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Mid-east politics gone haywire

The Mid-East seems to have gone crazy over the past week – Zionist communications fundi Bev find the perspectives for us



Wacky World

Bev Goldman is the doyen of South African Zionist communicators – having spent almost a decade at the helm of the SAZF’s communications department, producing the FedSpeak newspaper and running Media Team Israel.

To keep Jewish Report readers current, Bev scans dozens of op-ed pieces in SA and the world media on Zionism so that she can offer us her weekly pick of the best and most interesting, challenging and positive Zionist reading. Bev is also deeply involved in Zionist education.


NOTE: The views expressed in certain articles are not necessarily those of the South African Zionist Federation


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  1. Choni

    Nov 29, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I sincerely would like to know more details of Ms. Goldman’s deep involvement of Zionist education.

    For many years I have studied Religious Zionism, and would gladly like to offer Ms. Goldman any material she might find interesting.

  2. Ant Katz

    Nov 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

    ‘Hello Choni – I will allow Bev to respond herself if she so chooses – but I do know that her Zionist Educational activities fall under the auspices of the SAZF, the JA, Israel Centre and Media Team Israel. These are all secular organisations, and, to the best of my knowledge they leave Religious Zionist teaching to those most qualified to do offer this.
    \nShabbat Shalom to you and Miriam
    \nAnt Katz, online editor

  3. Ant Katz

    Nov 29, 2013 at 10:02 am

    ‘Hello Choni – I will allow Bev to respond herself if she so chooses – but I do know that her Zionist Educational activities fall under the auspices of the SAZF, the JA, Israel Centre and Media Team Israel. These are all secular organisations, and, to the best of my knowledge they leave Religious Zionist teaching to those most qualified to do offer this.

    Shabbat Shalom to you and Miriam

    Ant Katz, online editor

  4. Choni

    Nov 29, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Thanks Ant, Sorry I did not realise that there is another type of Zionism other than Religious Zionism.

    To me it is akin to reform Judaism vs. Orthodox Judaism.

    I would very much like to know the definition of a secular Zionist.  To me it is a clear oxymoron, especially one who lives outside of Israel.

    Perhaps Bev could explain it better.

  5. Bev Goldman

    Nov 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

    ‘Hi, Choni

    Good to hear from you again. 

    I have quite a long history of involvement with Zionism, especially since having joined the SAZF some 12 years ago.   I have dealt with secular Zionism only, as you are no doubt aware from reading the postings.  The Zionist organisations (if not their leaders) with which I am associated are all secular, and I have chosen to stay out of the Religious Zionism corner; but thanks for your offer of material anyway.  Should I at some stage require it, I will certainly get in touch with you. 

    As far as the collations are concerned, please remember that they are a mixture of some of the most challenging and contentious writings from (predominantly secular) well-known local and international political analysts, not always articulating our sentiments, but because they are in the public domain, they need to be heard.  As we all know, we need to keep our enemies close; and by giving our readers a glimpse into the other side, I think it gives them the opportunity to understand just how far we digress from one another.  It also allows us more scope to defend ourselves from unjust criticism precisely because we know what the criticism is and how we can counter it.

    I’m very pleased you read the articles as I am sure they give you much food for thought and content for discussion at the Shabbat table.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy gathering them together.

    Shabbat shalom

    Bev Goldman

  6. Ant Katz

    Nov 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    ‘Sorry, Choni,
    \nThat is such a supercilious statement that I don’t think it warrants an answer. I will deliberate over Shabbos as to whether you are in one of your “pretend-to-be-an-ignoramus” moods to infuriate either me or the vast majority of Zionists, or if you are in one of those moods where you are trying (once again) to purposefully get as many people who self-identify as real Zionists as possible to leave this website. Given that you probably represent 0.0-something of a percent of SA Jewry who self-identify as what you choose to define as a Zionist, I somehow think it is most likely that you are just bored. Come to think of it, having allowed you to sprout such rubbish on the website, I think it is incumbent on me to respond after Shabbos – lest other users think there is any merit whatsoever in the rubbish you have sprouted.’

  7. Choni

    Nov 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Believe me Ant, I am not out to infuriate you or anyone else . I am only concerned with the future well-being of the young Jews living in S.Africa.

    To my mind Zionism is the only secure future for exile Jews, and therefore a Zionist education is vital.

    However, this Zionist education should be based on God’s purpose for His people. Surely anyone can see that true Zionism must be the ultimate gathering of all Jews into the Land that God has given us.

    This ingathering is happening before our eyes for the past 65 years. From 650000 Jews in 1948 there are now over six and a half million Jews living in much of biblical Israel (Num. 34;1-15).

    While most Jews living in Israel are ‘secular’, every Jew living in Israel is a ‘religious’ Zionist.

    I believe this is the Zionist education that should be taught to young Jews living in the Diaspora.

    Is there any other Zionism? If there is I would like to hear it.

