To Hell With It

Henceforth, people who pick fights, throw about insults, call people self-hating Jews, suggest others are converting to Islam (as if being a Muslim is an insult), or engage in similar acts of disrespectful behavior will A) have their comments deleted and B) have their IP blocked from the site. If you can not behave like a mature adult and engage in mindful debate, you are no longer welcome in this forum.

On that note, please folks, don’t feed the trolls, because your comments will suddenly lose context once their’s disappear.

53 thoughts on “To Hell With It

  1. in other words mobius, the self proclaimed anrarchist, will now censor postings and posters so that only those who conform to his political and social views will be allowed to post here; isnt this the way the communists and nazis operated? hey mobius, is this posting enough to get me banned?

  2. I think that the intention here is that you can state any opinion you like as long as you do so politely.
    For example rather than comparing Mobius to Nazi you might have inquired as to whether it is the content or the phrasing that is at issue here, and whether you should still feel free to have an opinion that may differ from his.
    My only issue is that it seems that having just one person decide what is hateful and what is just a heated debate may not be very democratic.
    No offense Moby but I do know you tend to get a little hot around the collar when people attack you on issues close to your heart.
    Maybe there is a way to make this a little more even handed (like some way that posts can be rated by other members as offensive and if it gets a certain number of votes it will be removed…
    I know that’s complicated, maybe someone here can think of a better system…
    Anyway, although I agree with you in theory I find that level of editing by one person to be a bit much for my taste.

  3. Whatever shifra– a blog is not a democracy. Mobius owns the site, and pays all expenses for the site. It’s his to manage as he pleases, and its for him to reap the benefits of his investment. He doesn’t owe any of us anything.

  4. shifra, ok, following your lead, and out of concern for the tender mercies of mobius, a boy of very thin skin, let me ask the following of the self proclaimed anarchist: oh massa, may i use any of the following words in these posting – fuck, shit, fringe, leftist, asshole, self-hating christian, anti semite, anti christian, anti american, self hater? also, would you please provide a list of any other banned words;
    oh g-d of all thats politically correct, may i criticize noam chomsky; saint rachel cory; adam shapiro; jews for peace now; ism; columbia university; eduard said; asaf; you?
    oh he that joins fcc in protecting us from janet jacksons bared breast and other upsetting matters, is pointing out the similarities of certain liberal and now i guess anarchist positions to those of nazis, commys, the kind of disrespect to be avoided?
    oh, he that tiptoes on eggshells out of loving concern for the sensibilities of his fellow posters, can we look to the banning of all postings that attack the “settlers”, frum jews, hassids, black-hats, conservative jews, bush, republicans, conservatives? just what are the “protected” groups that are off limits here?
    look forward to your answers to my urgents enquiries, if necessary i will turn myself into the thought police for readjustment therapy

  5. Avi, I suspected you were more conservative than that. Do you believe in private property? If this is Mobius’ property, he can do with it as he wishes and we can go elsewhere. If you are really troubled, you should stop reading and posting.

  6. A suggestion:
    A friend of mine was telling me about something similar to what shifra was talking about where posts get rated and users have the opurtinity to set the minimum rating level of the post they see… in a system like this posters like our friend from Farquat Siddiqui would be rated -1 and therefore only read by people who set their ratings to read ALL posts.
    I’m not sure what this technology’s called, but it’s out there.
    Just a thought.

  7. y, have you ever read those stories of the believing commys in stalinist russsia of the 30’s who falsely renounced themselves as counterrevolutionairies, even knowing that doing so would result in their execution, because they so believed in communism that they emotionally had to do whatever the party asked of them? dont become one of them.
    whatever your personal beliefs, you must realize that mobius, a self proclaimed anarchist, suddenly reaches the height of political correctness and hypocracy by establishing content and morality filter for postings here.
    yes, it is mobius’s property and he can do what he wants with it; but dont you just see how his position, akin to the creeping pc censorship on our college campuses now inflitrating much of society (including per mobius this site) represents the greatest challenge to free speach and the free exchange of ideas since the 1950’s mccarthur era?

  8. avi, i don’t see you complaining about LGF or free republic, which do ban people for their political views. nowhere in my post did i state that i would ban people for their political views. in fact, in order to make the site more palatable to people with a broad range of opinions, my desire is to weed out all the unsavory types who keep dragging the discourse down to the lowest imaginable level. and that would include you. so keep it up buddy, cuz you will be first to go. and i say good riddance, at that.

