No one knows what Obama stands for

Israel/Palestine
on 141 Comments

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

The American drumbeat of war in Syria isn’t about dubious intelligence.  It’s about the arrogance of power and being the bully of the world.  But even the bully of the world can be bullied.

President Obama thought his chemical weapons’ red line was the end of the matter.  Now he realizes it was only the beginning.

In his second term as President, no one knows what Obama stands for – if anything – or where he really wants to take the nation.  Out of war was his campaign mantra.  Better to focus on the poverty and jobs war at home.  The Iraq and Afghanistan war wound down, for Americans at least, but the drone war increased and now our (selective) Middle East meddling is staring Obama right in the face.

Will Obama’s Presidency be defined by missile strikes in Syria?

The full court blitz of Congress and the Sunday talk shows is the rage right now and surprise, surprise, Iran and Israel have become as important in the discussion as the chemical weapons’ charge against Syria.  The argued threat is being globalized.  Stand by for the President’s thrust on the global stage.  He needs to cobble together yet another coalition of the willing.

Speaking of Israel and AIPAC, are theses bullies driving the elected bullies into yet another war?

Will Congress pass the authorization Obama wants?  Perhaps.  The British have already backed away and the very eager French – now in a US ally competition with the British – will await the vote in Congress.  Why?  To be honest, the French don’t have the military capability to go it alone.  Nor do they want to stand alone on the imperial stage without US cover.

Since World War II, Europe has renounced its global imperialism – and let America secure it for them.  It’s always best to renounce imperialism without giving it up.  Cowardly, though.  If the French want to teach Syria and their old stomping ground a lesson, let the French go it alone.

Meanwhile in Egypt, our blood-on-their-hands ally that doesn’t have to sweat a US missile strike or even the loss of US aid continues on its martial law path by charging deposed President Morsi with inciting murder during the uprising against his rule.  The charge is as convoluted as the lurking charge against Morsi’s jail break during the last days of the (official) Mubarak regime.  But, then, is the logic of Egypt’s rulers any different than the logic the Obama administration is using in Syria?

That’s it in a nutshell.  Twisted logic that passes as reasonable discourse.  With deadly consequences for those await the missiles duly approved by the paragons of moral virtue.

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of Burning Children: A Jewish View of the War in Gaza which can be found at www.newdiasporabooks.com

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141 Responses

  1. James Canning
    September 2, 2013, 1:26 pm

    France was unable to talk Eisenhower into putting US troops into Vietnam to save the French Empire’s poistion in Indo-China.

    US could not enable France to keep Algeria.

    Notion of Europe seeking “empire” courtesy of the US is weak.

  2. Les
    September 2, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Since the Saudis are openly supplying gas warfare weapons to the rebels, Obama might suggest bombing Saudi Arabia to discourage them.

    link to mintpressnews.com

  3. just
    September 2, 2013, 2:18 pm

    I used to think I knew what he stood for… not so sure now.

    He better not be putting Israel and AIPAC first, as he and so many Presidents have done before. The stench of our hypocrisy became overwhelming a loooong time ago. We need to put an end to it. I wish that Mr. Kerry would take to the mike and tell the current Israeli leadership to stop their egregious behavior once and for all, or we will revoke our special relationship based on the fact that Israel is cheating in a big way– one that is killing the indigenous people of Palestine and stealing their land and resources with a fervent push during the “peace talks”. He can refer to Israel’s “moral obscenities” occurring in Palestine & he might also want to mention the obscenity of Israel’s trading of African refugees to Uganda in exchange for $$$ and weapons. The list is long indeed.

    • just
      September 2, 2013, 2:43 pm

      One more thing:

      “Inspires Hope for a Better Future

      Barack H. Obama, the 44th President of the United States, had been in power for less than eight months when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. Among the reasons it gave, the Nobel Committee lauded Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. Emphasis was also given to his support – in word and deed – for the vision of a world free from nuclear weapons.

      Even before the election, Obama had advocated dialogue and cooperation across national, ethnic, religious and political dividing lines. As President, he called for a new start to relations between the Muslim world and the West based on common interests and mutual understanding and respect. In accordance with a promise he made during his election campaign, he set in motion a plan for the withdrawal of U.S. occupying forces from Iraq.

      During his first year in power, President Obama showed himself to be a strong spokesman for human rights and democracy, and as a constructive supporter of the work being done to put effective measures in place to combat the climate crisis. This is in line with his appeal: “Now is the time for all of us to take our” share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges”.

      link to nobelprize.org

      I see that it really is undeserved if this is truly what the Committee was thinking. I know I believed him and had great hope for this President. I do, however, see where he has pledged fealty to Israel– by his actions/inaction and his words.

      Thanks, Professor.

      • Walid
        September 3, 2013, 1:26 am

        “I see that it really is undeserved if this is truly what the Committee was thinking. I know I believed him and had great hope for this President. ”

        I had lost faith in the prize when it was awarded to the Arafat, Rabin, Perez trio. I lost faith in Obama when he accepted it.

      • Theo
        September 3, 2013, 9:29 am

        Although I am not black I had tears in my eyes when Obama won the election, sitting together with several black friends. After Johnson, Nixon, Ford, the Bushes and Clinton I hoped for once to have a president with a strong character who believes his job is to further the interests of this nation and to spread goodwill over the world.
        His Cairo speech even strenthend my conviction.
        How naive can we humans be?

        Obama sold his soul long before that election by accepting large donations from zionist sources and basically he is a coward. Being a great speaker he is able to pull the wool over our collective eyes, can sell us just about anything. He will never do anything to forfeit the flow of those large zionist donation and after his term, the well paid speaking tours.

        He could have been one of our greatest presidents, the time was right to do great things for this nation and the world, however now, if he continues the same policy, his only merit will be that he was the first black president of the USA. Certainly nothing much to brag about.

      • Antidote
        September 5, 2013, 9:10 pm

        “His Cairo speech even strenthend my conviction.
        How naive can we humans be?”

        Same here. Not everyone, though.

        Here’s a prescient rant about the Cairo speech, by Gideon Polya

        link to gpolya.newsvine.com

  4. American
    September 2, 2013, 2:41 pm

    If anyone can figure out Obama please tell us all.
    All I can see is that for the most part he bends whichever way the strongest wind in his circle blows him.

    • ritzl
      September 2, 2013, 5:52 pm

      Back in 2007 I saw him evade his own rhetorical question. It was seamless and masterful. I remember thinking, ho boy, here we go…

      I can’t find the video, but it was on C-SPAN. It went something like this:

      O: Health care is the greatest thing and I’m going to push for it as hard as I can. Wouldn’t it be great to have everyone in the US have access to medical care?

      Q from audience: Do mean your going to try to get all Americans access to medical care?

      O: Well that depends on what you mean by access. …

      Maybe they all do it, but this was literally a self-refutation in the very next words out of his mouth. I found it amazing, and in hindsight, completely predictive.

  5. RudyM
    September 2, 2013, 3:03 pm

    Obama is a longer way of spelling “CIA.”

    I’m bowing out on even attempting to say what the CIA stands for, except that it represents competing factions of various elites, mostly economic elties (I think).

    Yeah, that’s simplistic, but I think it explains some of the confusion Obama sows.

    I do tend to think he believes in good old fashioned U.S. imperialism (but perhaps with an ultimately globalilst drift, if that makes any sense), rather than using U.S. power to serve Zionism. But I don’t know if he has any strong convictions. I think mostly he believes in being president.

    • john h
      September 2, 2013, 11:25 pm

      “I think mostly he believes in being president”.

      Take a bow, RudyM! You got it in one.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      September 3, 2013, 4:11 pm

      I could give a more positive slant to that. He can also regard himself as a consensus figure. A facilitator rather than a leader. So that you get more a type of collective decisionmaking. He’ll put his stamp on the decision process but it’s more a group thing. Speculative.

  6. seafoid
    September 2, 2013, 3:30 pm

    Obama is a fraud in way out of his depth and David Bromwich captured it very well in this 2011 piece

    link to nybooks.com

    “For Obama, protracted moods of extreme abstraction seem to alternate with spasmodic engagement. The blend is hard to get used to. His detachment from congressional negotiations on health care and cap-and-trade was resented by Democrats, while leaders of the Palestinian Authority were at a loss to account for the dissociation from active pursuit of a settlement that followed his Cairo speech of June 2009. His decision to back the Libyan rebels was an instance of sudden engagement, against the prudential advice of a secretary of defense whom Obama trusts and admires.”

