Does Israel have a toxic personality? Ask Michael Oren

Middle East
on 83 Comments

I just read the latest excerpts being reported from Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s new book and they make it sound like Israel has a toxic personality.

Almost every story I’ve seen so far from the book is an unpleasant one. Leon Wieseltier is an anti-Semite. Obama is a mean guy with a chip on his shoulder who had no love for the country he wanted to lead. Tunisia had a Jasmine revolution? Bullshit, this is the Middle East, not Manhattan.

The betrayals never end. American Jewish journalists just want to fit in with Christian society, so they piss on Israel to show how evolved they are. Obama blindsided Israel by daring to give his Cairo speech and daring to talk with Iran: “our closest ally had entreated with our deadliest enemy on an existential issue without so much as informing us.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was so angered when he found out Oren “could barely hold the receiver to my ear.”

Netanyahu has the reputation for being a man of appetite, but in fact he’s joyless, Oren says. Eating is a chore. They never get to be friends. The only time Netanyahu relaxed was “watching the TV series ‘Breaking Bad.’” A TV series, I hardly need to remind you, about the very darkest aspects of human nature; a lot of people I know can’t watch it.

And when he actually does something nice, Netanyahu immediately regrets it. He apologizes to Turkey’s Erdogan at Obama’s urging during the president’s historic visit in 2013, but there’s no satisfaction in it.

When the call is done there are high-fives and hugs, but Netanyahu tells Oren later the same evening, “We may have made a mistake.” (David Horovitz relates from the book)…

“Wearily, Netanyahu repeated, ‘I think we made a mistake.'”

Our former secretary of state does all she can to avoid these characters:

Hillary Clinton inexplicably rebuffed a series of initial requests from Oren for a private meeting, even though his and her predecessors had frequently held such sessions. She once “socked” him on the arm when they happened to pass, and laughingly claimed that he wasn’t returning her messages. But still she wouldn’t meet with him. (Horovitz again).

Mr. Oren, you were a diplomat: don’t you know how to take a signal?

The emotional reality that seems to underlie all these unpleasant anecdotes is that Israel is a toxic personality. It has become so entitled and aggrieved that people do their best to avoid its leaders’ company. We all know people with a toxic personality. They’re people we avoid because they are so negative or sarcastic, they have a perpetual cloud over their heads, they seem to derive no enjoyment from anything.

There’s no grace. Consider that apology. Israel had killed nine Turks on an aid ship three years before. You’d think it would lift something from a leader’s spirit to apologize for killing nine people? Nope, just bitterness. (And you want Israel just to acknowledge the Nakba?)

The book reminds me of the famous bitch-session between Obama and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy caught by an open mic four years ago: 

“I can’t stand him [Netanyahu]. He’s a liar,” Sarkozy said…

Obama replied, “You’re tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him every day.”

It also underscores what Obama lately told an Israeli interviewer: there’s  no point in peace talks because Netanyahu can’t see “the best” in others, and Israel is controlled by its fears:

I am more worried about… an Israeli politics that’s motivated only by fear. And that then leads to a loss of those core values that, when I was young and I was admiring Israel from afar, were what were the essence of this nation.

I just googled the term toxic personality, and an Australian therapist and life coach has this to say about toxic people:

“Often the person is deeply wounded and for whatever reason, they are not yet able to take responsibility for their wounding, their feelings, their needs and their subsequent problems in life.”

They may overidentify and act out the parts of who they are, such as the victim, bully, perfectionist or martyr, [Jodie Gale] said.

Of course there are lots of ways to describe Israel’s malady. President Reuven Rivlin has said that Israel is a “sick society.” Others have said that Israel has a “national psychosis.” Everyone acknowledges the deep wound of the Holocaust, and I have quoted Seamus Heaney’s line that it takes seven generations for a society to overcome a great trauma. Rivlin has become such a star because he’s the exception to the rule: he actually seems to seek a real relationship with Palestinians based on the idea that they’re the victims.

Toxic people generally take no responsibility for their behavior. After the last war in Gaza, Oren complains, the US-Israeli alliance is largely “in tatters.” Yes, and why? Because Obama had said that the killings of civilians was “appalling.” Such a comment might have prompted some soul-searching, not resentment. Israel had just killed more than 500 children.

Looking through Netanyahu’s twitter feed, I never see him grinning with pleasure. The smiles are all forceful ones. Here’s his official portrait:

Netanyahu official portrait May 2015

Netanyahu official portrait May 2015

Look at Netanyahu glowering at the French telecom exec who came all the way to Jerusalem to apologize. CHSlE1LUcAA9Lyk

Look at the strain in this meeting with Art Garfunkel last week.

Netanyahu and Art Garfunkel June 2105

Netanyahu and Art Garfunkel June 2105

You can see Rudy Giuliani’s teeth here, not Netanyahu’s.

