Columns Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

Israel wants to fight BDS. Here’s how.

You have heard of the BDS movement — boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

Guess what?

American Jews have their own BDS movement.

  • Jews boycotting synagogues – out of apathy, or because they simply cannot afford to join, or to maintain their memberships.
  • Jews divesting — emotionally, spiritually, and financially — from Jewish life and from Israel itself.
  • Jews have placed sanctions on the amount of time, energy, and resources that they will devote to the Jewish community, and to Jewish life.

So, back to Israel.

The state of Israel recently made a decision to spend $72 million on fighting BDS — the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement against the Jewish state.

The plan calls for setting up a not-for-profit organization whose board will be made up of government officials and donors from abroad.

The anti-BDS programs would include public campaigns, lobbying, arranging for solidarity visits to Israel by opinion shapers, establishing new and social media presence and interacting with pro-Israel organization worldwide for coordinated action, with a focus on Europe.

You read that right.

$72 million.

On the one hand, it’s a good idea – and long overdue.

For years, I have been musing to myself and to others: How is it possible that a people that invented the advertising and public relations industry could create a state with such underwhelming public relations?

There should be a school of public relations at Hebrew University. Perhaps that would have been the better investment of the $72 million – create a new kind of literate class for Israel, and hope that the message spreads.

And, yes, on the one hand – I am very much in favor of bringing people to Israel – to expose them to the greatness, and yes, even and especially to the frustrations.

I would focus such efforts on people on the center-left of the American and European political spectrum, especially journalists and celebrities.

But, on the other hand, to focus this campaign so narrowly on the BDS movement seems like taking a sledgehammer to crush a mosquito.

That is what the BDS movement has been. It is has been a mosquito movement – annoying, persistent, but ultimately, less than stellar (thankfully) in its results.

While the conversations about BDS have polluted the air of American and European academic institutions, the movement itself really does not have that much to show for itself.

BDS measures on college campuses rarely succeed. And yes, while there have been rock musicians who have boycotted Israel, like the execrable Roger Waters and recently Lorde, the list of A list rock stars who have played in Israel is far longer, and far better.

In fact, several years ago I wanted to start a campaign – taking out full page ads in Rolling Stone, thanking rock performers who have played in Israel.

That list would include Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Nick Cave, Boy George, Bon Jovi, Chrissie Hynde, Radiohead, Guns N Roses – and many others.

The BDS movement is morally bankrupt. It seems to want nothing less than the erasure of Israel. Some of its supporters are willing to extend the war – from Israel, to the Hebrew language itself – such as when author Doug Henwood refused to allow his book on Hillary Clinton to be translated into Hebrew for an Israeli publishing company.

Think of that. Imagine a German author who refused to have his book translated into English — because the Brits had been oppressing northern Ireland.

But, that said, the expenditure of $72 million seems like overkill.

It also seems wrong. Doesn’t Israel have enough domestic and social problems that would merit the investment of $72 million?

But even if Israel and Jewish philanthropists need to give away such a huge sum of money (and I can’t wait to hear who is going to be on the board of this enterprise; maybe that news should wait for Purim) —  there are ways to get a much bigger Jewish bang for your buck.

Let’s just focus on American Jewry.

Israel should give the $72 million directly to synagogues for supplemental and continuing education.

You want to meet Jews where they really are?

They’re in the synagogues – perhaps not in the numbers that they used to be (which also could be a good investment of Jewish funds – making synagogues affordable for all).

But, since the overwhelming majority of Jewish kids still have enough education to get them through bar and bat mitzvah, that is the effective place to start.

Can money cure apathy, which is the eleventh plague of so much of contemporary Jewish life?

No.

But can money raise the level of Jewish education? Can it pay Jewish teachers, and make Jewish education into a career that more will aspire to? Can it create better use of technology in synagogues? Can it subsidize even more trips to Israel and the Jewish sites of Europe?

The unequivocal answer is: Yes.

$72 million to fight BDS? Meh.

$72 million to create a competent, connected, and committed world Jewry?

You bet.

If, as Isaiah said, the Torah will go forth from Zion, a Torah of money could certainly help do the trick.

