Meeting 3 U.S. officers who are angered by the special relationship

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 192 Comments

I often look around the political rabbithole I went down a few years ago and wonder what I’m doing here and whether I’ll ever get out. I think of all the associations and even interests I had earlier in life that I’ve cut myself off from. I wonder if I’m not bonkers or if I’ve had a temperamental breakdown in midlife that unsuited me for the world. Though generally I end up saying, What the hell, my wife’s ok with it, I’ve got a good life, you gotta do what you gotta do.

In the last couple days I’ve had conversations with three American military officers in Jordan that left me feeling good about my choice. In each case it was the officers who brought up the tremendous strategic liability that Israel represents for the U.S., and two of them used the words “Jewish lobby” without prompting.

I’m not going to give away details because these were two chance meetings; the individuals had no idea what use I’d make of their comments. All three work in the Arab world. One is retired, the other two were passing through. Now let me tell you what they said.

My first meeting was with the retired officer, and it was a little shocking, for while he seemed goodnatured, he twice used the word Nazis to describe Israeli political culture.

We got talking about what we were doing out here and when he told me about Palestinians he knows, I brought up the conflict. He said Americans have no idea how closely intertwined the Israeli military is with our military. He trained on a Cobra helicopter flight simulator back home, and he and every other American had to clear out of the building when the Israelis wanted to use the place. They were control freaks, on American soil. They flew around in F-15s and were refueled by American planes. The officer later visited Israel and was surprised to find out that the society is overwhelmingly right wing; and his military counterparts reminded him of what he’d read about Nazis. They were all in a permanent war mind-set he said, and with who? The Palestinians! Who are they kidding?

“The abused becomes the abuser,” he said. He tried to visit the Palestinian territories and was not allowed because he is American military and retired officers aren’t allowed in there for a period of years. Again; control. During the fierce questioning at the border, he began questioning the Israelis back, he was so angered by them.

This is a man who is pulling for the P.A. and the Israelis to make a deal to establish a two-state solution. But he brought up the “Jewish lobby” to explain our policy here. When it came to the whole Mideast, he was more Chomskyian. “Who weaponized religion?” he asked; “we did,” in Afghanistan in the 80s, to fight the Russians.

I didn’t respond– I think religions are pretty good at weaponizing themselves.

I asked him what generals think of the Israeli presence in our institutional life. All the generals know the story, he said, but they won’t say anything. To get to be a general, you have to be political; and once you’ve become a general, you know that it’s easy to make $1 million in corporate contracts upon retirement. You don’t want to screw that up.

My next run-in was with two officers who are younger and more idealistic. Once again the subject of the conflict came up naturally during a conversation about what we’re doing out here. The first officer was blunt about the special relationship’s damage to American interests, and he also used the phrase “Jewish lobby,” and mentioned AIPAC, to explain a miserable policy.

He was accompanied by a female officer. She told me of a friend she has back home running for a state legislature, and a supporter of Israel came up to him at an event and gave him $1000 and said, We know you’re strong on Israel. The friend confessed to her that he took the money because he needs it if he’s going to win, so he’s now bought on an issue that he’s never said anything aboout and that means nothing to his district. Yes and what happens when he runs for Congress? I told her about all the folks at AIPAC bragging about building relationships with budding politicians, and even cultivating student government presidents.

The two officers have traveled widely here. It cannot surprise any regular reader of this site to hear their view that the issue is turning off the entire Arab world and “fueling extremists.” Ordinary Arabs are far better informed than any American, the officers said. They can quote verbatim portions of Obama’s speeches, they take him at his word. If nothing comes of the latest initiative, there will be rage across the Arab world.

The female officer complained about American ignorance of the situation. Americans have no idea what is going on in Palestine, she said. I argued with her about this a little (and cited the Time Magazine cover Adam blogged about—which turns out to be no great revelation).

She took the conversation further. When she was training in Arabic she had one teacher who told her that Truman’s whole State Department was against Partition and against recognizing the Jewish state. She was shocked to learn this, and then she came out here and understood why. Another of her teachers was a Palestinian American woman. Her mother was dying and she couldn’t get into the territories. The Israelis kept her from going back to the place she was born. Finally she got in, but her mother had died. “And she’s an American citizen!”

The female officer had found it a heartbreaking story that showed that our policy was wrong at two levels, strategic and moral. She sounded like Walt and Mearsheimer!

I won’t soon forget her last words to me, for they resonated in my own experience, and in the experience of many of my friends. “I’ve never thought of being an activist in life. I’m not that type. But on this issue, I am tempted to become an activist. I don’t see any other way that things will change.”

The conversation gave me hope that we are building a movement with new materials at the edges of American political life. We are fighting a political conspiracy in the very sense that Lincoln used that word when he ran for the new Republican party against slave power Democrats and Whigs in 1858 and then 1860. The existing political parties were corrupted by slavery, the Supreme Court was corrupted, the business class, and the main newspapers. They were all going along with slavery, overturning the old agreements to expand slavery in the territories. Taking on the establishment had required activism—building a grassroots movement. Lincoln was a moderate outsider. Remember that he was tolerant of slavery for a time. 

And these officers are also moderates, they are all pulling for the two state solution. When it fails, I have little doubt where that female officer will go. Down the rabbithole. 

Update: I wish when I published this piece yesterday that I had injected a note of greater sympathy for Jews. It was published on Rosh Hashanah, after all. I should have mentioned that in my second encounter with two officers, I told them that I’m Jewish and that an important movement has begun inside Jewish life to challenge the ethnocratic character of Israel. So when one of them spoke of the “Jewish lobby,” the term is actually, finally, imprecise.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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192 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    September 10, 2010, 2:12 am

    RE: “I wonder if I’m not bonkers…” – Weiss
    MY COMMENT: My little inside joke about this is as follows. If someone were to ask me whether I’m sane, I would reply that “considering what passes for being sane these days, I hope to hell not!”
    P.S. “They” always say that if you question your own sanity, you are most likely sane. The truly insane rarely question their own sanity. But then, in the case of multiple personalities…

    • LanceThruster
      September 10, 2010, 1:40 pm

      Kurt Vonnegut once remarked that his best short story was one he never wrote. It was titled “Concentration Camp Psychiatrist” — When the guards of the camp would come to the doctor and tell him they were being driven crazy by how awful they felt over their responsibility for the all the death and misery surrrounding them, the doctor would reassure them that they were doing a great service for the fatherland, and though it was normal to have these feelings, to try not to dwell on them by remembering how much everyone appreciated their efforts.

  2. thankgodimatheist
    September 10, 2010, 2:34 am

    Well Mr. Weiss what can I say? I’m in shock at what I just read, not because I learned something new mind you (though the reaction of the officers was sort of an eye opener) but because of the tone and the value of the piece you just posted..As far as I’m concerned this is your best I ever read..
    And yes, you made the right choice going down that rabbit hole as you’re making a difference..I’m not qualified to it’s magnitude but I can judge its quality and it’s significant..
    Chapeau!

  3. Avi
    September 10, 2010, 3:28 am

    Ordinary Arabs are far better informed than any American, the officers said. They can quote verbatim portions of Obama’s speeches, they take him at his word. If nothing comes of the latest initiative, there will be rage across the Arab world.

    The female officer complained about American ignorance of the situation. Americans have no idea what is going on in Palestine, she said.

    My experience has led me to conclude that Americans — and to a lesser extent, Canadians in recent years — are severely misinformed about the world around them, including domestic politics. But, it’s not limited to politics. The topic could be about geography or history, and by and large the people of the world outside the US know far more than the average American.

    Whenever I travel outside the United States and then return I feel as though I’m re-entering a dream-like state. Being inside the United States, in this bubble, feels like a visit to some theme park where most of the structures and activities are artificial and exist for the sole purpose of entertainment and profit generation. It’s some kind of cocoon in which the population is conveniently shielded by the media from the harsh reality out there. It’s a strange feeling that usually lasts a day or two depending on the length of my stay outside the US.

    Oddly enough, I haven’t felt that way when visiting other countries or while living in other countries.

    • Chu
      September 10, 2010, 8:26 am

      yeah, I guess it depends on what part of the country people live. I could see if American interests were solely local (like say 170 years ago), but we’ve got our finger in every pie across this world. So to listen to some yocal speak that we’re the victim is unique (canada excluded). :o

      I find that people live in a bubble when you ask them about political issues. It’s like it’s impolite to get into it. People squirm or get really hotheaded. During ‘operation Iraqi freedom'(!), people I work with had some of the lamest canned answers about Saddam. There eyes would gloss over and skin would flush, almost like caged animal. They knew there justification for the war was light at best, but they didn’t have the capacity to hold a discussion without recoiling in fear.

      That’s part of what keep the war machine-a-rollin’. A cauterized public mind, who asks little questions, but wonder when it’s all going to get better.

      • LanceThruster
        September 10, 2010, 3:36 pm

        There is an axiom that says, “Going to war is how Americans learn geography.”

        I just got defriended on Facebook by a long time acquaintance of former school mates. She’s always had gopper blinders on, drank the rethuglican kool-aid, and sadly seems to be more often than not, generous portions of hatred and ignorance. Her Facebook postings are fairly insipid though relatively innocuous. She doesn’t read any commentary or op-eds, but considers herself a “news junkie.” So after seeing a cable channel program on the reconstruction delays at Ground Zero, she went full on Pam Atlas wishing all them bastards to rot in hell and suggested “we” turn the entire Middle East into a “mud pie(?)”. I’m assuming her wrath was only directed at the Arabs/Muslims/Persians and not the other band of Semites.

        She considers herself xian and “moderate” rethuglican and I posted on her page that I felt her call to genocide under the banner of xian love a little harsh even for her. That only a severely emotionally crippled person would feel that because of her outrage regarding the deaths of thousands of innocent people over a political beef, the proper response was to kill thousands and thousands of innocent people over a political beef. Seems like the height of moral bankruptcy.

        She immediately pulled the plug and wrote (without my ability to respond) that it’s in her profile she doesn’t debate issues (Gee, no wonder), and that she will not allow me to make 9/11 “political” (as if wholesale slaughter – overheated rhetoric or not – is not an insanely political act).

        Sadly, I know far too many people like her full of righteous indignation over the b-listers of the planet making life difficult for the a-listers. Her attitude is basically, “Kill them all and let God sort it out.” Anyone who would try to make her feel guilty over her murderous cruelty just isn’t a “real” American.

        I say good riddance as I am more than willing to walk away from those defiantly proud of their failure as human beings.

      • Keith
        September 10, 2010, 11:02 pm

        CHU- “I find that people live in a bubble when you ask them about political issues. It’s like it’s impolite to get into it.”

        You have correctly identified a big part of the problem. The people I socialize with are liberal. Bringing up political issues is unheard of in a social atmosphere. There are literally no options available for a political discussion. One of the reasons I comment on Mondoweiss is to engage in the type of discussion not available to me elsewhere.

        Once, during a social gathering, I brought up US recruitment of Nazis following World War II. I mentioned Reinhard Gehlen, which passed unnoticed because no one knew who he was (which tells you something right there), but when I said that Klaus Barbie had been recruited by the CIA, I was met with total disbelief. I wound up sending a friend a letter with quotes from four different sources to back up my claim.

        By elite design, the US is a totally depoliticized society. Being able to discuss relevant issues is critically important, but the opportunity rarely available. Other websites have comments sections, however, the only comments section that I engage is Mondoweiss. It is the only comments section that has the dynamic intellectual interaction that I feel comfortable with. The posts are great, but not all that unique. I hope that Phil and Adam appreciate the extent to which the comments section of Mondoweiss is both unique and fills a pressing need.

    • marc b.
      September 10, 2010, 8:52 am

      avi, there was a study conducted a few years ago which concluded that the greater number of hours of TV news watched directly correlated to greater ignorance of verifiable facts. or something to that effect. the ‘idiot box’ is an accurate description.

  4. Justice Please
    September 10, 2010, 3:37 am

    Phil, first of all thanks for this interesting article and the views of these people.

