‘NYT’/Bronner push the legality of settlements

Israel/Palestine
on 88 Comments

In today’s New York Times, Ethan Bronner writes that the United States AND JAPAN consider the settlements legal.

The United States and Japan take no stand on the settlements’ legality, according to spokesmen of their embassies in Israel, although they oppose them on policy grounds.

I checked with the Japanese Embassy, which proceeded to check with the Japanese government. It got back to me a few minutes later [on Friday afternoon]: Of course it’s a lie: the Japanese government considers the settlements illegal. Poor Bronner, sitting in his Jerusalem office, calling up every consulate in the phone book starting with the A’s trying to find just one other country that considers the settlements as legal. He gets to the J’s, calls Japan, and you know how polite the Japanese are. So, Bronner probably pleads, “Don’t you agree with the United States that the settlements are legal, although OF COURSE they are an obstacle to peace?” And the Japanese are just too considerate to hurt Bronner’s feelings, so they say, “Well, yes, they are an obstacle to peace.” Bronner, thrilled that he’s finally found ONE other country that agrees (sort of) with the U.S. (even if the U.S. judge on the ICJ [International Court of Justice], Thomas Buergenthal, agreed with the other 14 judges on the court that the settlements are illegal) rushes into print that the U.S. AND JAPAN say the settlements are legal. But it ain’t so Ethan. You’ll just have to go back to the phone book and start ringing up more embassies. Here’s a hint: you might have better luck with the N’s, as in…Nauru. By the way, Ethan, when you issue the correction, you might also mention that according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the settlements are not just illegal but a WAR CRIME. So every time your son protects a settlement, he’s an accessory to a war crime.

About Norman G. Finkelstein

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict for many years and currently writes and lectures. Finkelstein is the author of eight books that have been translated into 50 foreign editions, and is currently completing a book with Palestinian political analyst Mouin Rabbani entitled "How to Resolve the Israel-Palestine Conflict."

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88 Responses

  1. potsherd
    October 16, 2010, 8:51 am

    Get out your microscope when you look for that retraction to be published.

  2. eljay
    October 16, 2010, 8:56 am

    But what about San Remo?! What about “justice”?! What about resilience and energy!! For the love of gawd and his Chosen People, what about the Holocaust?!?!

  3. hughsansom
    October 16, 2010, 9:22 am

    My letter to Public Editor Arthur Brisbane ([email protected]) at the Times:

    To the Editor:

    In an October 15th report, Ethan Bronner — whose conflicts of interest on the Israel-Palestine conflict are very well-documented — wrote, “The United States and Japan take no stand on the settlements’ legality, according to spokesmen of their embassies in Israel, although they oppose them on policy grounds.”

    This is patently false. It is the official position of the Japanese government that the settlements are illegal.

    Moreover, the US is legally bound, under American and international law, to the position that the settlements are illegal — even if American officials now waffle out of fear of the Israel lobby and its advocates of Israeli crimes against humanity.

    It’s past time Bronner was removed from a post where he is neither capable of nor inclined to honest reporting.

    Sincerely,

    Hugh Sansom

  4. Richard Witty
    October 16, 2010, 9:35 am

    Norman cannot resist the impulse to demean, rather than just clarify.

    • Chaos4700
      October 16, 2010, 11:39 am

      Stop defending the settlements by attacking Professor Finkelstein, you dishonest prevaricating landmonger.

    • Shingo
      October 16, 2010, 2:10 pm

      “Norman cannot resist the impulse to demean, rather than just clarify.”

      Liars deserve to be treated with contempt, which is why you are treated with contempt.

      • Richard Witty
        October 16, 2010, 2:24 pm

        Shingo,
        I doubt very much that you really want to be judged by that standard, as you have held some innaccurate views for extended periods and expressed them contemptuously.

        My primary example was your contention that the Hezbollah abduction of 2006 occurred in Lebanon and not Israel.

        That is a material assertion that was the basis of much of your subsequent argument.

        • Richard Witty
          October 16, 2010, 2:24 pm

          I don’t believe that that material mistatement is a basis of speaking to you or about you with contempt.

        • Shingo
          October 16, 2010, 5:15 pm

          On the contary Witty, I am more than prepared to be judged on teh accurace of my views. On the occasions I have been mistaken, I have been quote happy to have been corrected.

          You on the other hand repeAt your lies no matter how many times they are debunked and exposed.

          “My primary example was your contention that the Hezbollah abduction of 2006 occurred in Lebanon and not Israel.”

          That is your only example, and even then, the action (which Israel has perpetrated coutless times with impunity) was not was led to the war.

          “That is a material assertion that was the basis of much of your subsequent argument.”

          Actauly it wasn’t, because the subsequent argument had nothgi to do with the cross border incident. As the Winograd Report found, Israel istigated the war and Israel chose to start the war with Lebanon in 2006.

          You see, I just exposed another one fo your lies.

          “I don’t believe that that material mistatement is a basis of speaking to you or about you with contempt.”

          It would be if I contnued to repeat that lie after having been corrected, which si what you do all the time.

    • Citizen
      October 16, 2010, 2:28 pm

      RW, at least he clarifies with actual facts–and on an important issue, which is blatant bias in our MSM; all you do is demean–and toss out pompous generalities devoid of facts or even sources.

    • thankgodimatheist
      October 16, 2010, 9:45 pm

      Another provocation to be ignored from Mr. Witty.

    • LeaNder
      October 17, 2010, 10:44 am

      the latest definition from the New Wild Witty Webster:

      demean, definition. tr. v.:
      to lower in status, reputation or character; debase in dignity and social standing someone by fact checking his or her assertions.

  5. pabelmont
    October 16, 2010, 9:50 am

    Yes, Norman, what about the Holocaust? Certainly no essay, however short, that touches upon Israel should fail to mention (and connect up) the Holocaust, just as no such essay (politeness being what it is, and therefore not required to be shown to lesser people without the law) should mention the N-word (“Nakba”).

    But maybe, even taking the need for politesse into reasonable account, there is no need to refer to the Holocaust, because it may (who knows?) itself have been illegal and thus have no relevance to the legality of the settlements. For how can the bottling of Jews and Gypsies and Poles and others into tiny, really tiny, concentration camps (during the Holocaust) have relevance to the 40-years-and-running Israeli practice of squeezing those Palestinians who remain into smaller and smaller parts of the territory of Mandatory Palestine?

