A little controversy

The following is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent any “official” view from The Zelman Partisans.

That statement above applies to this post, but you might as well consider it to be invisibly attached to every post that appears on the TZP blog.

As an organization, TZP has just one central belief statement (spelled out on our About Us page):

  • The right to keep and bear arms is a lifesaving civil right.
  • Firearms are crucial genocide-prevention tools.
  • An armed and informed citizenry is necessary to prevent or defeat tyranny.
  • The right to self-defense is innate; that it was granted to us by G-d or Nature. It was not given to us by government, and it cannot rightly be taken away by government.
  • The U.S. Bill of Rights codified pre-existing freedoms owned by all men and women; the Second Amendment guards the other nine amendments; but all rights expressed in that great Bill are vital.
  • Principles must never, ever be compromised. Compromise may be fine for strategy, but when you give up principles, you’ve already surrendered everything that matters.

Or to put it more simply: “Jews. Guns. No compromise. No surrender.”

In the unlikely event that any TZP blogger posted something that ran against any of those points, rest assured that he or she would … well, hear from the rest of us in short order and perhaps using short (e.g. four-letter) words. It’s hard even to imagine any of us “going Gottlieb,” though, so I expect no four-letter words will be required.

Beyond our absolute commitment to uncompromising self-defense rights, we are a diverse crew and you can expect considerable differences of opinion on matters not directly related to gun rights.

Our bloggers are all volunteers. They have wide interests and they write what they’re passionate about.


A little healthy disagreement came up the other day in comments on Sheila’s blog about Israel and Iran.

Y.B. and Sheila are our two most religious bloggers and Sheila (who has been to Israel several times) is our most ardently pro-Israel writer. Personally, I learn a lot from their posts, but I don’t always agree. For instance, Sheila believes G-d set the boundaries of Israel and gave the land to the Jewish people.

My own view on G-d-given land is closer to Nina Paley’s:

Israel is a state and as such it’s prone to doing dumb, barbaric things. Somewhat less barbaric things than the Islamic states that crowd it, but still ignoble. As a non-Jew and an outside observer I have very mixed feelings about Israel. I just (naively, I know) wish everybody could get along. I also believe that Israel’s survival is ultimately Israel’s own repsonsibility, not that of the U.S.

I have no mixed feelings at all, however, about the survival of the Jewish people and their right to self defense. Jews must survive. After 2,000 years of diaspora and the special hell of the twentieth century, Israel is their best shot. With anti-Semitism again festering globally and violent Islamist insanity rising, Jews once again need all decent people of all religions or none to stand by them.

I also believe that the hellish century taught us that when politicians speak of annihilation they really mean it.

But Sheila is passionate on the subject of Israel and I’m not. And neither of us represents any “official” TZP viewpoint.

Someday, as we grow, I hope TZP will have more of an official viewpoint. If/when that happens, I’m sure our formal articles and other materials will focus on gun rights and guns as anti-genocide tools. But even then, this blog should still represent the individual viewpoints of its diverse authors.

It gives me a little chagrin to hear TZP criticized for being too Jewish or too pro-Israel, partly because Aaron’s old JPFO was just as frequently criticized for “not being Jewish enough.” Oh well, that’s the Way of the Internet for sure. And that’s as it should be.

For now, just know that every blog entry you read here comes from somebody who cares passionately about their subject. Our blogging crew is truly diverse: two observant American Jews (Y.B. and Ilana); one Israeli (Boris Karpa); one non-Jew who is highly knowledgeable about Judiasm and Israel (Sheila); two noted gun-rights activists who were born in the Soviet Union to Jewish refusnik families but who hold no religion now (Nicki and Oleg); and one plain-vanilla non-religious gun-rights activist (me) who is here because of a long association with Aaron Zelman and his late, lamented Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Behind the scenes, doing everything from leadership to order fulfillment, we have one Jew and one Gentile.

I suspect that if we all ever managed to meet up and spend an evening over a few bottles of wine that we might disagree over many things — including big issues like the Iran nuke treaty and whether politics work or are a waste of time. But here … we enjoy and learn from each other. Hope you faithful readers do, also.


15 thoughts on “A little controversy”

  1. Thanks for this blog. It clears up a couple of misunderstandings I had about the intent of TZP, and its direction.

    One thing for sure: you cats can’t be herded, right? 🙂

  2. Gottlieb is a four letter word in my ears!

    BTW I would be happy to provide the wine!

    When tyranny become law
    Rebellion becomes duty!

  3. As the commenter who kicked off this “controversy,” I have to object to the following characterization:

    “It gives me a little chagrin to hear TZP criticized for being too Jewish or too pro-Israel”

    I leveled neither criticism.

    I would certainly expect TZP to be very “Jewish.” It does, after all, bear the mantle of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Its defense of gun rights is uniquely premised as a response to two millennia of persecution and murder of Jews, culminating in the Shoah.

    If anything, JPFO/TZP have in my opinion always deserved thanks and congratulations for also working back from that singular premise to first principles of human rights in general, then extending those principles outward from the Jewish identity premise to everyone else as well. That’s above and beyond the call.

    Nor do I especially care if several of TZP’s writers are “pro-Israel” by whatever definition.

    My question, though, was, “is TZP going to focus on its stated mission and the mission of its predecessor organization, or is it going to become, to some significant degree, focused instead on ensuring that one Israeli political party controls US foreign policy in areas not particularly related to that mission?”

    1. Tom — Apologies. I didn’t mean to mischaracterize your objections, but I did and thanks for clarifying. The “too Jewish” criticism is something I’ve received privately. And only once.

      I can assure you that in the long run TZP will focus on its stated mission. One day, we will be bigger than this blog; the blog is only the first expression of TZP. But the blog will (always, I hope) range more widely and represent a variety of views.

  4. Thanks Claire, I’m with you. Great youtube by the way.

    I have visited Israel twice, on business trips. Israel, like America (and probably like Iran but I haven’t been there), is two things. On one hand it is a people and culture and land, that I am fascinated with. On the other hand, it is a state, every bit as vile as the American and Iranian state. Any criticism I make is of the state; I want to make that clear.

    I believe part of the controversy boils down to an imprecision in the English language. Often we refer to “Israel” or “America” or “Iran” without being clear whether we are talking about people or land or culture or state. This confusion (certainly fostered by the governments, whose politicians wrap themselves in the flags) is unfortunate.

  5. Very, very true, Claire… and I have to confess that I failed to see or understand that a while back when I complained that TZP seemed to be “too Jewish” or whatever fool thing I said.

    A silly oversight, since I also own a collaborative blog! I don’t always agree totally with the things the others write, but we manage to work together to keep within the mission statement.

    1. ML — Yep, you get it. I know that most visitors to TZP are probably most interested in straight gun-rights stuff. But personally I find that the religious & cultural blogs give context to it all. Posts like Sheila’s or like the sadly brilliant one Y.B. did the other day on the Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu remind us of why gun rights are so important for vulnerable minorities.

      Freedomistas are a vulnerable minority, too — or would be if we weren’t so formidably armed, both with firepower and information. 🙂

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