I was reading an article in the "Atheist Revolution" blog and I came across this snippet:

When I encounter a parent telling her children about Santa Claus, I may find it unfortunate that someone would lie to one's own child merely for entertainment purposes. The potential for harm here seems trivially small. I cannot say the same for the Muslim parent instructing his son in the virtues of martyrdom or the Christian who tells her daughter that her Jewish friends will go to hell because they have not been "saved."

Could we not add something like the following to the last sentence:

...or the jew who tells his kids that he's "chosen" and has a covenant with god that entitles him and his "people" to the land of Israel, and then uses that as justification for a bloody occupation of Palestine.

The one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is approaching (Dec. 27th) and I think we should take a look at where we've come since then. The Goldstone Report: buried. Settlements: expanding. Palestinian house demolitions: continuing.

As atheists, we should be appalled whenever religion is used to justify actions that result in suffering or death. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a child dies because a Christian Scientist eschewed Western medicine in favor of prayer. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a Muslim nutjob finds motivation in his religion to grab some firearms and gun down some people. Why are we silent when an ethnic group uses a story about chosen people and covenants in The Big Book of Jewish Fairy Tales (aka, the Old Testament) to justify what is looking more and more like a slow, methodical ethnic cleansing campaign? Why do the Jews need to have Jerusalem all to themselves? Why is it so important to them to have a Jewish majority that they'll turn Gaza into a prison camp and The West Bank into Swiss cheese where the Palestinians are forced to live on smaller and smaller plots of land and endure more and more restrictions on their movement? If this were being done to a Jewish population they'd be screaming about a second holocaust.

The bottom line is that all three major religions are guilty of many modern-day atrocities and have a great deal of blood on their metaphorical hands. Why do we only bewail the actions of two of those three major religions?

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Has anyone ever noticed that neighborhoods in Israel are referred to as settlements (and yes, even inside the pre-1967 borders) and terrorists are referred to as Palestinian militants?  Were those Palestinian militants to take the same actions in the US or Britain, would they be called militants, there, too, just because they're Palestinians?


And why do Jews have to be moved out of an area for a future Palestinian state to control it?  Arabs weren't forced to move out of Israel.  The Israeli Arab population is growing at a greater rate than the Israeli Jewish population.  Are Christians also being forced out of the West Bank and Gaza, to make way for the Muslim Arabs known as Palestinians?  Most Christian Arabs have left Bethlehem, the seat of Christianity, due to pressure from their Muslim neighbors. And that's inside Israel, where Christian tourism is a significant source of income.  Israel wouldn't force the Christians out.  I personally know a Christian from Bethlehm whose family left some 35 years ago, and it's only gotten worse, since.  Ever since I met her, 25 years ago, she's had a map on the wall of Palestine, painted green, and covering every bit of the area that is now under Israeli control, including Israel, itself.

Thank you.

Around 50% of the Jews in Israel are atheist or agnostic. Zionists founder Herzl was an agnostic. The reason the movement took off was because anti-semitism was reaching heights in Europe in the late 1800s.
Jews were not being treated as equals. True, most Jews at that time believed in God, and that Israel was the birthplace and homeland of the Jews. The fact that the land was not sovereign, and mostly barren (500,000 people, around 10% were Jews), made the idea of a Jewish majority there very feasible.
It is hard to begrudge anyone who wants to have equal status. Most atheists are for gay marriage for instance.
But this is getting a bit off topic. Jews don't proselytize, and that is why of the three Abrahamic religions, they don't get as much heat from atheists.
Israel is as close to a democracy there is in the ME, with mosques and churches. Israel to me is a final refuge for where a Jew anywhere on this planet can go if anti-semitism gets out of hand.
I don't think it matters how many Jews, in Israel or elsewhere, are atheist / agnostic. The problem is that they use religion to justify their claim to Israel/Palestine. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that before 1948 Jews had never even constituted a plurality in that area, let alone a majority. And even if I'm wrong, so what? The only claim Jews have to Israel/Palestine is the Old Testament. I don't see how someone can reject the Judeo/Christian religion and cling to the idea that Jews have an exclusive claim to that area.

It is certainly true that Jews were not being treated as equals throughout most of Europe, even after 1948. However, it is also true that non-Jews living in Israel, even those who are citizens, are not being treated as equals now. Many of them live in areas unrecognized by Israel and can't get building permits or basic municipal services. Some Arabs unfortunate enough to live in East Jerusalem are being evicted and having their homes demolished RIGHT NOW, so that Israel can have Jerusalem as its undivided capital. If that's not ethnic cleansing then tell me what it is. Two wrongs don't make a right.

It is hard to begrudge anyone who wants to have equal status. Most Arabs in Israel would be happy just to have equal rights.