    “The position of a moderate who aspires to shake the world into a new shape presents a continuous contradiction. For the moderate feels constrained not to say anything startling, and not to do anything very fast. But just as there is trouble with doing things on the old lines, there is trouble, too, with letting people understand things on the old lines. At least, there is if you have your sights set on changing the nature of the game. Obama is caught in this contradiction, and keeps getting deeper in it, like a man who sinks in quicksand both the more he struggles and the more he stays still. This is one lesson of his passage from inaction in Egypt to action in Libya, and from his summons of reform in Cairo in June 2009 to the guarded speech from the sidelines in May 2011″
    The May 19 speech at the State Department brought together in a single performance Obama’s vagueness in defining a policy and his wish to embrace a challenge. A broad survey of the events of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain committed him chiefly to giving money to the new governments of Tunisia and Egypt. He would move, he said, to ensure financial stability, promote reform, and integrate the emerging Arab democracies into the international economy. To Bahrain, the home of the US Fifth Fleet, he recommended “dialogue” between the government and the peaceful protesters whom it has attacked: “You can’t have real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.”

  7. pabelmont
    September 2, 2013, 3:34 pm

    The dithering about Syria is not about what Obama “stands for”. It is about contradictory pressures (instructions) he is getting from all the several BIGs (BIG WAR, BIG OIL, BIG ZION, BIG BANKS, etc., and, of course, “the people”. He is being pushed and pulled like a ball-point pen (push, pull, click, click). Perhaps budgetary considerations — and if so, then to everyone’s surprise — has become another BIG in the long list. If all the BIGs agreed that war was a good idea, we’d be there in a heartbeat, and Congress calling for it louder than anyone. Because they were all elected with money from a variety of BIGs and wish to be re-elected. Evidently, they do not yet agree. Why? Who knows? Their discussions are not public.

  8. ivri
    September 2, 2013, 3:41 pm

    I think you have to be fair with Obama. In present-day conditions all what a president, even of the US, can do, or just hope to do, is to “manage” things and make sure that things stay within “tolerance limits” – and that is exactly what he is trying to do. Generally, you can say that Obama tried to stay away from real big conflicts as much as he could – “played” drones instead – but circumstances don`t allow him this luxury. My feeling is that he in the end, despite all the procrastinations, he will have to deal with Iran – stop it by force – since there will be no good alternative for doing so already during his term. So paradoxically it will be a warrior stature that will define his presidency – opposite to what he wanted or planned – but then History is loaded with such reversals and ironies.

    • just
      September 2, 2013, 5:45 pm

      Wait.

      “he will have to deal with Iran – stop it by force – since there will be no good alternative for doing so already during his term.”

      Why should he? The Iranians have done nothing to the US! There is no earthly reason for Mr. Obama (the US) to “stop it by force”! Stop what? Why?

      • James Canning
        September 2, 2013, 6:56 pm

        Yes, stop what? Iran has offered to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent. US ignores the offers.

      • Theo
        September 3, 2013, 9:36 am

        In addition, Iran/Persia did not attack another nation for centuries, which other western nation can say the same?
        In my opinion if we leave them alone they will cause no problems in the ME.
        The USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, GB and now Erdogan in Turkey are the ones to watch, they all have plans for that area that is not beneficial for the local nations.

      • Taxi
        September 3, 2013, 9:53 am

        TV political analysis in the middle east for the past few days, is talking much about the evil plan to redraw the mid east. Regular mideast folks know about it. Everyone is doing what they can to stop it. Everyone is preparing. For something big and bad and sudden to happen.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 4, 2013, 10:11 am

        i agree taxi.

      • john h
        September 2, 2013, 11:47 pm

        Indeed.

    • American
      September 4, 2013, 11:25 am

      ivri says:
      September 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      I think you have to be fair with Obama. In present-day conditions all what a president, even of the US, can do, or just hope to do, is to “manage” things and make sure that things stay within “tolerance limits” – and that is exactly what he is trying to do.
      >>>>>>

      Well first, the US can no longer “manage things”. That is the ‘faulty assumption’ of the old dinosaurs in Washington who refuse to see that the world has changed and will not follow a hypocritical leader no one respects.
      So the dinosaurs try to bomb those who refuse their lead into submission. That isnt going to work either.

  9. dbroncos
    September 2, 2013, 4:30 pm

    Sarah Palin scoffed that a “community organizer” was unfit for the Presidency. Hmmm… Community organizing may have been Obama’s best talent. He certainly hasn’t run an organized or effective WH.

    • amigo
      September 3, 2013, 7:20 am

      dbroncos–He certainly hasn’t run an organized or effective WH.

      He does not run the WH.

      AIPAC does.

  10. Justpassingby
    September 2, 2013, 4:40 pm

    Uh of course we know what Obama stands for, past Days he made clear that many times. War on Syria and that for Israel.

  11. Kate
    September 2, 2013, 4:59 pm

    There is more to Obama’s ‘dithering’ than contradictory pressures. A considerable part of it has to be his own character or ‘core values’, or lack of such.

    Back during the primaries when most Democrats were choosing between Hillary Clinton and Obama, I approached the polls still undecided. I was afraid that Clinton, as senator from New York, was beholden to the Zionists; but I knew very little about Obama, who didn’t seem to reveal much about himself. I finally chose him, in spite of his inexperience, because I hoped his childhood in Indonesia and his international family connections meant that he would be less parochial than most American politicians, and I thought that his ‘friendship’ with Edward Said might mean a more evenhanded approach to the Palestinian-Israeli situation. What I had no idea about (my fault, lack of research on my part) was how many Jewish mentors, teachers, advisers, and friends he had.

    Even now that he’s been president for so long, I still have no handle on what goes on inside his head. I can see no understanding of or interest in the Palestinian plight, or indeed in anything Muslim or Arab. Do his sympathies lie with Israel, or is he just indifferent? Is he afraid to do anything bold to redress injustices? Is he such a private person that no one knows what he thinks? Or is it just that there is no there there? What a disappointment he is.

    • tokyobk
      September 2, 2013, 7:57 pm

      “What I had no idea about (my fault, lack of research on my part) was how many Jewish mentors, teachers, advisers, and friends he had.”

      Its amazing how this kind of statement is so causal and matter-of-fact here, from people who rightly and quickly identify the components of Islamophobia.

      • Djinn
        September 2, 2013, 8:18 pm

        I found that statement problematic too but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as you’re probably reading it. Kate was talking about Obama’s views re Palestine. The overwhelming majority of American Jews lean towards or are committed Zionists. It stands to reason that if your mentors hold a certain view that it will shape your own. Although after a few weeks back in NYC I’m remembering how true that is of Americans in general. Not a great statement but hardly anywhere near the level of Islamophobia (not to mention the bigoted belief that all non Jews are latent anti-Semites) displayed by the usual suspects here.

      • tokyobk
        September 3, 2013, 1:54 am

        Omitting Zionists from a comment about Jews is exactly like saying “Muslims” as a stand in for a specific ideology or war tactic. The assumption that Jews are Zionists or Judaism is Zionism is correctly pointed out as a bigoted and even anti-Semitic statement. It is quite possible to have more than half of your Jewish friends be non or anti-Zionists, increasingly so.

        The consistency is important as is the fact that what would never be accepted here (for good reason) about Muslims is passed of casually when about Jews.

      • Walid
        September 3, 2013, 4:12 am

        “The assumption that Jews are Zionists or Judaism is Zionism is correctly pointed out as a bigoted and even anti-Semitic statement. ”

        You’re preaching to the choir, tokyobk, and trying to make something out of nothing.

      • Cliff
        September 3, 2013, 5:54 am

        there was nothing ‘problematic’ with that statement

        it’s so weird how Jewish and Christian people on this site (I assume) are so anal about being political correct (in the most meaningless context).

        call things like they are – he had a lot of Zionist Jews as friends and mentors

        that influenced him

        this is not rocket science

        the people around you influence you so we should know who those people are

        antisemitism is not complex

        antisemitism is not an element on the periodic table

        it is subjective and changes with the times but should be based on physical action and not political agendas (ie, Israel harvested organs from dead Palestinians and Zionists called that news story BLOOD LIBEL – why? It had nothing to do with BLOOD LIBEL – it had everything to do with harvesting organs without permission from your enemy and kidnapped civilian population)

        ETC ETC

        tokyobk is just a narcissistic Jewish nationalist (who protests that he envisions a 1SS in another 3000 years or so, so for now will ignore EVERY SINGLE thread about ethnic cleansing/murder/etc. and strictly focus his petulant whining on these Jewish-Jewish-me-me-me-me topics)

        disgusting! are you this way in real life? are you this self-centered?

      • tokyobk
        September 3, 2013, 6:08 am

        Its not nothing at all. In fact its a significant something.

      • tokyobk
        September 3, 2013, 6:20 am

        Though I must add I completely agree with you that it was Obama’s accepting of the prize that was more disturbing than the fact that it was awarded to him prematurely (and eventually wrongly). At the time I think Obama could have made a more important statement humbly refusing it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 3, 2013, 7:26 am

        “The consistency is important as is the fact that what would never be accepted here (for good reason) about Muslims is passed of casually when about Jews.”