    What’s the matter with you anyhow?

  6. Les
    October 16, 2010, 11:23 am

    An occupying force is obliged to follow Geneva Convention laws of war regarding the treatment of those under occupation. This is where charges of war crimes by Israel come into play. Now that would be an interesting topic for the Times!

  7. annie
    October 16, 2010, 11:30 am

    good catch norm. i suppose burying it deep in the article bronner thought it might go unnoticed. doesn’t the nyt fact check?

  8. Dan Crowther
    October 16, 2010, 12:03 pm

    I can see the Dershowitz Op-Ed already.

    Bronner: Finkelstein got me again
    Dershowtiz: FINKELSTEIN!!!!
    Bronner: Come on man, I need some “if the glove don’t fit” stuff here…
    Dershowitz: You know that wasn’t me right?
    Bronner: I know! Write an Op-Ed? I need your help…..
    Dershowitz: On settlement legality?
    Bronner: No, on Finkelstein…..

  9. David Samel
    October 16, 2010, 12:33 pm

    I have been severely critical in several mondoweiss posts regarding the accuracy of NYTimes articles, but I’m not so sure about this one. Here’s what Bronner says in the article:

    Virtually the entire international community opposes the settlements. The vast majority of governments accept what the United Nations and the International Court of Justice in The Hague have declared — that the settlements violate international law. Israel says they are lawful because the Palestinians were not sovereign in the West Bank when it was conquered from Jordan in 1967. The United States and Japan take no stand on the settlements’ legality, according to spokesmen of their embassies in Israel, although they oppose them on policy grounds.

    So Bronner is quite up front with the position of “virtually the entire international community” and the ICJ ruling. And Norman seems to blur the distinction between taking no position on legality, which is what Bronner says, and taking the position that the settlements are legal. These positions are not the same. According to the article, Israel alone holds them legal, two countries take no position on legality, and every other country finds them illegal.

    As to the accuracy of Japan’s position, Norman speculates that Bronner randomly telephoned embassies begging for someone else to agree with the US. My speculation is that Bronner heard that Japan’s embassy in Israel was taking no position on legality, and opposing the settlements only on policy grounds. It easily could have been that the Israelis convinced someone at the embassy that that was his/her country’s position, and when Bronner called, the same person confirmed it. Norman doesn’t say, but he may have called the Japanese Embassy in the US rather than Israel. Interestingly, that embassy did not know the answer, and had to check with Tokyo before getting back to him. Maybe the official Japanese position is that they are illegal, and their embassy in Israel got it wrong.

    Of course, this is not to imply that the US position of taking no position on legality is reasonable or defensible; as Hugh Samson points out, US officials “waffle out of fear of the Israel lobby.” But it seems that almost every day, there is at least one grossly inaccurate fact in the NYT about I/P, either from Bronner or Kershner or an editorial or an op-ed. The other day, I posted about a particularly outrageous article on Lebanon and Hezbollah by Thanassis Cambanis. This one just doesn’t strike me as being so bad.

    • Antidote
      October 16, 2010, 1:12 pm

      “So Bronner is quite up front with the position of “virtually the entire international community” and the ICJ ruling”

      no he’s not. He puts up a straw man by making an unwarranted distinction between countries that consider the settlements illegal (a majority), and those (J, US) that oppose them on policy grounds, as if there was no logical and commonly accepted connection between the two positions. The assertion that Japan and the US take no stand on legality is not only demonstrably false, it’s not even the whole truth with regard to Israel:

      “Israel has never claimed legal title to all of the territory of the former British Mandate of Palestine. On the contrary, it has repeatedly denied such a claim in official statements and acts. On May 22, 1948, soon after Israel’s declaration of independence, the country’s representative to the U.N. Security Council stated that its territory was “the area outlined in the map appended to the resolution of 29 November 1947, as constituting the area assigned to the Jewish state” — namely that area accorded to the nascent Israel by the U.N. Partition Plan contained in General Assembly Resolution 181. This did not include the West Bank. The same view was consistently expressed by Israeli courts. In 1950, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled, “The territory of the state of Israel does not coincide with all the territory under the former mandate.” Israel thus refused to be seen as the successor state to the Palestinian mandate. Accordingly, it refused to accede to treaties that bound the mandate and refused to pay the public debt that Palestine owed to Britain. How then can there be a right of Israeli settlement in the West Bank, territory to which Israel itself has never made legal claim?”

      link to articles.latimes.com

      • David Samel
        October 16, 2010, 1:48 pm

        Antidote, I think you’re wrong. You link to an article that states that the settlements are illegal, which I agree with completely. But the question is whether Bronner’s claim that the US and Japanese embassies in Israel said they take no position on legality is, as you put it, “demonstrably false.” You certainly don’t make that case. In fact, Norman does not challenge that this is the US position.

        As for the “straw man” distinction, it seems perfectly legitimate to report that the US and/or Japan, and/or any other country takes no position on legality but opposes on policy grounds, if that is an accurate position taken by that country. If you think that position is weasel-y, so do I, but the weasel is the country that takes the position, not the reporter.

        I have no difficulty ripping someone for being dishonest, but I think such charge must be well-supported by the evidence. I don’t think Norman, or you, make a very good case. Bronner’s obvious pro-Israel bias in some articles warrants strong criticism, but here, he does not appear to be trying to deceive the reader. He acknowledges overwhelming opposition to the settlements on legality grounds, and virtually unanimous opposition on legality or policy grounds. When Norman does have the goods, skewering Peters or the Dersh for blatant dishonesty, it is much more convincing.

        • Antidote
          October 16, 2010, 2:59 pm

          David, I know you were not disputing the illegality of the settlements, and I think I got your point. Yes, you are right about waffling and weaseling countries, but an honest reporter might want to clarify the situation.

