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RE: [JustPeaceUK] What are the implications?

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  • Deborah Maccoby
    Noam Chomsky points out that there is a big problem about the term Jewish State as compared with, say, French State or Irish State , in that all
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 1, 2003
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      Noam Chomsky points out that there is a big problem about the term "Jewish
      State" as compared with, say, "French State" or "Irish State", in that all
      immigrants who become French or Irish citizens automatically become part of
      the French or Irish nation - and this doesn't happen with all immigrants who
      become citizens of the Jewish State. If they're not Jewish they can be
      citizens of Israel, but they don't become part of the Jewish nation - not
      unless they convert to Judaism. This is because Jewishness is almost unique
      in being both a nationality and a religion. The only other people I can
      think of who are both a nation and a religion are the Sikhs, and there would
      be the same problem, I suppose, with a Sikh State.

      Deborah

      -----Original Message-----
      From: gbr2002uk [mailto:gbr2002uk@...]
      Sent: 31 July 2003 18:56
      To: JustPeaceUK@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [JustPeaceUK] What are the implications?


      Thanks Deborah for the posting about the racist law as proposed (and
      by the way apologies for missing the author of one of your recent
      postings!).

      I'm wondering increasingly about the longer term implications of our
      (and others') criticisms of the Israeli State as a specifically
      Jewish one.

      For example, I've just signed, because I think it's right, the
      petition supporting the human rights of Palestinians, which is taken
      also to imply a Palestinian 'Right of Return'. But all my Zionist
      acquaintances and friends see such a move as the beginning of the end
      of the State of Israel.

      Although I've been a reader/participant of *this* site for some
      months, I'm still not sure how anti-Zionist it is (as compared, say,
      to JAZ, Jews Against Zionism)?

      I'm fairly much of a latecomer to the realisation that equating
      Zionism and Judaism may have been a terrible mistake.

      I wish I could remember the name of the Rabbi who, a year or two ago,
      wrote an article in the Guardian, saying that perhaps the time had
      come to differentiate Israeli Jews from Diaspora Jews, in the sense
      that maybe Diaspora Jews should let Israel go its own way. (I hope
      I'm not misrepresenting him.)

      If we (I'm assuming 'we' is a sort of left-liberal consensus) get all
      we are asking for, is this in effect the beginning of the end of
      Israel as a Jewish state? And do we actually really want that?

      Any references to existing books, articles, discussions would be very
      welcome - thanks in advance.

      Best wishes
      Brian Robinson
      Milton Keynes


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    • gbr2002uk
      Thank you. In the Love Under Fire thread (above) one of the quotes was, Where Adam disagrees with his family, and the majority of world Jewry, is in his
      Message 2 of 9 , Aug 1, 2003
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        Thank you. In the Love Under Fire thread (above) one of the quotes
        was, "Where Adam disagrees with his family, and the majority of
        world Jewry, is in his view of Judaism. "I don't identify as Jewish. I
        see it as a religion rather than an ethnicity and, as I have no
        religious feelings, I don't regard myself as Jewish. I know many other
        people have a different understanding. I am the only one in my family
        who sees it that way".

        Can one stop being Jewish in the way Adam would like? I'm a great
        fan of Chomsky and I'd probably be inclined to believe anything he
        says and writes.

        I got the impression at Lenni Brenner's talk at UCL last month that
        he felt, or perhaps implied, that Judaism, at least in the USA, was
        almost on the way out, well, that's a big exaggeration on my part,
        but he spent some time talking about (so-called) mixed marriages, and
        he may have talked of diminished participation in religious services
        and ritual (I hope I'm not misremembering).

        Is Zionism what is left of Judaism after Jews stop being Jewish? And
        what if Zionism falls? Will the Jewish Diaspora dwindle away? Will
        the purely religious aspects become a small sect?

        I haven't heard anyone recently on the "What is a Jew" debate, but
        perhaps I've just missed it. It would be, wouldn't it, quite
        cataclysmic for world Jewry if Israel were replaced by the proposed
        unitary, secular state for (Christian, Muslim and other) Palestinians
        and Jews? The last straw? I can't really imagine it.

