Responding to commenters on recent bannings

Israel/Palestine
on 372 Comments

Following the announcement of our new comments policy, there’s been considerable criticism of Adam Horowitz and me for a lack of transparency in banning decisions. We never explained commenter bannings in the past, but given the celebrity of Richard Witty and Jeffrey Blankfort, both of whom I consider friends, we owe readers an explanation. Adam and I discussed it yesterday, and I apologize that it’s taken this long.

We preserved Witty’s presence here over the years because he was a stand-in for American Zionist opinion and there was value in having his voice. But in the end the moderators agreed that Richard had become a troll, pulling the conversation away from the thread, repeating arguments, causing moderators too much work. 

As for Jeff Blankfort, Jeff has long provided some of the keenest analysis of the Israel lobby and how it works. I’ve relied on him for guidance in this area—just as Occupy AIPAC will feature Jeff as a speaker at the gathering this weekend, a session I look forward to attending. One thing we disagreed on and that became an issue here was the claim of collective American “Jewish responsibility” for support for Israel– when in fact there are many Jews who are not Zionists, including Adam and me and Jeff Blankfort, too. Also Jeff sought to have a discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany here. As we have made clear, this is not a subject we want any part of. It generally leads to anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, which we won’t tolerate on the site, and unquestionably hurts our ability to reach out.

We have big (and transgressive) goals on this site: to change the discourse on Israel and Palestine so as to change the politics of the conflict (and stop a war with Iran). We don’t have the energy for distractions. I continue to rely on Jeff’s thinking about the workings of the lobby. I hope to feature his work here in the future, if and when he’s open to it.

372 Responses

  1. Ethan Heitner
    March 1, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Thanks for these clarifications and honestly for taking tough choices. Mondoweiss readers, remember, nobody is owed a platform and your rights of free speech don’t mean you have the right to be given one. The job of an editor is, in part, to decide what speech to feature in a publication, and what the limits of discourse are to be, and that is perfectly appropriate.

  2. eljay
    March 1, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Thank you for the clarification.

  3. Annie Robbins
    March 1, 2012, 1:51 pm

    We have big (and transgressive) goals on this site: to change the discourse on Israel and Palestine so as to change the politics of the conflict (and stop a war with Iran). We don’t have the energy for distractions.

    thanks for directly addressing the call from friends and readers for an explanation. i completely agree with you about the goals of this site and i respect your decision, it must have been difficult.

    • anonymouscomments
      March 2, 2012, 4:34 pm

      i respect his decision on the rules, and think they all have merit. he clearly can and should make the rules. along the years, his decisions have made the site what it is today- an unparalleled success. and i greatly respect phil.

      but do i respect his decision to allow *selective* and *retrospective* bannings of long-time commenters and contributors? hell no.

      let’s not confuse respect for someone with respecting *all* their decisions.

      why not simply make the new rules, and give the offenders a chance to adapt?

      i talked about 9/11 all the time. i do not anymore, and respect that rule. why am i here but blankfort, a longtime contributor and commenter, was banned for a few nuanced threads?

      this column is “nice” in that concerns were given lip service. it was the least phil could do, literally, were he to do *something*. was anything changed? not a thing…. we got roughly the explanation we could expect, and the issue still stands.

      bring them all back and kick them out if they make one wrong move. or just bring blankfort back and others who simply broke the rules a few times, *before* said rules even existed. anything less i consider a poor decision, and that’s just my honest opinion. else we might be waving goodbye to the great taxi, and others.

  4. tod
    March 1, 2012, 2:01 pm

    While I’m not a regular here I think that banning any opinion, except the ones that are clearly repetitive or of topic, is a minus for any site. Individual comments ban would be a better approach, although it would require more work. Actually I was expecting some better moderation when you extended mondoweiss, but I guess this would not be the case.
    As for banning individual comments, I, for one, would like to know when my comment is not accepted because of its content, and not because some timeout occurred.
    On the issue of anti-semitism, I think it should not be banned, except in the case when it advocates violence or hate, or something more easy to prove. I know this is a predominantly Jewish website, and I know the subject is difficult for you, but this trend of trying to hide some peoples opinion if they are anti-Jewish, just seems like ignoring the elephant in the room. Or not having the arguments against it. And anyway, it’s very easy to substitute Jew with Zionist and say the exact same things.

    • Charon
      March 1, 2012, 2:38 pm

      I see where you’re coming from, Tod. I/P is a sensitive topic though. Well-meaning comments can be taken out of context or misinterpreted. Then they can be used as smears by critics. If somebody says ten things arguing an opinion/point and just one of those things are wrong, critics can use that one thing to dismiss everything and most people have been conditioned to be persuaded by this tactic.

      Censorship is bad, but the line has to be drawn somewhere to prevent a free-for-all. If my comment doesn’t get posted, it would be nice to know if it was a rule violation or time out, but I personally don’t let it get to me. We all have differing opinions, but for the most part are on the same page.

      • tod
        March 1, 2012, 2:55 pm

        True.
        Where you draw the line is where the success or failure manifests. It’s a tin line, but I’d err on the side of free speech, especially given the fact that subjects discussed here are tabu on MSM.

        Regarding comments, some times I say something that may not be written to the best of my abilities, and someone doesn’t understand me and replies pointing out some perceived idiocies. And then my reply doesn’t get posted and I look like an imbecile (exaggerated for effect).
        It’s not my problem, I give you that, but my suggestion was for this site, not for my ego. My ego is fine, with or without the site. :)

  5. seafoid
    March 1, 2012, 2:13 pm

    “when in fact there are many Jews who are not Zionists, including Adam and me and Jeff Blankfort, too”

    What %? 5 ?

    When it all falls apart the US Jewish community will be rent asunder. There are far too few who engage the tikkun olam and far too many who are tribal. It is a very Jewish tragedy.

    Israel would collapse tomorrow if enough people in Eretz America stood up to the hoodlums.

    • tod
      March 1, 2012, 2:57 pm

      That’s exactly the kind of comment that may be banned for antisemitism but should not be! :)
      Holly crap man, are you saying that when people say “zionists”, they sometimes mean “Jews”???

      • Philip Weiss
        March 1, 2012, 9:05 pm

        I dont think Seafoid’s comment is antisemitic. Seafoid is saying only 5 percent of my religious community is not Zionist and therefore the Jewish community may be hurt when it falls asunder. I think this is true, Hannah Arendt warned about it, and part of the reason I plant my flag in Jewish turf is to prove that my community may be as idiotic as others, but there are many Jews who are working against the cultish thinking. (If you are going to go after religious communities for their mistakes, Jews aren’t the only group that will face judgments)

        • teta mother me
          March 1, 2012, 9:42 pm

          “(If you are going to go after religious communities for their mistakes, Jews aren’t the only group that will face judgments)”

          one of the major difficulties of talking about “the Jewish community” is that it resists being pinned down as a “religious” community. Catholicism is a religious community that occasionally expresses itself politically. But Catholics do not have a state.
          Many Jews establish their identity relative to Israel, thereby moving out of the religious realm and into the political realm. The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion, but it does NOT guarantee the rights of persons who claim a separate political identity. I’ve attended many, many meeting at synagogues, J Street, etc. at which the opening and closing sentiment is “We love Israel.” That’s fine. But the United States Bill of Rights does not offer protection for that sentiment, and no American should be under the political requirement to endorse that sentiment.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 1, 2012, 10:00 pm

          But Catholics do not have a state.

          they have the vatican, the smallest independent state in the world.

        • eljay
          March 1, 2012, 10:04 pm

          >> [Catholics] have the vatican, the smallest independent state in the world.

          The Catholic Church has the Vatican.

        • eljay
          March 1, 2012, 10:16 pm

          >> The Catholic Church has the Vatican.

          According to Wiki:
          >> Citizenship of the Vatican City is granted iure officii, which means it is conferred upon some of those who have been appointed to work in certain capacities at the Vatican, and it is usually revoked upon the termination of their employment. … As of 31 December 2005, there were 558 people with Vatican citizenship … Among the 558 were:
          - the Pope;
          - 58 cardinals;
          - 293 members of the clergy who serve as diplomatic envoys abroad;
          - 62 lesser-ranking clergy members who work in the Vatican;
          - 101 officers, NCOs, and men of the Papal Swiss Guard; and
          - 43 lay persons.

        • Bumblebye
          March 1, 2012, 10:29 pm

          With the lowest birthrate!

        • RoHa
          March 1, 2012, 10:45 pm

          But that is not a state for all Catholics. As far as I can tell, only people who work there (and not all of them) can get citizenship, and that citizenship is temporary.

          (Pius XII granted thousands of Jews Vatican citizenship to help them to escape from the Nazis. Some estimate he helped 1.5 m. Jews, even though no-one ever did anything to help the Jews of Europe.)

          But Hostage will undoubtedly have the exact information on this.

        • Kathleen
          March 1, 2012, 10:58 pm

          Annie I sit with my WWII father and his WWII all union buddies in a nursing home. Most of them are Catholics. Sometimes we watch religious stations not for long quite frankly. All of these guys( a group of six) are ages 85-93. When we are watching the Arch bishops, the Pope etc in Rome conducting a mass or ceremony of some sort in their fancy golden robes, miters (fancy hats) and Italian leather shoes I always throw out the same line “those bishops should give that money that they bought those fancy clothes with to the poor” All six older gents look over at me (they’re minds come and go) and giggle. These older folks are so easy to make laugh

        • Annie Robbins
          March 1, 2012, 11:50 pm

          i concede! i was actually making joke of sorts. considering the damage they have done that little itty bitty state can pack a powerful blow…

        • seafoid
          March 2, 2012, 3:44 am

          It’s so interesting. The Zionists class all anti-Zionism as antisemitism.

          Antisemitism is about persecuting Jews because they are Jewish.

          The Lobby and Zionism are not about Judaism itself but about the abuse of power by a group of Jews with power and their support base. The issues are competence and integrity rather than inherent Jewishness.

          Say Israel was a stock company and an analyst from say JP Morgan looked at it and wrote a “sell” report that outlined all of the reasons why the stock was going to tank. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the Jewishness of the management. It wouldn’t be antisemitic to recommend to investors to dump the stock.
          It would relate to management competence.

          And that’s why Israel is in trouble.

        • Don
          March 2, 2012, 12:56 pm

          Well, Kathleen, I am a Catholic, and I can definitely tell you my mind comes and goes quite frequently. It is not always as easy as it looks…that is, being a running lackey dog of the Papacy. But by god, somebody has to do it.

        • teta mother me
          March 2, 2012, 1:24 pm

          and what “damage” is that, Annie?

        • teta mother me
          March 2, 2012, 1:31 pm

          “lot of damage?” “just a joke?”
          This is terribly offensive, Annie. shame on you.
          Last time I looked the Vatican was not threatening to drop nuclear bombs on anyone. The Vatican sent an emissary to the Bush administration to plead with Bush NOT to go to war in Iraq; he was ignored. The Vatican has pleaded with the western nations to stop waging wars — they made a special plea against Western and NATO incursion in Libya.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 2:11 pm

          the ‘joke’ was calling them a state, although i guess technically they are. the ‘damage’ was things like the inquisition which i would call a powerful blow. most recently i would say the cover up of pedophilia and the impact that had on the catholic community. those are just two examples. and i was reading about a priest in the last century just the other day, i forget his name..cause horrific damage…a slavic country. their hands over the centuries have not been pristine. i have no shame is expressing this.

        • eljay
          March 2, 2012, 2:44 pm

          >> i have no shame is expressing this.

          There’s no reason you should. Dropping bombs is not the only way to cause damage. The Vatican / Catholic Church causes plenty with its cover-ups of in-house pedophilia, its promotion of intolerance and its efforts to undermine family planning and public health measures.

        • teta mother me
          March 2, 2012, 2:58 pm

          I try to deal in facts, Annie Robbins; I try to form opinions on facts, and I try — frequently unsuccessfully — to assess them with some measure of rationality.
          I try not to sling mud when the ‘mud’ is based only on a vague recollection of “some priest in the last century” who did something horrific somewhere sometime.

          I have no journalist’s training but I know Phil does. I would think he would prefer a higher standard of support for information purveyed on his site, by a staff member, than “I forget his name” as a defense for slamming a religious institution that, for all its faults, is still important to many millions of people, including me.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 3:02 pm

          ok teta, i will find his name. and i have nothing to defend. only a fool would claim the catholic church has not been involved in atrocity after atrocity throughout the centuries.

          and while you’re waiting

        • seafoid
          March 2, 2012, 4:03 pm

          That’s a lovely post, Kathleen.

        • teta mother me
          March 2, 2012, 5:18 pm

          I’m not waiting, thanks anyway. I’ll not be called a fool by someone who knows little more than what a google search produces that shines a bad light on the Catholic church.
          About 20 years ago I spent 2+ years of my life trying to ‘reform’ the Church as represented on cable television. I worked with dedicated priests who produced programming that I thought was more representative of mainstream Catholicism. The local cable operator told me if I could demonstrate to him that there was a demand for the programming Fr. ___ represented, he would include it in the cable lineup. I organized an interfaith organization in my community and visited almost 500 churches gathering signatures. I spent three days at a Mormon Harvest Fest; Jack Anderson and I shared a podium — he was in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease and kept his hands in his pockets to control his twitching fingers.

          We achieved our goal, but I paid a huge price that I have been paying ever since and that I will pay for the rest of my life.

          Do not DARE to presume to hector me on something you obviously know so little about.

          Good day.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 6:07 pm

          your scaring me with those capitol letters again teta.

          next we’ll find out the crusades were a myth, and the spanish conquest of mexico didn’t happen, no forced conversions there. the church is responsible for many wonderful things too of course, but it’s got a bloody history.

        • Frankie P
          March 2, 2012, 7:09 pm

          @teta mother me,

          Phil Weiss subsequently apologized for his calling the Catholic church “the church of pedophelia”, but that didn’t erase his publicly stated first impression of that institution. I think he should be retrospectively banned from this site!!!

          FPM

        • Frankie P
          March 2, 2012, 7:12 pm

          @Annie Robbins,

          If the church is responsible for wonderful things too, why is the mention of this only a throwaway article on the backpages to you, while the “atrocity after atrocity” occupies every other prominent position in the paper?

          FPM

        • Mooser
          March 4, 2012, 4:53 pm

          “the reason I plant my flag in Jewish turf is to prove that my community may be as idiotic as others, but there are many Jews who are working against the cultish thinking”

          And if the Palestinians disappear in the process, well, it’ll be worth it, won’t it Phil, if you can “redeem” the Jews.
          At any rate, I’m glad you’re taking the time recently to reveal just how “meta” Mondoweiss is.
          Hey, but if you’ve got a bug up your butt which makes you want to stand on a soapbox and shout “Over here! Look at us! We’re better, than those other Jews! We’re not idiotic cultists, no sir! We’re nice, just like Thoreau”, I’m the last guy to stand in your way.

        • Hostage
          March 4, 2012, 6:17 pm

          I think this is true, Hannah Arendt warned about it, and part of the reason I plant my flag in Jewish turf is to prove that my community may be as idiotic as others, but there are many Jews who are working against the cultish thinking. (If you are going to go after religious communities for their mistakes, Jews aren’t the only group that will face judgments)

          The Jewish community had three primary reactions to the Christian Enlightenment in Europe. They were “The Haskalah”, or Jewish Enlightenment (represented by individuals like Arendt), the rise of Religious Orthodoxy, and the rise Zionist Nationalism.

          It’s sort of ironic that you mention Hannah Arendt in connection with banning commentators or going after religious communities. She went after Zionist Nazi collaborators and the racialists in both the Zionist Nationalist and Orthodox Jewish Religious movements. Those two groups still present an almost insurmountable problem to achieving peace in Palestine under either a one state or two state solution. The desire of religious Jews to restore their sovereignty over the entire land, the Temple Mount, and all of the inhabitants is an inseparable part of the our modern-day problems.

          As a result of her criticisms, Arendt was vilified and banned in Israel. Her books ridiculed the similarities between sacrosanct rabbinical laws and Hitler’s Nuremberg laws (Eichmann in Jerusalem); and she claimed that Judaism had become a closed system of thought that was hostile to Gentiles and a direct antecedent to the rise of Antisemitism in middle of the 19th Century (Preface of later versions of “The Origins of Totalitarianism”). I’ve commented about her views on those subjects in the past:
          *http://mondoweiss.net/2011/08/reut-institute-the-boycott-law-helps-israels-critics-and-alienates-american-jews.html#comment-345852
          *http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/hasbara-pennbds-wrap-up-pro-israel-students-are-ignorant.html/comment-page-1#comment-424700
          *http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/hasbara-pennbds-wrap-up-pro-israel-students-are-ignorant.html/comment-page-1#comment-424817

          Objectionable Jewish religious beliefs and practices are not a genetic disorder that gets passed-on automagically to the next generation – despite a lot of shreying about the supposed Hardei demographic threat. I think that we still have a duty to go after the religious culture of violence or hatred against Gentiles, women, children, and even other Jews. You can’t ignore the role played by the religious right, here in the US or Israel. They are actively prolonging the I/P conflict and “Strangling the soul” of our societies e.g.:
          *’Israelis should stand up to haredim’ link to ynetnews.com
          *’MK Eichler: Reform Jews anti-Semites’ (“He must have not yet decided who he hates more – Arabs, Reform Jews or women.”) link to ynetnews.com

          I’ve commented on the struggle over the history and other textbooks employed by the Education Ministry in the State of Israel. There are many explicit distinctions between Jews and Gentiles in the Torah and Talmud. Those distinctions are employed by the religious parties to justify the political oppression of others living in the State of Israel and the Occupied territories.

          Archeology has confirmed the biblical accounts that Gentiles, who entered the Jerusalem Temple, were subject to summary execution. That’s a fundamental characteristic of authentic ceremonial Judaism that many Zionists today implicitly yearn to restore. Here’s a picture of one of the markers that were placed in the outer court of the Temple platform during the 2nd Commonwealth era warning all Gentiles not to enter the area on penalty of death. link to orion.it.luc.edu

          Palestinians are already being killed in clashes with the Jewish forces that police the supposed location of the Temple Mount. That situation is only going to deteriorate if Moshe Feiglin, Ateret Cohanim, et al establish a 3rd Sanctuary there in line with the precept of restoring authentic Judaism. That situation is an integral part of the conflict which has nothing to do with capitalism or colonialism – and it transcends either the one state or two state solution. link to jewishisrael.org

          Unfortunately, the modern-day non-Orthodox sects of Judaism, which initially rejected the divine origin of those segregationist beliefs and practices, have abandoned their principled enlightenment era objections to nationhood and have endorsed de facto separatism as part of a pragmatic Zionist-Nationalist program for restoring a Jewish nation or governing a Jewish State of Israel. The major Jewish organizations routinely cite antisemitism and the Holocaust to justify the necessity for a restored, segregated Jewish state or justify it on ancient religious grounds.

          Many Jews deliberately avoid honest discussions about the racist elements inherent in the various streams of Judaism by shreying about Holocaust denial and antisemitism. At the same time leading Torah Sages in Israel routinely claim that the nations hate Israel because of “our inheritance”, while conveniently ignoring the fact that inheritance consists in large measure of an ancient racial code that purports to govern nearly every aspect of a Gentile inhabitant’s life within the expansively defined boundaries of Eretz Israel on a non-democratic basis. That same code engenders separation from Gentiles in other lands. Some of the most influential Jewish Sages and/or State rabbinate authorities plainly teach that Gentiles only exist to serve the Jews, e.g. link to jpost.com

          No amount of Jewish racial provocation could ever justify the crime of genocide or the Holocaust, because two wrongs don’t make a right. That’s also why neither “necessity” nor “yearning for Zion” can’t be employed by Jewish Nationalists or Jewish religious authorities to excuse the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people. The backlash that Arendt warned about was based upon both Zionism and the closed system of thought employed by practitioners of Judaism.

        • stevieb
          March 4, 2012, 7:24 pm

          Bit unfair really, and totally irrelvant to what’s going on today, imo.

          The Catholic Church is actually one of very few major institutions that has any integrity left at this point in American history – even with the quite persistant negative media attacks that have been going on for decades. I’ve got alot of time for the Catholic Church and I think it’s going to have an even bigger role in America in the future

        • Keith
          March 4, 2012, 8:30 pm

          HOSTAGE- Your comment provides support for Israel Shahak’s interpretation of events in “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years.”

        • Chaos4700
          March 4, 2012, 9:22 pm

          I’m glad you’re still with us, Hostage. And you know what my take-away from the historical reference you’ve kindly taken the time to provide us is? Arendt would probably have been banned here right alongside Blankfort. Thanks, Phil and Adam!

        • Cliff
          March 4, 2012, 9:33 pm

          Welcome back Hostage. I missed your commentary here (as did others like Annie).

        • RoHa
          March 4, 2012, 9:41 pm

          ‘At the same time leading Torah Sages in Israel routinely claim that the nations hate Israel because of “our inheritance”, while conveniently ignoring the fact that inheritance consists in large measure of an ancient racial code…”

          Like this bit of inheritance?

          link to failedmessiah.typepad.com

          But hey, you don’t have to be a Gentile …

          link to failedmessiah.typepad.com

        • Hostage
          March 4, 2012, 9:49 pm

          HOSTAGE- Your comment provides support for Israel Shahak’s interpretation of events in “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years.”

          No, that would be an echo chamber, since my opinions have been informed by the facts and thoughts presented in the works of Jewish intellectuals like Hannah Arendt, Israel Shahak, Yoram Dinstein, and a host of other writers.

          Arendt certainly thought that Judaism and dislike of Gentiles was an antecedent of 19th Century Antisemitism – and she outlined that thesis as a preliminary to a discussion about the origins of totalitarianism (typified by Nazism and Stalinism). I respect the fact that Phil and Adam want to steer clear of the nut cases who want to blame the victims of the Holocaust, but see no harm in pointing readers to the works of Arendt and Shahak.

          The Palestinians are obviously facing both political and religious persecution. The Jewish Haskalah is reflected in Israeli Academia, but it has always been poorly represented in the governing coalitions of Israel, thanks in large measure to opposition from the left and right wing Zionist-Nationalists and the Religious Orthodox parties operating under the auspices of their Status Quo Agreement. In “Eichmann in Jerusalem”, Arendt noted that the secular majority was in agreement with either the Zionist or Religious camps regarding the desirability of imposing discriminatory rabbinical laws.

          For example, the “Israel Yearbook on Human Rights”, edited by Dinstein, noted that the so-called “Womens Equal Rights Law” of 1951 specifically excluded marriage, divorce, and other personal status laws from its guarantees of “equality” on religious grounds. He noted that the exclusion of equality for women in the Framework Law laid the ground rules for the subsequent subordination of legal equality to religious values in the entire Israeli legal system. Every subsequent attempt to adopt a real bill of rights has foundered on the requirement to pay deference to Jewish religious institutions and parties over the principle of human rights and equality. See the “Israel Yearbook on Human Rights, Volume 25; Volume 1995”, pages 210-212.

          Anti-Zionism alone can’t address the Jewish rejection of Enlightenment era values. The rise of Jewish Religious Orthodoxy plays an integral role in the new Fascism on display in Israel and the longing for the “Good Old Days” of the ethnocentric 2nd Jewish Commonwealth.

        • Dan Kelly
          March 4, 2012, 10:10 pm

          A little bit of Catholic stuff…

          I was brought up Catholic but stopped identifying as such once I started reading and listening to Alan Watts lectures in my late teens and early twenties. Watts introduced me to other worldviews, particularly those of the far east, and I’m forever grateful for having discovered both his writings and recordings. And although I’ll never identify as a part of an organized religion again, I have sort of come full circle of late in that I’ve been reading much about the Catholic Workers Movement, which is more akin to a peace and anarchist group than anything one might associate with the formal Catholic Church. These folks are doing great work “on the ground” and at the grassroots level. And they are actively engaged – working with the poor, living among them, working for peace, etc.

          link to catholicworkerjournal.com

          And now for something completely different. Jim Gaffigan on Catholicism, the Pope, Jesus, etc. Funny!

          In youth I sought the prince of men,
          Captain in cosmic wars…

          But now a great thing in the street
          Seems any human nod,
          Where shift in strange democracy
          The million masks of God.

          GK Chesterton. Amen.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 5, 2012, 12:47 am

          so missed you hostage…

        • Duscany
          March 5, 2012, 1:22 am

          What us the Catholic church doing today that you find so reprehensible? Yes, we know they oppose abortion but so do many non-Catholics. That doesn’t make them evil though.

          It seems to me (a non-believer) that a lot of what the church stands for today is quite commendable (though I personally disagree with their views on contraception, as do, I think, most Catholics).

        • Walid
          March 5, 2012, 2:51 am

          “What us the Catholic church doing today that you find so reprehensible?”

          Duscany, for one thing, it’s still rotating exposed delinquent priests and bishops to other unsuspecting and unwarned parishes and dioceses. But on the other hand, clerics of other faiths like Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Protestant , Jews and so on aren’t any less represensible for what they too are doing to the people. Maybe the Catholic Church gets all this attention because it’s the biggest. But along with the bad, there’s the good that was done and compared to other faiths or weighing its good deeds against its bad ones, we’d probably find the Catholic Church at the top of the list.

          On something else way off-topic, for a blog that’s about the Middle East, this “banning” thread is the only one of the current 20 where non-Israel stuff is being discussed; it’s also the one with the most comments.

        • Hostage
          March 5, 2012, 5:28 pm

          Like this bit of inheritance?

          Yes. Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the perpetrator of the massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs, was a direct descendant of the Baal HaTanya, Shneur Zalman of Liadi. So it appears that the hostile attitude toward non-Jews found in the Tanya was definitely part of Goldstein’s “inheritance”. The failedmessiah website is a testament to the fact that, in many ways, modern Jewish orthodox thinking can be viewed as a conscious rejection of Enlightenment era values.

        • Hostage
          March 6, 2012, 5:18 pm

          Arendt would probably have been banned here right alongside Blankfort. Thanks, Phil and Adam!

          That may be true, but Hannah Ardent was vilified and banned by the very audience that Phil and Adam are trying to engage. The finer points and nuances of Arendt’s dissertations are completely lost on the knuckle-walking bigots on both sides of the debate. So there’s merit to the idea of avoiding long polarizing debates about that period of history and simply letting readers investigate her works in order to draw their own conclusions.

    • yourstruly
      March 1, 2012, 3:41 pm

      isn’t standing up to the israel firsters what mw is all about? and if there are so few jews in eretz america standing up to the hoodlums, why are dershowitz and the rest of the israel lobby going beserk over such an inconsequential number of israel critics? doesn’t this tell us something – like we’re not as inconsequential as we’ve been made to believe? thirty years ago, upon returning from having witnessed the u.s.-backed war upon lebanon and speaking publicly about it, there was almost no response from pro-israel sources. seemed they couldn’t care less what a lone critic or two had to say about that war, or perhaps they felt it was best not to get riled up over those critics for fear that the public would wonder what’s up & start looking into the i/p conflict. how different the lobby is reacting today. why? because they know that the public is beginning to turn, that’s why.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 2, 2012, 12:04 am

        if there are so few jews in eretz america standing up to the hoodlums, why are dershowitz and the rest of the israel lobby going beserk over such an inconsequential number of israel critics? doesn’t this tell us something – like we’re not as inconsequential as we’ve been made to believe?

        imho the whole narrative of collective American “Jewish responsibility” for support for Israel is tweeked big time. i don’t like being a broken record but we have to face the music, israel is an american problem. if we are going to turn things around we have to take responsibility as a country. who is it that goes on year after year accommodating politicians who bend over backwards. they couldn’t if we didn’t turn away and vote for them anyway. jews are two percent, we’re way bigger than that. blaming the jews, or expecting the jews to fix this on their own is just a fools errand. they are more susceptible to loads of brainwashing and arm twisting. we have to have eachothers backs and take the frontal assault on this lobby, united. we can’t think of ourselves as separate units. we can’t.

        as non zionists we have to collectively visualize our power and move as a unit.

        because they know that the public is beginning to turn, that’s why.

        right, we the public. don’t let they pick us off by picking off and harassing and targeting our jewish compadres. no fair, too much burden placed on jewish non zionists. think big. big and unified. that is how we will fight antisemitism too, together.

        if (or when) the tides turn and there is resentment we have to keep it political and not let it turn into an ethnic division. because ultimately it is not ethnic (zionist support). the power of the christian zionists here is much stronger politically. they are driving this ethnic cleansing too. lots of islamophobes in the christian zionist movement. so we have to protect ourselves from dividing into ethnicities. that is what they want us to do. we are not an ethnic nationalists country so we can’t act like one. our protection is our unity. and we are growing, they are not.

        • Thomson Rutherford
          March 2, 2012, 1:30 pm

          … the power of the christian zionists here is much stronger politically ….

          Annie, thanks for your words of wisdom about unity of purpose but the above statement is simply untrue. One often sees it here at MW and I have to laugh each time I see it. If you have any evidence to support the idea, you might want to bring it out.

          Watch the AIPAC convention coming up. Watch the ubiquitous panel discussions and conferences held by influential neocon/Ziocon think tanks. Count the number of Christian Zionists. You may see one – Michael Gerson, whose family used to be Jewish.

          Once in a while you may see some event that includes the notorious Pastor John Hagee, whose mega-church in San Antonio is a little distance across-state from my home. I grew up and have lived among the Evangelicals/Pentecostals of whom you speak (was born one) and I know them well. Some of them are mildly ‘Zionist’ for peculiar religious reasons (most aren’t). But with rare exceptions they don’t vote in elections on the basis of ‘Zionist’ positions. Not only is Israel not their single issue, it doesn’t even make their list of top ten issues. Leave out a few nutcases like Hagee (whom I can watch on TV) and you must recognize that what transpires in American churches and synagogues wrt Israel are vastly different matters – there’s no basis, really, for comparison.

          Political Zionist lobbying power in the U.S. comes from dozens of Jewish organizations led by AIPAC, CPMJAO, and JCPA. There are no comparable Christian ‘Zionist’ lobbying organizations directly influencing the foreign policy of our government. If you know much about Democratic Party organization, you know that the bulk of Party campaign contributions comes from these Jewish organizations and their individual members (a trend accelerated by the decline of labor unions).

          Christian ‘Zionists’ don’t turn national elections in America on the basis of their preferences regarding Israel. A good example of this is Rep. Ron Paul, who was my congressman until a recent redistricting. Paul, with his usual unflinching consistency, has for decades opposed, with fiery speeches on the floor of the House, all military aid and support for Israel. His district in Texas is chock full of Christian fundamentalists, some of whom have ‘Zionist’ preferences toward Israel. There are in addition large amounts of Jewish Zionist political funds available in Houston, part of which lies in his district. The Zionists and pseudo-’Zionists’ have never been able to mount an effective opposition to Paul’s longevity in the House. He has always been highly popular among the real and nominal Christians in spite of, or because of, his functional anti-Zionism. I know that, nationwide, polls show that around half of Americans express approval for continuing support for Israel. But that has little to do with who gets elected to Congress and how they vote once in office.

