Ambition and orthodoxy (Kagan’s hero is also Dershowitz’s)

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 112 Comments

Elena Kagan, the nominee to the Supreme Court, was dean of Harvard Law School in 2006 when she introduced Aharon Barak, chief judge of Israel’s High Court of Justice, during an award ceremony as “my judicial hero.” She explained (per the New York Times):

He is the judge or justice in my lifetime whom, I think, best represents and has best advanced the values of democracy and human rights, of the rule of law and of justice.

Turns out that Kagan (who testified today that "Israel means a lot to me") is not alone. In The Case for Israel (2003), Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz writes:

This book is respectfully dedicated to my dear friend of nearly forty years, Professor Aharon Barak, the president of Israel’s Supreme Court, whose judicial decisions make a better case for Israel and for the rule of law than any book could possibly do.

Who is Barak? In Beyond Chutzpah, Norman Finkelstein says that Aharon Barak was "a leading proponent" of guidelines allowing torture– making Israel the "only country in the world where torture was legally sanctioned," according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. He also gave a green light to administrative detentions, even as the judge conceded, “there is probably no State in the Western world that permits an administrative detention of someone who does not himself pose any danger to State security.”

And he approved the barrier wall that crosses through occupied territory, of which Finkelstein says: 

If all branches of Israeli government and society bear responsibility for this impending catastrophe [the end of the two-state solution], the share of the HCJ and especially its liberal chief justice, Aharon Barak, is relatively larger. Due to its moral authority the HCJ was in a unique position to sensitize the Israeli public. Beyond helping fend off external criticism of Israel’s annexationist policies, the HCJ chose to mute the collective Israeli conscience.

Of course Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul not long after he published that book. 

Martha Minow replaced Kagan as dean of Harvard Law School. In 2006, she co-authored an Op-Ed for the Boston Globe with an Israeli army lawyer; the piece is titled, "The Israeli model for detainee rights," and touts Israeli measures developed "during a long and difficult experience with terrorism."

P.S. Andrew Sullivan has recently asked whether there are any vocal anti-Zionists on any Op-Ed pages in the U.S. Good question; the answer is No. You can’t be.

Today I was reading Geoffrey Wawro’s book Quicksand when I came across this passage that resonates with the above examples.

"There was no Iraqi who was not in the [Baathist] party," an ex-factory manager in Baghdad told an American reporter in April 2003. He meant Iraqis who were "highly educated and technical." Among that cohort, "if you weren’t a Baathist, you wouldn’t be able to rise in the hierarchy."

112 Responses

  1. otto
    June 29, 2010, 4:25 pm

    Zionism has damaged American pluralism.

    • hayate
      June 29, 2010, 5:43 pm

      “Zionism has damaged American pluralism.”

      Is there anything touched by zionism that has not been damaged?

      • Taxi
        June 29, 2010, 5:52 pm

        No there ain’t!

      • hayate
        June 29, 2010, 5:58 pm

        I’ve no argument there, Taxi.

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 30, 2010, 10:14 am

      RE: “Kagan’s hero is also Dershowitz’s” – Weiss
      SEE: Did Kagan Cover for Dershowitz’s Plagiarism? ~ Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA), 06/30/10
      (excerpts) WASHINGTON – June 30 – While Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has been extensively questioned in her hearings about her tenure as dean of Harvard Law School regarding military recruiters on campus, her role in a controversy involving charges of plagiarism against Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz (as well as other plagiarism scandals which erupted while she was head of HLS) has been virtually ignored…
      …Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said of Kagan that there is “no reason to question her integrity.” But some analysts question whether Kagan showed the capacity to rule fairly, which is required of a good judge, in the Dershowitz plagiarism case…
      …FRANK MENETREZ – Menetrez just wrote the piece “Elena Kagan’s Harvard: Golden Age or Reign of Error?” The piece states: “When Elena Kagan was dean of Harvard Law School, her mishandling of a plagiarism case cost an innocent person his job while allowing the plagiarist, Professor Alan Dershowitz, to escape punishment. …
      “In 2003, an untenured professor at DePaul University named Norman Finkelstein accused Dershowitz of plagiarism. Dean Kagan ordered an investigation the following year. The investigation completely cleared Dershowitz, concluding that no plagiarism had occurred.”…
      ….”My independent research later revealed, however, that Dershowitz did in fact commit plagiarism and that no honest and competent investigation could have missed it. … The case against Dershowitz seemed to be supported by powerful evidence. Finkelstein argued that Dershowitz’s book ‘The Case for Israel’ contained obvious errors that were identical to errors in an earlier book by a different author, so Dershowitz must have just copied that author’s work, errors and all…”
      “The identical errors issue was consequently well known and central to the plagiarism dispute when Kagan ordered an investigation in 2004. But the Kagan-commissioned investigation still concluded that no plagiarism had occurred…”
      ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE – link to commondreams.org

  2. Richard Witty
    June 29, 2010, 4:26 pm

    All over the place in that post.

    The math of it is:

    Kagan likes Barak (largely for bucking the trend in Israel and maintaining the Supreme Court as defined by the rule of law, not by politics)

    Dershowitz likes Barak, so therefore Barak must be a shit, and therefore anyone that admires him in any way must be a shit.

    And, to confirm it, Finkelstein is quoted in another condemnatory citation, just in case the radical cadre dare to prefer a liberal to nobody (then a conversative like Scalia, or Roberts, or Thomas, when a post isn’t filled).

    Then the image of Baathist conformity, implying that Barak is an example of conformity to Israeli right-wing.

    A LIE!!!

    Is this what you really want to say, Phil?

    • VR
      June 29, 2010, 8:09 pm

      “Then the image of Baathist conformity, implying that Barak is an example of conformity to Israeli right-wing.

      A LIE!!!”

      In Zionism the reduction to left wing/right wing is a farce, just like there are democrats and republicans. In Zionism as well as parties in America they have all bought a ticket on the same train, and they have pseudo arguments while the train moves in an inevitable direction, they do their utmost to come to whatever atrocious conclusions because at the bottom they all buy into the same foundations.

    • Chaos4700
      June 29, 2010, 8:52 pm

      So you approve of Israeli judges who endorse torture, Witty? Funny, I’m not shocked in the least.

    • annie
      June 29, 2010, 9:54 pm

      A LIE!!!

      a strawman!! that’s some logic you got there witty.

      Kagan likes Barak …Dershowitz likes Barak, so therefore Barak must be a shit

      how about Kagan (“Israel means a lot to me”) likes Barak because he best represents and has best advanced the values of democracy , human rights, rule of law and justice. and Dershowitz likes Barak because make a better case for Israel and for the rule of law , so therefore …..they both admire him for …(what do they both have in common??) why might it be israel and the rule of law???

      so let’s look at his record of rule of law shall we?? oh my! alex does just that:

      guidelines allowing torture
      administrative detention

      ..kagan wrote a book about one of those..how do you feel about torture and administrative detention richard. shall we look at the other thing they have in common? israel? israel/torture and adminitrative detention sounds like zionism to me.

      • annie
        June 29, 2010, 10:12 pm

        whoops! i said alex..sorry phil. i just finished reading alex’s post and got confused!!

        btw wrt baathism it’s true you couldn’t get anywhere w/out joining the bath party. you couldn’t get into medical school to begin with or any institution of higher learning (as i recall). you could get a teaching position or any position in any of the ministries or professions affiliated w/any of the ministries like health education scientific research etc. it wasn’t only sunnis who were baathist virtually every professional was a member and you were expected to join in high school.

      • annie
        June 29, 2010, 10:14 pm

        sorry ..you could teach but for much less pay and not at any higher learning institutes.