        The petition that I signed (it's online) talks about the human rights
        of Palestinians, but is certainly not at all clear in specifying what
        kind of Right of Return this is taken to imply (I note the
        distinctions someone has made in postings here above). If it is
        taken to mean even a gradual intake of 3 million or so Palestinians,
        then surely it must mean the end of the Israel we know?

        Someone has written (also here) that it's considered that most of the
        Palestinians wont take up the option, but I don't know how we would
        know that.

        It has been so ingrained in me, or I've been so indoctrinated, that
        contemporary Judaism = Zionism, that it feels quite disloyal to think
        that an honest examination of the facts is leading me to become an
        anti-Zionist! It's totally different from the experience of thought
        having led me to become an atheist. There have been, and are, many
        atheist Jews. It horrifies some, no doubt, but to express anti-
        Zionist sentiments seems to horrify in a quite different way.

        Best wishes
        Brian
      • charlespottins@aol.com
        No, Zionism is not what is left of Judaism after religion is taken out, nor is it an integral part of Judaism. There is a Jewish people, formed by historic
        Message 3 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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          No, Zionism is not "what is left of Judaism" after religion is taken out, nor
          is it an integral part of Judaism. There is a Jewish people, formed by
          historic conditions, and therefore a Jewish "identity", regardless of any "ism".
          If how you are conceived by others affects what happens to you, or has done,
          and may do in the future, that is objective, material - whether it is class,
          caste or people that we are talking about. There is no such thing as "race",
          let alone a "Jewish race", and as some people are very keen to explain to us, no
          such thing as "Semites" (or Arabs, and for that matter, Maltese and most
          Ethiopians are "Semites", viz. speakers of a Semitic language). But there are sure
          as hell racists, and antisemites, and no amount of academic chochma or pilpul
          will dispel these facts.
          If you are Jewish, that's what you are, whether you want to believe in a
          religion, or keep its outmoded rules, or associate with other Jews, or what. You
          don't have to be Zionist to be Jewish, nor vice versa - in fact Gentile
          Zionism, as a belief that Jews should be removed (sorry "restored") to Palestine, was
          going well before Theodor Herzl, having decided assimilation was a
          failure(post-Dreyfus) set up the World Zionist Congress.
          Under conditions in Russia and Poland where Jews were segregated and
          restricted, they developed a distinct Jewish culture, a secular identity, linked
          particularly with the Jewish labour movement. In the countries to which these Jews
          emigrated they were under presssure both from different circumstances and
          deliberate leadeships to abandon their language and culture - to become
          more-English -than -the-English in Britain, to shed the despised Diaspora traits for an
          articificial Zionist Hebrew culture in Israel. But later Zionism learned to
          use the most backward aspects of European Jewish identity and culture to
          reinforce itself - witness all those bizarre black hats in a Middle eastern country.
          Everybody-hates-us-so-we-must-be right, G-d is on our side, etc. A nation
          like unto the other? G-d forbid!
          Judaism has probably been "on the way out" in the United States since George
          Washington's day, never mind the other George W.. but it is a long time going.
          The United States is supposed to separate Church and state, but it keeps
          invoking the Almighty everywhere from schoolrooms to dollar notes, and calls
          itself "God's own country". Freedom of conscience is confused with freedom to
          worship - it does not extend to atheists. You have everything from Bible belt
          fundamentalists who believe a nuclear armageddon started in the Middle East would
          bring the second coming, to registered tax exempt West Coast witches.
          Witch-hunting only goes after reds. So, especially after McCarthy, some liberals who
          in Europe would not dream of going near church or synagogue have found that
          in America, its best to "belong", even if you set up your own version of
          religion. (Not that the UK is necessarily more enlightened -witness the rejection
          of humanists to broadcast on the BBC Thought for the Day. Here you don't have
          to Believe, but you do have to pretend, and you dare not suggest there are
          alternatives)
          As for secular identity - there are Irish-Americans, German-Americans,
          Italian-Americans, Afro-Americans and Native Americans etc. So what would it mean,
          a Jew pretending he's "just American"? Is that Kike pretending he's a Wasp or
          something?
          Jews have got on in America, some in Hollywood, some in the shmatte trade,
          now some it seems in the nutty intellectual fringe of the Bush administration.
          But always at a price. In the past it meant hiding any suggestion of a Jewish
          interest for fear of antisemitism or being charged with disloyalty,
          un-Americanism. Witness the way Hollywood feared taking on Hitler at first, and how
          ineffective Jews were at lobbying for Jewish refugees to be admitted (some lobbied
          the other way, hence discovering the magic way to appease antisemitism while
          being proudly Zionist). Witness the exagerrated loyalty of those Jews who
          joined McCarthy. And so on to today's neo-cons.
          At more grass-roots level people thrown back on their Jewish identity by
          historic events or social trends have often had no positive culture or progressive
          tradition to turn to, they have been kept in ignorance. So they could find
          an outlet in religion, even donning frummer garb their grandparents would have
          laughed at, or chauvinist thuggery with Kahana's socio-psychopaths, or just
          fundraising Zionism - which is so organised in the US the Internal Revenue
          Service must envy it.
          Part of the remedy, understood by some Jewish peace activists and
          progressives, whether secular or believers, though probably not by Lenny Brenner, is to
          educate ourselves and our young with a positive Jewish culture and history that
          provides a resource and identity that is not open for reactionary
          exploitation, but serves to link us with others aiming for a world free from war and
          racism. No, this won't win the neo-cons and the racketeers (in business, politics
          or religion), but it will help us make things more difficult for them.
        • Maurice Naftalin
          ... That s certainly the accepted wisdom in this country. In terms of Jewish continuity, mixed marriages are an especially serious problem for those who hold
          Message 4 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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            At 17:01 01/08/2003 +0000, Brian (gbr2002uk@...) wrote:
            >I got the impression at Lenni Brenner's talk at UCL last month that
            >he felt, or perhaps implied, that Judaism, at least in the USA, was
            >almost on the way out, well, that's a big exaggeration on my part,
            >but he spent some time talking about (so-called) mixed marriages, and
            >he may have talked of diminished participation in religious services
            >and ritual (I hope I'm not misremembering).