          Sorry, Annie, Zionism is a political movement based on Jewish ethnic nationalism, not Christian religious fundamentalism. It is one highly significant aspect of modern Jewish identity that drives large portions of American foreign policy. You can’t dance around that. When I see people try it, it splits my stitches.

        • Exiled At Home
          March 2, 2012, 2:19 pm

          Eh, Thomas….

          Christian dispensationalist theology is the root of Christian Zionism, and it is alive and well throughout politically influential Protestant denominations.

          See the work of Richard Allan Greene:

          link to news.bbc.co.uk

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 6:38 pm

          hi thomson, i think you misunderstood me.

          because ultimately it is not ethnic (zionist support). the power of the christian zionists here is much stronger politically. they are driving this ethnic cleansing too.

          i meant the support for the zionists lobby (zionist support) is not primarily ethnic (jews). iow, if you stripped away all the romneys and gingrichs and christian zionists and sarah palins and nancy pelosis for that matter..they (all their supporters, including the people who take their money and do their bidding) they couldn’t do what they do. i believe that. it is thru the christian zionists they dominate the gop which drives the whole dem party to the right. and it is thru the black churches and thru multiple groups and reach outs. if that didn’t matter, that support….why would they bother interacting? why would adelson give gingrich 5 million dollars if he didn’t think it bought support? if no one supported them, do you think they could control the discourse? all on their own? do you? the other 98% of us? because that is what jerry slater thinks too.

          he thinks it’s all up to the jews and the rest of us don’t matter. (those were not his exact words) i think we do. i think we need to do more than just influence the jewish community. that’s why i think our target audience for changing the discourse on israel should be the other 98%.

          do you think if all the christian zionists became anti zionists tomorrow it wouldn’t make a huge difference in our foreign policy? of course it would.

        • Thomson Rutherford
          March 2, 2012, 10:21 pm

          Christian dispensationalist theology is the root of Christian Zionism ….

          Eh, Exiled? For expertise on Christian Protestant fundamentalist beliefs and political activities, you send me to a news article by a British Jewish reporter? Please! By direct training, personal experience, and knowledge of the subject and people involved, I know more about the matter than your source ever will. I don’t want to put a lot of details about my past life on this blog. Re-read my comment above and see my reply to Annie, pending below.

        • Thomson Rutherford
          March 3, 2012, 7:42 am

          “hi thomson, i think you misunderstood me…. i meant the support for the zionists lobby (zionist support) is not primarily ethnic (jews).

          No, you were pretty clear. And you are wrong in your understanding of the American political scene as pertaining to Zionism and the Israel Lobby.

          First, be assured that I’m all in favor of persuading ‘the other 98%’ to become anti-Zionists. See my comment below, addressed to teta mother me. And don’t associate me with Jerome Slater. You should know better! Also, be advised that the term Christian ‘Zionist’ is an oxymoron; if you want to be accurate (and most people don’t) you should say ‘Christian ‘millennialist’ or ‘Christian ‘dispensationalist.’ (These benighted souls are far less numerous than you imagine, as their beliefs are a nineteenth-century contortion of usual Christian doctrine, either Protestant or Catholic.) If you mean Christians who, for one reason or another, appear to support Israel, you should simply say something like “Christian supporters of Israel” or “Christian supporters of Zionism.”

          I really hate to spend time on this again; in recent years I’ve been over it ad nauseum with the likes of patm, Donald, and Citizen. But the mystical powers of the Christian ‘Zionists’ are a favorite fig leaf employed by Apologists for the Israel Lobby, and even by Jewish anti-Zionists who want to shield Jews in general from association with the Israel Lobby. If you were just an ordinary commenter here at MW, I would ignore your error, but as a prolific representative of the management you are bound (inadvertently) to keep promulgating the same hasbara.

          Let’s start with the most complete and scholarly study ever performed on the Israel Lobby and political Zionism in America: Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby (2007). I refer particularly to Chap. 4, “What is the ‘Israel Lobby?’” pp. 111-150. Here are excerpts:

          The Role of American Jewry: The bulk of the lobby is composed of Jewish Americans who are deeply committed to making sure that U.S. foreign policy advances what they believe to be Israel’s interests. According to the historian Melvin I. Urofsky, “No other ethnic group in American history has so extensive an involvement with a foreign nation.” Stephen T. Rosenthal agrees, writing that “since 1967 … there has been no other country whose citizens have been as committed to the success of another country as American Jews have been to Israel.” In 1981, the political scientist Robert H. Trice described the pro-Israel lobby as “comprised of at least 75 separate organizations – mostly Jewish – that actively support most of the actions and policy positions of the Israeli government.” The activities of these individuals and groups go beyond merely voting for pro-Israel candidates to include writing letters to politicians and news organizations, making financial contributions to pro-Israel political candidates, and giving active support to one or more pro-Israel organizations, whose leaders often contact them directly to convey their agenda.

          Finally, some of the individuals and groups that are especially vocal on Israel’s behalf, such as the Christian Zionists, are not Jewish. So while American Jews are the lobby’s predominant constituency, it is more accurate to refer to this loose coalition as the Israel lobby. It is the specific political agenda that defines the lobby, not the religious or ethnic identity of those pushing it. [p. 115]

          American Jews have formed an impressive array of civic organizations whose agendas include working to benefit Israel, in many cases by influencing U.S. foreign policy. Key organizations include AIPAC, the American Jewish Congress, ZOA, the Israel Policy Forum, the ADL, …, Hadassah, and many others. Indeed, the sociologist
          Chaim I. Waxman reported in 1992 that the “American Jewish Yearbook” listed more than than 80 national Jewish organizations “specifically devoted to Zionist and pro-Israel activities …” Fifty-one of the largest and most important organizations come together in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations ….

          The lobby also includes think tanks such as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Middle East Forum (MEF), and WINEP, as well as individuals who work in universities and other research organizations. There are also dozens of pro-Israel PACs ready to funnel money to pro-Israel political candidates or to candidates whose opponents are deemed either insufficiently supportive of or hostile to Israel. The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks campaign contributions, has identified roughly three dozen such “pro-Israel” PACs (many of them “stealth PACs” whose names do not reveal a pro-Israel orientation) and reports that these organizations contributed approximately $3 million to congressional candidates in the 2006 midterm election.

          Of the various Jewish organizations that include foreign policy as a central part of their agenda, AIPAC is clearly the most important and best known. In 1997, when Fortune Magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the most powerful lobbies in Washington, AIPAC came in second behind AARP but ahead of heavyweight lobbies like the AFL-CIO and the NRA [and the National Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, Pharma, etc.]…. Lee Hamilton, who served in Congress for 34 years, said in 1991, “There’s no lobby group that matches it…. They’re in a class by themselves.” [pp. 116-17]

          According to J.J. Goldberg, the editor of the Jewish newspaper “Forward,” Zionist influence “increased exponentially during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, because the affluence and influence of Jews in America had increased….”

          The lobby’s size, wealth, and influence grew substantially after the Six-Day War in June 1967. According to [Stuart] Eizenstat, that conflict “galvanized the American Jewish public like no event since Israel’s War of Independence…. Albert Chernin, the executive director of [the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, JCPA] expressed this perspective in 1978 when he said that our “first priority is Israel, of course, reflecting the complete identity of the American Jewish leadership with the concerns of the rank and file.” The historian Jack Wertheimer terms this comment a “stunning admission that political efforts to shore up Israel superseded all other concerns of Jewish community relations organizations in the United States.” … According to Wertheimer, the overall responsibility for lobbying for Israel was assumed by the Conference of Presidents and AIPAC ….” … Flush with cash and well positioned in the Cold War political landscape, AIPAC found its political muscle enhanced by new federal rules on campaign financing which triggered the creation of independent PACs and made it easier to channel money toward pro-Israel candidates. AIPAC … by the 1980s, notes Warren Bass, was a “Washington powerhouse.” [pp. 118-20]

          The Role of the Neoconservatives: Very importantly, neoconservatives believe that military force is an extremely useful tool for shaping the world in ways that will benefit America…. Neoconservatism, in short, is a very hawkish political philosophy…. Virtually all neoconservatisms are strongly committed to Israel, a point they emphasize openly and unapologetically…. According to Max Boot, a leading neoconservative pundit, supporting Israel is “a key tenet of neoconservatism” ….

          Many neoconservatives are connected to an overlapping set of Washington-based think tanks, committees, and publications whose agenda includes promoting the special relationship between the United States and Israel [i.e., the Israel Lobby - a long list of Jewish lobby organizations is given]…. For example, Russell Kirk, the well-known conservative political theorist, maintained that “what really animates the neoconservatives is the preservation of Israel. That lies in back of everything.” …

          A number of commentators have emphasized the Jewish roots of neoconservatism …. In The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy, Murray Friedman goes so far as to describe neoconservatism as “American Jewish conservatism.” But not all neoconservatives are Jewish …. [pp. 128-32]

          The Christian Zionists: The lobby includes another important group of gentiles – the Christian Zionists, a subset of the broader politically oriented Christian Right. Prominent members of this constituency include religious figures such as …. Although support for Israel is not their only concern, a number of Christian evangelicals [and Pentecostals] have become increasingly visible and vocal in their support for the Jewish state, and they have recently formed an array of organizations to advance that commitment within the political system. In a sense, the Christian Zionists can be thought of as an important “junior partner” to the various pro-Israel groups in the American Jewish community…. Christian Zionists have formed a number of organizations whose avowed purpose is to encourage support for Israel. [Short list follows.][pp. 132-34]

          How important is the Christian Zionist branch of the Israel lobby? By providing financial support to the settler movement and by publicly inveighing against territorial concessions, the Christian Zionists have reinforced hard-line attitudes in Israel and the United States and have made it more difficult for American leaders to put pressure on Israel…. The presence of a vocal but non-Jewish voice in support of Israel also makes U.S. backing more than just a response to special pleading by American Jewry and probably exerts some effect on the political calculations of politicians who do not have large Jewish constituencies….

          Yet the influence of the Christian Zionists should not be overstated…. There are several reasons why Christian Zionists exert less impact on U.S. Middle East policy than the other parts of the Israel lobby do. … the alliance goes well beyond the issue of Israel to include a broad array of social issues. Supporting Israel is only one of the many issues that evangelicals like Robertson and Falwell have been concerned with, and it may not even be the most important…. the number of followers who care deeply about Israel is undoubtedly smaller. In addition, and in sharp contrast to groups like AIPAC, Christian Zionists lack the organizational capacity to analyze national security topics or to offer specific legislative guidance on concrete foreign policy issues. Surveys of congressional aides by Ruth Mouly in the 1980s and Irvine Anderson in 1999 found “little evidence of direct lobbying of Congress by … members of the Religious Right on the subject of Israel.” Similarly, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein … told the Israeli writer Zev Chafets that a delegation of evangelicals he had taken to visit then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in 2003 “was the only Christian group ever to lobby the White House specifically on behalf of Israel.” … it is clear that Israel is only one of the items on the evangelicals’ list of concerns. By contrast, groups like AIPAC, ADL, ZOA, and the Conference of the Presidents put U.S. support for Israel at the top of their agenda, and their efforts to influence foreign policy are reinforced by think tanks like JINSA and WINEP.

          Furthermore, Christianity contains a complex set of moral and religious teachings, and many of its most important precepts neither justify nor encourage support for Israel.

          Christian Zionists also lack the financial power of the major pro-Israel Jewish groups, and they do not have the same media presence when it comes to Middle East issues…. For all these reasons, the Christian Zionists are best seen as a significant adjunct to the Jewish elements of the lobby, but not its most important part. [pp. 138-39]

          [my emphasis added]

          There you have it, Annie. I have done my own informal study of the Israel Lobby over the years, and if you would like more information let me know. But I hope this will lay to rest for now those ridiculous claims that the Christian ‘Zionist’ portion is more significant than, or as significant as, the Jewish elements of the Israel Lobby.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 3, 2012, 11:00 am

          “hi thomson, i think you misunderstood me…. i meant the support for the zionists lobby (zionist support) is not primarily ethnic (jews).

          No, you were pretty clear. And you are wrong

          hi thomson, you can hypothesize all you want about what i said, but i know what i meant. your first critique of my comment, intentionally or not, cherry picked a segment out of one sentence. and even before i made the statement you chose i had already written:

          who is it that goes on year after year accommodating politicians who bend over backwards. they couldn’t if we didn’t turn away and vote for them anyway. jews are two percent, we’re way bigger than that.

          plus, the original comment, again, put parenthesis around the words ‘zionist support’, iow, i was reiterating in the parethesis. so, i was very much talking about those who support the zionist project, in all it’s forms..including politicians.

          Christian Zionists are best seen as a significant adjunct to the Jewish elements of the lobby, but not its most important part

          i am not talking about the lobby, i am talking about support for the lobby. i still think you are not hearing me. in my original comment the point i was making when i said “we have to take responsibility as a country” was to take responsibility for supporting zionism and supporting israel, which we have done, as a whole (thru our foreign policy). just like we all pay our tax dollars to israel, all of us. so again, i will repeat, from the original comment: (i am adding bold but no text)

          if (or when) the tides turn and there is resentment we have to keep it political and not let it turn into an ethnic division. because ultimately it is not ethnic (zionist support). the power of the christian zionists here is much stronger politically. they are driving this ethnic cleansing too. lots of islamophobes in the christian zionist movement. so we have to protect ourselves from dividing into ethnicities. that is what they want us to do. we are not an ethnic nationalists country so we can’t act like one. our protection is our unity. and we are growing, they are not.

          again, if the christian zionist movement turned against israel, or if (god forbid)there was a backlash against the jewish community as a whole in this country, you, perhaps, could see the kind of power i am talking about. between 30-35% of the population, or about 90-100 million Americans.

          collectively, mobilized, that’s power. now you can argue your point til the cows come home, but that is what i meant then, and that is what i mean now. you can argue i am wrong about the power of that support, but you cannot convince me i am wrong about what i meant to communicate, because only i know what i was thinking.

          ps, my first comment i wrote i didn’t want to sound like a broken record, that is because i have made this argument here more than once before.

        • American
          March 3, 2012, 12:50 pm

          I agree Thomson. The Christian influence is so miniscule as to be non existant as a real political and donor force for Israel. What are called Christian zionist are a very small fringe of the Christian and the Evangelical community. The bulk of the extreme Christian’s issues are things like abortion, stem cell use and gay marriage. That’s what they base their voting on. And even within the very religious bible believers questioning their national loyalty will cause them to react badly.
          Several years ago I read a series in the WP done by a reporter who attended one of the big Christian conferences in DC featuring some of the mega TV church leaders. One of the leaders, Kaye or something Kaye, can’t remember her exact name, made a speech and in it said that she/they must put their loyalty to Israel ( because of their religious beliefs, the bible, etc.) ahead of loyalty the US. The reporter described the disapproving “gasps’ and buzz that went thru the audience when she said that. It was not well received.
          I have tried to find this WP report, having since lost it in a crash, and haven’t been able to but it was very revealing. If anyone knows of the WP series on this or has it saved I would appeciate a link.
          In my area, the South, where religion is a big part of society, would get you in trouble and a shocked response from Evangelicals if you suggested any kind of “loyalty” to any country but their own was part of their religious agenda or beliefs.
          For the actual Christian zios this is why they find a way around the loyalty question by incorporating the meme that America and Israel are the same or America’s welfare depend on Israel’s survival or God will bless those who bless Israel and the Jews and so forth. If the Christian zios didn’t tie US and Israel welfare together and advocated straight out higher loyalty to Israel they be would even more fringe than they are.

        • Thomson Rutherford
          March 3, 2012, 7:00 pm

          hi thomson, you can hypothesize all you want about what i said, but i know what i meant.

          Annie, dear, I was sore about feeling obliged to plod into this ‘Christian Zionist’ bog once again. There was a lot of thought behind your comments, I know. When I have a little more time I shall study them more fully. It’s clear that you and I come at the subject and context from different perspectives, but perhaps (?) we don’t disagree all that much about the facts. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that we would share the same objectives wrt disposal of American Zionism. Anyhow, I have to go out of town for a few days. As soon as I can I shall attempt some sort of reconciliation of views and place it here at this spot. Carry on!

        • Annie Robbins
          March 3, 2012, 11:42 pm

          thanks for having an open mind thomson, while you are away for a few days think about this:

          i think our target audience for changing the discourse on israel should be the other 98%.

          that is really my goal. wrt me being, as you said earlier, “ a prolific representative of the management“, for the most part (at least 99.9% of the time anyway) when i comment it is my own opinion. i don’t know if phil or adam agree with this as i have never discussed it with either of them. it just irks me there’s so much focus on the jewish community because i think we have a huge public out there ripe for the plucking who is not beholden to an upbringing of (the same level of zionist) brainwashing and is more susceptible to our message. for me personally, they are my target. the masses, not the elite, and not the jewish community. i’m not jewish so it is a waste of my time trying to change them. we need to quit fixating on just changing jews and get the others on board, pronto. imho. the christian zionists are just one of my targets, there is also the african american community, the hispanic community, the asian community and just the regular hines 57 variety like myself..we’re a big country, a big non ethnic nationalist, country. we need to grab the bull by the horns and turn this thing around. like i said earlier:

          we have to face the music, israel is an american problem. if we are going to turn things around we have to take responsibility as a country. ……expecting the jews to fix this on their own is just a fools errand. ….we have to have eachothers backs and take the frontal assault on this lobby, united

          ;) in solidarity

        • chauncey
          March 4, 2012, 12:34 am

          Thomson, your comments, while imho not necessarily much at odds with Annie’s views… very relevant and instructive nonetheless. I just read The Israel Lobby, everyone should. Thanks for the exerpts.

        • yourstruly
          March 4, 2012, 12:36 am

          i agree, annie. our aim has to be to reach out to as many americans as possible, educating the public to the realities of the mideast conflict, to the hold that israel firsters have on our government and to the national security risk of our government’s unconditional support for the zionist entity. my advice to the mw community is to always have the general public in mind when either posting or commenting here.

        • Taxi
          March 4, 2012, 1:28 am

          Forget it people! Most American jews are un-convertable. Waiting for the collective American jewery to bring justice to the holy land is like waiting for Godot.

          If anything, it’s in the hands of slumbering American goy to push for policy change – and that ain’t exactly a promising endeavor either.

          Yes you can educate the public, make ‘em aware etc, but I fear that even American ‘awareness’ will not change a frigging thing with regards to facts-on-the-ground in occupied Palestine.

          Only a god-made or man-made cataclysmic event can cleave asunder the Gordian Knot that is the zionist hold on our foreign policy.

          And I’m using the phrase ‘god-made’ here with fistful of irony.

        • seafoid
          March 4, 2012, 4:12 pm

          Are the CZ not the footsoldiers and the JZs the Brahmins of the whole Zionist project in the US ? the CZs are the ones Fox programs to. why else would it be rabidly pro Israel? Who else votes pro Israel? There aren’t enough Jews to make it worth the Republicans’ time in terms of votes .

        • Mooser
          March 4, 2012, 5:06 pm

          “Waiting for the collective American jewery to bring justice to the holy land is like waiting for Godot.”

          Don’t lose heart, Taxi! Remember, always remember, Jews are just like other people! If they were capable of uniting, and establishing on their own, a geographic state and even an empire of influence radiating from it, they would have done it. But wow, they screwed it up, good and proper, culminating in the mess after the second World War. And at that point, they just gave up, and put Judaism’s affairs in the hands of basically, political gangsters.
          Take a look at Judaism track record in establishing states or polities, unity among Jews, and relations with non-Jews. It’s not encouraging.

  6. seafoid
    March 1, 2012, 2:15 pm

    Getting rid of Witty is a real step forward.

    • RoHa
      March 1, 2012, 6:21 pm

      I’ll miss eljay’s parodies of him, but otherwise he was just a nuisance.

    • Kathleen
      March 1, 2012, 10:59 pm

      I kind of liked him. He could be reasonable at times..when he was willing to give up the bad ass act

    • Chaos4700
      March 2, 2012, 12:06 am

      Witty was a cruel parody of genuine intellectualism. Talking about Blankfort as if he is the same sort of “threat” as Witty is pure high octane male bovine “product.”

    • Duscany
      March 2, 2012, 2:23 am

      Actually the thing about Witty that always appalled me most was his tin ear for prose. He wrote some of the most awkward, clunky, soul-flattening sentences I ever read. He had a habit of using transitive verbs without any object. I finally concluded that it’s really hard to write well or clearly when your primary goal is to defend the indefensible.

      • Mooser
        March 2, 2012, 3:14 pm

        “He wrote some of the most awkward, clunky, soul-flattening sentences I ever read.”

        Anotherwords, you never even glanced at my comments! Thanks a lot!

    • tod
      March 2, 2012, 2:51 am

      Witty was not the problem, and if the pro-Israeli (or Zionist, or whatever) want their voice to be present here, they will send somebody else, or the same somebody, with a different hat.
      The problem was you people kept feeding the troll. You gave him some sort of legitimacy. He should have been left alone, but be present, to present his point of view.

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2012, 8:57 am

        Yes because when somebody says something racist and hateful about other ethnic groups if you just leave it alone there are no bad consequences whatsoever.

        • Pixel
          March 2, 2012, 5:02 pm

          I’m afraid that I agree with Tod on this one.

          Yes, often, Witty’s comments should have been addressed and challenged but one or two replies should have sufficed. Instead, it always went on and on and on.

          Like a small child having a tantrum, the best response is to address it and then ignore them.

        • yourstruly
          March 2, 2012, 8:09 pm

          to extinguish bad behavior either ignore or punish it.

  7. seanmcbride
    March 1, 2012, 2:26 pm

    Phil,

    I appreciate your thoughtful and graceful explanation for Mondoweiss editorial policies.

    Any discussion about the issues you have raised that is not appropriate for Mondoweiss can be pursued here:

    link to friendfeed.com

    And in this specific thread:

    link to friendfeed.com

    Despite the differences of opinion that have arisen here about some of your editorial decisions, Mondoweiss remains the best and smartest forum for discussing Mideast politics on the planet. Thanks for all your hard work and *courage*. No publication can please everyone.

    • Walid
      March 1, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Sean, I’ve had 3 posts on the same subject refused here because the moderators didn’t find them fit for this site and while my pride took a beating for it, I respected their decision. To have re-posted them on a parallel site would have been of little value since it was here and within the context of what was being discussed that they had a meaning.

      • seanmcbride
        March 1, 2012, 4:04 pm

        Walid,

        My experience is that none of my posts to Mondoweiss have been rejected. I didn’t set up the auxiliary group to compete with or criticize Mondoweiss — it’s an outlet for Mondoweiss users to discuss topics that might violate Mondoweiss’s editorial guidelines. (What kicked me into action was the urge to defend Jeffrey Blankfort — someone from whom I have learned a great deal about Mideast politics — he strikes me as being a decent person, and certainly not an anti-Semite.)

        (Actually, the group originally began as a personal news feed through which I could I could easily track new Mondoweiss posts on Friendfeed with a convenient interface.)

        Overall, the moderation here seems to be reasonable and necessary, with a very few exceptions — and there is no such thing in this world as a perfect moderator who will please everyone.

        • Philip Weiss
          March 1, 2012, 9:08 pm

          It’s an obvious fact that many internet sites that have developed a following have also developed satellites; and often those satellites grow bigger than the original moon-unit. So good luck to you, Sean. I appreciate your tone and apologize that we didn’t get to this response sooner. That was not respectful…

        • seanmcbride
          March 1, 2012, 9:52 pm

          Phil,

          1. I think it’s positive and commendable that you are conducting your explorations into Zionism from within your own (often illustrious) cultural tradition — you openly embrace it and challenge it from within (you “plant [your] flag in Jewish turf”). In some ways in the current political climate that takes more character and backbone than going the Atzmon route of melodramatic radical deracination.

          2. The auxiliary forum ain’t no big thing and was never intended to compete for attention with MW (it mostly provided an outlet to vent some steam during the recent contretemps). You produce much original content here and this is where the action is.

    • teta mother me
      March 1, 2012, 3:32 pm

      thanks for your efforts Sean. I’d like to participate with that group but I no longer use google products, if I can avoid them.
      Friends and I were discussing at lunch how holocaust “revisionism” could result in a discussant suddenly being removed from free society, inasmuch as there is no privacy in email and blog postings.

      Any day now I expect Obama to stand at the Apartheid wall and intone, “Ich bin ein Israeli.”

      • seanmcbride
        March 1, 2012, 3:54 pm

        teta mother me,

        A small point of fact, Friendfeed is not a Google product — it’s owned by Facebook — which may present its own set of problems, depending on where you stand.

  8. Walid
    March 1, 2012, 2:53 pm

    “Also Jeff sought to have a discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany here. As we have made clear, this is not a subject we want any part of. It generally leads to anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, which we won’t tolerate on the site, and unquestionably hurts our ability to reach out.” (Phil)

    In the rise of Nazis, wasn’t JB elaborating on the role of the Zionists in it much more than on that of the Jews in general and how does a discussion on a historical truth lead to antisemitism and holocaust denial when the actual discussion doesn’t go anwhere these 2 issues?

    • teta mother me
      March 1, 2012, 3:39 pm

      I understand what the fine line Phil is trying to walk. I disagree, of course, that it’s possible to achieve honest relations with Palestine and Iran without fully exploring the history that created the situation in the first place, but it’s Phil’s blog.

      I would add that the current situation of zionists and Jewish people, in the US, in Palestine, and regarding Iran and the ME, is not sustainable. The future will see either a repeat of what zionists claim has been the lot of Jews for (pick one) 2000 years, 3000 years, etc., ie expulsion or persecution; or the subversion of American values to Israeli zionist values; and/or the destruction of the ancient and democratizing civilized culture of Iran and other in the Middle East in deference to Israel, with the subsequent isolation of Israel; or some new approach, founded on absolute truth, reparations to those to whom reparations are due; repentance; and reconciliation. I am in favor of the latter course. I think it’s the only way that Jews and Americans have a future. The foundation of that course is absolute truth. A house built on sand cannot stand.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        March 2, 2012, 2:54 am

        teta mother me,

        I used to push the ‘unsustainability’ argument several years ago here at Mondoweiss. I had few takers; my comments along that line were generally ignored, although allowed. The site then seemed predominantly non-Zionist – now I would say it is strongly anti-Zionist. Back then, when I would try to explain why I thought the U.S. political system was inherently unstable wrt Zionism and too much visibility of Jews, I was accused of anti-Semitism a couple of times and more frequently was told that I was imagining or exaggerating things. After a while, I stopped trying to make that argument because I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere. I’ve never believed that the eventual collapse of support for Israel will result in significant violence in America against Jews, but I do think things can and probably will get pretty ugly without remedial action.

        Since that time, I’ve tended to stay away from the ‘instability’ argument. I seem to sense that most of the people who frequent this site understand the logic anyway (I think Phil does), but it appears that it does help to be non-Jewish. A great many Jews (I don’t know if it’s most) seem to be in denial, to be wearing blinders. What are their lenses going to reveal to them when AIPAC and Israel invade Washington next month? Amazingly enough, I often find myself wondering if they can’t see the dangers that are always there when a small minority has achieved great concentration of politico-economic power and the system crashes.

        So more recently I come in on discussions of Jewish identity – because IMO that is the key to our present conundrum. American Jews have become political Zionists because a sickness, actually a malignancy, has arisen in modern-day Jewish identity. Jews must be cured of Zionism. Unfortunately, we can’t just have the rabbis exorcise the Demon – won’t work and they won’t try anyway. Somewhere up above, Phil seemed to agree that about 5% of Jewish Americans are not afflicted with political Zionism. That’s not a lot but it’s a start back to normalcy, and thank Golly for small favors. They – like Phil and Adam and Jeffrey – are extremely important in doing their work within the tribe. And their voices are heard by the goyim.

        Here’s where the going gets tricky. Justice for the Palestinians (and an end to American involvement in Israel’s wars) cannot be achieved without defeating political Zionism in America, which cannot happen without turning a strong majority of American Jews into non-Zionists or, better, anti-Zionists – which will not happen unless they feel strong pressure from the vast majority of Americans who are not Jewish.

        To ‘turn’ the American Jewish community away from Zionism, they – the members of the tribe – must feel significant psychological pain. A part of that pain must come from the exertions of non-Jews. Once that is done, Israelis will listen to America again. But not before.

  9. radii
    March 1, 2012, 3:16 pm

    Banning commenters is terrible … just individually decide against putting up the posts you don’t like (it’s been done to me and I don’t protest – it’s your site) … Jeffrey Blankfort is too important a voice to not have represented here – if he posts on Nazis and so on, just delete those comments … you can also simply edit the comments before you allow them to go up and put a little disclaimer … ExiledOnline has fun with this: their moderator chimes in periodically

  10. edwin
    March 1, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Whom you have and whom you don’t will set the tone of discussion or argument.

    RW would definitely set the tone towards argument. In my impression, there is more discussion with disagreement of course without him.

    Banning/not banning clearly sets the tone for what and how things are discussed. With RW, the blog changes considerably.

    We preserved Witty’s presence here over the years because he was a stand-in for American Zionist opinion

    Ultimately, the choice is yours as to how and what you wish your blog to be. I will not say one is better than the other, though I have my preferences.

    If you want discussion with less argument, then you probably have little choice but to moderate.

    I think that if there is fairly heavy moderation, it probably would in the long run help to actually remove a person’s post and say why it was removed as part of the moderation process. Hopefully people would learn over time – as opposed to just complaining. Eventually, perhaps as people get a better feel for what is allowed, you may be able to move to a flagging process – trusting some users to flag comments that potentially cross the line – speeding up the moderating process by not requiring that all comments be moderated directly.

    While I haven’t posted that many comments under the moderation process, I can’t think of any that have been rejected – so I don’t have a feel of how heavy the moderation process is.

  11. Dan Crowther
    March 1, 2012, 3:57 pm

    I can’t quit you Phil

    • Dan Crowther
      March 1, 2012, 4:12 pm

      somewhat OT — when cats send you guys something and y’all come back with “cool man, thanks – gonna post…etc” a little hat tip love would be nice….unless y’all are embarassed of us (me) hahaha

      • Philip Weiss
        March 1, 2012, 9:10 pm

        Sorry Dan for that. I’m a shameless thief. I will try and improve!

  12. Mndwss
    March 1, 2012, 4:01 pm

    “We don’t have the energy for distractions.”

    Blankfort was banned for distractions?

    Is this like Obama’s LFNB (Look Forward, Not Backwards)?

    Bradley Manning and Julian Assange has been banned (from the world) for distractions.

    If you look back you may turn in to a pillar of salt.

    Who will be the salt of the earth if it is a “distraction” to look backwards?

    If you look back you will be treated like Jesus.

    If you are a distraction, we will crucify you, because we don’t have the energy for distractions…?

  13. anonymouscomments
    March 1, 2012, 4:44 pm

    I 100% understand the reasons for avoiding such talk. It should be noted that what Blankfort discussed focused on *Zionist* actions and ideology, and was nuanced. But I still see the rationale for banning such discourse.

    Not to pry into the specific details, but it really matters to me…

    Was Jeffrey Blankfort warned that such talk was something the website no longer would tolerate, and he *refused* to accommodate?

    Was Jeffrey Blankfort banned, before he even had been given notice of the new policy, and an explicit chance to avoid such discussion?