    I just want to add: Why are you so shocked when someone articulates what he views as Nazi-like conditions in Israeli society? A while ago you quoted Avraham Burg enthusiastically if I rememerb correctly. He sees the parallels, too:

    “True, we are not like Germany at the war’s end and at the height of the Final Solution. But we are somewhere very close to the first stages of humanistic and cultural Germany’s implosion on the face of Hitler and his henchmen, whose National Socialism shredded everything good and beautiful in what had been Germany. To my great sorrow and pain, I cannot always distinguish between the early Social Nationalism and some national theories of here and now.”

    Avraham Burg – The Holocaust is Over, S. 192

    And surely Burg knows more about Israelis than me, you, and those people you met combined.

  5. Colin Murray
    September 10, 2010, 3:53 am

    Great work, Phil.

  6. Sin Nombre
    September 10, 2010, 3:57 am

    Phil Weiss wrote:

    “And these officers are also moderates, they are all pulling for the two state solution. When it fails, I have little doubt where that female officer will go….”

    Nor do I where both she and the two other officers will go additionally, and it won’t be towards sympathy towards jews unfortunately, including especially American jews.

    For the life of me I don’t understand why the American and European jewish communities at least doesn’t see this … and extrapolate. Power changes hands, and today’s elites and favorites are tomorrow’s villains.

    • Mooser
      September 14, 2010, 1:05 pm

      ” and it won’t be towards sympathy towards jews unfortunately, including especially American jews.”

      Cause if there is one thing American Jews need, it’s sympathy! I mean, the way they are excluded from opportunity and privilege, and especially after their history of slavery in the South the Jim Crowstein laws and economic and social ostracism in the North. And now this thing about eliminating birthright citizenship.
      Oy, us poor American Jews, how we need your sympathy!
      Maybe it would help if people would upper-case the “J”, maybe not.

  7. otto
    September 10, 2010, 4:00 am

    Bravo!

    How’s the book coming on, Phil?

  8. Colin Murray
    September 10, 2010, 4:13 am

    Phil, I am disturbed that “two of them used the words “Jewish lobby” without prompting.” Did you mention M&W’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy?

  9. justicewillprevail
    September 10, 2010, 4:17 am

    Fascinating. This gives me hope that when Americans see the situation for themselves they are decent people with a strong sense of justice. If only their perceptions could be fed into the mainstream.
    When you come up against it, the arrogance of many Israelis, in their presumption that America is theirs for the taking, is astounding. I am not surprised that their well funded propaganda groups, think tanks, agents and all the rest fight tooth and nail to prevent American people from knowing the truth about the situation, and use ruthless smears and intimidation to try and prevent it from becoming widespread. Americans have no idea of the strength and scale of their influence, as the retiree found out on his training – the US military have to step aside for these guys. As Clinton said, after a typical bruising encounter with the demagogue Netanyahu, “just who is the superpower here?”

  10. Richard Witty
    September 10, 2010, 6:09 am

    You dropped the ball.

    “Every Truman state department official was opposed to partition and now I understand why”, is saying nothing. You and the other person need to be specific.

    Of those that you met, and confirmed the rightness of your view (not just the decision to dissent, a good one, but the decision of how to and on what issues, less than good one), how many were there by choice, had retired there?

    My point is that your inquiry becomes self-selecting.

    In all major conflicts in the world, there is truth, strong supporting truth, for all positions, including this one. One’s judgement can’t rest on a selective inquiry.

    I think you err grossly in choosing the path that is the borderline of dissent and solidarity. Dissent is a democratic approach. When you reach solidarity, you are in a non-journalistic zone.

    Maybe you think of this blog as what J-Street should be, post-Zionist leaning to anti-Zionist lobbying.

    There is a difference between lobbying and journalism. That is that lobbying, say that J Street is doing, must succeed at changing hearts and minds towards politically advocating for a position. Its criteria of success in the US, is change in US policy (occurring).

    A comparable lobby in Israel, a much more important effort, would change hearts and minds there.

    And that you are not doing, yet. Maybe never, maybe soon.

    • justicewillprevail
      September 10, 2010, 7:43 am

      Waffle masquerading as comment. It doesn’t make any sense. Non-journalistic? Really, you try to sound intelligent, but it crumbles on any examination, just leaving the pomposity behind. So now he should be lobbying in Israel? Are you? And if you think changing hearts and minds in Israel is easy, or even possible, ask Gideon Levy after you have read his interview. Changing minds in America is much more important, as they are the ones who will change when they are provided with some facts and truth, and not the wall of propaganda from the lobby.

    • Shingo
      September 10, 2010, 8:17 am

      You’re such an ungracious and pathetic commentator Witty. As always, you hate what you read, but being unable to offer a counter argument, you just litter this blog with your incohrent diatribes, and convince yourself you’ve pressented a convincing argument.

      Why don’t you just shut up and think for once in your life?

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2010, 8:27 am

        Its a message to Phil, to get back to an approach that is effective (versus ineffective), persuasive (versus force), mediative (versus oppositional), kind (versus punitive).

        The substance is the difference between prospective success (peace and mutual viability and health) and prospective failure (continued suppression, war).

      • eljay
        September 10, 2010, 8:43 am

        >> Its a message to Phil, to get back to an approach that is effective (versus ineffective), persuasive (versus force), mediative (versus oppositional), kind (versus punitive).

        Advice that sounds like it should be preached to Israel instead of Mr. Weiss. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Weiss does not slaughter people at a ratio of 100:1 or steal or occupy anyone’s land.

      • Shingo
        September 10, 2010, 8:52 am

        “Its a message to Phil, to get back to an approach that is effective (versus ineffective), persuasive (versus force), mediative (versus oppositional), kind (versus punitive).”

        Phil’s blog is internationally recognized and becomming more important by the day. Your blog seems to have been such a failure that not even you want to spend time on it.

        Hence, you’re the last person to be giving advice to Phil about “prospective success”, or how to be “effective”, and “perusasive”.

        And someone who cheered for the Gaza massacre, the blockade and the flotilla massacre, your the last person who should preaching about being “mediative” and “kind”.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2010, 8:59 am

        “Advice that sounds like it should be preached to Israel instead of Mr. Weiss.”

        If Phil is attempting to change hearts and minds, then Phil is THE person to direct it to, so that Israel and their neighbors have the opportunity to change.

        You are repeating an approach that has not born fruit for 63 years.

        The approach of persuasion and mutual sympathy that did result in radical change in Israel in the early 90’s, has been rejected by solidarity.

        It is the literally ONLY approach that will avoid war there.

        BDS for example will increase tensions. If BDS clearly distinguishes itself from one-state advocates, and from Hamas and other militant factions, then it might have a chance at changing Israel.

        To the extent that its proponents even speculate on a single state or have any association with Hamas or other organizations that have undertaken and not renounced terror, it will fail utterly (worse than fail).

      • annie
        September 10, 2010, 10:45 am

        witty, since you think you’re so proficient at the right way of doing things just do it yourself. instead you choose to be a self appointed authority on phil. it’s stupid, redundant and boring garbledigook. if phil took your advice he’d be a nobody and this blog would be as popular as yours, as in dead.

      • Donald
        September 10, 2010, 11:10 am

        The Israelis need to stop being narcissistic racists who always seem to see themselves as victims even while being responsible for most of the atrocities in this conflict. Now if there’s a gentle way to get them to do that, I’m all for it. But it’s not a goal that you can help achieve, because your own beliefs are part of the problem.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2010, 11:46 am

        >> The Israelis need to stop being narcissistic racists who always seem to see themselves as victims even while being responsible for most of the atrocities in this conflict.

        You make it sound as though the Israelis are having fun playing the role of aggressor-victim when, in reality, it’s hard work! At the end of the day, don’t they deserve something – say, the West Bank – for their efforts? ;-)

      • Donald
        September 10, 2010, 12:47 pm

        “You make it sound as though the Israelis are having fun playing the role of aggressor-victim when, in reality, it’s hard work!”

        Good point. There’s a lot of mental effort involved in doublethink–you gotta think twice as much, about reality and then about how you prefer reality to be. What do you need to take your mind off your troubles? Real estate. A nice place with a view, perhaps.

        A bit more seriously–Michael Lerner seems to be about as gentle a critic of Israeli expansionism as anyone could wish, too gentle really, but I don’t get the impression he’s been making great progress changing minds. I’d really like to be wrong about that.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2010, 3:55 pm

        To the extent that Rabbi Lerner inspires respect and consideration towards Palestinians AND Israelis he succeeds.

        The problem with the dissent only approach is that it presents neither. It only demeans, and exacerbates tensions rather than realize either change of hearts and minds, or authoritative definition of law.

        It is too speculative, vague and partisan to accomplish that currently.

      • Chaos4700
        September 10, 2010, 7:42 pm

        The problem with the dissent only approach is that it presents neither.

        The problem with your rhetoric is it’s highly falsified and insulting. You keep insisting we all only have a dissent only approach when you are the only person on this blog who shoots every solution down that doesn’t exonerate Israel of its crimes.

      • Psychopathic god
        September 10, 2010, 7:52 pm

        it may be that a great deal of effort goes into keeping Israelis in a narcissistic state, believing themselves permanent victims.

        Israel’s built environment — the walls, roads, neighborhoods, commandeered hilltops, natural resources — have been turned into pedagogic exercises on Jewish Israeli entitlement as well a constant, constant reminder of the absolute necessity for “partition and enclosure” — the landscape screams at Jewish Israelis and at Arab Israelis: “we are we and they are they.”

        The education system maintains Jewish Israelis in a state of persistent narcissistic victimhood: Torah is taught as history; children of settlers have different educational opportunities from Jewish Israelis and those to groups have far superior education opportunities and resources from Arab Israelis.

        Israeli culture hammers away at Jewish Israelis that they are G-d’s chosen people, chosen to civilize the Middle East; that the next holocaust is just around the corner, that they are perpetual victims — in short, to succumb to Israeli cultural pressures is to imbibe narcissistic victimhood.

      • lyn117
        September 11, 2010, 3:17 pm

        “The approach of persuasion and mutual sympathy that did result in radical change in Israel in the early 90’s, has been rejected by solidarity.”

        What change in Israel are you referring to? Settlement activity in the occupied territories radically increased following 1993, checkpoints and walls around Palestinian neighborhoods increased.

      • Richard Witty
        September 12, 2010, 7:16 pm

        Prior to the Peace Now demonstrations after the first intifada, Madrid, Oslo, the concept of Palestinian self-governance was not on the table.

        Those mass demonstrations were real, and a change.

        Even after the memory of the 73 war, and a decade of Palestinian international terrorism, there were hundreds of thousands of idealist demonstrators (of a country of 5 million, a very high percentage on the street)

        It was terror and militancy that soured it (both Israeli and Palestinian). It STOPPED the movement for a Palestinian state.

        And, you think that militancy (even in the form of BDS), and not persuasion, will succeed at making change that lasts for more than a month.

      • lyn117
        September 13, 2010, 1:00 am

        Actually, Israel came up with “village councils” or some such idea of Palestinian “self governance” in the occupied territories very soon after 1967.

      • Chu
        September 10, 2010, 8:37 am

        Thank you Shingo for all you comments toward Witty. He opened the manual on how to defend Zionism, but cannot execute the talking points included within. I could do a better job defending Israel if. He makes people realize that Zionism is buffoonism contained within a thickened skull.

      • Shingo
        September 10, 2010, 8:55 am

        Indeed Chu,

        Zionism is simply anti intellectualism, so those who try to present it intectually will always encounter the challenges of hammering a square peg into a round hole, while pretending the fit is perfect.

    • eljay
      September 10, 2010, 8:26 am

      >> In all major conflicts in the world, there is truth, strong supporting truth, for all positions, including this one.

      Although each position in a major conflict may have a “strong supporting truth” behind it, the implication that each of those “strong supporting truths” is actually valid, just and/or moral is false.

    • Chaos4700
      September 10, 2010, 8:35 am

      Some “friend” you are. Every time you post, you’re nothing but rude and disingenuous to Mr. Weiss.

      You’re also highly insulting to the men and women in uniform which Mr. Weiss talked to — which is not surprising, considering that you’ve openly stated here that you devalue your American nationality in the face of your “Jewish” nationality.