Giuliani and Netanyahu

Giuliani and Netanyahu

Same with Federica Mogherini.

Netanyahu and EU official Federica Mogherini

Netanyahu and EU official Federica Mogherini

Here he was lecturing the president in 2011. You can understand why Obama didn’t invite him to dinner with Michelle and the girls.

Netanyahu lectures Obama in 2011

Netanyahu lectures Obama in 2011

Look at Oren’s official portrait as ambassador. I get why Hillary Clinton didn’t want to hang out.

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

P.S. One other thing about Oren’s book. It’s getting a lot of press for these disclosures. It’s likely to be a bestseller. I confess I’m a bit cynical about Oren’s calculations and the press’s willingness to flak the book.  As Abe Foxman said last week at the 92nd Street Y, when asked his response to Ari Shavit’s Israel book, My Promised Land: “First of all, it’s a bestseller. That can be manufactured, but it’s still a bestseller.”

About Philip Weiss

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

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83 Responses

  1. Krauss
    June 18, 2015, 3:08 pm

    That’s a lot of psychobabble, Phil. Instant arm-chair analysis from watching the pictures in the Twitter feed? Maybe we should google “smiling Netanyahu” for a counter-argument.

    But, no, seriously, Bibi is a guy who enjoys shows like the Borgias, the ultra-realistic and ultra-grim TV show that is all about backstabbing, betrayal and lies.
    He describes Palestinian men as “wild beasts of a man”.

    But he also lives in the most violent and anarchic region of the world. America will and can withdraw itself from the Middle East and Israel has no plan B. They are scared because they should be.

    Re: Oren’s book. Unlike a lot of political memoirs, his seems to be actually worthwhile to read. I’m not buying the WH spin that he’s just lying through his teeth for PR. Give him credit for that at least, even if you attack his official portrait.

    • Landie_C
      June 19, 2015, 11:17 am

      Zionists have been describing Palestinians as wild beasts from the very beginning of colonization. And Zionism was formed in an era when Social Darwinism was part of a global Zeitgeist. Before the “Arab threat,” there was Zionist Social Darwinism and Blut and Boden-style, expansionist, triumphalist rhetoric and programs.

      Read Cohler-Esses’s dissection of Oren’s outright fabrications or mistakes, take your pick, in The Forward.

    • JWalters
      June 19, 2015, 6:12 pm

      I agree that a few photos are a thin reed on which to hang a psychological analysis. On the other hand, when a person repeatedly proves himself impervious to facts and logic, examining his mental state is appropriate, rational, and even essential to making any progress in dealing with that person (speaking from personal experience).

      As so often at Mondoweiss, the comments supplement the article wonderfully. JLewisDickerson’s posts below notably provide much highly relevant information on Netanyahu’s childhood.

      Here’s a similar analysis yesterday by Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU.

      “Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is like the drunken friend demanding the car keys as he staggers toward his own destruction and that of others – a condition that requires the United States to intervene to stop his dangerous and reckless behavior.”
      https://consortiumnews.com/2015/06/18/can-us-stop-enabling-israel/

  2. HarryLaw
    June 18, 2015, 3:20 pm

    ” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, has confirmed suspicions that Israel has taken the side of Syrian rebels in their bloody civil war and wants President Assad to fall even if that turns Syria over to al-Qaeda-connected jihadists”,https://consortiumnews.com/2013/09/18/israel-sides-with-syrian-jihadists/ Oran of course thinks that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, I have no doubt he would like to see all Arab nations at war with one another, so that Israel does not have to compromise with anyone, in fact a far easier way to steal more land.

  3. eljay
    June 18, 2015, 3:32 pm

    || Krauss: … America will and can withdraw itself from the Middle East and Israel has no plan B. They are scared because they should be. … ||

    Sure, Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state that seems unwilling to do anything other than commit (war) crimes – BUT – it has god, nukes, Captain Israel and King Bibi on its side. What’s there to be afraid of? What could possibly go wrong?!

  4. lysias
    June 18, 2015, 4:26 pm

    Nazism was to a large extent the result of the trauma Germany suffered by being defeated in World War One. Nazi rule could still have been avoided if there had been no Great Depression. But the defeat in World War One was a real trauma and was, I would argue, a more important cause than the Great Depression.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    June 18, 2015, 4:32 pm

    RE: “Netanyahu has the reputation for being a man of appetite, but in fact he’s joyless, Oren says.” – Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Like father, like son? *

    * SEE: “A Boy Called Bibi ~ Netanyahu on the Couch”, by Uri Avnery, CounterPunch.org, May 1-3, 2015

    [EXCERPTS] . . . If it is true that the character of a person is shaped by his early childhood, we must examine the background of Netanyahu in order to understand him.