    • Pixel
      March 2, 2012, 5:13 pm

      anonymouscomments,

      In the back of my mind, I’m asking myself the same two questions.

  14. Les
    March 1, 2012, 5:34 pm

    If you subtract anti-Jewishness from anti-Semitsm, you are still left with anti-Semitism as a form of racism used everywhere in our print and broadcast media against Middle Eastern Arabs and against Iranians. There’s no need to go digging into ancient history to appreciate that ugly reality.

  15. HRK
    March 1, 2012, 6:02 pm

    A person might know about Witty’s writings because he read every comment Witty wrote. Alternately, a person might have a sense of what Witty wrote because they extensively sampled his writings.

    I’ll admit I don’t fall into either of these categories. I suppose I’ve dipped in here and there and happened to read Witty here and there, so, No, I can’t say that I know all about who he is or what he stands for. . . .

    Having said that, I’m saddened to hear that you’re banning Witty. His tone was always polite. I never understood why people came unglued at what he was saying.

    I’ll just leave it at that.

    • American
      March 1, 2012, 7:03 pm

      Actually I sort of miss witty, actually felt sorry for picking on him so much…..he was so earnest and sincere in his nitwittery beliefs, none of which I agreed with, but still he was polite most of the time.

    • Donald
      March 1, 2012, 7:41 pm

      “I’ll admit I don’t fall into either of these categories. I suppose I’ve dipped in here and there and happened to read Witty here and there, so, No, I can’t say that I know all about who he is or what he stands for. . .”

      “His tone was always polite. I never understood why people came unglued at what he was saying.”

      Perhaps you answered your own question. I liked Richard’s posts at first. That changed.

      We do need liberal Zionists around, I think, to challenge our positions and force us to defend them. The problem is that liberal Zionists will be badly outnumbered here and most people don’t enjoy coming to a blog to defend a position knowing they will be bashed from all sides. What you are likely to end up with are angry people who come spoiling for a fight or perhaps people who come to practice their koan writing. One should try to be more civil, but the fact is that on fundamental moral issues tempers are likely to flare.

    • eljay
      March 1, 2012, 9:21 pm

      >> His tone was always polite. I never understood why people came unglued at what he was saying.

      For me, it was the hateful and immoral things he wrote, believed in and advocated. No matter how politely it’s said, it’s still ugly.

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2012, 12:10 am

        Exactly. To the extent that I on occasion called for Witty to be banned, it was only to the extent that if Phil/Adam were going to ban anybody, CLEARLY Witty fit all the criteria for deserving it.

        I’m sure there also polite Na —- oooh! Almost got myself banned there. But I disagree with censorship and banning on principle. The fact is (and Phil has STATED it as such on at least one occasion) the primary purpose of censoring and banning (and explicitly NOT banning others long after the sell-by date) is to “maintain credibility with the American Jewish community(!)”

        If that’s what it takes to be credible among American Jews…?

      • American
        March 5, 2012, 11:11 pm

        “For me, it was the hateful and immoral things he wrote, believed in and advocated. No matter how politely it’s said, it’s still ugly”..eljay

        Yea his views were ugly..because he’s crazy. He needed some kind of intervention, …like making him live like a Palestine in Gaza for a year…but you can feel sorry for crazy people…a little anyway.

  16. Marcus Mohr
    March 1, 2012, 6:44 pm

    This website has a reputation for banning opposing opinions, that’s not good for self-described rights activists.

    I’m fairly new here and don’t recall reading any of Witty’s comments but the comments above demonstrate that he was reasonable and ‘polite’ and therefore by definition, not a troll.

    Personally, I’m a staunch critic of Israel and Zionism but I also have serious disagreements with what you do. I’ve already had to choose my words carefully and I know that it’s just a matter of time before I get banned too. Congratulations, you’ve done a huge disservice to free speech and your cause.

    • Donald
      March 1, 2012, 9:49 pm

      ” don’t recall reading any of Witty’s comments but the comments above demonstrate that he was reasonable and ‘polite’ and therefore by definition, not a troll.”

      This is perhaps the best argument for banning him. We have lost Richard the troll, and gained Richard the legendary exemplar of politeness and reasonable argument. It’s a win-win.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 1, 2012, 9:58 pm

        lol, classic

        • Mooser
          March 2, 2012, 3:51 pm

          “This is perhaps the best argument for banning him. We have lost Richard the troll, and gained Richard the legendary exemplar of politeness and reasonable argument. It’s a win-win.”

          Yup, good thinking! And before you go to studying the “three R’s” (razor, rope or revolver) or mouth a few minims of Prussic acid over Mondoweiss getting a little less Witty, remember, there’s still plenty of fantasy Zionism action (including a very Witty explication and explanation of this little contrempts) at Richard Witty’s Liberal Zionism . I’m sure your comments would be welcome. I was sure Bush couldn’t be elected, too.

        • Marcus Mohr
          March 2, 2012, 7:51 pm

          So you guys think censorship is funny.

          Reminds me of a time when I tried to convince a Zionist campus organization that spreading ‘propaganda’ for a foreign state is inherently immoral. I thought that by getting them to use the word propaganda I had won the argument, then I found out that they didn’t care.

          It’s tough debating people who have less developed value systems than yourself.

        • Mooser
          March 4, 2012, 3:11 pm

          “It’s tough debating people who have less developed value systems than yourself.”

          You know, I think you just hit on the reason all my introspection is so fruitless.

        • Donald
          March 5, 2012, 8:15 pm

          “It’s tough debating people who have less developed value systems than yourself.”

          True, dat. Not that I’d know. It just sounds right.

          “So you guys think censorship is funny.”

          Nah, what was funny was the canonization of RW, whatever one thinks of his banning.

          As for censorship at a blog, my view is in flux. Currently I think several things, one of which is that unmoderated and uncensored blogs on hot emotional topics usually have comment sections which are largely worthless. Not completely worthless because if you’re willing to wade through a lot of nonsense you might see some good comments too. Moderation improves blogs, unless the moderator is biased, and that accusation always comes up. Suppose it is true. Then you have to make a judgment call–is the blog otherwise worthwhile? The greatest blog in the history of blogdom was the late, great and much lamented “Whisky Bar”, which had a comment section which was overpopulated and often insane. The proprietor would get grumpy and ban people just to watch their blog personas die. Sometimes I was annoyed by his decision. His blog, his rules, and given that the comment section drove him nuts I thought he made the right decision to just shut the damn thing down. Unfortunately he then shut the blog down. Bummer.

          On the other hand, who in his or her right mind cares what nonsense is posted in a blog comment section anyway?

          On the gripping hand, (an obscure SF reference), free speech is great but a lot of people should exercise their freedom and shut up. Most definitely including me. Look at this comment. It will almost certainly do no good and I’m just typing it because it amuses me to do so. Self expression. WHEEE!

          And on some random bodily appendage, perhaps a foot, blogs in general have been great in that they’ve allowed opinions suppressed by the MSM to be expressed, sometimes in ways that even the MSM has to acknowledge now and then. The MSM strikes back by portraying bloggers and their fan base as a bunch of disgruntled crackpots. There’s a bit of truth in that too sometimes.

        • Cliff
          March 5, 2012, 9:12 pm

          Marcus Mohr reminds me of something I heard on Jews Sans Frontiers.

          There was a Zionist sock-puppet who had multiple accounts on JSF. He/she portrayed him/herself as a hardcore antisemite, a pro-Palestinian activist, and a middle-of-the-road-newbie.

          I think you can see where that went.

          Anyways, the troll was caught and banned.

          (I might be mistaken on which website this troll was on. It was either Tony Greenstein’s blog or JSF).

          ‘Marcus’ seems like a sock-puppet.

          We had another guy named ‘howard lenau’ or something who said he supported BDS but was against ‘our’ opposition to Ethan Bronner and that ‘we’ didn’t think Jews should be allowed to write about this issue.

          How can these new commentators be so off the mark? And of course, in the case of the latter – what was his proof? He provided none.

          Same w/ ‘Marcus’.

          He skips the content of Witty’s verbiage (11k+ comments) and mindlessly chirps on about censorship.

          Hey Marcus, would you allow someone who is paid by the Israeli government to troll Israel/Palestine-related blogs to continue to comment?

          That would fit the definition of purposefully undermining the intellectualism/sincerity of debate.

          That is what Richard Witty did. It wasn’t really his opinions. It was how he expressed them so repetitively and through tactics that we came to know as ‘thread-jacking’. He was a distraction.

          You can call it censorship though, whoever you are.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 5, 2012, 9:17 pm

          mooser you are in fine form

        • Cliff
          March 5, 2012, 9:40 pm

          So I just looked through Marcus Mohr’s comments (only because he didn’t have that many) and between the content and his statement here:

          Congratulations, you’ve done a huge disservice to free speech and your cause.

          ‘Our’ cause, Marcus?

          I thought you were a ‘staunch critic’ of Israel and Zionism? Usually when someone around here talks AT the Mondoweiss anti-Zionist/non-Zionist community in that tone and with those phrasings, ‘your movement’ – they are a Zionist.

          In fact, you sound like a past Zionist hysteric on this blog named yonira. Then again, they all sound alike.

          ‘your movement’? Cut the act, troll.

          This guy also compliments another one of the new Zionist commentators, Izik, in different thread.

          Do you honestly think anyone here believes that you are a critic of Israel, when EVERY SINGLE ONE of your comments thus far have been centered around criticizing the blog’s handling of Richard Witty (with no mention of Blankfort), criticizing the blog’s handling of opposing views (“this blog has a reputation of[...]“), the alleged hypocrisy of the focus on Israel (on an Israel-Palestine blog LOL) when however many people are dying ‘Elsewhere’ (Syria today, Libya yesterday, Darfur, the day before) (in this particular comment, Marcus supports Mayhem, another Zionist commentator who said the banned Palestinian childrens’ art exhibit was propaganda), and last (only because I have to finish a lab report) but not least: against the release of Khader Adnan.

          The comments in question:

          link to mondoweiss.net

          link to mondoweiss.net

          link to mondoweiss.net

          Etc.

          This guy is a troll, pretending (not very convincingly) to be a ‘staunch critic’ of Israel.

          We should get Mark Elf to come here and tell us about that sock-puppet/troll who pulled this same act over at JSF and got banned.

    • Keith
      March 2, 2012, 5:32 pm

      MARCUS MOHR- “I’ve already had to choose my words carefully and I know that it’s just a matter of time before I get banned too.”

      Ah, the joy of perceived victim-hood! A product of your upbringing, perhaps?

      “Congratulations, you’ve done a huge disservice to free speech and your cause.”

      Your heartfelt concern for the effectiveness of Mondoweiss moves me deeply.

      • Mooser
        March 4, 2012, 3:12 pm

        “Ah, the joy of perceived victim-hood! A product of your upbringing, perhaps?”

        Say, no need to take a swipe at his parents. Believe me, people can figure out what works without any help from Ma and Pa.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 5, 2012, 9:22 pm

      I’m fairly new here and don’t recall reading any of Witty’s comments but the comments above demonstrate that he was reasonable and ‘polite’ and therefore by definition, not a troll.

      you might want to check out this a classic nakba denying threadjack.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      • john h
        March 5, 2012, 11:34 pm

        Marcus Mohr, just to add to Annie’s post about Richard.

        That was indeed a classic threadjack. It was such that I finally had had enough and suddenly realised how nearly all of us had been seduced through responding to Richard to effectively add injury to his insult of the writer of the article.

        I therefore posted to that effect and apologized to that writer, Waleed. Just two posts later Phil himself also apologized for what had happened.

        Richard has never apologized.

        This episode may have been something of a clincher to his banning.

        link to mondoweiss.net

  17. Kathleen
    March 1, 2012, 6:44 pm

    “Also Jeff sought to have a discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany here. As we have made clear, this is not a subject we want any part of. It generally leads to anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, which we won’t tolerate on the site, and unquestionably hurts our ability to reach out.”

    Quite honestly I had never heard Jeffrey focus on that topic. Phil and Adam did you get some complaints from others outside of the Mondoweiss community about Jeffrey having brought this topic up? And if Jeffrey were documenting what he was saying what is wrong with giving a piece of history if it is accurate? If others take facts and turn that into alleged and false reasons for the Holocaust then kick them off not Blankfort.

    I am so sorry to hear that Blankfort is banned. Is he? He added so much to the conversations.

    • Pixel
      March 2, 2012, 5:17 pm

      I completely agree with you, Kathleen.

  18. American
    March 1, 2012, 6:56 pm

    Oh gawd…. I am so worn out with this anti semitism stuff. O. K I’m not Jewish and never been discriminated against and my ancestors were slaughtered by Yankees not Jews. However I can empathize and allow for some emotional hangover amongst Jews for past discrimination and holocaust…but really… where the hell is all this anti semitism now? I absolutely do not see it. I see all this worry,worry,worry, about anti semitism from Jews while 99.9% of what gentiles are ranting about is Israel and Israel firsters. ..when we aren’t ranting about what Jews say we can’t say about Jews or someone might get the idea to massacre them.

    But while I’m ranting I want Mondo to make WJ to have to go sit in the corner for at least an hour. WJ said “antisemitism is a dangerous and hardy disease amongst non Jews that can’t be cured and has to be reckoned with.” Then the sneak tried to get out of this anti gentilism by coming back and adding ‘some” to non Jews.
    HA HA! ..too late, we see thru this failure to use ‘some”in his original comment…he hates us non Jews, we’re all diseased!

    ROTFLMAO…..I hope at least some see how ridiculous all this is.

    • atime forpeace
      March 1, 2012, 8:25 pm

      they are fomenting the seeds for antisemitism…it wont be difficult if americas soldiers wake the hell up and realize that this “nation within a nation” wants them to fight for the israeli flag.

      unfortunately many neocons are not jewish but for some reason lobby for americas soldiers to sacrifice their lives on the altar of israel.

    • Mooser
      March 2, 2012, 3:55 pm

      “and my ancestors were slaughtered by Yankees”

      Sure, you know how it is, like his brother before him, he took a Rebel stand. Just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave. You take what you need, and leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best…

    • Mooser
      March 2, 2012, 4:05 pm

      “…he hates us non Jews, we’re all diseased!”

      Yeah, and you non-Jews wouldn’t let us into your Universities, good neighborhoods (you want we should be stuck living with Schwartzes and the PR’s?) or white-shoe law firms. Why, do you realise that the enscounscement of Jews at the highest and most rapacious levels of American corporate finance and intellectual hackery was delayed by almost fify years by this by this bigotry! But really, we just wanted all you diseased, bovine like Gentiles to like and accept us. Sure, we know your diseased, rife with anti-semitism, but you smell so good, and so do your houses… Oh crap, I should’na typed that…

  19. Sherri Munnerlyn
    March 1, 2012, 10:16 pm

    Speaking about AntiSemitism, I have found myself in a discussion on another website about whether the world is doomed to failure because of AntiSemitism. It started out with a discussion about the Arab World (whatever that even is) being doomed to failure, largely because of their alleged AntiSemitism. And I am hearing from Jews in the US and Israel who are really concerned about this. And I just find this completely ridiculous thinking. If 95% of Jews are Zionists, as I just read in some comments here, and Zionism is contributing to AntiSemitism (this seems to be the thinking) and AntiSemitism is a threat that must be extinquished, we have a recipe right there for never ending wars.

  20. traintosiberia
    March 1, 2012, 10:27 pm

    ” As we have made clear, this is not a subject we want any part of. It generally leads to anti-semitism and Holocaust denial,”
    I dont agree but I support your decision.

    • Chaos4700
      March 1, 2012, 11:59 pm

      Considering Phil and Adam do NOTHING about Nakba denial on their blog, in spite of their empty promises in their comment property? It’s bullshit and you shouldn’t support bullshit.

      • Shmuel
        March 2, 2012, 2:13 am

        Chaos,

        Can you offer a working definition of Nakba denial? Can you think of any specific remarks that should have been scrapped for Nakba denial, after the policy change, but weren’t?

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 8:59 am

          I ROUTINELY post comments confronting the Nakba denial, when it happens. You don’t see them because Phil blocks them. Just like he blocked my confrontation of Phil’s unbalanced and unfair attitudes and total insensitivity toward what Palestinians have to say about their own lives.

          The fact is, Phil doesn’t want open debate. He can’t function on a level playing field. Now that I think about it, I’M NOT SURPRISED that he’s friends with Witty.

        • Shmuel
          March 2, 2012, 9:19 am

          Chaos,

          I think it would be helpful to spell it out. Obviously, the canard about Palestinians leaving voluntarily at the behest of their leaders (‘to come back and throw the Jews into the sea’) counts. I would also include justification or “contextualisation” of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. But what about those who recognise the ethnic cleansing of individuals, but deny the existence of a pre-’48 (or pre-’64 or whatever) Palestinian identity, or that the ethnic cleansing was pre-planned and not something that matured during the war? There may be other reasons to scrap odious comments or to ban those who post them, but I’d like to know how you define this particular form of odiousness.

        • edwin
          March 2, 2012, 9:44 am

          I’M NOT SURPRISED that he’s friends with Witty.

          That is quite unfair and quite rude. I think you owe an apology for this.

          I would agree that Nakba denial gets at least a partial pass. I don’t know what is moderated. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that Mondoweiss is in an impossible situation.

          It claims to oppose racism and support discussion between Zionism and anti-Zionists. Zionism is a philosophy that believes that Jews should have their own state. This leads to obvious questions of who is and who is not a Jew and how can we prevent Jews from marrying non Jews, or converting to other religions. It gets worse as Israel claims the right to speak for all Jews, and believes that Jews who marry out are doing the work of Hitler. In other words Zionism is a form of racism – the dividing of people into identifiable races, or other distinguishing groups that must be kept pure. On some level it is unavoidable for a Zionist to descend into racism and violence. If you believe that a Jewish state must exist, you must believe in the means to keep it that way – and that on some level that means violence. The most progressive Zionists engage in heavy denial in order to hold two diametrically opposing views in their heads at the same time.

          You can’t have a non-racist discussion when one of the sides fairly explicitly supports a definition of Jew that for all practical purposes is a definition that divides people into separate races

          When it comes to the Nakba, Zionists don’t have a lot of choices. 1. It did not occur. 2. Too bad we didn’t finish the job properly or 3. So sad, too bad.

          Frankly, denial may be the best of a bad set of options. At least there is some minimal connection to the concept of right and wrong.

        • edwin
          March 2, 2012, 9:54 am

          Let’s add to the excuses for the Nakba – They made us do it.

        • Hostage
          March 5, 2012, 12:52 pm

          Can you offer a working definition of Nakba denial?

          The Holocaust denial laws in Europe reflect the definition contained in the EU Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia. It criminalized forms of conduct that publicly condone, deny, or grossly trivialize crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court (Articles 6, 7 and 8) and the customary crimes against any civilian population defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

          We have trolls here who deliberately engage in incitement and routinely trivialize, deny, or condone very well documented War Plans (Avner through Dalet); the resulting massacres; and involuntary population transfers carried-out by the Jewish militias in 1948. Those were serious crimes as defined by well established customary law reflected in both the Rome Statute and the Nuremberg Charter.

          Can you think of any specific remarks that should have been scrapped for Nakba denial, after the policy change, but weren’t?

          Surely, here is an example:
          link to mondoweiss.net

          Robert Werdine kept insisting that the Haganah did not participate in the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against the village of Deir Yassin, even after I pointed out that a) the official IDF account states that the Haganah District Commander violated assurances contained in a non-aggression pact with the village when he authorized the unprovoked attack; b) the Haganah had no right to occupy the village, which was located beyond the borders of the proposed Jewish state, in the Corpus Seoparatum; and c) the Haganah forces were accessories to the conspiracy and the massacre because they provided deadly crossfire that killed some of the Arab inhabitants who had taken up defensive positions.
          link to mondoweiss.net

          Simply having a coordinated plan of attack, like Plan Dalet, or the plan to occupy Deir Yassin in violation of agreements or assurances, was a crime as defined in Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter, i.e. planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

          The actions of the Haganah district commander and those who assisted in the illegal attack on Deir Yassin were also crimes under this provision of Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter:
          Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.
          link to avalon.law.yale.edu

          In 2004, the ICJ determined that Israel had violated a number of its binding obligations under international law, including many offenses that constitute grave breaches and war crimes under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Those included house demolitions and expropriations of property that have displaced the Palestinian population and the establishment of illegal Israeli settlements.

          Werdine and other regular commenters dismiss the idea that those are serious crimes or that they are part of a multi-pronged on-going pogrom against the Palestinian people.

        • Shmuel
          March 5, 2012, 1:11 pm

          Thanks, Hostage. The Framework Decision is helpful, and what I had mind. I agree about Werdine.

        • Donald
          March 5, 2012, 1:13 pm

          Hostage–What would you say about someone like Meron Benvenisti, who in his book “Sacred Landscapes” makes a distinction between the motives behind Plan Dalet and what happened in the second half of the 1948 war. In his version of events Israel is clearly guilty of ethnic cleansing in the later parts and in not allowing refugees back in when the war is done, but he thinks Plan D had military motives and wasn’t initially meant to be an ethnic cleansing campaign. Personally to me this distinction seems psychologically implausible, but I don’t question Benvenisti’s sincerity.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 5, 2012, 1:22 pm

          I would agree that Nakba denial gets at least a partial pass. I don’t know what is moderated. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that Mondoweiss is in an impossible situation.

          edwin, the comment policy states, If we judge that you have broken one of these rules you will be banned.

          from my perspective it seems as tho often times nakba denial is couched in excuses or wording where it isn’t precisely clear or there are caveats or implications or suggestions or in general trying to skirt it, push the envelope, challenge it or the like. note when hostage wrote of a commenter who kept insisting. so perhaps there is a degree of ‘giving someone enough rope to hang themselves’ so to speak. especially i would imagine to a long time commenter.

          it’s a new rule and while the concept is not new wrt nakba, it is not widely recognized, yet. so maybe we can start a trend that will spread wrt the importance of nakba recognition as well as the recognition of denial.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 5, 2012, 1:28 pm

          Plan D had military motives and wasn’t initially meant to be an ethnic cleansing campaign

          what kind of military motives involve emptying out hundreds of villages of civilians? in areas not within ones own borders? perhaps some israeli soldiers didn’t know they wouldn’t be returning but is he implying there was an initial plan that accommodated their return? any evidence of that?

        • Chaos4700
          March 5, 2012, 1:40 pm

          Thank you, Hostage. Not that you should be made to clean up the mess we’ve got here, but if anyone has shown the intelligence, command of the facts and a genuine understand of the legal factors involved, it’s you. The staff of comment moderators needs you, not whatever uninformed, insensitive person or people who are responsible for it now

        • Taxi
          March 5, 2012, 1:44 pm

          For years Richard Witty, using various combinations of words, was allowed to refer to the Nakba as a ‘necessary evil for the greater good’. I call that insidious Nakba denial-ism. Phil and Adam and mondo mods allowed him this despicable expression of detachment from reality and humanity for years. I don’t know if they did this cuz they weren’t ‘in touch’ with the equivalency between Nakba-denial and holocaust-denial at the time, or that they were utterly and catagorically anti-censorship, which now they’re grown out of, apparently. It’s confusing with them two at the moment. Can’t quite tell where they’re coming from.

          Anyway, Nakba denial can be expressed in many different ways: from loud to whispered. But the worst way to nakba-deny, for me personally, is the ‘insidious’ way, Richard’s way. Let’s have a look at the definition of the word insidious shall we:
          Insidious: adjective:
          The insidious bond between big money and political decisions: stealthy, subtle, surreptitious, cunning, crafty, treacherous, artful, sly, wily, shifty, underhanded, indirect; informal, sneaky.

          So many other posters were guilty of this, too numerous and too irrelevant at this stage to mention. ALL of them zionists. In fact, come to think of it, I never met a single self-proclaimed zionist who did NOT deny the Nakba in some measure or another. Clearly, you can’t be both a zionist and a Nakba-admiter.

        • Donald
          March 5, 2012, 1:54 pm

          ” is he implying there was an initial plan that accommodated their return? any evidence of that?”

          I don’t remember. My copy of the book is at home and I read it nearly ten years ago. I might or might not look for what he has to say tonight. The military motive was, I think, the standard one in wars that are at least partly guerilla wars–don’t let enemy guerilla fighters have a safe haven. It’s why the US uprooted so many South Vietnamese villagers (which was also a crime, IMO). Personally, though, I can’t see how someone could plan the uprooting of so many Arabs and not think to himself “Gosh, it sure would be demographically convenient for our Jewish state if they didn’t come back.” But you wouldn’t necessarily put that down in writing.

          I think Benvenisti had some sort of evidence that some Zionists were planning for a state with a large number of Arabs, or that might be something I read elsewhere. My offhand reply to that argument is that governments (or para-governments) often have plans for all sorts of contingencies–some Zionists might have planned for a state with a great many Arabs (and might even have been sincere) while others might have been planning to expel as many as possible.

          Anyway, “Sacred Landscapes” is a book which is very sympathetic to the Palestinians driven out of their homes and very critical of what Israel did to them, so I don’t think Benvenisti had bad motives in writing what he did and he does say that the treatment of the Palestinians ended up as a case of ethnic cleansing–he thought, and I’ll have to find out why, that it didn’t start out that way.

        • Hostage
          March 5, 2012, 2:43 pm

          Hostage–What would you say about someone like Meron Benvenisti, who in his book “Sacred Landscapes” makes a distinction between the motives behind Plan Dalet and what happened in the second half of the 1948 war.

          The crimes described in the Nuremberg Charter applied to any civilian population of an occupied territory. They resulted in criminal liability regardless of the motives involved. What I would say (if anything) would depend upon whether that someone is a troll who means to pardon serious crimes committed against Palestinians and/or preserve Israel’s freedom to commit similar offenses in the future on the grounds of “security” or “necessity”.

          Plan Dalet undoubtedly violated the provisions of the customary laws reflected in the Nuremberg Charter against planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression. It was based upon three previous plans to occupy Palestine after the British withdrawal and subdue the Arab civilian population. The plans were not solely defensive in nature, since they called for unprovoked attacks on Arab villages and supply lines; expulsion of the lawful Arab inhabitants if they exercised their own inherent right to self-defense; establishment of a “defensive system” on high ground and transportation arteries inside the proposed Arab state and Corpus Separatum; and freedom to pursue military activity from Jewish watchtower and stockade settlements located beyond the boundaries proposed for the Jewish State: e.g.:

          2. Ensuring freedom of military and economic activity within the borders of the [Hebrew] state and in Jewish settlements outside its borders by occupying and controlling important high-ground positions on a number of transportation arteries.

          4. Mounting operations against enemy population centers located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force. These operations can be divided into the following categories:
          Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.

          Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.

          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

          I would argue with Benvenisti that the activities under item 4 above were exactly the sort of orders approved by General Jodl. By teletype of 28th October, 1944, Jodl ordered the evacuation of all persons in Northern Norway and the burning of their houses so they could not help the Russians.
          link to avalon.law.yale.edu

          At the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial he was charged with approving orders that violated the rules of war. He was found guilty and hanged.

          A good rule of thumb is that it is probably not legal to treat Palestinians in ways that would be considered criminal if they happened to be Norwegian or Jewish.

        • Donald
          March 5, 2012, 4:11 pm

          “A good rule of thumb is that it is probably not legal to treat Palestinians in ways that would be considered criminal if they happened to be Norwegian or Jewish.”

          Makes sense to me. Thanks hostage.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 2, 2012, 9:52 am

        “Considering Phil and Adam do NOTHING about Nakba denial on their blog, in spite of their empty promises in their comment property?”

        I merely comment to refute this notion, as I have first hand knowledge that, on at least one occasion, I objected to an incident of Nakba denial and the offensive comment was deleted. (However, in fairness, I’ve also objected to comments which were not deleted.)

        So to say that they do “NOTHING” about Nakba denial is false. One can validly opine that they do not do enough, but the statement that they do “NOTHING” is simply not true.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 2, 2012, 10:40 am

        at least 2 posters have been banned for nakba denial in the last month. i don’t think it is announced and you probably do not miss those posters or even notice they are not here anymore. but i notice.

        • Walid
          March 2, 2012, 12:03 pm

          Annie, why is it that someone can dictate what you can or cannot deny? If someone wants to deny something or other about the Nakba, he has a right to do so. There is so much misinformation and disinformation flying back and forth by both Palestinians and Jews about what happened, what appears as a denial to one person may be the gospel truth to another. If for example eee is adamant that all the Palestinians fled of their free will, is he to be condemned for it? I just read above from Shmuel that the story of Palestinians having left at the request of their leaders is a canard; I’m sure that some Palestinians did. Maybe not many, but some did, so does that make me a denier? This concern about Nakba denial is the same one that prevents honest discussions about Zionism and about the holocaust. Saying that such and such a subject is off-limits doesn’t make sense.

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 12:33 pm

          Shmuel — including this comment, I will have made 16,137 comments on this blog and I think I can say, reasonably though I don’t have time to do a formal calculation, that the number of posts I’ve made concerning the crimes of the Nakba and what constitutes denial of it is somewhere in the double digit percentage. You do it. I’m tired. Never mind that it’s ridiculous that I have to explain to Jews why ethnic cleansing is a crime and how pernicious it is to deny that, many times when I do endeavor to do so, I’ve been labelled an anti-Semite. By people here. Under comment moderation.

          edwin — Gee, I’m sorry I offended your tender sensibilities, but you know what? Not only are you failing to refute my points you are agreeing with me. Nakba denial gets a pass here where Holocaust denial does not. And that remains true as of right now.

          Woody — What’s the percentage of comments that you’ve seen removed to the percentage of comments that Phil and Adam let stand, regarding Nakba denial? Do a back of the envelope calculation. You know, just because a handful of blacks got fair trials in the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement, didn’t mean that there wasn’t heinous discrimination there.

          annie — You know what you don’t notice? What it means to suffer censorship here. Because not only do none of your comments get banned, your comments aren’t even subject to moderation. And the rest of us know it. You’re privileged, and quite frankly, you wouldn’t understand.

          Walid — my problem is that Phil and Adam continue to treat Nakba denial as permissible most of the time, whereas they will categorically ban Holocaust denial. I’d be perfectly fine if they treated both the same — slightly less enthused if they banned both, but at least if they had a fair policy that didn’t privilege the Jewish perspective (because to be blunt, that’s exactly what they’re indulging in).

          Nakba denial isn’t saying that some Palestinians fled pre-emptively. Nakba denial is claiming that it isn’t a crime to steal someone’s home when they flee your threat of violence.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 12:48 pm

          walid, i am a proponent of free speech so i am the wrong one to ask “why is it that someone can dictate what you can or cannot deny? ” other than to say..because it is phil and adam’s site. that said, i respect phil and adam’s decision and trust their judgement about what is best for the site. i choose my own battles and challenging them on their decisions on how best to run the site is not on my front burner.

          and, wrt nakba denial..my concept of nakba denial would be denying the zionist intent to expel and ethnically cleanse (one way or another) the vast majority of the non jewish population of palestine in order to have and dominantly ethnic jewish state.