  9. hey mobius, i have never read the free republic, and if lgf bans comments, they shouldnt. but we are talking about you, dude, a self proclaimed anarchist, now censoring postings – if you cant take the heat, then censor me, it is your site; but you might ask yourself whether its the fragility of your positions that is causing you to join the bookburners of the world

  10. “we are talking about you, dude, a self proclaimed anarchist, now censoring postings”
    jewschool, unlike my other site jakeneck, does not operate anarchistically. beyond the greatly appreciated contributions of my friends, it is a one man show, and it thus, de facto, operates hierarchically. i try to employ anarchism as much in my life as i possibly can, but sometimes, it is imcumbent upon a person to do what they feel is necessary beyond the wishes of the community around them.
    part of being an anarchist is not being orthodox about anything and acknowledging one’s freedom to deviate from their general philosophy in order to strive ever still towards their highest ideals. in that, sometimes anarchism in application can hold one back from attaining their higher aspirations even as an anarchist. therefore, if we are talking about improving the quality of jewschool so that it may better server a larger community and allow for more palatable and engaging discussions, than i am willing to forgoe my anarchistic tendencies to make that happen.
    ie., i’m an anarchist, but i try to balance my economic approach between anarcho-socialism and anarcho-capitalism, and in that, i believe in personal property. jewschool’s my house, and you’re a guest here. if you can’t respect me and the other guests in my home, i’ll be happy to show you the door.

  11. mobius, let me understand you, you are an anarchist, except when it makes better sense not to be an anarchist; well guess what, im a socialist, except when it makes more sense to be a capitalist; im a jew, except when it makes more sense to be a muslim; im an american, except when it makes more sense to be a tibetan – i love a person of principle. youre right about one thing, this is your site, you can do whatever you want, you are mildly amusing as representative of a certain type, much more interesting are many of your posters, who engage in what you would consider verbotten posting. when you get rid of them and me, your site will be that much less worthwhile, but i guess it didnt bother the commys/nazis that their societies were far less interesting, at least they got rid of their anti-social elements.

  12. BTW, mobius –
    A distinction must be made between private and personal propetry.
    Anarcho-socialists who accept such a distinction dont need to borrow from anarcho-capitalism the idea that jewschool may be ‘owned’ by you.
    One may believe that companies and countries should be ‘owned’ in a democratic way collectively. at the same time, the idea that people cannot have an intimate place that is only theirs (a house) is betraying the whole idea of anarchism in the first place, so the concept of personal propetry must inherently be introduced.
    a website used to express certain political views CAN be owned collectively by a group of people, but there is nothing un-socialist in a privately owned website. it corresponds to the spirit of anarchism.
    regarding your censorship – it does not contradict anarchist principles in general, since this is your private space where you invite people to express their views politically. but while there is no contradiction, the spirit of free speech is lacking. this is more of an aesthetic judgement, and its up to you.
    all in all, avi green has a right to complain about such ‘censorship’ but that makes him a big hypocrite. it is obvious from his posts that people like you or me do not deserve free speech according to him (after all, I am responsbile to the death of babies, etc). it is funny how he is acting suddently like a big democrat. just like feiglin – another person who has no respect to democracy until it comes to his own freedoms.

  13. political speech is protected speech. verbal attack and incessant denigration is not. it’s called harassment and under u.s. law it is illegal. slander and libel are also illegal. i support free speech, but i do not support harassment and slander, and i will not permit this site to be abused to those ends any longer.
    if i am to be regarded as a hypocrite for this reason, so be it. i’m a hypocrite. but at least i’m a hypocrite for a good cause.

  14. asaf, as much as i find your postings vile, i have never said you dont have the right to express your viewpoint – but i have the right to point out the end result of your postings also, thats part of free speech – each of us may think the other is a vile asshole whose thoughts are leading to the destruction of civilization (or in your case to the cause of jews and israel), that has nothing to do with your RIGHT to express such thoughts (suggest you take class on logic and the 1st ammendment); as to mobius, mobius, you dont need me to do or say anything, you clearly dont like to be responded to in the tone and temperment in which you post, its your right to censor, do it, whenever.