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

62 Comments

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  • I think going into school campuses and challenging the roots of the BDS movement will do much as well. There needs to be vocal, and prominent presence of Jewish culture and the necessity of a successful Israel. This does not need to be, nor should it be an anti-Palestinian group, but it needs to speak out against the lies and falsehoods that are fueling the BDS movement.

    People must realize that a good portion of the BDS movement is based on the victimization of Palestinians while demonizing Israel. Most of their supporters think they are choosing a cause that has merit, but they have been lied to and that is the perspective one must put forth. Then one must acknowledge that these types of groups (radical) will always use even the slightest instances to bolster their assertion that they are right. Use their same tactics, use their same “logic”, because like all groups once you expose the kernel that is holding this all together, people will have their eyes opened and see they have been deceived which will create a lasting backlash. BDS is a hidden hate group and when you can get to the basic dogma you their hate will be seen as what it is. There needs to be a ground swell of anti-BDS supporters and no amount of lobbying or glad handling “trenders” who will do nothing to build a stable voice or support.

  • To add: Using a balanced scale– There must be a name for it when they single out Israel for boycott and divestment in a sea of Islamic Countries with abysmal human rights records, institutional apartheid, religious apartheid, sectarian apartheid, gender apartheid, etc, with severe punishments for apostasy and blasphemy.

    There must be a name for it when they single out the only ethnic and religious minority in the Middle East with the full right of self determination for “boycott and divestment”

  • This article is simply more Zionist racism and denial of the facts.
    It is Zionist Propaganda…..bullshit, threats and intimidation.
    BDS is working, because opposing the violence, racism and Police State tactics of Israel is a MORAL act, just as opposing and defeating South Africa’s racism, and Nazi Germany policies was a moral act.
    Remember this…..the VAST MAJORITY of the BDS movement was formed, is supported by, and is sustained by JEWS. Moral Jews, who oppose Apartheid and Genocide.

  • That is just false. There is a tiny minority of Jews involved in BDS. It is organized primarily by non-Jewish elements seeking to destroy Israel. And no, it’s not working, unless you had TA tickets for Lorde the hypocrite.

  • BDS was created by Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist who opposes the two-state solution and denies that Israel has any right to exist. The overwhelming majority of BDS supporters are not Jewish, and plenty of liberal/Left Jews who share similar goals with BDS have actively complained about the vile anti-Semitism present in BDS.
    As for genocide, the Palestinian population has increased steadily since 1948 without interruption, as opposed to vanishing Jewish and Christian populations in every Muslim country in the region, save for Iran.
    If Israel is attempting genocide against the Palestinians, it’s the least successful attempt ever made by a government.

  • One of the major reasons for American Jewish BDS:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482
    NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New York Times

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, theJewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob·a·bly

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far
    as one knows or can tell).

    The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built
    Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose
    reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling
    nation.

    Such startling propositions — the product of findings by archaeologists digging in
    Israel and its environs over the last 25 years — have gained wide acceptance
    among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these
    ideas or to discuss them with the laity — until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million
    Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and
    commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called ”Etz
    Hayim” (”Tree of Life” in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that
    incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and
    the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it
    represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious
    mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true ”is more or less settled and
    understood among most Conservative rabbis,” observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at
    Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to ”Etz Hayim.” But some
    congregants, he said, ”may not like the stark airing of it.” Last Passover,
    in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said
    that ”virtually every modern archaeologist” agrees ”that the way the Bible
    describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all.”
    The rabbi offered what he called a ”LITANY OF DISILLUSION”’
    about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological
    lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said,
    archaeologists digging in the Sinai have ”found no trace of the tribes of
    Israel — not one shard of pottery.”

  • Modern Western Zionism is a secular movement. Hertzel was a non-religious Jewish reporter covering the trial of Alfred Dreyfus. When Dreyfus was found guilty in Paris, People ran into the street shouting “Death to the Jews!” Hertzel was shattered. He decided that assimilation didn’t work and Jews needed their own state to be safe. Many early Zionist were secular socialists. If you went to a Kibbutz, you never hear God mentioned.

    There is plenty of evidence dating from the Temple period. Read Haaretz.