          Shmuel that the story of Palestinians having left at the request of their leaders is a canard; I’m sure that some Palestinians did. Maybe not many, but some did, so does that make me a denier?

          i’d only call you a denier if you denied the agenda to expel palestinians did not exist or was not the primary reason of the nakba. if some people who may have fled out of fear or at the direction of some leader is really not the issue. it is the idea that had they not, they would have been allowed to stay, or that it was solely or primarily the actions, violence or aggression of palestinians that led to their own expulsion. as if, as if had they just been nice the zionists woudn’t have minded being a minority in israel. blaming palestinians for their own ethnic cleansing is, to me, nakba denial. and this also, in my (personal) definition also goes to the heart of holocaust denial. it isn’t acknowledging or debating zionist collusion, it is placing the primary cause of jewish extermination on the victims of extermination. in any group of people you will have different actors and events leading up to catastrophe. but there were millions of jews killed and the overriding responsibility overwhelmingly lies with their exterminators. and i think it is also crazy to contemplate the primary or over riding responsibility of the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of people expelled from their own homes as being their own fault.

          plus, as denials go..the reaction of the denial of the holocaust is something we are all familiar with but that is not so with the nakba. people are not shamed in the same way for blaming palestinians for their own ethnic cleansing. most americans have not even heard of the nakba. so one is famous and one is covered up, or has been. and the reason for that has been the overwhelming myths surrounding the founding of israel. how can one acknowledge the ethnic cleansing of palestine if they deny palestinians even existed, were a recent invention or the land had no people on it? and this meme is very much being pushed today in the american discourse. there is no parity of concern or shame wrt nakba vs holocaust denial and i think it is about time there was public concensus over what happened there, in terms of whose fault it was. i don’t think this would be a very comfortable place to hang out if i were a palestinians and it was normal to come here every day and find peopel debating whether the nakba occurred or that is was palestinians fault. the nakba is still on going of course so there’s always generally an element of denial from israel supporters wrt acknowledging the intent of events occurring today…but that is another story.

          so, it is the idea that we are moving forward in our discourse, not backward. the intention of trolls or israel supporters can be to silence us or hold back discussion about what is going on presently. one way to do that is to fill up comment sections debating things like..who was responsible for the nakba or the holocaust?

          so, now that i have expressed my preference of free speech (and i expressed this before the new policy, check donald’s thread) i can definitely see the upside in not dragging down the discourse debating stuff that is degrading and insulting to both jews and palestinians. i think it is reasonable to say, if you are going to comment here then there’s got to be some acknowledgement of the wrongs committed against people. i abhor ideas like ‘it was a necessary evil’ wrt the nakba. as if the suffering of so many people (a collective punishment for something that was not their fault) is somehow justified by the alleged needs of others.

          so i hope that answers your question.

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 12:50 pm

          Not really, annie. So you’re for free speech… as long as there’s “appropriate” censorship? As I’ve pointed out, it’s a flippant position for you to take — your posts are privileged and you don’t suffer comment “moderation.”

        • Woody Tanaka
          March 2, 2012, 12:56 pm

          “Woody — What’s the percentage of comments that you’ve seen removed to the percentage of comments that Phil and Adam let stand, regarding Nakba denial?”

          Since I am not privy to the number of comments which are removed, I could only speculate. They could delete 5,000 for every one that gets through or they could delete one for every 5,000 they let through. I simply don’t know. Which is why my point was merely to say that it was not “Nothing.”

          “Do a back of the envelope calculation.”

          With the information I have, I can only calculate that it is something greater that “zero,” which makes your characterization of their acts as “NOTHING” is false. That was my only point.

          “You know, just because a handful of blacks got fair trials in the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement, didn’t mean that there wasn’t heinous discrimination there.”

          But your assertion was that they’ve done “NOTHING.” That is false. If you want to say that they don’t do enough, or that they could do more, fine. But I simply don’t see the value in saying they do “NOTHING” when that is not true.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 1:01 pm

          You know what you don’t notice? What it means to suffer censorship here.

          well, i’m certainly not immune to reading all the complaints about it. but no, staff members are not moderated.

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 1:02 pm

          Fine, they’ve done almost nothing. Happy?

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 1:22 pm

          chaos, you seem really angry. i was just making the pt there were 2 trolls banned recently (that i know of). i thought it might interest you. sorry i brought it up.

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 1:24 pm

          Do you consider Jeffrey Blankfort to be a troll too, annie? Am I really supposed to be reassured? If a drunk driver runs over a serial killer and a woman he was kidnapping, you really expect the response to be, “Oh good, the serial killer got what he deserved?”

          And no shit I’m angry. You haven’t sorted out by now that I can’t not respond this way when I see injustice?

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 1:31 pm

          flippant? i just saw this. isn’t that a little like the pot calling the kettle black. how can you tell what i think it “appropriate”. i don’t think it’s appropriate to be blaming me you ‘suffer’ from moderation, that’s for sure. but i’ll defend your right to say it. there’s lots of stuff i don’t like in the comments but i am not a carbon copy of phil and adam nor are they carbon copies of eachother.

          basically i do not like professional trolls, that’s my beef.

        • Shmuel
          March 2, 2012, 1:35 pm

          Never mind that it’s ridiculous that I have to explain to Jews why ethnic cleansing is a crime and how pernicious it is to deny that

          I didn’t ask you to explain to Jews or anyone else why ethnic cleansing is a crime, or how pernicious it is to deny that. I asked you to explain what you mean by denial, which you claim is rampant on this site. If you don’t feel like it, no problem.

        • Shmuel
          March 2, 2012, 1:48 pm

          Walid,

          To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence of organised calls to Palestinian civilians, by Palestinian or other Arab leaders, in print or on radio, to leave their homes in order to make way for the victorious Arab forces. That is the canard I was referring to: the classic Zionist justification (a rather illogical one at that) for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, whereby the Palestinians left of their own free will, and for nefarious reasons to boot.

          Phil and Adam decided, for the sake of balance and decorum, to ban denial of central elements of the respective Jewish and Palestinian experiences. They’ve offered some guidelines about the Holocaust, but little or nothing when it comes to the Nakba, and there would seem to be some differences of opinion on the matter.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 1:51 pm

          heaven’s no chaos, i would never ever call blankfort a troll. geez, take your beef up with phil and adam. my idea of troll are the dime a dozen guys, you know..the type that sprout doubles and there’s a revolving door of them here. like this guy you were talking to. one leaves, another incarnation sprouts immediately, or don’t you see the pattern. would you prefer they hang around and sprout roots? but either way, it is not and has never been my decision who gets to post here. if i have a beef with the israel project team of professional bloggers what’s it to you? it’s just my theory anyway, i can’t prove it.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 2:00 pm

          shmuel, re ‘guidance’ here is what the comment policy says

          2. No Nakba or Holocaust denial. We’re not going to tolerate any discussion of the Jewish role in the rise of the Nazis which is used as a pretext for blaming Jews for the Nazi rise, a form of Holocaust denial we want no part of. Similarly, this policy includes Nakba denial as well, and efforts to blame the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 on Palestinian actions.

        • Shmuel
          March 2, 2012, 2:13 pm

          efforts to blame the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 on Palestinian actions

          You’re right. Identical guidelines were given for Holocaust and Nakba denial. Yet there are complaints that Nakba denial has regularly been getting through.

        • Woody Tanaka
          March 2, 2012, 2:20 pm

          “Fine, they’ve done almost nothing. Happy?”

          How do you know it’s “almost nothing?” Again, they could be deleting dozens for every one you complain about. How do you know?

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 2:45 pm

          Yet there are complaints that Nakba denial has regularly been getting through.

          i’ve seen it get thru and i’ve called it out. i recall hostage getting really pissed about it once. i miss hostage.

        • Walid
          March 2, 2012, 2:56 pm

          “To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence of organised calls to Palestinian civilians, by Palestinian or other Arab leaders, in print or on radio, to leave their homes in order to make way for the victorious Arab forces. ”

          Shmuel and Annie, I only used that as an example but it wasn’t organized calls to evacuate. As Annie said, not many Americans know what the nakba is about, but preventing people like eee from talking about it is also taking away from me an opportunity to refute it and give someone that had never heard of it the opportunity of learning about it. The same argument should apply to the benefit of a Jew refuting someone’s argument about the collusion of the Zionists with the Nazis and this argument has nothing to do with denying the holocaust. Speaking for myself, I believe the holocaust did happen but why can’t I discuss the Zionist collusion as it concerns it?

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 3:26 pm

          i am sorry walid, i answered you to the best of my ability. i would urge you to address your questions to phil and adam. as far as eee is concerned i was not privy to any discussion wrt his banning, so your guess is as good as mine.

        • Walid
          March 2, 2012, 3:28 pm

          Thanks for the answer, Annie.

        • seafoid
          March 2, 2012, 4:06 pm

          Chaos

          All the banned comments are currently with an investment bank in Wall St. They will be repackaged and given a AA rating by S&P and sold to Sovereign Wealth funds. Nothing is ever wasted. Everything is used.

        • Mooser
          March 2, 2012, 4:14 pm

          “Nakba denial is claiming that it isn’t a crime to steal someone’s home when they flee your threat of violence.”

          They are sort of in a bind here. Since Nakba denial of one type or another is just about the norm in the media and in many people’s minds, they (Phil and Adam, Mondoweiss generally) may have to let these things come up, (and come up in all the evasiness and special pleading, or worse, of their usual formulations) so that they can be refuted or demolished or the facts established.

        • Dan Crowther
          March 2, 2012, 4:26 pm

          i gotta agree with my main man mooser here — if ur a long time commenter denying the nakba, you gots to go…. but for the new arrivals, better to let them get eviscerated by the legion of informed cats (and moose) here…..

        • marc b.
          March 2, 2012, 4:55 pm

          hostage has been banned? my memory is terrible with names, particular the nicknames so often used on the internet, but we’re talking about the guy/gal who was the resident international law expert, right?

        • Annie Robbins
          March 2, 2012, 5:40 pm

          no way, hostage was not banned. i think he just decided not to post for awhile.

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 6:35 pm

          Can you blame him?

        • seafoid
          March 3, 2012, 11:29 am

          It’s a pity he’s away. People take things very personally.
          And it’s the hours before the dawn.

        • Chaos4700
          March 4, 2012, 4:09 am

          That’s right, Woody. We should just assume there are nukes in Iraq — oh wait, did I mean Iran? — because that’s what we’re told, never mind what we actually see.

        • Mooser
          March 4, 2012, 3:43 pm

          “legion of informed cats (and moose)”

          Dan, I can’t let you get away with this, and start a dangerous trend. I am most manifestly, positively and almost copmpletely uninformed on Israeli-Palestinian issues, and intend to remain obdurately so, for as long as possible. I made up my mind a long time ago, and have no desire to obsessively track every inch of descent on the way to disaster. Only a fool would accept his religion as a government. For a Jew to do so, given the track record of “Jewish leadership” he would have to be a particularly desperate fool. And to do it in the specific situation which obtained in Palestine at the time requires a positively transcendent credulity and an almost superhuman desperation. I feel very sorry for them, but I don’t see how that can change what’s in front of my face.
          At any rate I try to remain as ignorant as possible. And my sucess (or even primacy) in that area must be acknowledged.

        • Dan Crowther
          March 5, 2012, 10:24 am

          no doubt moose man – your an ignorant SOM. good on ya!!

          haha.

          We are witnessing the inch by inch descent arent we?

        • Mooser
          March 5, 2012, 2:01 pm

          “We are witnessing the inch by inch descent arent we?”

          My descent into knowledge about Israel-Palestine issues? I doubt it. That one’s a loser any way you look at it. Me, I think Phil’s “redeem the Jews” angle is the biggest loser of all, and leads to a ludicrous and self-imposed impotence on the issue. Of course, you never know what might happen in the future. Things change.

        • Woody Tanaka
          March 5, 2012, 3:16 pm

          “That’s right, Woody. We should just assume there are nukes in Iraq — oh wait, did I mean Iran? — because that’s what we’re told, never mind what we actually see.”

          You’re the one making unsupported statements here, not me. I have no idea how many posts have been deleted. It could be as few as the number that I’ve noticed being deleted and it could be as many as is physically possible to delete. I do know, however, that it is not “zero.” So if you want to argue that too many are posted, fine. Make that argument. But to assert that “NOTHING” is done here, when that is obviously not true, simply makes it easy to dismiss the rest of your opinions.

  21. jewishgoyim
    March 1, 2012, 10:49 pm

    I’m glad Witty is out of the conversation because he hijacked many threads over the years by reacting very early and having people angrily replying to him. This was hindering the conversation people were trying to have on this site. And I’m sure Witty was perfectly content with this result. I mean people vociferously disagreeing with the editorial line may read like the site is a place of debate and tolerance. Now it’s clear that if you have mini-dersh trolls hijacking all the threads, we’re in a situation where readers cannot learn and share in the forum.

    I understand now that it was Blankfort who was targeted a few weeks ago about this role of Zionism in the rise of the Nazis. Never read anything about it. Now he’s been warned before and probably kept doing it so I’d agree with the ban. On the other hand, I hope Blankfort has a site so I can check out what he has to say…

    • Blake
      March 2, 2012, 11:45 am

      Someone said previously on mw he is part of the ‘deliberation’ website. Googling his name I think he also writes for ‘ifamericansonlyknew’.

    • Walid
      March 2, 2012, 3:18 pm

      jewishgoyim, Witty’s highjacking happened only because others jumped on the opportunity to start stoning him. Witty simply dropped a stink bomb and the people that responded to it were the ones fueling the threadjacking. I think he actually added colour here, especially when James North gave us his English interpretations of Witty’s posts. With most of the hasbarists gone, we’re left all talking to each other about the things we already know.

      • seafoid
        March 2, 2012, 4:08 pm

        We already knew all the hasbara Walid.

        I have yet to come across a decent defence of Israel .

      • Danaa
        March 2, 2012, 5:30 pm

        Walid – I agree with you here. Am on record as finding Witty’s banning silly. Besides I owe him for a couple of especially florid missives he got out of me. I never forget an inspiration, and am willing to make the minimum effort it takes to skip over posts I don’t care to rummage through. Also, like you I thoroughly miss James North’s witty take-downs of the wit. I said before that I’ll be all to glad to have Witty around to kick a little if that’s what it takes to get Blankfort back. Alas, I believe it’s the other way around: to get rid of Blankfort (the hefty pound of flesh demanded by the PTB) they (MW) had to throw in a semi-hefty counter-weight to make it look “balanced”. The fact that we are not quite mollified is a testament to the obvious fact that the counter-weight was far from hefty enough. It takes 10 Witties to make one Blankfort (a number arrived at after painstaking computations involving 1000′s of random per-mutations), so we are left thirsting.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 8:51 am

          Hi Danaa, I learned a few things from JB, especially about Lebanon that he covered at a time of war and his description of the games of chicken the Israeli military were playing with the US marines in Beirut. There has to be something defective about the Israeli military. The Germans and French that had joined the UNIFIL peacekeeping force to protect Israel after the 2006 war were repeatedly mock-attacked by the Israeli air force. At one point, the French were seconds away from launching a missile at an Israeli plane. What makes Israelis act like that?

      • Pixel
        March 2, 2012, 5:41 pm

        “Witty’s highjacking happened only because others jumped on the opportunity to start stoning him. Witty simply dropped a stink bomb and the people that responded to it were the ones fueling the threadjacking.

        I’ve said it above but I’ll say it, again, this is absolutely true.

        “I think he actually added colour here, especially when James North gave us his English interpretations of Witty’s posts. With most of the hasbarists gone, we’re left all talking to each other about the things we already know.”

        Witty never felt like a troll to me. I disagreed with most of what he had to say but there was merit in his saying it.

        The problem felt less like Witty and more about those who weren’t able to respond to him, let go, and then move on.

      • Donald
        March 2, 2012, 6:26 pm

        “Witty’s highjacking happened only because others jumped on the opportunity to start stoning him. ”

        This comment sounds like disapproval of those who responded to Richard’s posts.

        “With most of the hasbarists gone, we’re left all talking to each other about the things we already know.”

        This comment sounds like you want hasbarists so we can talk to them about things, in which case it was fine to respond to Richard. I never know where people stood on that. Was Richard a good representative of liberal Zionism, and therefore someone we need to have around to debate, or was it a waste of time to debate him because liberal Zionism is clearly wrong or was it a waste of time because Richard was such an odd debater (to put it in neutral terms) and not such a good representative of any position?

        I’m sort of neutral on this banning thing. I wrote a rant about a month ago urging civility and also urging people not to talk as though Jews somehow provoked the Holocaust, because it’s insane and anti-semitic.
        Who gets banned and who doesn’t isn’t that big a deal to me, because I’m used to other very good blogs where there are rules, people get banned, etc… So what? I’d read this blog if Phil and Adam did the As’ad AbuKhalil thing and just eliminated the comment section.

        As for civility, I’m not sure how it can work in practice. I’d like to see civility to people like Jerome Slater who acknowledges all the Israeli crimes against Palestinians, but actually find it a bit creepy when people are oh so polite to others who are defending war crimes. Why is politeness in that context necessarily a good thing? Why is it a defense of someone to say that they were polite if they defended war crimes? Doesn’t it seem to say that we’re discussing a topic where reasonable people can disagree in good faith? Should we have polite discussions about whether it is a good thing to commit atrocities? Then afterwards we can all go out for a drinks and laugh together, the way lawyers allegedly do after fighting in court.

        If this blog is supposed to be a place where people exchange ideas, the best thing to happen would be for most of us to shut up most of the time (that most definitely includes me) and let the people who know the most do most of the commenting, unless there’s something really useful we think we can contribute. (This particular comment doesn’t qualify, but since we’re just commenting on commenting I don’t suppose quality matters that much.)

        I would actually welcome seeing debate and discussion between anti-Zionists, various forms of Zionists, and also discussion of other developments in the Arab and/or Muslim world that have little directly to do with Israel, but by people who are experts. Some people here are pretty knowledgeable, but much of the comment section is just people expressing their emotional reaction to things (I do that a lot) and after awhile, who cares?

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 8:23 am

          “This comment sounds like you want hasbarists so we can talk to them about things, in which case it was fine to respond to Richard.

          … I would actually welcome seeing debate and discussion between anti-Zionists, various forms of Zionists, and also discussion of other developments in the Arab and/or Muslim world that have little directly to do with Israel, but by people who are experts. ”

          Yes, Donald, I welcome posts by eee, hophmi, WJ., Werdine and even Witty because they break the monotony of the talk about the Zionists and Israelis. Like you, I also welcome discussions about other Mid-East issues that don’t have anything to do with Israel. This blog advertises itself as a war of ideas about the Middle East but all that is ever talked about are Israel, Zionists and more Zionists and whatever else that has to do with Israel. It’s mostly an Israel discussion group with not much interest in anything else, a glance at the titles of articles here shows it. Palestine is discussed only when something is done to it by Israel.

        • Donald
          March 3, 2012, 12:51 pm

          “Yes, Donald, I welcome posts by eee, hophmi, WJ., Werdine and even Witty because they break the monotony of the talk about the Zionists and Israelis. ”

          I don’t follow. Without Zionists we sit around and talk about the crimes of Zionists. With Zionists present we hammer them over the head with the crimes of Zionists. Those of us (I was one of the chief offenders) who responded to Richard were criticized for allowing him to hijack the thread, but the fact is that when you set aside Richard’s personal peculiarities the arguments we had with him about Israel’s human rights record were more or less the same (minus all the ridicule that Richard elicited) that you’d have with most Zionists except the most liberal (like Jerry Slater). That happened with eee and Werdine and others too. After a while it’s just the same old thing, over and over and over again. Here’s my point–if one wants to talk about what Israel did in the Gaza War (i.e. slaughter), then the most effective case for saying that they committed war crimes has been laid out in long form in the Goldstone Report, by Amnesty International, by Human Rights Watch and others. In shorter form Jerome Slater has done a superb job on some aspects of it (including what led up to it). If one wants the Zionist case then I think there are people who could probably do a better job than Richard Witty–an Israeli philosopher named Halbertal took some potshots at Goldstone, I believe, and would probably make a better advocate for that side of things than any Zionist commenter who shows up at MW. The subject has been beaten to death here, but it keeps coming up because someone like Richard would bring up the old apologetics all over again. That’s the nature of the blog. It probably doesn’t matter whether any particular person is banned or not–so long as there are some Zionists and some anti-Zionists present the argument on that subject and all others will be endless, without anything new being said after one reads them a few times.

          That’s one reason why a week ago when one of the new Zionists came here I supplied links to the Lawrence of Cyberia website. If someone seriously wants to understand the anti-Zionist case, there are better ways to do so than spending hours reading arguments in a blog comment section. The author of that website (Diane Mason) has done a superb job writing numerous articles and that’s a much better way to learn the anti-Z case, for any newcomer here who is serious. If they just come to have arguments and enjoy the squabbling, then this is the better place.

          As for the rest of the Middle East, yes, I’d like to see more articles on that, but by people who really know the area. Not comments from people like me. At best someone like me might be able to supply an interesting link or two, or an occasional relevant fact.

        • Pixel
          March 4, 2012, 7:07 am

          “Witty’s highjacking happened only because others jumped on the opportunity to start stoning him. ”

          No, the problem was “sniping”.

          I’d see a post with 75 comments, get ready to read a great discussion, and find that 50 of them were this incredibly juvenile (in content and tone) back and forth with him.

          It got to the point where I could, literally, guess with great accuracy who was going to participate in Richard’s attempt to threadjack, and exactly what they were going to say.

          It was “sniping” – boring and unproductive.

          Occasionally, this would be called out by other commenters but it never stopped.

          I seriously feel that participating in fomenting a threadjacking by sniping should be banned.

          …And and I don’t mean a couple of intelligent and respectful challenges to someone’s position, which, clearly, are appropriate.

        • Pixel
          March 4, 2012, 7:51 am

          “I’d read this blog if Phil and Adam did the As’ad AbuKhalil thing and just eliminated the comment section.”

          As would I, I think.

          The trouble with eliminating comments is that, in effect, the author is talking to him/herself.

          There’s a great deal of intelligence, knowledge, and “collective wisdom” in the comments here overall, which would be lost, not just to readers but to Phil and Adam, too.

        • Mooser
          March 4, 2012, 4:45 pm

          I have long felt that Mondoweiss should move to a “verified” comment section. There are many of them on the Web, and if I am not mistaken, Salon runs two of them on two different levels.
          In a verified comment section, each commenter must be willing to submit their real name, address, and relevant vitae to gain entrance to the comment section. When it has been at least minimally verified.
          This is the only way, by requiring commenters to post under their real names and identities, to keep this forum from collapsing into irrelevance.
          And I’m pretty sure it would eliminate the Hasbara trolls. At least, when a guy was schpritzing about “Jewish democracy” from a settlement, we would know it.

  22. dbroncos
    March 2, 2012, 12:38 am

    Phil and Adam have a tough job. Deciding what to post or not is tiresome work and my impression is that those guys do some hand wringing over their editorial decisions. Mr. Blankfort’s ” discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany” has no place in “the war of ideas in the middle east.” If such a discussion were posted here it would dump a huge crapstorm on Mondoweiss. Phil and Adam are already swimming against the tide in the Jewish community and, I’m guessing, they’ve made waves within their own families. They are under no obligation to invite accusations of “holocaust denier”, on top of whatever other names they’ve been called, just to entertain Mr. Blanfkort’s free speech on a topic that has no direct impact on I/P. It’s important to keep our eyes on the prize: justice

  23. Taxi
    March 2, 2012, 1:47 am

    Thank you Phil for showing us, the blogging community, our due respect and responding to our many requests for clarifications.

    I appreciate your concerns regarding antisemitism but please be aware that you are banning the discussion of certain facts on the history of zionism during the holocaust. Why create a ‘missing link’ in the overall picture? Why not have the strictest moderation applied to such sensitive topics instead of an out and out black-out of information on the subject matter and the harsh banning of valuable contributors?

    Because your sudden bannings proceeded the new rules, it leaves one thinking that the bannings were personal and not at all judicious. A knee-jerk reaction instead of a measured policy. A hysterical instead of a rational and equitable decision. Draconian, if you like.

    So I ask you here to please consider pressing the reset button and reinstate everyone back to this valuable forum. I have no doubt that if you did this, the quality and content of the returnees will be better self-moderated, unburdening therefore your suffering moderators. And if any bloggers should cross the line in the sand you’ve clearly drawn from here on, then you reserve the right, guilt and blame free, to reject publishing their posts and possibly even ban them.

    Please Phil and Adam, reconsider your decision – your site and your cause will be better served for it, truly.

    I announced that I would go into self-exile if no word about this affair was forthcoming from you by the 1st March – it’s the eve of the 1st of March right now hahahaha – what’s a few hours between old friends eh?!

    Please reset the button, Phil and Adam. Bring everyone back: Jeffrey, Potsherd, Witty, eee, etc. Distinguish yourselves from other websites by a growing inclusiveness of opinion, not by narrowing down a complex debate with numerous tentacles. Non-jewish bloggers here can be simultaneously sensitive and astutely probing of the history of zionism. You must trust that. Otherwise you are playing into the hands of extreme zionism that imposes taboos on discussion of their history to keep the world in darkness.

    We can’t find the right answers to any problem by just feeling in the dark. We need light, light, and more light on the I/P conflict and you guys hold the torches in your hands. Please don’t hinder illumination and therefore enlightenment. The very essence of this site after all is about enlightenment.

    • anonymouscomments
      March 2, 2012, 11:18 am

      Could not have said it better (or half as well). Please consider an un-banning, and one strike you are out from there out.

      Many deserve the chance to conform to new ground rules, witty included. Dedicated people from all sides were summarily dismissed with what I feel was little to no warning.

    • Pixel
      March 2, 2012, 5:48 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

      I’d also suggest that warnings be given to those who fuel threadjacking by participating in it. Self-restraint on that side of the equation is needed.

  24. Ismail
    March 2, 2012, 9:41 am

    The feckless Witty elicits endless impassioned replies from folks here despite the lack of novelty, thoughtfulness or profundity in his comments, and it’s his fault? Apologists for Zionism who would gladly construe a preference for mayonnaise on one’s roast beef sandwiches as evidence of antisemitism pile on Blankfort, and it’s his fault?

    Right. And did you see that short skirt she was wearing? She was asking for it…..

    I get the idea that you don’t want to open the site to criticism that some may find more compelling than the boilerplate bullshit you get from the haters, but isn’t it too late for that? Do you think that any critic of Mondoweiss will be mollified by the exclusion of Blankfort? (“We used to think that Weiss was a self-hating Jew and his site a nursery for antisemites, but now that he’s banned Blankfort, we see the error of our ways”).

    If you believe Blankfort’s an antisemite, I can understand banning him (although I do think there’s an interesting conversation to be had about that), but banning him because he may make you look bad to those who would undoubtedly hold you in low regard anyway?

  25. Sin Nombre
    March 2, 2012, 10:17 am

    A couple of points, prefaced by noting that while I don’t support the censorship announced here you still have to acknowledge that this is Phil’s site, he can run it the way he wants, he’s run it brilliantly so far, he and Adam are manifestly reasonable, smart guys, one can understand the impulse to censor, and that if anyone can be trusted to censor reasonably it would be Phil and Adam.

    Given that though it’s struck me that the underlying and apparently sole reason for the censorship here is questionable: I understand the fear that by allowing what is banned the site might seem … undignified, unserious, etc. But look at Foreign Policy’s site: They don’t seem to censor at all, and how much more august can you get than Foreign Policy? In short it seems to me it’s the nature and the quality of what the *site* owners post that matters, not the comments from others. (Which only seems reasonable enough when you think of it.)

    Plus then there’s the question of the ability of *anyone* to reasonably censor. Getting rid of Witty, for instance? If he hijacked anything it was because the other commentators allowed it. He wasn’t nasty, he clearly shared a not-uncommon view (indeed what might be considered *the* reigning view in American politics), and he never called names I don’t think.

    Plus note something else: In Phil’s comments here he talked about how “one thing that became an issue here [between him and Blankfort] was the claim of collective American ‘Jewish responsibility’ for support for Israel.”

    Well okay, but then what do we see just today? A comment penned by Alex Kane noting that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations—clearly representing same, 52 of them—coming down like a ton of bricks on little old J-Street. And of course, one might reasonably ask, what’s *that* say about the collective American jewish support for Israel?

    In short, it’s a devilishly hard if not impossible thing to censor reasonably without appearing hypocritical, having double standards, and at the very least getting drawn into some very difficult conversations … ironically about *precisely* that which one wished to censor in the first place.

    Like I say though I sympathize with what Phil and Adam are trying to do, and don’t think they’ve wrecked this site by any means yet, but … banning Witty? Doesn’t it tell you something about the fundamental soundness of your formula when in one of its first applications it seems to produce a highly questionable if not unreasonable result?

    Anyway, just my two cents, very modestly offered.

    • American
      March 2, 2012, 7:37 pm

      I agree mostly with Sin.

      I don’t think Bankfort should have been banned. I haven’t gone back to read his all comments ( I will later) but in what I saw and from all I have seen of his writing I don’t think he’s in any way promoting a anti semitic pov.

      This seems to be the bugga boo of the site…”one thing that became an issue here [between him and Blankfort] was the claim of collective American ‘Jewish responsibility’ for support for Israel.” (Or in anti-S in Germany)

      Which to my way of thinking is sort of ridiculous. Here we have a Jew, Phil ( and Adam) risking gawds know what wrath to bring Jews to the light on Israel -I/P and someone is gonna believe ALL Jews are responsible for Israel from seeing anything here—like they don’t know Weiss is Jewish? That’s the first thing. The second thing is the debate we could have, but which is completely pointless and irrelevant, is how many Jews does it take to make the whole community responsible? People have been collectively blaming since they huddled in caves, appears to be the way world herds. There is also general responsibility, doing nothing and specific responsibility for doing something so you could debate this till cows come home. I may be wrong but I think when someone sees a entire group of people being blamed for something they recoil from that, for one reason because they feel they wouldn’t want to be blamed for something their group did that they had nothing to do with, it’s basically unfair.
      On the other hand isn’t what Mondo is doing is suggesting Jews as a group do have some responsibility for Israel and they must step up and do the right thing by speaking out against it’s injustice in Palestine?
      It all gets complicated when you are trying to prod an audience (like MW readers) with articles or attract certain readers and protect them at the same time in the comment section.
      I think it is better to assume people’s intentions are good in some of the more contentious subject discussions unless and until they go so over the line there is no doubt about their bad intent.
      But ultimately this is the Mondo blog and it sets the rules imo. Couldn’t pay me a million dollars to have this monitoring headache.

  26. Exiled At Home
    March 2, 2012, 10:41 am

    “Also Jeff sought to have a discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany here. As we have made clear, this is not a subject we want any part of. It generally leads to anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, which we won’t tolerate on the site, and unquestionably hurts our ability to reach out.”

    Is this really the discussion Jeff Blankfort was trying to have? Was he really linking a Jewish role with the rise of the Third Reich? Or, was he linking Zionism with the rise of the Third Reich?

    Phil, is there truth to what Jeff was trying to discuss, or do you believe his position to be patently false?

