Saturday, November 26, 2005

Daniel Gordis

Great article by Daniel Gordis.

For all you concerned centrists out there.

Really, he thinks so clearly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Facebook Messages


To:Seth Feldman



hi, i was just browsing groups on facebook and came across this one. i was wondering, because i am quite sympathetic with and involved in the palestinian right to return and their plight in general, if you could give me an explanation of zionism today. its just that from what i have listened to from zionists here, its very unintellectual regurgitated arguments which usually start at the holocaust, but im just really interested and invested in the situation and was hoping you could give me your perspective.


From: Seth Feldman


Subject: re: zionism


Hi Adam,

I'm assuming you've heard the Palestinian perspective that Zionism is a selfish act where the Jews decided to take land from the Palestinians. You've heard it is racist, colonialist, apartheid, etc etc etc etc.

Those are pretty convincing. But only out of context.
When the Palestinians explain Zionism they explain it as if it took place in a vacuum. As if the only thing going on in the world was that Jews suddenly decided to take land from Arabs.
The truth is that Zionism is just the idea that Jews, after years and years of persecution and transience need a form of self-determination. The goal of Zionism is not to oppress or segregate. The goal is only that if Jews want to be self-determinate they can not be an extreme minority in every country and in every region. For example, Jews are about 2 percent of the population in the US. They aren't persecuted in the US, but they still have no control over their fate if the US decided to persecute them.

This may sound paranoid, but there is too much evidence out there proving that Jews need to be self-determinate in order to survive.

It is unfortunate that the creation of the Jewish state had to be created in a very hostile and monolythic region. A region that rejects outsiders and minorities. It is also a region that has official policies on treating its minorities as second class citizens. There is a reason why over 1 million Jews left all the Muslim countries immediately when Israel was declared independent. And it wasn't because the Arabs were so nice to them.

You can argue back and forth over who is the most violent and who is wrong. But when you come down to it, all Israel is about is giving Jews a way to be self-determinate and avoid another possibility of extinction.

Friday, November 11, 2005

From the Window to the Wall

So yesterday I managed to fit two wonderful parts of Israel into one day.

After Hebrew class, Jon and I needed something to do with our time. Seeing that going downtown everyday can get old.... and also realizing that I've only been to the Old City once since I've been here, we decided to head to the Wall.

We entered Jaffa gate and were immediately angered by an Armenian guy who was yelling at some fat American tourists because the tourists led the vendor on into believing that they were going to buy something, but then didn't. It's really something ok to get mad about, but it's not ok to slap fat American tourists on the back and try to intimidate them into buying things by yelling at them and insulting them. That kind of thing is only tolerated in places like the Old City where the vendors know the tourists will keep coming.

We then went to the Wall. I decided that I was actually going to make the Chabbadnikim happy and put on some Tefilin. I did. It was nice. He had me read the Shema, etc, bless my family, etc. And then Jon did, and I guess that was nice too

But then the guy asked me what I study, and I reluctantly told him I study philosophy...just like I reluctantly tell every Haredi guy. He then told me how he used to be this big Hindu/Buddhist guru in New York, had his own cult, and was able to meditate straight for over one day without sleeping, eating, or going to the toilet. He then informed me Descartes was stupid, etc etc.

This is him, so if you see him trying to get people to where Tefilin, then go for it.

That was the first part of Israel that I love.

The second part was around midnight when we went over to HaOman 17. HaOman, from what I've heard, is the biggest club in Jerusalem. Fortunately, they had student discounts last night, so we actually went. Here's a good description of HaOman 17 by Gideon Levy (that Haaretz writer we all hate):

"Inside, the earth shakes. Every muscle of the body vibrates from the
force of the music, in the head, in the belly, in the back and in the
legs - everything trembles. Thousands of partyers writhe and caper on

the enormous, stylish dance floor, at the foot of the DJ station, which
is raised above the crowd, like the speaker's podium in the Knesset. A
wealth of spotlights does wonders, rising and falling like at an
amusement park, and the noise is unbearable."

Actually, maybe that is a little dramatic... but it's close.

A better description is that when we were waiting in line to get in, they gave us bags of chocolate milk to drink, and then we went inside, drank, and danced. A lot of people, free whistles, loud music, an Israeli band showed up once, then there was techno (trance?), and in the other room there was hip-hop.

Also, I accidentally bumped into a girl on the way out and she tried to start a fight with me. Luckily Liat was there to take the punches. I kind of wonder if the girl tried to fight all the other thousands of people who bumped into her in the enormous and crowded room that night.

The band:
The dance floor:

Friday, November 04, 2005


I was reading this article about entering the army by Yair Lapid and I liked this:

"Every other stage of your life is an improved version of the previous one. University is like high school which is like grade school which was an annoying version of kindergarten."

Oh, and also the part about the cliche post-zionism vs the old Zionism.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Just a Reminder

Madison Wisconsin

Today Tomorrow Fri Sat Sun 6-10 Day
sky: partly cloudy (day)
Low: 47°
sky: fair (day)
Low: 52°
sky: partly cloudy (day)
Low: 37°
sky: showers
Low: 44°
sky: showers
Low: 37°

Tel Aviv, Israel............. and that's with rain everyday.

Today Tomorrow Fri Sat Sun 6-10 Day
sky: fair (night)
High: 74°

sky: mostly cloudy (day)
High: 74°

sky: showers
High: 75°
sky: scattered thunderstorms
High: 71°

sky: showers
High: 71°

Tel Aviv Love Parade

Great picture.