Colonel, or simply look the other way at far worse, mostly in your "liberated," "post-colonial" states. Perhaps it's shame and humiliation about your Gods-that-failed that make you direct your ire toward the Israelis. Where, ever on the planet earth, has anything you people ever tried worked?

No, there's something else going on here. Something quite clear.

It is said, and said and said and said, that we "must not conflate anti-Zionism and with anti-Semitism." This I hear often from the enlightened people, of the fancy private schools and the universities. You people here prove otherwise. In this, you do a service for those of us who wish there were no conflation, but who know in our hearts otherwise.


"YOU PEOPLE"?!?!?!

Glad to see the grand tradition is alive and well, though not, perhaps, so much practiced as it used to be. Real Zionists are getting to be like Shakers -- increasingly rare, and increasingly elderly.


Why the ire toward Israel, far from the worst offender? Light years from the worst offender. Even as you cheer on the lovely Colonel, again from the comforts of West End Avenue, light years from Benghazi.

I won't even bother arguing the motives for Israel's offenses, and there are plenty of reasons, and good ones. But this would be pissing into a goyische wind.

Why single out the Jewish State, then? I suspect the question answers itself, but maybe, Father Michael, with your erudition and concern for the downtrodden, you can offer a more compelling explanation?


Let's play worst offender. I'll open with the USA.

Game over.

Smith is rumored to have bussed the kids to Ramallah Country Day.

Why single out the Jewish State? The question doesn't answer itself? Plenty of garrison states out there. Few of them remain European colonial race states.

And what answers are in Mein Kampf? The answer to Hitler's basic problem with category or comprehension, or the fact that fifteen years after he spelled it all out in Mein Kampf, the Ziones were still willing to take the Reich's mark?

Or the blueprint for the Zionist outbreak of the nationalist disease?


You know the old joke, of course --

Q: Why does a Jew always answer a question with a question?
A: And why shouldn't a Jew answer a question with a question?

Though a שקץ myself, I too always like to answer a question with a question. So, why shouldn't we "single out" Israel, assuming arguendo that that's what we do?

It's very American, singling out Israel. You could say we're only following the example of the entire political class and the entire official media and just about all of academia -- except with the sign reversed, of course.

Speaking personally, I think my own motivation is sheer bloody-mindedness: any time somebody tells me there's a topic I need to shut up about, I start shouting from the housetops about it. Israel, of course, has been during most of my lifetime the most heavily thought-policed topic in all of American political discourse; so naturally I conclude that it's necessary to talk about it, and the more bluntly, the better.

Who fucking cares if Smith and Paine are goyim, exactly? What the fuck all does that have to do with anything?

Goyim cannot accurately describe the weather, or something, schmuck?


Jack -- It's another old joke: If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the facts and the law are both against you, attack the other lawyer.


Why single out the Jewish State, then?

Real Zionists are getting to be like Shakers--increasingly rare, and increasingly elderly.

At least nowadays they jump straight to step 4 ("Everything sucks") of the Hasbara guide:

War, genocide, racism, oppression are everywhere. From the Roma in Italy to the Native-Americans in the U.S., the weak are victimized. Why pick on Israel? It's the way of the world. Look! Right is only in question between equals in power; the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. Ethics, schmethics. Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Eat, drink! Carpe diem! The Palestinians would throw us into the sea if they could. Ha ha!


As always, the question is evaded. Go back to rooting for Ghadaffi.

Oh, and the joke ends "pound on the table" not "attack the other lawyer."


Works either way, doesn't it?



i share your longeurs over
left attacks
or is it not longeurs ??
i sure hope that's all it is
or toe tugging at father S

to substance:
on the zionic figment
in fact my comment was an attempt
to explain the general smart left
white boy
focus on it
shy of
blatent jew baiting

btw so what if folks are anti jew???
they're anti lots else too

the history of the euro jews and in particular the norte amigo flock
is neither unique nor particularly horrific
or the response unusually long suffering
and wise
the worst of it was prolly getting kept
too much out of harvard for thirty years
like the east asians face now

so drop the bull shit pose
the jew of north jersey is not
the jew of warsaw
let aline the jew of scarsdale

no one has a right
to be offended

and the nonsense along those lines
has poured out of the moral sweat glands
of my woodstock generation
like sap from a vermont maple in springtime

side bar for the curious and uncurious alike:

my great great grand father
tommy( ne tovah ) paine
was the child of dutch jews
born in york county england
a bearded fossil like chap
who made of himself
a successful furniture dealer
in of all places boston mass
while pretending to be
of sound yankee farm stock

---i suspect given his accent he must have
hidden behind protestations
of a chronic throat disorder --

when he arrived in the land of promises
a bachelor of 26
in the year of our lord
18 and 35
he must have quickly realized

"this is no god damn place for a jew "

so drop the goy guy bit please
it's not entirely apt in my case

and to think i've revealed this on ...
the internet ...

the old shrewd tradesman
and davy crocket like self disguiser
will prolly get to gevalting about
in his superbly plain and dignified
mausoleum once i post this gibble dee gulp


i forgot to add
tommy paine
was a shemale among much else
who married twice once
to a distant relative
of emily dickinson
in his prosperous middle age
obviously unable to father a damn thing
he adopted three scots irish orphans
from palmer mass
and died trying to leap an open drawbridge over the chicago river in 1865

--late for a selling opportunity no doubt ---


why single out israel?

because it already is singled out constantly. 'our best ally in the middle east' 'our only friend in the middle east' 'our responsibility to defend at all costs' and most irritatingly perhaps, 'the only democracy in the middle east'. all the damn time. it aint the worst clusterfuck of oppression and murder in the world. it isn't even the worst clusterfuck of oppression and murder that gets tax dollars which theoretically are 'mine'. but it is the only one whos murderous cause has been turned into a fundamental part of the outlooks of most of the USAian body politic and not just the festering crust at the top. it is to be focused on because there are minds to be changed.