    Once again Ant; I’m sorry you find me supercilious ( it worries me not at all), and I’m certainly not bored, and if keep sprouting rubbish, I would suggest your readers debate this rubbish. I think you might be supercilious in labelling my comments rubbish. But that is your right

    Bev; Thanks for your reply. I hope you don’t find me supercilious as well.

    My question does not concern your choice of articles as such, but only with the type of Zionism which you proscribe.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  8. Ant Katz on behalf of a user

    Dec 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    ‘Hi Choni – A very right-wing and very active Zionist friend sent me an answer to your question about what is non-religious Zionism. It may seem a little disjointed but I am posting it as he wrote it.


    – How can you say that somebody living in Johannesburg is less Zionist that you or I are?

    – There are various interpretations and streams of our Judaism and our Zionism – and nobody has ever appointed any of us to judge between them.

    – 88 percent of American Jews are not Orthodox. Can you say that their contribution is any less Zionist than yours?


    – Because Jews are thinkers, there are various approaches to Zionism and Religion amongst us. There are more people (by number) studying Torah today than there were in the 1930s.

    – How can you say that religious Zionism is the only form of Zionism. I have a close relative in Israel. He is a Sabra, a Jew and a paratrooper. But he has never practiced any form of religious Judaism. He cannot even say a bracha. Is his contribution to Zionism any less than yours or mine is?

    – What is a Zionist? He is a person who believes that the land of Israel belongs to us Jews.

    – What makes Lord Balfour any less of a Zionist than you or I?

    – What about the millions of Christian Zionists who

    fight for us to retain our land, does it make them any less Zionist than us?

    The ingathering of the exiles is happening, in front of our eyes. The exiles – millions of them – are going home.’

  9. Ant Katz

    Dec 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    ‘Hi Choni, I Googled “what is the definition of zionism” and took the first six definitions that came up so I could ensure that I was not influenced in any way whatsoever. Here’s what I found, with the references for your interest – the simple answer is that it had a single meaning before 1948 – and since has had a wide spectrum of different meanings to different people.

    The commonthread, however, is political…


    \”The Jewish Virtual Library\” defines the term “Zionism” as having been coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum. Its general definition means the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.  

    Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948,

    Zionism has come to include the movement for the development of the State of Israel and the protection of the Jewish nation in Israel through support for the Israel Defence Forces.

    From inception, Zionism advocated tangible as well as

    spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions – left, right, religious and secular – formed the Zionist movement and worked together toward its goals.

    Disagreements in philosophy has led to rifts in the Zionist movement of the years and a number of separate forms have emerged, notably: Political Zionism; Religious Zionism; Socialist Zionism and Territorial Zionism.



    says Zionism is a form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that supports a Jewish nation state in the territory defined as the Land of Israel. Zionism

    supports Jews upholding their Jewish identity, opposes the assimilation of Jews into other societies and has advocated the return of Jews to Israel as a meansf or Jews to be a majority in their own nation, and to be liberated from anti-Semitic discrimination, exclusion, and persecution that had historically occurred in

    the diaspora… Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state and address threats to its continued existence and security. In a less common usage, the term may also refer to non-political, cultural Zionism; and political support for the State of Israel by non-Jews, as in Christian Zionism.



    defines Zionism as “political support for the creation and development of a Jewish homeland in Israel” and offers a fuller definition as “an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel.”


    The Free Dictionary

    defined Zionism thus: A Jewish movement that arose in the late 19th century in

    response to growing anti-Semitism and sought to re-establish a Jewish homeland

    in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of

    the state of Israel.



    Oxford says Zionism is a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and

    (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.

    It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and

    was later led by Chaim Weizmann.

    Oxford adds a second interesting definition: “(in southern

    Africa) a religious movement represented by a group of independent Churches

    which practise a form of Christianity incorporating elements of traditional

    African beliefs – the beliefs and practices of the African Zionist movement.


    \”\” says Zionism is a political movement among Jews (although supported by some non-Jews) which maintains that the Jewish people constitute a nation and are entitled to a national homeland. … From 1917 it focused on the establishment of a Jewish national homeland or state in Palestine, the location of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. Since 1948, Zionism has been a movement to support the development and defence of the State of Israel, and to encourage Jews to settle there.

    The Jews and Zion – the word \”Zionist\” is derived

    from the word \”Zion\” being one of the names of Jerusalem, as mentioned in the Bible. It was coined by an Austrian Jewish publicist Nathan Birnbaum in his journal Self Emancipation in 1890.  Zionism has always had both religious and secular aspects, reflecting the dual nature of Jewish identity, as both a religion (Judaism) and as a national or ethnic identity (Jewishness). Many religious Jews opposed Zionism, while some of the founders of the State of Israel were atheists. Religious Jews believe that since the land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael) was given to the ancient Israelites by God, the right of the Jews to that land is permanent and inalienable. To generations of diaspora Jews, Zion

    has been a symbol of the Holy Land and of their return to it, as promised by God in Biblical prophecies. (See also Jerusalem, Jews and Judaism). Despite this, many religious Jews were not enthusiastic about Zionism before the 1930s, and many religious organisations opposed it on the grounds that an attempt to re-establish Jewish rule in Israel by human agency is blasphemous, since only the Messiah can accomplish this. The secular, socialist language used by many pioneer Zionists was contrary to the outlook of most religious Jewish communities.’