  • As laudable as the creation of a Jewish homeland was, the major powers (read, colonial powers) bungled it from the very beginning. And nothing they have done over the last 70 years (except for a brief period under Jimmy Carter) has served to even begin to undo the mistakes. Perhaps it’s time for all the outsiders to go home and let the people directly concerned, who actually live on the land, settle this themselves. We need to stop trying to manage this. The big guys need to stop fighting their proxy battles over control of the Middle East and its oil. The well meaning little folks need to drop their BDS and become pilgrim tourists if they want to make a difference. Go there and buy something from an Israeli or Palestinian shop owner so he can feed his family. But otherwise…everybody out, hands off, stop not helping.

  • What is your primary source for that fact? Please be specific. There are 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs living in Israel proper as citizens, which is more than all the Jews put together in Islamic Countries. Jews even lived in Mecca and Medina before the invention of Islam. Now, even a Christian Arab cannot get in. Christian Arabs cannot even gain citizenship in Arabia, the land of their ancestors. What is your “moral” position on that?

    I am asking those questions to see if you have a balanced scale.

  • To be fair, all regions are based of myths, and Christianity and Islam were born out of the Jewish faith. Jews are a collective people who have maintained ancient text, traditions, ceremonies, a language, and a traceable history. Without a homeland and an army, The Church, the Crusaders, the Nazis, Islamists have all struck Jews across the centuries regardless of their genetic, political, social, economic or religious standing. A terrorist does not paused to ask whether someone was Mizrahi, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, pious or unlearned, before slaughtering a Jew. The Jews were Christ killers to the Church, and Jews were an inferior semitic race according to Hitler’s Superior Race Doctrine, that did not belong in Europe.

    Today you have one tiny Jewish State and 57 declared Muslim States at the United Nations, all members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the largest voting bloc at the UN General Assembly.

    Muhammed said he was a descendant of Abraham, father of the Jewish people, and Abraham was from the city of Ur according to Genesis 11:31, and Ur is in modern Iraq. False prophets in Arabia also had the audacity to claim they were offspring from a man who lived 1,000 years before them, Muhammed claimed to descend from Ishmael who lived 2,700 years before him, without any historical written document.

    The banner of Islam flies over 99.9% of the Middle East and North African land mass. The banner of Islam flies over the West Bank– the biblical birthplace of David, Solomon, and Jesus. Do you have a balanced scale?

  • To add: 1.5 Million Palestinian Arabs live in Israel proper as citizens on land that hypocritical activists say is ethnically cleansed. Palestinian Arabs living in Israel have a higher longevity rate than Americans living in America. You can compare in world statistical data websites.

  • We know that Jesus was not born on December 25th, but I am not giving up Santa Claus for anyone. Concepts come alive and become part of our human history. Every child on the planet can tell you what Santa Claus looks like, what he wears, where he lives, what he does, his mode of transportation, his philosophy of bringing presents to the good children when they are asleep on the morning of Jesus birthday. It is a myth that has colored the Western World, like the Hebrew Bible, the creation, the seven day week, the Ten Commandments, Adam and Eve, etc. We all know that man was not created from a lump of clay or dirt and woman from a rib, but the fictional accounts belong to all of us.

  • Just for balance, Egyptians were not Arabs, nor did they speak Arabic. Syrians (Assyrians) were not Arabs, nor did they speak Arabic, Moroccans (Berbers) were not Arabs, nor did they speak Arabic, Iraqis (Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians, and Kawliya) were not Arabs not did they speak Arabic, Libya was not Arab, nor did they speak Arabic, the Sudan (tribal Africa) was not Arab, nor did they speak Arabic, Tunisia was not Arab, nor did they speak Arabic. Why are they all called “Arab” Countries, belong to the League of “Arab” Nations, and have to live under some form of Islamic Sharia, which is Arabian?

  • It’s not a con. You don’t understand what mythology. You lack social and emotional intelligence.

  • And our children have never heard of Confucius or Chinese New Year, Bruce Lee, acupuncture, Kung fu, or the Great Wall, etc.

    Santa Claus in Chinese: 圣诞老人
    Most of our Christmas toys and electronics are made in China. And there are 68 million Christians in China. However, Christians and Muslims in China face restrictions on holidays.