    He grew up in the shadow of a strong father. Benzion Millikowsky, who changed his foreign name to the Hebrew Netanyahu, was a very dominant and very unhappy person. Born in Warsaw, then a provincial town in the Russian Empire, he immigrated to Palestine as a young man, studied history at the new Hebrew University in Jerusalem and expected to become a professor there. He was not accepted.

    Benzion was the son of an early adherent of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, the extreme rightist Zionist leader. He inherited from his father a very extremist outlook, and passed it on to his three sons. . .

    . . . Benzion’s rejection by the prestigious young Hebrew University turned him into a bitter man, a bitterness that lasted until his death in 2012, at age 102. He was sure that this rejection had nothing to do with his academic qualification, and everything with his ultra-nationalist opinions.

    His extreme Zionism did not stop him leaving Palestine and seeking his academic luck in the United States, where a second-rate university gave him a professorship. His life’s work as a historian concerned the fate of the Jews in medieval Christian Spain – the expulsion and inquisition. It engendered in him a very dark world view: the conviction that Jews will always be persecuted, that all Goyim (non-Jews) hate the Jews, that a straight line connects the auto-da-fé of the Spanish inquisition with the Nazi Holocaust. . .

    . . . Benzion Netanyahu was not only a very bitter person, who accused the Zionist and Israeli academic establishment of failing to recognize his academic stature. He was also a very autocratic family man.

    The three Netanyahu boys lived in constant awe of Father. They were not allowed to make any noise at home while the Great Man worked in his closed study. They were not allowed to bring other boys home. Their mother was completely devoted to her husband and served him in every way, sacrificing her own personality. . .

    . . . So who is this Netanyahu? Contrary to popular opinion, he is a man of very strong beliefs – the beliefs of his far-right father. The entire world is out to kill us at all times, we need a powerful state to defend ourselves, all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan has been given us by God (whether he exists or not). Everything else is lies, subterfuges, tactics.

    When, in a famous speech at Bar-Ilan university near Tel Aviv, Netanyahu embraced the principle of “Two States for Two Peoples”, those who knew him could only smile. It was as if he had recommended the eating of pork on Yom Kippur.

    He dangled this statement before the eyes of the naive Americans and let his Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, lead endless negotiations with the Palestinians, whom he despises. Whenever it seemed that the negotiations were nearing some goal, he quickly put up another condition, such us the ridiculous demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People. He would not dream, of course, of recognizing the Palestinian territories as the Nation State of the Palestinian People – a people he does not really believe exists at all.

    On the eve of the last election, just now, Netanyahu announced that there would not be a Palestinian state as long as he was in power. When the Americans remonstrated, he repudiated himself. Why not? As his Likud predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir, famously said, “It is permitted to lie for the Fatherland.”

    Netanyahu will lie, cheat, repudiate himself, raise false flags – all for the purpose of achieving his one and only real goal, the Rock of our Existence (as he loves to say), the heritage of his father – the Jewish State from the sea to the river. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/01/netanyahu-on-the-couch/

    • lysias
      June 18, 2015, 4:35 pm

      “It is permitted to lie for the Fatherland.”

      Isn’t that precisely what was wrong with the Communists?

      • JLewisDickerson
        June 18, 2015, 4:39 pm

        Yes, and Germany’s National Socialists as well! ! !

      • JLewisDickerson
        June 18, 2015, 4:53 pm

        ALSO SEE: “Notes on Nationalism”, by George Orwell, 1945

        [EXCERPTS] . . . All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . .

        . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia. Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English russophiles. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind. . .

        SOURCE (“Notes on Nationalism”, by George Orwell, 1945) – http://orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

    • JLewisDickerson
      June 18, 2015, 4:36 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE – “Bibi’s Father’s Answer to the ‘Arab Problem’: Hang ’Em in the Town Square”, By Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 4/04/09

      [EXCERPTS] Imagine, if you will, if Barack Obama’s real father was Rev. Jeremiah Wright and imagine, if you will, that Wright gave an eight-page interview to USA Today the week of Obama’s inauguration. Then you can imagine the “interest” with which such a ‘Maariv’ interview with Bibi Netanyahu’s father was met in Israeli circles.
      Noam Sheizaf, who works for Maariv, has translated portions of the interview . . .
      . . . And without further ado, I give you, Ben Zion Netanyahu, the father of the man:

      [EXCERPTS] . . . • Question: You don’t like the Arabs, to say the least.
      Benzion Netanyahu: “The Bible finds no worse image than this of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases.
      The tendency towards conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetuate war.”. . .
      . . . • Question: Is there any hope of peace?
      Benzion Netanyahu: …No…The two states solution doesn’t exist. There are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation … they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.”
      • Question: So what’s the solution?
      Benzion Netanyahu: “No solution but force… strong military rule. Any outbreak will bring upon the Arabs enormous suffering. We shouldn’t wait for a big mutiny to start, but rather act immediately with great force to prevent them from going on…
      If it’s possible, we should conquer any disputed territory in the land of Israel. Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war. We should conquer Gaza, and parts of the Galil, and the Golan. This will bring upon us a bloody war. . .
      . . . There is valuable experience [on this matter] we don’t pay notice to. I mean the Ottoman rule over the Arabs. The Turks ruled over the Arabs for 400 years, and there was peace and quiet everywhere. The Arabs hated the Ottomans, but every little thing they did brought mass killings and hanging in towns squares. They were hanging people in Damascus, and Izmir… every town had hanging posts in its center…the Arabs were so badly beaten, they didn’t dare revolt. Naturally, I don’t recommend the use of hangings as a show of force like the Turks did, I just want to show that the only thing that might move the Arabs from the rejectionist position is force. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2009/04/04/bibis-fathers-answer-to-the-arab-problem-hang-em-in-the-town-square

    • Landie_C
      June 19, 2015, 11:19 am

      Thanks for the link.

      There’s no question that Netanyahu has a cold “smile” and that he doesn’t smile easily. But in fairness, it should also be pointed out that anyone with teeth like his might have reason to lock his lips in a grimace.

      https://theuglytruth.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/insanenetanyahulaughing.jpg

      • echinococcus
        June 19, 2015, 4:28 pm

        No wonder he won’t show them right after eating a couple of little kids.
        No, it’s not blood libel. They even get written up in the news.

  6. Amar
    June 18, 2015, 7:01 pm

    I’ve always felt a fakeness about Netanyahu in his expressions. Biggest example of that is probably his holding a drawing of a bomb about to go off at the UN. That stern look on his face just exuded with insincerity.

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120927074234-benjamin-netanyahu-bomb-un-horizontal-gallery.jpg

    • Landie_C
      June 19, 2015, 3:20 pm

      @ Amar:

      “It doesn’t matter if justice is on your side. You have to depict your position as just” –Netanyahu to Likud activists, cited in Akiva Eldar, “Why would anyone believe Netanyahu?” Ha’aretz, November 14, 2011

  7. JLewisDickerson
    June 18, 2015, 7:22 pm

    RE: “The emotional reality that seems to underlie all these unpleasant anecdotes is that Israel is a toxic personality. It has become so entitled and aggrieved that people do their best to avoid its leaders’ company. We all know people with a toxic personality. They’re people we avoid because they are so negative or sarcastic, they have a perpetual cloud over their heads, they seem to derive no enjoyment from anything.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Benjamin Netanyahu’s Fantasy World”, by Michael Lerner, Tikkun.org, March 3, 2015
    Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was brilliantly deceitful because it played to the fantasies that Israeli propaganda and right-wing militarists in the United States have been popularizing for the past thirty years.

    [EXCERPT] . . . In my book Embracing Israel/Palestine based in part on research I did while living in Israel and doing research at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I describe the devastating consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the capacity of those who have suffered extreme stress or oppression to make rational decisions for themselves. The PTSD is most acute in both the Israeli and Palestinian population, but far less so among Iranians who have never suffered in the past 70 years the way Jews and Palestinians have. So if we have any worries about possession of nuclear weapons, that concern should direct us to seeking nuclear disarmament from Israel. But as for the impact of PTSD, having those 200 nukes should have yielded Israel a payoff in feeling secure. Instead, Israel continues to live under the cloud of the seventy-year-old trauma of the Holocaust, and the Prime Minister of Israel comes to the U.S. to shout “Never Again.” But that slogan was originally meant to be a slogan concerning all peoples – so that no one should ever suffer what Jews suffered. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/benjamin-netanyahus-fantasy-world

    • JLewisDickerson
      June 18, 2015, 7:26 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Israel 60 Years Later”, by Michael Lerner, Tikkun Magazine, May/June 2008

      [EXCERPTS] . . . When I look back and watch the irrational and self-defeating behavior of both sides, and when I interview people on both sides of this struggle, one concept shouts out to me: PTSD—Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The trauma on both sides has led people to be unable to think rationally about what is in their own best interests. For the Palestinians that trauma led them to reject the proposal of a two-state solution that was offered them in 1947, and to encourage the surrounding Arab states to reject every offer made by Israel in subsequent decades even after those states were decisively defeated in the 1967 War. In later decades, starting in the 1980s, it was the Jews who rejected reasonable offers for peace, and instead imagined that their military might would allow them to crush the Palestinian national movement. Illusion after illusion after illusion.