          I don’t think NF ‘speculated’ , as you put it, about Bronner calling up embassies (I took that to be a joke). Does NF make a good case re Japan? Well, unless you think he jokes/lied about his own phone conversations with the Japanese embassy/gov, I’d say yes:

          NF: “I checked with the Japanese Embassy, which proceeded to check with the Japanese government. It got back to me a few minutes later [on Friday afternoon]: Of course it’s a lie: the Japanese government considers the settlements illegal. ”

          I also disagree with you about NF not challenging the US position as reported by Bronner.

          NF: “Bronner [...] rushes into print that the U.S. AND JAPAN say the settlements are legal. But it ain’t so Ethan.”

          The über-weasels in the Obama administration have been careful to avoid terms like ‘illegal’ or even ‘occupation’ in order not to offend Likudist sensitivities. Still, the US position re settlements hasn’t changed much under Obama. Here’s a website with a compilation of quotes on the US position. No, I haven’t checked the sources, but you are welcome to do so. Some examples:

          “Consistent with the Mitchell plan, Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories must stop, and the occupation must end through withdrawal to secure and recognized boundaries, consistent with United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338.” President Bush’s Rose Garden Address – April 4, 2002

          “Our position on the settlements is very clear. We do not think they are legal.” President Carter — April 1980 interview

          “U.S. Policy toward the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is unequivocal and has long been a matter of public record. We consider it to be contrary to international law and an impediment to the successful conclusion of the Middle East peace process…Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention is, in my judgment, and has been in judgment of each of the legal advisors of the State Department for many, many years, to be. . .that [settlements] are illegal and that [the Convention] applies to the territories.” Secretary of State Cyrus Vance before House Ctee. on Foreign Affairs — March 21, 1980

          You should refer to Prime Minister Eshkol’s Knesset statement and our awareness of internal Israeli pressures for settling civilians in occupied areas. The GOI is aware of our continuing concern that nothing be done in the occupied areas which might prejudice the search for a peace settlement. By setting up civilian or quasi-civilian outposts in the occupied areas the GOI adds serious complications to the eventual task of drawing up a peace settlement. Further, the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which states ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’ ” “Airgram from the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel,” in Smith, Louis J. (Ed.). Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 20, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1967-1968. DC: 2001.

          link to cmep.org

        • Polly
          October 17, 2010, 9:00 am

          Sort of unrelated but terms like “Uber-weasels” are not helpful even if they are deserved. If EVERY president of the US has failed MISERABLY to take on the Israel lobby what chance do their subordinates have in doing the same?
          A coward is someone who won’t do the right thing because of ANY blowback they receive. But the fear politicians and ALL public figures sense in this regard is as real as it is absolute.
          Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez are just the latest victims.
          I’d even include “crazy” Mel Gibson in that too.

        • Antidote
          October 17, 2010, 10:02 am

          Well, there are certain long established rules of international diplomacy that do not, or certainly should not, apply to other public figures like journalists, actors and, of course, the rest of us. In other words: free speech is not a central, and not necessarily a desirable or workable feature of diplomacy, vital as it is to democracy. One reason why former bouncer Avigdor Lieberman keeps ruffling feathers on the international stage while rallying domestic support for not mincing his words and being an ‘honest politician’.

      • David Samel
        October 16, 2010, 2:03 pm

        A few days ago, Alex Kane criticized Bronner for writing the following:

        Both East Jerusalem and the Golan were officially annexed by Israel through parliamentary votes, so by Israeli law they count as Israeli territory. That is not true of the West Bank, which the Palestinians want as their future state and where Israel has settled more than 300,000 Jewish citizens.

        That was a true statement of the facts, but quite misleading. Alex’s criticism was right on point, for leaving the impression that Israeli law on annexation actually meant something, and for not including that the rest of the world opposed did not recognize the annexation. In today’s article, Bronner seems much fairer in giving international opinion.

        • Antidote
          October 16, 2010, 3:13 pm

          “In today’s article, Bronner seems much fairer in giving international opinion.”

          Like: It is much fairer to admit to being a little bit pregnant than to claim being a virgin?

    • lyn117
      October 17, 2010, 1:48 pm

      This is the FIRST time I’ve ever read Bronner mention the ICJ or the U.N. or very massive numbers of nations that regard the settlements as illegal. It’s possible that some of our complaints regarding his bias may have finally reached someone.

      Notice how he leaves out East Jerusalem out of the context of his discussion of legality of settlements. I suspect he’ll be back to reporting as usual fairly soon.

      I think the official U.S. position is still that the settlements are illegal. They may decline to state so publicly and only refer to them as obstacles to peace.

      • Antidote
        October 17, 2010, 5:58 pm

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama rediscovers the i-word after the midterm elections.

  10. Les
    October 16, 2010, 2:46 pm

    Bronner fails to mention the date and occasion that transformed the illegal to the legal in the eyes of the US. Indeed, he implies that it is common knowledge that the US, let alone Japan, consider the occupation to have become legal. If children still use the Times to look for “facts” for their school reports, the young Ochs and Sulzbergers are among the victims made ignorant by the paper they will one day inherit.

  11. rosemerry
    October 16, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Witty remember that Israel overflew Lebanese territory every day for 6 months before the socalled kidnapping in 2006, and ignored demands to stop. Yhey still do the same, quite illegally, now. You killed 1200 civilians then; let’s let the two kidnap victims rest in peace.

  12. jonah
    October 16, 2010, 4:40 pm

    If the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (also called ‘West Bank’ from the Jordanian occupation on) are considered “illegal” by the international community and the international Court of Justice in The Hague, so I wonder why those international bodies do not bend with the same humanitarian fervor and legal zeal on the issue of the territories of East Prussia, conquered in WWII and later annexed by the Soviets (with the forceful expulsion of the entire German population from the occupied territories). link to en.wikipedia.org .
    And I wonder why the international bodies do not complain about the absolute illegal Cinese invasion and occupation of Tibet which has lasted by now 60 year. We all know that the Chinese policies have caused more than one million deaths in Tibet, futhermore the destruction of the Tibetan culture, the exile of the Dalai Lama, the systematic and extensive colonization of the territory by the Chinese. I could continue with a endless list of similar cases in modern and recent history, but there is no need to be redundant.
    Fact is that the “illegality” of the settlements in Judea and Samaria /West Bank is first of all a POLITICAL STATEMENT – not really surprising, considering from what kind of eminently politically influenced bodies it comes from, although not confirmed by the real legal status of the object. The latter is actually ‘disputed’, as that of the ‘territories’ themselves. Just look at history to realize this. Here some easily understandable food for thought: link to commentarymagazine.com
    That’s why I would say that Norman is right for once, even if his hair-splitting in no way alters the substance that the settlement issue is legally controversial and can only be resolved through a historical and political compromise among the contenders. In this sense, international law is far more a hindrance than a help to achieve a negotiated lasting solution. But of course: this appears difficult to understand for heads stuffed with useless nonsense….