    • Richard Parker
      June 29, 2010, 10:40 pm

      I like your use RW of the neologism ‘conversative’ it really fits into what your’re trying to say, which is;

      “Then the image of Baathist conformity, implying that Barak is an example of conformity to Israeli right-wing”

    • Mooser
      June 30, 2010, 3:13 pm

      “Is this what you really want to say, Phil?”

      Aw, C’mon Richard, you were the one who exposed the fact that Phil works for Hamas. What do you expect him to say? Remember, Phil ate Hamas’ hummus. Poor guy never had a chance after that.

  3. matter
    June 29, 2010, 4:29 pm

    What do you expect from a Zionist plant? Obambi is paying back his paymasters.

  4. braciole
    June 29, 2010, 5:13 pm

    “There was no Iraqi who was not in the [Baathist] party,”

    Nothing changes. Pre-war German joke:

    Gestapo officer arrives at Berlin factory to check loyalty. Asks manager “how many communists work here?” Manager replies “oh, about a third are communists”. Gestapo officer then asks “how many socialists work here?”. Manager replies “oh, about a third are socialists”. Gestapo officer then asks “how many christian democrats work here?”. Manager replies “oh, about a third are christian democrats”. Gestapo officer then angrily demands to know why there are no nazis. The manager replies “ah, but they are all nazis!”

    Unfortunately, I reckon all the Israeli lobby and their media stenographers are all true believers when it comes to zionism.

    • Leper Colonialist
      June 29, 2010, 5:28 pm

      They may or may not be true believers – but it’s a absolute certainty that, if they’re doubters, they’re dead silent doubters.

      • braciole
        June 29, 2010, 7:44 pm

        Oh noes! Zombie zionists. The only question is how fast do they move? A shuffle or a trot? Talking of zombie zionists, how fast do you move Mr Witty?

    • NorthOfFortyNine
      June 29, 2010, 11:38 pm

      That’s very good and a propos.

  5. Leper Colonialist
    June 29, 2010, 5:27 pm

    I saw some brave talk in the media yesterday about how senators Sessions and Graham were going to grill Kagan about her admiration for Judge Barak.

    The grounds – Barak is a judicial activist/interventionist, so it’s presumed that a Justice Kagan would likewise follow his example.

    Will our brave solons and paladins inthe US Senate get around to asking Kagan how she views the Judge’s views on the uses of torture, er, excuse me, the use of unorthodox but highly effective methods of interrogation? After all, if tortue is illegal, and if Justice Barak advocates tortue, and if Kagan admires Barak and aspires to be a judicial activist in his mold, well it’s simple enough to follow.

    We’re suspecting that neither Sessions nor Graham [or any other Senator] will dare ask questions along these lines. Obne wonders if they have even the courage to think them. We suspect bnot.

  6. Danaa
    June 29, 2010, 5:37 pm

    Today, during the Kagan hearings there was time set aside for several jewish insider jokes.

    Perfect for middle america – who, I guess, are now expected to learn yiddish and get the gist of Jewish inside-the-beltway jokes. Seems kind iof under the belt to me.

    More triumphalism.

  7. hayate
    June 29, 2010, 5:40 pm

    “Who is Barak? In Beyond Chutzpah, Norman Finkelstein says that Aharon Barak was “a leading proponent” of guidelines allowing torture– making Israel the “only country in the world where torture was legally sanctioned,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. He also gave a green light to administrative detentions, even as the judge conceded, “there is probably no State in the Western world that permits an administrative detention of someone who does not himself pose any danger to State security.”

    A gestapo judge,then. No wonder zionism’s latest infiltraitor to power worships the fascistic goatsod.

    The question isn’t somuch as what is kagen doing being nominated to the sc, it’s how the hell did this nasty creature make it as far as she has.

  8. Danaa
    June 29, 2010, 5:46 pm

    As an aside, I have a friend who is a newly minted constitutional lawyer. Lives in SF and is, alas, not Jewish (though being a graduate of stanford, many of her friends are…..)

    Lawyers, lawyers in the hall, what can this young, ambitious and most capable person do to get her starter clerkship and/or start on fast track to eventual judgeship? Quite willing to locate to NY or DC or, even to …. Chicago?

    She does have two offers already, but from what I can tell, they are not quite leading to where she wants to go. The person’s credentials are impeccable, BTW – top grades in Berkeley, merit scholar, solid internship, passed bar in a breeze on first try, etc etc has already produced 2 solid legal research papers, but prefers a non-academic job.

    PS Is a quick learner. I am teaching her some solid jewish jokes that can be told in mixed company by a non-jewish person without sweating….

  9. Danaa
    June 29, 2010, 5:49 pm

    PS – the above post about my friend the new lawyer, is in earnest.

    • Bumblebye
      June 29, 2010, 6:21 pm

      Interesting, but needs to be accompanied by available stats on classmates/graduates elsewhere who have secured posts. With ethnic/religious/gender breakdown. Otherwise it’s just innuendo! That won’t do.

      • Danaa
        June 30, 2010, 12:01 pm

        Hey – I was looking for leads!

        Besides, the question I am trying to raise is the value of specific networks in fields where merit is important but where that first rung on the ladder is even more important.

        The fields where connections matter – if a person has their sights on, say, a fast track career, are law, business, finance and journalism, just to name a few. Oh yes, there’s dance (which is another story, needing an altogether different type of network, but where connections is 80% of getting the right starter gig. Please don’t ask for proof).

        Mercifully, the science and technology fields is where merit is still 80% of ultimate career ‘success”. However that is defined.

  10. Keith
    June 29, 2010, 6:37 pm

    Speaking of Kagan, Dershowitz and Finkelstein, there was an article on CounterPunch yesterday concerning Kagan’s whitewash of plagiarism charges against Dershowitz which cleared the way for Dershowitz tenure attack on Finkelstein. Does Kagan accurately reflect the current moral and intellectual climate of Harvard or what? Birds of a feather.
    link to counterpunch.org

  11. Richard Witty
    June 29, 2010, 7:42 pm

    You guys really want to slander Barak? Phil?

    You must be so gullible to follow the Finkelstein lead, spoonfed without even a lookup.

    Its really pretty insulting.

    Sometimes Phil walks up the cliff, looks down, thinks about it maybe, then jumps anyway.

    In case you consider bothering to understand before shooting.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Bumblebye
      June 29, 2010, 9:36 pm

      Have you read Bijou’s link?

      I think you’re in freefall down that cliff face!

      • hayate
        June 29, 2010, 10:07 pm

        “I think you’re in freefall down that cliff face!”

        Now, now. It’s not all witty’s fault. He got caught up in the moment when somebody tossed a penny off that cliff.

        ;D

      • Sumud
        June 29, 2010, 10:37 pm

        “He got caught up in the moment when somebody tossed a penny off that cliff.”

        hayate ~ no need to resort to ugly stereotypes. RW gives us more than enough reason to criticise him on purely rational terms.

      • Donald
        June 29, 2010, 10:59 pm

        Yeah, that was ugly. I don’t suppose anyone would think that the standard anti-black racist stereotypes are funny, so why would someone think this was?

      • hayate
        June 29, 2010, 11:20 pm

        “hayate ~ no need to resort to ugly stereotypes. RW gives us more than enough reason to criticise him on purely rational terms.”

        Ridiculing someone’s obvious greed is not an ugly stereotype. Unless one considers greed something special to be put upon a pedestal.

      • hayate
        June 29, 2010, 11:40 pm

        donald

        “Yeah, that was ugly. I don’t suppose anyone would think that the standard anti-black racist stereotypes are funny, so why would someone think this was?”

        If think making fun of rightwing money grubs is equivalent to racist jokes about blacks, then you have confirmed my initial view of you was not a misjudgment.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 29, 2010, 11:57 pm

        Wasn’t even funny. Leave this dept to Mooser?