    If it’s the latter, I’d disagree with you, but at least your intention is to censor what you deem to be dishonest propaganda. If it’s the former, however, you’ve knowingly censored honest, well-intentioned and important discourse simply because it affects your ability “to reach out.” That’s wrong. That’s shameless. That’s a victory for Zionism. Zionsim only exists still because honest, well-intentioned and important discourse has been silenced out of irrational deference to the sensitivities of certain demographics. Worrying about who might be upset is no honest basis for censoring the truth, especially when this censorship directly contributes to the prolonging of an inherently racist political imbalance. Silencing Jeff Blankfort is no more principled or constructive than running interference for AIPAC. The outcome is the same: you help sustain the legitimacy of Zionism, in this case by removing an importantly vocal critic of Zionism.

    • Walid
      March 2, 2012, 3:35 pm

      “Phil, is there truth to what Jeff was trying to discuss, or do you believe his position to be patently false?”

      The same question keeps going through my mind about my 3 rejected posts that dealt with the 1933 Jewish worldwide call to boycott German goods. If such an event was false, I’d appreciate someone setting me straight about it.

      • Shmuel
        March 2, 2012, 6:22 pm

        If such an event was false, I’d appreciate someone setting me straight about it.

        Walid, can you find a source for the claim that doesn’t ultimately lead back to an article from the racist “Barnes Review” or equally dubious source?

        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 1:45 am

          “… dubious source?”

          Shmuel, thanks for answering, I got it from the American Jewish Historical Society; in a nutshell:
          a. Nazis came to power on January 30, 1933
          b. Nazis imediately began harrassing Jewish businesses
          c. Jews in the USA declared economic war on Germany March 12, 1933
          d. European Jewish leaders try to stop the Jewish boycott March 19, 1933
          e. Nazis react with violent boycott of Jewish businesses April 1, 1933

          American Jewish Historical Society’s link I had provided in my initial post:
          link to ajhs.org

          A more detailed review of the dramatic back and forth trans Atlantic goings-on between pro and anti Jewish leaders and the part about the Paris meeting of March 19th to block the boycott and a short history on the assimilation of Jews in Germany provided by Francisco Gil-White’s Historical and Investigative Research blog:
          link to hirhome.com

        • Shmuel
          March 3, 2012, 4:58 am

          I haven’t read through all of Gil-White’s* article, but it seems to me that he, like the article posted by the AJHS, cites Goebbels’ propagandistic representation of “worldwide Jewish attacks” and Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses as a legitimate “reaction”. I’m not sure where he gets the idea that any of this constituted “economic war” or that it had the capacity to bring Germany “to its knees” or posed a serious threat to Hitler’s political future, but I suspect that these too come from Nazi propaganda.

          There is no doubt that there were some calls for boycott in the United States, in response to Nazi brutality against Jews, but that is a far cry from “worldwide Jewish economic warfare” and the idea that subsequent Nazi actions were a matter of “self-defence”. That is the context in which the ’33 boycott is usually cited, as a way of rationalising Nazi anti-Jewish policies and blaming the victims (or at least their “worldwide” relatives).

          *I don’t know who Gil-White is, but I gather (from Wiki, I admit) that he is not a historian, that he has strong political biases, and that he has made some other odd historical assertions in relation to those biases.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 7:36 am

          Shmuel, you want to disprove that which you haven’t yet read. Gil-White has his bio on his site and he states there that he was fired from the University of Pennsylvania (I think) because his reasearch into American foreign policy was getting too close for the university’s comfort, I guess somewhat like what happened with JB’s research.

          You skipped over my primary source, which was the American Jewish Historical Society and you didn’t say if this society was in the same class as the other one you found dubious, the Barnes Review.

          I’m trying to remember a third credible source where I read that the initial January 1933 boycotting of Jewish businesses by the Nazis that preceded the massive and violent national boycott against Jews of April 1, 1933 according to prominent Jews, had been grossly exaggerated. It was that alleged exaggeration that kicked-off the public call by Jews at the Madison Square Garden rally on March 27th to massively boycott German goods to bring Germany to its knees that provoked the retaliatory boycott of April 1st by the Nazis.

          What you’ll find in Gil-White’s piece, are the fine details of what happened between the American Jews’ decision of March 12 to call for the boycott, the subsequent efforts by European Jews, some American Jewish leaders and the German Zionists to short-circuit the planned boycott because they feared the repercussions, the actual official announcement of the boycott on March 27th in front of 40,000 attendees at MSG, and Germany’s reaction of April 1st.

        • Shmuel
          March 3, 2012, 9:51 am

          Walid,

          I read the AJHS article, and all it says was that there were some (understandable) calls for boycott in the US and some rallies, and that Goebbels “accused German Jewry of engineering a worldwide boycott of German goods to destroy the German economy”, and that Goebbels described the Nazi boycott as a reactive measure.

          Unless one takes Goebbels’ propagandistic version of events at face value, whatever boycott some American Jews called for and managed to organise is a mere footnote in the history of that period. In revisionist “history” however, it becomes important, because it frames Nazi anti-Jewish policies as part of a “war” between Germany and “International Jewry” – actually started by the Jews! If that isn’t apology for genocide playing on racist stereotypes, it’s pretty close, and I don’t blame Phil and Adam for not wanting to allow such discussions here in the first place.

        • Shmuel
          March 3, 2012, 10:56 am

          In case it wasn’t clear, Walid, I wasn’t accusing you of racism or apology for genocide.

        • Chaos4700
          March 3, 2012, 11:15 am

          I’d like to note how similar Nazi complaints against the boycott are, to Israel’s complaints against the boycott are.

          You know, if saying so doesn’t get me banned or anything.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 11:41 am

          “If that isn’t apology for genocide playing on racist stereotypes, it’s pretty close, and I don’t blame Phil and Adam for not wanting to allow such discussions here in the first place.”

          Hi Shmuel, I’m glad you cleared up the racism thing; my answer was about to go out and I’ve had to delete half of it after your post scriptum. I don’t take much anything from anyone on face value, especially from the likes of scumbags like Goebbels. I got into this subject simply out of my curiosity of history and to reach the 2 sources I listed, I had to dig for them through several sites of dubious caliber that were probably playing the anti-Jewish racist angle, but the two sites I cited, especially the respectable AJHS one discussed the issue from a historical perspective with no hidden agenda.

          BTW, where this came from was from the Cobban thread of about 2 weeks back about some anti-BDS professor bad-mouthing Barghoutti’s intentions and had branded him a Nazi boycotter of sorts. To this, I had responded, that the Jews had started first with the boycotts and provided the AJHS link but my post was refused. The moderator probably thought I was trying to score something but had he read the AJHS link I provided, he’d have seen this was not my intent.

          Shmuel, I believe that if you re-read the AJHS article with an open mind, you’d see where I’m coming from. I can understand how seeing the word “Goebbels” in an article can turn you completely off and I can’t blame you for feeling this way. But this should not stand in the way of exploring a historical fact that so far you consider merely a footnote in the history of the period. I guess you can say I’m into this for the chicken or the egg answer to a question concerning boycotts, and in no way having anything to do with pinning the cause of the war on the Jews. As far as I’m concerned, those that caused the war were those people that drafted the Versailles and the Nazis took it from there. As to the mere footnote issue you raised, I leave you with a small passage from the American Jewish History Society article:

          “… On March 27th, the AJCongress and its allies convened simultaneous protest rallies at Madison Square Garden in New York, in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland and 70 other locations. The New York rally was broadcast worldwide. An overflow crowd of 55,000 inside the Garden and in the streets outside heard AJCongress president Bernard Deutsch, American Federation of Labor president William Green, Senator Robert F. Wagner, former New York governor Al Smith and several Christian clergy call for an immediate cessation of the brutal treatment being inflicted on German Jewry.”

        • Annie Robbins
          March 3, 2012, 12:08 pm

          walid, according to wiki that madison square garden event was in march 15,1937, not 1933.

          here is the photo: link to en.wikipedia.org

          edit: but here, from the american jewish historical society, i see it does place the rally in 1933. link to ajhs.org

        • LeaNder
          March 3, 2012, 12:47 pm

          Gil-White has his bio on his site and he states there that he was fired

          Well, it’s always helpful to pose as a martyr for the truth in these contexts. Just as the idea that everything you ever heard is absolutely wrong.

          to massively boycott German goods to bring Germany to its knees that provoked the retaliatory boycott of April 1st by the Nazis.

          Why do you think some rationalist claim not quite without reason that the BDS campaign may not work as we wish?

          Why don’t you read Hitler’s Mein Kampf, written long before 1933? If you are attracted to his legacy: Adolf Hitler’s Political Testament:

          Centuries will pass away, but out of the ruins of our towns and monuments the hatred against those finally responsible whom we have to thank for everything, international Jewry and its helpers, will grow.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 1:28 pm

          Annie, that’s interesting, not because of the unreliable Wiki, but because looking into this, I see Wiki is copying the March 15, 1937 date from the Jewish Virtual Library:

          wrongly dated photo
          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

          But, another Jewish Virtual Library article by Edwin Black titled “Could We Have Stopped Hitler?” has the correct March 27, 1933 date. It’s an interesting article that also covers the Transfer Agreement that Yourstruly mentioned below but that I didn’t get into because I was concentrating on boycotts:

          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

          By the way, Yourstruly had posted a comment on the same subject and when I responded to it, my post was rejected and Yourstruly’s was deleted. Also, the AJHS link you are talking about is the subject of the discussion with Shmuel

        • American
          March 3, 2012, 2:29 pm

          “In revisionist “history” however, it becomes important, because it frames Nazi anti-Jewish policies as part of a “war” between Germany and “International Jewry” – actually started by the Jews! If that isn’t apology for genocide playing on racist stereotypes, it’s pretty close, and I don’t blame Phil and Adam for not wanting to allow such discussions here in the first place.”

          Shmuel, that’s nonsense. Recognizing that the World Jewish Congress publicly called for a world wide boycott of Germany is not an apology or excuse for genocide or the holocaust or saying they started it. What it ‘is’ is recognizing that this probably “escalated” tensions and further re enforced whatever intentions Hitler had toward Jews were to begin with. There is a difference between escalating something and causing something. International Jewery as you refer to it did in a public way declare economic war on Germany. If they had not done this would it have made in difference in the end? Unlikely. But could it have caused Hitler to double down on German Jews quicker and harder as a threat and punishment, something to hold over the heads of the international Jews boycott call? I can see that being Hitlers reaction.
          I think that was a foolhardy thing for the WJC to do since they had no way to protect German Jews from taking whatever additional fallout of Hitler’s or German anger this could have caused. Whatever their good intentions they threw fuel on the fire. It wasn’t smart strategy.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 3, 2012, 3:27 pm

          i certainly hope the BDS campaign never gets accused of planning their own ethnic cleansing! talk about crazy.

        • Shmuel
          March 3, 2012, 3:40 pm

          I’m glad you cleared up the racism thing

          I was out the door when I realised that my comment might give that impression, so I came back in and sent off the clarification. Sorry if I caused you any aggravation.

        • Shmuel
          March 3, 2012, 3:56 pm

          Shmuel, that’s nonsense

          I respectfully disagree. I think that the calls for boycott and the potential threat they posed were blown out of all proportion by the Nazi propaganda machine, and that any excuse (real or fabricated – and they had plenty of those as well) would have done just as well (LeaNder helpfully points us to Mein Kampf). I also think that the claim of “world Jewish economic warfare against Germany” is primarily used today in the context I have noted.

        • Shmuel
          March 3, 2012, 4:14 pm

          I’d like to note how similar Nazi complaints against the boycott are, to Israel’s complaints against the boycott are.

          Internal matter, security, fifth column, terrorism, self-defence, etc.

          It’s all in the authoritarian handbook, whether in Hebrew, German, Spanish, Italian, English or any other language.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 4:52 pm

          “… Well, it’s always helpful to pose as a martyr for the truth in these contexts. Just as the idea that everything you ever heard is absolutely wrong.”

          LeaNder, you’re fighting the wrong battle with the wrong person; I was never an admirer of Hitler’s legacy. Nonetheless, the 1933 boycott is a fascinating subject and to shy away from it by ignoring it, ridiculing it, belittling it, or throwing some Hitlerisms at it is to also pose as a martyr.

          The Jewish boycott of German business yielded results, according to Edwin Black’s book on the Transfer Agreement about a negotiated arrangement in 1933 between Zionist organizations and the Nazis to transfer some 50,000 Jews, and $100 million of their assets, to Jewish Palestine in exchange for stopping the worldwide Jewish-led boycott threatening to topple the Hitler regime in its first year. His book that covers the Jewish boycott that appears to be spooking some here was prefaced by former New York Times Books editor-in-chief Edward T. Chase, and contained a powerful new Afterword by Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham H. Foxman. Excerpts were published in the Jewish Virtual Library linked in an above post as well as in the Nizkor Project that’s dedicated to the memory of holocaust victims:

          link to nizkor.org

        • Keith
          March 3, 2012, 4:57 pm

          WALID- For what it is worth, your link to Francisco Gil-White got me interested, so I started reading. I quickly picked up some real bad vibes. A few clicks of the mouse and I discovered that Francisco is a global warming denier and a Philo-Semite who thinks that Israel gave away way too much at Oslo, and that the PLO has Nazi roots. I wouldn’t touch this guy with a ten foot pole.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 5:02 pm

          No aggravation, Shmuel; always a pleasure to hear from you.

        • Shmuel
          March 3, 2012, 5:14 pm

          Walid,

          I haven’t read Black’s book, but the Transfer Agreement was clearly in the Nazi interest, in any case. They got rid of 50,000 Jews – at a time when Nazi policy favoured Jewish emigration, but did not allow Jews to remove their assets. The Transfer Agreement overcame this obstacle, by allowing the transfer of assets in the form of new German goods, thereby helping rather than harming the German economy. Win-win as far as the Nazis were concerned.

          Of course it entailed a gross violation of whatever boycott there may have been at the time (if not its complete collapse), if only because the Jewish Agency, which sold the German goods received in Palestine, became an active broker for German exports.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 5:56 pm

          Keith, drop Gil-White; most of the stuff he wrote is discussed by Edwin Black in the Nizkor link above. It’s great reading eventhough you only have the 3 chapters. It seems many prominent Jews accept the importance of the March 1933 Jewish boycott, but not those at Mondo. That boycott succeeded in getting 50,000 Jews as well as $100 million of their assets out of Germany. There are a lot of other sources to this story on the net but you have to make your way through the maze of hate sites also discussing it to reach the good ones.

        • LeaNder
          March 3, 2012, 6:05 pm

          For whatever it’s worth, but here we go. Just to point out that this may not have been a purely Jewish boycott movement only from the Nazi perspective or in their propaganda.

          Nazi officials had already identified the obstacles to German economic policy in 1933. These included the international boycott movement against German goods, organized principally in Great Britain by trade unions and an ad hoc Jewish boycott council in the spring of 1933, and in the United States later that year as retaliation against Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany.

          Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. Nicosia’s source is from the German Federal Archives (BArch stands for Bundesarchiv), section National Socialism. The above is based on a May 1933 document.

          Another snipped from Google books:

          American Federation of Labor: history, encyclopedia, reference book: Volume 3, Issue 1

          American Federation of Labor, William Clark Roberts – 1960 – Snippet view
          We voted the boycott at that time after hearing from President Green authentic, graphic reports of the wanton destruction of the splendid German trade union movement, the persecution of its leaders, the confiscation by the Nazi …

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 6:58 pm

          “Transfer Agreement was clearly in the Nazi interest, in any case. ”

          I agree, Shmuel, and 5 years after the 50,000 were transferred, there was the disastrous conference of 32 countries led by the US at Evian that sort of threw Europe’s Jews to the lions. But it’s not nice to talk about that either.

        • Walid
          March 3, 2012, 7:12 pm

          “respectfully disagree. I think that the calls for boycott and the potential threat they posed were blown out of all proportion by the Nazi propaganda machine”

          Shmuel, these events were happening less than 90 days into the life of the shaky Nazi regime. A minute effect from the boycott was about to have a disastrous effect on an economy already in shambles and only a month after Hitler burned down the Reichstag to blame it on the communists and Jews and suspend civil liberties.

          Add to that the spook effect by the British Labor boycott that LeaNder mentioned and there’s no need for further propaganda.

        • tree
          March 4, 2012, 2:20 am

          I agree, Shmuel, and 5 years after the 50,000 were transferred, there was the disastrous conference of 32 countries led by the US at Evian that sort of threw Europe’s Jews to the lions.

          Forgive me if I am misinterpreting your meaning here, Walid, but your statement seems to imply that only 50,000 German Jews escaped Nazi Germany when, as Tom Segev pointed out in “The Seventh Million”, about two thirds of the Jews of Nazi Germany and Austria (over half a million of them) were able to leave for other destinations and only 50 to 60 thousand went to Palestine, whether as part of the Haavara Agreement or otherwise. The vast majority chose to go elsewhere, although some of those who might have chosen Palestine could have been eliminated by the Zionist selection criteria that was put in place for Jews seeking to move to Palestine. This selection process was in force from the early 1900′s until the 1950 Israeli Law of Return was enacted.

          While the Agreement benefited both Nazi Germany and the Zionists in Palestine, it was not nearly as beneficial to individual German Jews, who for the most part chose other avenues of escape.

          From Black’s “Transfer Agreement”, beginning with the German rules on any German citizen taking money out of the country(which were enacted during the German fiscal crisis in 1931, prior to the start of Nazi Germany):

          In practice.then, if a German citizen decided to emigrate, he would sell off all of his assets realizing, say, RM 100,000, equal to $33,000. That entire RM 100,000 would be deposited in a blocked account, and automatically suffer a 25 percent Flight Tax.Of the RM 75,000 that remained, the emigrant would be allowed to take with him only a few hundred reichmarks, which would be converted to francs, dollars, or whatever currency was needed to satisfy immigrant entry requirements. The emigrant would then own just under RM 75,000 in a blocked German account he could no longer spend. Before departing Germany, he would go to a bank and offer to sell his sperrmarks to the highest bidder. A foreign buyer would be found, offering perhaps RM 60,000 for the 75,000 sperrmarks, paying with the equivalent in foreign currency from a foreign bank account. If agreed, the two would simply swap bank accounts. Thus, the foreign buyer would purchase RM 75,000 for the foreign equivalent of RM 60,000. And the emigrant would have successfully transferred his money out of Germany, albeit at a loss of about 20 percent after discounts to the buyer and bank commissions. After delays of perhaps months, the transaction would be complete.

          Aware of the sperrmark transfer techniques, Sam Cohen [the negotiator hired by the Zionists to reach an economic agreement with Nazi Germany] started dealing. First, find a way to generate enough foreign currency for the German Jewish emigrant to enter Palestine; this amount was 1000 British pound. Then transfer additional amounts of the emigrant’s money to help develop Jewish Palestine, which would be the only allowable destination for the tranferred cash.

          Under Sam Cohen’s plan, the money would never really leave Germany. Instead, Hanotaiah Ltd. would shift its purchases of farm equipment from Czech to German exporters. These German exporters would be paid with reichmarks from the blocked emigrant accounts. When the equipment was sold for pounds sterling in Palestine or elsewhere in the Mideast,Hanotaiah would find some way to compensate the emigrant for the sperrmarks used to pay for the equipment. This compensation would not necessarily be cash. It might be value -giving the emigrant some orchard land, some agricultural equipment or a farmhouse. Naturally, Hanotaiah Ltd alone would determine the “value” of the land or equipment and how much of it equaled the 1000 pound needed to enter Palestine.

          In summary, Sam Cohen’s complicated transfer procedure called for the German Jews’ assets to be frozen in special blocked accounts of which the emigrant could convert RM 15,000 into 1000 pounds to gain entry to Palestine. But instead of actually receiving the RM 15,000 or 1000 pound, the emigrant would receive land or equipment that Hanotaiah Ltd. said was “worth” Rm 15,000 or 1000 pound. This would technically satisfy British immigration requirements. The prospect of Hanotaiah inflating the true value of land, equipment, or farm buildings to artificially equal the RM 15,000 was obvious. Herzl had in fact predicted that Jewish wealth could be transferred by assigning an inflated value to land that had been acquired without cost or quite cheaply. Compared to Germany’sstandard of living, Jewish Palestine’s boom was still a primitive economy where labor could be found for a few pound daily, where simple domiciles could be erected for well under 100 pound. Cohen’ scheme promised massive windfalls for Hanotaiah and good business, as the emigrants’s assets were divided between Zionism and the Third Reich-in the Reich’s favor.

          Cohen’s idea seemed credible to the Germans. By linking the purchase of German goods to the settling of German Jews in Palestinian orchards and the circuitous capitalization of the Jewish national home, the anti-Nazi boycott could now be broken. The Zionist movement would be obliged not only to refrain from and oppose any boycott, they would be obliged to aggressively sponsor German exports. Moreover, the systematic egress of German Jews would create vast pools of blocked marks that Germany could use to pay debts. Sam Cohen’s deal was more than buiness; it was brilliance. Every German pipe sold, every German chemical purchased, every pound of foreign currency earned contributed towards another dunam and another citizen for Eretz Yisrael. At the same time, every economic or diplomatic knife lash at Hitler merely lacerated the hopes for a Zionist solution. The deal carried abundant political and economic incentive for the Reich.

          And the deal was good for Zionism. Once the emigrant arrived in Palestine, possibly penniless, he was essentially obliged to work the land to stay alive. Hence, middle-class German Jews would be steered to Jewish agriculture in the Promised Land.

          This cashless transfer did resemble a twentieth-century update of indentured servitude, but the Zionists, needing money to purchase land and men to work it, were committed to social engineering and occupational retraining. Philosophically, they were devoted to converting the Jews from merchants and bankers in Europe into farmers and laborers in Eretz Yisrael.

          This goal was also acceptable under Nazi theory, which sought German Jewry’s expulsion to their own land in Palestine and their conversion to occupation detached from international commerce. In effect, the Zionist ideal and Sam Cohen’ offer were exactly what the Nazis had in mind.

          page 126-127

          Note to understanding the above passage. Britain put a yearly quota on how many European Jews could immigrate to Palestine, which was based on the carrying capacity of the Yishuv’s economy. However, Jewish immigrants who had assets of at least 1000 British pounds were allowed into Palestine on an unlimited basis, without any quota.

          Sam Cohen was, unsurprisingly, connected to Hanotaiah Ltd, which stood to benefit greatly from the Haavara Agreement. According to Black, Hanotaiah, which meant “the planter” in Hebrew, “essentially existed as a profit-making subsidiary of a settlement orgainzation called the Young Farmers Association. Hanotaiah’s main business was buying and selling land, especially for orange orchards, and providing equipment need for citrus cultivation.”

          Later on, the Agreement was expanded to allow German Jews to “invest” in Palestine without yet leaving Germany, creating a supposed “safe haven” for their money. The Israeli Holocaust bank accounts that were not returned to their owners or their heirs in the more recent news were, in some cases, a result of this expansion of the agreement.

          This whole incident seems to me to be yet another example of political Zionism exploiting individual Jews for its own gain.

        • Shmuel
          March 4, 2012, 2:48 am

          LeaNder,

          I wonder how the trade unions responded after “International Jewry”* supposedly changed its mind about the boycott. Nazi ideology may have seen little difference between the two, but that’s not how things worked in the real world.

          *Hitler’s term, not mine.

        • Walid
          March 4, 2012, 5:35 am

          Tree, thanks for the detailed description on the mecanics of the Transfer Agreement. It was very interesting and the part about the limited amount of cash Jews were allowed to take with them reminded me of a similar story from the Egypt of the late 50s or early 60s when Nasser limited the amount the Egyptian Christians were allowed to take with them when they were “encouraged” to leave, which was something like $200. Those that left were mostly from the wealthy or the educated, which weakened Egypt even more.

          Of course more than 50,000 Jews made it out of Germany; that number was about those that formed part of the Transfer Agreement.

          As to the Zionist funny stuff with the bad guys, I already have my hands full with the boycott issue and we saw how JB ran into a brick wall because of it so I’ll pass on that one. Discussing something from the ever-growing list of Jewish taboos make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells or of being anxious when around a spinster where you have to measure your every word or action to not injure; it’s tiring.

        • Walid
          March 4, 2012, 9:26 am

          “I wonder how the trade unions responded after “International Jewry”* supposedly changed its mind about the boycott.”

          Shmuel, you’re still at the “mere footnote in history” point. The trade unions came on board only in June 1933 whereas the Jewish declaration of economic war on the Nazis began on March 12 of that year.

          From where did you gather that the Jews had changed their mind about the boycott; everything I’m reading is saying that from the moment the Jews declared their worldwide boycott at the Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1933, the boycott spread like wildfire throughout the world and hurt Hitler’s regime very badly. American and other governments joined the boycott. On June 3, Lord Melchett and the British Trade Unions Congress took the initiative and issued formal invitations to the independent boycott committees of the world to assemble in London on June 25 to establish an international boycott council. Melchett titled the boycott convention the World Jewish Economic Conference.

          Edwin Black wrote:
          “… At about the same time (June 1933), the World Economic Conference, convened by FDR, was underway in London, but it achieved just the opposite of what it set out to achieve: an economic collaboration of the parties to world trade to remedy the economic crisis. A Reich cabinet meeting on June 23, 1933, reported:

          “…Pessimistic as were the expectations with which the [German] delegation went to London, they were outdistanced by far. Germany found among all states an attitude that hardly could be worse. ”

          On Samuel Untermyer’s recommendation, the World Jewish Economic Conference was postponed to July 20 and relocated to Amsterdam. About 35 countries were to participate. For weeks they had exchanged experiences, discussed successful boycott ideas, compiled long lists of manufacturers and sellers seeking alternatives for German goods, discussed countermeasures against boycott-breakers and even founded a special boycott publication: The Jewish Economic Forum.

          From a California-based German-American blog:

          link to read-all-about-it.org

          The Jewish Virtual Library wrote that the boycott was still going strong after 3 years:

          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        • Shmuel
          March 4, 2012, 9:41 am

          From where did you gather that the Jews had changed their mind about the boycott

          I was just trying to follow the ‘Jews called a boycott (aka “declared economic war on Germany”), scared the Germans, who took it out on German Jews and made a deal in return for the Jews’ calling it off (“… in exchange for stopping the worldwide Jewish-led boycott”)’ logic.

          I have no doubt that the trade unions had their own reasons and organisation for the boycott of Nazi Germany, regardless of whether they joined an existing boycott or initiated one of their own. As trade unions are a far more tangible entity than ‘International Jewry’ there might even be some justification to calling their actions “economic warfare”, suggesting that these may somehow have precipitated or exacerbated Nazi persecution of German trade unionists, but I have never come across such claims.

        • seanmcbride
          March 4, 2012, 10:15 am

          Shmuel,

          Would it be fair to say that social relations between Jews and Europeans broke down and collapsed during the first half of the 20th century? (The Holocaust was the climax of that process of disintegration in relations.)

          Would it also be fair to say that there are signs that social relations between Israelis and much of the world are beginning to break down and collapse at the start of the 21st century?

          So: what’s going on here? What’s the social dynamic in play?

          Would it also be fair to say that social relations are currently breaking down between Haredi Jews and secular Jews in Israel? And between neoconservative and progressive Jews in the United States?

          What are the key drivers of these social processes and conflicts?

        • Shmuel
          March 4, 2012, 10:24 am

          sean,

          I think there are problems with each of your three assertions, and even greater problems in trying to identify a common social dynamic. I also think that these are precisely the kind of discussions Phil and Adam would rather we didn’t get into here.

        • seanmcbride
          March 4, 2012, 11:12 am

          Shmuel,

          What precisely are the problems with my assertions? Can you be specific? I’ve read a few dozen (at least) major scholarly books on European/Jewish relations during this historical period and think I know what I am talking about. Please educate me on these issues if you have dug deeper.

          To say that there was a breakdown and collapse in social relations between Europeans and Jews during the first half of the 20th century seems to me to as controversial as arguing that the Earth orbits the sun.

          Certainly discussions about conflicts between Haredi and secular Jews in Israel, between neoconservative and progressive Jews in the United States, and between Israelis and the world in general are directly germane to Mondoweiss, right? If this isn’t the case, I presume that Phil or Adam will speak up and I will move those discussions to Friendfeed.

          Also: *any* topic concerning Mideast politics that comes up on Mondoweiss can be discussed in depth with no moderation whatever on Friendfeed here:

          Mondoweiss on Friendfeed
          link to friendfeed.com

          Your posts will appear instantly and you will have the ability to edit or delete them at any time in the future. And it’s easy to filter out users or discussions that you don’t like. (There are nearly 30 MW users there already.)

        • Annie Robbins
          March 4, 2012, 11:14 am

          shmuel, i think social relations between Israelis and much of the world and between neoconservative and progressive Jews in the United States is very much a part of what we discuss here, i think it is exploring commonalities with pre genocidal european history where it becomes problematic according to phil and adam:

          a discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany here. As we have made clear, this is not a subject we want any part of. It generally leads to anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, which we won’t tolerate on the site, and unquestionably hurts our ability to reach out.

          there really does seem to be a fascination with comparing these time periods tho. so it’s a plus sean has started the friendfeed blog. frankly, i am not really understanding how it can bring about a resolution in the conflict now wrt moving forward so in this sense i very much understand phil and adam’s objectives.

        • teta mother me
          March 4, 2012, 11:17 am

          at Occupy AIPAC, a member of the audience asked how he should talk to friends who are Christian zionists, to convince them that yada yada yada (working from memory not notes).

          The lady who responded is the representative of one of the sponsoring organizations of the Occupy AIPAC conference, a very articulate Black woman who seeks to engage young Blacks in demanding human rights and economic justice. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of her organization (once again, working from memory, notes are in a suitcase somewhere). Her response was distressing: “Don’t get into the technical stuff about zionism; just tell them that military support for Israel comes at the expense of American jobs, etc. ” She repeated the theme, for emphasis: “Don’t get into the technical stuff about zionism.”

          That’s an argument the OA conference pushed hard, and it’s true enough and also good bumper-sticker/crowd-moving tactic to concentrate on $ to Israel = less $ for US. But the emphasis on staying away from discussing zionism sounded to me like the old days when nobody was supposed to say “cancer.” “Tell them mother needs a little rest and will be in the hospital for 2 weeks, shhh don’t say cancer.” We moved beyond that, and now we have better solutions to the problem. We can’t know what the political problem is if we are cautioned not to discuss it and —

          I found it disappointing that the hundred or more people in the room were essentially dumbed down and advised to keep people dumbed down.

          I’m getting some vibes that my perspective is not welcome on MW (oh, I don’t know why, it’s just the impression I get). I like facts, my brain craves information, not cattle-prodding. I think OA squandered an opportunity to educate people. A lot of us spent a bit of money to a lot of money to be there. I could have learned “tell them money to Israel takes money from US” by watching FOX.

        • Shmuel
          March 4, 2012, 11:18 am

          i think it is exploring commonalities with pre genocide european history where it becomes problematic according to phil and adam

          That is what I meant.