        I agree (although I doubt that Kate had any ill intent), especially considering that the number of Christians in the US who are zionists almost certainly dwarf the number of Jews who are zionists.

      • Walker
        September 3, 2013, 9:22 am

        tokyobk, this is a sore point. What you say is absolutely true. However, Kate’s concern about the number Jewish mentors of Obama can’t simply be dismissed out of hand. (Please note I have no idea whether Obama had many Jewish mentors or not).

        I would like to draw your attention to this 2012 AJC survey of American Jewish opinion. 70.6 % of respondents agreed with the statement “Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew”.

        How many non-Jewish Americans do you suppose would agree with the statement “Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being an American”?

        When considering in addition the peer pressure facing Jews who are personally indifferent to Israel, my default assumption is that Jews in positions of power are less likely to report the news fairly or carefully weigh American interests.

        In the past I haven’t just rested on that assumption; I’ve taken pains to research whether it was accurate. Mother Jones magazine used to publish the “MOJO 400″, a list of the biggest individual donors to national politics. One year I took the trouble to review the backgrounds of the largest donors who appeared to be Jewish. I found almost without exception that they publicly supported Zionism and in many cases had leadership roles in Zionist organizations. When Katherine Weymouth became publisher of the Washington Post I took the trouble to find out that she was the daughter of Lally Weymouth, a pro-Likud journalist, and was on a first name basis with Benjamin Netanyahu.

        There are many, many exceptions to the tendency of Jews to be supporters of Israel, but few seem to me to be in the public mainstream. They seem to be particularly rare in the upper reaches of the media, politics, or government. I think this is partly because Zionist Jews tend to feel responsible for Israel’s well-being, and seek to put themselves in a position to support it.

        For me the problem is exacerbated by seeing decades of downplaying the power of Zionism in politics. It’s exacerbated by seeing decades of failure to investigate or even remark on obvious potential connections between publishers’ attitudes and how news on the Middle East is reported. So when I hear that a Jew has been appointed Undersecretary of State or Defense, or that a Jew has become the publisher of a major newspaper, or that a Jew is running for Congress, I admit that I wince. I realize that this is to some extent wrong, but it feels like self-defense. Do you understand?

      • MHughes976
        September 3, 2013, 9:43 am

        I don’t think that the associations of Jewish with Zionist and of Muslim with terrorist ideas are entirely symmetrical.
        ‘Zionism’ isn’t an opprobrious term and stands for a political opinion that is legitimate and respected in western societies. I may think it a terrible mistake but I see that those who hold to it are proud of doing so.
        ‘Terrorism’ and related terms are highly opprobrious and indicate that those who hold to such ideas are not trustworthy as fellow-citizens and indeed verge on criminality.
        Looking at UK polling evidence I notice from Haaretz (Aug.6, 2010- ) that 90% of Jewish people here regard Israel as the ancestral homeland of the Jews and 70% describe themselves as Zionists. Strong anti-Zionism seemed hardly to appear, so it would hardly be unfair or insulting to suppose that those who have many Jewish acquaintances encounter a lot of sympathy with Zionism or are likely to regard Zionism as normal and uncontroversial. That’s not the same as saying that all Jewish people support Zionism, which is manifestly untrue – but I do not think that Kate said or implied it.
        The Pew Religion and Society project surveyed Muslim opinions on political violence – the latest specific survey I’ve seen was from 09. In the UK absolute rejection of political violence came out at 70%, so it would be fair to say that those who have many Muslim acquaintances encounter a group where opposition to political violence is very strong, though with a minority whose views are rather more ambivalent – certainly not a group where support for terrorism is normal and uncontroversial. It would be unfair and hostile to suggest that Muslim influence moves one towards terrorist forms of warfare in a way that associating Jewish influence with Zionism would not.
        The recent legal attack on the Universities and Colleges Union in the UK turned on the idea that opposition to Zionism would amount to an affront to Jewish members of UCU as a racial group, so committed are they to the Zionist cause. The union’s lawyer insisted that support for Zionism is by no means universal among Jewish people and that true and repeated point helped him to win his case. And indeed anti-Zionism is not an attack on Jewish people because they’re Jewish and is not a form of prejudice. Still, it’s sadly necessary and very painful to admit that to be anti-Zionist is to be morally at variance with a substantial majority of those who self-identify as Jewish.

      • Theo
        September 3, 2013, 9:43 am

        Splitting hair or looking for it in a delicious soup is fine sign of a character.
        Diplomats are trained to speak for years, but say nothing.
        Not my idea of a human being.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 9:44 am

        I admit that I wince. I realize that this is to some extent wrong, but it feels like self-defense. Do you understand?

        most people understand what racism is. it’s still sad and harmful. i don’t wince if i hear a jew is running for congress or been appointed to some high gov position. a neocon is a different story. it’s so sad this is happening. we can’t let these horrible foreign policies being thrust down our throats by our relationship with israel be an excuse to turn into a racist country. we can’t.

      • hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 9:50 am

        ” i don’t wince if i hear a jew is running for congress or been appointed to some high gov position. a neocon is a different story.”

        That’s nice. Unfortunately, you seem to define most Jews as neocons. It’s a little like saying that you don’t wince if you hear an African-American is running for congress, but a supporter of affirmative action is a different story.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 10:01 am

        you seem to define most Jews as neocons.

        that’s a lie, you know it, and you can’t back it up hops.

      • hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 10:05 am

        “that’s a lie, you know it, and you can’t back it up hops.”

        A little defensive, it seems to me. Do you read the site and the comment section here?

      • American
        September 3, 2013, 10:51 am

        hophmi says:
        September 3, 2013 at 9:50 am
        ” i don’t wince if i hear a jew is running for congress or been appointed to some high gov position. a neocon is a different story.”

        That’s nice. Unfortunately, you seem to define most Jews as neocons.>>>>>

        Not quite. What many of us do ‘wince’ over is the fact that Jews who are appointed to US gov slots by whatever US administration are always Zionist.
        To my knowledge there have never been any ‘Anti Zionist Jews’ appointed to anything.
        Maybe Kissinger was the closest to a anti zionist any adm ever got to.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 3, 2013, 11:55 am

        “that’s a lie, you know it, and you can’t back it up hops.”

        Of course it’s a lie. It’s hoppy. If he didn’t spew a lie and a bit of anti-Arab racism every day or two, I’d suspect his account was hacked.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 1:49 pm

        Do you read the site and the comment section here?

        iow, it is a lie and you can’t back it up. you didn’t make the remark about “the comment section here”, you made it about me. and i’m calling you on your lie, you can call that defensive call it whatever you want. you can’t come on here and blatantly lie, expect to get your lies published and then not shot down.

        obviously i don’t agree with everything that gets published in the threads, otherwise 99.9% of your posts would never see the light of day.

        anyway, it’s up to you whether you want to apologize. let’s just say it won’t be me moderating any of your comments until you do. no worries tho, lots of people around here moderate regularly besides me. ;)

      • hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 2:01 pm

        “What many of us do ‘wince’ over is the fact that Jews who are appointed to US gov slots by whatever US administration are always Zionist.”

        Most Americans are pro-Israel, as are most Jews. Most Americans are not Arabists. So most Jews will not be Arabists either.

        “To my knowledge there have never been any ‘Anti Zionist Jews’ appointed to anything.”

        I’m not sure why a person who opposes basic tenets of US policy would be appointed to a political position. I’m not aware of any anti-British appointees either.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 2:08 pm

        ‘Zionism’ isn’t an opprobrious term and stands for a political opinion that is legitimate and respected in western societies. I may think it a terrible mistake but I see that those who hold to it are proud of doing so.

        in this instance i’m not sure it’s appropriate to be supporting your theories by what’s “respected in western societies”. for one thing it prioritizes western opinion over global opinion.

        i’m not here to make the argument in support of symmetry. i’m pointing out the primary difference in the proposition as i see it is that zionists self identify as such whereas terrorists do not, it’s a label others place on them ..(lots being zionists actually). and by any definition of terror, zionists actions, or US imperialism could easily be defined as equally terrorizing.

        but your theory, legitimizing byway of what’s respected in western societies, how does that work? there are not more people in western society than other places in the world, and to them zionism is not respected.

        also, zionism may be defined as an ‘idea’ or ideal, or it could be defined as a political construct that has never manifested or existed devoid of ethnic cleansing. so just because western society ‘respects’ the ideal or have pride in their beliefs, it doesn’t make it something it’s not terrorizing. zionism is completely submerged in terrorizing action.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 3, 2013, 2:31 pm

        “A little defensive, it seems to me.”

        Not defensive at all. She’s merely defending herself, as anyone would, after being smeared and slandered by the likes of you.

      • hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Fine, Annie. I’m sorry for insinuating that you define most Jews as neocons. If that is not your view, then I accept that and I am glad to hear it. I believe the line between criticizing a political position and targeting people of a certain faith is regularly crossed here, which is why we’ve had debates of circumcision and how much money Jews have. Part of the entire point of this blog is to suggest that Jews, collectively, have tremendous financial and political power in America and that they should be closely scrutinized because of it. There is talk of an Jewish lobby here, regularly, and like the vast majority of minority groups, most Jews take an attack on their representative institutions as an attack on themselves.

        I’ll note that I’ve suffered personal attack after personal attack here, calling me racist, accusing me of being unpatriotic, accusing me of saying all kinds of things I never said and never would say, and despite my protesting of them, and my substantiating their falsity, you’ve never, ever, required anyone to apologize to me, and not only that, but you’ve let in exactly the same defamatory comments over and over and over again even after I complained about it.

        So you’re really something of a hypocrite both for getting on your high horse here and for requiring me to apologize to you before you’ll moderate my comments (which you frequently do not do in the first place).

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 3:17 pm

        lol, apology accepted hops.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 3, 2013, 3:32 pm

        ” I believe the line between criticizing a political position and targeting people of a certain faith is regularly crossed here, which is why we’ve had debates of circumcision”

        No, we have had debates on that because people believe it to be a barbaric and abusive practice that has no place in any society. You, however, seem to believe that so long as something is “religious” that no one is permitted to hold a contrary opinion about it. That’s bs. But you regularly make that mistake and the related one that sees criticisms of israel as criticisms of Jews. It is you who can’t understand the line.

      • MHughes976
        September 3, 2013, 3:42 pm

        Well, I was just defending Kate against the accusation that she was saying something comparable to standard Islamophobic remarks. I took her to be implying, reasonably enough, that Obama’s many Jewish contacts exposed him to an atmosphere in which Zionism was widely treated as utterly normal and unexceptionable. She did not seem to me to be assuming that absolutely all Jewish people are of this mind. She was not making an insinuation that those concerned, Zionists within American society, would have reason to resent. It’s not something of which they would be anything but proud, it’s not something that would shock or disturb their neighbours. Islamophobic remarks, by contrast, do impute ideas which most Muslims would hotly disclaim and which would alienate them from their neighbours.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 3:57 pm

        MHughes, sometimes it’s confusing with so many voices chiming in exactly what people are addressing. my point was that one is a self identity (zionist), the other is label applied to others(terrorist), so there’s sort of a built in problem w/the analogy to begin with. that’s what i tried to address, anyway. not entirely related to your defense of kate per se. i may have failed to communicate my pt with the caveat “i’m not here to make the argument in support of symmetry”. anyway, sorry if that was confusing. maybe i’m not altogether clear what my meaning is.

      • MHughes976
        September 3, 2013, 4:10 pm

        You’re absolutely right about self-identity vs imposed identity. ‘McHughes’ must be the Scottish me.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 4:17 pm

        ha! whoops. i fixed it. ;)

      • talknic
        September 3, 2013, 5:52 pm

        @ hophmi “That’s nice. Unfortunately, you seem to define most Jews as neocons”

        As usual you put the shoe on the wrong foot then try to wade around in the elephant sh*te in the room as though it wasn’t there.

        PNAC 1998 link to newamericancentury.org Look at the Jews in the list of signatories. Many of whom DID infest the Bush Jnr Whitehouse and DID facilitate carrying out the plan, which DOES include Syria…. Afghanistan done, Iraq done… go dfigure

      • eljay
        September 3, 2013, 6:42 pm

        >> … I believe the line between criticizing a political position and targeting people of a certain faith is regularly crossed here … Part of the entire point of this blog is to suggest that Jews, collectively, have tremendous financial and political power in America … There is talk of an Jewish lobby here ..

        I like hophmeee’s angle of reducing discussions that focus on the Jewish people to “targeting people of a certain faith”.

        He knows that, among other things, the Jewish people are also a nation and a civilization.

        But he also knows that complaining about people “targeting” a nation or a civilization doesn’t have quite the same victimhood impact as complaining about people “targeting people of a certain faith”.

      • Walker
        September 3, 2013, 6:46 pm

        Annie, I didn’t mean to make you feel badly. I’m sorry. My reactions are based on experience, not racism. My knee-jerk objection to having Jews in positions where they can powerfully affect US Middle East policy is based on the belief that most of them will be biased in favor of Israel. Well, aren’t they? Please go ahead and google the MOJO 400 (I think the last year was 1998) and check out donor backgrounds.

        To the extent that this is a knee-jerk negative reaction it’s not sane. But it is rarely wrong.

        This doesn’t spill over to other spheres. I don’t react against Jewish folksingers, novelists, engineers, what have you. I also don’t think that political positions are built into anyone’s DNA.

      • tokyobk
        September 4, 2013, 1:13 am

        Yes, I understand and I think you are being thoughtful about it. But the statement to the effect that Obama’s number of Jewish friends, even in the case where the majority of Jews are Zionists, is a relevant indicator of his thought process is still not just unacceptable, but the very kind of unacceptable construction that buttresses Islamophobia.
        Jewish becomes an a priori stand in for Zionist. In this way (MHughes976 comment below) the (a)symmetry between Jewish=Zionist and Muslim=terrorist is irrelevant — though I tend to agree they are not the same.

      • Marco
        September 2, 2013, 9:47 pm

        If, addressing Obama’s lack of action on civil rights issues and the state of black America, she had instead observed: “What I had no idea about (my fault, lack of research on my part) was how many *white* mentors, teachers, advisers, and friends he had.” – would you have had the same response? If not, why not?

      • Elliot
        September 3, 2013, 12:10 am

        @ Marco.
        Different response.
        Because Whites are (ok, were) the majority. Wouldn’t you agree that you can things about a majority that you should not say about a minority.
        Although that wouldn’t have been great either. Better to explain and differentiate rather than having to explain after the fact.

        Islamophobia is worse because Muslims in America are targeted and they have less political resources than Jews. Not nice to pick on the weak ones.

      • Marco
        September 3, 2013, 12:26 am

        I disagree Elliot.

        It’s not about who is or was the majority.

        After all, blacks were and still are the majority in South Africa, in the former Rhodesia.

        What matters is what self-identified ethnic or racial group possesses the most political and economic power.

        And when we address that issue, then yes Jewish people in the West and in Israel are very comparable to whites in the Jim Crow South, in French Algeria, in Apartheid South Africa, etc.

        It takes a certain amount of moral courage to accept this moral equation, but I think a moment’s reflection supports it.

      • tokyobk
        September 3, 2013, 1:49 am

        That would be an equally incoherent and slightly different structurally but also a morally dubious observation.

      • Elliot
        September 4, 2013, 7:25 am

        @Marco
        It takes a certain amount of moral courage to accept this moral equation,
        How much moral courage does it take to do moral math, 1.5% or 2%?

      • GJB
        September 2, 2013, 10:24 pm

        My reaction exactly. In fact, if Obama would seek out certain Jewish advisors, perhaps the likes of Noam Chomsky, Miko Peled, Max Blumenthal, or for that matter Marc Ellis or our own Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz, we would all be better off!

      • piotr
        September 3, 2013, 2:26 pm

        I would add Paul Krugman. I heart Krug.

        Basically, Obama proudly stands for now screwing things up TOTALLY.

      • Elliot
        September 2, 2013, 10:43 pm

        I agree. Kate, if you meant to say Zionist or even Jewish Zionist, you should say that. If you don’t know then it should have been worded more carefully than you did.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 2, 2013, 11:47 pm

        “… if you meant to say Zionist or even Jewish Zionist, you should say that. If you don’t know then it should have been worded more carefully.”

        Let’s ask BK. Does he regard his own Zionism as an expression of his idea of Jewishness, or does he regard the two ideas as unrelated?

      • American
        September 3, 2013, 11:13 am

        Elliot says:
        September 2, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        I agree. Kate, if you meant to say Zionist or even Jewish Zionist, you should say that. If you don’t know then it should have been worded more carefully than you did.>>>>>

        Perhaps we should just stick with ‘I-Firsters” when referring to any Israel favortism of O’s brought about by his Jewish contacts–as it is the I-Firsters in the J-community who donate the ‘big money’ with the Israel string attached, not the ‘small i-Jews’—–to both O and the Dems. We all know that money and political support for their ambitions/careers is what hooks politicans.

      • Kate
        September 3, 2013, 3:50 pm

        Hmm. I don’t often comment here, just post the thrice-weekly lists of Palestine news (btw, although Phil’s headlines for these are usually about settlements, the lists cover a lot more that that — you might want to check that out, if you haven’t already). Part of the reason I don’t comment is that I am not good at navigating the minefields here – clearly I stumbled over a mine this time. Let me try again, though I’ll probably step on another one!