    From an interesting article: “While some in America fight to resurface the holiday’s spiritual significance, Christmas-bashers in China warn against allowing Western culture to contaminate Chinese civilization. Shortly before Christmas in 2006, ten post-doctoral students from Peking University, Tsinghua University, and other elite colleges penned an open letter asking Chinese people to boycott Christmas and resist the invasion of “western soft power.” They warned, “[Christmas celebrators in China] are doing what western missionaries dreamed to do but didn’t succeed in doing 100 years ago.” The letter added, “Chinese people need to treat Christmas cautiously, and support the dominance of our own culture.”

  • Correct! The main factor that made it possible for a religious and ethnic minority in the Middle East (the Jews), to achieve their present status and affluence, free of the persecution and discrimination to which they were subjected in the past are some of the strongest reasons that justify a different stance in Israel’s case. I always ask people– Can you name another religious or ethnic minority in the entire Middle East and North Africa that has the full right of self determination, the right to criticize their own Government or question the teachings in the Qur’an?

  • I don’t need myths to see the truth. Documents like the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Magna Carta, the Code of Hammurabi, and the rules from the Egyptian Book of the Dead suffice quite nicely. e.g.

    I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.

    I have not done what the God abominates . . .

    I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.

    I have not caused anyone’s suffering . . .

    I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.

    I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the
    palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.

    I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.

    I have not taken milk from a child’s mouth; I have not driven small cattle from
    their herbage…

    I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam
    against flowing water.

    I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .

    I have not kept cattle away from the God’s property.

    I have not blocked the God at his processions.”

    “The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew (mythical) Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture’s Ten Commandments were based on this earlier document, rather than vice-versa.”

  • Christmas, the embellished story of the birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.

    As per most contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship betweenMary and a Roman soldier.

    http://
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing/talking from on high, no slaughter of the
    innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    “Mark’s gospel, the most historical of the four gospels, does not even mention the
    event.

    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 269-272, “The historical yield of the Lukan infancy narrative in respect to the
    birth of Jesus is virtually nil.

    Matt 1:18-25: , pp. 123-124, “The fathering of Jesus from the Holy
    Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical”. Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being
    the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.

    “Lüdemann [pp. 261-63) discounts Luke’s account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the procreation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the virginal conception.

    Then there are these additional conclusions:

    Professor Bruce Chilton

    “In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circumstances result in their
    exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for
    the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception.
    In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus’ life, Chilton suggests that this
    sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus’
    self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.

    Professor John Dominic Crossan

    “In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids
    Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the
    development of the Jesus traditions.

    “In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke’s account of Jesus’
    conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public
    interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to
    disregard “pagan” birth legends while investing great effort in the
    defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:

    I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual
    history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of
    Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. “

  • And just how many adults, Chinese included, believe in Santa Claus?

    We consider nativity scenes as just more fictional accounts
    about good people (e.g. Santa Claus and his elves, Gabriel, Moroni et al),
    “do no harm to such scenes”. Even pagans have their fictional accounts to celebrate on their hallowed day of Halloween.

  • And solved by the following if we could only get the word out:

    Putting
    the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of
    Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    There was no Gabriel i.e.Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    Sacred/revered cows, monkeygods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that
    we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a
    religion.

    e.g.
    Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth
    century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its
    later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today
    (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man.

  • “As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of
    Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.” — It does not matter whether they are fantasy or fiction, they are still foundations. We do not know what God said to Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad when they were alone, but the Genesis and Ten Commandments, for example, are foundations, to include the 7 day week, and one day a week just for rest and to praise the concept of God– be it Judaism (Saturday), Christianity (Sunday), or Islam (Friday). The foundational concept came with the Commandment to rest on the Sabbath, Sabato, Saturday…… And we (those who think things through) know the universe was not created in six earth days, but the ancient story belongs to humanity and our ability create.

  • Arab is a language term when referring to modern, Arabic speaking countries. Get over the race/ethnic thing.

  • What happened to all the above peoples languages, their beliefs, their laws, etc?
    The Palestinian Authority and Hamas wants to define “Palestine” as an Arab and Muslim State. They have applied to the United Nations for Statehood, and to be a 23rd Arab Country. They want Jerusalem to be a 23rd Arab Capital. This is quite hypocritical of a Government that believes a tiny Jewish State has no right to exist in the Middle East.

    It is not a race thing, as Christian Arabs cannot even enter the two most holiest Cities of Islam– Mecca and Medina. Christian Arabs cannot even gain citizenship in Arabia, the land of their ancestors.