"the only one whos murderous cause has been turned into a fundamental part of the outlooks of most of the USAian body politic.."

i recall the period of mass appeal

it was nixonian in origin largely post 73 war embargo time
moynihan time at the un
then the entebbe toes raid
to free hostages
on the home turf
of one of their more colorful
afro-bantu step sons
and of course the colateral win
by the us hockey team
at the lake placid olympics
alas on it went with al haig in harness
only to stumble over a massacre
"not by their own hands"
in beirut
the whole madly glorious ride
coincides quite nicely
with the disco craze


Oy, the hectoring. The meshuggah ravings. The fakakta guilt trips. The morally superior windbaggery.

SB's basic and admittedly obvious assumption is that The Jews have suffered uniquely.

His meshuggah ravings (or imitations thereof) sound like a death rattle to me. No, SB, not of The Jews, not of The Jews. Of a way of thinking, of a political order.

I often suspect all but the loonies from Brooklyn who "settle" in the occupied territories --- and their patrons in the Israeli government --- are weary of this schtick. Many fake righteous outrage to please the parents or not to offend, but their reaction is as sincere as a twentysomething Jew laughing politely with Jackie Mason or Joan Rivers.


The polls bear you out, CZ. The younger cohorts are less and less committed. The dreaded bugbear of intermarriage is thought to have a lot to do with it.


MJS, That's what I understand too. But to which polls do you refer specifically: younger cohorts of Israelis? Of Jews generally? Both?

Of most interest are the attitudes of the younger Israelis.


Both cases.

Plus, the break down of exclusive traditions. I know quite a few members of the tribe who celebrate Christmas with their goy spouses/children, who don't flush with guilt at shrimp, and whose opinions of the Eretz Yisroel range between profoundly satisfying indifference and shamefaced embarrassment.

A friend's father - ex-IDF, 1967 - is willing to characterize his countrymen as "completely raving idiots" who should have given the vote and full cits to every Palestinian, along with all that pre-neoliberalized socialism, to raise their standards of livings so high in comparison to Egypt, Jordan and Syria that they put their economics ahead of identity.


Younger American Jews is what I was talking about. I'd have to do some digging to find the references.

Younger Israelis, I gather, are if anything even more chauvinistic and vicious than they used to be. But I don't think Israeli public opinion matters much -- it's completely epiphenomenal. As long as Uncle is encouraging 'em down the exterminationist path -- which is the case at present -- the degeneration of Israeli political culture will continue.

What matters, of course, is American public opinion.


I've always thought Yahweh had kind of a sick sense of humor (and I mean that in a good way) and one of His myriad ironies is as follows: it will be Bibi and Avi, not the peacenik Israeli left, nor the A-rabs, who will lead the Jewish state to its (self-) destruction. They are careening toward a situation that will be untenable and unsustainable.

For those who want Israel to go away: Cheer on Bibi, Avi, and my meshuggah former Brooklyn neighbors.

I am more of the squishy two-state, pre-67 borders "solution" myself, though I really wonder if that's at all an option anymore, thanks to the mensches and their likes cited above.

Al Schumann:

Anyone have thoughts on what percentage of the Hasbara vigilantes are not actually Jews? There's frequently something self-conscious to the point of caricature in their writing style. It just doesn't sit right somehow.

I suspect the corps are packed with self-loathing gentiles.


"I am more of the squishy two-state, pre-67 borders "solution" myself"

i'm a pure process anti imperialist

i try to have no prefered outcome in mind
it tends to warp the analytics
and even the position

particularly dangerous
though fun
like a slide thru hell itself
are those dialectical dream boat cruises
that begin with an as if poser


if i were george habash jr
would i .....


all the gentiles i know
that might qualify as self loathing gentiles
which isn't many
since most of my gentile buddies
don't even realize they are gentiles

at any rate the few that do self loathe
and don't think they're just aweful white guys
want to be ...wild horses
or jelly fish bigger then the bronx
or home run hitters from venus

not ...caring cosmo philic huuuumans...of any sort


"the worst of it was prolly getting kept
too much out of harvard for thirty years"

that's a trick op
very few know this

and some who do
no likely


Admittedly, my advocacy for a two-state solution is reflexive, something I haven't thought deeply or critically about in 30 years. A form of muscle memory, or the rigor mortis of a dead idea.

The opportunites for a two-state solution have long passed, if they ever existed at all. Uncle and Israel have never been interested, and have obstructed the concept at every turn.

In honor of the day: I wash my hands of it.


Oops, meant to sign the above post.


I agree with CZ that the two-state solution is no longer a possibility. Just as well. I never liked it. Always thought it was just a matter of creating a slightly smaller mad-dog ethnic-chauvinist settler-colonist state with ambitions for regional hegemony.


I want to see the condition as one of dual power but, without integration, the Palestinian governments structure stands in the way — of course fragmentation ‘on one side’ helps deliver same on other hence likely weakens the Israeli State which, I believe, has been taking place [now enhanced by potential UN vote].

Single State solution will be very difficult but less so than some ongoing ‘peace process[es]‘.

A 'quasi-angry'[?] article:

Israel: UN recognition of a Palestinian state will turn us into ‘colonialists’

And, being [im]balanced:

How to Save the Two State Solution

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