      • Sumud
        June 30, 2010, 12:54 am

        hayate ~ other than the standard zionist greed for Palestinian land, property and resources RW has never demonstrated an unusual interest in money. You will know I am definitely no fan of his.

        Penny-pinching is a standard anti-jewish trope and like I said, there are so many other repulsive things RW has said and supported – you’re just shooting yourself in the foot making a joke like that. Don’t forget many MW’ers are jewish, and likewise Phil & I presume Adam.

        So much of zionism’s success has depended on pushing anti-arab/muslim propaganda – don’t lower yourself!

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 1:07 am

        Sumud June 30, 2010 at 12:54 am

        The joke wasn’t intended as anti-Jewish or as an anti-Jewish slur against witty. I assumed he was one of the Christian zionists or atheist neo-con types, anyway, from what little I’ve read of his posts before scrolling on. That little was enough to inform that he is indeed all about greed, though, and no different from any of the other rightwing facilitator trolls I’ve seen on the web over the last 10 years (whether ziofascist or fascist). That’s the glue that holds this rightwing rubbish together, at the end of the day. The politics, the cultural identity, all the other different things they will rattle on about, they all take 2nd place to the greed.

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 1:15 am

        BTW, Sumud, penny pinching is not something just for Jewish people to be labeled with. You apparently never heard any Scot jokes or met any americans who went through the 1930’s american depression, who would spend a grand to save a buck.

      • Sumud
        June 30, 2010, 1:42 am

        OK hayate ~ If you say that wasn’t your intention I believe you.

        Permit me to tell you why I was bothered. Two reasons I guess, one personal and one political. The first is that I like the level of discourse on MW, for an (mostly) unmoderated public forum on a hot hot topic it’s very civilised, and smart.

        The second reason goes back about a month to shortly after the flotilla raid. We had a swarm of new posters, some of who were making some fairly inflammatory comments (time to nuke Tel Aviv, teach the joos a lesson etc.) by people posturing as pro-Palestinian supporters. They might have been genuine, but the scent of astro-turfing was in the air.

        A few weeks later The Reut Institute issued one of their ReViews, referencing some of the articles in Mondoweiss.

        link to reut-institute.org

        They didn’t specifically mention the ‘bomb Tel Aviv’ comments but it demonstrated they are bothered enough by MW enough to watch it. A few months earlier they issued another report (around the time of Israeli Apartheid Week in March) which actually used the word “sabotage” as one of the methods of dealing w/ organisations they see as intent on delegitimising Israel. “Delegitimise the delegitimisers” is the sanitised term . I’m absolutely *not* trying to associate you w/ that – just to illustrate that uncivilised discourse here would be a godsend for institutions like Reut, who would use it to smear and discredit MW.

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 2:08 am

        Sumud June 30, 2010 at 1:42 am

        A quick look at your reut site shows it to be typical ziofascist propaganda. This rubbish will lie like the wittys here do. It doesn’t matter what one says once you get labeled as the “enemy” to those people.

        If you’re going to be afraid of what these things say about you,they’ve already won and you might as well throw in the towel right now and find a rock to hide under.

      • Sumud
        June 30, 2010, 2:23 am

        It’s not about being afraid hayate, it’s about outsmarting the ziobots.

        Step back and look at the larger picture. Reut is an influential organisation. They know that once American jews stop supporting Israel in sufficiently large numbers, the US will have to adopt a more balanced policy towards Israel, and in turn Israel will have to adopt a more reasonable policy towards Palestinians. You’ll notice one of MW’s main focus’ is the American jewish community. If Reut can successfully smear Mondoweiss (and other like organisations) that will be a victory for Israel.

        What I’m saying is: let’s do everything we can to deny them that victory. I know organisations like Reut will lie, but if someone reads about MW in one of their publications, then actually visits and finds high quality and interesting discussion, they might get on board – and become part of the group pressuring the US and Israel to change it’s behaviour. The sooner lots of people are screaming “ENOUGH”, the better.

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 2:52 am

        Sumud

        “I know organisations like Reut will lie, but if someone reads about MW in one of their publications, then actually visits and finds high quality and interesting discussion, they might get on board”

        The lack of ziospam was what was what attracted me once I looked around a bit. The main purpose of ziospam is to screw up conversation zionists don’t want people having – it’s not to spread propaganda as people generally assume. On another article section I teased hophead ( I don’t remember the spelling of their nicks and I’m not going to look it up) about being a professional and yahoo claimed hophead was the most professional of all the trolls here, being able to garner the most attention of anyone. Call that an oops for yahoo. Trolling is to distract, it doesn’t matter what they write, really. It’s the attention they get that distracts attention away from those who really are trying to communicate. The trolls are here to generate hostile responses, get rid of the trolls and the quality you’re talking about goes way up.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 6:40 am

        hayate–

        Supposing you didn’t know that Witty was Jewish, you still used a standard anti-semitic remark about a supporter of Israel. That was your choice–an incredibly stupid one. And this notion that people shouldn’t worry when Mondoweiss is portrayed as anti-semitic is also stupid. False accusations of anti-semitism can be treated as the vicious lies that they are, but it’s a little harder to do if someone uses standard anti-semitic “jokes” in the comment section and this becomes acceptable.

        And as others have pointed out, Witty hasn’t shown any evidence of being personally greedy, nothing that would justify the “diving off a cliff after a penny” remark. He’s got no shortage of critics around here for his endless apologetics, but you just made that one up out of nothing.

      • Taxi
        June 30, 2010, 8:31 am

        I didn’t find Hayat’s BAD joke anti-semitic. She remark wasn’t referencing any direct or indirect connection to Witty’s ‘jewishness’.

        Hey are ALL jokes, good or bad, to do with money and jews considered as “standard anti-semitic”?

        Where’s the red line here?

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 9:02 am

        Use a little common sense, Taxi. Find 100 Americans, tell them this is a blog about the I/P conflict, and then tell them that one of the most pro-Israel commenters at the blog was accused of jumping over a cliff to chase a penny. How many of them do you think would interpret this as an anti-semitic remark? Hell, maybe some would approve of it on that basis–I’ve heard comments like this from people a few times.

        And yeah, given many hundreds of years of history, maybe people might want to avoid jokes about Jews and money when discussing the crimes Israel commits against Palestinians.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 9:19 am

        Donald. A serious question for you. Did Phil or someone at this site put you in charge of monitoring the site behavior?
        You seem to spend a significant amount of your time correcting others for what is correct and incorrect. I was thinking about it last night and thought that perhaps you’re a school teacher, or someone who is good at trying to keep everyone in line.

      • Taxi
        June 30, 2010, 9:42 am

        Donald,

        You and I know very well that there are greedy people amongst goys and amongst jews as well – the insidious nature of greed being what it is.

        Hayat did not use her bad joke in context to Witty’s ‘jewishness’. That much is clear to me, whether you think I’m employing my ‘common sense’ here or not.

        Oil Arabs get a heck of a lot more blatant offensive humor about their gaudy ‘money’ stuff thrown at them in MSM comedy shows night after night, Donald. There doesn’t seem to be any red lines there – in fact it seems to be the accepted norm.

        And here you’re proposing that we should give greedy people a pass if they happen to be jewish.

        Something not right about this rule. Are some animals more equal than others?

        I don’t think it’s healthy to be so anal and so stuck on ‘jewish exceptional-ism’ about ANYTHING in this day and age.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 9:43 am

        iow chu didn’t find the joke anti semitic? i respect people who speak their mind. if someone says something racist in my company i say something whether i think it was intentional or not. i speak my mind. A serious question for chu. Did Phil or someone at this site put you in charge of monitoring the site behavior?