      Or maybe you never even read the actual article? Your callous dismissal of the testimonies of American soldiers could be out of intellectual depletion instead of intellectual malice, one supposes.

      • Chaos4700
        September 10, 2010, 8:51 am

        This, incidentally, is a big part of the reason why I find Witty and what he represents so onerous. Not only does he now pretend to be liberal, he actively undermines Progressivism by attacking respected individuals like Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky in our name, and now he’s even treading over American soldiers and disrespecting them.

        This is what I despise about Witty. He’s a one man fifth column who’s out to set fire to everything that has ever given value to the United States — because he cares about Israel more than the country in which he was born, the troops which protect it and the people who struggle to maintain those ideals.

      • annie
        September 10, 2010, 10:53 am

        Or maybe you never even read the actual article?

        no, he didn’t read the whole article chaos, that was apparent in his opening remarks (‘how many were there by choice, had retired there? ‘) which indicated he skipped phil’s 3rd paragraph (at a minimum). witty doesn’t address phil’s articles, he diverts.

        to the moderators, it’s taking me a little time to adjust to the new format. i’ve hit the ‘report this comment’ twice now when i meant to hit the reply function. i left them empty..sorry.

  11. RoHa
    September 10, 2010, 6:47 am

    “he and every other American had to clear out of the building when the Israelis wanted to use the place.”

    The U.S. military accepted that? Wow! Israel must really have paid well for that privilege. Millions, I would expect.

    What?

    Oh.

  12. bob
    September 10, 2010, 7:02 am

    he twice used the word Nazis to describe Israeli political culture.

    I had a similar experience as a young man, talking to a retired U.S. Army higher-up. After talking about this issue for a few days while working together, he used the same word in describing Israeli culture. I went knee-jerk and defended the Israelis. He gave me a look as only one person would who knew his subject but didn’t want to argue with a person who was emotionally responding to an issue. Young and dumb.

    He had an interesting story on one of his long-term trips to Israel. Apparently, this was back in the years where athletic girls weren’t as popular as they are now, and thats the type of girl he liked. The retired Army officer went on about how he had a string of peculiar and unwanted roommates. First was a (non athletic) girl, who he wanted nothing to do with. He was a little perturbed he didn’t have his own room, and demanded that she leave. Then, another girl (darker), and the same response by him. Then another one. Then a unusually forward man. This put the retired Army officer over the edge and he demanded that the Israelis stop trying to share his room. It stopped.

    At the end of his trip the U.S. army officer and some Israelis were enjoying a trip to the beach. As they were going over the particular details of his official trip, a striking female athlete just happened to walk by the group. The U.S. Army officer exclaimed, “wow, look at her.” The whole group of Israelis immediately started talking to each other in hushed Hebrew. Then it dawned on him what all those roommates were about.

    • andrew r
      September 10, 2010, 3:06 pm

      Aw geez, I’m wracking my brain on what the implication is and I figure they didn’t want him to get with any local girls.

      • annie
        September 10, 2010, 6:52 pm

        seriously andrew? you’re thick. they were trying to set him up w/a local and kept sending in the wrong types. U.S. Army higher-up’s in compromised situations sometimes affords advantageous opportunities….down the road.

      • andrew r
        September 11, 2010, 1:50 am

        The stupid thing is, I probably would’ve figured that out if I didn’t spend three minutes wondering what that has to do with being Nazi-like.

      • potsherd
        September 10, 2010, 8:00 pm

        They were trying to plant a sneaky spy in his room. And get him into a compromising situation for future blackmail.

        I often think that AIPAC must have photos of the entire US Congress In flagrante

  13. Citizen
    September 10, 2010, 7:17 am

    Funny, Phil, your article’s atmosphere… it reminds me of my own slow awakening
    right here in the USA, and the growth of my resentment, frustration, of being manipulated, used, not really even being acknowledged otherwise. I imagine a sheltered mulatto man who grew up the son or daughter of a “house nigga” in the old South with small privileges–upon the slow creeping awareness of what’s really going on outside behind the landscape outside the window, beyond the pillered front porch, the power of “King Cotton,” of “the system.”
    Too, I wonder how some of those former pasty Confederate soldiers really felt after the war, the surviving grunts, 95% of whom had never owned a slave. They had fought for their homeland, their homes–there were quite a few southern blacks who volunteered to fight for the South for the same reason. Where is John Brown? Who will fire on Fort Sumpter? Is France China or Russia or India? Where is the movement to reform political campaign funding? Dead in the water on the sandy banks of mandated taxation and more Big Government and the complexity and multiplicity of the goal of fair view? Is it trotting silently behind the new movement for Net Neutrality, next to it, in front if it?

    • Citizen
      September 10, 2010, 7:20 am

      Is war with Iran the decisive key to the future? The Israeli leader thinks so. I think he is right, except I am thinking of my own country and a new Civil War here.

      • Chaos4700
        September 10, 2010, 8:39 am

        Kind of hurts, to see the oncoming storm, to know it’s probably now the only way to end the meat grinding machine that American imperialism has become, and to see no way around the storm anymore, doesn’t it?

  14. Kathleen
    September 10, 2010, 8:10 am

    thanks to Phil’s wife for supporting him in his important work. Bet she is a power house.

    Have known people who have been involved with the I/P issue for decades. For me since mid 70’s. I think of Edward Said, Ilan Pappe, Barghouti, Former President Jimmy Carter, Art and Peggy Gish and so many more who have been working so long so hard on this critical issue.

    How so many more people who have become involved over the last five years.

    Phil your story reminds me that present and former members of the CIA have been reporting how the effort to bring out how this conflict has and continues to undermine U.S. national security as well as being so unfair, brutal and criminal against the Palestinians.

    Thanks for these stories.

    Micheal Schueer (former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit explains to Bill Maher
    link to youtube.com

    In this post at Seminal there are links to Ray McGovern, Micheal Schueer (former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit) discussing why so many people in that part of the world hate us.
    link to seminal.firedoglake.com
    Professor Juan Cole has a response up to the tape and Al Balawi’s radicalization
    link to juancole.com

    • Citizen
      September 10, 2010, 8:51 am

      CIA Officer Michael Scheuer
      makes the following points in his book “Imperial Hubris:”

      1) “The fundamental flaw in our thinking about Bin Laden is that
      “Muslims hate and attack us for what we are and think, rather than what we do.” Muslims are bothered by our modernity, democracy, and sexuality, but they are rarely spurred to action unless American forces encroach on their lands. It’s American foreign policy that enrages Osama and al-Qaeda, not American culture and society.”

      2) The U.S. was attacked on 9/11 and will continue to be attacked because of a number of distinct grievances:

      U.S. government supports Israel and is indifferent to the Palestinians
      U.S. and western troops on the Arabian Peninsula
      U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan
      U.S. support of countries that oppress Muslims such as Russia, India and China
      U.S. pressure on Arabs to keep oil prices low
      U.S. support for tyrannical governments

  15. rob
    September 10, 2010, 8:11 am

    To Mr. Witty:
    “Every Truman state department official was opposed to partition and now I understand why”, is saying nothing. You and the other person need to be specific.’

    Please click on link, it names the State Dept. officials and sources

    link to wrmea.com

    • Richard Witty
      September 10, 2010, 9:04 am

      The Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhaur state departments and defense departments had functional actual quotas for the maximum number of Jews allowed to serve.

      That era was characterized by the post-WW2 discussions of how to best secure access and privileged access to oil.

      The establishment of a Jewish state was a good in the world, necessary, progressive, establishing self-determination for the Jewish people, rather than subordination.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2010, 9:05 am

        Further, the Truman state department was complicit in the restriction of immigration of refugees to the US. It was a “Jewish problem”.

      • traintosiberia
        September 10, 2010, 1:58 pm

        Witty
        Roosevelt offered a sanctuary for Jews in upstate New York that could have absorbed 200,000 Jewish refugee on emergency basis.It was gutted by Zionist.

        Truman was bribed by Zionist ( Abba Eban, J FK have conformed it .It is written in detail by David McCullough in the book -Truman ).Without that money he had no chance of winning the election( Gore Vidal. -SPY TRADE by G F Smith).Truman administration forced Cuba,Phillipnines,Ivory Coast,Greece,Senegal,Nicaragua to side with US in the UN partition plan and recognition.

        US had it both ways.It will not allow Jewish to come ( as demanded by zionist) to US and it would force them over the objection of Arabs and British ( during 1946-48) to emigrate to Palestine. To some extent this was the same deal that German Zionist concluded with Nazi Germnay ( The Transfer Agreement, by Edwin Black.)

      • MRW
        September 10, 2010, 4:48 pm

        Witt,

        Traintosiberia has it right about restricting Jewish emigrés and you have it wrong. Zionists stopped Jewish immigration to the US and Canada so the refugees would go to Palestine instead. It’s in The Transfer Agreement.

        You’ve been told this umpteen times in the last few years. You either intentionally don’t read and don’t follow up, or you’re stupid.

      • Richard Witty
        September 11, 2010, 1:41 am

        Umpteem times doesn’t make a truth. Its false.

        I’m sure there were conversations between individuals that strongly stated “Zion is their true home. Convince the British to send refugees to Israel. Its close as well.”

        At the same time, the rightwing in the US fought tooth and nail to retain the quotas of immigrants here. They weren’t just afraid of Jewish immigration. They were afraid of all the riff-raff, poor, unhealthy, traumatized, more labor than the US economy could absorb.

        But, they did not make an exception for Jewish immigration even after liberating camps, SEEING.

        Even after hearing of executions of Jews returning to their home regions in Poland or Hungary and occassionally facing firing squads if not rocks (you know non-violent rocks).

      • Richard Witty
        September 11, 2010, 10:29 am

        What myth do you think that is MRW, that European refugee Jews were harrassed. That I know from direct stories of my in-laws, confirmed by external documentation.

        That the US right-wing and organized labor fought tooth and nail to prohibit exceptions to immigration quotas post WW2?

        Which one?

      • Chaos4700
        September 11, 2010, 12:34 pm

        Witty, we’ve all seen that your commitment to factual reporting isn’t worth the photons it projects from our computer screens. MRW is right and he can back his statements up. You can’t say the same about yourself.

      • Donald
        September 12, 2010, 12:05 pm

        “ccassionally facing firing squads if not rocks (you know non-violent rocks).”

        There was violence against Jews in Europe after WWII ended and you are right to bring this up. And I think there’s always been a nativist faction in the US that hates immigrants (though these days the hatred is aimed mainly at Mexicans and Muslims).

        But on those “nonviolent” rocks–there’s a gigantic difference between mob violence against unarmed civilians (as you are apparently referring to with respect to Jews in Europe in, say, Poland) and some Palestinian 13 year old kid throwing rocks at armed Israeli troops with body armor. So even when you try to make a legitimate humanitarian point you can’t control yourself–you have to throw in some stupid implied apologetics for Israeli repression.

      • Antidote
        September 12, 2010, 2:38 pm

        “Umpteem times doesn’t make a truth. Its false.”

        What is demonstrably false is that Jews were the only victims of WW2, including the post-war period, or any other historical period. Your solipsism is nauseating.

      • Richard Witty
        September 12, 2010, 3:18 pm

        Palestinians or solidarity with rocks takes many forms Donald.

        It includes the “David/Goliath” imagery and it also includes mobs stoning to death individual IDF caught in the wrong place at wrong time.

        In all cases that a rock is thrown it is not non-violent.

      • Chaos4700
        September 12, 2010, 3:34 pm

        How many IDF soldiers were actually killed that way, Witty?

        When are you going to care more about the actual death of any Palestinian human being than you do for the imagined death of Jews that you constantly cook up?

      • Shingo
        September 12, 2010, 3:53 pm

        “In all cases that a rock is thrown it is not non-violent.”

        Yes Witty, rocks threaten Israel and demand a military response. It looks like you really are losing all your faculties Witty.