    • Dan Crowther
      October 16, 2010, 5:24 pm

      Ah, yes the ” stop world hunger, poverty, death and destruction and wipe out all human rights violators before you criticize Israel” argument- I was waiting for you guys to show up.

      You wouldn’t be Jonah Goldberg would you? haha

    • Shingo
      October 16, 2010, 5:26 pm

      “And I wonder why the international bodies do not complain about the absolute illegal Cinese invasion and occupation of Tibet which has lasted by now 60 year.”

      Please feel free to cite what imternational body has declared any of your examples to be legal Jonah?

      “Fact is that the “illegality” of the settlements in Judea and Samaria /West Bank is first of all a POLITICAL STATEMENT”

      Correction. The reticents to refer to the “illegality” of the settlements in West Bank is policital, the matter of illegality is an absolute and irrespective of politics.

      “The latter is actually ‘disputed’, as that of the ‘territories’ themselves. Just look at history to realize this.”‘

      False. No country but Israel has used the term ‘disputed’ with regards to the occupied teritories. Just look at history to realize this.

      ” Here some easily understandable food for thought..”

      Call if junk food for thought, seeing as every point made in that article garbage. For example, the claim that ” When Israel went into battle in June 1967, its objective was clear: to remove the Arab military threat to its existence.”‘

      …has been debunked by 2 Israeli Prime Ministers.

      “the settlement issue is legally controversial and can only be resolved through a historical and political compromise among the contenders.”

      False again.

      Legality is resolved thorugh judicial procedure, not compromise.

    • eljay
      October 16, 2010, 5:40 pm

      >> If the Jewish settlements … are considered “illegal” by the international community and the international Court of Justice in The Hague, so I wonder why those international bodies do not bend with the same humanitarian fervor and legal zeal on the issue of the territories of East Prussia … [and] … the absolute illegal Cinese invasion and occupation of Tibet which has lasted by now 60 year.

      I always marvel and wonder at the mental seizures that cause people to frequent a site dedicated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to argue their defence of Israel by using Russia and China as examples of why Israel – supposedly a “democracy” with “the most moral army” – has the right to behave as criminally as it does.

      I guess these people must be “humanists” who believe in that twisted sense of “justice” that only “humanists” can believe in.

    • kapok
      October 16, 2010, 6:29 pm

      tu quoque much?

    • thankgodimatheist
      October 16, 2010, 10:03 pm

      “We’re not the only criminals in the world!!”.. is a very good argument..I’ll certainly use it next time I rob a bank…

    • traintosiberia
      October 17, 2010, 6:13 am

      China doesn’t get paid by us free of any service or transaction. its neighbours (Vietnam and India taiwan ) get armed to defend against China . China faces joint army exercise by South Korea , Japan, and US near its water.The Chinese spy, traitor to US gets executed or is sent to jail in US for rest of the life and no Chinese presidents dare to make a deal on a promise of 2 months some kind of verbal changes over Tibet or on promise of being nice to Dalai Lama for free billion dollars gift, unrestsricted access to US market, sharing of international secrets and scientific data or dare to make a suggestion that the spies now in jail should be released.

      In Tibet, the Tibetians are not asked to leave Tibet.Their houses get demolished just as it happens to any Chinese in China when governemnt wants it. Tibet is not as bad as Native Indian reservation and million times better than West Bank. Above all China does not have a mole in NY Times who offers a rosy pictuture of Tibet or asserts that Tibet is the ancestral land of Chinese people.

    • Citizen
      October 17, 2010, 7:32 am

      Are the dispossessed ethnic Germans protesting now? Millions were ethnically cleansed after WW2. Does the US fork over billions to the culprits sans conditons, and provide diplomatic cover via UN Security Council veto? Does the US fight wars directly to their benefit in their respective regions? Same questions regarding any “special relation” with China. Israel as Charlie Brown whining Why IS Everybody Always Picking On me is a red herring in light of the glaring fact that it’s a matter of comoparing apples and oranges to compare our enmeshed relationship with Israel to our arms-lenghth relationship with the other countries who commit continuing internationally recognized crimes. Only Israel proclaims itself the apple of our eye; and only Israel is sold to the US masses as such.

      • jonah
        October 17, 2010, 9:08 am

        You have been disingenuous, US Citizen. The USA as the first profit from the financial help to Israel because it brings the money back to US in form of billionaire purchases by Israel. You know well that your country makes very good business by selling weapons all over the world, not only to Israel. As you know that your Israel-bashing wouldn’t stop even if the US would completely stop the financial help to Israel.

        • Sumud
          October 17, 2010, 10:00 am

          The USA as [sic] the first profit from the financial help to Israel because it brings the money back to US in form of billionaire purchases by Israel.

          Billionaire purchases?? What’s that?

          This is the equation: US gives ~$3 billion of taxpayers money to Israel annually.

          About 75% ($2.25 billion) of this has to be spent buying from the US death industries. In exchange Israel receives various death machines, $2.25 billion worth – or more, because of discounts – with which to kill Palestinians and Lebanese (most recently).

          So at the end of the day:
          • Israel is at least $3 billion richer ($750 million spending money, $2.25 billion of their defense budget paid for).
          • US is $3 billion poorer, with 75% of that money going to the private US death industries. Some of it will trickle down to those employed from such industries. It’s just another gigantic rort in other words, designed to extract government money for private corporations. (Do you really think Cheney being the former head of Halliburton and the decision to go to Iraq and give multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts to Halliburton weren’t connected?)

          How is that a profit?

          And what about the billions in free fuel the US gives to Israel, and the US funding of additional Israel projects such as the Iron Dome missile shield (funded under the guise that it would “help Israel make ‘tough’ decisions“?