  15. Avi:
    It seems to me what Mobius is trying to get across here is that a senseless personal attack is no longer acceptable. I don’t agree with many things that are posted on this site and have gotten involved in several thread discussions on the differences. I TRY and hope I succeed in not directly attacking an individual for there view. I TRY to attack the view directly, or perhaps I should say I try to discuss the view directly.
    There is a defined difference between debate and personal attacks. And from MY perspective you have frequently gotten into a habit of personal attacks, with out discussing the issue at hand. Asaf and John Brown are two of the people you frequently attack just for posting, with out discussing the issue about which they are posting. Occasionally I will agree with the point you are trying to make but you turn me off from you opinion just for the way you say things.
    My only comment directed to you directly is that while I respect your right to censor anyone on the sight, I also agree with Shifra that only one person’s opinion MAY be a problem. Having said that, I understand what you are trying to accomplish and support that goal. The site has been both educational and entertaining since I found it, I hope it will continue to be. The discourse is useful for all who participate.

  16. Weird Mobius, weird. Like I said, I know so many people who read your site (Jewschool), and benefit from the debate. But while I find the comparisson of Jews to Nazi’s quite vile, at least it’s obvious, and the poster looks silly. While you have other folks who continue to post crap about Israel, Zionists (and one may be tempted to include Jews, but we seperate those things now and days) with very little context, and not many counter points either. For the record, YOU never do this. I’ve always found you to be balanced visavis your posts and comments. Anyway, in the spirit of banning, I’d also ban those posters with the motivation to use your site to paint Zionists/Israel with a black mark, Why? Because they won’t be so easily dismissed from many folk who read your site and know little about the ME conflict.
    It’s funny Dan, but I can’t help but wonder if John Brown, who got his ass handed to him in one of the posts below, emailed you all sniffy and stuff and asked for this kind of support. And yes, it does sound very LGF. It’s too bad. Personally, I’d be willing to put up with Brown and Green. Why? They’re not trolls. Ban the trolls. Leave the debate wide open.

  17. Well, I have to say that Avi has, at the very least, dispelled any notion that Mobius is an anarchist. It’s okay, Mobius, Anarchy is an untenable ideology anyway (kinda like Libertarianism except without the rich guys).
    You know, Avi, when you are not aggressively insulting your opponent in a debate, you can still get across that they are wrong or in the wrong. It’s much easier to ignore comments when they include rude content.
    Mobius, I know your intentions are good, but beware the power of the delete button.

  18. “Mobius, I know your intentions are good, but beware the power of the delete button.”
    Since Mobius had been known to dish out the odd ad hominem, and then apologizes for being in a “mood” or something like that, if he get’s banned, who runs the site?

  19. How difficult is it to understand the difference between:
    “Do you UNDERSTAND what the result of your position is?!”
    “You are a dumbass, self-hating, Nazi-loving Jew!”
    I think that the majority of us can agree that if you cannot carry on meaningful conversation at a mature level, then you have little to add to our discussions.
    Don’t try to hide behind this policy of Mobius’ as a censorship or political issue. That’s just lame. He’s basically saying, act like an adult or he’ll put you in time out.
    Imminently reasonable.

  20. “He’s basically saying, act like an adult…”
    And at times, an adult has to point out what one observes/feels. Y’know, read anything by Steeles and/or Irving. They don’t use words like death to Jews…Jews are this and that. No, they post crap about Israel…Israel…and Israel. So if a Jew spends all their posting power posting crap about Israel, I don’t think it is unreasonable to call ’em on their posting pattern.
    Personally, I find the use of the word “nazi” and “muslim”, as an attempt offend, to be distasteful. But I do believe that self-hating exists. And so if the shoe fits…

  21. fineline, you have just put your finger on the evil of pcness: if someone is a dum[b]sic ass, self-hating, nazi-loving jew (btw, wording i have never used), WHY SHOULDNT YOU BE ALLOWED TO CALL HIM/HER THAT? great britain has just passed a law banning the derogation of another religion: you know how it will be used: i bet to stop critics of the muslim religion from pointing out that it mistreats women and (at least as currently used) promotes terrorism. i believe both those statements to be true, and necessary to say if only so that muslims can reform themselves, but british pcness will soon stop that expression of ideas. all pcness sounds nice, lets be civil, lets not insult, etc. but it begins the winding road to censorship which then creeps into authoritarianism which leads to fascism/communism (or their ilk). so mobius, youre not a facist: but your attempt at censorship, if adopted by the wider society, could very will lead there [there, ive said it, will mobius pull the plug on avi?]