            That's certainly the accepted wisdom in this country. In terms
            of Jewish continuity, mixed marriages are an especially serious
            problem for those who hold to matrilineality, as the Orthodox
            United Synagogues do. Since they are the big majority of the
            Jewish community in Britain, that spells decline overall. The
            "left" (reform/liberal) and "right" (ultra-orthodox) are bucking this
            trend, for different reasons.

            >Is Zionism what is left of Judaism after Jews stop being Jewish? And
            >what if Zionism falls? Will the Jewish Diaspora dwindle away? Will
            >the purely religious aspects become a small sect?

            I can't accept the terms of the first question. It's a classical
            mistake (very widely held of course) to think that Zionism is
            part of Judaism at all. Zionism is the result of grafting 19th-
            century nationalism on to a set of communities which were
            previously associated by various combinations of religion,
            ethnicity and culture. Take nationalism away and those ties
            would still remain (though, unfortunately, the communities
            would be on much smaller scale than before).

            >The petition that I signed (it's online) talks about the human rights
            >of Palestinians, but is certainly not at all clear in specifying what
            >kind of Right of Return this is taken to imply (I note the
            >distinctions someone has made in postings here above). If it is
            >taken to mean even a gradual intake of 3 million or so Palestinians,
            >then surely it must mean the end of the Israel we know?
            >
            >Someone has written (also here) that it's considered that most of the
            >Palestinians wont take up the option, but I don't know how we would
            >know that.

            There are two parallel ideas about the Right of Return. The
            one that arouses strong reaction from most Jews and nearly
            all Israelis is of an intake of 3 million Palestinians, with the
            consequential changes in "the character of the state". But
            the evidence is that this isn't a major goal of most Palestinians
            in exile. Many of them would be satisfied (if not exactly over-
            joyed) by a settlement that contained a partial and constrained
            Right of Return, provided - crucially - that in granting it Israel
            accepted her share of responsibility for the plight of the
            Palestinians. In practical rather than symbolic terms,
            reparations would probably be more significant (though they
            would be symbolically important too).