      • Taxi
        June 30, 2010, 9:47 am

        Chu,
        I already pointed this out to Donald some months ago. I think it’s just the way he is – I accept it. Sometimes teacher gets it right, other times he doesn’t – but always, always he tells it with (small) cane in hand.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 9:50 am

        You and I know very well that there are greedy people amongst goys and amongst jews as well

        taxi, excuse me for not not following the trajectory of this argument to it’s fullest but could either you or anyone else reading please blockquote for me how greed got introduced into this argument? i’m just assuming following money off a cliff must have had something to do w/witty’s comment, no? so please blockquote whatever it was he said that justifies the insertion of this financial allegory to make this point clearer for us not comprehending.

        thanks.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 9:57 am

        Hi annie, I missed the joke, didn’t read the whole thread.
        But no, Phil or Adam did not make me deputy sheriff of this site. I wondered if Donald was given a badge though. Donald been on this site for a 2 years at least and a lot of what he does is structure the conversation.

        …Ok I see. A money Joke. Ha Ha Ha . That could be anitsemetic when you’re talking about Jews and Money. Jews and Power jokes, are they anti-semetic? There were many jokes when I was young that are not worth repeating. I don’t find it funny.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 10:00 am

        Taxi, I dont always have the time to read some of these posts. But thanks for the history…I don’t think what Donald is doing is wrong, I am curious why he is so consistent and devotes much of his time correcting others. Actually, I don’t need an explanation from Donald at this point!!!

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 10:09 am

        Phil or Adam did not make me deputy sheriff of this site. I wondered if Donald was given a badge though. Donald been on this site for a 2 years at least and a lot of what he does is structure the conversation.

        no one needs a badge here to speak their mind. you’re concerned w/ the structure of the argument? me too. in fact virtually everything said on these threads is structuring the argument.

        …Ok I see. A money Joke. Ha Ha Ha . That could be anitsemetic when you’re talking about Jews and Money. Jews and Power jokes, are they anti-semetic? …. I don’t find it funny.

        that’s just it chu, as far as i can tell we weren’t talking about jews and money. and i didn’t ask you anything about whether you found it funny or not, so that’s totally irrelevant.

        iow chu didn’t find the joke anti semitic?

        either you did or you didn’t. spit it out, please.

      • Taxi
        June 30, 2010, 10:11 am

        Here it is, annie – post number 34 (approx.)

        hayate June 30, 2010 at 1:07 am

        Sumud June 30, 2010 at 12:54 am

        The joke wasn’t intended as anti-Jewish or as an anti-Jewish slur against witty. I assumed he was one of the Christian zionists or atheist neo-con types, anyway, from what little I’ve read of his posts before scrolling on. That little was enough to inform that he is indeed all about greed, though, and no different from any of the other rightwing facilitator trolls I’ve seen on the web over the last 10 years (whether ziofascist or fascist). That’s the glue that holds this rightwing rubbish together, at the end of the day. The politics, the cultural identity, all the other different things they will rattle on about, they all take 2nd place to the greed.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 10:19 am

        now that i’ve read this entire argument it occurs to me again we are missing a piece of the puzzle and this whole thing can be cleared up fairly easily.

        hydrate, you said

        I’ve read of his posts before scrolling on. That little was enough to inform that he is indeed all about greed

        If think making fun of rightwing money grubs is equivalent to racist jokes

        Ridiculing someone’s obvious greed is not an ugly stereotype

        since just a ‘little’ ‘scrolling’ is all it took you to discern witty’s ‘obvious greed’ could you do us all the favor of blockquoting some examples of this greed please so we can all move on and clear the air.

      • Cliff
        June 30, 2010, 10:26 am

        I’ve been watching a show called ‘Dexter’ lately. Pretty good show.

        Anyway, there’s an episode in which a child is giving a report on Saudi Arabia.

        First off, when he is asked to point to where Saudi Arabia is – the main character Dexter says, ‘no, that’s Israel, here is Saudi Arabia…I won’t tell the Israelis about this [or something like that]‘.

        The boy proceeds to give his report, which lasts like 1min. He talks about where it is, how it’s all a big desert and how women can’t do this/this/that/etc. That’s literally it. The sister of the boy gives Dexter a disapproving look as she hears the part about the women, and Dexter acknowledges it in agreement.

        At the end of the presentation as the boy, his family and Dexter are walking out of the school – the boy asks his mother whether Dexter can join them for ice cream. Dexter replies, “Sure, maybe we can get some Saudi Arabia flavors like sand or oil.” And the kids laugh.

        Dexter is on Showtime, and it’s a very popular show. I remember watching ‘The Office’ and Dwight (if you know the The Office, and Dwight, you’ll understand where I’m coming from) plugs an Israeli seafood restaurant in an episode.

        Watch ‘Planet of the Arabs.’

        There is a clip toward the end, in the trailer which shows a scene from some TV show presumably. In it Sean Astin (from LoTR) is playing a racist who talks to some politician about all these various ‘groups’. He says he has devised a system for safely referring to ‘groups’ he and his racist buddies, dislike/hate. Gays, Blacks, Hispanics, are each given a code name so that when the racists talk about them in public, no one will notice.

        However, he says openly that there is no code word for Arabs because everyone hates them and no one cares.

        That’s what our mainstream film industry is like and of course our MSM.

        It’s repugnant to hear Zionists cry about antisemitism as if they were the ones being occupied, invaded, ethnically cleansed, etc. etc.

        They don’t even care about Jews – they care about ZIONIST Jews. A self-hating Jew is an anti-Zionist.

        Criticism of Zionism is antisemitism.

        Zionism = pathological narcissism/self-delusion.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 10:38 am

        Annie: “as far as i can tell we weren’t talking about jews and money.” “either you did or you didn’t. spit it out, please.”

        I don’t know annie. You’re confusing me. If it was a joke about a penny falling off a cliff and someone chasing it, then that is not funny. That type of humor may be funny in elementary school, but so were polish jokes.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 10:51 am

        well, you’re not confusing me chu. it is very clear to me i keep asking you if you thought the joke was anti semitic and you keep responding you don’t think it was funny. iow you are not addressing my question. here it is again:

        iow chu didn’t find the joke anti semitic?

        a yes or a no will suffice.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 10:59 am

        Annie, you’re just being annoying now. This behavior is unnecessary and you’re splitting hairs. Any legal team would be impressed with your ‘answer the question sir’ bit. Maybe you need to battle with someone here to feel good inside! Try Hophmi. He’s a real good sport.

        I quickly read the post of Donald and Taxi (Donald June 30, 2010 at 9:02 am) without reading the entire piece. I did not see the entire argument above.

      • Danaa
        June 30, 2010, 12:14 pm

        Sumud, good comment referring to Reut. I often suspect astro-turfing when seeing over-the-top comments that seem too classic – especially when made by newcomers, who then disappear with barely a trace. That goes for either direction, though both types – hyper-anti-jewish or hyper-anti-arab are meant to provoke and soil the discourse.

        Your warning to try and stay on track is well taken. Sometimes it’s hard to maintain equanimity in the face of the truly grievous violations by Israel of human rights and dignity. Even harder to keep the calm when faced with crude or slithery apologists like witty et al. But it is important to try because I believe Mondoweiss is read quite widely –

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 12:30 pm

        “Donald. A serious question for you. Did Phil or someone at this site put you in charge of monitoring the site behavior?”

        Nope. And funny you should ask. I suspect that the vast majority of my time spent “monitoring the site behavior” is spent blasting Witty for his comments and the only criticism I get for that (which is valid) is that I’m feeding his trollishness .

        I got on you yesterday for revealing someone’s name. It turned out to be no big deal since as you say it was easy to find out his identity and he didn’t care very much, but it really is blog etiquette not to do that–why do you think so many people choose to be anonymous? So I don’t apologize for jumping on you. Besides, I know damn well that if one of the regulars had been “outed” that way quite a few people would have been bothered, but because it was hophmi, who most of us are not very fond of, it was fine. That’s blog comment style tribalism–it’s a microscopic example of what disgusts me about Zionism.