  22. TM I dont think you have a real grasp of what anarchism really is. An anarchist is not a hypocrite if he kicks out a rude friend or invited guest of his house. Jewschool is after all mobius’s house.
    Or if you want a more accurate analogy: jewschool is mobius’s political bulletin board. he puts the board it in his apartment’s garden, and people can stick on the board post-its with their comments. Whats wrong with him pulling off all the rude post-its, or for that matter – all of them? its his bulltein board in his garden.
    If this was the community bulletin board (that is, a collectively owned web-blog) that would be a totally different issue.
    You get to set the limits in your own private zone, even if this zone is publicly viewed. Dont like the pink-white colors of jewschool? too bad. start your own website. diversity and plurality – a very important anarchist principle, especially if you hate to compromise 🙂
    That being said, it is true that tearing down all the post-its with views that dont correspond to your own is not very anarchist in spirit, especially since the bulletin is made for public discourse. but thats again, an issue of aesthetics and not hypocritical. and mobius is not even doing that – all he is doing is cutting off stupid insults etc.
    avi green – i am happy to hear you are a libertarian when it comes to free speech.

  23. avi – that’s called a slippery slope argument, and it doesn’t hold water.
    streimel – john brown didn’t ask me to do anything. i posted about the jewish press getting the vatican story wrong and someone called me a self-hating jew. after reading danya’s recent remarks (and she is a person whose opinion i respect immensely) that was pretty much the last straw for me. also, i don’t dish out ad hominem. i get defensive when people attack me. it’s an admittedly weak point of my character which i am at least in recognition of and working on. that’s what a halakhic practice is about, isn’t it? personal refinement?
    tm – what is an anarchist anyway? i am an individual person who employs anarchy when i think it is an effective means to participate, and i believe social libertarianism is the ideal way for communities to structure themselves (and i can point you to a number of kibbutzim and ‘ur’butzim which employ anarchism quite successfully). i am neither wholly an anarchist nor wholly an orthodox jew. but i educate myself on the practices of both and give myself plenty of room to operate on all the levels inbetween. to be unwavering in one’s ideology is to be stagnant in the face of evolution. to everything there is a season. my submission to chaos and the flow of ä÷’’áä’s tao is extremely anarchistic in that sense, no? i am also, btw, a discordian pope and a subgenius minister, in case you’re unaware. once you factor these things into the equation it all starts to make a bit more sense.
    fineline – word. todah.

  24. One question – has any post been censored on this thread so far? If not, I don’t think the new policy will do much harm.
    Regarding heavily caveated, nuanced, mixed and qualified “anarchism” – anyone ever read the children’s story “Stone Soup”?

  25. nope, no posts censored yet … and it’s fun watching avi squirm cuz he’s just dying to cross the line … i’d call that a success

  26. In general, I agree with you Dan. And not only do I get sickened by people incorporating “Muslim” into the lexicon of insults, but whenever I tell my brothers/sisters that I was moved by the “call to prayer” in Jerusalem, I always get an ear full of garbage. Anyway, we all can use a little self-reflection every now and again, and perhaps this post is helping us achieve just that.

  27. Mobius, you’re a jack of a bunch of ideological trades and you can call yourself whatever you like, I certainly don’t care.
    Anarchy is anarchy and you ain’t no anarchist. As for Asaf’s “social libertarian…” please don’t get me started. You and Asaf are young enough that I can assume that when family and mortgages come along, anarchy might mean to you that your 2 year old had a big enough bowel movement that it leaked out of his diaper.
    My one serious comment on the subject is that you are right on the mark when you say “to be unwavering in one’s ideology is to be stagnant in the face of evolution.” Let me add to this that extremes are always wrong but sound really compelling because they represent impossible ideals – which is why it’s ideologically sound policy to hover somewhere near…the middle.
    By the way, censor all you want, or put people on notice all you want. For example, I was going to call you an attention whore because of some of your posts and different websites, but now I’m not going to because of your new policy. So I guess it’s working. 😉

  28. Perhaps we can do this /. style. They have a system for rating posts, and any post that is below a certain rating doesn’t show up. I’m not sure what it would take to implement that technology, but it would keep this community democratic while silencing the attack dogs.

  29. Oooooo-kaaaay….
    Methinks that Mr. Green misunderstands political correctness. I cannot imagine that Mobius, not particularly p.c. himself, would be advocating political correctness. No, Avi, what we are all trying to talk about here is simple, old-fashioned politeness and respect. And guess what? That’s something that many p.c.-haters want to bring back into public discourse. Let’s give it a shot.