      • annie
        September 10, 2010, 11:36 am

        The establishment of a Jewish state was a good in the world

        source? please direct me to a link that explaining how this abomination of international law has been ‘good’ for the world.

        establishing self-determination for the Jewish people

        not all of them. maybe you mean self-determination for zionists. self-determination for a political construct based on exclusive ethnic states is anything but ‘necessary’.

        rather than subordination.

        at the expense of 1/2 the people there? the occupation represents subordination, zionism represents subordination, israel represents state sanctioned subordination. if you think self-determination for zionists is worth codifying subordination as a legitimate global construct you’re out of your mind. israel is not some idealized wonderland of freedom for jews, it’s a real place on a real world stage that exists at the expense and on the backs of the subordination of another people. that is not ‘a good in the world’. israel might have been a good in the world, israel could have been a good in the world had it not been built on ethnic cleansing.

        Eisenhaur state departments and defense departments had functional actual quotas for the maximum number of Jews allowed to serve.

        i’ll take you seriously when the racist state you defend doesn’t have functional actual quotas for the maximum number of israeli palestinians allowed citizenship. when they allow full citizenship and equal rights for other people. as it is we’ve got representatives in grossly disproportionate numbers representing the state of israel’s interests over and above the interests in this country. driving american foreign policy in dangerous ways, risking american lives and draining our coffers for zionist interests, NOT jewish interests. jewish americans have plenty of opportunity for (as much as i do or any america) self determination right here at home. the zionist state is importing non jews and religious fanatics to settle in land that doesn’t belong to them in the interests of this zionist self determination on our dollar.

        screw this self determination that requires the subordination of another people. it’s not worth it. if they cannot figure out how to run a state without requiring the suffering of 1/2 the population they rule over they don’t deserve one and i’m sick of propping up this apartheid. the establishment of a zionist state has NOT been a good in the world, overwhelmingly so. it sets a hideous precedent. i’m not talking about what it could have been, but what it has become. it isn’t ‘jewish’, not in my book. and if it was, if this abomination represents ‘jewishness’ then i’d be in favor of setting quotas for how much influence this alleged ‘jewishness’ should be infilitrating our government. but it’s not jewish, it’s zionist which is a far far cry, in fact the opposite of american prinicples of freedom equality and justice for all.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2010, 12:10 pm

        >> The establishment of a Jewish state was a good in the world, necessary, progressive, establishing self-determination for the Jewish people, rather than subordination.

        The establishment of a Jewish state was a religiously-inspired / -motivated undertaking, intended to benefit a very small percentage of the world’s population. To equate that with “a good in the world” is not only ridiculous, it reveals your bias yet again. As does equating “living as a citizen in the country of your birth” with the victimhood-like sentiment of “subordination”.

      • Richard Witty
        September 10, 2010, 12:34 pm

        For the hundreds of thousands of European Jewish refugees of WW2, facing harrassment on return, and for the majority of Arab-world residing Jews, subordination and persecution is an accurate description.

        The establishment of Jewish self-governance was a good in the world, as are all genuine efforts at self-determination.

        A portion of the current “resistance” movement is unwillingness to accept the presence of Israel. A portion of the current “resistance” movement is unwillingness to accept Israel’s response to harrassment.

        And, a portion of current “resistance” movement is actual dissent against actually originating Israeli actions.

        Peace that includes security for Israel and self-determination for Palestinians, is the only answer and the only approach that results in justice.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2010, 2:59 pm

        >> For the hundreds of thousands of European Jewish refugees of WW2, facing harrassment on return, and for the majority of Arab-world residing Jews, subordination and persecution is an accurate description.

        Right. And, as we all know, when citizens of numerous countries around the world are harassed in their native lands, the natural solution is to create an artificial, religiously-justified country, fill it with these foreign nationals, expel as many aboriginal dwellers as possible, introduce colonialism, oppression and land theft and call it “a good in the world”.

        It must be nice to “Remember the Holocaust!”

      • Koshiro
        September 10, 2010, 4:17 pm

        Israel’s founding meant ethnic cleansing. It meant terrible hardship for millions of people. Death for thousands at least. It meant trampling then-young international law and it meant ripples of conflict affecting the entire globe to this day.

        Unless and until Israel and its supporters like you come to terms with the fact that Israel is not “good in the world”, genuine acceptance of Israel in the region, and the world, will never happen.

        Israel, like other countries, will have to accept that its founding myth can never be one of unmitigated pride and will have to confront its own sins in shame. Israel is not, and never will be, a “normal” state. Founding it on the ruins of another people precluded that.

      • Richard Witty
        September 11, 2010, 1:49 am

        Israel’s founding myth is like Jacob and Esau.

        There is permanent guilt of ambiguity at that story. Jacob received the birthright of the blessing and the inheritence as a result of Esau selling Jacob the birthrite when Esau was hungry as a young adult (by consent), and by falsifying who he was to his father as an older adult.

        Ambiguity.

        And, he lived, and bore a family that comprised the people Israel.

        The significance is that the nation lives, and not in shame.

        There is guilt-earning behavior on all sides. Murder, lies, oppression, deception, war mongering.

        Its founding myth is a birth, and like all births it is painful and confusing.

        At 63, one does not conclude, “my birth was painful to my mother”, and kills himself.

      • eljay
        September 11, 2010, 7:07 am

        >> At 63, one does not conclude, “my birth was painful to my mother”, and kills himself.

        Why do you persist in posting such highly-inaccurate analogies?

        At 63 – after having occupied most of the family home; destroyed much of the parents’ possessions; driven the parents to living in only specific sections of the basement, where they can occasionally be beaten for suggesting that they be set free; and taken control of access to food, water and electricity – one SHOULD conclude “I have been an ass for most of my life, taking what is not mine, asserting my self-proclaimed right to the Promised Home over my parents’ right to the home they have lived in since long before I was born, and reducing my parents to hating me. Perhaps I should withdraw to the portion of the house that was assigned to me – that is, my room – and then, in good faith, negotiate, among other things, additional living arrangements and sharing of utilities. I don’t need to kill myself, but I do need to admit that I have done wrong and to return what is not mine.”

      • Richard Witty
        September 11, 2010, 10:14 am

        Maybe you don’t have children. Children take up space, harrass their parents in ways, co-exist in others.

        The concept that there was no room for immigrants is false. There are now 11 million in the region where there was 1 million.

        The thesis is that Zionists sought to displace Palestinians from day one rather than co-exist, and that there was no precipating mutual hostility and violence.

        That is false.

        And, if Palestine were under water due to a tidal wave, they’d have to deal with it.

        As callous as it sounds, nazi Germany and the postwar traumas were tidal waves, natural and horridly unnatural at the same times.

        And, one of the consequences of those kinds of traumas is displacement. And those displaced have to go somewhere.

        The tragedy is there is nowhere for the refugees, children and grandchildren of Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian Palestinian refugees to go.

        Turkey didn’t invite them. Lebanon denies them civil rights. Iraq didn’t invite them. Jordan accepted them after much struggle. Egypt didn’t invite them and denied and denies them civil rights. Israel didn’t invite them but accepted the ones that remained.

        You are not interested in their welfare, so much as political rage.

      • Frances
        September 11, 2010, 11:08 am

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

        Marry me, eljay!

      • potsherd
        September 11, 2010, 11:20 am

        The founding of Israel was theft.

        After 65 years, Jews worldwide are still demanding the return of property stolen from them during WWII.

        After 63 years, Israeli thieves are still insisting that they just can’t return the property they stole in the Nakba. Thieves don’t get to make this decision. Stolen property is taken from thieves and from those who received the stolen property. The thieves are punished for their crime.

        Except for Israel.

      • eljay
        September 11, 2010, 12:28 pm

        >> The concept that there was no room for immigrants is false.

        Since I don’t recall ever reading an argument on this site to the effect that there was “no room for immigrants” in Palestine, I’ll let your bit of mis-information / mis-direction slide.

        >> The thesis is that Zionists sought to displace Palestinians from day one rather than co-exist, and that there was no precipating mutual hostility and violence.

        This has been substantiated numerous times by numerous members on this site. Next!

        >> And, if Palestine were under water due to a tidal wave, they’d have to deal with it.
        >> As callous as it sounds, nazi Germany and the postwar traumas were tidal waves, natural and horridly unnatural at the same times.

        Funny that Jews didn’t just “deal with it”…

        >> You are not interested in their welfare, so much as political rage.

        You appear to be doing a bit of “projecting”. Regardless, I’m interested in everyone’s welfare. Unlike you, however, I’m also interested in justice, equality, fairness, democracy and human rights (to name just a few things).

      • eljay
        September 11, 2010, 12:29 pm

        >> I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
        >> Marry me, eljay!

        Once again, I am flattered by your proposal. But I’ve still got a wife so, sorry, no can do. ;-)

      • Richard Witty
        September 11, 2010, 1:17 pm

        “This has been substantiated numerous times by numerous members on this site. Next!”

        Its been asserted, substantiated as in proved, not.

        “Funny that Jews didn’t just “deal with it”…”

        Something about finding that 70% of European Jews were murdered during the holocaust, puts a little bit of need into the equation. Are you that callous?

        I notice that peace is not part of your interests.

      • potsherd
        September 11, 2010, 1:31 pm

        No, there is no connection between the European Jewish genocide and any justification for driving the native population out of Palestine. There was no “need.”

        Zionist propaganda, of course, insisted that there was a need, but this, like so much else from that source, has always been a lie.

        Not a need, an excuse.

      • eljay
        September 11, 2010, 3:24 pm

        >> eljay: This has been substantiated numerous times by numerous members on this site. Next!
        >> RW: Its been asserted, substantiated as in proved, not.

        It has been better “substantianted as in proved” than have your claims.

        >> eljay: “Funny that Jews didn’t just “deal with it”…”
        >> RW: Something about finding that 70% of European Jews were murdered during the holocaust, puts a little bit of need into the equation. Are you that callous?

        Regarding the Nakba, occupation, ethnic cleansing, et cetera, you assert that the Palestinians need to “deal with it” (pretty callous, I’d say) and then on top of that you use crimes committed in various countries in Europe as justification for crimes committed – AND STILL BEING COMMITTED (love how you continually gloss over that) – in Palestine (pretty callous, I’d say)…and then, presumably with a straight face, you call me callous? That’s just too funny!

        >> RW: I notice that peace is not part of your interests.

        I did say “(to name just a few things)”. Some of the un-named things also include – but are not limited to – peace and single-malt Scotch.

      • lyn117
        September 11, 2010, 3:34 pm

        “The thesis is that Zionists sought to displace Palestinians from day one rather than co-exist”

        Famous Zionist Quotes

      • Antidote
        September 11, 2010, 4:08 pm

        “Israel’s founding myth is like Jacob and Esau.’

        It’s more like Cain and Abel. Jacob and Esau is the maintenance myth

      • MHughes976
        September 11, 2010, 5:13 pm

        The story of Jacob and Esau does at least acknowledge that they are brothers with mutual obligations and, at the time at least, neither eliminates the other, indeed they are reconciled. The more significant story is that of Joshua the Conqueror.

      • potsherd
        September 11, 2010, 5:32 pm

        Ishmael and Isaac. The firstborn disinherited and driven into exile.

      • Antidote
        September 11, 2010, 6:28 pm

        Joshua and the Tamarin study:

        link to maxblumenthal.com

      • Psychopathic god
        September 11, 2010, 7:03 pm

        hell, Knesset is cooking up legislation to demand MORE reparations to be paid to Jews displaced from Arab states in the wake of the creation of the Jewish and democratic state.

        link to forward.com

        “The plight of the estimated 856,000 Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries after the establishment of the State of Israel has played a minimal role so far in negotiations for Middle East peace. But on February 22, the Knesset adopted a law under which any Israeli government entering into peace talks must use those talks to advance a compensation claim for those who became Israeli citizens.”

        Israel’s overseas legislative annex, the US Congress, has endorsed the concept. H Res 185: “4/1/2008–Passed House amended. States that any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement must resolve all outstanding issues relating to the legitimate rights of all refugees in the Middle East, including Jews, Christians, and other displaced populations. States that the President should instruct the U.S. Representative to the United Nations and all U.S. representatives in bilateral and multilateral fora to: (1) use U.S. influence to ensure that Middle East refugee resolutions which include a reference to the required resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue must also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries; and (2) make clear that the U.S. government supports the position that as an integral part of any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace the issue of refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf must include recognition of the legitimate rights of, and losses incurred by, all refugees displaced from Arab countries including Jews, Christians, and other groups. ”
        :link to govtrack.us

      • RoHa
        September 11, 2010, 8:08 pm

        “Something about finding that 70% of European Jews were murdered during the holocaust, puts a little bit of need into the equation. ”

        The take-over of Palestine was planned long before the Holocaust.