    Arabs are a people, Arabic is a language, just ask the majority Berbers in Morocco.

    Kurd Net Daily Online News: 

    “For years the 30 million Kurds spread across those territories have been the world’s largest ethnic group without an independent homeland. Only the Kurds in Iraq, who displaced Iraqi forces in the 1990s when a U.S. and British no-fly zone was in place against Saddam Hussein, have managed to carved out an area of real autonomy.”

    Coptic News: 

    “Since Christianity came to Egypt in 57 A.D., we, the Christians of Egypt, have not had conflict with the Jewish people. Copts have been a marginal population held in captivity for sixteen centuries. We constitute the largest non-Arab, non-Moslem minority in the Middle East. The Church of Alexandria, is one of the oldest organizations in the Middle East. Despite this distinguished history, it is a church that has been under siege since the Islamic invasion.”

    Assyrian International News Agency (AINA):

    “Keep in mind that these Christian minorities, the Assyrians, Armenians, Copts, are actually the original inhabitants of these areas with roots going back thousands of years before Christianity. What we’re seeing is a systematic attempt to cleanse the Middle East of its original inhabitants, this is a continuation of the genocide that took place in Ottoman Turkey in 1915.”

  • Obviously, you did not see this that was posted previously:

    “The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew (mythical) Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture’s Ten Commandments were based on this earlier document, rather than vice-versa.”

    And we do know what God said to Moses: nothing as both are myths.

  • Like I said, it does not matter if they are myths, the major religions have changed the color and history of the world, in some cases for the better, and in some cases for the worse.

  • The Egyptian Book of the Dead is a myth unless you believe the Egyptian gods alone are real. No, Your life will be lacking if you can’t celbrate Passover even thought you know it’s a myth, as an example. Mythmaking is part of being human. I wouldn’t want to live by the Code of Hammurabi in the 21st century.

  • You are right Arbustin. Anti-Zionist Jews are the equivalent of that guy I see on TV holding up a “Blacks for Trump” sign. He does not represent anyone but himself.

  • So, Jews, and only Jews, have to pass a test to join the community of the decent and that test is to agree with you or we are not “moral.” Bernie Sanders has been critical of Israel, but he opposes BDS. Are you going to tell me Bernie Sanders isn’t a “moral Jew?”

  • If your point is that the stories in ancient texts are fantasy at worst and embellished at best, most people, on some level, understand this. We have embellished Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, and a whole host of people in history. But, we are here today because all the explorers that first came to the New World were commissioned by the Church, and flew the flags of Catholic Kings. Manifest Destiny approved by the Church, the Church of England was at the heart of the slavey trade to the Americas. And you are correct that we should re-teach history honestly. What is your culture heritage and whose land are you living on today??? Please be honest

  • “The BDS movement is morally bankrupt. It seems to want nothing less than the erasure of Israel.”

    What a load of bull. Israel is the morally bankrupt one as it treats the Palestinians much like the Jews were treated by the Nazis. Gaza is a Ghetto comparable to the Warsaw Ghetto of WWII. Teenagers who throw rocks at tanks are murdered and the family home is razed without any sort of legal proceeding demonstrating the rule of law for Palestinians does not exist. I’m just waiting for the crematoriums to be built. It’s way past time for the US to cease sending foreign aid to Israel as it too should be added to the list of nations that support terrorism.

  • But we will never know how well we would have done without all the gods, angels, devils and jinn. But we can get a measure from the following list of atrocities:

    The Twenty (or so) Worst Things your God’S creatures Have Done to Each Other:

    M.
    White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u
    (required reading)

    The Muslim
    Conquest of India

    “The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. ”

    Rank
    …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

    1.
    63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs.
    Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and “Shintoists”)

    2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

    3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

    4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

    5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism,
    Chinese folk religion)

    6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk
    religion vs. a form of Christianity)

    7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

    8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

    9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

    10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

    11.15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

    12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

    13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

    14.10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

    15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

    16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

    17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

    18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C
    (Christians)

    19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

    20. 7½million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

  • I live on land once owned by the first human who of course basically owned all of Earth which has passed down to all of his descendants currently occupying Earth.

    As per National Geographic’s Genographic project:

    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

    ” DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 + years ago began a remarkable journey. Follow the journey from them to you as written in your genes”.