        I can’t remember when I first came to this site, but two things stuck out about it, one good and one bad. First, Phil doesn’t let accusations of self-hatred intimidate him from criticizing Zionism and the way the Lobby muzzles people by accusing them falsely of anti-semitism. That’s the good thing.

        The bad thing is that there are a few people around here who seem to border on genuine anti-semitism and there’s a culture here at this blog that tolerates it to some degree, in the sense that if someone like me makes an issue of it more than a few times when we see it, we will be told that we are hall monitors. I have never seen anyone here say that to a critic of anti-Arab racism It pisses me off, frankly.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 12:50 pm

        Donald, I responded to Hophmi on another post on that page and he is, well, an interesting voice to say the least. I just find that his positions are strange given his youth and life history, as opposed to an old close-minded Witty. To him this site is full of anti-semites and it’s hard to take him seriously, although he knows a good deal of material on the issue, but fails to address or have discussions about the problems of Israel.
        About this site, Phil seems to keep a positive outlook a negative topic, while posting some really unsavory topics to say the least. People here are committed to having frank discussion and it seems that’s what make it churn out more. I didn’t fully read the start of the lengthy post about a poor joke and only saw your comment to taxi, And yes saw the comment you made yesterday about Hophmi. So, I understand the need for you keeping it straight with some bad comments. Thanks.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 1:01 pm

        I’m more familiar with RW’s comments. Excruciatingly familiar. I’ve only read bits and pieces of hophmi, though I have seen that “you’re all a bunch of anti-semites” line. It’s not made me especially eager to read what else he has to say, though I did just respond to him on another thread.

      • Taxi
        June 30, 2010, 1:02 pm

        annie,

        Zionism = Greed.

        Clearly zionism has demonstrated it cruel greed to us time and time again.

        To me all zionists are fundamentally greedy bastards. You honestly need proof of this?

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 1:17 pm

        not a problem chu, i get it. you don’t want to answer the question and i’m splitting hairs. it’s not that difficult a question actually but while you’ll profess “I quickly read the post …without reading the entire piece and (twice) address whether the joke is funny or not (iow, you read it) you just don’t want to go there wrt the issue (anti semitism) both sumud and donald pointed out and while some posters are defending the joke not a one is providing any evidence of said ‘greed’ wrt witty’s comments (comments i take issue with about 99.9% of the time and certainly won’t defend including the parent of the joke)

        so i got it. you’ve got hella time to question and opine donald about what he’s doing but no time to actually examine the appropriateness of dragging jews and greed into the discussion via a joke, out of context to anything witty actually said.

        we got it. meanwhile

        Sumud, good comment referring to Reut.

        i agree. you might want to consider it chu if you care about the site. somethings are more damaging to the site than busybody site monitors.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 1:23 pm

        “we got it. meanwhile”
        good, you speak for the crew!
        might have given an answer if you weren’t so annoying.
        Good job Annie. I think you’re gonna ‘win’ this one.
        another notch in the belt.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 1:37 pm

        Clearly zionism has demonstrated it cruel greed to us time and time again.

        of course, who could argue w/that. so it should be equally as easy to simply blockquote one of witty’s comments that demonstrates his greed since it’s so not only so obvious ‘zionism has demonstrated it cruel greed’ but as hayate makes clear he is indeed all about greed. not partially about greed mind you, not a side dish of greed, but all about greed.

        in that way it should be very easy for you or hayate or anyone else to simply blockquote one of his comments to demonstrate this greed.. in fact, any comment should suffice because, like the concept of ‘pure’ love that we were discussing yesterday, being all about greed means it basically permeates ….everything. and who doesn’t know greed is always symbolized by financial greed therefore the stereotype of jews and money, cough, zionists and money is well…totally appropriate?

        To me all zionists are fundamentally greedy bastards. You honestly need proof of this?

        i think we operate on different wave lengths. i’m not a zionist, i also do not believe all zionists are dirty bastards, fundamentally or otherwise. i don’t see how this philosophy is going to serve you or palestinians. we all choose our own battles .

        ciao

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 1:51 pm

        might have given an answer if you weren’t so annoying.

        that’s ok i noticed you just thanked donald for keeping it straight. that works for me.

      • azythos
        June 30, 2010, 2:02 pm

        “… if you care about the site. some things are more damaging to the site than busybody site monitors.”

        Relax, for Pete’s sake!

        Nothing will be more damaging to any site than censorship.

        Every commenter takes the responsibilty for what he writes; if he wants to extend inquiry into taboo areas or crack jokes that others conside tasteless or racist or non-PC, it’s his problem. Busybody monitors judging sites by the comments are morons. On the other hand, if a site has a review and censorship policy, that becomes a criterion of judgment, quite legitimately.

        Not to mention that prissy company is often a good reason for cracking tasteless jokes that one wouldn’t even have thought of otherwise.

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 2:12 pm

        Chu June 30, 2010 at 9:19 am

        “Donald. A serious question for you. Did Phil or someone at this site put you in charge of monitoring the site behavior?
        You seem to spend a significant amount of your time correcting others for what is correct and incorrect.”

        Apparently he does so with good judgment and in a mature way:

        Donald June 15, 2010 at 11:00 am

        Patience, Shmuel. Just answer hayate’s questions like you’re supposed to, so he can give you a clean bill of health as a non-Zionist. He’s deeply suspicious since you defended DS, another one of those nefarious crypto-Zionist spies masquerading as an opponent of Zionism all these years.

        The role of counter-intelligence officer at a blog is a thankless task, but somebody’s got to do it. Or anyway, so it seems.

        link to mondoweiss.net

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 2:16 pm

        Love the “good cop/bad cop” routine they practice on the board here:

        Schwartzman June 30, 2010 at 12:58 pm

        What would you say her crime is Hayate, being Jewish?

        Maybe you should find her and throw a penny in front of a car so she runs in front of it. (anti-semite)

        link to mondoweiss.net

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 2:25 pm

        One of the most often used trolling distraction tactics is to take something written by another, and then distort the meaning of it and then blow it up all out proportion to draw attention away from the subject and towards another subject of the troll’s choosing, be it something political or personal. The longer they can keep people distracted with this, the better. This rubbish about my penny joke has occupied probably more space than the commentary of the article heading this page.

        I don’t intend to spend any more time on this silliness. But go ahead and knock yourselves out, you could probably get a few more days mileage out of it.

      • Taxi
        June 30, 2010, 2:41 pm

        annie,

        You’re gonna have to ask Hayate for why she thinks Witty is ‘all about greed’ – it was her statement, not mine. I merely expressed that I found her joke in bad taste and not anti-semitic.

        Like nazism, zionism is fundamentally so loaded with racism that there is no reconciling with ANY parts of it for me.

        I totally reject zionism and yes I do think people who follow it are either bastards or swindled fools.

        And yes, I do also think that by voicing my utter objections to zionism, I help spotlight the monster, small measure that it may be to you.

        I don’t believe in passivity in the face of evil, annie. Neither did your Ghandi, by the way.

      • Chu
        June 30, 2010, 2:46 pm

        caught the Schwartzman piece also. Is that incitement to violence?

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2010, 3:17 pm

        Fair warning, hayate! In my state, throwing a penny over a cliff in the vicinity of a Jew is considered a hate crime!

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2010, 3:22 pm

        “Wasn’t even funny. Leave this dept to Mooser?”

        Absolutely the best idea! All these smart, passionate, informed commenters, but they gotta be comedians, too? Leave it to me.
        Remember I have the ineffable advantage of an unsullied reputation. It simply can’t get any worse.
        Plus, I have what it takes to tell racist, sexist and religious jokes- impeccable taste!