        • jonah
          October 17, 2010, 1:30 pm

          The aid brings quite a lot of work to American industries, you can not deny this, even if regrettably for the production of weapons. Of course I’m against such death industries as you are, but not only against those which supply Israel with weapons, but all of them, without exceptions. That’s maybe a possible difference between me and you.
          Besides, US and Israel don’t only share military aid but also and above all the same values, which I share too (even thoug not the turbo-capitalism which distinguishes both societies, but not only them). This is probably another difference between us, or may I be wrong?

        • Shingo
          October 17, 2010, 2:30 pm

          ‘The aid brings quite a lot of work to American industries, you can not deny this, even if regrettably for the production of weapons.”

          Actually, it’s the opposite.

          In the case of the recent sale fo teh F35 Joint Strike Fighter, the so called “purchase” was going to consume most of the year’s aid budget, so Lockheed Martin (with Congressional approval of course), did a deal with Israel whereby it would pay Israeli industries to manufacture components for the planes and pay them.

          In other words, the jobs that woudlhave gine to Americans went to Israel.

          “Besides, US and Israel don’t only share military aid but also and above all the same values”

          Values such as militarism, occupation, mass murder etc.

        • Shingo
          October 17, 2010, 2:32 pm

          It’s much worse than that Sumud.

          On top of the 3 billion anually, Israel also receives loan guarantees from the US, which are effectively loans that Israel doesn’t bother repaying.

        • Sumud
          October 17, 2010, 2:55 pm

          The aid brings quite a lot of work to American industries, you can not deny this, even if regrettably for the production of weapons.

          This is a different statement than your previous assertion: the US profits.

          If the money stayed in the US it would bring more jobs or lower taxes, you cannot deny this. You can’t just give away +$3 billion annually and not expect it to have an effect, however small. It’s not large in terms of the US GDP, but it is there, and it’s a racket the mafia would be proud of.

          Of course I’m against such death industries as you are, but not only against those which supply Israel with weapons, but all of them, without exceptions. That’s maybe a possible difference between me and you.

          jonah I think it should be pretty clear when I use a term like “death industries” what my opinions are on arms manufacturers. I don’t know how I could be any blunter.

          Besides, US and Israel don’t only share military aid but also and above all the same values, which I share too (even thoug not the turbo-capitalism which distinguishes both societies, but not only them). This is probably another difference between us, or may I be wrong?

          I don’t think the US shares values with Israel. Israelis may think they do, but I think they have wildly distorted perceptions of what their values are. They may believe they’re “the only democracy in the Middle East” but this is marketing, and not connected to reality. Arguments for a “jewish state” have been accepted almost uncritically but are parallel in my mind with Hitler’s aryan nation, the US during the segregation era, apartheid South Africa and White Australia. The Ehud’s (I think it was Olmert and Barak) have both used the word “apartheid”, without really specifying when this apartheid era will commence.

          It’s here, now.

          You might consider the terrifying results of national surveys such as the survey of school students from March this year:

          …21% of them think that “Death to Arabs” is a legitimate expression… …45% percent of religious students and 16% of secular students, however, believe it is a legitimate statement.
          …82% of religious students responded that they don’t believe Arabs should be granted equal rights as Jews, 36% percent of seculars responded that they do not believe in equal rights for Arabs and Jews.
          Overall, 46%…
          … Out of the religious students polled, 81% said they would not be willing [to have an arab friend], versus 23% of secular students who would not want to have an Arab friend. Overall, 32% of students said they would not want to have an Arab friend.

          Can you imagine if more than 20% of American students polled in support of “death to jews”, “death to blacks”, “death to latinos” etc.? It’s unthinkable.

          I suppose their are parallels in narcissism between the nations (and the west in general), but to a much lesser degree. When Israel has hundreds of Palestinians in administrative detention, and thousands more locked up on bogus charges, it’s hard to have much sympathy for the hysteria over Gilad Shalit. Likewise, when US-led sanctions on Iraq killed a million Iraqis in the 1990s (half a million children), can any American honestly say 911 was anything other than a gentle rap on the knuckles?

        • Sumud
          October 17, 2010, 2:56 pm

          Right Shingo.

        • jonah
          October 17, 2010, 4:31 pm

          Sumud, do you have similar figures on Palestinian side? Do you think that Palestinians and Arabs can’t be racist too? Maybe you can have a look at the maintream in Palestinian and Arab media, politics and schools.
          You would probably gather a more objective view of the ongoing conflict.

        • Sumud
          October 17, 2010, 5:02 pm

          Sumud, do you have similar figures on Palestinian side? Do you think that Palestinians and Arabs can’t be racist too?

          Jonah ~ all people can be racist, of course. But this is a distraction. You asked me about US and Israeli values. Besides, a democratically elected Palestinian government isn’t oppressing Israeli jews via long term military occupation and siege. An Israeli one is…

        • Chaos4700
          October 17, 2010, 5:57 pm

          Jonah, do you not understand the academic concept that when one forwards a counter argument, one must supply one’s own facts and figures? Clapping your hands and saying “I DO believe in fairies!” is not nearly enough to forward your case. Cite before you spite.

  13. traintosiberia
    October 17, 2010, 5:57 am

    This is why the media is guilty of complicitiy in illegal wars and activities. They are as guilty and negligient as the church is in sex abuse cases.

  14. Taxi
    October 17, 2010, 6:05 am

    When one spends one’s life in zionist lalaland like Bronner has, it becomes normal to believe in alliances with leprechaun governors and nimble Japanese fairies.

  15. jonah
    October 17, 2010, 8:44 am

    For the genies above, just have a look in the activities of the international bodies as the UN and recently the HRC , which produced during dacades that package of resolutions referred to the “international law” and which gives the directives for the political attitude of the majority of the nations.
    But while many conflicts and occupations of land are neglected by the international community, despite the fact that they are unsolved and represent a clear flagrant violation of the international law, the focus on Israel and the Palestinians is disproportionately obsessive and
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    link to unwatch.org

    Is there the same sensibility and obsession about Tibet (one million victims and continuous ethnic cleansing by China), Nothern Cyprus (occupation of land and displacement of many hundred-thousands of its inhabitants by Turkey), Western Sahara (occupied by Marocco and Algeria with a very precarious human right situation and the displacement of ten of thousands of people), Darfur (hundred thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people link to en.wikipedia.org), not to mention the horrendous human rights situation in all of the Arab-Muslim countries, the same countries which hold the majority in the international bodies like UN and HRC, as “guarantors” of the respect for international humanitarian law?