    “Adam” is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 +years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time.

    Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive.

    It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity.”

    And my background:

    48% Europe West

    41% Great Britain

    6% Scandinavia

    3% Europe East

    2% Other Regions

    And Israel- Its formation was approved by the UN in 1948. It should honor the
    original UN agreement and live within the described borders. Considering the hate generated by passages in the Koran and bible, erecting dividing walls between Muslims and Jews is highly recommended. UN forces should control these walls.

    And Jerusalem should be made into an international city under the control and protection of the UN.

    And who did the Islamic Palestinians steal the land from? Jews. Who did the Jews steal it from? the Hittites, Canaanites and Philistines.

  • The Egyptian Book of the Dead is not a myth. It was of course written by Egyptians who also like many in the time period believed in the supernatural. And did you miss ” Documents like the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Magna Carta” ?

  • Men will fight over anything– money, property, women, jobs, even the color of your shirt at a sporting event. Religion is just another excuse. And you bring up Christian wars, but were they really following the path of the biblical Jesus? I fought in a war over economics- Capitalism vs. Communism, and I am neither and yet I am a little bit of both.

  • You dodged the question. “I live on land once owned by the first human who of course basically owned all of Earth which has passed down to all of his descendants currently occupying Earth.” But you are here on this land because your European ancestors came to the New World flying the flag of Catholic Kings, and thinking they had found India.

    Also, you might want to look at the neanderthal project—- “Everyone living outside of Africa today has a small amount of Neanderthal in them, carried as a living relic of these ancient encounters. A team of scientists comparing the full genomes of the two species concluded that most Europeans and Asians have approximately 2 percent Neanderthal DNA. Indigenous sub-Saharan Africans have none, or very little Neanderthal DNA because their ancestors did not migrate through Eurasia.”

    “On one level, it’s not surprising that modern humans were able to interbreed with their close cousins. According to one theory, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and all modern humans are all descended from the ancient human Homo heidelbergensis. Between 500,000 to 600,000 years ago, an ancestral group of H. heidelbergensis left Africa and then split shortly after. One branch ventured northwestward into West Asia and Europe and became the Neanderthals. The other branch moved east, becoming Denisovans. By 250,000 years ago H. heidelbergensis in Africa had become Homo sapiens. Our modern human ancestors did not begin their own exodus from Africa until about 70,000 years ago, when they expanded into Eurasia and encountered their ancient cousins.”

    Men have always fought over land and resources. We are tribal by nature. We are competitive by nature, so we always fight, with or without religion manipulation.

  • Actually, in my Ancestry.com analysis, they did not find any Neanderthal or Denisovan. Might be a trace of Jewish DNA however and some trace American Indian

    For your $199 and a DNA swab:

    “Included in the markers we will test for is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominid cousins, Neanderthals and the newly discovered Denis vans, who split from our lineage
    around 500,000 years ago. As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa
    more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovans were still alive and
    well in Eurasia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace
    of these ancient relatives in our DNA. With Geno 2.0, you will learn if you
    have any Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in your genome.”

    And being first on some continent is complicated. Should we grant
    all the land to the first man or woman to set their foot on said land? Should
    we grant all of the surface of Earth to the first human? If so,who is that
    person? And do persons claiming this land falsely and who kill, scalp, kidnap
    and enslave their enemies deserve any recognition as holders of land?

    And please don’t include me in your general analysis of tribal behavior.

  • Palestinian Arab refugees are the only refugees in the world whose status is a permanent inheritance, even if they are born in Arab or Western Countries. Thousands have become millions.

  • To me, the issue isn’t how to fight BDS, it is why? The first mention of BDS I heard came from American-Israeli activist Jeff Halper. Halper founded and leads Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. This committee has tried both to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and sometimes offers to rebuild the houses that have been demolished pending a request by the home owner.

    Halper explained BDS as targeting Israel’s Occupation of the Palestinian territories. The Occupation has seen land being confiscated by Israel with the result of displacing Palestinians. That practice is not too far different from what Germany did to Polish non-Jews during WW II. Then and there, Polish families were moved out of their homes and businesses so that Germans from other nations could move in and be part of the 3rd Reich. Halper explained that BDS was designed to be a temporary movement that would cease when the Occupation would cease.