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 4:45 pm

        I was proud of that June 15 comment, hayate. Thanks for repeating it. If I recall correctly, you were under the impression that DS and S were zionists and I live for comic moments like that around here.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 5:14 pm

        taxi,
        bastards or swindled fools, that about wraps it for me too wrt zionists except i’d include war criminals, w/some being genocidal.

        i’m not a passive person, never have been and likely never will be so i have no idea where that came from. if your idea of the opposite of hate is passivity (assuming that’s a hangover from yesterdays conversation) i don’t what to say, it ain’t my bag.

        i’ve been ‘spotlighting the monster’ day in and day out for years and self identify as a info warrior for palestine. that’s my day job.

        fyi, i didn’t jump into this conversation confronting hayate, i jumped into confronting chu for chiding donald, challenging his right to say his opinion which he has every right to do.

      • Taxi
        July 1, 2010, 12:09 am

        Thanks for sharing, annie.

        I always appreciate your tireless dedication to the cause. You are smart, good-hearted and yet you suffer no fools.

        I love you for that.

        Apologies if you found our ‘philosophical’ discussion yesterday upsetting. I hate to think that I caused your sweet self any anxiety.

        We all do what we can to help bring an end to all the wasted lives of millions of Palestinian children. Everyone’s efforts is as important as the next.

      • Donald
        June 29, 2010, 10:20 pm

        He probably didn’t read Bijou’s link, but if he did, he probably agreed with Barak’s view as described here–

        “Barak has emphasized in his rulings the security situation that Israel faces and his identification with its security concerns. Palestinian organizations sew destruction and terror, according to his description. Thus, Israel has the right and obligation to defend its citizens. It is a “defensive democracy” reacting to attacks. This reasoning holds not only for Israel but for other democratic countries that now face the same situation.[57] Barak sees no difference between the prolonged Israeli occupation and the situation of Western democracies. Israel in his story is a passive victim without a political agency.”

        That all sounds very much like RW.

      • Sumud
        June 29, 2010, 10:42 pm

        As does:

        “The primary source of the distortion in discussing Barak’s legacy rests on the emphasis on his “liberal” rhetoric while at the same time ignoring the illiberal outcomes of his Supreme Court opinions. As will become apparent in the course of this article, Barak’s legacy is not liberal in any convincing way.”

      • Sumud
        June 29, 2010, 10:56 pm

        “The ruling on the expulsion of 415 Palestinians from the OPT into Lebanon in
        December 1992 by the Yitzhak Rabin government remains the most striking example of the ISC’s capitulation to state security officials with no regard for due process and human rights.”

        And RW claims regularly Nakba is long past and right of return is “past-oriented”…

        link to mondoweiss.net

        …as though the ethnic cleansing of Palestine has not been Israel’s continuous policy for every year of it’s existence.

    • annie
      June 29, 2010, 10:06 pm

      wiki richard? can’t you do better? this is impressive

      n 1982–1983 he served as a member of the Kahan Commission, a state investigation committee formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Sabra and Shatila massacre. As part of the committee’s conclusions, then Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon was removed from his position. The committee further recommended that he never be appointed to that position again in the future.

      is that called justice?

  12. bijou
    June 29, 2010, 8:30 pm

    The Legacy of Aharon Barak – Harvard Law Review

    ~ A (rare) Palestinian perspective

    • NorthOfFortyNine
      June 29, 2010, 11:59 pm

      Great catch. Damning. Witty?

      • Richard Witty
        June 30, 2010, 9:29 am

        You did read the opening paragraph?

        Its reasonable and nowhere near damning to criticize individual decisions and opinions.

        It is unreasonable, unethical, and unprofessional to engage in hatchet jobs on a person for the math of associations that Phil alluded to above.

  13. VR
    June 29, 2010, 9:02 pm

    There is no institution, least of all the Israeli Supreme Court, that is not skewed by the colonial occupation. It is just like torture had nothing to do with so-called “terrorism,” neither did the piece is titled, “The Israeli model for detainee rights,” and touts Israeli measures developed “during a long and difficult experience with terrorism.” – also had nothing to do with terrorism, it had everything to do with a murderous long standing illegal colonial occupation. These are just the plain facts, and anyone who denies it is not duped or insane, they are consummate interested liars.

  14. traintosiberia
    June 29, 2010, 9:09 pm

    R.W
    The problem US faces is not “baathist cocnformity”. It faces a Israeli conformity persued and perfected by columnist like Tom Friedman , Harvard faculty like Kagan, millionaire like Sheldon, political heavyweight like Abrams,corrupted and connected racist like Abramoff,winner of Presidential Medal like Podohoretz, Think Tank owner like Saban, Media mogul like Murdoch, IDF soldires/spouse moonlighting as reporters in NY Times, NPR,Atlantic,”F*ing stupidest”like Feith,and vulgar brat like Rahm,and fundamentalist like Schummer,devout Jew like Liberman,and tech savvy rabbi of Obsession -Radical Islam video ,and morally crippled like Kruthammer , otherwise sane politicians like Feongold and Wexler, and hundreds more who will make the list happily and those pathetic non-Jewish who sometime make most bizarre claims like the one made by presidential hopeful Alan ( what is his last name?) that he was removed from a position for being pro-Israeli! I am not even including those who were in the mind of Admiral Moorer or Senator Fulbright decades ago.

  15. hayate
    June 30, 2010, 12:23 am

    An article nicked from Seham’s last thread:

    Maher Arar
    Human rights advocate
    Posted: June 28, 2010 04:31 PM

    In Refusing to Hear My Case, The Supreme Court Has Put the World’s Peace and Order in Danger

    “Last week the Supreme Court of the United States of America refused to hear my case. This eliminates any remaining hope for me of obtaining justice through the U.S. judicial system against US officials who sent me to Syria to be tortured.”

    link to huffingtonpost.com

    So who did “al jolson” pick for his choice for the sp, an worshiper of an israeli judge who legalised torture in israel and covered up mass murder war crimes.

    Gotta love them zionists, they sure stick together, don’t they.

    • annie
      June 30, 2010, 10:46 am

      i traveled to gaza w/maher arar’s wife monia. a stellar person and beyond, a true jewel.

      wrt the jolson comment, do you mean obama is a jew in blackface?

      • hayate
        June 30, 2010, 7:55 pm

        annie June 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

        “wrt the jolson comment, do you mean obama is a jew in blackface?”

        IE:

        Schwartzman June 30, 2010 at 12:58 pm

        “What would you say her crime is Hayate, being Jewish?

        Maybe you should find her and throw a penny in front of a car so she runs in front of it. (anti-semite)”

        link to mondoweiss.net

        At least your more clever at delivering your insulting insinuations than than the obvious bots are. I’ll give you that.

        Jesus….

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 11:49 pm

        sorry hayate, i still don’t get your meaning, maybe i’m just cluelss. i’d heard of al jolson but didn’t really connect who he was earlier so i googled him and read his wiki page.. of course i already knew what blackface was but didn’t connect the name or that he was jewish til i read the link. i recall a total explosion @ billmon’s site (blogger/whiskey bar) when he pained someone in blackface in one of his graphics (i forget who) and clearly understood how offensive blackface was by the response to the post (the only time i recall billmon getting massively chewed out). i read your mondo link which brought me no clarity.

        an worshiper of an israeli judge who legalised torture in israel and covered up mass murder war crimes.

        i agree w/that part and i’m not happy w/obama in general (to say the least). but the question was serious. i actually didn’t know what you meant either from reading jolsen’s wiki page or your link. there’s this

        As metaphor of mutual suffering

        Jazz historians have described Jolson’s blackface and singing style as metaphors for Jewish and black suffering throughout history. Jolson’s first film, The Jazz Singer, for instance, is described by historian Michael Alexander as an expression of the liturgical music of Jews with the “imagined music of African Americans,” noting that “prayer and jazz become metaphors for Jews and blacks.”[16]:176 Playwright Samson Raphaelson, after seeing Jolson perform his stage show, “Robinson Crusoe,” stated that “he had an epiphany: ‘My God, this isn’t a jazz singer,’ he said. ‘This is a cantor!'” The image of the blackfaced cantor remained in Raphaelson’s mind when he conceived of the story which led to The Jazz Singer.[17]:502

        so be it. suffice to say it went over my head. i didn’t think my question was either clever or insinuating, i thought i was being completely straight forward. needless to say i won’t be asking you again.