      Even today, Israel has been faced with an offer by the Arab states for full recognition and peace if Israel would simply return to the pre-1967 borders. However, Israel will not accept, though it knows full well that in the negotiations the Palestinians would allow the Jews to hold on to the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and would even consider trading some close-to-the-border land to allow some of the major Israeli settlements if Israel gave an equal amount of land back to the Palestinians and made a credible and serious offer to provide reparations for Palestinian refugees. If Israel were to approach this kind of offer in a spirit of open-heartedness, it could soon work out details that would provide Israel with adequate security.

      Arrogance of power? Subordination to the religious messianism of the West Bank settlers? Sure, those play a role. But in my view, it is PTSD that is decisive in keeping Israelis from looking at their actual situation: a tiny minority in a world surrounded by Arab and Muslim states whose power will only grow in the coming decades and whose anger at Israel grows in intensity as they watch the state that claims to be the representative of the Jewish people act in horrendous and cruel ways toward Palestinians. Any rational assessment would lead Israelis to accept the terms being offered to them, and to do so in a way that manifested a spirit of generosity and caring for those whom it had hurt, tortured, falsely imprisoned, killed, or wounded. Similarly, it is PTSD that can best explain how Palestinians would embrace Hamas or Hezbollah and fantasize that they could eventually destroy Israel . . .

      . . . The problem with PTSD is that it deprives people of the capacity to think about long-term survival and instead focuses them on the perceived (and usually unrealistic) immediate threats to such an extent that they are unable to act rationally.

      What can one do with such a reality? Psychotherapy has proved of only limited impact with PTSD clients, but it has some chance. Not so when trying to build a mass psychology of healing for a whole society, particularly when the society has not elected to undergo therapy! Those of us who know healing is necessary are far from being empowered to develop societal strategies that could begin the healing process. For us, part of the problem is to get the society to recognize that it could benefit from therapy. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/israel-60-years-later

      • Landie_C
        June 19, 2015, 3:25 pm

        I do believe that PTSD must be taken into serious consideration in the manner described by Lerner, just as I believe that Zionism itself was in no small measure a byproduct of PTSD.

      • talknic
        June 19, 2015, 4:22 pm

        Landie_C “… Zionism itself was in no small measure a byproduct of PTSD”

        From what? Herzl in his lifetime could have immigrated to, acquired citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the Jewish People’s historic homeland in Palestine. He didn’t bother. Nor did his family.

      • Landie_C
        June 19, 2015, 4:54 pm

        @talknic:

        The pogroms of 1881 were uppermost in my mind. They may be seen as a turning point in the history of Zionism. One can’t help but be struck by the language of violence in their rhetoric, even when applied to peaceful contexts. As for early Zionist luminaries like Moses Hess, Herzl, etc, I would say that pogroms, the Dreyfus affair, and the overarching sense of rejection by the very people these leaders admired and among whom they wished to assimilate — in other words, acute feelings of shame and betrayal — were important driving factors.

    • catalan
      June 19, 2015, 4:36 pm

      ” Herzl in his lifetime could have immigrated to, acquired citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the Jewish People’s historic homeland in Palestine. He didn’t bother. Nor did his family. – ” talknic
      I am curious why in your opinion he didn’t bother. Also, what conclusions do you draw from it?
      As a side note, I would never ever give up my American citizenship. Unlike Oren (and talknic) I don’t consider Israel “our Jewish state”. I love the United States.

      • Landie_C
        June 19, 2015, 5:01 pm

        @ catalan

        “As a side note, I would never ever give up my American citizenship. Unlike Oren (and talknic) I don’t consider Israel “our Jewish state”. I love the United States. ”

        America was Die Goldene Medina of my wonderful Bundist grandparents and it is mine as well. Jefferson, Paine and Dewey are my landsmen, not Jabotinsky and Ben-Gurion. In fact, I consider the first three more Jewish than the latter two by virtue of their unusual attention to problematizating power.

      • talknic
        June 19, 2015, 7:14 pm

        @ Catalan

        “I am curious why in your opinion he didn’t bother.”

        Perhaps he didn’t actually believe in his story. After all, that’s all it was, a fantasy

        “Also, what conclusions do you draw from it?”

        There was obviously no desperate need. Sure generated a lot of money tho.

        “As a side note, I would never ever give up my American citizenship. Unlike Oren (and talknic) I don’t consider Israel “our Jewish state”. I love the United States”

        Why should anyone believe anything you write?

      • catalan
        June 19, 2015, 9:04 pm

        “Why should anyone believe anything you write?” Talknic
        I don’t know, because I have no reason to lie perhaps?

      • oldgeezer
        June 20, 2015, 2:04 am

        @catalan
        “I don’t know, because I have no reason to lie perhaps? – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/israel-personality-michael#comment-148139

        The why has yet to be determined. No doubt you have an opinion of yourself. You love the state yet deride it’s citizens. You hate collective punishment yet support a state which implements same as a matter of policy.