        • LeaNder
          March 4, 2012, 11:51 am

          Congratulations, Walid, Udo Walendy is of course a really important voice on the issue. He wrote:

          Wahrheit für Deutschland – Die Schuldfrage des Zweiten Weltkriegs
          which means: Truth for Germany – The Question of Guilt for the Second World War

          He will also tell you that Ausschwitz is a Jewish invention.

          He was a member of NPD (national Party Germany) and was close to the Bavarian founder of ANR (Action New Right). All these right circles of course have a basic problem when trying to pick up the tradition of the glorious Nazi reign: It somehow has to somehow be cleansed of it’s bad image. Since the core enemy is basically still the same you simply have to revert guilt.

          There best weapon is that it is forbidden in Germany to tell the truth, that it was really all the Jews fault, you sure found another martyr for the glorious Nazi ideology, he even went to jail for it.

        • LeaNder
          March 4, 2012, 12:02 pm

          suggesting that these may somehow have precipitated or exacerbated Nazi persecution of German trade unionists, but I have never come across such claims.

          Shmuel the socialist and communists were the first group targeted, obviously. The Nazis needed to get their core opponents out of the way immediately after their seizure of power in January, before the upcoming election in March 1933, remember. Thus it makes sense that the unions were the first to react.

          I am getting so tired of this. It never feels in this context anybody is actually interested in the history; most seem to be attracted to the Germans-aren’t-allowed-to-discuss-this-myths, and their diverse merchants.

        • Walid
          March 4, 2012, 12:03 pm

          “I have no doubt that the trade unions had their own reasons and organisation for the boycott of Nazi Germany, regardless of whether they joined an existing boycott or initiated one of their own.”

          Shmuel, I don’t doubt it either; so many political decisions are made for $$$ reasons whether by governments or trade unions. I don’t use the term “Jewry” and the dramatic terms such as “economic warfare” or “Jews declared war” are by others and in most instances, by Jews accompanied by gloating at the successes of the boycott. Reading through the various documents about our subject, I came upon several references to German Jewish leaders being concerned with the repercussions. But as American has already noted, the Nazis were not in need of an excuse to do what they evidently had planned to do and the Jewish boycott probably did nothing much more than accelerate that which was about to happen in any event. The Jews were already on the receiving end of Nazi malvolence even before the boycott was called.

        • LeaNder
          March 4, 2012, 12:26 pm

          and 5 years after the 50,000 were transferred, there was the disastrous conference of 32 countries led by the US at Evian that sort of threw Europe’s Jews to the lions.

          Walid, maybe I don’t understand, but wouldn’t Evian support the necessity of a Jewish state? And how is this related to your other arguments here?

        • Taxi
          March 4, 2012, 12:41 pm

          I likesya teta. Mind, I do like mosta folks I encounter.

          I especially like your impatience and disgust with the status quo – even though I don’t agree with some stuff you bust up about.

        • LeaNder
          March 4, 2012, 12:44 pm

          shit happens, I am gone for today:

          There best weapon = their best weapon.

          Maybe I should follow my dear friend Mooser’s advise and shut up for good, although I always liked the MW community, especially Moose.

        • American
          March 4, 2012, 12:50 pm

          Shumel,

          What is your actual argument? That some people claim this boycott call “started” Hitler’s war on the Jews? Or are you saying this boycott call by international Jewry didn’t help provoke or escalate the subsequent crackdown on Jews. There is no actual way to know except what the Nazis said themselves.

          link to calvin.edu

          Background: The first major Nazi anti-Semitic action after Hitler took power on 30 January 1933 was the nation-wide anti-Jewish boycott of 1 April 1933, headed by Julius Streicher, the party’s leading Jew-baiter. Groups of Nazis stood outside Jewish shops and companies throughout Germany. Although the boycott gave devoted anti-Semites the sense that the Nazi government was serious about going after the Jews, the boycott was not a tremendous success. Negative world reaction was strong. Originally planned to last for an uncertain length of time, the Nazis declared the boycott had served its purpose and ended it after one day.”

          link to historyplace.com

          Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels delivers a speech to a crowd in the Berlin Lustgarten urging Germans to boycott Jewish-owned businesses. He defends the boycott as a legitimate response to the anti-German “atrocity propaganda” being spread abroad by “international Jewry.”

          link to historyplace.com

          In addition to the SA activities, Propaganda Minister Goebbels appeared before several thousand persons gathered in the Berlin Lustgarten and delivered a tirade “against the atrocities of world Jewry.” His speech was broadcast nationally on all German radio stations. Goebbels asserted that if the Jews of Germany could not stop their fellow Jews around the world from dishing out anti-Nazi propaganda, then the Nazis would be forced to deal out justice to Germany’s Jews.”

          This is the point……”Goebbels asserted that if the Jews of Germany could not stop their fellow Jews around the world from dishing out anti-Nazi propaganda, then the Nazis would be forced to deal out justice to Germany’s Jews.”

          Considering that Hitler at that time was not yet viewed as a mad man and had dealings with other countries and was trying to advance German aims to other ‘governments” he thought might be possible allies in Germany recouping regions and areas taken from Germany after their WWI lost, this “bad publicity” from the WJC would naturally have infuriated him.
          It was dumb and the WJC served it up to the Nazis on a silver platter.
          They might as well have put up a neon marquee in Berlin saying “Hitler is right Germans, We Jews are the Enemy of Germany and the German People”.
          I think you are just so non objective you can’t even admit to a Jewish organization just making a stupid move or a miscalculation. Or the possibility that they figured that any fallout on German Jews by this public attack was worth it if it helped turn the world against Hitler.

        • tree
          March 4, 2012, 12:58 pm

          It was very interesting and the part about the limited amount of cash Jews were allowed to take with them reminded me of a similar story from the Egypt of the late 50s or early 60s when Nasser limited the amount the Egyptian Christians were allowed to take with them when they were “encouraged” to leave, which was something like $200.

          One other point I was trying to make was that the German limits on the amount of money that an emigrant could take with them was set by an earlier law passed during the Weimar Republic. And the law applied to ALL Germans, regardless of religion or ethnicity. The Nazis were responsible for creating intolerable conditions for Jews within Germany in the early 1930′s which caused many of them to flee, but they were not responsible for the limits on withdrawing reichmarks from Germany. Most countries with poor or weakened economies, like Germany had at that time, put low limits on the amount of currency they allow out of the country. I was in Yugoslavia in 1984, ten years before the civil wars broke out there, and Yugoslavia had a shakey economy and the same kind of rules against anyone taking Yugoslavian dinars out of the country.

        • seanmcbride
          March 4, 2012, 1:25 pm

          Annie,

          Here is what I think is the central question: Zionism, the ideology as articulated by Theodor Herzl, is predicated on the assumption that anti-Semitism is a universal and eternal feature of human society, of Jewish life among “the nations,” among non-Jews.

          Is this belief true or false? What are the main patterns of conflict between Jews and non-Jews from Exodus to the present — through several thousand years of history? What are the root causes of these patterns of conflict? Can these patterns be broken and Zionism safely deconstructed and discarded? Or not? If not, don’t pro-Israel militants from their standpoint have a strong case for their agenda?

          European/Jewish conflict in the first half of the 20th century is just one data point in this entire dataset. I am asking Shmuel and others here to think about the big picture. If this conversation isn’t appropriate on Mondoweiss, feel free to take to the Friendfeed group link to friendfeed.com

        • tree
          March 4, 2012, 1:38 pm

          What precisely are the problems with my assertions? Can you be specific? I’ve read a few dozen (at least) major scholarly books on European/Jewish relations during this historical period and think I know what I am talking about. Please educate me on these issues if you have dug deeper.

          To say that there was a breakdown and collapse in social relations between Europeans and Jews during the first half of the 20th century seems to me to as controversial as arguing that the Earth orbits the sun.

          One problem I noticed is your juxtaposition of Europeans/Jews as if they were mutually exclusive, when they clearly weren’t. Most European Jews at that time were not Zionists and considered themselves as loyal citizens of the countries in which they lived.

          I think that one of the problems with discussions of this subject today is that the Western European/US fear of communism during that time frame has been elided out of the discussion, mostly because of the post-war (and Cold War) reframing of the era to suit an “America’s always the good guy” and “Communism always bad” simplistic ideology. I think that parallels can be drawn between the difficulties European/American Muslims are having today and the difficulties European Jews had in that time period. Mass perceptions today are that Muslim equals terrorists because of the prominence of a small group of Muslim terrorists in the news, whereas mass perceptions that Jew equals communist, and Jew equals financial behemoth because of the prominence of a small group of wealthy and influential Jews on the one hand, and a small group of communist/anarchist Jews on the other. The vast majority of Jews were neither, just as the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists, but those facts are obscured by the fear and the human need to find simple “patterns” even where there aren’t any.

        • Walid
          March 4, 2012, 1:55 pm

          “… Certainly discussions about conflicts between Haredi and secular Jews in Israel, between neoconservative and progressive Jews in the United States, and between Israelis and the world in general are directly germane to Mondoweiss, right? …”

          Sean, more eggshells and taboo stuff I think because it borders on a discussion of the Shlomo Sand kind that they don’t want to get into.

        • American
          March 4, 2012, 2:02 pm

          BTW Shumel, that calvin link above has a compilation of a lot of the nazi speeches and propaganda and other propaganda materials they used.

        • tree
          March 4, 2012, 2:05 pm

          I was just trying to follow the ‘Jews called a boycott (aka “declared economic war on Germany”), scared the Germans, who took it out on German Jews and made a deal in return for the Jews’ calling it off (“… in exchange for stopping the worldwide Jewish-led boycott”)’ logic.

          Not sure who’s cliff notes version of the boycott you are referring to, but Black makes clear that there were 3 prominent American Jewish groups (all of whom claimed to speak for Jews) who had totally different ideas about the wisdom of a Jewish boycott of German goods. Two of the three opposed a boycott, preferring to operate through diplomatic channels, fearing a backlash against German Jews if a boycott took place.

          The American Jewish Congress inspired March rally was heavily attended by non-Jews as well, including Catholic Al Smith, Democratic presidential candidate and former NY Governor, prominent Bishops from the Catholic Church, and leaders of the AFL. Americans of all stripes eagerly participated in protests and boycotts of German goods.

          Black also makes clear that Hitler, who held Henry Ford up as an idol, had reason to fear the impact of a Jewish led-boycott because of the success of a Jewish boycott of Ford cars because of Ford’s anti-semitism and his heavy handed forced promotion of anti-semitic literature through his dealerships. Ford was eventually forced, due to economic concerns, to stop the promotion and issue an apology.

          The Haavara Agreement that Nazi Germany and the Zionists made was not to “get the Jews to back off” the boycott, but to provide a lucrative market for German goods, thus negating the negative effects of the boycott, and at the same time create a source of revenue and manpower for the Zionist project, all at the expense of oppressed German Jews.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 4, 2012, 2:11 pm

          sean, i think the big picture is important. american recently made an excellent comment about that here:

          link to mondoweiss.net

          something, oddly enough, i had never really thought of before.

          European/Jewish conflict in the first half of the 20th century is just one data point in this entire dataset.

          exactly, that one data point we’ve been asked not to discuss here.

        • seanmcbride
          March 4, 2012, 2:23 pm

          tree,

          You wrote:

          “One problem I noticed is your juxtaposition of Europeans/Jews as if they were mutually exclusive, when they clearly weren’t. Most European Jews at that time were not Zionists and considered themselves as loyal citizens of the countries in which they lived.”

          I am not arguing that Europeans and Jews were mutually exclusive. I am saying that social relations between Europeans and Jews totally and radically broke down to the point that a critical mass of Europeans sought a radical separation between Europeans and Jews (and even the total eradication of Jews worldwide). Many Europeans came to view Jews as an alien presence in their society even when they were not Zionists (and in most cases they weren’t).

          How in the world did matters devolve to that point? What were the drivers and triggers? Is the world in general heading in this direction once again with regard to its attitudes towards Israel?

          And one is reminded that many contemporary Zionists are seeking a radical separation of Jews and non-Jews in Israel — a very similar cultural and behavioral pattern, don’t you think? (And Christian Zionist Rick Santorum not long ago called for the “eradication” of Islam and Muslims worldwide — echoing the spirit of anti-Semites at the extreme end of the Nazi scale.)

          AGAIN — if this discussion is off-topic or inappropriate for MW, take it to Friendfeed: link to friendfeed.com

          What interests me most is this: where is Zionism going and what will be its most important strategic and historical outcomes? I see catastrophe written all over it.

        • Walid
          March 4, 2012, 2:28 pm

          “Walid, maybe I don’t understand, but wouldn’t Evian support the necessity of a Jewish state? And how is this related to your other arguments here?”

          Nothing to do with the boycott, LeaNder, it was a reflection on what Shmuel said about the Transfer Agreement having been beneficial to both the Zionists that wanted to save Jews and to the Nazis that wanted to get rid of Jews. Evian too had been about the Nazis trying to dump their Jewish population on countries sympathetic to their plight but that did not want them. The despicable rejection of the Jews by the 32 countries that included the US signaled to the Nazis that they could do whatever they wanted with the Jews.

          I have no problem with Jews or any other people aspiring for a homeland, but not at the cost of getting it at the expense of another people. Had the 32 countries accepted to take in the Jews when they were given the opportunity, they would not have suffered the holocaust. In my book that makes more than one country guilty for it.

        • seanmcbride
          March 4, 2012, 2:36 pm

          Annie,

          Yes, American made a good point there. Zionism is based on the belief that non-Jewish society is fundamentally and irrevocably anti-Semitic — in a word, evil. Jews and non-Jews can’t live together. This is standard Zionist doctrine.

          To what degree does this belief help perpetuate the endless cycle of conflict between Jews and non-Jews? This is a real puzzler.

          I have come to the conclusion that messianic and aggressive ethnocentrism and ethnic nationalism in general provoke a negative and hostile response among ethnic outsiders, no matter which ethnic group is involved. We are talking about universal human nature in this social dynamic. If you want to lower the level of ethnic conflict, lower the level of ethnocentrism and ethnic nationalism — it’s really quite simple. But Likud Zionists are turning up their ethnocentrism and ethnic nationalism full blast — it’s going to cause a massive social and political explosion.

        • Mooser
          March 4, 2012, 3:04 pm

          “Maybe I should follow my dear friend Mooser’s advise and shut up for good”

          Ouch! I didn’t tell you, personally, LeaNder, to “shut up for good”, did I? I mean, I know I might say just about anything when the fit is on me, and the heebie-jeebies racking my poor beleaguered soul, but I hope I didn’t say that! And I’m sorry if I did. Oy my life has been one long apology for the things I’ve done while sober. Sometimes, as a result of an acute underdose, I black out and can’t control my actions or speech. Sorry.

        • American
          March 4, 2012, 4:18 pm

          ““Don’t get into the technical stuff about zionism; just tell them that military support for Israel comes at the expense of American jobs, etc. ” She repeated the theme, for emphasis: “Don’t get into the technical stuff about zionism.”…..teta

          I think that lady is right. I would have added a few other Israel- first items like asking them find out how much of their “state” tax dollars go to Israel so they could emphasize this and make it local for people.
          And given them a few very specific examples of what Israel cost us.
          And give some example of how Israel firstdom has ruined the US reputation and endangered out security interest..get in a plug for Palestine- occupation =bad and you are paying for it.
          People don’t want to be educated in depth…too long, too bogged down in details and history.
          But if you give the average person some examples of how they, their family, community are being short changed or hurt or betrayed by Israel firstdom political favortism they will run with that outrage even if they don’t know the first thing about zionism or foreign policy.

        • Shmuel
          March 4, 2012, 5:59 pm

          sean,

          Which Europeans? Which Jews? Was the Holocaust a matter of continuity or rupture? Were there positive as well as negative trends, and if so what became of the positive ones? What were the wider contexts – class, economics, ideology, relations with other minorities?

          The last item on the list is particularly on my mind right now, as I spent the evening at an event commemorating the Porajmos, and protesting ongoing policies of persecution of the Roma and Sinti in Europe.

          I don’t expect answers to my questions, as we have been asked not to discuss such things. I just wanted to touch upon some of the problems I saw in your statement.

          Regarding your other assertions, very briefly, I think that they are somewhat exaggerated (or at the very least premature) and perhaps tinged with wishful thinking.

        • Shmuel
          March 4, 2012, 6:06 pm

          more eggshells and taboo stuff I think because it borders on a discussion of the Shlomo Sand kind that they don’t want to get into

          I don’t think it’s about eggshells (Phil and Adam have explained their rationale quite well), and Sand is discussed here all the time – as are Haredi-secular conflicts and conflicts between neocon and progressive Jews in the US.

        • Shmuel
          March 4, 2012, 6:13 pm

          the socialist and communists were the first group targeted, obviously

          I know. I was just trying to point out different attitudes to the two boycotts (or two aspects of the same boycott).

        • seanmcbride
          March 4, 2012, 7:45 pm

          Shmuel,

          You wrote:

          “Which Europeans? Which Jews?

          European civilization as whole in the first half of the 20th century attempted to utterly expel Jewish civilization from its territory (or much worse) — wasn’t this a classic example of a clash of civilizations? Wasn’t this what the Holocaust was all about?

          You wrote:

          “Was the Holocaust a matter of continuity or rupture?”

          I’m not sure what you mean. We can see a continuous pattern of radical breakdowns in social relations between European nations and Jews for nearly two thousand years — this is a core theme of all major texts on the history of anti-Semitism. The Holocaust was the most violent example of this long series of repeated events.

          You wrote:

          “Were there positive as well as negative trends, and if so what became of the positive ones?”

          Positive trends in the clash of European and Jewish civilizations? I’m not sure what you mean. (Again, when I use the term “European civilization” I am speaking from the standpoint of those who claimed to speak and act for it and who committed the Holocaust. From *my* perspective, Jewish civilization was a key component of European civilization.)

          You wrote:

          “What were the wider contexts – class, economics, ideology, relations with other minorities?”

          Christianity vs. Judaism. Christianity vs. secular Marxism. European ethnic nationalism vs. Jewish ethnic nationalism. European oligarchs vs. Jewish oligarchs. Those are some of the major factors and contexts.

          You wrote:

          “Regarding your other assertions, very briefly, I think that they are somewhat exaggerated (or at the very least premature) and perhaps tinged with wishful thinking.”

          Without knowing what you mean specifically, I really can’t comment. What do you think I am wishing for?

          (Again, if MW moderators want us to move this conversation over to Friendfeed, just say the word — I don’t want to be stepping on any toes here.)

        • Walid
          March 4, 2012, 10:29 pm

          “Congratulations, Walid, Udo Walendy is of course a really important voice on the issue. He wrote:

          Wahrheit für Deutschland – Die Schuldfrage des Zweiten Weltkriegs
          which means: Truth for Germany – The Question of Guilt for the Second World War. He will also tell you that Ausschwitz is a Jewish invention.”

          LeaNder, I just saw your post here and you’re going to have to help me with the Udo Walendy thing and tell me in which post or link I made reference to this character and if he happens to have authored one of the articles I discussed, please tell me the part in it you don’t agree with; the name doesn’t ring a bell.

          It should have become obvious to you by now that I’m neither a fan of the Nazis nor an Auschwitz denier. You’re pissing up the wrong rope since I don’t believe in martyrs and this is your second stab at it.

        • yourstruly
          March 5, 2012, 2:08 am

          yes, nail israel firsters for the harm they do to us americans.

        • LeaNder
          March 5, 2012, 10:25 am

          Zionism, the ideology … is predicated on the assumption that anti-Semitism is a universal and eternal feature … Is this belief true or false?

          I would say false, Sean. If you allow me to simplify matters the way you do. Zionism was offered as the Jewish solution to the “Jewish problem” that in the end would make antisemitism go away. It would disappear once Jews had their own (racial) state.

          Have you ever wondered if there could be a reason Zionism was born in Austrian-Hungarian Empire, a mulitethnic empire with 15 different language, not counting Jiddish, at the time?

          Back to:

          Would it be fair to say that social relations between Jews and Europeans broke down and collapsed during the first half of the 20th century? (The Holocaust was the climax of that process of disintegration in relations.)

          How would you describe the break down of relations between Europe and “the Jews” during the first half of the 20th century?

          If you allow me my special mental meanderings as a response to this:

          What precisely are the problems with my assertions? Can you be specific? I’ve read a few dozen (at least) major scholarly books on European/Jewish relations during this historical period and think I know what I am talking about. Please educate me on these issues if you have dug deeper.

          Maybe the problem starts with the focus of your reading list on scholarship on “European/Jewish relations”.

          What is your background in general European history, European power politics over the centuries? From the top of my head: Do you think that Polish Jews (after a series of partitions) somehow were actively envolved in the diverse Polish partitions that turned into either Russians, Germans or Austrians? Countries that didn’t seem so pleased to suddenly have them among the annexed populations to larger extends than before? What do you generally think about the casual way whole regions were given to one country or the other, like e.g. Bosnia to Austria in the Treaty of Berlin (1878), finally annexed by Austria in 1908. The first step to WWI. …. What special force could Herzl’s Zionism contribute to these larger power dynamics other than food for propaganda? It’s not that I am uninterested in both these histories and their intersections, quite the opposite.

        • LeaNder
          March 5, 2012, 10:45 am

          Ouch! I didn’t tell you

          no, you didn’t. It feels you meditated on the wisdom to spend so much time here, and if you shouldn’t give it up yourself. At least, that’s what I seem to remember. Reminded me of your earlier New Year’s resolutions once.

          But thanks for the elaborate response. ;)

        • LeaNder
          March 5, 2012, 11:14 am

          Walid, sorry I admittedly tend to hyperventiallate on these issues. My problem is that I know the mindset too well.

          but here we go:

          Walid says:
          March 4, 2012 at 9:26 am

          From a California-based German-American blog:

          link to read-all-about-it.org

          ****************************************************
          As a student I once worked for a highly authoritarian neo-Nazi out of pure curiosity. Interesting case. He regularly received heavy mails in huge envelops from a minstry here in North Rhine-Westphalia. I tried to bribe his secretary to let me take a closer look, but unfortunately failed. These mails were doubly locked away. She immediately took them to his office, were she locked them into a cubboard after that she locked the door. :( so sad, for curious nitwits. He moved to the US, by the way.

        • Shmuel
          March 5, 2012, 2:27 pm

          I think you are just so non objective you can’t even admit to a Jewish organization just making a stupid move or a miscalculation.

          What an odd comment. I “admit” to the stupidity of Jewish (and other) organisations every day – with or without the benefit of hindsight.

          What is your actual argument?

          That, in my experience, the boycott argument is usually trotted out to minimise Nazi responsibility, and that Nazi accounts of the “Jewish” boycott and its ramifications for Germany should be taken with a grain of salt or two.

        • seanmcbride
          March 5, 2012, 3:05 pm

          Leander,

          1. I should have been more precise: Zionism is predicated on the assumption that anti-Semitism is a universal and eternal reality in the non-Jewish world, in the Diaspora. As to the belief that Zionism would solve the problem of anti-Semitism, clearly this hasn’t happened — Zionism seems to have greatly exacerbated it.

          2. You switched Jews to “the Jews” in your reply — a phrase I didn’t use (and never use) — why did you do that?

          3. With regard to the radical breakdown and collapse of social relations and communications between Europeans and Jews in the first half of the 20th century, there are numerous explanations, a few of which I briefly outlined in my comments to Shmuel. What strikes me most is that this was just the latest episode in a long string of such episodes in Europe for two thousand years. And a mere 60 years or so after the Holocaust, the same social dynamic seems to be coming into play yet again over Zionist issues. Review the comments in Mondoweiss since its founding and check out the level of white hot anger towards Israel. Matters are sliding downward quite rapidly — friendly and rational communications between Israel and “the nations” are grinding to a halt.

          So, my big question is this: what the hell is going on? One could make the argument that “the nations” are incorrigibly evil, but that would be difficult to believe. It would also be outrageous to blame this repetitive pattern of disastrous social relations on Jews. There is something in the chemistry of social relations between “the chosen nation” and “the nations” that is clearly problematic — several thousand of years of crazy interactions prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

          Either we figure it out and fix it or we’re off to the races once again — with the Samson Option looming behind the end game.

        • seanmcbride
          March 5, 2012, 3:17 pm

          Leander,

          Why I never use the term “the Jews” — far from trying to push Jews into a unified box, I keep making every effort to provide Jews with the opportunity to escape from whatever box their enemies or misguided friends are trying to trap them.

          I view Jewish civilization as a rich and complex combination of many boxes, religious and secular, many of which contradict one another. In my opinion, Jews should never put all their eggs in one basket — the basket could fall and all the eggs could break.

          This is why I think visionary Jews are now trying to define Jewish identity and culture in a multitude of ways outside the box of Zionism. Zionism is looking like an increasingly risky bet. Time to diversify. Perhaps Herzl wasn’t Moshiach and didn’t have world history figured out as well as he thought he did.

        • American
          March 5, 2012, 3:33 pm

          “That, in my experience, the boycott argument is usually trotted out to minimise Nazi responsibility, and that Nazi accounts of the “Jewish” boycott and its ramifications for Germany should be taken with a grain of salt or two.”…Shumel

          That it might be used by some to minimize nazi responsibility doesn’t really have anything to do with whether or not the Jewish boycott call actually created any additional fallout on German Jews. As said we only have the reactions of nazi spokespeople. It’s not provable one way or another but is a possibility.

        • tree
          March 5, 2012, 4:17 pm

          If you allow me to simplify matters the way you do. Zionism was offered as the Jewish solution to the “Jewish problem” that in the end would make antisemitism go away. It would disappear once Jews had their own (racial) state.

          Ye, but the Zionist reasoning behind why they thought it would go away had to do with the changes they thought would occur in Jews, not in Europeans. That is why they made such anti-semitic statements themselves, and why they sought to make Jews farmers and laborers in Palestine instead of merchants and bankers.

          They believed that anti-semitism was universal and eternal (and natural), and sought to end its affects on European Jews by, in essence, taking the “Semite” out of the Jew. The negation of the Diaspora was a primary element of Zionism.

        • Walid
          March 5, 2012, 4:33 pm

          “Walid, sorry I admittedly tend to hyperventiallate on these issues. My problem is that I know the mindset too well.”

          LeaNdr, Ok so the guy is so much of a nut for his Germany that he doesn’t believe it’s guilty of anything and he doesn’t believe something or other about the holocaust and this has landed him in the courts; thanks for the info and I hope nobody ever holds something against you simply because you knowingly worked for a neo-Nazi.

          Now that we have this out of the way, what was it in the Walendy article that didn’t ring true to you and what was it in that article that conflicted with information on the same subject from the other links I provided, which were the Jewish Virtual Library, the American Jewish Historical Society and the Nizkor site that’s dedicated to the memory of the holocaust victims?

        • Hostage
          March 5, 2012, 11:25 pm

          In revisionist “history” however, it becomes important, because it frames Nazi anti-Jewish policies as part of a “war” between Germany and “International Jewry” – actually started by the Jews!

          I’ve pointed out elsewhere that two years before this boycott vs boycott activity in 1933, the “Boxheim Document” was published. It revealed the Nazi plans to intern and starve the Jews to death.
          link to time.com

          By the time the boycott debate of 1933 got rolling, various sources reported to the US government that there were already between 10,000 and 100,000 persons detained in German concentration camps. There were many reports of persons gunned down or murdered trying to flee or escape. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

          So the war with International Jewry was already beyond the planning stages before the rally at Madison Square Garden ever happened.

        • Walid
          March 6, 2012, 4:51 am

          “So the war with International Jewry was already beyond the planning stages before the rally at Madison Square Garden ever happened.”

          Nobody here is arguing that point, Hostage, unless you’re picking up where Shmuel left off and where LeaNdr started pissing up the wrong rope with the non-issue that someone here ( probably me) is pretending that the Jews brought the holocaust on themselves by having called a worldwide boycott of German goods. If you’re not, please disregard this post.

          The boycott issue was raised here as part of the banning discussion because a novice modertor mistook my post about the 1933 boycott. It had been to discuss a successful universal boycott campaign in history; nothing more.

          In case you missed my March 4th assertion:

          “… Walid says:
          March 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm
          … But as American has already noted, the Nazis were not in need of an excuse to do what they evidently had planned to do and the Jewish boycott probably did nothing much more than accelerate that which was about to happen in any event. The Jews were already on the receiving end of Nazi malvolence even before the boycott was called.”

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 6:09 am

          hope nobody ever holds something against you simply because

          Walid, why should I worry? People judge anyway all the time anyway. For an observer he was an interesting case. Although I doubt a typical one, I have to admit after some reflection. Maybe there isn’t a typical one?

        • Walid
          March 6, 2012, 6:49 am

          I agree there’s no reason for you to worry, LeaNder, I was just pulling your leg; the guy must have been very interesting but very spooky too as are all extremists, especially the religious kind.

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 7:32 am

          Shmuel, two points,

          (LeaNder helpfully points us to Mein Kampf)

          This of course is a mental shortcut. “In every statement there is a little error” – I really hated the use Hitler as excuse, it felt like l white-wash in my youth: <a href="en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler#Entry_into_politics"Blame it all on Hitler: was a strategy that worked for many. There is never an end to the realization of all the falsified biographies.

          I could just as well have mentioned Lion Feuchtwanger, who in 1933 while visiting the US learned that the Nazis had taken over the government, said: This means war. And Lion Feuchtwanger could have easily reminded me that of course selective Nazis in their bliss in 1933 targeted their respective Jewish enemies

          which gets us to my next slightly deficient statement:

          Of course I should have added “systematically” in this context. The first camps were erected in January 1933. And apart from the fact that some Germans could have been socialists too, I have immediately some on my mind who also were socialists like Feuchtwanger above.

          The more important question may well be to what extend our approach today is “heavily “by advantage of knowing what has happened, and do not have much patience for people that want to know more and more?

          Can my own or e.g. tree’s statement, with which I agree, never be read as apologetic, making me slightly suspect?

          Which reminds me of a conflict between German left activists and Claude Lanzmann, which I never understood, since I highly respect Lanzmann’s film Shoa, but never met him at events. Problem is I also highly respect the female activist who told me about it. Ironically, and she is a highly intelligent lady, she interpreted certain statements by Lanzmann as forbidding her to ask questions about the Holocaust. A statement that sounds pretty similar to the real deniers. I think her sentence was: How can he forbid us to wanting to understand? It’s our history too. Maybe I should meet her. It was 12 years ago. …

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 7:59 am

          Leander,

          Why I never use the term “the Jews”

          Sean, sorry only a short note, one of my comments to Moose above had a reason: I do have urgent tasks and shouldn’t spend too much time here.

          For me, as you may realize, this all is a déja-vu of our earlier encounters on the topic.

          Let me be very frank instead of digging through some of your specific statements and responses, to save time. I know you basically do not support MacDonald’s books on the “Jewish problem”, nevertheless I can’t help seeing him lurking behind your statements and your choice of words.

          I have to reflect to what extend the Jewish tale of two thousand years of sorrow with the Holocaust as the unavoidable outcome and the very real desire to modify the mainstream narrative depend on each other.

          Shmuel’s questions that you ironically do not understand in fact challenge the two-thousand-years-of-woe-tale.