        Before, during, and after the Holocaust, there was no need to expel the Palestinians.

        Before, during, and after the Holocaust, there was no need to set up a “Jewish” state in Palestine.

      • MRW
        September 12, 2010, 11:57 pm

        Witty, you are dead wrong about this and there are documents to prove it.

        The thesis is that Zionists sought to displace Palestinians from day one rather than co-exist, and that there was no precipating mutual hostility and violence.

        That is false.

        Dead wrong, Witty. The Zionists, under the aegis of the The Jewish Agency, sought to displace the Palestinians before Israel was formed officially. Classified documents stored at Oxford University were declassified two years ago. You can read about them here in the english version of Le Monde, May 2010:
        link to mondediplo.com

        Further, from the historical Avalon Project at Yale University are the official statements from the British Mandate about the intention of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, to wit:

        Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. . . .

        His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated . . . the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the (Balfour) Declaration referred to, do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded IN PALESTINE. . . . His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State.

        (Command Paper 1922, from the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, 1996–2000),

        link to avalon.law.yale.edu

      • Richard Witty
        September 13, 2010, 2:23 am

        What in that post is “proof”?

        Perhaps you don’t understand what I’m saying.

        I’m not saying that there weren’t individuals that interpreted the Balfour declaration as a promise to all of the land from River to Sea, but that the accusations of intentions to ethnically cleanse from day one are false.

        Ben Gurion himself sought for a bi-national state for years. Partially in recognition that Great Britain did make conflicting promises to different parties (even at the same time) during and after WW1.

      • Shingo
        September 13, 2010, 4:35 am

        “I’m not saying that there weren’t individuals that interpreted the Balfour declaration as a promise to all of the land from River to Sea, but that the accusations of intentions to ethnically cleanse from day one are false.”

        Actually they are not. When you have dozens of Zionists (including Israeli Prime Ministers) clearly stating this aim as early as 50 years prior to the creation of Israel, there is no dispute that ethnic cleansing was fully intended.

        After all, you admit that the creation of a Jewish state was always the goal, but a goal that could never have been achieved without ethnic cleansing.

        “Ben Gurion himself sought for a bi-national state for years.”

        False. From day 1 he made it clear that the Zionist dream was to create a Jewish only state from Jordan to the sea.

        Your lies have been debunked so many times, it’s a mistery why you persist.

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2010, 2:15 pm

        “Eisenhaur “

        ROTFL! I’m not sure (it’s been a while) but I think I attended Hebrew school with his son.

      • potsherd
        September 10, 2010, 2:21 pm

        The establishment of a Jewish state was a good in the world,

        It has disenfranchised the Palestinians and corrupted the Jews. There are things that might seem at the time to be a good, but time reveals otherwise.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2010, 3:01 pm

        SLOGAN ALERT!

        >> The establishment of a Jewish state was a good in the world

        This thread is littered with it.

      • MRW
        September 10, 2010, 4:55 pm

        The establishment of a Jewish state was a good in the world…for Jews, and people were happy for them.

        But it certainly was not an earth-hattering event.

        Eisenhaur state departments and defense departments had functional actual quotas for the maximum number of Jews allowed to serve.

        Bullshit. That’s like the lampshade-out-of-human skin myth. Complete B.S.

      • MRW
        September 10, 2010, 5:09 pm

        Further to that ridiculous Eisnhower/Defense dept Jewish quota crapola: You need to read American history and the story of Jews fighting in the War of Independence, the creation of the Constitution, and the Civil War.

        This statement is another example of phony 20th C Ashkenazi exceptionalism and victimhood that Witty peddles trying to rewrite US history from the early part of the 20th C., and ignoring 300 years of history before that. A few minimal examples.
        link to dightonrock.com
        link to en.wikipedia.org
        link to loeb-tourovisitorscenter.org

        And you can check out the history of Savannah, GA.

      • pjdude
        September 10, 2010, 5:40 pm

        Israel wasn’t self determination. self determination is when the people of a territory decide there own politcal status not those who don’t live there.

      • RoHa
        September 10, 2010, 8:54 pm

        Every time I catch you talking about self-determination for Jews, I’m going point out what nonsense the idea is. I know it won’t change your mind, but it will further demonstrate that you support Israel’s atrocitites because you believe absurdities.

        If the “right of self-determination” means the right of a group to set up a state in a particular territory, that right is only a right of the residents of that territory, and not of any others. Jews as a group are not residents of a single territory, so the right cannot be applied to Jews as a whole.

        Also, claiming such a right for Jews leads to bizarre consequences. If Australian citizens have the right of self-determination, and exercise it to maintain the Commonwealth of Australia, then Australian Jews will have that right. But Australian Jews, born in Australia, and holding no other citizenship, will also have the right of self-determination as Jews.
        Yet other Australians will not have an extra right of self-determination.

        “rather than subordination.”

        Homework exercise for you. How many Jews have held the not-terribly-subordinate position of Head of the Australian Armed Forces?

  16. Shingo
    September 10, 2010, 8:13 am

    A great article Phil and very thought provoking. None of us are surprised by how deeply adn insidiously the lobby has corrupted the poitical system here, but these words were truly disturbing to read:

    “He trained on a Cobra helicopter flight simulator back home, and he and every other American had to clear out of the building when the Israelis wanted to use the place. They were control freaks, on American soil. They flew around in F-15s and were refueled by American planes.”

    Imagine American troops being that ubordinated to a foreign power?

  17. potsherd
    September 10, 2010, 8:13 am

    You post the reason we now have the worst Congress money can buy. Good catch, Phil.

  18. Taxi
    September 10, 2010, 8:13 am

    How can you call yourself a ‘US Army General’, serve your country honorably all your life, then upon retirement, sell your beloved country down the tubes for a pathetic one million dollars?!

    Man this is shameful, disgusting and cheap!

    All of us know that greed is a sure highway to corruption, so I don’t think we should be complaining about the ‘israeli’ influence/grip here. But we should definitely be mad at and wary of our own brand of greed where we’re prepared to sell anything, do anything for the magic sum of ‘M’. A Million , a Million, where’s my goddamn Million-Million?! Should be America’s slogan.

    Now I expect my politicians to be corrupt, that’s a given, but it makes me sick to think of the utter lowliness of a uniformed man/woman selling out their nation for a bag of peanuts and a ‘helicopter ride’.

    I’m grateful for this kinda story, Phil, really very excellent. Much food for thought about the role of our military in maintaining the status quo in the Middle East. We don’t often spotlight the military angle, their complicity – and they prefer to keep their clubs hidden too.

    It would be cool if someone from the armed forces could blog an essay here occasionally. I’d like to know more about and hear from someone like the lady officer who was seriously contemplating activism on behalf of justice for Palestinians. Actually this lady is not even doing it for the Palestinians, she’s doing it for her own country.

    Hats off to you, good lady officer. If it were up to me, I’d ban all men from employment in all branches of military and government. A government of all women and an army of all women. Yes. And the men can frigging clean the toilets in the house for a few centuries.

    • MRW
      September 10, 2010, 8:33 am

      Get off your high horse, Taxi. Some military men have earned under 50Gs for decades, have four kids & a wife, and when they retire in their late 50s, still supporting those kids, all they can afford is a trailer outside Tampa. The real point is that they can take the million bucks without selling their souls.

      • Taxi
        September 10, 2010, 9:00 am

        “The real point is that they can take the million bucks without selling their souls”.

        But they DON’T do that, MRW, now do they? Evidently not!

        And I’m talking about THEM folks who take the Million and to hell with the future of the nation. I’m talking about corruption in the Military and you wanna call that high-horsing?

        Your pissy-fit is misplaced, if you ask me.

        You should be mad at the corruptors and corruptees inside the military who’re giving me plenty ammunition against them.

        And yes, I do expect my military to be more loyal to our nation than our sleazy, self-serving politicians.

      • annie
        September 10, 2010, 11:47 am

        Some military men have earned under 50Gs for decades, have four kids & a wife, and when they retire in their late 50s

        it’s a lifestyle choice mrw. one made to serve the constitution. what’s the point of thrashing your life’s work by selling your soul upon retirement. if they can’t find meaningful employment without serving a corporate foreign master they should kick back on the beach w/a martini and live in that trailor .

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2010, 4:47 pm

        Enlisted people may earn low salaries. Officers do very well.
        And receive very adequate retirements.

      • RoHa
        September 10, 2010, 9:02 pm

        “Some military men have earned under 50Gs for decades…”

        But not Generals, surely.

    • Chu
      September 10, 2010, 8:47 am

      this is shameful, disgusting and cheap!
      Thanks what the great wheel of progress gives you. A bit of grease in the form of capitol. It’s like honey dripping from the hive and if your lucky enough to be a news anchor or politician, you may get closer to more of that honey. So you throw a few of your human brothers and sisters down the well. At least you can say you’ve been around the block and did things no one else has done. -I’m being facetious of course.

    • MRW
      September 10, 2010, 8:49 am

      One more thing, Taxi. If you think those mercenaries earning $320,000/yr for Blackwater/Xe haven’t corrupted military men and women’s sense of indignity and outrage at what their country will really do for them to be fair, guess again. A man, a woman, serves a working lifetime for their country below 50Gs, willingly, only to watch taxpayer dollars not pay for their vet medical, and billions a year to Israelis defense corps over US companies, and Israeli security firms, and a pay-for-hire military with Israelis as secret shareholders. It gets worse. You really need to find out what’s going on. Read who gets US Defense contracts; then check out those firms. Find out the restrictions put on research dollars for the defense field in universities, particularly the Ivys, and the requirement that those univ. technological developments and breakthroughs get sent overseas first. This sub-universe goes on and on.

    • MRW
      September 10, 2010, 9:03 am

      Taxi, my love, not intending to single you out today, but I guess it looks like it.

      re: the military. Few know that up until Bush’s time, 92% of the US Army Officer Corps had at least a Masters degree. Post-graduate degrees, doctorates, were a requirement for officer promotion and advancement. The US Army War College has the top academic standing of any university in the country (Source: Forbes, Fortune, US News & World Report), over Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc. It’s free to attend, but you have to be in the service before you can.

      A lot of companies know this and want these people the moment their military service is over.

      • Taxi
        September 10, 2010, 11:18 am

        MWR,

        I don’t feel ” singled out” in the slightest, my lurv.

        I’m well aware of the fact that our military personnel are underpaid and under valued, especially our vets who have to live with psychological scarring and permanent physical disabilities. I’m not a military egghead or anything like that, but I can tell you that the only ‘public’ holiday I personally celebrate and acknowledge is ‘Veterans Day’. True story.

        On a related note, I also hear the israeli government has already hired South African and American Private Security Firms (mercenaries) and placed them in dormant cells inside and all around Jerusalem, for the inevitable day when big push comes to big shove. Know anything about this, MRW?

        Also, needless to say, I hold mercenaries in utter and absolute contempt.

      • MRW
        September 10, 2010, 4:31 pm

        Taxi,

        Know anything about this, MRW?

        Yup.

      • Taxi
        September 11, 2010, 5:11 am

        MRW,

        You gonna share what you know, or do I have to tap-dance in public for info?!

      • MRW
        September 11, 2010, 8:44 am

        Taxi,

        Sorry. Misread your question. Thought you were asking if I’d heard about it, and with the time delay on moderation, didn’t catch it. I was just answering on the fly and didn’t stop to ponder what you were really asking me. Sorry about that.

        Now, I’m trying to remember where I read about it, or listened to it. I sure I ‘listened’ to it. It was either on my local NPR, which broadcasts the BBC in the middle of the night, which is where I believe I could have heard it, or it was this interview with progressive San Francisco radio host Peter B Collins with Gordon Duff, the senior editor for veteranstoday.com. At any rate, it seemed so common to me in terms of info everyone was getting, I didn’t copy it. And I download everything I think will disappear.
        link to peterbcollins.com
        Download here:
        link to peterbcollins.com
        [BTW, Gordon Duff's mother was Jewish, but Duff doesn't say he is Jewish. He just says his mother was Jewish, and half the people working for veteranstoday are; the other half are Muslim. I can't remember whether he talks about his Jewish mother on this interview, but I know it's the truth.]