            >It has been so ingrained in me, or I've been so indoctrinated, that
            >contemporary Judaism = Zionism, that it feels quite disloyal to think
            >that an honest examination of the facts is leading me to become an
            >anti-Zionist! It's totally different from the experience of thought
            >having led me to become an atheist. There have been, and are, many
            >atheist Jews. It horrifies some, no doubt, but to express anti-
            >Zionist sentiments seems to horrify in a quite different way.

            I sympathise, but never having been a Zionist I feel quite
            differently about it. As I understand it, following traditional
            Jewish ethics _requires_ one to protest against the injustice
            and oppression being inflicted on the Palestinians. The essence
            of the prophetic tradition is the protest against the assimilation
            of Judaism to power. Marc Ellis helped shape my thoughts
            on this theme. And there are other Jewish traditions that lead
            in the same direction. For example, in the recent past, Jewish
            social thought was as strongly in favour of social justice as it
            sometimes now seems to be against it! As I see it, arguing
            for justice for the Palestinians is the very opposite of a
            renunciation of Jewishness.

            Maurice
          • gbr2002uk
            Thanks very much for those observations, which have given me a lot to think about. I hope to reply when I ve done the thinking! All best Brian
            Message 5 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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              Thanks very much for those observations, which have given me a lot to
              think about. I hope to reply when I've done the thinking!
              All best
              Brian
            • gbr2002uk
              Since Brenner s book, the Zionist/Age/Dictators one has been mentioned, and since we re talking partly about the roots of Zionism, although you probably all
              Message 6 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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                Since Brenner's book, the Zionist/Age/Dictators one has been
                mentioned, and since we're talking partly about the roots of Zionism,
                although you probably all know about it, here's a link to his chapter
                on Blut und Boden &c --
                http://www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/ch02.htm

                The first time I read this, I was shocked, and when I heard him
                speak, I was even more shocked, although a little less skeptical and
                a little more convinced.

                Brian

                PS I got to know about this stuff through a pro-Zionist friend who
                kept sending me emails and attachments to convert me to a more robust
                Zionism and to educate me as to what dreadful anti-Israel stuff there
                was out there, much of it by Jewish hands! The more I followed up
                his references, the less dreadful I found many of them, and I
                actually regret finding that. Maybe it's like a staunch British
                imperialist of old suddenly finding that the Empire wasn't such a
                good thing after all.
              • Hanna Braun
                Dear Brian, Your message came to my address, among others. although I have no idea who Jews against Zionism are, are they a new group? - I am Jewish by
                Message 7 of 9 , Aug 3, 2003
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                  Dear Brian,
                  Your message came to my
                  address, among others. although I have no idea who "Jews against Zionism"
                  are, are they a new group? - I am Jewish by origin though not by practice or
                  belief. I am also a former Israeli citizen and grew up in Palestine in the
                  30s and 40s as a committed Zionist, member of the Haganah etc. For the last
                  23 years or so I have increasingly doubted the justification of a Jewish
                  state and nowadays I'm convinced that such a state, unless it's a theocracy
                  which most Israelis and Jews don't want, is a highly racist concept. Try to
                  imagine Britain, or any other democratic country, ruling that unless you
                  belong to the Anglo-Saxon, Norman or Celtic race, you may become a British
                  citizen - as long as you behave - but you will never be regarded as equal to
                  the former. Britain will never be your homeland, although you may be
                  tolerated here. Neither will you ever have equal rights, or for that matter,
                  be allowed to live anywhere you like in Britain, let alone purchase land.
                  this is what a "Jewish" or Zionist state is really about. By the way, most
                  of the religious establishment of world Jewry was firmly opposed to a Jewish
                  state till after the June 67 war.
                  To read: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Israel Shahak (holocaust survivor)
                  Image and reality of the Israel - Palestine Conflict, Norman Finkelstein
                  (son of holocaust survivors)
                  Out of the Ashes, Marc Ellis, Professor of theology in the USA and an
                  observant Jew.
                  There are also numerous excellent books by Palestinians, but maybe you'll
                  want to read some of those after the Jewish lot.
                  Happy reading,
                  Hanna Braun
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "gbr2002uk" <gbr2002uk@...>
                  To: <JustPeaceUK@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2003 6:55 PM
                  Subject: [JustPeaceUK] What are the implications?