          What I do not understand is how you can view the Holocaust basically as a clash of civilizations, or a two thousand year long clash, but at the same time deeply distrust the neocon’s own clash narrative?

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 8:09 am

          Sorry, not much time, thus mistakes:

          “our approach today is “heavily shaded“ by the advantage of being born after, in German it’s usually called: Der Vorteil der späten Geburt, the advantage of the late birth,”

          advantage opens a whole field for discussion.

          No idea how shaded disappeared, we have another useful German word meaning: to make things worse by correcting=”verschlimmbessern.

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 8:17 am

          last correction, and then I am gone:

          What I do not understand is how you can view the Holocaust basically as a clash of civilizations, or a two thousand year long clash,

          I meant of course:

          What I do not understand is how you can view European Jewish history as a clash between two civilization with the Holocaust as the climax, but at the same time deeply distrust the clash narrative of the neocon’s.

          Europeans versus Jews? Hello? I can’t see the European unity you describe above. I wouldn’t blame “Europeans collectively” for the Holocaust either, in spite of the fact that I am aware of the Nazis collaborators.

        • seanmcbride
          March 6, 2012, 11:24 am

          Leander,

          Hey — you want a war of ideas about Middle East politics? I’ll give you a war of ideas. :) I’m the real deal. But please try to bring some meat to the table. Be bold. Dig deep. Be prepared to smash icons, if necesssary.

        • seanmcbride
          March 6, 2012, 12:35 pm

          Leander,

          You wrote:

          “What I do not understand is how you can view European Jewish history as a clash between two civilization with the Holocaust as the climax, but at the same time deeply distrust the clash narrative of the neocon’s.”

          I can’t think of a single serious historian of the Holocaust and of Western anti-Semitism who doesn’t interpret the Holocaust in the context (in part) of 2,000 years of conflict between Christian European culture and Jewish culture (especially Judaism). Can you? Is this even a controversial topic? Would it help if I provided you with a bibliography on the subject? The Holocaust didn’t arise mysteriously from a vaccum — it had deep ideological and cultural roots reaching deeply into the past.

          With regard to clash of civilizations ideologies in general — I oppose them. But they have been a central feature of world history and continue to largely dominate international politics. The Israel lobby — which claims to speak for “the Jews” — is currently at the forefront in promoting the Clash of Civilizations between “the West” and Islam.

          I am into cooperation among civilizations ideologies.

        • seanmcbride
          March 6, 2012, 12:37 pm

          Leander,

          Regarding Shmuel’s contribution to this conversation so far: I haven’t been able to identify a single concrete idea in his comments. He hasn’t really entered the discussion at all.

          A reminder: what this conversation is about is the current radical disintegration of good social relations and friendly communications between Israel (the self-proclaimed state of the Jews) and the world at large. We have seen this social dynamic in play right here in the comments section of Mondoweiss.

          What’s going on? Is this current conflict part of a pattern of cultural conflict that has been going on for thousands of years or not? Certainly many Zionists and pro-Israel activists have *themselves* been promoting that meme.

          Are they right or wrong? What do you think, Leander, and why?

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 6:39 pm

          Hostage, you write

          the “Boxheim Document” was published. It revealed the Nazi plans to intern and starve the Jews to death.

          Your link, doesn’t work for me. Are you suggesting the Boxheim Documents as treated in Socialist history are a hoax?

          The German socialist party: champion of the first republic, 1918-1933 – Page 182f

          In November the Socialists, seizing upon the so-called Boxheim Document, which set forth esoteric Nazi plans to exterminate the leaders of the goverment and the “Marxist” parties when the “National Opposition” came to power, sought to drive the cabinet to act. On 14 November at a mass meeting in Darmstadt, Breitscheid warned all the ministries of Germany, except the firmly anti-fascist Prussian ministry, that they must be prepared to put an end to the terrorism of the Nazis and their storm troopers, or the toleration policy of the SPD toward the Reich government would be impossible. To appease the Social Democrats, Brüning then prohibited the wearing of uniforms by paramilitary formations and tried to limit the abuse of weapons. Unfortunately he largely vitiated the effect of this directive by entrusting implementations to the state governments, some of which were already controlled by the Nazis.

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 6:53 pm

          Would it help if I provided you with a bibliography on the subject?

          No, thank you, Sean, my library on the Holocaust and the Nazis is quite extensive. But you could actually list the books that treat it as the climax of a 2.000 year old conflict between “Christians Europe” and “Jewish culture”. The authors I read, didn’t treat it that way.

        • LeaNder
          March 6, 2012, 7:13 pm

          Regarding Shmuel’s contribution …

          You may need to adjust your “receiving apparatus”, Shmuel is one of our best. Although, maybe his signals don’t work in your case. For instance if you dally with the idea, the whole trouble started with some special passage in Jewish scriptures, that could possibly blanket out reception.

        • seanmcbride
          March 6, 2012, 7:55 pm

          Leander,

          (I tried posting this earlier today, but it didn’t get through — I’ll give it one more try. And, moderator — no offense taken if you don’t like the post :) — it’s your party, and I’ll move this conversation to Friendfeed if you’d like. Just give the word.)

          You are so self-involved with your particular set of *German* issues regarding the Holocaust, which revolve around shame and guilt (understandably so), that you are unable to read rationally some of the posts on the subject here. You are projecting your psychological and emotional baggage on others and are not listening to what they are saying.

          I emphatically reject clash of civilizations ideologies organized around ethnicity, race and religion (including those promoted by white nationalists like Kevin MacDonald), and I *explicitly said so* in a comment above, which apparently escaped your attention. I did say that the parties to European political conflict in the first half of the 20th century *were* clash of civilizations ideologues, which in fact they were. Observing this fact of life is not to endorse or embrace it.

          This is the core question I asked, and which you haven’t begun to answer: why have social relations and communications between Jews and “the nations” (not just European nations) repeatedly broken down and collapsed entirely throughout several thousand years? What triggered the collapse of relatively good relations between Jews and Europeans in the first half of the 20th century? Relations weren’t perfect, of course, but many Jews were well-integrated into influential sectors of German society (and European society in general) before everything went completely crazy.

          This question has taken on enormous urgency because, once again, less than a century after the Holocaust, apocalyptic tension and conflict is developing around Israel (the self-defined and self-proclaimed Jewish state) and “the nations” — the entire world, including its most important ally, the United States. This conflict could well have catastrophic consequences for everyone on the planet.

          We have seen many instances of this conflict right here in the comments section of Mondoweiss, with quite a few commenters abandoning altogether the effort to communicate with Jewish activists like Richard Witty and eee — a fine example of a breakdown and collapse of social relations. Are they anti-Semites? Is that the explanation that seems reasonable to you?

          So what is going here? What are the root causes of this pattern of cultural conflict? Are you suggesting that merely asking the question is taboo? Many Americans would like to know why they are becoming bogged down in endless self-destructive wars against the enemies of Israel, with Iran next on the list — this question is not going to go away.

        • Hostage
          March 6, 2012, 8:32 pm

          Are you suggesting the Boxheim Documents as treated in Socialist history are a hoax?

          No, I don’t think so. The documents contained wholesale plans for dealing with various opponents of the Nazis as well as plans for starving and interning the Jews. Here is a snippet from the JTA archives of the era: “Jews to Be Starved out if Hitlerists Come to Power: Boxheim Documents Were Authentic Official Statement.” Jewish Telegraphic Agency 25 Apr 1932:

          An official statement has been issued here to-day declaring that the recent police search in the Hitlerist headquarters at Munich has provided documentary proof that, not-withstanding the denials made at the time by Hitler and the other leaders of the Nazi Party, the so-called Boxheim documents were authentic and that the Nazi Party leaders had given their approval to the plans laid down in them for dealing with the Jews, who were to be starved out by being refused food cards, when the Hitlerist regime cane into power and made it impossible for food to be obtained other than by food-cards.

          link to archive.jta.org

          The report in the FRUS about the internment camps also noted that the Boxheim plans dealt with both Jews and others:

          About a week ago it was reported in the press that the body of Dr. Schaeffer, a former Nazi, who was responsible for the disclosure of the notorious Boxheim documents which revealed the ruthless measures which the Nazis were planning against Jews and political opponents upon their accession to power (see despatch No. 1312 of December 1, 1931 51 ), was found on a railroad track near Frankfort. Dr. Schaeffer was apparently shot by former party colleagues who then threw his body from a bridge to the railroad tracks, about fifty feet below.

          link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        • LeaNder
          March 7, 2012, 6:05 am

          Sean, I have a date and not much time, thus only this part:

          We have seen many instances of this conflict right here in the comments section of Mondoweiss, with quite a few commenters abandoning altogether the effort to communicate with Jewish activists like Richard Witty and eee — a fine example of a breakdown and collapse of social relations. Are they anti-Semites? Is that the explanation that seems reasonable to you?

          I don’t think communications between Richard and the MW crowd ever broke down, since there never was real communication to start with, in spite of the fact he used “dialog” all the time. Quite the opposite, he was on a mission to communicate with the outside world in a heroic fight against our–from his perspective–biased, prejudiced and dangerous perceptions … I could go into details, to prove this, but I actually don’t have time to do so. I may respond to some of the rest later in the evening.

        • LeaNder
          March 7, 2012, 6:12 am

          thanks, Hostage, I will take a closer look.

        • seanmcbride
          March 7, 2012, 10:12 am

          Leander,

          You wrote: “my library on the Holocaust and the Nazis is quite extensive.”

          Thanks for proving my point: you are much too overfocused on 20th century Germany and Nazism in analyzing anti-Semitism. Serious scholars of Western anti-Semitism place the Holocaust within a long series of anti-Semitic episodes (including many pogroms and mass deportations) extending across several *millennia* (not centuries) and long preceding the founding of Christianity.

          The tension currently building up between Israel and the rest of the world has very much the look and feel of previous eruptions in this repetitive pattern of dysfunctional cultural and social relations. You have noticed this escalating tension, right? Mondoweiss has been chronicling it. Why are you here?

          So: what’s going on? How do we break this pattern for good?

        • Hostage
          March 7, 2012, 10:58 am

          Serious scholars of Western anti-Semitism place the Holocaust within a long series of anti-Semitic episodes (including many pogroms and mass deportations) extending across several *millennia* (not centuries) and long preceding the founding of Christianity.

          There was no scholarly interest in anti-Semitism until the mid-19th Century. Even then, the works that were produced were polemical and non-factual in nature and based upon common fallacies. She Hannah Arendt’s commentary on the situation here: link to mondoweiss.net

        • seanmcbride
          March 7, 2012, 11:25 am

          Leander,

          A few books which discuss these issues, most of them within a larger conceptual framework than Nazism:

          1. Alan E. Steinweis; 2006; Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany; Harvard University Press

          2. Albert S. Lindemann; 2000; Anti-Semitism Before the Holocaust; Longman

          3. Albert S. Lindemann; 2000; Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews; Cambridge University Press

          4. Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, editors.; 2003; The Politics of Anti-Semitism; AK Press

          5. Arno J. Mayer; 1990; Why Did the Heavens not Darken? : the “Final Solution” in History; Random House

          6. Arthur Blech; 2006; The Causes of Anti-Semitism: A Critique of the Bible; Prometheus Books

          7. Benjamin Ginsberg; 1993; The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State; University of Chicago Press

          8. Dennis Prager; 2003; Why the Jews? : The Reason for Antisemitism

          9. Ehud Sprinzak; 1991; The Ascendance of Israel’s Radical Right; Oxford University Press

          10. Elliott Horowitz; 2006; Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence; Princeton University Press

          11. Israel Shahak; 1994; Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years; Pluto Press

          12. Israel Shahak, Norton Mervinsky; 1999; Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel; Pluto Press

          13. James Carroll; 2002; Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews — A History

          14. Jonathan Cook; 2006; Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State; Pluto Press

          15. Joshua Trachtenberg; 1966; The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and its Relation to Modern Antisemitism; Harper & Row

          16. Max Wallace; 2003; The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich

          17. Norman F. Cantor; 1994; The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews; HarperCollins

          18. Norman G. Finkelstein; 2005; Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History

          19. Norman Rufus Colin Cohn; 1996; Warrant for Genocide: the Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

          20. Peter Schäfer; 1997; Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World; Harvard University Press

          21. Peter Schäfer; 2007; Jesus in the Talmud; Princeton University Press

          22. Philip Roth; 2004; The Plot Against America: A Novel

          23. Yehoshafat Harkabi; 1988; Israel’s Fateful Hour; Harper & Row

          24. Yuri Slezkine; 2006; The Jewish Century; Princeton University Press

          I would start with this one:

          Peter Schäfer; 1997; Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World; Harvard University Press

      • yourstruly
        March 3, 2012, 1:51 am

        that boycott and the transfer agreement that scuttled it touch on the subject of the descent of israel into an apartheid and increasingly fascist state.

  27. Newclench
    March 2, 2012, 10:45 am

    Thanks Phil. Things are improving here.

    • Chaos4700
      March 2, 2012, 12:53 pm

      Compliments from hophmi and dimadok are forthcoming to, I expect.

      • Exiled At Home
        March 2, 2012, 2:07 pm

        Yes, eee and co. shall be pleased.

  28. atime forpeace
    March 2, 2012, 11:04 am

    I am never pleased to see suppression of speech, and while this is your ball and you can take it home and stop the game for any if you so choose to, the only excuse for banning any comment would be reserved for ad hominem attacks.

    But hey i understand that you may not want your site to be singled out by “the community” as a pig troth for antisemites thereby minimizing the power of the arguments that are being made here about jewish power and it’s leaning to protect israel.

    your reasons are noble and your’e hunting bigger game, i wish you great luck in alerting american jews of the dangers of being unawares may pose to them in the long run if they do not awaken and fight back.

    • seafoid
      March 2, 2012, 4:13 pm

      “But hey i understand that you may not want your site to be singled out by “the community” as a pig troth for antisemites thereby minimizing the power of the arguments that are being made here about jewish power and it’s leaning to protect israel.”

      I think that’s it. It’s like a bullfight. Israel/YESHA has already been pierced . The target is still some way off but it will come. The coup de grace will require cunning and skill and no baggage.

  29. gloriousbach
    March 2, 2012, 11:09 am

    The courage and integrity needed to field Mondoweiss have impressed me profoundly. The drive for justice and knowledge of history shine through the posts and the comments. I don’t know if the banning of J.B. was politically necessary–it may be another indication of the relentless pressures against Phil and Adam in a treacherously imperfect world.

    The discussion generated by the banning of of J.B. has revived a question for me which, until I read the comments and yesterday’s response, I was reluctant to ask (my ancestors spoke a Latin rather than a Semitic language.) I think that I should know the answer but, in truth, I don’t.

    Could someone direct me either to posts or to comments which would clarify for me what is meant by the term “anti-Semitism” as it’s used on MW? Or is part of the larger difficulty, apart from the discussions here, that many players in the Middle East troubles benefit from keeping the definition unclear?

    • atime forpeace
      March 2, 2012, 1:08 pm

      “Could someone direct me either to posts or to comments which would clarify for me what is meant by the term “anti-Semitism” as it’s used on MW? Or is part of the larger difficulty, apart from the discussions here, that many players in the Middle East troubles benefit from keeping the definition unclear?”

      It seems that Phil and the sites monitors are trying to be sensitive to the Israel firsters who are so well know for their sensitivity and tender concern for others.

      What i really think is that Phil is trying to draw more american jews to his narrative, who may be totally turned off if they perceive this website to be a troth for anti semites only, but the tribe is so confused and deluded after so many years of propaganda used against them to keep them safely ensconsed in the Shet’l, that the only reason why we are seeing a renaisance among them is the nasty turn that israel has taken (seemingly to them, only in the last few years) or is it the fact that Jimmy Carter, Mearsheimer and Walt and many other regular americans (anti semites all of course) have finally gotten sick and tired of being led by the nose and have opened up the dialogue by speaking the unspeakable.

      So both Witty and Blankfort are long standing friends?

      I knew that witty was more than your typical american Jew because he was way more aware that those Jews in my family who i KNOW are oblivious to the politics of the entire thing, but never the less he never offended me i just saw him as a representative of the zionist mentality, Israel is special because we are Jews, and anything they do is justifiable and unassailable.

      • Exiled At Home
        March 2, 2012, 2:07 pm

        The term “Anti-Semitism,” as it has been monopolized, appears to be exclusively reserved for racist commentary towards the Jewish people, of which I’ve seen nearly none on this forum. Mondoweiss knows better, in that Semitic people include Arabs; the racist vitriol emanating out of Israel is actually text-book “Anti-Semitism” toward Palestinians and other Arabs, both Christian and Muslim.

        But, we’re not interested in censoring that speech, of which there is plenty on this forum. Instead, we’re going to chase the illusion that there is somehow widespread Judeaophobic hate-speech circulating the commentary here and ban a few high-profile commenters to keep the appearance of that meme going.

        It’s strategic. It’s propaganda. It’s the result of effective AIPAC/Likud/Zionist conversation control.

        Phil and Adam have succumb to these pressures, and have incidentally undone much of what they claim to be working toward.

        • Newclench
          March 2, 2012, 3:18 pm

          You apparently do not know what the word “antisemitism” means. Here’s a hint: it’s got nothing at all to do with ‘speakers of Semitic languages.’ It’s entirely, exclusively about Jews. It’s a word invented to refer to Jews. And that’s been true since the word was purposefully invented, well before the Likud or AIPAC existed.

        • Walid
          March 2, 2012, 3:48 pm

          “You apparently do not know what the word “antisemitism” means. ”

          Newclench, given the history of how this term originated and in which circumstances it was used, I’m always amazed how much it’s being used by Jews themselves to describe what in plain language signifies “Jew-hater”. At times I feel some actually get some thrill or other using that term to describe others they dislike. I find it insulting for Jews to be using it instead of the much more descriptive “Jew-hater”.

        • Exiled At Home
          March 2, 2012, 4:10 pm

          Newclench,

          You’re a parody.

          Whatever its intended meaning, the word is Anti-Semitism, and Semites are not “entirely, exclusively” Jewish. Quite the contrary actually.

          If we’re going to invent words exclusively for anti-Jewish sentiments (as if “racism” or “bigotry” are simply too mainstream, too human, to encompass the “chosen” Jewish community), then why not Judeaophobia? That’s much more accurate, as it refers to Judaism “entirely, exclusively.”

          Furthermore, reserving Anti-Semitism “entirely, exclusively” for Jewish victim-hood is doubly insulting and outrageous in that few contemporary Jews are actually ethnically Semitic. The diaspora, my friend, has been considerably watered down to, let’s say, at best, the square root of the Chosen people. Whereas, wholly Semitic people still live, in large numbers, throughout the Middle East, and they ain’t Jewish, I can assure you of that.

          The politicization of the term “Anti-Semitism” is yet another example of how twisted the Zionist psyche can be… Up is down, white is black, evil is good, Anti-Semitism doesn’t apply to… Semites?

        • Woody Tanaka
          March 2, 2012, 4:43 pm

          “You apparently do not know what the word “antisemitism” means. Here’s a hint: it’s got nothing at all to do with ‘speakers of Semitic languages.’ It’s entirely, exclusively about Jews. It’s a word invented to refer to Jews. And that’s been true since the word was purposefully invented, well before the Likud or AIPAC existed.”

          And the word is taking on another meaning, which is inclusive of all Semitic people. Such is language.

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 6:36 pm

          It doesn’t matter what anti-Semitism was, newclench, what it is now is a political sledgehammer that people like you and Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman wield to get your way.

        • Newclench
          March 3, 2012, 4:03 am

          You really need help here! The word ‘Anti-Semitism’ has NOTHING to do with speakers of Semitic languages. There is no such thing as a formalized bias against ‘Semites’ as speakers of Semitic languages. The word Semite fails even as racism, since speakers of Semitic languages are arguably from different races; it’s a linguistic term, and quite irrelevant.
          But hey. You think that this word refers to a non-existent form of bias. Got a dictionary source for that? A founding document of the anti-all Semitic language speakers movement? The name of an organization dedicated to promoting the oppression of Semitic language speakers?

          Finally…. the term itself was born as political. It can’t ‘become’ political when it has been that way from the start. But fine, don’t trust my analysis. Go read Professor Joseph Massad….. link to weekly.ahram.org.eg
          “The defensive claim made by some that Arabs cannot be “anti-Semitic” because they are “Semites” is equally erroneous and facile. First, I should state that I do not believe that anyone is a “Semite” any more than I believe anyone is an “Aryan”, and I do not believe that Arabs or Jews should proudly declare that they are “Semites” because European racists classified them as such. “

        • tree
          March 3, 2012, 6:17 am

          You really need help here! The word ‘Anti-Semitism’ has NOTHING to do with speakers of Semitic languages.

          Actually, it does. When the term was coined in the late 19th century, during the heyday of “scientific racism” it was a standard belief that languages or language groups were demarcations of separate”races”. Essentially, the term disparaged Jews as supposed members of a Middle Eastern Semitic “race”, which was perceived as a lesser “race” to that of Indo-European “races”. As such it likewise disparaged all Semites as lesser humans. Some of the early Zionist leaders, such as Nordau and Ruppin, also considered the “Semitic race” as an inferior one. Ruppin, for one, believed that Ashkenazi Jews were a mixture of Semitic, Hittite and Indo-European races, and as part of his interest in eugenics, sought to isolate and diminish the “Semitic” component from the Jewish gene pool in Palestine. He believed that the Bedouin represented the purest form of the “Semitic race” and believed that Sephardic Jews were more closely aligned biologically with this “race” than were Ashkenazis, thus making Ashkenazi Jews racially superior to Sephardic Jews. This prejudice of his, and of other early Zionists helps explain both the mistreatment of the native Palestinians, gentiles and Jew alike, and the longstanding Zionist mistreatment of the Mizrahi.

          Ruppin’s writings are fuelled by a constant urge to differentiate the [Ashkenazi] Jews from the Semites and especially from the Bedouin race – the original (Ur) Semites according to Luschan – which Ruppin, like most racial thinkers, perceived as inferior (as will be shown later).

          ….

          Ruppin’s persistence in trying to produce a link between the Sephardim and the Bedouins was parallel to his persistence in trying to find similarities between the Ashkenazi Jews and the Hittites, who belonged, in the anthropological and linguistic discourse, to the Indo-Germanic family (Doron 1977, 218).146 He wanted to find proof and establish a connection between the Ashkenazi Jew, whom he saw as the true Urjude (original Jew, i.e. the dominant or positive type in the Jewish race), and the European Indo-Germanic races, and to emphasize the weak connection of this type of Jew to the Semitic race.

          link to tau.ac.il

        • Chaos4700
          March 3, 2012, 6:56 pm

          Even the word “Semitic” is Jews-only to newclench. You can take an Israeli out of the apartheid state, but…

        • Mooser
          March 3, 2012, 8:04 pm

          “And the word is taking on another meaning, which is inclusive of all Semitic people. Such is language.”

          Gosh, why do I feel encouraged (except, of course, that the hatred exists at all, for anybody, that’s nothing to feel encouraged about) that the meaning of anti-Semitism is becoming more generalised, and that hatred of the Jews as such is hardly worthy of it’s own category. I’m sure that’s a very un-Jewish way to feel. I can’t do anything right.

        • RCiuffo
          March 4, 2012, 2:19 pm

          “It’s entirely, exclusively about Jews.”
          Ain’t everything?

          Th absurdity of Jewish ownership of this anti-semitism language is a mainstay of the zionist fiction – a topsy-turvy mad world of inverting reality in the cruelest manner possible. Lost in the verbal wmd game is that zionism itself is anti-semitic in its essence, application, and propaganda. A Semite is a Semite is a …. Arab?

          It reminds me of Christian fundies ranting & raving against the “anti-christian” Catholics. (Some of whom are also Semites.)

        • Walid
          March 6, 2012, 6:10 am

          “Finally…. the term itself was born as political. It can’t ‘become’ political when it has been that way from the start. But fine, don’t trust my analysis. Go read Professor Joseph Massad….. link to weekly.ahram.org.eg

          Great link to Massad’s views on the origins and the misuse of the word “antisemite” and the reason behind denying the holocaust by some Arabs, Clench, especialy these bits from it:

          “This is important, as many people in the Arab world and outside it think that European Jews are the ones who called themselves “Semites”, rather than European Christian racists who invented the term. Of course this misunderstanding is understandable given the fact that Zionism, which adopted wholesale anti-Semitic ideologies, would also call Jews “Semites” and would begin to consider Jews as Semites racially from the late 19th century to the present. In this sense not only do many Arabs think that “Semites” is a Jewish-invented category but so do many European Jews who were (and in some contexts remain) victims of this anti-Jewish designation.”

          “… While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons. This point is even conceded by the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Orientalist Bernard Lewis. Their denial is based on the false Zionist claim that the holocaust justifies Zionist colonialism. The Zionist claim is as follows: Since Jews were the victims of the holocaust, then they have the right to colonise Palestine and establish a Jewish colonial-settler state there. Those Arabs who deny the holocaust accept the Zionist logic as correct. Since these deniers reject the right of Zionists to colonise Palestine, the only argument left to them is to deny that the holocaust ever took place, which, to their thinking, robs Zionism of its allegedly “moral” argument. “

        • Walid
          March 6, 2012, 6:31 am

          The last bit that was missed in my reply to Newclench, from his al-Ahram link:

          “… The attempt by holocaust deniers to play down the number of holocaust victims is obscene, as whether one million or 10 million Jews were killed, the result is still genocide and this would never justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Such obscene number games on the part of holocaust deniers are hardly different from Zionist Jewish denial of the Palestinian nakba and are also similar to the continued Zionist attempts to play down the number of Palestinian refugees. ”

  30. Boycott Israel on Campus
    March 2, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Even with the censorship, this site is very educational. Lots of fuel for the boycott-Israel movement to use, as it goes to campuses campaigning for boycott resolutions.

    Just one problem:

    No one is actually campaigning at campuses for boycott-Israel resolutions.
    And that is the state of BDS.

    Our problem is not the lack of Blankfort and Witty. Our problem is the lack of any real BDS action.

    • Chaos4700
      March 2, 2012, 12:55 pm

      And this whole discussion demonstrates that censorship does NOT solve that problem.

  31. patm
    March 2, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Phil, you’ve not given a satisfactory explanation for banning Jeff Blankfort.

    Can you point to one reprehensible statement by Jeff? Was he warned about forbidden topics before his banning?

    To place Richard Witty in the same category as Jeff Blankfort is an insult. Jeff is a hero, a pioneer of the anti-Zionist movement in America. You say Jeff is your friend, your mentor. This is a disgraceful way to treat a friend and mentor. Do you not understand this? Do you not understand why some of us are so angry?

    You must rescind Jeff’s banning. To do otherwise is to commit a grave injustice.

    • Chaos4700
      March 2, 2012, 12:54 pm

      Phil also said that Witty is his friend. What was it Mooser said about unprincipled friends…? I’m sure Blankfort could tell us.

      • Exiled At Home
        March 2, 2012, 2:09 pm

        I concur.

        As I stated earlier:

        Silencing Jeff Blankfort is no more principled or constructive than running interference for AIPAC. The outcome is the same: you help sustain the legitimacy of Zionism, in this case by removing an importantly vocal critic of Zionism.

        • Chaos4700
          March 2, 2012, 6:39 pm

          Witty’s are a dime a dozen — newclench, hophmi, wondering jew, Mayhem for starters. Jeffrey Blankfort is unique. All you people up thread who are pissing and moaning, by the way, about Witty and not caring about what happened to Blankfort? You guys are STILL letting Witty threadjack you! Fools.

        • Mooser
          March 3, 2012, 7:55 pm

          “Witty’s are a dime a dozen — newclench, hophmi, wondering jew, Mayhem for starters”

          Now wait a minute Chaos4700! There’s a big difference; Witty made tremendous efforts to say something, and failed most of the time, all the rest make tremendous efforts to make sure they don’t say anything, and succeed most of the time.

      • Blake
        March 2, 2012, 2:23 pm

        I do realize this is not my website but personally I don’t like the idea of banning anybody unless they are abusive and threatening. I have been threatened by so called Mossad members on youtube and that kind of anti social behavior should not be tolerated and definitely be banned. Jeff was a very eloquent writer and facts are his forte. I do not recall much of Witty said but then again if I don’t like the substance of what someone wrote I don’t read their comments.

    • chauncey
      March 2, 2012, 6:44 pm

      I’ve learned a lot from the site and read it every day, but I also protest about Blankfort. He was an author on this site and he got dumped without even the chance to comply. It doesn’t compute.

      Maybe I’ll ask ten friends if this was unfair, and if they all say, “yes,” Blankfort will be reinstated. (You may remember, J. Slater attempted to trump Blankfort in their debate by sending Blankfort’s comment to 10 of his friends, all of whom responded that Blankfort is, you guessed it….anti-semitic.)

      • Mooser
        March 3, 2012, 8:06 pm

        “You may remember, J. Slater attempted to trump Blankfort in their debate by sending Blankfort’s comment to 10 of his friends, all of whom responded that Blankfort is, you guessed it….anti-semitic.)”

        Ahh, the old argument-by-chain-letter technique. Works every time. Logicians have no defense against it.

  32. Mooser
    March 2, 2012, 3:27 pm

    “Also Jeff sought to have a discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany here. As we have made clear, this is not a subject we want any part of.”

    Somebody hands you gratis, what is probably the last, best remaining angle to harvest a bumper crop of boffo yoks out of the National Socialist march to power in 1930′s Germany, and you ban them? You could write a script which would leave “The Producers” behind in the dust!

    • LeaNder
      March 3, 2012, 10:55 am

      what is probably the last, best remaining angle to harvest a bumper crop of boffo yoks out of the National Socialist march to power in 1930′s Germany

      Hmm this took me some time, Moose, I really do appreciate your verbal riddles ;)

      boffo

      yoks 1: Yok (יוק in Hebrew) is a Yiddish word that has entered English to refer to a non-Jewish boy or man. Similarly, Yaikultie refers to a non-Jewish girl or man.
      yok 2

      • Mooser
        March 3, 2012, 7:51 pm

        LeaNder, I’m sorry if I was unclear. At any rate, I always used “yoks” or possibly “yuks”?) for “laughs”. “Boffo yoks” are big laughs. Yes, the matter of Jewish assistance in the rise of Nazi facism in 1930′s Germany is a delicate subject, but handled right, it’s comedy gold.

        • LeaNder
          March 5, 2012, 8:43 am

          well, I thought I may as well try. :(

        • Mooser
          March 5, 2012, 2:30 pm

          “well, I thought I may as well try”

          Yes! When you work something up, e-mail me the outline, and we’ll run it up the flagpole and see who tries to set it on fire!

        • Mooser
          March 5, 2012, 4:07 pm

          See what I mean? I guess it’ll take a defter touch than mine. Maybe I’ll see if Blankfort has any ideas.