        Taxi, you should listen to this.

        It’s a fascinating interview because he gives enough info that you can verify any aspect of it for yourself. This is the sort of interview you crank up on your computer and listen to while you’re doing something else. It will cause you to rewind at several points. [Veteranstoday.com has 400Gs subscribers and 20 mill hits per month. I dont know how many peterbcollins.com gets.]

      • MRW
        September 11, 2010, 8:54 am

        Citize,

        Read and listen to this:
        link to mondoweiss.net

      • Taxi
        September 11, 2010, 10:50 am

        Thanks for the link, MRW, my lurv. I’ll gladly listen to it after breakfast.

        Know that I’m always prepared to dance for info

        :-)

    • Danaa
      September 10, 2010, 10:27 pm

      Taxi, I have bad new for you – I have witnessed female in military settings and ultimately, and must say that, where the rubber hits the road, they are neither better or worth than men. The difference are really only skin deep – in certain settings, where everyone is trained and socialized into the same discipline.

      I can say the same thing about women in power – when they have it – some may wield the management aspect differently than men (with emphasis on SOME), but when it come to ethics or courage, I am till waiting for the real difference to reveal themselves.

      Besides, even weirder things happen in all-female groups. Don’t ask and I won’t tell……(addendum: been trying to avoid those kind of settings my whole life – all I can say is, that based on my not-so-limited experience, there’ really much to be said for mixed grouping….).

      • Danaa
        September 10, 2010, 10:32 pm

        Wow, what a bunch of linguistic misses. It’s my unruly keyboard – honest – with all the missing ‘s’ letters. Though that doesn’t quite explain how “worse” turned into “worth”, does it?

        You are in luck, Taxi – I butchered my response (this time). You’ll just have to trust me that it was meant to be pointed.

      • Taxi
        September 11, 2010, 5:07 am

        Hahaha Danaa – thank you.

        True what you say about females in power and in the military etc. But these are women who have swallowed the ‘male pill’ – if you see what I’m saying :-)

      • MRW
        September 11, 2010, 8:51 am

        I agree with you too, Danaa. But I think women should run anything financial. It was the four FEMALE Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the US who could have saved this economy. [Google it.] They were met with death threats, and were routinely derided by Rubin, Greenspan, Sumners, et al.

        Seriously. Check out the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, women, banking, in Google.

        The men were bastards, and they should go down. One of them, Elizabeth Warren, is in death throes now. She needs to be saved.

      • MRW
        September 11, 2010, 8:55 am

        Danaa,

        I have the same goddam problem with my keyboard . I sympathize. ;-)

  19. Kathleen
    September 10, 2010, 8:18 am

    Just watched this full clip of Micheal Scheuer and Bill Maher again. Maher repeats the standard line “Israel is the only democracy” in that part of the world.

    Can you really call Israel a democracy?

    “more about our policy than our way of life”

    • Shingo
      September 10, 2010, 8:41 am

      Yes I watched that clip too and Maher left me feeling nauseous. I enjoy Maher, but when it comes to Israel, the guy becomes a sleazy hack.

      It’s amazing that people like Maher get’s away with the talking point about Israel being a democracy in a region that has none, when it’s clearly not a democracy, and more ironically, the US supports every dictatorship in the region.

      • MRW
        September 10, 2010, 9:08 am

        Shingo, re: Maher, for me it’s Israel and 9/11. Some of the scientific shit he’s come up with for the latter wouldn’t get you out of Grade Six. I find his derision about intellectual rigor puerile and exhausting to listen to.

      • Citizen
        September 10, 2010, 9:34 am

        Maher gets lessons from Charlie Rose.

    • Chu
      September 10, 2010, 8:54 am

      I used to enjoy Maher, but he is a sickening disappointment three times over. After his film Religulous, where he practically Bat Mitzvahs himself, I had enough.

    • jimby
      September 10, 2010, 10:58 am

      The US was considered a “democracy” when it was busy with it’s genocide of the native population and slavery of the blacks. I’m not sure that democracy is all it is billed as. It’s a form of mob rule.

    • chet
      September 10, 2010, 12:20 pm

      I was a big fan of Bill Maher until I took the time to watch his fellatio posing as interviews of Netanyahoo.

      Why does this seemingly progressive man have such a blind spot in respect of the injustice suffered by the Palestinians?

      • Chaos4700
        September 10, 2010, 7:45 pm

        Put simply? It pays.

      • Taxi
        September 11, 2010, 10:52 am

        And pays and pays and pays all the way to hell it pays.

  20. MRW
    September 10, 2010, 8:23 am

    Great post, Phil.

    Don’t count on that rabbithole. When you’re stateside, you need to start reading vet sites; you know the ones where you’re either called a nutjob or a conspiracy theorist for quoting because it doesn’t merit coverage on TPM Cafe, or the topics seem a little too over-the-top for the 92st Y. There are 4.5 million current military. There are at least three times as many vets. They started their military careers generally conservative, and mostly idealistic. Then they went overseas.

    These websites are now like the black porters on the trains from 1844 to 1964: the mobile newsforce, gossip/code center, and APB alert for the military and vets worldwide The editors hear stuff they mete out as appropriate and pass along other stuff as code. Israel has few friends in the military these days; it held sway for the past decade through the Dispensationalist and Dominionist military church groups/chaplains screaming about the sanctity of biblical Israel, but those days are gone.

    • Citizen
      September 10, 2010, 10:14 am

      Like, name a few of those veterans’ web sites, MRW. combat soldiers
      have been alone here in the USA for a long time, even as millions of bumpers stickers (driven mostly by rural and lower-middle class whites, a disproportionate of them from the South)
      pay tribute to our boys over there:
      link to ricks.foreignpolicy.com

      • Citizen
        September 10, 2010, 10:20 am

        Too, I’m reminded of that old Jewish veteran being questioned about his young combat days in the Mandate in 1947-1948. He’s on a recent article on this blog.
        PTSD, it’s growing; it spiked way up during the Vietnam War, and now it’s been spiking up again. The thing that remains the same, and has been growing, is the chicken hawks in congress on all government levels, in tandem with the growing number of tours each of our “volunteer Military” people do.

        Perhaps an implemented military draft would give Americans the jobs they need? It’s certainly helped before, yes? Iran may be a blessing?

      • MRW
        September 10, 2010, 4:33 pm

        Citizzen,

        Start with veteranstoday.com and go from there.

    • Danaa
      September 10, 2010, 11:03 pm

      Good recommendations MRW. I’ve been following one or two such blogs occasionally. Adds to my general impressions gathered elsewhere or in person.

      Liked your comparison to the black porters too. Apt.

  21. eljay
    September 10, 2010, 8:37 am

    An excellent post, Mr. Weiss, both thoughtful and well-written!

  22. Kathleen
    September 10, 2010, 8:38 am

    Phillip, Phillip’s wife, Max, Adam this site has blown a much needed hole open in the blogosphere in regard to the I/P issue. David Corn’s original site was a good place for discussion and information (5 years ago). But was attacked so often..shut it down.

    Professor Cole’s site, Washington Note, Race for Iran, Foreign Policy a few other great places for open discussions and fact based info.

    Thanks for your important work

  23. Chu
    September 10, 2010, 8:57 am

    his military counterparts reminded him of what he’d read about Nazis. They were all in a permanent war mind-set he said, and with who? The Palestinians! Who are they kidding?

    who are they kidding? Israelis should focus less on guns
    and more on butter.

    • Antidote
      September 10, 2010, 12:12 pm

      “Israelis should focus less on guns and more on butter.”

      Guns provide butter, and not only in Israel.

      See Jeff Halper’s article on Israel as an extension of the American empire:

      “Israel has inserted itself into the center of the US military industry. This, at least, is how AIPAC is able to sell Israel to members of Congress. [...] Israeli involvement in the defense-related economies in the districts of most members of Congress explains to a great degree why Israel enjoys the uncritical support it does. ”

      Beware the MIC. One would have to admit that the arms industry provides the ultimate product in advanced capitalist societies, (especially since a great many consumer products on the US market are now manufactured elsewhere): built them, blow them up, built more. Except that you need constant war, of course, preferably far away from home.

      Halper also addresses the influence of neocons and the Christian Right. Well worth reading:

      link to counterpunch.org

      • Antidote
        September 10, 2010, 12:23 pm

        corr: build, not built

      • Antidote
        September 10, 2010, 12:32 pm

        One more thing: Canada is next – Israel’s new BFF Harper

        link to vancouversun.com

        Must be, as someone pointed out earlier, while Fox North is shaping up and Canadians are increasingly living in the information bubble that used to be much more typical of the US

  24. AnaSanchez
    September 10, 2010, 9:16 am

    Everytime you bring up Lincoln and compare the situation of the 1850’s and 60’s to now it scares me. Remember that a political solution was not found for the problem of slavery and that a civil war with a death toll of 600,000 was the end result. I hope you are wrong about the analogy or that history does not repeat itself.

  25. annie
    September 10, 2010, 9:46 am

    wow what an incredible post. keep it up top all day at least!

  26. Donald
    September 10, 2010, 10:55 am

    “Who weaponized religion?” he asked; “we did,” in Afghanistan in the 80s, to fight the Russians.

    I didn’t respond– I think religions are pretty good at weaponizing themselves.”

    Yeah, well, there’s no manual for how to make Stinger missiles in the Koran. For that you need your friendly neighborhood superpower and the US seems to be everyone’s neighbor, based on how many bases we have and how many people we arm.

    There are always going to be crazy religious fanatics, but it doesn’t help matters when you start giving them money and weapons.

  27. Kathleen
    September 10, 2010, 11:46 am

    Interviews with Micheal Scheuer on the middle east and other foreign policy issues
    link to antiwar.com

    “So when Secretary of Defense [Donald] Rumsfeld called them “the worst of the worst,” what does that mean to you?

    It means what it always means: He doesn’t have a clue about what he’s fighting or why he’s fighting it. They continue to believe that they think that we’re being fought because we love freedom and liberty, instead of what we do in the Islamic world. And they’re going to go to their graves, and maybe taking the nation with them, believing that nonsense.

    Are they an enemy that needs to be defeated? Absolutely. But, like any other enemy, you’d better understand them, or they’re going to whip you. And we’re getting whipped.”
    link to pbs.org

  28. Kathleen
    September 10, 2010, 12:11 pm

    link to independent.org
    “Former Governor Tom Kean and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, chairmen of the 9/11 Commission—publicity hounds that they are—want to keep the long-retired but much celebrated panel in the public mind. They have written a tell-all book, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission (Knopf, Aug. 15, 2006), about the trials and tribulations of the panel’s work. Despite the commission’s disastrous recommendations—which led to a reorganization of the U.S. intelligence community that worsened its original, pre-9/11 defect (a severe coordination problem caused by bureaucratic bloat)—and apparent whitewashing of the single most important issue it examined, the chairmen are trying their best to write another best seller. The book usefully details the administration’s willful misrepresentation of its incompetent actions that day, but makes the shocking admission that some commission members deliberately wanted to distort an even more important issue. Apparently, unidentified commissioners wanted to cover up the fact that U.S. support for Israel was one of the motivating factors behind al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Although Hamilton, to his credit, argued for saying that the reasons al Qaeda committed the heinous strike were the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and American support for Israel, the panel watered down that frank conclusion to state that U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. policy on Iraq are “dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world.”

    this is an important video to watch
    link to youtube.com

    If you have never read or even looked over the 9/11 Commissions Report. As 9/11 approaches not a bad idea. On page 376 there are some recommendations in regard to our policies in the Israeli Palestinian conflict
    link to 9-11commission.gov

  29. American
    September 10, 2010, 12:13 pm

    Good post Phil.