                  > Thanks Deborah for the posting about the racist law as proposed (and
                  > by the way apologies for missing the author of one of your recent
                  > postings!).
                  >
                  > I'm wondering increasingly about the longer term implications of our
                  > (and others') criticisms of the Israeli State as a specifically
                  > Jewish one.
                  >
                  > For example, I've just signed, because I think it's right, the
                  > petition supporting the human rights of Palestinians, which is taken
                  > also to imply a Palestinian 'Right of Return'. But all my Zionist
                  > acquaintances and friends see such a move as the beginning of the end
                  > of the State of Israel.
                  >
                  > Although I've been a reader/participant of *this* site for some
                  > months, I'm still not sure how anti-Zionist it is (as compared, say,
                  > to JAZ, Jews Against Zionism)?
                  >
                  > I'm fairly much of a latecomer to the realisation that equating
                  > Zionism and Judaism may have been a terrible mistake.
                  >
                  > I wish I could remember the name of the Rabbi who, a year or two ago,
                  > wrote an article in the Guardian, saying that perhaps the time had
                  > come to differentiate Israeli Jews from Diaspora Jews, in the sense
                  > that maybe Diaspora Jews should let Israel go its own way. (I hope
                  > I'm not misrepresenting him.)
                  >
                  > If we (I'm assuming 'we' is a sort of left-liberal consensus) get all
                  > we are asking for, is this in effect the beginning of the end of
                  > Israel as a Jewish state? And do we actually really want that?
                  >
                  > Any references to existing books, articles, discussions would be very
                  > welcome - thanks in advance.
                  >
                  > Best wishes
                  > Brian Robinson
                  > Milton Keynes
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > JustPeaceUK-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  >
                  > If you wish to join the group that plan and design our events/activites
                  you are more than welcome to join JustPeaceactive@egroups.com (a sub-group
                  for those who carry out the actual work).
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Hanna Braun
                  Charles, I fully agree that what you are is largely affected by how you are perceived to be. I feel in a way like Adam, with the proviso that if anyone makes
                  Message 8 of 9 , Aug 3, 2003
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                    Charles,
                    I fully agree that what you are is largely affected by how you are perceived
                    to be. I feel in a way like Adam, with the proviso that if anyone makes an
                    anti-Semitic (or rather, an anti Jewish) remark, I become Jewish
                    immediately. Ilya Ehrenburg was once asked why, as an atheist, communist,
                    and anti-Zionist, he still proclaimed he was a Jew. His reply was that as
                    long as there was anti-Semitism, he would remain a Jew. That strikes me as
                    truly reasonable.
                    Hanna
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: <charlespottins@...>
                    To: <JustPeaceUK@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2003 4:25 PM
                    Subject: Re: [JustPeaceUK] Re: What are the implications?