  16. Interested Bystander
    June 30, 2010, 12:36 am

    I don’t know Aharon Barak nor have I read his judcial opinions. I am willing to assume that both Dershowitz and Kagan do have familiarity with both the man and his work on the court. I am also assuming that both Dershowitz and Kagan may have some degree of expertise with respect to the ISC.

    It does not not appear that Finkestein has such expertise. It also does not appear that the Harvard law student, Niver Sultaney, has such exertise. I don’t get the sense from his article that he has any in depth knowledge of ISC body of law in general of Barak’s opinions, in any case he does not demonstrate it. Sultaney does grant:

    “Former Chief Justice Aharon Barak is definitely the most outstanding judge in Israel’s history. No other judge has left as many significant fingerprints on Israel’s Supreme Court (ISC). No judge has influenced Israeli law and society as well as its image abroad as much as he did. Barak’s meticulous rulings and academic scholarship cover an impressive range of fields of law and knowledge and have promoted rights-minded discourse inside Israel. Given this background, however, Barak’s record on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is overwhelmingly disappointing.

    The complaint lodged by both Finkelstein and Sultaney seems to be much more general: that the ISC is complicit in the occupation by having failed to put a stop to it, by having failed to put a stop to housing demolitions, by permitting the IDF to engage in some preventive detention.

    The fact that the ISC has played a role in occupation is of course not surprising; nor is the fact that the ISC has not on its own brought an end to the occupation, created a two state solution, or ended the jewish nature of the state of Israel.

    Regarding Phil’s criticism, allegedly vial Finkelstein, that Barak “was a ‘leading proponent’ of guidelines allowing torture, I note that this does not seem to be supported by the Sultaney article, which notes that the torture case of 1999 was:

    ” widely perceived as a departure from the Court’s policy of non-intervention and considered by many as the main case where Barak challenged the security establishment.”

    So, it strikes me rather that there is a sloppy gaderene rush to judgment on Barak expressed in Phil’s post and the comments above. I’m sure there is a lot to be said on this topic, but noone here has demonstrated that they’ve earned the right to impugn Kagen or Dershowitz for expressing admiration for Barak.

    • Donald
      June 30, 2010, 7:05 am

      You are cherrypicking and it’s bizarre, since all the rest of us have to do is simply click back on the link and read what you left out. For instance–

      “The limited nature of the decision, which legitimated some interrogation practices through the “necessity” defense, and the reluctance of the Court can also explain, even if only partially, the fact that evidence of torture still exists in the wake of this ruling.[20]

      Ardi Imseis exposes the limited scope of Barak’s decision: the Court did not examine all the interrogation methods of the General Security Service (GSS) and did not obligate the state to disclose all these methods for the purpose of judicial examination.[21] It ruled only regarding five physical interrogation methods.[22] It also did not examine interrogation methods by state organs other than the GSS, such as the Israeli army itself, and it did not examine the treatment of Palestinian detainees in the period between detention and interrogation.[23] Furthermore, Imseis points out two additional shortcomings of Barak’s decision. First, Imseis notes the Court’s “overly simplistic contextualization of the case before it as merely requiring a balance between respecting the liberty rights of ‘hostile terrorists’ and protecting the ‘security’ of the state.”[24] Second, the Court outlawed the specific interrogation methods under review because they were not authorized by Israeli law, not because they amount to torture or because they violate international law.[25] Additionally, Barak ignored the question of the effect—or more accurately, the lack thereof—of this ruling on all the past rulings in which the Court legitimated torture. Specifically, he completely ignored the claims of Palestinian torture victims, who had been doubly victimized, first by GSS torture, then by the Court’s string of legitimating decisions up to 1999.[26] Indeed, the ISC’s inadequate response to torture “calls into question the very notion of the ‘rule of law’ in a democratic society.”[27]

      One of the most devastating examples of this oppression-blind approach of non-intervention due to security considerations was, without a doubt, the Court’s unwillingness to reject the policy of punitive home demolitions, wherein the houses of families of suspected security offenders were demolished. Under both Meir Shamgar’s and Barak’s presidencies, the Court granted the security establishment virtual carte blanche to destroy Palestinian houses and refused to characterize it as a form of collective punishment prohibited by international law.[28] Legal interpretation could have been a handy device to limit and restrict these demolitions if there had been a willing judge. But both Shamgar and Barak were unwilling. The main argument that the Court used – adopting the security establishment’s reasoning – was “deterrence.”[29] ”

      I don’t get it. Didn’t you read the rest of what followed the portion that you quoted?

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 7:08 am

        “Didn’t you read the rest of what followed the portion that you quoted?”

        Yuch. Bad writing, worse than usual. Strike “the rest of” in the sentence above.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 8:55 am

        of course he read it donald, i guess he was assuming we didn’t. the problem as it appears to me is the very nature of the israel supreme court and that kagan’s chooses a justice from this court instead of one from our own. she clerked for marshall for god’s sake. why would we want our court to emulate a court w/jurisdiction over an apartheid state whose power is limited anyway. everyone knows israel’s ‘military zones’ rule the roost in israel and their court accommodates distinguishing between a variety of types of citizenship or non citizenship where there is absolutely no equality. whereas marshall led the court during an unprecedented era of civil rights reform in this country she chooses a judge who presided over a court that allowed for the opposite.

        instead of israel being an embarrassment, marshall is? or are we to believe everyone is so kowtowed by israel no one dare to grill her on her emulation whereas we know the republicans will take any opportunity to thrash marshall.

        whatever, i know nothing of the law i just know it disgusts me the emulation of a judge who presided over an apartheid state could be seen as a good thing in a confirmation hearing for our own supreme court. torture, administrative detention, aparthied..i don’t know if that’s zionist specific or what but it’s ugly and shameful.

      • Interested Bystander
        June 30, 2010, 3:56 pm

        Donald and Annie:

        There is, on what is presented, no dispute that Barak is a great jurist and did a tremndous amount to establish the rule of law in Israel. The rest of the Harvard student’s paper, which I assume everyone here has read, discusses some others who have concluded the ISC, and Barak in particular should have done more vis a vis the occupation.

        I think Annie expresses what’s going on well: the criticism comes from a position of ignorance about the law, the man, and his opinions. People are willing to condemn Kagan for indicating admiration for Barak, because they are not willing to concede that there could possibly be anything worth admiring about any Israeli Supreme Court Justice.

        That, I think, is the mark of True Believers: a readiness to condemn, with great hubris, people about whom you know nothing, based on things about which you also know nothing. To borrow Finkelstein’s title, I think that is beyond Chutzpah! It’s the internet, so have at it. But if you think it advances the cause of Palestinians, or gets people to take you seriously, or advances the cause of justice in the world.. . think again.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 4:27 pm

        Nice speech. You didn’t refute anything I said and it appears that your cherrypicking was deliberate, since you haven’t really dealt with Sultaney’s criticisms.

        ” Barak in particular should have done more vis a vis the occupation.”

        That’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Personally I don’t care much about the quality of Barak’s legal mind outside questions involving the Occupation. It doesn’t interest me. Similarly, for all I know Justice Taney might have had a superb legal mind, but what we mostly remember him for is the Dred Scott decision.