  30. yusul, unfortunately, we don’t have the means to implement such a rating system at this time, and i fear some people might use it to silence opinions they disagree with, much in the way LGF and FreeRepublic send people to pounce on opinion polls. but i’ll keep it in mind. in the meantime, i am going to invoke my right to paradox and self-contradiction and arbitrarily rule on which remarks are acceptable in this forum.

  31. Avi:
    The problem is that you calling anyone who disagrees with you a self-hating, nazi-lover is a personal insult, not a comment on someone’s position in an argument. Why is that so hard for you to understand?
    It’s incredibly offensive–and quite telling, actually– that your immediate reaction to an dissent from your position is to call someone a Nazi. Methinks thou dost protest too much.
    Being as you’ve said some version of that to me, I can assertively state that not only am I really proud of my Jewishness, I REALLY hate Nazis.

  32. People, People,
    Correct me if I am wrong, Mobius, but i believe this whole thing started because of this “Farquat” character. And here is a sample of a comment by him…
    “Sam thinks hes so smart, well, hes not. Sam is a Philip Poke my Cock educated bastard, and his secret homo partner is a bilbo named John B. Bottom line; SAM IS A JEW.
    Concerned JEw
    Farquat Siddiqui [[email protected]] ”
    I got this under the post titled “New Jewschool Gear”
    It is further down the page (with the 2 t-shirt pics)
    I think we can all agree that such comments are innapropriate and if “Farquat” continues with such comments, i would support Mobius in banning him.

  33. purpgrl, im afraid you just dont get it. firstly, i dont think ive ever called anyone on this site “naziloving”. i have, however, pointed out an essential tool of naziism and communism is the suppression of free speech: that is now being practiced by mobius with the surprising support of a number of posters here. i can only ascribe their agreement with mobius to too many years of campus life being taught that we should all subscribe to certain liberal values, that no one should critique a group or religion based on the values they profess, and specifically to jews/israel/us, what israel does and what muslim terrorists do are morally equivalent, since some of the actions of both end up with dead bodies; since we shouldnt distinquish between the value systems of the israeli democracy and the muslim islamofascists, asaf is justified in deserting the israeli army, and hamas is labeled by the western press as a “militant” not a “terrorist” group. You know what all that gets you pruplgrl —-dead jewish babies. now there are occassionaly dead arab babies, but not because israeli soldiers specifically targeted them….the jewish babies are dead because a deranged muslim bouyed by religious belief thought he was morally right to try to murder those jewish babies. so do i go nuts when the belief systems purveyed by many of the leftist posters here justify the actions of muslim baby killers? yes, i see red, because its not just a little intellectual game, those people, particularly being jewish, justify the antisemitism of others. thats why i refuse to “joust” with the two or three posters who represent that extremism. I wouldnt debate david duke because hes a vile piece of shit with aberrant views unworthy of discussion; i wouldnt debate a child molester on the merits of paediphilic sex for the same reason; and i dismiss those two or three posters ive mentioned for the same reason.

  34. Anarchism – a tendency in political thought which stresses the usefulness of nonhierarchical possibilities in human organization.
    My definition, I guess, and perhaps too broad. But I’m not sure I understand how it’s related to this issue of banning posters.
    Avi is making a lot of noise about free speech. As we all know, the American conception of free speech is found in the First Amendment to the Constitution and in related court cases. As I recall, that amendment says something like “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” I don’t think people banning commenters on their weblogs is at all similar.
    Now, if the government blocked Avi Green’s IP address, so that he couldn’t post on any websites, and couldn’t start his own website in which he posted all his comments relating to JewSchool postings, there would be a free speech issue. As of right now, there is no free speech issue.

  35. avi, i’m not being a p.c. cop here. again, harassment and slander are not forms of protected speech, and prohibiting someone from engaging in harassment and slander has NOTHING to do with being politically correct. i’m not about being p.c., i’m about speaking truth. but truth, sir, can be spoken without invocation of insults and denigration of a person’s character. there is, for example, a huge difference between saying:
    “my concern is that the ideology you’re espousing has been utilized by unsavory types in the past to achieve a political ends i’m sure you’re more than uncomfortable with” and “you’re no better than a nazi!”
    you choose the latter form of expression, and that has a tendency to lower the level and quality of discourse on this site. and, as the owner, operator, publisher, and editor in chief of this site, i will no longer allow for our less civilized commentors to ruin everyone else’s good time. capiche?