    But I can’t say I am surprised. I live within a triangle of 15, 25 and 50 miles of one of the largest US Marine bases, one Marine A/F base and one A/F base. Our area is a semi resort and retirement center for the military so half the people I know are current or former military and since my brother was a Marine Lt. in Vietnam I know his friends and have been in on many of their discussions. Israel is not liked among the veterans, the younger still active are less knowledge about US-Isr but are learning fast about the ME.
    Within my acquaintance I have a friend whose wife lost her first husband on the USS Liberty at 22 and another whose husband was killed in Beirut.
    One of my elderly friends is a former Brit whose uncle who killed in the King David hotel bombing.
    It’s a small world and getting smaller where Israel is concerned. Israel has wreaked a lot of havoc and the debris left behind is now speaking out in the new less censored Israel issue.

  30. Driss Moonves
    September 10, 2010, 12:23 pm

    I’m a pre-Walt Mearsheimer , pre- Peace Not Apartheid reader of Mondoweiss. Anyone who is not encouraged by the progress made since then probably doesn’t care about the cause.

  31. Richard Witty
    September 10, 2010, 12:41 pm

    Phil,
    On your “midlife breakdown”.

    Its a good that you came to act for your convictions, and to change from a rat race (in goals and means).

    When psychologists counsel those of us going through “mid-life crises”, they generally urge clients to pursue what gives them meaning in life, to find and follow their passion.

    But, they usually counsel to pursue positive expressions of it. You followed your passion into crossfire of a never-ending war. We both did.

    That is part of your passion likely, the effort to heal (?) what is broken.

    In my case, the passion included the simultaneous question of assertively being part of the “we’s” that I am genuinely part of, and pursuing my indefatigable urge for peace and justice. (As compatible as Jewish and democratic.)

    Justice in a body that cares to remain a body.

    • Chaos4700
      September 10, 2010, 7:47 pm

      Justice in a body that cares to remain a body.

      Then why was it necessary for Jewish immigrants to ethnically cleanse massive swaths of the Palestinian country side? If you really cared about actual democracy, if you really cared about it more than you cared about your racist triumphalism, you’d be rejecting the violent militant uprising that was Israel’s inception in favor of an actual democracy where Jews and native Palestinians have equal voice.

      You don’t.

      • Richard Witty
        September 11, 2010, 2:59 pm

        “Then why was it necessary for Jewish immigrants to ethnically cleanse massive swaths of the Palestinian country side?”

        Currently its not necessary. Its a stupid choice, that can be influenced by those with a better argument.

      • Chaos4700
        September 11, 2010, 9:36 pm

        Oh currently it isn’t necessary?! So it was necessary back in 1948? Remind me again how your attitudes toward nationalism in no way resemble the Nazi obsession with purging “lesser peoples” to make way for a “greater nation.”

      • sherbrsi
        September 11, 2010, 10:10 pm

        Oh currently it isn’t necessary?! So it was necessary back in 1948?

        That’s liberal Zionism for you – advocating ethnic cleansing when it is necessary, as opposed to right-wing Zionists, who push for ethnic cleansing all the time.

        In Witty’s terms, that is “relative progress.”

      • eljay
        September 11, 2010, 10:38 pm

        >> Chaos: Then why was it necessary for Jewish immigrants to ethnically cleanse massive swaths of the Palestinian country side?
        >> RW: Currently its not necessary.

        Wow, what a comment. Supremacy, hatred and bias reduced to a brief, pragmatic-sounding sentence.

      • annie
        September 11, 2010, 10:40 pm

        Currently its not necessary.

        that’s a relief. what about genocide? is that currently unnecessary also?

      • RoHa
        September 12, 2010, 12:23 am

        “Its a stupid choice, that can be influenced by those with a better argument. ”

        You are continually being presented with better arguments, but they seem to have no effect on you. Why should we believe that they will influence your fellow Zionists?

      • Shingo
        September 12, 2010, 3:46 am

        “Currently its not necessary”

        That’s becasue the objective of Zionism was achieved, the theft of land. It’s a bit like arguing that a secong rape atatck is not necessary, because the assailant has satiated his urge.

      • Richard Witty
        September 12, 2010, 4:52 am

        Actually, as you know how I consider the word current to be important, its a substantive statement.

        You don’t want Israel to be secure, you and many others, so its not in fact.

        The good question is what, if anything, can make it secure?

        But, thats a question you don’t seriously engage, because you don’t want it to occur. I do.

        The left that has adopted a single state as its goal, don’t. Most don’t want Israelis to be killed, but most would not lift a finger to pendulum-swing persecutions, less than full civil rights.

        I feel threatened. Most Jews that bear sympathy towards the existence of Israel do.

      • eljay
        September 12, 2010, 8:40 am

        >> You don’t want Israel to be secure, you and many others, so its not in fact.
        >> The good question is what, if anything, can make it secure?
        >> But, thats a question you don’t seriously engage, because you don’t want it to occur. I do.

        No, you’re the one who refuses to engage. Israel would immediately be made more secure by unilaterally halting all of its AGGRESSIVE, OPPRESSIVE AND EXPANSIONIST activities, none of which have anything to do with self-defense.

        But you don’t want Israel to do that. Israel, in your eyes, is forever the victim, regardless of how much land it steal, of how many people it kills, of how much property it destroys. You expect the victim to ignore the oppressor’s blatant disregard for all that is just, humane, legal and moral and to negotiate with him as though he were an equal. You want to reward bad (and that’s putting it very mildly) behaviour.

        In light of your recent, disturbing statement that ethnic cleansing is “currently” not necessary – implying that at some point it actually was necessary – your credibility as a “humanist” has sunk to zero.

      • potsherd
        September 12, 2010, 8:42 am

        I feel threatened.

        BFD. A lot of Jews enjoy feeling threatened. It justifies their exceptionalism. Take it away and they won’t know what to do with themselves.

        In the meantime, Palestinians live under constant, actual, not imaginary, threat. Palestinians live every day under the muzzle of Israeli guns. They have no security.

      • eljay
        September 12, 2010, 8:56 am

        >> You expect the victim …

        Correction / clarification: You expect the true victims (i.e., not Israel) …

      • Richard Witty
        September 12, 2010, 10:48 am

        “Israel would immediately be made more secure by unilaterally halting all of its AGGRESSIVE, OPPRESSIVE AND EXPANSIONIST activities, none of which have anything to do with self-defense.”

        I agree that if Israel unilaterally halted its aggressive, oppressive and expansionist activities.

        It takes a willingness to engage the question of what is self-defense to determine which of Israel’s activities are aggressive, oppressive, expansionistic.

        The bar on security is not a low bar. “A little bit better” is not good enough.

        I favor an assertive effort towards peace, that includes Israel undertaking many unilateral moves to remove oppressions from Palestinians, including removal of most road blocks and checkpoints, establishment of good Palestinian roads (I’m not sure if the segregation between settler roads and Palestinian is a horrible idea, even if you want to rant about separate but equal).

        I favor unilateral release of prisoners held without due process.

        I favor moving the fence to the green line, but that is more contreversial in Israel as it exposes many civilians to a prospect of mass murder.

        There is an assertion widely stated, Anna Balzer stated it on Friday night, that a negotiation between unequal powers is not a negotiation as there is no genuine mutual consent that can emerge.

        That is a falsehood, an unnatural imposition, a prison. I’ve contracted frequently with much much larger institutions than myself, in legal environments which favored the large institutions, and the contracts signed and ratified by organizations were consented.

        It constructs a prison for Palestinians.

        It makes Palestinians into the status of children for dissent to speak of them as only victims, for them to speak of themselves as only victims.

        Its why people like Fayyad are leaders in fact, because they actually construct self-governance, economy, etc. They don’t wait to be saved by their oppressors, by their vanguard, nor by their solidarity.

        They don’t wait to live.

      • eljay
        September 12, 2010, 1:20 pm

        >> RW: I favor moving the fence to the green line, but that is more contreversial in Israel as it exposes many civilians to a prospect of mass murder.

        A few years down the road, however, you’ll be able to tell them that “mass murder is not currently necessary” and that will set everything right.

        >> It takes a willingness to engage the question of what is self-defense to determine which of Israel’s activities are aggressive, oppressive, expansionistic.

        Any activity that is not confined to within Israel’s internationally-recognized borders is not “self-defense”. Israel is not practising “self-defense” every time it steals additional land, builds additional settlements, expands existing settlements, destroys Palestinian land and homes, diverts natural resources to serve itself, et cetera. That is aggressive, oppressive and hateful, not “self-defense”.

        True self-defense would be Iran’s (hypothetical) attempt to acquire nuclear weapons capability to deter the threat of attacks against it.

        Your definition of self-defense is a nuclear-armed Iran attacking and annexing territory from another country, building settlements, destroying land and homes and engaging in ethnic cleansing (until it is not “currently necessary”).

        >> The bar on security is not a low bar. “A little bit better” is not good enough.

        So much for your insistence on “incremental improvements” over “revolution”.

    • thankgodimatheist
      September 10, 2010, 7:54 pm

      “In my case, the passion included the simultaneous question of assertively being part of the “we’s” that I am genuinely part of,”

      One thing you can’t take away from Witty is the crystal clear semantics..There’s so much to learn from him if you want to embezzle and confuse your readers..

    • justicewillprevail
      September 11, 2010, 6:03 am

      Please, spare us the self-aggrandising BS. What is particularly offensive is your self-regarding attempt to promote yourself as some sort of equivalent to Phil. You are nowhere near, don’t have the intellectual honesty or intelligence to argue coherently. A stream of incoherent banal generalities, patronising and devoid of any specifics – why do you keep cutting and pasting such nonsense? Have you nothing better to do? your time would be better spent on doing some research, in order to educate yourself.

      • Richard Witty
        September 11, 2010, 3:05 pm

        The banalities refer to the basis of choice of emphasis.

        I believe in democracy, and that persuasion is the way to accomplish a change of power and policies.

        I hope you recognize that “justice” is also a banality, that requires subsequent clarification of what is meant to actually be discussed.

      • Chaos4700
        September 11, 2010, 9:37 pm

        Actually, Witty, people who aren’t immoral land-grabbing monsters already understand what justice entails.

      • Richard Witty
        September 12, 2010, 4:55 am

        The insistence of removal of settlements and displacement of settlers is also an advocacy of a land-grab.

        Law provides an approach by which all parties’ rights are preserved. Militant movements provide an approach by which all parties’ rights are abused.

      • thankgodimatheist
        September 12, 2010, 8:04 am

        “The insistence of removal of settlements and displacement of settlers is also an advocacy of a land-grab.”

        Witty doesn’t believe the land was stolen from the Palestinians.. as “god” gave it to his chosen people..
        Yup!

      • Shingo
        September 12, 2010, 8:12 am

        “The insistence of removal of settlements and displacement of settlers is also an advocacy of a land-grab.”

        So your idelogical allgiacne to the settler movement surfaces at last. I just knew that deep down, you were an expansionist.

        Tthe land was stolen and the settlements are illegal. Removal of the settlements is the propcess fo retuning stolen property Witty.

        “Law provides an approach by which all parties’ rights are preserved.”

        Law breakers dob’t have rights to stolen property.

        “Militant movements provide an approach by which all parties’ rights are abused.”

        You are seriously out of your mind. Have not the rights fo those forced from their land, or suffered from home demolitions not been abused Witty?

        Is this simply not a case of your tribal allgiances surfacing yet again? You really are an extremist at heart, aren’t you?

      • potsherd
        September 12, 2010, 8:50 am

        Grabbing stolen property from thieves to return it to the original and rightful owners is the essence of law. Thieves have no rights to it.

        In a lawful world, the thieves would also be imprisoned for their crimes, put behind bars to they could no longer threaten the original owners. In Israel, the thieves imprison the victims to secure possession of their stolen property. It is the opposite of lawfulness, not to mention that banality, justice.

      • Richard Witty
        September 12, 2010, 7:27 pm

        It is analagous to throwing YOU literally out of your home because it was stolen from the Indians generations ago.

        They can and should claim some rights if land was taken by force or without due process under a color-blind law.

        But, the individuals that live in those homes (and they are homes) also have rights.

        Both are relative rights, and require a court system to remediate.