    And now please give me at least a shred of evidence that the latter isn’t eminently a POLITICAL TOOL misused against Israel (the new version of the good old Jew-hatred). Even Norman F. knows that (although he would never admit it), because he is the first to wield it in his invectives.

    • Antidote
      October 17, 2010, 10:28 am

      HRC “a POLITICAL TOOL misused against Israel (the new version of the good old Jew-hatred)”

      yawn! and never mind the supreme pro-Israel, anti-Arab/Muslim POLITICAL TOOL: US veto power

      • jonah
        October 17, 2010, 12:45 pm

        The US veto stands for freedom and democracy versus hypocrisy and oppression – but I know it’s difficult to understand for you … Never mind.

        • Antidote
          October 17, 2010, 2:07 pm

          ROTFL

        • Shingo
          October 17, 2010, 2:41 pm

          “The US veto stands for freedom and democracy versus hypocrisy and oppression…”

          Yes, such as the veto against calls for ceasefires, while claiming to be concerned about the rights of Palestinians.

          Such as the veto against calls for granting the Palestinians self determination, while claiming to be support a 2 state solution.

          Such as the lobbying against calling for Israel’s nuclear porgram to be investigated and scruitinized, while claiming that the US is workign for a nuclear free Middle East.

          Such as the lobbying to impose severere scations on Iran for a nuclear weapons program that does not exist, while claiming that Israel has a right to nukes.

          Yes, that makes it very difficult to understand how these are acts of freedom and democracy.

        • potsherd
          October 17, 2010, 3:19 pm

          The US veto is the epitome of hypocrisy, the blazing beacon of the double standard.

        • Sumud
          October 17, 2010, 3:22 pm

          A veto on a democratic vote is never about democracy, it’s about protecting special interests.

          I think the Security Council veto should ‘challengeable’ by the General Assembly, and be able to be overturned by a high majority vote (say, 80 or 85%).

    • Sumud
      October 17, 2010, 10:37 am

      Jonah ~ Israel’s occupation of the East Jerusalem/West Bank and Gaza is the longest military occupation in modern history. Irresponsible use of the UN Security Council veto by the US since 1972 has prolonged it . Many UN resolutions are made calling on Israel to observe previous ignored resolutions. This isn’t complicated.

      You should consider if Israel is “persecuted” at the UN because of it’s crimes, rather than resorting to the “jew-hating” excuse. Since Israel is obviously a serial violator of international law, the onus is on you to prove condemning UN resolutions are based on “jew-hatred” rather than these violations…

      Norman Finkelstein observed in 2006 (while Israel was busy killing Lebanese men, women and children) that the UN had imposed SC sanctions on 15 countries since 1990, but that Israel was not among these countries, because of the blocking US veto. Perhaps if sanctions had been imposed on Israel it’s behaviour would have been moderated, and the occupation would be over. But it isn’t, and Israel’s impunity is turning it into a pariah.

      • jonah
        October 17, 2010, 12:42 pm

        It is a open secret that the UN is pervaded with anti-Semitic policies and tendencies, and not only because of the exacerbated aim of the Arab states to use the organisation as platform to demonize and deligitimize Israel. Anti-Semitic contents are clearly recognizable in speeches accompagnying the many resolutions against Israel.
        Here a little taste of it (Ahmadinejad’s rants not included):
        link to science.co.il
        link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org
        You can dismiss this as “Zionist propaganda”, but the evidence speaks for itself.

        • Antidote
          October 17, 2010, 2:50 pm

          “the UN is pervaded with anti-Semitic policies and tendencies”

          How come UN resolution 181 is displayed in every government office in Israel as the Declaration of Independence? Why promote anti-semitic institutions in Israel?

        • Shingo
          October 17, 2010, 2:55 pm

          “It is a open secret that the UN is pervaded with anti-Semitic policies and tendencies..”

          It’s not an open secret, it is a lame conspiracy theory.

          The Arab states make up less that 10% of the UN, and none of them hold any power with the Genral Aseembly, the UNSC or UNHCR.

          “Anti-Semitic contents are clearly recognizable in speeches accompagnying the many resolutions against Israel.”

          The Resolutions that pass are based on Israel’s bad behavior. If Israel wants the Resolutions to stop, they have every option to change the status quo.

          The simple fact is that Israel is a rogue state under US protection.

          And note that given the length of the occupation, it is farcical that the UN has not been able to send a peace keeping force to the region to protect the Palestinians.

          “You can dismiss this as “Zionist propaganda”, but the evidence speaks for itself.”

          It might if you were to produce some.

          Your links are riddles with errors and lies. For example, the article by By Morris B. Abram claims that Arab states now believe they enjoy “Western” support which emboldens them.

          This is demonstrably false.

        • Sumud
          October 17, 2010, 3:17 pm

          It is a open secret that the UN is pervaded with anti-Semitic policies and tendencies,

          This is just silly.

          You offer a non-sequitur jonah (“because the UN criticises Israel a lot, it is against Israel, which is a jewish state, therefore the UN is anti-semitic”), not evidence.

          Arab states are just over 11% of member states of the UN, 22 states from a total of 192. No arab state is a permanent member on the Security Council, and currently only 1 arab state (Lebanon) is sitting in the SC. Their power is limited.

          How about Israel stops violating international law? If the UN continues to criticise Israel then you may have a case that the UN is anti-Israel (but probably not that it is anti-semitic).

        • potsherd
          October 17, 2010, 3:23 pm

          It is a open secret that the UN is pervaded with anti-Semitic policies and tendencies,

          Howcum it’s so secret if Zionist propaganda mentions it 6500 times a day.

          It must be that definition of “anti-Semitic” that means “telling the truth.”