        It’s hard to say cat. I have agreed with some of your posts but you are all over the map. One second you seem to have principles and the next you toss them to the wind for tribal unity. You have kids but have no empathy for those who lose their children.

        I will cut you some slack. I haven’t before and I won’t again.

        You are conflicted. You know the difference between right and wrong. You will call out wrongs but when you tribal allegiance conflicts you will toss your principles out the window out of a sense of duty. You have no issue with vile evils being inflicted on other peoples children which you would never wish to see inflicted on your own children.

        You can say this is a post bashing you but frankly it’s plea for you to exercise your humanity for all. Regardless of race, religion or creed.

        I do believe you have it in you but I fear I may be giving you too much credit. The choice is yours. And honestly and frankly I hope you and your children never have to live through the horror Israel inflicts on millions. Unless you fight that I will feel for you but I won’t fight for you. And whatever hell comes in the form of payback you are on your own. You are having your chance to change things. If you don’t care enough to make a change then don’t expect me or anyone else to care either.

      • catalan
        June 20, 2015, 8:52 am

        “The why has yet to be determined. No doubt you have an opinion of yourself. You love the state yet deride it’s citizens. You hate collective punishment yet support a state which implements same as a matter of policy.” – Oldgeezer
        I love and admire the Unites States, it’s my country. That said, I can see both the strengths and weaknesses of its citizens. The internet debates unfortunately provoke me sometimes to be overly negative. A false impression gets created.
        I emphatically don’t support Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. Actually, many Israelis don’t either. It’s just that nobody can come up with a good plan to change a bad situation. That’s not unique. Everyone sees that destroying the Amazon jungle is a bad thing, yet nobody can come up with an answer how to stop it. I guess it is very easy to see a problem; cancer, global warming, poaching, overpopulation. Fixing it is a whole other matter. Historically, people fixed their problems by annihilating their enemies and taking over their resources: like the Romans did with Carthage or Corinth, or the Assyrians with a thousand cities. This option is not available anymore.
        I am a practical person and look for practical solutions. I believe that the evidence proves that BDS does not work in changing Israeli policy.
        The solutions I can think of, unfortunately don’t seem to work either. I used to think that one answer would be to provide Israel and Palestine with EU membership in exchange for signing a peace agreement. Seeing how dysfunctional and divided the EU is, I am not sure that’s viable either. I just don’t know at this point what the answer is, but I don’t think that harming innocent Israelis who just try to get by is the answer. One reason is that I myself come from a small country.

  8. DaBakr
    June 18, 2015, 7:28 pm

    PW displays an incredible amount of nerve complaining about the negative tone of most or ‘all the passages PW read’ and describing them as “unpleasant”. I haven’t read Orens book and only the WSJ (meaning: I am not denying the negative tome of at least some) but even if it is true he now knows exactly what it is like reading MW. Or at least what reading MW for a ‘non-groupie’ pro-Israeli is like.

    The Israeli based reporters here seem to scour every single cranny of the nations back wallers and neighborhood flyers for any story that even hints at incrimination as if there careers depended on it. When things reported as ‘facts’ are indisputably refuted (e.g.”dams in southern Israel) instead of ceding the mistake -the error is parsed even further to an absurdists degree of pro-negativity (e.g. ‘a wadi is a kind of a dam’.)

    Every guest writer either bemoans the current state of Israel, fears for its future, wrings their hands at the ‘injustice of it all’ or compares it to its most vile of historical regimes.

    And in case PW didn’t notice, his good buddy, the little red haired ‘hero’ of MW-MxB wrote probably the most unpleasant, negative, polemical, inflammatory book about Israel that can be remembered in the past few years. Maybe thats just how the message is getting out now. No more kid gloves I suppose. But please, don’t act surprised at Oren writing his take on events when it is so completely obvious that pw understands- exactly- the way the explicit use of ‘unpleasantness’ can convey the type of propaganda message one is trying to promote. PW is an expert at it and might consider that some folks might even think that MW has a bit of toxicity about its whole oeuvre. just saying…

    • amigo
      June 18, 2015, 8:22 pm

      “Every guest writer either bemoans the current state of Israel, fears for its future, wrings their hands at the ‘injustice of it all’ or compares it to its most vile of historical regimes.” dabaker

      So what,s the problem with that.Israel compares itself with every despotic regime.

    • Donald
      June 18, 2015, 9:31 pm

      There was a similar aura of negativity about South Africa and I don’t doubt the apartheid supporters were equally negative about the apartheid critics. So yeah, it’s not surprising.

      Max B’s book seemed pretty consistent with Netanyahu’s own evaluation of the Israeli electorate. Netanyahu thought a racist appeal would help him win and it seems he was right.