  36. Yep, that’s just what I said about a million zillion posts ago. It’s called “manners” or “treating others with respect.” It is something that is surprisingly useful when attempting to get people to listen to your point of view.

  37. since mobius and many others seem to miss the point, my final comments on this thread (i think): mobus owns the site, he can do what he wants; “free speech” has two meanings, one is the constitutional protection against the government prohibiting it (thus ucla as a state institution is under prohibitions stanford is not); the other is the “common parlance” meaning that any person/institution who tries to stiffle expression has interfered with free speech, not in a constitutional sense but in a real world sense, its the later we have talking about
    now, for some of the little brains at work here, my calling someone a muslim convert conveys in shorthand the following: i dont think your views deserve response, youre such an idiot; your views are so abhorant that no jew who cares about anything jewish would hold them; youre views directly support islamofascists who are out to kill jews; it serves the further purpose of sublimating my desire to spit in their face for aiding jew murderers by insulting them with words (and mobius, if theres nothing wrong with islamofascism, then why object to my calling a poster a muslim convert); i guess i could spell it out each time, if youre so offended by my prior usage, i will
    much more important is the winding road analysis (yes mobius i know the cliche is to call it the “slippery slope”, my desire was to avoid the cliche and come up with something equivalent with a little more poetry with a sly reference to the beetles, but i guess small minds always go for the obvious pc version). the koran says jews are like monkeys; women may be beaten by the husband; womens testimony in court is worth 1/2 that of men. is it slander to say that the muslim religion as commonly practiced in arab lands mistreats women and non muslims? is it harrassment to say that the muslim religion as currently practiced is antithetical to western values; is it slander to say that one who leaves the fight against the muslim hordes attacking israel is a traitor? is it harrassment to say that one who leaves that fight is at heart a muslim and has essentially joined the enemy? thus mobius, at some point you would draw the line on that muddy trail (oh sorry, slippery slope). well mobius, thats why democrats (small d), libertarians, conservatives (small c) who are true to their principles dont draw the line, short of yelling fire in movie house (look it up mobius, you might learn something). the argument for free speech is that the pain and even embarrassment of being the target of nastiness is more than balanced by the value of having EVERY view expressed so that we are never shortchanges from being expossed to every fact, every thought that might ultimately benefit us. now dictators dont agree with that; those who dont like ideas dont agree with that; those insecure in their positions dont agree with that; those who are afraid they might face thoughts too disturbing dont agree with that; mobius doesnt agree with that.
    and mobius, feel free to call me an asshole any time you want, the feeling is certainly reciprocated.

  38. Avi, I think the first step on your winding road was already in the wrong direction. You need to learn to be able to draw distinctions between the religion of Islam and the cultures in which it is situated. Just as Judaism has been different when Jews have been surrounded by different cultures, so is Islam different in the Arab world than it is in South Asia, or China, or the U.S. You take every cultural problem of the Arab world and blame it on this monolithic concept of Islam that you have. It’s a common mistake of right-wingers these days, but I guess it helps if you want to go to war — or to keep one going.

  39. It’s true that many of the elements of Arab culture that are dysfunctional or barbaric (the tribal system, honor killings) did not arise with Islam and are not part of Islam (though they are often condoned by the clerics). Certainly useful information, especially when considering what role Islam should play in a projected freer, more civilized Arab world. But what does this have to do with wanting to go to war? And what do you mean by “keep[ing] one going” – does this mean continued US presence in Iraq, or the War on Terror in general?