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New York Times rebuked

Paper’s public editor rebukes The New York Times reporter for asking PhD candidate David McCleary, pic. ‘demeaning’ questions as he didn’t look Jewish





A reporter for the New York Times came under fire for asking a Jewish Ph.D. candidate “insulting and demeaning” questions for an article on the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on college campuses across the US.

The questions that were asked of University of California, Berkeley candidate David McCleary, included whether he “looked Jewish” given his apparently non-Jewish sounding last name and whether he had had a barmitzvah.

NYT rebuked

RIGHT: The New York Times Editor weighs in on ‘demeaning’ questions to Jewish PhD student.

McCleary promptly wrote to the office of the New York Times’ public editor, whose job it is to respond to questions of the newspaper’s integrity.

He said he was “displeased” that his remarks were withheld from the ultimate publication of the story and that no Jewish student who supports the BDS movement on campuses was quoted.

McCleary’s complaint to the Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, who in the end agreed that such questioning was “unprofessional and unacceptable,” underlined the brouhaha around an article published by the newspaper last Saturday about the BDS movement and its consequences on college campuses.

Responding to Sullivan’s admission, McCleary told the Algemeiner: “While the Jewish litmus test I received was offensive, it isn’t nearly as offensive as the New York Times ignoring my voice and thousands like me who are Jewish students in favour of BDS for Israel.”

Piece didn’t provide evidence 

Critics of the story have argued that the piece itself did not provide much evidence to back the complaint of its headline, which states that the BDS issue “drives a wedge” between Jews and minority groups on campus.

“To make this into a ‘Minority vs Jewish’ question, without supplying evidence, is to distort the issue,” said David Nasaw, the Arthur M Schlesinger Junior professor of history at Graduate Centre, City University of New York.

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Unique baby names @ just $31k

Expectant parents who are struggling to find a unique name for their baby are in luck. JTA reports this Swiss company will do it for you, for just $31,000!





Expectant parents, if you’re paging through baby name pages looking for a unique name to no avail (have you checked ours yet?), you’re in luck. Erfolgswelle – a Swiss firm that specialises in naming babies – will happily volunteer its 32 person staff to spend 100 hours searching for unique, copyright-free names for your child.

All for the tune of $31,000, because who needs a college fund really? Squares, that’s who, and you’ll be damned if your kid becomes anything less than the uniquely-shaped polygon he or she was born to be.

But, writes Suzanne Samin on JTA’s KVELLER, “in all seriousness, I totally get wanting a special name for your kid. I just don’t get spending an arm and leg for it by contracting out a service like this one. But, to each his or her own, and if you’re really into the idea of hiring out a monolith to name your child, they’re offering to reimburse the full charge for the first couple to report their new baby name to the media within two weeks of receiving it.”

How cute is this? Not $31,000 – that’s for sure!

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Darth Zeder & a wonky knee

Special needs self-styled “passenger from hell” on ElAl couldn’t match his needs with his budget.





Will I fly ElAl again next time? Hell yeh! Not only were they great at what they do, they and came through with ‘flying’ colours!

In a recent BLOG BY ANT KATZ, SAJR Online’s editor asks: “What is it with SA Jewry and ElAl?” Ant says that “SA Jewry fall into the pro- or anti-ElAl camp,” and then proceeds to give an account of his own experience of flying with the airline last month.

In the blog entitled: “Facts, fun and fallacies about ElAl,” Katz says that it was “the hapstance of timing” that had resulted in his flying on the Airline. “As it happened, on the week I was travelling, ElAl offered the lowest price, most suitable times for me, and, what’s more, the only non-stop route which was important as embarking and disembarking was going to be difficult for me at the time.

Passenger from hell

“You see,” says Ant Katz, “on this trip, I was the customer from hell! I was a special-needs passenger who could not match his needs with his budget. I needed wheelchair assistance to board and disembark, a seat with extra legroom and a 110 or 220v electric plug” at his seat.

“Suffice it to say, in a very Jewish and/or Israeli way, one way or another, my needs were met completely, against ElAl policies and despite all the naysayers” in the community, blogs Ant. “Here’s the thing… the one simple fact: In so many ways, ElAl was incredible.”

He proceeds to share his tale about ElAl policies being the most stringent he has ever encountered, and accuses the ‘serial complainers’ in the community of having “groomed” him to expect otherwise.

As it turned out, ElAl moved heaven and earth to accommodate him – even sending a technical team to modify a plane close to midnight at Ben Gurion airport. 


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