    • talknic
      June 18, 2015, 10:53 pm

      @ DaBakr

      “PW displays an incredible amount of nerve complaining about the negative tone of most or ‘all the passages PW read’ and describing them as “unpleasant”. I haven’t read Orens book …”

      My guess is he’s read those passages at least

      ” …. and only the WSJ”

      Say …. there’s an expression for that

      “When things reported as ‘facts’ are indisputably refuted (e.g.”dams in southern Israel) instead of ceding the mistake -the error is parsed even further to an absurdists degree of pro-negativity (e.g. ‘a wadi is a kind of a dam’.)”

      https://www.google.com.au/search?q=wadi dam

      “And in case PW didn’t notice, his good buddy, the little red haired ‘hero’ of MW-MxB wrote probably the most unpleasant, negative, polemical, inflammatory book about Israel that can be remembered in the past few years”

      Did you read it or take the usual dose ?

    • Mooser
      June 19, 2015, 10:47 am

      “if it is true he now knows exactly what it is like reading MW. Or at least what reading MW for a ‘non-groupie’ pro-Israeli is like.”

      So why not do us all a favor and go away? Stop torturing yourself, and please, put yourself out of your misery.

      • Mooser
        June 19, 2015, 11:57 am

        Oh, gosh, sorry, I meant “out of our misery”

  9. yonah fredman
    June 18, 2015, 7:40 pm

    The BDS movement is a declaration of nonviolent war against Israel. It is a declaration that we must treat you as a pariah in order to change your behavior. When Israel reacts defensively, then it’s PTSD or toxicity or watching too much “Breaking Bad” by a prime minister as the metaphor for Israel. It is another form of warfare to accompany the BDS warfare. It is not analysis. It is anti Hasbara, spin with a specific purpose.

    In fact holding onto the West Bank (specifically) for 48 years and to hold it in this particular way of a settler movement without giving the Palestinians the vote is in fact behavior that cannot be accepted, and the adjustment of most Israelis to accepting the occupation as normal, that is something that deserves analysis and I accept the world’s reaction of nonviolent warfare. But this analysis of Israeli reactions to BDS is unenlightening. (euphemism)

    • Donald
      June 18, 2015, 9:40 pm

      Israel’s reaction to the BDS movement is what you’d expect from a society which practices apartheid and lies to itself about its own brutality and which sees itself as the victim no matter what the actual bodycount shows. It is hardly surprising that they also react badly to outside critics. White southern racists were similarly defensive when criticized–it’s just the way people tend to be when they are guilty of something and don’t want to admit it, even to themselves. Their victims deserve it and their critics all have bad motives.

      • yonah fredman
        June 18, 2015, 10:56 pm

        Donald- Your experience might teach us something, but I must emphasize: The southern united states was not subject to wars against Black countries, not subject to bombs in restaurants, not subject to wanton shelling from adjacent territories, was not subject to rhetoric of expulsion. Maybe the frame of mind can teach us something nonetheless, but ceding the west bank is certainly more dangerous than granting blacks the vote. Thus pressuring the south to let black kids into schools was one thing, pressuring Israel to ceding the West Bank (the very least that the BDS movement is advocating) is of a different category.

      • oldgeezer
        June 19, 2015, 12:22 am

        @yonah
        “The southern united states was not subject to wars against Black countries, not subject to bombs in restaurants, not subject to wanton shelling from adjacent territories, – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/israel-personality-michael#comment-148139

        The Palestinians were victims of car bombs, bombs in their market places, wars started by Israel and not by them or Arab states, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, theft and destruction of property.

        ” not subject to wanton shelling from adjacent territories, – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/israel-personality-michael#comment-148139

        That would be the Palestinians again.

        ” pressuring Israel to ceding the West Bank (the very least that the BDS movement is advocating) is of a different category. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/israel-personality-michael#comment-148139

        Get Israel out of other peoples land and stop stealing it. It is not Israels. It was never Israels. And Israelis have no right to live in peace while they are commiting war crimes.

        Your victimhood is nonexistant in light of the facts now know due to the release of documents.

        Israel is a thieving rogue state.

      • talknic
        June 19, 2015, 1:16 am

        yonah fredman demonstrates how f*ckwits never learn, never stop with their simple minded drivel! Digging deeper and deeper holes in pursuit of justification for the un-justifiable

        ” The southern united states was not subject to wars against Black countries, not subject to bombs in restaurants, not subject to wanton shelling from adjacent territories, was not subject to rhetoric of expulsion”

        The Southern United States wasn’t occupying any of the Northern United States territories, claiming it as their own, illegally annexing, illegally dispossessing Northern United States citizens in order to illegally settle Southern citizens in non-Southern territory

        “Maybe the frame of mind can teach us something nonetheless, but ceding the west bank is certainly more dangerous than granting blacks the vote”

        To cede something, one must first be the legal possessor. The West Bank is not, nor has it ever been Israeli.