    So when Salkin calls BDS morally bankrupt because it seeks the erasure of Israel, some questions come to mind. First, is seeking to end the Occupation the primary goal of BDS? If so, how is ending the Occupation morally bankrupt when we see what is involved with the Occupation?

    Also, isn’t whether seeking the erasure of Israel morally bankrupt depend on what Israel stands for? If Israel stands for taking land from Palestinians or seeking supremacy of one ethnic group over another in a region where both ethnic groups have been residing, how is ending that supremacy morally bankrupt? Is wanting equality morally bankrupt?

    Certainly we can’t look at Israel’s behavior toward its Arab neighbors and toward the Palestinians without looking at history of almost 2 millennia of European Christian anti-Semitism. But is wanting equality for all groups residing there morally bankrupt?

    Aside of BDS, if equality is a necessary part of a moral solution to the problem of Israel’s Occupation, then wouldn’t it make sense to put all of the parties involved under the same standards and laws? Why not put Israel, the Palestinians, and the US under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Such an approach could be the beginning of installing the rule of law in the area and ending the rule of force.

  • No, wouldn’t clsim they’re a myth, but they’re not enough to live your life by and give it meaning. I am not just talking about a moral code. Do you think celebrating Passover is useless and a con?

  • While on the subject of Judaism.

    Celebrating Passover gives credence to the myth of a vengeful god taking out his wrath out on an innocent Egyptian population. The followers of Judaism should apologize for this great wrong which has haunted Egypt since the Passover was invented by Jewish scribes. And said holyday should be deleted from the Jewish calendar as part of this apology. And the apology should include all of the Exodus myth which still haunts the minds of Egyptians, Jews and Christians in films and books as an historical fact.

  • But together with the Code of Hammurabi and the other documents cited and putting in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we have sufficient moral codes and guidance to live by without any need for mythical declarations from god like the Ten Commandments which were plagiarized by the Jewish scribes from documents such as the Book of the Dead.

    And celebrating Passover gives credence to the myth of a vengeful god taking out his wrath out on an innocent Egyptian population. The followers of Judaism should apologize for this great wrong which has haunted Egypt since the Passover was invented by Jewish scribes. And said holyday should be deleted from the Jewish calendar as part of this apology. And the apology should include all of the Exodus myth which still haunts the minds of Egyptians, Jews and Christians in films and books as an historical fact.

  • You’re don’t understand anything. The Passover Seder we express sorrow for the death of Egyptians, but you really don’t know anything about Judaism. Your anti-Jewish bias has become antisemitism. Proving that atheists can be antisemites. Religion is not the source of all evil in the world.

  • From the Jewish Seder: (where are the prayers for the dead boys/first born sons of Egypt?)
    http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/661624/jewish/English-Haggadah.htm

    “The Egyptians treated us badly and they made us suffer, and they put hard work upon us.”

    “The Egyptians treated us badly,” as it is said: Come, let us act cunningly with [the people] lest they multiply and, if there should be a war against us, they will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the land.”

    “And they made us suffer,” as it is said: “They set taskmasters over [the people of Israel] to make them suffer with their burdens, and they built storage cities for Pharaoh, Pitom and Ramses.””And they put hard work upon us,” as it is said: “The Egyptians made the children of Israel work with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard work, with mortar and with bricks and all manner of service in the field, all their work which they made them work with rigor.”

    And we cried out to the L-rd, the G‑d of our fathers,and the L-rd heard our voice and saw our suffering, our labor and our oppression.

    “And we cried out to the L-rd, the G‑d of our fathers,”as it is said: “During that long period, the king of Egypt died; and the children of Israel groaned because of the servitude, and they cried out. And their cry for help from their servitude rose up to G‑d.”Israel and G‑d took note.”

    “And the L-rd heard our voice” as it said: “And G‑d heard their groaning, and G‑d remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.””And he saw our suffering,” this refers to the separation of husband and wife, as it is said: “G‑d saw the children of

    “Our labor,” this refers to the “children,” as it is said: “Every boy that is born, you shall throw into the river and every girl you shall keep alive.”

    The simpleton, what does he say? “What is this?” Thus you shall say to him: “With a strong hand the L-rd took us out of Egypt, from the house of slaves.”