        • jonah
          October 17, 2010, 4:05 pm

          Arab states are just over 11% of the member states of the UN, but have apparently the power to put all the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (better: only on the Israeli side of the conflict).
          A single example:
          link to unwatch.org

        • jonah
          October 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

          Because, dear Antidote, the resolution 181 was the only one which was favourable to Israel, since it recognized the creation of the Jewish state.
          On the other hand, I wonder why the Palestinians and their Arab brothers didn’t accept that particular resolution, but accept since then all successive anti-Israel resolutions …

        • Sumud
          October 17, 2010, 5:34 pm

          Arab states are just over 11% of the member states of the UN, but have apparently the power to put all the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

          This still isn’t proof of anything. Which of those resolutions are actually inconsistent with international law? What did Palestinians do in 2006/2007 that you think should have been addressed by the 61st GA, that weren’t?

          This is the text from the page you link to:

          Israel has been criticized 22 separate times while a mere handful of the UN’s other 191 countries have been cited only once.

          But with just a little search I discover the 61st UN GA passed 296 resolutions (actually, over 300; some are split into A and B resolutions) during that sitting. This is not “a mere handful”. Given the IDF did a lot of killing in 2006 (Lebanon and Operations Summer Rain and Autumn Cloud in Gaza) is it surprising the UN chose to criticise Israel?

          I had a brief look over the 61st GA resolutions. The majority of them are calling on Israel to respect previous UN resolutions. Those calls aren’t going to end until Israel chooses to observe those resolutions…

          You don’t seem to question much of the hasbara jonah. You need to.

        • Chaos4700
          October 17, 2010, 5:35 pm

          Jonah? Zionists VIOLENTLY rejected Resolution 181. European Jewish militants had already razed dozens of Palestinian villages, at least, before a single soldier set foot into Palestine from Jordan, Syria, Egypt or any of the other neighbors.

          “Israelis” had been screaming their heads off that the UN had no right to manacle the kingdom of “Greater Israel.” Still are, really, it’s just that the US media plays dumb.

          I don’t know why you think posting patently fallacious garbage will get you anywhere in this discussion.

        • potsherd
          October 17, 2010, 6:00 pm

          Jonah, why don’t you try getting your head around the proposition that the Arab states are right about Israel. You seem to feel that just because they’re Arab, they must be wrong. Seems to me there’s a nasty name for that kind of thinking.

        • Antidote
          October 17, 2010, 6:22 pm

          I wonder why all subsequent ‘anti-Israel’ resolutions in one way or another address gross violations of UN 181:

          Where is the Arab state it calls for, after 62 years?

          How about this:

          “No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants on the ground of race, religion, language or sex.
          All persons within the jurisdiction of the State shall be entitled to equal protection of the laws.”

          oh right, I forgot: Gaza and the West Bank are not within the jurisdiction of Israel, and the Palestinians live there without any interference whatsoever. They just can’t get their act together to build a successful democracy, like the Jews did, who do in no way discriminate against the Arab minority for whom they show such tolerance and concern that they now offer them additional opportunities to express their appreciation in a loyalty oath to the Jewish state.

          So, while you wonder why Palestinians and their ‘Arab brothers’ have accepted all resolutions except 181, how come Israel has ignored all of them, except for a partial recognition of 181?

        • andrew r
          October 17, 2010, 7:11 pm

          Jonah, if you took ten minutes off from being a victim and actually looked at UNSC resolutions, you’d know Israel is favored over Iraq. There is no resolution against Israel containing the words:

          [quote]2. Authorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the foregoing resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area;[/quote]
          link to casi.org.uk (see 660 and 678)

          The resolutions against Israel do little more than huff and puff because the USA prevents any enforcement clauses.

        • potsherd
          October 17, 2010, 7:52 pm

          Too bad. There should be.

    • MRW
      October 17, 2010, 1:31 pm

      Bottom line, Jonah, you’re a Palestine Denier.

    • Shingo
      October 17, 2010, 2:36 pm

      “But while many conflicts and occupations of land are neglected by the international community, despite the fact that they are unsolved and represent a clear flagrant violation of the international law, the focus on Israel and the Palestinians is disproportionately obsessive…”

      What conflicts and occupations of land are neglected by the international cimmunity Jonah?

      Are you suggesting that Charles Manson should have been released on parole on the grounds that there are other more severe unsolved murder cases out there?

      “And now please give me at least a shred of evidence that the latter isn’t eminently a POLITICAL TOOL misused against Israel (the new version of the good old Jew-hatred). “‘

      Please provide a shred of that it is.

      “Even Norman F. knows that (although he would never admit it), because he is the first to wield it in his invectives.”‘

      How do you know this Jonah? Can you mind read?

      You’re soundikng more and more incoherent and irrtional with
      each post.

      • jonah
        October 17, 2010, 3:46 pm

        “What conflicts and occupations of land are neglected by the international cimmunity?

        “Are you suggesting that Charles Manson should have been released on parole on the grounds that there are other more severe unsolved murder cases out there?”

        No, I’m saying that the worst human rights violators and their cohorts are sitting in the UN, imposing a strongly anti-Israel policy on the Council, while diverting from their own crimes which, indeed, are far more severe (how many resolutions have there been about China’s ethnic cleansing in Tibet? About Human rights situation in Arab states their wars and ethnic cleansinghttp://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=82191 ? Or about Palestinian terrorism?)

        “Please provide a shred of that it is.”

        Read postings 48 and 54 again, but a bit more carefully.

        “How do you know this Jonah? Can you mind read?”

        C’on Shingo, “the international law” violated by Israeli crimes alone (-Palestinians are above the law). The war-horse of every true anti-Israel fellow … Look in youtube for a couple of Finkelstein’s monologues.

        • jonah
          October 17, 2010, 3:46 pm

          The link:
          link to jpost.com

        • potsherd
          October 17, 2010, 4:25 pm

          And so what? Does the fact that other nations abuse human rights mean that Israeli crimes against humanity are washed pure as snow? Do you have any idea at all what tu quoque means and why it’s a rhetorical fallacy?

          You aren’t even arguing that Israel doesn’t commit these crimes, only that we should all turn our eyes away and let them go on. A person who sees wrongdoing has the obligation to try to right it. If I see a man beating a kid, I don’t walk away and ignore it just because somewhere else in the world another man is setting another kid on fire.