  40. Avi:
    The thing I find most interesting about this thread is that you have actually expressed your opinions, not attacked the posters who disagree with you or you disagree with. It has actually been rather ‘pleasant’ to read your posts and actually get something other than senselessness. Your last post was, to me, the most interesting. You showed what you are thinking when you have used senseless attacks, and actually, to my mind, explained yourself. Frankly I would rather see you expand what you are trying to say, it certainly is much more understandable.
    I disagree with the major points you were making. Starting with Judaism, I don’t think Judaism has been different in different cultures, Jews have been different in different cultures. It is a small change in language, but a large change in meaning. Jews in different countries and cultures may have different outlooks on the world, but Judaism remains the same. With Islam, I believe it is much the same. Muslims in different countries may have different world views, though I am not fully convinced of that, but the religion itself is always the same. Having said that, are there members of the religion who are ‘outside’ the mainstream of the religion, sure there are, just as there are Jews who are outside the mainstream. But ALL religions reflect the cultural views from which they develope. Judaism developed in an enlightened progressive cultural basis. Does everything in Traditional Judaism fit with the ‘modern American’ view of the world, no, but that is to be expected when you consider how long ago it began it’s development. Are the ‘Muslim Extremists’ or ‘Islamist’ or what ever you want to call them up holding the ‘True Faith’ of Islam. I have no idea, there are a large number of Muslims, according to a lot of reports, that seem to agree with them. There are an increasing number of Muslims in both Europe and the United States who also agree with them, and the that would seem to remove it from strictly being an offspring of the ‘brutal’ arabic cultures and governments. Again I don’t know what is the ‘Truth’ about Islam. The few Muslims I know personally are very decent people who, to my knowledge, don’t support the extremist movements. But having said that, a medical doctor at the Cleveland Clinic was terminated from his surgical residency shortly after 9/11 for trying to high-five other doctors in the operating room as the new of what was happening in New York City and Washington D.C. was being circulated. This is a supposedly well educated, intellegent person who was happy at the deaths of thousands of innocents because of what HE preceived the situation to be.
    Just something to think about.

  41. even tho i hadnt planned to post on this thread any longer, since mob cant read, please note the following: a) i dont hate any religion; b) i do hate anything or anyone that harms jews, including nazis, communists, islamofascists, and their fellow travelers; and those whose views give moral support to that group of vile ones. as a believer in our constitution, i believe that group has the right to speak their thoughts; and as a believer in the constitution, i believe i have the right to identify them for what they are. i am actually surprised, mobi, that you dont hate that same group (the only difference being that you find the views of assaf non abhorant, and i find those views a direct justification and thus incitement to jew killing, on that, by a huge stretch of my imagination, i guess, just maybe, a person could exclude assaf from the “to hate” category).

  42. I think Little Wolf makes good points about a couple of things.
    One, it’s not really a good comparison to talk about Jews being different everywhere and Muslims being different everywhere. Islam is a converting religion, with emphasis on both words; Judaism is neither built around conversion nor built around being a “religion” — the concept doesn’t really fit.
    The other, it’s a bit mysterious to talk about Islam as an abstract people shorn of people. There are lots of Islams insofar as it’s practiced in many ways, but there’s no independent Islam that exists pure and untouched, any more than there is any Koran or, for that matter, Torah that exists independent of its interpretations. Put simply, one can’t not interpret.
    So I don’t really get it when people say, well, that’s not Islam. It certainly is Islam. The point is that there are other Islams, too, and Muslims have the power to go right on changing these.
    (Uh oh: suddenly I feel all philosophical. This is kind of scary.)

  43. Well, I tend to think that Judaism is what Jews do. I mean, obviously we have spent thousands of years since the destruction of the Temple trying to figure out what Judaism is. I think that “what Jews (who identify as Jews, so not including Freud or Marx) do” is about as good a definition as we can reach.
    So, you can understand how I see the comparison between Judaism and Islam as proper. Islam is what Muslims do. This is why I would never say that suicide bombings and terrorism are not to be taken seriously — they are done by believing Muslims and thus affect the character of Islam. On the other hand, if you think of history as the story of every person who ever lived, and add up everything every Muslim ever did, you would, I think, get a bunch of people living their lives and worshipping God and having kids and dying, same as with any other religion. For the most part. Muslims today have to deal with the direction of their religion, but this isn’t new — it’s what they’ve always been doing, and it’s what we have always been doing too. Like 8opus said: it is Islam, but so is lots of other stuff. Once you take into account the complex and evolving nature of religion, though, it doesn’t make sense to attribute actions to the motivating force of “religion” alone — culture, which is also always changing, plays a great role.

  44. Hmm, maybe I was mean to Freud and Marx. If you take Judaism as including “what everyone that either Chabad or Hitler would think was Jewish does,” and not just what people who identify as Jews do, then part of Judaism is becoming rabidly secular and denouncing religion to the high heavens. Doesn’t seem too implausible to me.