        I didn’t say ‘Zionist’ or ‘Israel-firsters’ when mentioning belatedly finding out about Obama’s Jewish mentors/teachers/advisers, although perhaps I should have – I did in my remark about Hillary. I thought the net result of Obama’s connections to all these people, Zionist or not, meant that he probably had, perhaps inadvertently, become much more familiar with and sympathetic to the Israel-oriented view of the Mideast than the Palestinian view, Edward Said notwithstanding. One Palestinian friend wasn’t likely to have much effect.

        Obama’s appointment of Rahm Emanuel (with his Israeli connections) as chief of staff was my first clue that I should have investigated Obama’s background a bit more before voting for him, though as usual in US presidential politics there wasn’t much of a choice.

        When I finally did so, I read a lot of articles like the following from October 2008: “OBAMA AND THE JEWS: A look at why some Jews love him and some don’t trust him; and at the key role Chicago Jews played in getting him to where he is”

        link to chicagojewishnews.com

        Although this article discusses the mistrust of Obama many Jews apparently have, it also contains remarks like this:
        “One longtime Jewish observer of the political scene, who did not want to be identified, said admiringly that ‘Jews made him. Wherever you look, there is a Jewish presence.’ ” To someone whose ‘one-issue’ political orientation is Palestinian, this would have been alarming if I had seen it before the primary. After all, it’s still true, isn’t it, that the majority of American Jews support Israel to a greater or lesser extent?

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 3, 2013, 7:51 pm

        “After all, it’s still true, isn’t it, that the majority of American Jews support Israel to a greater or lesser extent?”

        I would say somewhere near 95%. (And “support” is putting it mildly.)

      • Elliot
        September 4, 2013, 7:30 am

        Kate,
        It is a minefield and I’m sure it was inadvertent. I agree with your comment that “Zionist” would have been a better choice (if proven true).
        Chicago Jewish News is not a good source for linking Obama to “the Jews”. It’s a parochial newsletter. CJN went euphoric when Obama won and skews all its writing to reflect well (in their own mind) on the middle word of its title.

      • Cliff
        September 3, 2013, 5:49 am

        You are getting more and more ridiculous with every comment, tokyobk.

        Are you saying that ethnicity and/or religion means absolutely NOTHING?

        Especially for a politician?

        There’s nothing antisemitic in that comment.

        You have no idea what Islamophobia is. Islamophobia is labeling people this or that way purely because they are Muslim. Islamophobia is labeling all Muslims as terrorists or judging Muslims based on extremist Islamists.

        Simply saying, so and so has a lot of Jewish friends is antisemitic HOW?

        Do you have any non-Jewish friends? Do you expect them to be extra special to you and never mention your identity lest they be tarred and feathered and then burned at the stake for simply saying JEWISH?

        GET over yourself. – it’s these STUPID petty quibbles in topics about anything other than the daily abuses in Palestine.

      • tokyobk
        September 4, 2013, 1:19 am

        Cliff, we all have the things that interest us about this conflict. I think my interest in Jewish identity contraction and how it is perceived within this debate is relevant here on Mondoweiss. Telling me I cannot point it out here is a kind of what-aboutism I have never justified the daily abuses of Palestinians and would agree that diverting from it on purpose is a problem.
        I agree it is not about me but since you asked, half of my family and my wife are not Jewish (for now, I think she may convert one day but it makes no difference to me), btw.

      • Cliff
        September 4, 2013, 5:45 am

        I already know that you’re only interest in Jewish naval contemplation.

        My point is not to make that supposed revelatory observation.

        I’m pointing out that you are indeed purposefully diverting the issue away from the issue – and instead talking about Jewish naval contemplation.

      • American
        September 3, 2013, 8:55 am

        tokyobk says:
        September 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

        “What I had no idea about (my fault, lack of research on my part) was how many Jewish mentors, teachers, advisers, and friends he had.”

        Its amazing how this kind of statement is so causal and matter-of-fact here, from people who rightly and quickly identify the components of Islamophobia.>>>>>>

        Nothing bigoted about it——it’s a *political fact*—-of influence and donors.
        Which is different from what drives Islamophobia or anti semitism.

      • tokyobk
        September 4, 2013, 1:23 am

        “I had no idea how many Muslim friends he had,” would be the very bad start to a very incoherent explanation about someone’s geopolitics, regardless of the % of Muslims who believe x y or z.

      • Walid
        September 4, 2013, 2:31 am

        I’m sure Kate meant to say “Zionist Jews”, and she should have. I’ve had Jewish friends, and they had an equal aversion to Zionism and what it was doing to the Palestinians, otherwise they could not have been my friends.

      • Cliff
        September 4, 2013, 5:48 am

        No it wouldn’t tokyobk.

        Having Muslim friends could influence someone’s politics.

        I remember hearing Jon Stewart debate some anti-Gay rights activist and Jon said, but aren’t those gay people someone’s son or daughter.

        Basically humanizing them (gay people).

        HENCE, having friends of a particular ‘group’ humanizes ‘the other’ in the eyes of someone who is not part of the group. Getting to know people from different cultures? That’s not anti-WHATEVER and it has an impact on our opinions and attitudes.

        This is so absurd. I can’t believe you lack the most basic common sense here and it’s entirely due to how pathologically narcissistic Jewish nationalists are (sure you say you’re not, but that’s a load of ****).

        GET over yourself.

      • Cliff
        September 4, 2013, 5:53 am

        Walid, that is a whitewash.

        If most Jews weren’t Zionist to some degree then the conflict would be very different.

        Stop LYING. Kate isn’t Gilad Atzmon and this b.s. concern-trolling needs to stop.

        It’s amazing that you can’t even say ‘I have a lot of Jewish friends’.

        GEEZ!

      • Walid
        September 4, 2013, 7:21 am

        Cliff, I didn’t say I had “a lot of Jewish friends ” because I don’t. I said simply “some friends” as those that I considered friends didn’t agree with what Israel was doing. Are you insinuating that most of the Jews posting here and hurling brickbats day in and day out at Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians are really Zionists to some degree?

        I hadn’t seen Kate’s reply when I posted my comment today, but nonetheless, Tokyobk had the right to be offended by the remark as it was stated.

      • eljay
        September 4, 2013, 7:30 am

        I agree with tokyobk’s comments, and with the subsequent comments made by GJB @ September 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm and Elliot @ September 2, 2013 at 10:43 pm.

        That said, it’s no surprise that Kate didn’t consider “Jews” an inappropriate word in the context of her comment, given that Jews themselves set the tone:

        … “OBAMA AND THE JEWS: A look at why some Jews love him and some don’t trust him; and at the key role Chicago Jews played in getting him to where he is”

        link to chicagojewishnews.com

        “One longtime Jewish observer of the political scene, who did not want to be identified, said admiringly that ‘Jews made him. Wherever you look, there is a Jewish presence.’ ”

      • Elliot
        September 4, 2013, 9:19 am

        Cliff,
        Exploring Jewish identity is part of Mondoweiss’s mission statement. Although, even without, this is an important issue as evidenced by this ongoing thread. So there’s unclear generalization with shades of anti-Semitism.
        In your last comment I think you’ve touched on another aspect of this. What is “a Jew”? I agree that ethnicity is important but in an an age when Jews are “white”, origins alone are not sufficient. Having a last name that sounds Jewish is hardly a good enough measure. You could argue that a Jewish surname + Zionism makes one “a Jew”, except that Zionism is mainstream in the U.S. general population.
        So, talking about “the Jews” without clarifying what that means to you is not descriptive.

      • Chu
        September 4, 2013, 10:05 am

        Group-concern trolls sit on their perch and launch accusatory darts from high above. It would be grand if this type of commentator could look at all of the ills that the IDF or the Israeli gov’t carry out and say this is wrong – how can we repair this injustice? But they never seem to do this. They look for an opportunity to say your wrong or you’re an anti-Semite. These incantations they speak, trap themselves in a never ending bubble, wishing to be free of guilt, only blaming those for making the observations that are critical of Zionism.

      • Cliff
        September 4, 2013, 11:35 am

        walid, i meant the expression, ‘ i have friends who are []’

      • seafoid
        September 4, 2013, 11:46 am

        Very well observed, Chu. And this sudden rush of Zionist morality out of leftfield – “as a mother and a Jew” I think we need to bomb innocent civilians to avenge these dead babies – where is it the rest of the time ?

        As a mother and a Jew I deplore the abuse of the Torah in the name of colonialism.