        • jonah
          October 17, 2010, 4:54 pm

          No, potsherd, I’m saying that the international law is a political tool MISUSED by Israel-hating countries in order to put all the blame on Israel, while washing clean their own crimes. It’s hypocrisy at its worst. It’s double-standards. Do you understand now?
          We are already far beyond the to quoque-fallacy. The fallacy is integral part of the ongoing conflict, it’s a weapon against the enemy in the same extent as “humanitaria flotillas” are. And you know it – as I know.

        • jonah
          October 17, 2010, 5:11 pm

          Besides, the question is justified why you are so focussed on the “Israeli crimes” while you don’t display any interest for crimes which are to be considered as much serious or far more serious (Darfur, Ruanda, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Cecenia … ). Maybe roots in Middle East?

        • Chaos4700
          October 17, 2010, 8:01 pm

          How many pogroms have you endured personally, jonah?

        • talknic
          October 18, 2010, 6:22 am

          jonah

          Read the UN Charter. Then read the Declaration for the Establishment of the State of Israel, where it obliges itself to adhere to the UN Charter.

          When states act outside of their sovereignty it is the business of the UN to pull them into line. The UN has no business interfering with what sovereigns do within their sovereign territory. All it can do is condemn them for abuses. It does so often.

          Israel is acting outside of it’s actual sovereignty and has done so for 62 years. Most UN/UNSC resolutions against Israel are reminders. hen you don’t pay your electricity bill you get a reminder. It is not biased. It has in fact, on the back of the US veto vote on Chapter seven resolutions, been very liberal in respect to Israel. Far more liberal than ANY other nation.

  16. Gaius Baltar
    October 17, 2010, 8:59 am

    Don’t forget the 1967 formal legal opinion of Theodor Meron, chief legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry:

    “It is my opinion that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

    He further ruled that private colonies contravene the explicit provisions of the 1907 Hague Convention.

    How the NY Times could omit this is beyond me.

  17. Antidote
    October 17, 2010, 9:44 am

    from yet another 2007 article:

    “The infinite variety of devices through which Israel has condoned and often actively encouraged the breaking of the rules in its drive to expropriate Palestinian occupied land against both Israeli and international law has been documented not only by journalists, scholars and observers on the left: it was also the subject of a thick government judicial document, known as the “Sasson Report,” which created something of a furore when it was handed to prime minister Ariel Sharon in March 2005. Within months, however, the Sasson Report joined the mounting pile of legal and normative documents that have been effortlessly side-stepped by the settlers and their supporters in multiple branches of the government. It was only a matter of time, inevitably, before the lawlessness of the occupied territories – and their support networks throughout the Israeli state apparatus – began infecting Israel proper.

    [...]

    Sharon was the ur-bulldozer. His name is virtually synonymous with dogged action combined with disrespect for law and authority. His public career as a soldier and as a civilian was built out of repeated acts of disobedience and of establishing facts on the ground; the first Lebanon War is only the most famous and disastrous example. In the occupied territories, nobody did more for the settlement movement than Sharon, who taught its leaders techniques to railroad the opposition. And then he did the same to them, in turn, when he suddenly shifted his loyalties and embarked on his “disengagement plan” in 2004.

    It is therefore hardly a coincidence that Sharon’s rise to the highest office in the state marked a decisive moment in this process of collapse: the moment when corruption and normlessness suddenly seemed to take over the system in all its nooks and crannies. Sharon’s tenure in office was more autocratic than any Israel had previously seen. He bypassed even his own government and ministers through a small cabal of friends and family that came to be know as “The Ranch Forum” (named after Sharon’s private ranch in the Negev, itself a manifestation of quasi-corrupt privilege). It also turned out that Sharon’s unstoppable drive easily bled into self-serving corruption, funneling millions into his family’s bank accounts. And yet, despite the multiple corruption scandals that swirled over his head, Sharon himself remained largely unscathed, saved in part by his mythical status, and in part by his conversion to the disengagement plan which suddenly gave his many critics on the left a surprising stake in his survival. He was also saved, in a sense, by falling into a coma in January 2006: only this personal catastrophe prevented him from seeing a few weeks later his son and political amanuensis, Omri Sharon, being carted off to jail for corruption charges.

    So if Sharon’s reign was the epitome of success for the activism of both 1948 and 1967, the reign of his successors has been the time of collapse and of reckoning. With Sharon’s departure Israel has been left with a weak cadre of second-rate politicians, who seem even more puny in the shadow of Sharon’s towering figure and tragic exit. The corrupt practices are all there, but no higher motives can be claimed for them, and no protection from public outrage can be afforded to their perpetrators. They are simply as petty and ugly as they look. ”

    link to hnn.us

  18. Antidote
    October 17, 2010, 11:07 am

    going for the big lie, or how to fabricate alternate realities

    excerpts from a Maariv- article by BD Yemini attacking G Levy for ‘demonizing’ Israel in a recent interview with the Independent:
    _____________
    Yemini responded, “This is another legend prevalent in Berkeley [left-wing] circles and maybe in a coffee shop in Sheinkin,” referring to an artsy street in Tel Aviv popular among left-wing leaders. “There is a legend and there are facts: Almost all terror in the world in the last few years developed from systematic murders by Muslim Jihad terrorists.“ Yemini cited research that found that international terror has claimed nearly 20,000 victims in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen Iraq and other countries. Yemini adds, “But Levy not only markets lies, he also creates them.”

    Levy also told the Independent about how IDF soldiers allegedly are “trigger-happy… like having a cigarette. They didn’t shoot just one bullet…. They shoot at the Palestinians like this on a daily basis. They do it every day.”

    Yemini asks, “Every day? The number of Palestinian fatalities in the past year, with the current security situation, approaches zero. Most Palestinians, most of the time, do not see an Israeli soldier. Individual victims, as has been for a long time, are almost exclusively those who try to infiltrate Israel from Gaza… or are killers from the ranks of Hamas, who opposed arrest.”

    link to israelnationalnews.com

    Remember: Democracy means the freedom to choose your favorite version of reality and facts.

  19. Joseph Glatzer
    October 17, 2010, 3:20 pm

    this is excellent work, thanks finkelstein

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