  45. Well, I tend to think that Judaism is what Jews do. I mean, obviously we have spent thousands of years since the destruction of the Temple trying to figure out what Judaism is.
    Sam: I think this definition is a good start. I’ve got two bones to pick w. it. The easy one first:
    1.) It explicitly (though probably not implicitly) ignores the various manifestations and differences in Jewish life pre-destruction of the Temple.
    2.) re: ‘Judaism is what Jews do’ I love it. But of course it raises everyone’s favorite question “What is a Jew?” or the less inflamatory “What should an ‘ideal Jew’ be pursuing?” Even if one attempts to focus simply on the Ashkenazic manifestation of Judaism there’s an enormous amount of variation.
    Do I embrace the secular Yiddish socialism of the Bund? The anarchism of Dovid Eydlshtadt or some of the other Sweatshop Poets? The theosophic-theurgic Kabbalah of the khasidim? Do I embrace Zionism lock-stock-and-gefilte fish like many of the early khalutsim? Or should I be heading back to Birobidzhan? Do I “acculturate” into American society like so many other 3rd generation American Jews? Or do I seek to self segregate myself with other like minded individuals in an ethnic enclave neo-shtetl? Do I strive to Soloveitchik’s Halakhic Man? Or Isaac Deutcher’s non-Jewish Jew?
    But that aside… I like your off the cuff? attempt at a definition…

  46. I dunno. “Jewishness” is what Jews do, maybe. But it seems to me that “Judaism” is a little bit less open-ended — surely it’s got to be in some way grounded in the Judaic tradition, which involves the Torah and stuff.
    That’s the difference between the Jewish and Muslim traditions, perhaps. Judaism wasn’t conceived as a “religion” (it’s not conversion-centric) but as a tradition, so we’re able to distinguish between Jewishness (what Jews do) and Judaism (the tradition).
    As opposed to Islam, which is explicitly a religion, so you don’t have that other, fully open-ended side. Islam is what Muslims do (“islams are what Muslims do?” whatever), but there’s got to be some link with Islam, some attempt to speak within that tradition. Imho.

  47. I dunno. I think the whole idea of “a religion” is a pretty Western idea, in that it comes more out of the Christian interaction with European states and Greek philosophy than from the inner nature of any particular tradition. Especially post-1789, when religion became a matter of “private” citizens as opposed to the “public” square.
    Religions themselves can’t call themselves just “religions;” it’s like circumscribing the areas about which they can speak with authority. That’s why the realm of the secular made up the whole “religion” idea. Pretty clever.
    To Lerxst:
    1) Didn’t mean to ignore those, but even then there were many Judaisms by my definition, insofar as there was a diaspora and that different Jews did different things to be Jewish.
    2) My definition is, if the UJA asks you for money, you’re a Jew! Judaism is what people whom the UJA asks for money do.
    And I like your list of off-beat Jewishnesses. I don’t see a need to choose among them. They’re all some manifestation of the sort of things that being Jewish can lead to.

  48. I think the whole idea of “a religion” is a pretty Western idea. I’ve written that here often in the past, but I guess I’m now repudiating it. I think it’s a pretty conversion-oriented idea; religions that seek to convert others without repudiating their require it.
    Judaism doesn’t recognise “religion” because it doesn’t distinguish between nationhood and belief system; to be a Jew is to be situated with regard to both. The converting religions, on the other hand, distinguish between these things. It’s maybe germane to think about the fact that “deen” can mean law in Hebrew whereas, in Arabic, it means religion: in the language of the Torah it’s the standard for all, in the language of the Koran it’s a marker of which standard you adhere to.
    Especially post-1789, when religion became a matter of “private” citizens as opposed to the “public” square.
    I think that’s quite a bit different: the goal there was to try and build a people in which multiple religions can coexist. So that was much more about a particular model for how to manage difference within the nation (privatise it), much in the way that the invention of religion had managed difference between the nations (adhere to it, without losing one’s national difference).

  49. Ha ha, this is too funny.
    The radical anarachist is now cencoring his website because its becoming too “mean.” Well, dont wowwy wittle mobi, we will all twy to be much much nicer from now on.

  50. lerxst
    I am a Yiddish Major and what I have felt is most educational atmosphere we experience as American Jews are heavily Zionist influence. Most of what I learn in Jewish studies has a common theme. The formation of Israel and it’s role in our current society is the most important thing to happen to Jewish in the past 2000 years. Yiddish and its’ culture is dissmised to a tiny blurb. In fact, the past 1000 years in Yiddish and East European culture is what makes up our current culture which we love today. I would hope that having the Jewish religion is important to all of us, and I am proud of the formation of Israel, but as an American Jew who is darn proud of my Lithuanian roots and where I am now. I want to share that with the world and more than I want to share Israel. Israel’s culture is very different from the American Jewish Culture which comes from a hard working immigrant population.

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