        Law isn’t like physics. No one can take anything away from Heisenberg’s greatness as a physicist, despite the fact that he worked on the Nazi atom bomb. One can question his moral stance. A judge who works within a legal system that has apartheid-like qualities has to ask himself what he is doing and whether he is contributing to an immoral and evil situation and his stature as a judge is a little harder to separate from moral issues than, say, Heisenberg’s status as one of the great physicists of the 20th century.

        I have no idea why Kagan admires him so much. I do wonder about the moral priorities of people who would pick Barak, given his situation, but it’s not escaped the notice of us laypeople that the law and justice don’t always have much to do with each other. Maybe she admires him for all that legal brilliance outside the Occupation.

        But if I recall correctly, Glenn Greenwald has given more substantive reasons to be worried about her, but we won’t know how she will turn out until she starts making rulings.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 4:40 pm

        BTW, please say “What about Judge Goldstone?” My life would be complete.

        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 4:47 pm

        People are willing to condemn Kagan for indicating admiration for Barak, because they are not willing to concede that there could possibly be anything worth admiring about any Israeli Supreme Court Justice

        first off IB, i’m not condemning her in the sense of judging her abilities as a judge. she may end up being a judge i admire. for all i know she’ll be another ginsberg who i absolutely admire.

        second, she didn’t just ‘indicate admiration’ for barak

        Elena Kagan introduced Judge Barak during an award ceremony as “my judicial hero.” She added, “He is the judge or justice in my lifetime whom, I think, best represents and has best advanced the values of democracy and human rights, of the rule of law and of justice.”

        that is a fairly definitive statement. if this is the one man who presided over a court in her lifetime whose values of democracy, human rights, justice..it is fair to examine the results of his labors. israel and human rights? israel and justice? israel and democracy? and you think i have chutzpah? hardly. i’d say kagan has chutzpah.

        i am also absolutely not asserting that there could not possibly be anything worth admiring about any Israeli Supreme Court Justice. this is the same court that passes rulings (outlawing assassination squads) completely ignored by the shin bet (gag order kamm), ignored wrt bilin, ignore wrt the WB road. the supreme court plays second fiddle to military rule in israel, it presides over a nation w/2 systems of government for 2 different people and calls itself a democracy. but this chief didn’t stop the wall, didn’t stop administrative detention or torture (instead allowed for them) , still doesn’t have a constitution. whatever. she’s not getting confirmed for a position on the israeli supreme court she getting confirmed here. if her best standard is a chief justice who presides over a court that rules over an apartheid state, sans democracy, sans justice for 1/2 the people, sans representation for 1/2 the people..i don’t know what to say about that, it disgusts me. so while i absolutely don’t like this choice for her highest admiration i am not asserting i wish she not be confirmed, nor do i condemn her as a judge or a person. i’ll wait to hear her rulings first. i’d also take her any day over a scalia or a thomas or a roberts for that matter, all of whom i would condemn any second of any day.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 4:51 pm

        i was crossposting when donald ruled that so similarities wrt anything (judgment re her future rulings) are coincidental.

      • annie
        June 30, 2010, 4:51 pm

        argh..when donald posted..

      • azythos
        June 30, 2010, 4:54 pm

        “no dispute that Barak is a great jurist and did a tremndous amount to establish the rule of law in Israel”

        There is no need to be a lawyer to decide the following on the basis of 2-3 judgments of his:

        1. He is a willing accomplice to mass murder, land theft and violation of civil rights.

        2. He has no excuse for “acting under orders”. Even if acting under orders were acceptable, and it is not, the action above was not under orders.

        3. The “rule of law” that he established is the rule of authorized lawlessness on a racial basis.

        All the rest is window-dressing. “True believers”, forsooth.

      • Keith
        June 30, 2010, 5:01 pm

        DONALD- I agree. The point is not to find some fine legal mind capable of providing an erudite justification for the indefensible, we have enough of those already, the criteria ought to be a competent legal mind who believes passionately in justice for all. We need people on the Supreme Court who will protect us from the Patriot Act, illegal detention, corporate abuse, an out of control executive branch, etc. I would love to hear these defenders of Kagan make a case that she will do anything other than continue the court’s legal support for our militarized corporate oligarchy. Screw the rest.

      • Interested Bystander
        June 30, 2010, 9:25 pm

        What is the connection to Kagan’s statement on Barak here?

      • Interested Bystander
        June 30, 2010, 9:26 pm

        Meaning the Jewssansfrontiers link.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 9:30 pm

        The JSF link has no direct connection to Kagan and Barak. I put it there because I’d said that one should question the moral position of a judge who served an apartheid regime, meaning Barak, and half anticipated that you might bring up Goldstone as an example of an honorable judge in a dishonest system. The JSF link shows that Goldstone in fact does deserve to be criticized for his role as a judge in an apartheid system–as apartheid crumbled he started to redeem himself and of course as a human rights investigator he deserves praise.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2010, 9:34 pm

        Actually, on the role of Goldstone or any other judge in an apartheid system, the article that JSF references is the one you should read first (if interested).

        link to guardian.co.uk

      • Interested Bystander
        June 30, 2010, 9:52 pm

        Thanks, Donald. FYI, I have no particular views on Goldstone nor on Kagen and what kind of judge she’ll be. Nor, as I have noted, do I have views on Barak. What I have reacted to was comments of the “Have you stopped beating your wife variety” (“So you approve of Israeli judges who endorse torture”) and a ready willingness by many to condemn without having a proper foundation to judge, and to do so in mean and viscious language (e.g. “A gestapo judge,then. No wonder zionism’s latest infiltraitor to power worships the fascistic goatsod. The question isn’t somuch as what is kagen doing being nominated to the sc, it’s how the hell did this nasty creature make it as far as she has.”)

        .

  17. Hostage
    June 30, 2010, 6:06 am

    Let’s face facts. Barak perverted the system of justice. While he sat on the bench, there were reports of “widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israel, in particular mass killings and collective punishments, such as demolition of houses and closure of the Palestinian territories, measures which constitute war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.” He assisted in keeping 700 – 800 thousand Palestinians imprisoned in their own homes. They were unable to go to work, to school, to harvest their crops, to buy food, to get water, to go to the hospital, or to bury their dead. All of that happened because some greedy settlers wanted to occupy their homeland and evict them.

    In 1944, Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide to describe a foreign occupation that destroyed or permanently crippled a subject population. The use of colonists by an occupying power to dispossess the indigenous inhabitants was part and parcel of Lemkin’s definition of the crime. According to Ned Cuthoys, Lemkin studied both early and modern instances of colonialism and came to the conclusion that the practice is inherently genocidal. Lemkin also observed that the use of propaganda (by people like yourself) to rationalize the crime; appeal to popular beliefs and intolerance; sow discord (divide and rule); and to misrepresent or deceive others about what was really happening was an integral part of the process.

  18. Cliff
    June 30, 2010, 10:06 am

    Glenn Greenwald on Kagan:

    link to salon.com

    And his debate w/ a Kagan defender on DN!:

    link to salon.com

  19. bijou
    July 1, 2010, 5:18 am

    Justice is Blind

    From wikipedia:

    “As stated above, Lady Justice is often depicted wearing a blindfold. This is done in order to indicate that justice is (or should be) meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness: blind justice and blind impartiality. The earliest Roman coins depicted Justitia with the sword in one hand and the scale in the other, but with her eyes uncovered.[3] Justitia was only commonly represented as “blind” since about the end of the fifteenth century. ….” [Note: It goes on to say that blindness is not necessarily the best attribute for someone who is supposed to review all facts and come to a conclusion, but for the purposes of this thread, that's beside the point.]

Leave a Reply