      • American
        September 4, 2013, 1:24 pm

        @ Elliot

        “Exploring Jewish identity’

        I have to tell you from a non Jew point of view that this constant fixation on Jewish identity ‘in connection’ with Israel, I/P, US Jews and etc…..is not good for Jews themselves. While you might enjoy exploring yourself and your identity all it does is give others a picture of Jews playing with their navels while Rome burns. Then it leads to pie fights about ‘whats wrong with the Jews’ and/ or holocaust justifcations and/or identity justifcations and/or Israel justifications and ‘shades of anti semitism’ accusations and so on.
        I am not trying to be callus or insulting but the majority of Americans dont care what the Jewish identity is, most people’s identifcation of Jews is with the holocaust already and most Americans dont even care about their own ‘identity’ except maybe on St. Patrick’s day or similar once a year celebration.
        Iow, this identity obsession is a negative for the Jews in the eyes of other people particulary when it comes to the Israel issue because 9 xs out of 10 it always leads to rationalizing for the Jewish State and examining the anti semite navel. It never goes anywhere helpful.
        You should explore it ‘away from’ the real politic issues.

    • mcohen
      September 4, 2013, 4:36 am

      kate

      when I read posts like yours I have a good chuckle not because its meany ,meany ,but because it reminds me of a ham sandwich.2 slices white bread with ham ,maybe lettuce ,maybe pickles-for me personally substitute the ham for brisket.
      lets face facts Obama probably identifies with jews because he knows what its like to be a minority in the schoolyard.
      greater men than him have failed the I/p bar exam,some a few times over………..
      those jewish mentors want to solve the problem more than anyone else on this planet because its costing jews blood and treasure like never before in our history.
      every single century
      just because we are jews-no ham sandwishes
      hot beef on rye-no problem
      chicken burger -no problem
      fish kebab-no problem
      and you want to know who suffers with us
      the moslems-no ham sandwishes for them too

      • eljay
        September 4, 2013, 7:57 am

        >> those jewish mentors want to solve the problem more than anyone else on this planet …

        …but, for some reason, their solutions never seem to include Israel:
        – immediately and completely halting its occupation of Palestine;
        – removing itself to within its /Partition borders;
        – honouring its obligations under international law;
        – being held accountable for past and on-going (war) crimes; and
        – engaging in sincere negotiations for a just and mutually beneficial peace.

        Funny, that.

      • mcohen
        September 4, 2013, 8:09 pm

        eljay says:

        “immediately and completely”

        -you mean like right now,this very minute,pronto,hey presto,magic bus,hitachi magic wand,squeaky wheel,takes taxi,all the way jose,here it comes,yes mr postman ——you delivered my parcel————once again.

        that funny

      • eljay
        September 5, 2013, 7:29 am

        >> -you mean like right now,this very minute,pronto,hey presto,magic bus,hitachi magic wand,squeaky wheel,takes taxi,all the way jose,here it comes,yes mr postman ——you delivered my parcel————once again.

        No, that’s just stupid. I mean immediately and completely as in right now and totally.

      • miriam6
        September 4, 2013, 11:10 pm

        Mcohen@:

        *Poetry corner again*


        just because we are jews-no ham sandwishes

        and you want to know who suffers with us
        the moslems-no ham sandwishes for them too

        Which puts me in mind of Tim Minchin’s Peace Anthem for Palestine

        Which goes like this..

        We don’t eat pigs
        You don’t eat pigs
        It seems it’s been that way forever
        So if you don’t eat pigs
        And we don’t eat pigs
        Why not not eat pigs together?

      • mcohen
        September 5, 2013, 1:04 am

        Miriam

        you mind my read,right out of head

      • RoHa
        September 5, 2013, 1:10 am

        “Why not not eat pigs together?”

        Because the Israeli Jews want to not eat pig on their own. They refuse to share the not eating.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 5, 2013, 2:49 am

        @RoHa: In other thread you ask why Australia is not an homeland for the Australian Jews. Well, I don’t think someone claims that Australia is not. We established a Jewish state as a shelter to any Jew in danger. Unfortunately, history teaches us that any situation is temporary. What seems today safe and comfortable can be changed immediately. The German Jews in the beginning of the 1930’s were part of the Elite society, we both no the end. The Iraqi Jews, like my parents, were part of the Iraqi people, integrated and contributed to all aspects of life in Iraq, until one day they were forced to leave and became refugees with small suitcase in their hands.

        All the best.

      • RoHa
        September 5, 2013, 9:25 pm

        “In other thread you ask why Australia is not an homeland for the Australian Jews. Well, I don’t think someone claims that Australia is not.”

        You do when you claim that Israel is the homeland of the Jews. Or are you saying that Australian Jews are specially privileged? They have two homelands, whereas other Australians only have one. If so, why are Jews so special?

        “We established a Jewish state as a shelter to any Jew in danger. ”

        Actually, this wasn’t the original reason offered for Zionism, but let that pass. There are two problems with that reason.

        1. You are saying that Jews are so much more important than other people that they are justified in taking Palestine and pushing out the Palestinians just to have a safe place for Jews. You are saying that the real suffering of Palestinians is not as important as the possible suffering of Jews. This is just going back to the basic claim of Zionists: “We matter and you don’t”.

        It downright immoral.

        (The establishment of Israel did not stop the suffering of German Jews, and it caused the suffering of Iraqi Jews.)

        2. Morality aside, it is absurd to set up a “shelter” from possible enemies in a way that guarantees the creation of new real enemies.

        You think Jews aren’t safe? Here’s some news for you.
        The rest of us aren’t safe, either.
        Wars and persecutions are not restricted to Jews.

        The best way to be as safe as you can is to try to get on with the neighbours and promote justice, not cut yourself off and perpetuate injustice.

  12. ritzl
    September 2, 2013, 5:04 pm

    If it turns out that Bandar/KSA is supplying Sarin (or something) to the rebels, all hell is going to break loose. Proliferation of CW by a US “ally”? With US (and presumably Israeli, if it happened) knowledge? In pursuit of ostensible, yet secret and un-discussed, US and Israeli interests and agreements?

    The whole state of the discussion changes, particularly on the Arab street (Arabs supplying CW to kill other Arabs), hopefully before something really bad happens, and this turns regional>global.

    KSA money might become highly discounted in some of the other current “hotspots,” positively affecting Egypt and the rest of MENA.

    If those reports are true, it is yet another compelling reason for Obama to ram home a Syrian strike — to murky up evidence and trace-back to KSA and US/Israel. Perhaps the most compelling.

    The stakes keep getting higher in Syria. Obama being as windblown as he is, makes the situation worse.

    Congressman and Senators called and emailed.

    • aiman
      September 3, 2013, 10:10 am

      I read a recent piece on how Bandar threatened Putin with a terrorist massacre at the Winter Olympics. Mind-boggling. I hope the UN accurately traces the evidence.

      • Taxi
        September 3, 2013, 2:03 pm

        Yeah aiman, Bandar apparently said to Putin: ‘give us Syria and I will guarantee you much gas, oil, and no violence at the next Olympics’.

        Hope all you guys realize that Bandar’s private army IS Alqaida.

      • Walid
        September 4, 2013, 2:13 am

        “Yeah aiman, Bandar apparently said to Putin: ‘give us Syria and I will guarantee you much gas, oil, and no violence at the next Olympics’.”

        Taxi, eventhough it’s not a secret that Saudia is bankrolling the takfiris in Syria, I doubt that Bandar would make such a threat to Putin, or that he would have supplied the gas to the terrorists. All these spun Bandar stories are getting out of hand.

        Keep in mind the Syrian regime is known to have gassed the Brothers at Hama in 1982, so it isn’t far-fetched that it would do it again. The regime, up to a few years back was still a participant in the vile American rendition program that was based on torture. Although there’s a very big probability that the current gassing story is a false-flag operation that plays into the US agenda, there’s still a small one that the regime may have done it; I’m stll waiting to see serious proof as to who committed this crime. I’m not convinced it did it but I’m not convinced it didn’t either. You probably heard of the thousands that “vanished” from Lebanon during Syria’s 30-year occupation, most of it with the consent of the US except for the last 5 years.

      • Taxi
        September 4, 2013, 3:06 am

        Walid,

        It’s a little naive of you to think that Saudi Arabia doesn’t arm the Chechneya islamists, who’ve already threatened to bomb the next Olympics in Sochi/Russia; a little naive to think that it’s beneath Bandar, the worst manicured terrorist on the planet, to drop ‘diplomatic’ hints like that at Putin.

        It’s also ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE that Hafez al-Asad used chemical weapons in Hama in 1982:
        link to independent.co.uk
        Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad was brutal but never used chemical arms – by Robert Fisk
        “Someone from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation called me up this week to talk about the use of chemical weapons by Hafez al-Assad in Hama during the Sunni Muslim uprising in the city in 1982. Their sources were the same old UMIS (unnamed military intelligence sources). But I happened to have got into Hama in February 1982 – which is why the Canadian was calling me – and while Hafez’s Syrian army was very definitely slaughtering its own people (who were, by the way, slaughtering regime officials and their families), no one ever used chemical weapons.

        Not a single soldier I saw in Hama carried a gas mask. No civilians carried gas masks. The dangerously perfumed air which I and my colleagues smelt after chemicals were used by our (then) ally Saddam against Iranian soldiers in the 1980s was not present. And none of the dozens of civilian survivors I have interviewed in the 30 years since 1982 ever mentioned the use of gas.