Jews don't proselytize, but they use American earth-moving equipment and military materiel to drive Arabs from their homes in East Jerusalem, impose an oppressive occupation in the West Bank and turn The Gaza Strip into an open-air prison. They then justify this with bronze-age fairy tales about chosen people and covenants, and stories of antisemitism from the previous two centuries.

This, for me, is the crux of the topic. As an American, I'm appalled that my country is providing financial, military and (worst of all) moral support for Israel's actions. As an atheist, I'm appalled that religion is used to justify these actions, even (especially?) if most of the people who are doing the justifying don't really believe the underlying religion.

I'm wondering why it is that more American Atheists don't feel the same way or, if they do, why they're not more vocal about it. Hence, my question: why do we (American Atheists) give the Jews a 'Pass'?
We need another war in the middle east to crush hostile Muslim countries that sponsor terrorism. Israel is the best ally for the US. It has spy networks in many Muslim countries which will be proven effective when/if the next war (with Iran) begins.
Seriously? We've already got two more wars in the Middle East than we can handle. And since when has Israel been the US's ally? They intentionally attacked the USS Liberty and have been actively spying on us all along. All while happily accepting copious financial and military assistance from the US. That doesn't sound very friendly.
Anyone who brings up the USS Liberty, even though Israel was exonerated and even if it happened it was ordered by one person or two tops, has an agenda and to me is a clown.

The US actively spies everywhere and I'm sure Israel does too.

If you don't realize the friendly relationship Israel has with the USA you are a clown as well.

But don't worry, you aren't the only clown on the internet.
Anyone who excuses Israel's misdeeds has an agenda and to me is a clown.

And no, I don't actually believe that. I'm just pointing out that your statement is non sequitur. In any case, this is a fairly common routine: A points out that Israel does something wrong, then B claims that A has an agenda, usually antisemitic. Israel is not all sweetness and light here. Israel's interests are not the US's interests. Or democracy's interests. Israel's actions should be condemned when they deserve condemnation. The US should not blindly support Israel the way it does. It's all well and good for Clinton to say "stop building settlements", but if the US meant business, it would threaten to withhold aid from Israel and Palestine until they reach a functional accord. As it is, US tax dollars just pour gasoline on the fire. Fat lotta good that's done for 60 years.
You brought up the Liberty. That is something that those without a clue or those with an agenda bring up. The fact you have to go back 42 years to find fault with Israel and USA's relationship is mind numbing.

And it is not blind support. Sure, there are Fundy Christians who bug the hell out of me because they support Israel for the wrong reasons. But Israel is the closest thing there is to a country that has Western ethics and values in the middle east.

There are also military reasons for the support and well as technology reasons.

The settlements are retarded, I agree, but the reality is that when the Jews pulled out of Gaza, they were rewarded with bombs coming from closer range.
Hey, no argument that Hamas are a buncha dicks (actually, that's an insult to dicks), I just think Israel's response has been ridiculously disproportional. And let's face it, the world likes an underdog. Israel has only hurt itself with it's hard line.

There are more modern examples of Israel spying in the US (Pollard and Kadish in the 1980s). Allies aren't supposed to do that to each other.

And yes, Israel has a reasonably secular democracy, and that's a good thing, but I'm not convinced that's so important to US interests in the region. We seem to get along OK with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and others in the area, despite their many governmental and societal shortcomings.
Israel's presence, even with the Iraq war going on gives the region some military stability. And as I've pointed out elsewhere, if not for support, Israel might have to defend itself in a less mannered fashion. This would upset the Arab world perhaps causing a magnified crisis as well as it may cause oil prices to soar.
Not having read the entire post and comments, I'll hop in with one bozoism of my own. It may be said elsewhere, sorry if that's redundant.

I have avoided comment, because I draw a distinction between "The Jews" and "Israel". With the original post titled "Why do we give Jews a pass", I had trouble getting past the phraseology. It's so broad, and assumes so much, it's hard to know where to begin. It has the 'feel' of antisemitism, in the same way that a comment about 'women' or 'the gays' or 'blacks' has the feel of other 'isms - even if that's not what is meant.

Im tired of the forum and blog headings that inflame to get attention. Maybe that's just me.

But here is an example from this thread, just one of course: "Jews don't proselytize, but they use American earth-moving equipment and military materiel to drive Arabs from their homes in East Jerusalem, impose an oppressive occupation in the West Bank and turn The Gaza Strip into an open-air prison. They then justify this with bronze-age fairy tales about chosen people and covenants, and stories of antisemitism from the previous two centuries." Actually, I've known a lot of Jewish people, secular and religious. I've never seen one of them drive a bulldozer, oppress an Arab neighbor, or tell me any bronze-age fairly tales. My Jewish neighbor can't even operate a power drill. This article did not state "Israeli government" or "Israeli armies" - it stated "Jews". Which again, gives me the feel of anti-semitism.




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