    As for the one who does not know how to ask, you must initiate him, as it is said: “You shall tell your child on that day, `It is because of this that the L-rd did for me when I left Egypt.'”

    ………………………………………………………………………

    “Our labor,” this refers to the “children,” as it is said: “Every boy that is born, you shall throw into the river and every girl you shall keep alive.”

    “I will pass through the land of Egypt,” I and not an angel;

    “And I will smite every first-born in the land of Egypt,” I and not a seraph;

    “And I will carry out judgments against all the gods of Egypt,” I and not a messenger;

    “I- the L-rd,” it is I, and none other!

    “With a strong hand,” this refers to the dever (pestilence) as it is said: “Behold, the hand of the L-rd will be upon your livestock in the field, upon the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds and the flocks, a very severe pestilence.”

  • “Furthermore, it should also be noted that the tenth plague was not God’s idea, nor was it the idea of Moses. The destruction of the firstborn sons of Egypt was something that the previous Pharaoh had visited upon the people of Israel 80 years earlier when the Egyptian army killed all the newborn sons of Israel two years old and younger (Exodus 1:16). This is an example of sin cannibalizing itself, so that the sins of the fathers fall upon later generations. ”

    And so said prayers for sons were for the Israeli first sons not the Egyptian.

  • During the Seder Jews dip our fingers in wine and place the wine on our dish while we chant the names of the 10 plagues to remember the victims of those plagues. You haven’t even discovered the Torah commentaries where commentators discuss and debate this over the centuries. Jewish holidays function on many levels simulatneously. The 10th plague was indeed God’s idea, not Moses’s. That doesn’t make any sense. This part of the Seder isn’t a prayer, but it’s very important. Yes, I know Pharoah tried to kill all newborn sons of Israel, but it has nothing to do with this part of the Seder where we grieve for the Egyptians.

  • Bottom line. I reviewed the Seder prayers and found them not relevant since none of the plagues to include the 10th actually took place.

  • Of couse, you work everything out so it suits you. If you don’t like it it’s not relevant and you go about being truthful.

    I told you that it wasn’at part of a Seder prayer did you look at the whole Seder? No you did not. Only a small part of the Seder is actually prayers.

  • BDS won’t end the occupation one day sooner. It only makes it’s supporters feel smug, self-righteous and morally superior. You’re the perfect example.

  • Then post said part of Seder. I could not find it but even if you do it is irrelevant since it based on myths.

  • Myths are not irrelevant. They ae part of human culture and every culture has myths.

    This is the simplest & most consice answer. There are other possible answers, but this is the one I heard most as I grew up:

    The Ten Plagues. Since our “cup of salvation” cannot be regarded as full when we recall the suffering of the Egyptians, a drop of wine is removed from the cup with the mention of each plague. During the Seder we dip our finger into the wine while each plague is chanted and it is spilled onto our plates.

  • I suggest next Passover you test the the need to participate by playing a round of golf or seeing a movie etc. and see if god punishes you. I guarantee he won’t because he does not exist , not now not ever.

  • I don’t go to a Passover Seder because I think God will punish me if I don’t. I don’t go because I think I’ll go to Hell if I don’t go either. I have skipped occasionally. I go because I find it meaningful event to participate in with a community of friends or relatives. It’s also a meal and the food is always good.

    I do know atheists who go to Passover Seders every year. There are hundreds of Haggadahs and you can find one that fits your personal beliefs, including Haggadahs that don’t mention God.

  • When Israel is compared to Nazis in the first sentence, we know we’re in propaganda land. Crematoria are in the third. There’s not an actual thought here. Just screeching.

  • The Boycott was inspired by the South African Anti-Apartheid movement. The nonviolent pressure on Israel is still going on. It will stay until Israel meets three demands:
    Ending its occupation of Palestine and removing the wall
    Giving full rights and treating Palestinian citizens of “Israel” with equality
    Allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes
    Israel try to fight this movement , BDS , which doesn’t make any since there is no violence being thrown against them. They recently made a decision to spend 72 million dollars to fight BDS. Which could have been used to make businesses ,stronger military ,or more schools.

  • Based on your response, I see that you are a little deficient. The question was: Why are these Countries with their own history, language, and culture all called “Arab” Countries, belong to the League of “Arab” Nations, and have to live under some form of Islamic Sharia, which is Arabian?

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