        But now we are to believe that it was used. And so the infantile new fairy tale has begun: Hafez al-Assad used gas against his own people in Hama 30 years ago. So his son Bashar may do the same again. And wasn’t that one of the reasons we invaded Iraq in 2003 – because Saddam had used gas against his own people already and may do so again?”

        Walid, honestly dude, you’re inadvertently delivering some nasty propaganda on behalf of the enemy.

        It IS possible to support the country of Syria without supporting the current regime. And you should support Syria, because if Syria breaks, then it’s sayonara to Lebanon, and most definitely goodbye to Palestine.

        That’s how serious the Syria war will be.

      • Walid
        September 4, 2013, 8:01 am

        Taxi, I never said that Saudia was not financing the Chechnyans; I know they are like they are financing similar groups all over the place. I simply said that Bandar would not threaten Putin with such talk.

        Whether the regime used the gas or not this time, I still don’t agree with the bombing of the Syrian people by anyone. I know very well what it means to the area and what could happen.

        You’re right about the use of gas in 1982 being debatable, Some say yes and some say no but the reason I brought it up was mostly to say what the end result was, which wasn’t anything for the regime to be proud of.

        The Brotherhood insurgency had been on for over 10 years when Hama happened and they had done a lot of terrorizing and killings themselves before the regime snuffed them out permanently at Hama.

      • mcohen
        September 4, 2013, 5:16 pm

        Taxi

        the syrian defence minister just got resigned
        they were using chemical weapons on his orders
        what part do you not understand
        what its ok for arabs too kill each other ,if it is good for the palestinian cause
        holy convocations !
        Have you no Morals
        are you still in lebanon because if so keep facing north because thats where the enemy is coming from
        have a happy new year and a good fast
        regards
        uncle mike

      • Annie Robbins
        September 4, 2013, 6:22 pm

        the syrian defence minister just got resigned

        you’re so gullible mcCohen. haven’t you read Syrian Oppo: “Dead Syrian Ex-Minister Defects To Turkey”!! according to ynet the same guy died in 2011. lol.

        Reuters, Sep 4, 2013: Exclusive: Former Syria defense minister breaks with Assad-Labwani

        Former Syrian Defence Minister General Ali Habib, a prominent member of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect, has defected and is now in Turkey, a senior member of the opposition Syrian National Coalition told Reuters on Wednesday.

        “Ali Habib has managed to escape from the grip of the regime and he is now in Turkey, but this does not mean that he has joined the opposition. I was told this by a Western diplomatic official,” Kamal al-Labwani said from Paris.

        A Gulf source told Reuters that Habib had defected on Tuesday evening, arriving at the Turkish frontier before midnight with two or three other people. He was then taken across the border in a convoy of vehicles.

        Born in 1939, Habib was defense minister from June 2009 to August 2011 and has also served as Chief of the General Staff of the Syrian Army. He is from the port city of Tartus.

        YnetNews, Sep 8, 2011: Syrian opposition: Ousted defense minister dead

        Websites affiliated with Syrian opposition groups reported on Tuesday that General Ali Habib was found dead in his home a day after he was dismissed as defense minister. On Monday, Syrian President Bashar Assad appointed army chief Dawood Rajha to replace Habib.

        The SANA news agency reported Monday that Habib had been suffering from a deterioration in his health.

        Opposition websites also quoted Syria TV reports allegedly suggesting that Habib had died a natural death.

        So who dug him up?

        #hasbarafail

  13. HarryLaw
    September 2, 2013, 6:46 pm

    With the opinion polls in France showing two thirds against military action in Syria, Obama need not worry about his coalition of the willing he can team up with Alqaeda and the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant, Robert Fisk in an Independent article has already suggested the US could become Alqaeda’s air force. link to timesofoman.com

  14. W.Jones
    September 2, 2013, 7:05 pm

    It’s very hard to become president without a large political machine behind you. Are we to expect that Obama became president after being a junior senator simply by making good speeches and talking in a persuasive way to audiences? Understandly he had backing in Chicago, so it does not have to be a total mystery. But the title is not completely off either.

    Certainly he has been effective in smoothing over the foreign policies of the Industrial complex & co., which would have been more strongly resisted by leftists if Bush had remained in office. It probably also makes the pervasive spying go over better with them too.

    Peace.

  15. RoHa
    September 2, 2013, 7:32 pm

    He stands for “Obama for President”, doesn’t he?

    • RoHa
      September 3, 2013, 12:28 am

      (And now I see that Rudy M said the same thing.)

  16. piotr
    September 2, 2013, 9:17 pm

    link to bbc.co.uk

    If the international investigative process were not corrupted, the hell would broke already. The use of chemical weapons by the al-Nusra rebels (itinerant jihadists) was documented, however, the UN commission “did not reach any conclusion”, and I have no doubt that the reason was that some members were partial against the Syrian government.

    Other than that, what type of evidence would make hell break loose? Eyewitness accounts? Some already circulate, although in rather radical websites. Intelligence reports? Russian have reports pointing one way, Western intelligence agencies have reports pointing the other way. Russia is a nasty authoritarian state while the ability of Western intelligence agencies would put famous French chefs to shame (I mean, in terms of cooking talent). Defectors? I guess Saudi defectors could flee to Iran or Russia (they would live rather shortly elsewhere), but even if that would happen, they would be denounced and discounted.

    That said, I think that one has to grill the Administration (another cooking talent) how it arrived at a conclusion concerning what the rebels could not do. Personal assurances of the commanders? Comparison of how many tons of weapons and ammo they got so far and how much was needed for the gas attacks? What about the testimony of Del Ponte?

    • ritzl
      September 3, 2013, 9:53 am

      @piotr Is this a response to me?

      • piotr
        September 3, 2013, 2:29 pm

        Yes. Namely, the evidence that Saudi supplied the Sarin and al-Nusra used it will not “loose hell”. But even so etc.

  17. Fredman
    September 2, 2013, 9:50 pm

    He works for the Money Power. As with all witting and unwitting pawns of Money throughout history, he doesn’t stand for anything except his own self-interest.

  18. MahaneYehude1
    September 3, 2013, 1:04 am

    To all Mondoweiss readers and writers: as a new guest in this beautiful web site, please, allow me to bless you all:

    Happy New Year
    كل عام وانتم بخير
    Shana Tova
    A-Gitte Yor

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 3, 2013, 12:25 pm

      You’re a few months early for a “Happy New Year,” but thank you anyway. To those who celebrate the Jewish New Year, I wish you a Happy New Year. I hope that this year we will finally see the liberation of Palestine and the eradication from this Earth of the zionist ideology which has caused so much pain and death. And may we see all the people between the Med and the Jordan live in peace, with full equality, equal suffrage, full political and human rights, and an end to the ethno-religious supremacism.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 3, 2013, 3:46 pm

        @Woody Tanaka: Happy New Year to you too! I join your blessings: I hope that this year we will finally see the establishment of Palestine and the growing in this Earth of the Zionist movement which has built home and a Prosperous state to the Jewish people. And may we see all the people between the Med and the Jordan live in peace, with full equality, equal suffrage, full political and human rights, and an end to the terror and bloodshed. God bless you, my friend. Shana Tova.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 3, 2013, 5:17 pm

        “I join your blessings”

        I’m sorry, but no, you do not. You wish to continue the ethno-religious supremacist ideology which is at the core of the problem.

      • RoHa
        September 3, 2013, 10:47 pm

        If you are interested in full equality, equal suffrage, full political and human rights, then why do you support Zionism instead of a unified Palestine where Jews and Arabs can live as equal citizens?

    • miriam6
      September 3, 2013, 4:37 pm

      What a delightful sweetheart MahaneYehude1 is!

      A Happy New Year to you too MY1!

      PS…

      As for Mondoweiss being a beautiful website perhaps you need to wear spectacles

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 3, 2013, 5:16 pm

        “As for Mondoweiss being a beautiful website perhaps you need to wear spectacles”

        Since it’s the likes of you who make it less than beautiful, feel free to leave miriam

      • miriam6
        September 4, 2013, 5:59 pm

        Since it’s the likes of you who make it less than beautiful, feel free to leave Miriam

        No such luck for you Woody

        I intend to stick around for as long as possible…

        I have developed a thick skin whilst commenting here

        I shan’t allow YOUR unpleasantness to stop me

    • Annie Robbins
      September 3, 2013, 4:49 pm

      thank you mahane, is it Rosh Hashanah where you are? i thought it started tomorrow night? either way for everyone celebrating i hope it’s the beginning of a peaceful year. it’s scary all this that’s going on, but we can always pray for peace.

      • miriam6
        September 3, 2013, 4:59 pm

        Like Sandra Bullock’s beauty queen contestant in Miss Congeniality let’s all pray for World Peace!