        The threat that your rhetoric (I’m sure multiplied a few hundred times) in the West Bank and elsewhere, is one of the objective observations that convince Israel to not renounce its exclusive supports.

        They are regarded as not civilians, not people, not human beings, when in fact they are. Some settlements for example have better relations with their Palestinian neighbors than cross border, because they have contact and can work things out.

        To politicize the other is to foment war, whether that is Israel dehumanizing Palestinians or solidarity dehumanizing settlers.

        It is the oppossite of justice in fact. Very sadly.

        We have to move forward on pursuing human rights, justice and peace, not backwards.

      • James North
        September 12, 2010, 9:53 pm

        Richard: You surprise me. In your comment above, are you justifying Israel’s violation of international law and seizure of land in the occupied West Bank since 1967? How are you any different than expansionist messianic right-wing Israelis?

      • MRW
        September 12, 2010, 10:17 pm

        “I believe in democracy, and that persuasion is the way to accomplish a change of power and policies.”

        I hope you’re not talking about the kind of persuasion you think you’re exhibiting on this board, because, if so, it will fail miserably.

        “I hope you recognize that “justice” is also a banality, that requires subsequent clarification of what is meant to actually be discussed.”

        You just blow this stuff out your ass, and think it will make sense to anybody?

      • Chaos4700
        September 12, 2010, 11:07 pm

        But, the individuals that live in those homes (and they are homes) also have rights.

        …Unless they are Palestinians. Because you’ve stated openly that what Israel does to bulldoze homes in the West Bank is legal.

        So basically, you’re describing a set of rights that you entitle to Jews and Jews alone.

      • Shingo
        September 12, 2010, 11:08 pm

        “But, the individuals that live in those homes (and they are homes) also have rights.”

        Under what statute or article of law Witty?

        “They are regarded as not civilians, not people, not human beings, when in fact they are.”

        Thieves and murderers are civilians, and under law, those thieves have no rights to the property they stole and those murderers have no rights to take more lives.

        “We have to move forward on pursuing human rights, justice and peace, not backwards.”

        We’ll remind you of that every time you choose to mention the second intifada Witty.

      • Richard Witty
        September 13, 2010, 2:31 am

        James,
        You surprise me. You don’t specify which comments imply what to you.

        I am consistently stating that in a society ruled by law, and not by political mob, each party deserves their day in court, to argue their relative individual rights.

        The parties involved in questions of settlement title include:
        Israeli government
        Israeli lands administration
        Jewish National Fund (if they hold current title)
        Individual settlers (if they have improved property)
        Former landowners (if the land was not sold to the JNF or others)
        Former leaseholder
        Former squatters with implied unlimited duration of permitted residence
        Palestinian national land institutions

        NONE of those parties are fully represented by a mob, or a rhetorically based political solution.

        Only a court of law that acknowledges that multiple parties have relative individual rights can sort through land claims.

        To the extent that the pendulum swing of force denies the relative rights of some with the relative rights of others, rather than perfection of title to the status of consent, then you have a second injustice rather than a remedy.

        If you are going to advocate for international law, actually bother to.

      • Shingo
        September 13, 2010, 4:31 am

        “NONE of those parties are fully represented by a mob, or a rhetorically based political solution.”

        They are effectively all represented by the IDF, which is a rule unto itself and routinely floouts the Israeli Supreme Court.

        “Only a court of law that acknowledges that multiple parties have relative individual rights can sort through land claims.”

        Unless of course, you are talking abotu Israel, where the rule fo claw is clearly secondary to mob rule.

  32. Kathleen
    September 10, 2010, 12:45 pm

    As I was re reading parts of the 9/11 commission report. I thought about what two dear friends Bev and John Titus have done with their grief over the loss of their daughter on 9/11. I think about the grief that both Palestinians and Israeli’s must feel about the loss of life over this ongoing conflict. I think about what the Corrie family has done with their grief and pain.

    What people do with that grief can be inspiring. Allow it to eat away at you and turn into more anger, more violence and more death? Or turn it into a focus of love, compassion and a fight for justice and understanding.

    As we approach September eleventh I pray for all of the families and friends of those who lost their lives on that disastrous day. But as we bow our heads in sadness and grief honoring those who lost their lives I am also reminded of what my friends Bev and John Titus who lost their dear daughter Alicia Titus a 28-year-old flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 175 have done with their grief. Both John and Bev have spent the last 9 years working for peace, love and compassion along with many other members of September eleventh families for Peaceful Tomorrows. They led the anti invasion march with other 9/11 families in New York City in Feb of 2003. Just five or so weeks before the invasion. It was a cold cold day in New York City but hundreds of thousands came out for peace to try to stop that bloody invasion. Millions world wide came out for peace and to try to stop that bloody invasion. It is people like the Corrie’s, like Bev and John Titus, like the millions that came out on the streets world wide to stop that bloody invasion that give me hope. Millions came out before the invasion!

    It takes brave and honorable individuals who can turn their grief into love, compassion and work so hard for peace. Thanks to the Corrie’s, to Bev and John Titus for their inspiring acts of love, understanding and focus on justice. And thank you to the Weiss’s, Max, Adam and so many others who are working so hard for peace in the middle east. You give me hope!

    Sweet Alicia Titus
    link to sweetalicia.org

    Sweet Alicia Titus

  33. Kathleen
    September 10, 2010, 1:12 pm

    Israeli soldiers speak out/Refuseniks
    “forced to commit war crimes”
    link to youtube.com

    Refuseniks
    link to berkeley.edu

  34. Citizen
    September 10, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Here, on the cusp of the anniversary of 9/11, from a veterans website:
    link to veteranstoday.com

  35. matter
    September 10, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Defend America – defeat Zionism.

    Seriously, the only way this giant distortion of our political life will end is through the total defeat of Zionism. Hopefully, it can be done relatively peacefully, in the same way the apartheid regime in South Africa was defeated.

  36. Chris S
    September 10, 2010, 2:42 pm

    I asked him what generals think of the Israeli presence in our institutional life. All the generals know the story, he said, but they won’t say anything. To get to be a general, you have to be political; and once you’ve become a general, you know that it’s easy to make $1 million in corporate contracts upon retirement. You don’t want to screw that up.

    That Smedley Butler, look at what he screwed up for himself…. instead of becoming an invisible million dollar whore he became a part of American history. What a maroon!

  37. Keith
    September 10, 2010, 6:12 pm

    “The two officers have traveled widely here. It cannot surprise any regular reader of this site to hear their view that the issue is turning off the entire Arab world and ‘fueling extremists.’”

    I don’t suppose any of these three officers expressed an opinion on whether the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the threats against Iran, the many years of US interference in Middle East domestic affairs, including the strong support for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other tyrannies might possibly contribute to “turning off the entire Arab world and ’fueling extremists’”? Or is it just Israel? The focus of Mondoweiss is on Israel/Palestine, however, you ignore the overarching reality of Empire at your own peril. Myopia has a cost.

  38. Richard Parker
    September 11, 2010, 12:21 am

    Israel is not the the major cause of the I/P problem. The US is. If it was not for the Israeli tail wagging the US dog, the ‘problem’ would have been solved long ago.

    Now the US finds itself in the position of not being able to put any pressure on Israeli fascist politicians for fear of being called ‘antisemitic’.

    Israel is perhaps ‘America’s strongest ally’ in the Middle East, but the US has gained nothing from that relationship. Israel was kept out of the last two Iraq wars, and hosts no US bases, although it does have a standby store of US war materiel, which it uses when it wants to, in its own local wars, such as their death-dealing invasions of Gaza and Lebanon.

    It tried to sell its nuclear expertise to Apartheid South Africa, but nobody is allowed, within the US, to publish details about Israel’s ‘nukular’ status.

    They also have the most aggressive spying operation of any ‘friendly country’ within the US.
    link to ifamericansknew.org

    And the wilfully deluded US is their strongest (perhaps only) supporter.

  39. yourstruly
    September 11, 2010, 10:46 am

    Seems to me the special relationship has more to do with Empire needing a cover for its mad dash to control Mideast oil – “Let the world think it’s the tail wagging the dog, what do we care, if it all falls apart, what the heck, we can say it’s them damn Jews, they made us do it.” But wouldn’t Empire further its interest in Mideast oil more by supporting justice for Palestine as well as the democratization of the region? One would think so, except for the fact that Empire fears democratization, probably because there’s the risk that it might lead to nationalization of the oil industry, something that’s anethema to any warm blooded “Hail Brittania (er, America), America rules the world” enthusiast.

  40. hophmi
    September 11, 2010, 1:59 pm

    Headline: There are Arabists in the State Department who don’t like Israel.

    I’m aware that the State Department Arabists agree with you, Phil.

    I hope you did the right thing and admonished them for using antisemitic terms like “Jewish lobby.”

    • thankgodimatheist
      September 11, 2010, 8:28 pm

      “I hope you did the right thing and admonished them for using antisemitic terms like “Jewish lobby.””

      Whether it’s anti-Semitic or not, is not the question..Whether it’s the TRUTH or not IS the question..
      This old horse is tired Hophmi..Pick up something else to ride..

    • potsherd
      September 11, 2010, 9:28 pm

      Say, hophmi, what about the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs? Why don’t you admonish those guys for using such an antisemitic name?

    • Chaos4700
      September 11, 2010, 9:40 pm

      Really? And just how much dirty money does the American Arab Political Action Committee dole out? Just how expansive is the “Arab lobby” and “Arab media” domination in the US?

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2010, 11:01 am

        You gotta admit, the hasbara may be third -rate, but the chutzpah is the pure unadulterated article! So the US guarantees, with no demands, Israel’s military superiority, and immunity for Israeli intransigence, and Zionists like hophmi rant about “Arabists who don’t like Israel in the State Department”

        Like the book says, way beyond chutzpah

      • Chaos4700
        September 12, 2010, 3:27 pm

        But the quality of debate on Mondoweiss is so much better with the Zionists allowed to post this stuff, right?

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2010, 1:22 pm

        I don’t know. Maybe it is. That is entirely up to the blog’s owner, as far as I’m concerned. He (and his administrators) may publish, or not publish, any comments, especially mine, they please.

  41. MHughes976
    September 11, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Yourstruly’s view of imperialism is also to be found in Gregory Harms’ interesting book ‘Straight Power Concepts in the ME’ (Pluto, 2010). I’m not quite persuaded by it because it implies that those among Israel’s supporters that are Jewish cannot, despite being well informed and well educated, see that their true interests are being put in the utmost jeopardy. There’s the even more basic question of whether it is in the real interests of the imperialist West to keep the Arab and Muslim worlds at sixes and sevens, endlessly squabbling and unable to negotiate, rather than to let them form a stable polity and make a fair – or fairish – deal with them.
    The South African example suggests to me quite strongly that the ‘fairish deal’ policy is both actually best for us and is also regarded in this light by the people in power. But of course it has been extremely difficult to find the ME Mandela, the moderate leader whom we can, with that mixture of idealism and cynicism at which we’re so expert, promote. It’s not going to be Abbas.

    • yourstruly
      September 11, 2010, 8:02 pm

      What worries Empire is that a fairish deal might lead to an independent nation cum that one good example that’s Empire’s worst nightmare. That’s what contributed to the Spanish-American War, the fear that the Phillipines &/or Cuba would break loose from Empire (Spanish, back then) and then who’d control the natives. Likewise during this century there’s the CIA’s undermining the democratically elected governments of Guatamala and Iran in the early fifties, not to mention its ongoing effort to destabalize Venezuela’s democratically elected government. What characterizes all the above governments was/is their insistance upon self-determination for their people, something that Empire simply won’t tolerate, too risky, lose control of one nation one day, next day lose control of the world. As for the South African example, remember that the U.S. sided with the Apartheid regime, and that is was the international opposition to apartheid (the cultural boycott in particular) that brought down its government, with Empire going along with the turnabout only after it was a fait accompli. Seems that Empire’s stable polity of choice is a dictatorship (preferably military), a la Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia, to name but a few.

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2010, 11:03 am

        Please don’t mention the Spanish-American War, okay? Every time I think about that boiler explosion on the Maine, I get nervous. You know, the “sabotage” that justified America’s part in the war.

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