  33. kma
    March 2, 2012, 8:40 pm

    I’m not Jewish, but I’ve read all this, and I think “dbroncos” summed it up the best:

    “Mr. Blankfort’s ” discussion of the Jewish historical role in the rise of the Nazis in Germany” has no place in “the war of ideas in the middle east.” If such a discussion were posted here it would dump a huge crapstorm on Mondoweiss. Phil and Adam are already swimming against the tide in the Jewish community and, I’m guessing, they’ve made waves within their own families. They are under no obligation to invite accusations of “holocaust denier”, on top of whatever other names they’ve been called, just to entertain Mr. Blanfkort’s free speech on a topic that has no direct impact on I/P. It’s important to keep our eyes on the prize: justice”

    so, in short, we don’t want to be called “anti-semite”, so we should do what Goldstone did and make peace with whoever we offended.
    of course, I not only disagree, I don’t even get it! what’s so offensive about saying the wealthy elite collaborate with the wealthy elite and sell the rest of us out? it isn’t news.
    I don’t even get why Witty was so bad. I think he meant what he said, and he got LOTS of response – not necessarily of interest to me, but obviously of interest to Mondoweiss readers and authors.

    seriously??? Jeff Blankfort??

    • Mooser
      March 3, 2012, 7:58 pm

      “Phil and Adam are already swimming against the tide in the Jewish community”

      Of course they are. It’s always best to start from exactly the place that gives you the least chance of accomplishing anything. Much, much safer that way. Besides, who else could do it right?

  34. Taxi
    March 3, 2012, 2:06 am

    Phil and Adam,

    Please give us a reason why you are unable to un-ban Jeffrey and Potsherd?

    How does it serve mw to have jeffrey outta the picture?

  35. Polly
    March 3, 2012, 1:25 pm

    One of the main reasons Walt & Mearsheimer gained such prominence in an area where almost every other has failed was by almost surgically avoiding areas of discussion unrelated to the Israel Lobby’s stranglehold of the US Congress. It wasn’t cowardice it was purely an effort to gain as much ground as possible.
    I wonder if Phil and Adam’s new policies may be trying to beat a similar path. If so I have no problem with that.
    If the ultimate goal of this site is to help free the Palestinians then I personally think detailed discussions of ME history is more counterproductive than anything else.
    The chain starts with the US subserviance to the lobby. That at least stands a chance of changing – peoples awareness/outrage is increasing palpably. You can actually talk about this where you couldn’t even 5 years ago. That is something that can be built upon.
    As I say, it all depends on what this site is about – if it’s a clubhouse for likeminded people to exchange ideas with no restriction then fine, but bringing up Jewish responsibility for the rise of the Nazi’s is only going to polarize and narrow each discussion down to a handful of posters that take up the entire thread.
    And I’m not knocking that, I’ll always read it, I’ve learned a lot at this site but as Norman F said recently (possibly as a way of distancing himself from his alarming comments bashing of the BDS movement) maybe its time to start moving toward looking for a solution.

    • ToivoS
      March 3, 2012, 11:46 pm

      Polly this a very good political analysis. MW is first and foremost a political blog that has two major themes — one to convince Americans that the Palestinian movement equal rights deserve our support and second to convince American Jews that current Israeli policies are not just bad for Israel but also (more importantly in my opinion) bad for US interests.

      Given those goals, I can see why Phil does not want Blankfort posting here. JB is bringing up some very painful political historical facts. That is history. Today the priority should be to support the Palestinians. I agree with Phil that bringing up painful history will undermine his more important goal for convincing American Jews that Palestinian rights deserve to be addressed. Sorry purists that post here, that is how political arguments do play out. First, do not alienate potential supporters.

    • Pixel
      March 4, 2012, 8:11 am

      “One of the main reasons Walt & Mearsheimer gained such prominence in an area where almost every other has failed was by almost surgically avoiding areas of discussion unrelated to the Israel Lobby’s stranglehold of the US Congress. It wasn’t cowardice it was purely an effort to gain as much ground as possible.”

      I completely see your point. At the same time, this isn’t a book. It’s a website whose stated focus is “The War of Ideas in the Middle East,” which, implies a discussion, not a single-issue.

      The challenge here is where to draw the line and, on that point, I agree with Sin Nombre:

      … while I don’t support the censorship announced here you still have to acknowledge that this is Phil’s site, he can run it the way he wants, he’s run it brilliantly so far, he and Adam are manifestly reasonable, smart guys, one can understand the impulse to censor, and that if anyone can be trusted to censor reasonably it would be Phil and Adam.

      I deeply respect P and A for explaining their decisions and allowing us to express our opinions.

      “True leaders are those who think boldly, act compassionately, and welcome criticism.” – Bruce Weinstein

    • Dan Kelly
      March 4, 2012, 3:38 pm

      One of the main reasons Walt & Mearsheimer gained such prominence in an area where almost every other has failed was by almost surgically avoiding areas of discussion unrelated to the Israel Lobby’s stranglehold of the US Congress. It wasn’t cowardice it was purely an effort to gain as much ground as possible.

      Agreed.

      I wonder if Phil and Adam’s new policies may be trying to beat a similar path.

      A path which will surgically avoid any areas of discussion unrelated to the ultimate goal of the site?

      If the ultimate goal of this site is to help free the Palestinians…

      Mondoweiss doesn’t claim that freeing the Palestinians is its ultimately goal. In fact, it never mentions freeing the Palestinians at all. According to Mondoweiss, the site has “four principal aims”:

      To publish important developments touching on Israel/Palestine, the American Jewish community and the shifting debate over US foreign policy in a timely fashion.

      This is only the first of four “aims” (which within it contains three separate endeavors) and it already takes us down a number of different paths. These paths obviously overlap in many areas, but by including all of these Mondoweiss cannot possibly follow a singular surgical path towards Palestinian freedom, which isn’t a stated goal anyway.

      To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.

      To foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy.

      This is the only “aim” which mentions the Palestinians. It is rather vague, to say the least.

      To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.

      So, that’s it. Mondoweiss is “the wars of ideas in the Middle East” and nowhere does it say that its ultimate goal, or even any of it’s goals, are Palestinian freedom (or exposure of the Israel Lobby, for that matter). I’m not posting this to deride Mondoweiss per se, rather to illustrate how it functions in relation to the singularity of purpose that you alluded to above, something that I think is critical for anything in life to succeed. Mondoweiss clearly isn’t interested in a singularity of purpose or even a unity of purpose and as such I don’t think it’s correct to suggest that the silencing of certain voices was done in order to advance such a thing that doesn’t in fact exist.

      • Polly
        March 5, 2012, 12:30 am

        Dan, I’m not sure why you seem so aghast that this site might have a singularity of purpose – even if it isn’t mentioned in any mission statement .Whatever Phil and Adams stated goals for Mondoweiss may be doesn’t change anything I’m saying. I’m being guided by the contributions and the responses here only and whilst freeing the Palestinians is obviously not the ONLY topic discussed here I would think it’s top of the tree in importance. I could have picked anything else because it’s all related – Zionism, US pandering to the lobby, Israel’s belief that it can survive indefinitely fighting endless wars and at the end of that chain, the Palestinians being the ultimate casualties of all this.
        I see the purpose here at MW in weakening any of those links in the chain.

  36. kma
    March 3, 2012, 8:43 pm

    Polly, I don’t get your argument against certain topics that “narrow each discussion down etc”, but when you say this:

    “You can actually talk about this where you couldn’t even 5 years ago.”

    all I can say is, WE COULD TALK ABOUT THIS WHENEVER THE HELL WE WANTED TO. and some of us did! I don’t see anything wrong with talking about collaborators, which seems like an obscure topic, and I have no MANUAL on what SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be discussed in polite company. can we talk about zionists collaborating with US empire today? the rest of us are feeling pretty culpable at the moment – why not talk about ALL OF IT? then five years from now, you can join us.

    finally, if there is one thing I’ve learned from the I/P activism issue, it’s that we all get The Intimidation (at least), and the only way to stop fueling it is NOT TO CAVE TO IT. it won’t kill you. think about what the Palestinians face. be brave.

  37. Pixel
    March 4, 2012, 6:32 am

    While “Holocaust Denial” is not allowable, I hope that challenging the term is not.

    Like so many other slurs, it’s now as often directed at those who question Israeli policy as are the labels “Anti-Semites,” “Self-Hating Jews,” and those using the term “Israeli Firster,” each of which are regularly discussed here.

    • Chaos4700
      March 4, 2012, 9:25 pm

      Example? See below.

  38. David Green
    March 4, 2012, 12:29 pm

    Stevieb: “Zionism, Corporate/Financial, MIC – the trifecta of ‘evil’, if you will. But for me, the first one enables the others. Zionism’s main, deviant characteristics have enabled the others to follow the same deviant immoral path. Accepting Zionism as being American as apple pie has had extreme influence on American foreign policy, and not only in the ME. Israel’s sphere of influence and control also flows well outside of the ME.”

    If that anti-semitic statement doesn’t get this person banned from Mondoweiss, then nobody should be banned–nobody. Not Blankfort, not Witty. Seriously. There should be no moderation whatsoever–none. This is plain anti-semitic trash. It has no place. Or, everyone has a place. Everyone. Bring back JB and RW. Beyond the anti-semitism, it’s the hypocrisy, as blatant as it can possibly be. If Zionists are responsible for all of this, why not the Holocaust?

    • Chaos4700
      March 4, 2012, 9:23 pm

      Yes, yes, yes, noun verb anti-Semite, burn the witch. Thank you for your endless contributions, Mr. Green. Anyone who mentions the name “Bernie Madoff” and is not in a room containing only Jews must be an anti-Semite too, right?

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 5, 2012, 8:19 am

      I think that the list of bannable offenses should be expanded to including allegations of anti-semitism where the accuser does nothing but point to criticism of Zionism. (Such as this one by David Green) That unthinking nonsense is a tiresome lie, designed to detract from the conversation in the hopes of shielding Zionism.

      • Chaos4700
        March 5, 2012, 8:56 am

        I agree. If you’re going to ban anybody, ban that behavior. Hell, not only does it actually remove trolls, it protects Mondoweiss which might otherwise be construed as liable for participating in libel against others.

    • Mooser
      March 5, 2012, 3:19 pm

      “This is plain anti-semitic trash. It has no place.”

      Then why are you unable to cite any facts to refute it? Stevieb’s statement seems like a reasonable conclusion for a lot of people. After all, it can’t be the “Protestant mid-western morality ” ethic lauded so highly in Tony Judt’s case which spawns those evils, it must be Zionism.

      • stevieb
        March 7, 2012, 11:46 am

        Thanks Mooser, I think.

        But seriously, I think it’s clear I’m talking about Zionism and not Judaism. You may not agree with my analysis -fair enough, it’s how it looks to me and I could be wrong. The role of Zionism in American FP is an area that requires alot more study and analysis, but clearly it’s a legitmate subject of inquiry and not simply an antisemitic trope.

        But the truth is I don’t agree with the banning of Blankfort etc, but I do respect Mr.Weiss’ very difficult job of running this very important site – one that needs to be accessible to the American Jewish community for purposes of education and information. Zionism is problem for everyone, but even more so for the greater Jewish community imo….

    • Keith
      March 5, 2012, 5:03 pm

      DAVID GREEN- Let us begin with the part you left out: “It isn’t only Jews who have been corrupted by the ‘Chosen’ dogma. Zionism and American imperialism are willing bedmates…”

      One would have thought that the reference to US imperialism would have resonated with you, however, you chose to conflate Zionism with Jews and overreact. Fortunately for Mondoweiss, saner heads decide who to ban and who not to ban. In my almost two years of commenting, I have never suggested that another commenter be banned. I don’t feel that it is my place, or that it would be useful. That is Phil and Adam’s responsibility and, in my opinion, they have done a good job.

      There is a bigger problem here. I have noticed the ease with which many Jews feel that it is their right to sit in judgment of Gentile behavior that is not to their ideological liking. How they are the ones to determine what constitutes anti-Semitism and what doesn’t. And how this frequently translates to anti-Gentile chauvinism whereby Gentile questioning and analysis of Jewish institutions, ideology and power is all too frequently met with almost casual charges of anti-Semitism. Unjustified charges of someone effectively being a “Jew hater” could be an indication that the accuser is in fact a crypto Gentile hater. And if an occasional anti-Semitic comment appears, so what? It’s not as if anti-Semitism is a big problem, is it? We shouldn’t be too vigorous in squelching discussion.

      One of the areas that needs discussing is the Jewish attitude towards Gentiles. I am under the impression that is one of the areas which Mondoweiss seeks to explore, albeit in prudent fashion. It is certainly an area that the great Israel Shahak sought to pursue. “Therefore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism which must include the critique of the Jewish past. The most important part of such a critique must be detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews.” (Israel Shahak, 1994)

      • David Green
        March 6, 2012, 2:30 pm

        Keith, do you think that

        “Zionism, Corporate/Financial, MIC – the trifecta of ‘evil’, if you will. But for me, the first one enables the others. Zionism’s main, deviant characteristics have enabled the others to follow the same deviant immoral path.”

        is an accurate depiction of the roots of USFP?

        And it it’s not accurate, how might one explain the motivation for what is probably not a careless assessment of the roots of USFP?

        Also, for the record, I don’t advocate anyone being banned from Mondoweiss for any reason. Ever.

        • Mooser
          March 6, 2012, 7:46 pm

          “Also, for the record, I don’t advocate anyone being banned from Mondoweiss for any reason. Ever.” David Green

          “If that anti-semitic statement doesn’t get this person banned from Mondoweiss, then nobody should be banned–nobody. Not Blankfort, not Witty. Seriously. There should be no moderation whatsoever–none. This is plain anti-semitic trash. It has no place”

          Well, now, at least I got the question “Who are you going to believe, David Green or your lieing eyes?” answered.
          Guess I’ll just have to go and have myself treated for literary hallucinations. I was sure the comment was signed “David Green”

        • Keith
          March 6, 2012, 9:15 pm

          DAVID GREEN- “Also, for the record, I don’t advocate anyone being banned from Mondoweiss for any reason. Ever.”

          Sorry, David, but I think your meaning is quite clear when you say “If that anti-semitic statement doesn’t get this person banned from Mondoweiss, then nobody should be banned–nobody.” And let’s not quibble over whether your real intent was to get Jeffrey and Witty reinstated.

          As to the comment in question, I think that STEVIEB is overestimating the relative influence of Zionism in determining US geo-strategy, however, to casually jump to the conclusion of Jew hatred is totally unjustified. Furthermore, as I indicated, this is Phil and Adam’s responsibility, not yours or mine. Frankly, I am getting more than a little annoyed at the way some folks shriek anti-Semitism at the drop of a hat. I had a similar conversation with your buddy Max ajl here link to mondoweiss.net

          I have two problems with all of this. The first is that any examination of political economy must deal with the question of power: who has it, how they got it, and how they keep it. The struggle for power is perhaps the key issue of our time. Jewish power and influence, including the role of Zionism as a group unifier, is a valid and essential area of inquiry. This is an area which Mondoweiss seeks to explore so that we may improve our understanding of those factors influencing Middle East policy, and to reflect upon overall political economy. It doesn’t help to have some folks trying to stifle the discussion of this historically sensitive area with charges of anti-Semitism.

          The second problem I have should have been obvious from my initial comment. Anti-Gentile Chauvinism is the mirror image of anti-Semitism. It is racism, pure and simple. Yet, some Jews can’t seem to conceive of the notion that Jews can and do discriminate against Gentiles. The notion of Jewish victim hood so fundamental to their psyche that it goes unquestioned. Also, the notion of eternal Gentile anti-Semitism self-evident, not requiring proof. This is what Israel Shahak is trying to get at in the quote where he mentions a Jewish self-critique involving confronting the Jewish attitude to non-Jews.

        • David Green
          March 7, 2012, 10:07 am

          stevieb: “Zionism’s main, deviant characteristics have enabled the others to follow the same deviant immoral path.”

          I don’t care who made this statement, Jew or Gentile. And I don’t support the notion of banning. In light of people being banned, however, I question the consistency of not banning someone who makes a trash statement like this.

          Again, Keith, what is your reaction to this “analysis”?

          Zionism has contributed greatly to imperialism in the ME, obviously. It’s influence has been perverse in Jewish-American culture, and in American political culture. However, there’s isn’t a shred of evidence that USFP would be significantly different without it. That seems to be the assumption at Mondoweiss, and I think it’s misguided. That’s why I think that Medea Benjamin’s 10 points from last week are also, by and large, misguided. No, AIPAC isn’t responsible for world hunger.

        • David Green
          March 7, 2012, 10:10 am

          Mooser, you have the persona of a clever fellow. Certainly you can see the difference between somebody supporting banning, and someone supporting that banning be enforced consistently. I don’t support banning. It leads to arbitrariness, subjectivity, and hypocrisy. I think Mondoweiss already has enough of all those things.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 7, 2012, 10:27 am

          Zionism has contributed greatly to imperialism in the ME, obviously. It’s influence has been perverse in Jewish-American culture, and in American political culture. However, there’s isn’t a shred of evidence that USFP would be significantly different without it.

          riiiight…and that why the lobby exists, because our policies wouldn’t be significantly different without it? this is laughable…if you wonder why people around here don’t take you very seriously, this is why.

        • seanmcbride
          March 7, 2012, 10:41 am

          Annie,

          I take David Green seriously — I think he’s a serious apologist for the Israel lobby and for all the havoc and damage it has inflicted and continues to inflict on American society.

          Would the Israel lobby bother to engage in so much brutal, furious and expensive lobbying if it believed that American foreign policy would be the same without that lobbying? Once again, a pro-Israel activist has insulted my intelligence, and I am annoyed. I don’t forget any of these annoying incidents, and they accumulate. Most of us don’t.

          Is David Green another example of a “liberal Zionist”?

        • Annie Robbins
          March 7, 2012, 10:49 am

          well i don’t sean. check out this exchange

          link to mondoweiss.net

          there’s no attempt at communication there, just silly bullying, crazy posturing, insistence and demands. he might as well just stomp his feet.

        • seanmcbride
          March 7, 2012, 11:08 am

          Annie,

          I was being ironic and agreeing with you. :) Green is “serious” in his emotional intensity in running interference for the Israel lobby. As a substantive thinker, he is not serious at all — he relies mostly on bluster and invective.

        • Annie Robbins
          March 7, 2012, 11:20 am

          ;)

        • Hostage
          March 7, 2012, 11:27 am

          However, there’s isn’t a shred of evidence that USFP would be significantly different without it. That seems to be the assumption at Mondoweiss, and I think it’s misguided.

          The Foreign Relations of the United States provides the documentary record of major US foreign policy decisions. It is punctuated by correspondence and recorded conversations with Zionist lobbyists, including Brandeis, Weizmann, Wise, Silver, Epstein, Shertok, Goldmann, et al. The record is also very clear that these Zionist agents routinely got what they were requesting, despite strenuous opposition from the top officials in the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the CIA.

          If you don’t think there’s ample evidence that US foreign policy would have been significantly different without that considerable outside influence, then you’re either not very well informed or blinded by your own political agenda.

        • David Green
          March 7, 2012, 11:39 am

          Annie, what I mean is that USFP would pursue the same strategic interests, but in different ways. Such as, elites pursue the same strategic interests regarding China, although the context has obviously changed from 40 years ago. Without the Lobby and Israel, the U.S. would be pursuing the same strategic interests in relation to control of oil in the ME, vis a vis China, Russia, etc.

          This is to say that the power of the Lobby, as active and formidable as it is, do not fundamentally explain USFP.

          Beyond that, Annie, the mentality that you bring to MW, whether popular or not, is one of adolescent conformity to prevailing opinion. You foster a condescending in-group mentality regarding Lobby doctrine, and obviously have plenty of supporters. I think that your ideas and efforts–and those whose comments border on anti-semitism, as does steivieb’s, undermine the movement for Palestinian rights.

          I have always been deeply repelled by the approach that you take to this website, which in my view is largely thoughtless, careless, and self-absorbed. You initiated insults at me from the beginning, which confirmed my views of both your style and substance, which are vacuous.

        • Hostage
          March 7, 2012, 11:39 am

          I take David Green seriously — I think he’s a serious apologist for the Israel lobby and for all the havoc and damage it has inflicted and continues to inflict on American society.

          No, but it appears he has wholeheartedly embraced some simplistic Marxist totalizing theories. I certainly agree with Chomsky’s more nuanced positions about the role of the US government and our military-industrial sector in creating and prolonging the problem, but our foreign policy in the Middle East doesn’t serve American or Western capital interests worth a damn.

      • Mooser
        March 6, 2012, 7:50 pm

        “I have noticed the ease with which many Jews feel that it is their right to sit in judgment of Gentile behavior that is not to their ideological liking.”

        No!! Why, how on earth did you ever get that impression? I can’t understand what on earth would give you that crazy idea. Well, anyway, if you did, do I really have to tell you why?

        And BTW you failed to bomb Auschwitz!

        • Dan Crowther
          March 6, 2012, 10:12 pm

          HAAHHAHAAAA!!!!!

          sht mooser man……you are one funny mofo

  39. Polly
    March 4, 2012, 5:17 pm

    KMA, let me put it another way – if your having an intervention for an alcoholic friend, keep the discussion to booze, don’t start bringing up OTHER shit they did!
    You might have a right to bring up it up but it ain’t gonna help and they may well LEAVE!

    • Charon
      March 5, 2012, 12:20 am

      Best way to slay the beast is to cut off it’s head. The problem with I/P and Zionism in general is the beast has a lot of heads. Kind of like the alcoholic friend having issues that are unrelated to the alcohol of equal and even greater importance.

      It’s like the third Indiana Jones movie when he has to pick out the grail from all those cups. Choose wisely.

      Above all, it’s important to tell the truth. Now speculation, that’s not the truth. It could be but it could not be. I’m very guilty of it myself. The good thing about I/P is the truth is well-documented and is 180 degrees different than the narrative promoted in the West.

    • ToivoS
      March 5, 2012, 12:53 am

      Polly I do like the way you think. Especially being an alcoholic myself who has worked with many others in my situation. The first problem is alcohol. Deal with that. Often there are many other underlying problems that must be considered and if ignored can lead to relapse. But those are issues that are rarely solved during the initial recovery period.

    • Mooser
      March 5, 2012, 3:26 pm

      “if your having an intervention for an alcoholic friend, keep the discussion to booze”

      Like which brands are better? Cost vs. quality comparisons? Discussing the type of drunk you get from each kind liquor?
      I mean, if the person didn’t do “OTHER shit” while they were drinking, why are you having an intervention?

  40. Taxi
    March 4, 2012, 11:47 pm

    Phil and Adam,

    Please take note that this thread, which is a few days old now, has glaringly more comments than any other of the many threads you’ve been posting for the past few days. Interpretation? Most bloggers are finding it hard to swallow the new rules, especially because these rules go against the concept of the ‘war of ideas in the middle east’ that lured us in in the first place. Now suddenly we find out that it really ain’t about the ‘wars/ideas/middle east’, but about jewish americans and zionism.

    I’ve noted that most goy on mw feeling oppressed by the new rules while most jewish posters are giving support to the rules.

    One thing’s for damn sure though: 90%+ of this community support the reinstatement of Jeffrey Blankfort et all. So please I ask you Adam and Phil, please pretty please bring ‘em back – for the right reasons. It’s distracting us all from other I/P issues to have this weird injustice reverberating at the grassroot of our beloved camp.

    • Walid
      March 5, 2012, 5:48 am

      “Now suddenly we find out that it really ain’t about the ‘wars/ideas/middle east’, but about jewish americans and zionism.”

      I’m with you on that one, Taxi, but I add Israel to the list. Problem is not with the new rules but with this site’s fixation on Israel and nothing by Israel. Even Zionism is discussed or not discussed in function of Israel because it may lead to its “delegitimization” or some other bugaboo. Mondo’s getting to be only about Israel.

      Anyway Taxi, off-topic and to add a bit of colour since there is no other thread to discuss it, have you seen the video that’s been out for a couple of days about what some of the Libyan heroes of the Arab Spring have been up to? This is a sampling of the Benghazi freedom-fighters’ mentality NATO, BH Lévy and friends gave to Libya. Ironically, it was aired by Jazeera but you won’t be seeing it in the West:

      The 300 separate militias should be announcing the formation of a new Libyan confederation of 2 states very soon. Politicians and leaders of Eastern Libyan tribes are meeting tomorrow in Benghazi to declare the eastern one as the territory of Cyrenaica, extending from the borders of Egypt in the east to the Sirte in the west.

      In another Arab Spring country that had excited many here, Tunisia’s universities’ year is practically shot because of openings and closings due to the new niqab rule and because the freedom fighters there that are now in power are having problems with so many women attending universities (50% of total) when they should be at home making babies and are refusing to wear the niqab. Shmuel hesitated too long in opening his chain of niqab stores there.

      As to the Egyptian Arab Spring, Egypt’s and the Arab world’s top comic, Adel Imam, has been “retroactively” sentenced to 3 months in jail by the new Islamist regime for having joked about Islam in his past movies and the Salfists are warning that the sale of alcohol is about to stop. Belly dancers have been asked to look for other work. Phil had his falling off the horse on the road to Damascus moment about Egypt’s Arab Spring when he was in Cairo during the riot and massacre of the Copts but no longer talks about it.

      • Taxi
        March 5, 2012, 9:14 am

        Thanks Walid for your ‘colorful’ interlude – and thanks for filling us in with your wide-ranging yet succinct newsbroadcast from the so-called Arab Spring. Why don’t you every now and then submit an article about the (un)progress of all that jazz in the mideast – well it’s gotta be from you cuz I don’t see me any other Arab voice around here – them voices left ages ago boohoohoo!

        Habibi Walid – what grand smarts you got – always learning something or another from ya.

  41. Polly
    March 5, 2012, 2:38 am

    Thanks Toivo

  42. Koshiro
    March 6, 2012, 4:30 am

    I oppose banning commenters on principle – as long as they are not openly abusive or blatantly dishonest with their comments. I don’t think that either Witty or Blankfort were.

    That said, I don’t think this site’s discussion will be any worse off because of the absence of Witty, Werdine, eee and whatever apologists for Israel we had here. Let’s face it: Their responses to topics were so predictable, you could simulate them with a software application. And since their opinions were unchanging and unchangeable, it is futile to expect them to contribute fresh ideas either.

  43. Taxi
    March 6, 2012, 6:06 am

    Okay mondo folks, so this post here is number 323 on this thread. What a lovely popular topic eh. Seriously, I had earlier TWICE asked Adam and Phil to reconsider the mass banning. Many of you, in your own way, voiced disapproval for the bannings too but few have actually put in a request for it like I did. Our message to them on this thread is looking a bit discombobulated and disjointed. That’s why I think we need a comprehensive consensus for Adam and Phil. I ask you therefore to reply-post below with a yay or nay for the motion of re-instatement.

    I say YAY!

  44. MHughes976
    March 6, 2012, 6:53 am

    Yay from me too, on balance. I was really good at ignoring eee. I accept Phil’s right to make the rules and understand that he probably sees all the dangers more clearly than I could. Still, a Yay vote from sunny southern England.

    • Taxi
      March 6, 2012, 7:43 am

      MHughes,
      (Love southern England – spent much time in St. Ives during winters in the 80′s – my spiritual home).

    • Walid
      March 6, 2012, 7:53 am

      Yea to bring back everybody and to the start of discussions on more than simply Israel and the Zionists. It would interesting to discuss something about Palestinians that doesn’t involve their getting clobbered by Israel.

  45. MHughes976
    March 6, 2012, 1:11 pm

    I don’t really share the wish to widen the core discussion beyond issues raised by Zionism. The proposition I want to discuss (with reasonable people) is the Zionist proposition that Jewish people have special rights in Palestine. I consider this proposition false, unsupported by any good reason. This is a proposition that arose in the West and is mainly supported from the West, so a Westernising discussion like this is basically a good idea. One day Phil will be the subject of an opera.
    I don’t think that the arguments and propositions of Zionism form just one case among many of parallel arguments applied in other places, so I don’t want to get drawn into discussions of parallels which I consider misleading.
    Libyans and Syrians matter as much as any other human beings, of course. But I don’t see that there is a powerful idea, specific to them as Zionism is to Palestine, affecting their situation.
    I’ve written about my ideas and wishes – only for brevity, of course, not because my ideas deserve more respect than others’.
    Meanwhile eee seems to have been replaced in the twinkling of an eye by others equally horrifying, Blankfort not.

    • Hostage
      March 6, 2012, 4:59 pm

      I don’t really share the wish to widen the core discussion beyond issues raised by Zionism. The proposition I want to discuss (with reasonable people) is the Zionist proposition that Jewish people have special rights in Palestine.

      I already comment at other websites that are devoted to specific topics, including genocide studies, international law, international organization, and history. Many of the discussions here at MW about Zionism or the elements of Jewish and Palestinian identity would be off-topic or hard to pigeon-hole at most of those other websites.

      I’m not upset by decisions adopted by the website operators here, or elsewhere, to devote their bandwidth to articles or comments about a limited or shared area of interest. But I’m put-off by the “we know it when we see it” rule used to ban Blankfort, because most of us didn’t see anti-Semites or Holocaust deniers joining in the discussion with Prof Slater. I accept the notion that they did arrive and overloaded the moderators and that Phil and Adam don’t want to open that can of worms.

      Meanwhile eee seems to have been replaced in the twinkling of an eye by others equally horrifying, Blankfort not.

      Anonymous trolls reciting the MFA and Hasbara Fellowship’s talking points aren’t very hard to find. People like Blankfort who have devoted decades to study, interviews, analysis, writing, and activism can’t be so easily replaced.

  46. Mooser
    March 6, 2012, 8:06 pm

    Well, Witty had the last word! Yes, sir he summed up the Mondoweiss comment board in one short sentence:

    “EVERY liberal writer, thinker, that posts there is attacked.”

    I won’t link it, out of consideration, but this is Witty’s summing up in the thread on his banning at “Liberal Zionism” his web-site.

  47. Mooser
    March 6, 2012, 8:08 pm

    Of course, over at Liberal Zionism, in the comment thread, Witty is avidly discussing just how much Palestinians teach their children to hate Jews. It’s very liberal to disagree on that. Some say they spend %90 of the time on it, others say more.

  48. seanmcbride
    March 7, 2012, 9:45 am

    1. “Liberal Zionism,” like “Christian Zionism,” is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. Zionism is an ethnic nationalist movement — often an ethno-religious nationalist movement (which is even worse) — and movements of this type are rarely liberal. Often they devolve into outright racism and fascism — that’s the nature of the beast.

    2. Richard Witty is a member of Chabad-Lubavitch, which is an ultra-right-wing *religious Zionist* organization which promotes racist ideas about non-Jews and even seems to overlap with Kahanism.

    3. Witty’s self-presentation as a “liberal Zionist” never made any sense and that is why people reacted so negatively towards it. There was a bizarre mismatch between the polite and civilized exterior and the bigoted and ugly interior.

  49. seanmcbride
    March 7, 2012, 11:40 am

    A Great Revelation

    It was a huge mistake for Diaspora Jews ever to get into arguments with their fellow citizens in the Diaspora about Israel. The entire subject is emotional and irrational and produces nothing but anger, bitterness and disgust on all sides. This situation is going to end very badly indeed — there is no light at the end of this tunnel.

    Isn’t all of this obvious by now to everyone concerned? We should be having none of these arguments. Jewish well-being and prosperity in the Diaspora should not be dependent on any of these arguments.