        Even though we all know it isn’t going to happen..

        Here’s hoping Obama is stymied by Congress in his bid to increase the suffering of the Syrian people by bombing them

        And Hollande can sling his hook too..

      • libra
        September 3, 2013, 6:05 pm

        Even though we all know it isn’t going to happen..

        Just like your ticket to Australia, miriam. But we can still pray, can’t we?

      • miriam6
        September 5, 2013, 12:23 am

        libra@;

        Just like your ticket to Australia, miriam. But we can still pray, can’t we?

        “If you will it , it is no dream”

        link to anyclip.com

        ‘Cept my promised land is Australia


        When they next wake, all this derision
        Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision

        link to opensourceshakespeare.org

        Bill Murray toasts to World Peace..

        BTW I do hope you realise sending me down under will never ever stop me commenting on M.W…

      • miriam6
        September 5, 2013, 12:39 am

        Dream, that nothing that is so powerfully something, may be mocked and belittled—throughout A Midsummer Night’s Dream it often is—but it strikes back at those who mock it.

        Oberon may say of the lovers, ‘When they next wake, all this derision / Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision’ (3.2.370-1); yet his next line suggests that this dream is not a fruitless vision at all, since the result will be that ‘back to Athens shall the lovers wend / With league whose date till death shall never end’ (ll. 372-3); exactly the same contrast between the supposed empty brevity of the nothing of the dream and the enduring consequences that hover over Lysander’s ‘short as any dream’. Viewed in this light, Oberon’s line suggests a different emphasis: it is not that the derision is a dream, but that it should seem so.

        [...] Oberon’s line has combined dream and vision. If the lovers may find the experience a ‘fruitless vision’, for Bottom it was ‘a most rare vision’ (4.1.202). Even Robin advises the audience that it has seen ‘visions’ (5.1.417). The audience can choose to take them as trivial, ‘No more yielding than a dream’ (5.1.419), but, if we have responded to the play fully, we will share with Bottom the sense of vision, of something revealed from out there, from the world of fairy, not the false or trivial world of dream but a revelation of another reality. The obligation on the audience is to treat the play as a benevolent oneiros, a true prophetic dream. This dream is an attempt to resolve the great puzzle of dream-theory, the source of dreams, for this dream is not the product of the dreamer’s imagination or the reformulation of the experiences of the day but a phenomenon generated by extra- human forces. Such dreams matter greatly.

        link to asamnet.de

  19. Taxi
    September 3, 2013, 3:03 am

    England: Laterz!
    America: Wait up! Where you going buddy?
    France: Huh?! Quelle surprise!
    England: I’m on flipping war-curfew; hope there’s something good on telly for the next three years.
    America: Aaaaawwwh for f*ck’s sakes, I need you for the Syria f*ck up!
    England: Sorry mate, no can do.
    France: Oooh oooh I go wiz yoo yankee, pick me, pick me!
    America: Aaaawh! Fine! But you’d better put a sock in it – can’t stand that accent of yours: reminds me of surrender.
    France: Oh sacre-coeur! I am now ZEE world’z poodle! Zank you, zank you yankee! Anyzing yoo zay, anyzing!

    • aiman
      September 3, 2013, 10:18 am

      Haha classic.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 3, 2013, 3:31 pm

        i know, our taxi is wonderfully entertaining!

      • miriam6
        September 3, 2013, 4:46 pm

        Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Taxi
        September 4, 2013, 3:46 am

        You’re one exclamation mark short, miriam. Here it is, and do take the bonus line with it too:
        Whoa, how the green-eyed monster doth follow me!

      • miriam6
        September 4, 2013, 11:35 pm

        Taxi

        How about a link to your much bally – hoed Lebanon blog then…
        if you truly want to make me green with envy..

        BTW, my Awesome!!! comment wasn’t in reply to you.

        Rather it was in reference to Annie’s regular use of Awesome!

        I can’t say I was so deeply impressed by your Dick Van Dyke/ Mockney – like impersonation of an Englishman…

      • miriam6
        September 4, 2013, 11:53 pm

        Taxi

        My oh my someone around here ( Taxi ) has a big head, so big it’s got it’s own weather system…

        My awesome! comment wasn’t about YOUR comment link to mondoweiss.net

        It was in reference to Annie Robbins use of the word Awesome!!!

        This song IS for you..

        and this;

      • Taxi
        September 5, 2013, 11:11 am

        miriam,

        Clearly, your ziocaine dose is making you not just hallucinate (I have no “Lebanon blog”), but it’s short-circuting your programming too, making you repeat yourself like the imbecile bot that you are.

  20. anthonybellchambers
    September 3, 2013, 5:13 am

    There is one answer and one answer only.

    There must be
    A NUCLEAR AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS FREE ZONE THAT INCLUDES ISRAEL, SYRIA AND IRAN.

    Period. Everything else is either commentary or propaganda by vested interests.

    There is only one (claimed) democratic state in the 21st century that treats international conventions on the use of WMD with contempt:

    1. It refuses to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) that prohibits the use of chemicals, such as sarin gas and white phosphorus, as weapons against civilians and is not a member of the OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

    2. It refuses to sign the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, the NPT, that restricts the spread of nuclear weapons

    3. It refuses to be subject to inspection from the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations that watches and reports on nuclear projects in Iran and elsewhere but instead operates a covert stratagem known as ‘nuclear ambiguity’ that has allowed it to build a secret nuclear arsenal estimated to be more powerful than any defence armoury in Europe. Furthermore, it now operates a secret fleet of five nuclear-armed submarines that are presumed to patrol unseen under the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Iranian Gulf

    4. It refuses to respect the Geneva Conventions on Human Rights

    Meanwhile, the United States, the United Kingdom and all European Union states are bound by each and every one of the above international agreements and conventions designed to ensure global peace.

    Only one (democratic) nation state refuses to be bound by these and that is the Middle East state of Israel.

    • just
      September 3, 2013, 5:41 pm

      Agreed– mostly.

      Here’s the thing. As long as the US and Israel have chemical weapons and have used them ( and given them to others) in the recent past…..and we have used nukes as well, then we must take responsibility. And then we must be totally honest and hold ourselves and our allies entirely accountable for the damage and death we have wrought.

      So far, it’s only a beautiful dream and entirely unrealized goal of mine to expect that we will actually lead by example, and not by hypocrisy.

  21. mcohen
    September 3, 2013, 9:18 am

    For sure big show,davis,coltrane,corea those horns will blow.better still will be the light show
    night sky will light then the best show of all
    fires in the sky,the kudu horn blowing,a tribal gathering
    yes my man this year we blow a horn for a man whose roots are in africa,
    Blessed are the peace makers

    3 companions,7 falling stars,7 years of peace,weapons laid down

  22. Citizen
    September 3, 2013, 9:25 am

    “It’s bad for Israel if ordinary Americans get the idea once again we are going to war for Israel, this time in Syria,” says big Israeli official. Who’s responsible for it in France? Bernard-Henri-Levy for one. This strike on Syria has been engineered by (surprise, surprise) FPI (formerly PNAC). link to counterpunch.org

  23. Kathleen
    September 3, 2013, 2:14 pm

    Great post Marc. I watched Obama on the floor of the Senate when he was Senator and could never figure out at that point what he stood for. I thought he sat on the fence on far too many issues. Quite a few abstentions. But no way was I going to support Clinton after she voted for that bloody, illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq.

  24. Taxi
    September 4, 2013, 4:14 am

    Boots on the ground, boots in the air – it’s all boots in deep, dark waters, if you ask me:
    link to readersupportednews.org

  25. RudyM
    September 4, 2013, 3:16 pm

    Not sure where best to put this, but I am just seeing this now (and probably need to check out this site more often):

    link to whowhatwhy.com

    We don’t really learn much about Rhodes’s either, beyond the fact that he is quietly pushing for more US intervention in Syria, on the heels of a successful push to convince a supposedly reticent Obama to bomb the heck out of Libya, purportedly for human rights reasons. Some now know better—that removing Qaddafi had precious little to do with helping innocent people and a lot to do with oil companies, banks and intelligence agencies. . . .

    Though the Times never underlines this, the careful reader comes to realize that Rhodes’s guiding philosophy is as hard to discern as the precise reasons that he has the president’s ear. In 1997, he briefly worked on the re-election campaign of New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican. Shortly after 9/11, the aspiring novelist suddenly decided to do his part for society, moving in 2002 from Queens to Washington, and quickly found himself “helping draft the 9/11 Commission report as well as the Iraq Study Group report.”

    Well, if that doesn’t set off a few alarms. . .

    • James Canning
      September 4, 2013, 6:37 pm

      Surely Iraq Study Group had the right advice for G W Bush: make deals with Syria and Iran, and pull all US troops out of Iraq asap. Would have saved a trillion dollars or more. And helped to avoid the current chaos in Syria.

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