                    > No, Zionism is not "what is left of Judaism" after religion is taken out,
                    nor
                    > is it an integral part of Judaism. There is a Jewish people, formed by
                    > historic conditions, and therefore a Jewish "identity", regardless of any
                    "ism".
                    > If how you are conceived by others affects what happens to you, or has
                    done,
                    > and may do in the future, that is objective, material - whether it is
                    class,
                    > caste or people that we are talking about. There is no such thing as
                    "race",
                    > let alone a "Jewish race", and as some people are very keen to explain to
                    us, no
                    > such thing as "Semites" (or Arabs, and for that matter, Maltese and most
                    > Ethiopians are "Semites", viz. speakers of a Semitic language). But there
                    are sure
                    > as hell racists, and antisemites, and no amount of academic chochma or
                    pilpul
                    > will dispel these facts.
                    > If you are Jewish, that's what you are, whether you want to believe in a
                    > religion, or keep its outmoded rules, or associate with other Jews, or
                    what. You
                    > don't have to be Zionist to be Jewish, nor vice versa - in fact Gentile
                    > Zionism, as a belief that Jews should be removed (sorry "restored") to
                    Palestine, was
                    > going well before Theodor Herzl, having decided assimilation was a
                    > failure(post-Dreyfus) set up the World Zionist Congress.
                    > Under conditions in Russia and Poland where Jews were segregated and
                    > restricted, they developed a distinct Jewish culture, a secular identity,
                    linked
                    > particularly with the Jewish labour movement. In the countries to which
                    these Jews
                    > emigrated they were under presssure both from different circumstances and
                    > deliberate leadeships to abandon their language and culture - to become
                    > more-English -than -the-English in Britain, to shed the despised Diaspora
                    traits for an
                    > articificial Zionist Hebrew culture in Israel. But later Zionism learned
                    to
                    > use the most backward aspects of European Jewish identity and culture to
                    > reinforce itself - witness all those bizarre black hats in a Middle
                    eastern country.
                    > Everybody-hates-us-so-we-must-be right, G-d is on our side, etc. A nation
                    > like unto the other? G-d forbid!
                    > Judaism has probably been "on the way out" in the United States since
                    George
                    > Washington's day, never mind the other George W.. but it is a long time
                    going.
                    > The United States is supposed to separate Church and state, but it keeps
                    > invoking the Almighty everywhere from schoolrooms to dollar notes, and
                    calls
                    > itself "God's own country". Freedom of conscience is confused with
                    freedom to
                    > worship - it does not extend to atheists. You have everything from Bible
                    belt
                    > fundamentalists who believe a nuclear armageddon started in the Middle
                    East would
                    > bring the second coming, to registered tax exempt West Coast witches.
                    > Witch-hunting only goes after reds. So, especially after McCarthy, some
                    liberals who
                    > in Europe would not dream of going near church or synagogue have found
                    that
                    > in America, its best to "belong", even if you set up your own version of
                    > religion. (Not that the UK is necessarily more enlightened -witness the
                    rejection
                    > of humanists to broadcast on the BBC Thought for the Day. Here you don't
                    have
                    > to Believe, but you do have to pretend, and you dare not suggest there are
                    > alternatives)
                    > As for secular identity - there are Irish-Americans, German-Americans,
                    > Italian-Americans, Afro-Americans and Native Americans etc. So what would
                    it mean,
                    > a Jew pretending he's "just American"? Is that Kike pretending he's a
                    Wasp or
                    > something?
                    > Jews have got on in America, some in Hollywood, some in the shmatte trade,
                    > now some it seems in the nutty intellectual fringe of the Bush
                    administration.
                    > But always at a price. In the past it meant hiding any suggestion of a
                    Jewish
                    > interest for fear of antisemitism or being charged with disloyalty,
                    > un-Americanism. Witness the way Hollywood feared taking on Hitler at
                    first, and how
                    > ineffective Jews were at lobbying for Jewish refugees to be admitted (some
                    lobbied
                    > the other way, hence discovering the magic way to appease antisemitism
                    while
                    > being proudly Zionist). Witness the exagerrated loyalty of those Jews who
                    > joined McCarthy. And so on to today's neo-cons.
                    > At more grass-roots level people thrown back on their Jewish identity by
                    > historic events or social trends have often had no positive culture or
                    progressive
                    > tradition to turn to, they have been kept in ignorance. So they could
                    find
                    > an outlet in religion, even donning frummer garb their grandparents would
                    have
                    > laughed at, or chauvinist thuggery with Kahana's socio-psychopaths, or
                    just
                    > fundraising Zionism - which is so organised in the US the Internal Revenue
                    > Service must envy it.
                    > Part of the remedy, understood by some Jewish peace activists and
                    > progressives, whether secular or believers, though probably not by Lenny
                    Brenner, is to
                    > educate ourselves and our young with a positive Jewish culture and history
                    that
                    > provides a resource and identity that is not open for reactionary
                    > exploitation, but serves to link us with others aiming for a world free
                    from war and
                    > racism. No, this won't win the neo-cons and the racketeers (in business,
                    politics
                    > or religion), but it will help us make things more difficult for them.
                    >
                    >
                    > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    > JustPeaceUK-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                    >
                    > If you wish to join the group that plan and design our events/activites
                    you are more than welcome to join JustPeaceactive@egroups.com (a sub-group
                    for those who carry out the actual work).
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >
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