        “pressuring Israel to ceding the West Bank (the very least that the BDS movement is advocating) is of a different category”

        Categorically a figment of a sauteed in Ziobile imagination

        What a waste of Hasbara payroll shekels. The only service you provide is affording the opportunity for well informed people to show just how corrupted and feeble the whole wholly holey Hasbara arguments are and how stupid are the people who spout them

        Keep up the good work

      • Sibiriak
        June 19, 2015, 1:27 am

        Talknic: yonah fredman demonstrates how f*ckwits never learn, never stop with their simple minded drivel!
        —————–

        Ad hominems– name-calling etc.– do nothing to strengthen your arguments. Just sayin’….

      • yonah fredman
        June 19, 2015, 2:38 am

        Much thanks talknic- My hasbara keeper has a special thing about getting you to swear (he has this thing about you because of that marvelous eye icon you use to represent yourself) and each time I succeed in getting you to swear I get a $100 bonus (that’s dollars and not shekels). if only you would have used an “u” instead of an asterisk I’d have gotten a $250 bonus, but i’m not greedy.

      • bryan
        June 19, 2015, 3:22 am

        I can’t agree with either Yonah or Talknic regarding parallels between Israel and the Southern states. Southern intransigence (like Israeli intransigence) regarding its special institution and the suppression of black rights was fed by considerable violence over the course of the dispute: Bleeding Kansas “was a proxy war between anti-slavery forces in the North and pro-slavery forces from the South”, the equivalent of Palestinian suicide bombers were incidents like John Brown’s insurrection at Harpers Ferry and the Pottawatomie Massacre, and the southern settler community faced an existential threat to their existence in Sherman’s March to the Sea. Just as Israel faces a satanic combination of an allegedly corrupt PA and duplicitous foreign-funded NGOs, so the south was despoiled by a generation of unscrupulous and mercenary carpet-baggers.

        Whether there are any parallels between South-North and Israel-Palestine is however simply irrelevant: the institution of slavery was destroyed and civil rights were asserted because the the oppression of African Americans was morally abhorrent in the same way that the occupation and the denial of Palestinian human rights is morally abhorrent and will eventually be ended – peacefully one hopes.

        This is where Yonah descends into lunacy with his assertion that “The BDS movement is a declaration of nonviolent war against Israel”. This is (Oxy)-moronic, like referring to a miniature giant or a God-fearing atheist. BDS is not a united movement but a menu from which one can select a T-bone steak or a diabetic drink. It is as diverse as the class of mammals, comprising everything from man-eating tigers to cuddly bunny rabbits. It may attract rabid fanatics, but far more, if it is to have any real traction, it will attract people of conscience outraged by war crimes, and clearly at the moment its main targets are divestment from western corporations that are complicit in an illegal occupation, not the destruction of Israel. But if Israel can only survive by reliance on such oppression has it not forfeited the right to survive, and if gentle pressure from Western consumers can help the leopard change its spots (see http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/eb4f6f88-e169-11df-90b7-00144feabdc0.html) then such action is to be applauded.

        It is a little bit like the Nutella story: if the product produces obesity and destroys the global environment (see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/17/stop-eating-nutella-and-save-the-forests-urges-french-ecology-minister) then it has forfeited its right to exist, but ultimately informed consumers will make that judgement for themselves, and doubtless the company (Ferrero USA) will mount a ferocious campaign to defend its product (see http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/03/02/nutella-bans-lesbian-jewish-and-obesity-from-its-latest-campaign/). The endearing thing about western liberal democracy, is that despite the uphill battle against the power of mega-corporations and the military-industrial complex, ordinary citizens do have some small say in the course of history.

      • Bornajoo
        June 19, 2015, 4:58 am

        “Their victims deserve it and their critics all have bad motives”

        Spot on Donald.

        Isn’t that behaviour described as “narcissistic denial”?

      • eljay
        June 19, 2015, 5:59 am

        || y.f.: … pressuring the south to let black kids into schools was one thing, pressuring Israel to ceding the West Bank (the very least that the BDS movement is advocating) is of a different category. ||

        And there you have it: It’s the fault of the Palestinians that Israel must keep as much as possible of what it has stolen from them.

        Amazing…

      • Mooser
        June 19, 2015, 11:08 am

        “The southern united states was not subject to wars against Black countries”

        Another case, another instance of Yonah’s fingers trying to save him from himself. I guess maybe his hand wanted to return some of the love he’s given it.

      • Donald
        June 19, 2015, 12:22 pm

        Yonah, Bryan gave part of the response I would have given–if we take the analogy back to the 19th century, white southerners were afraid of the Haitian slave revolt, which from what little I know turned genocidal on both sides,and they were afraid of Nat Turner style revolts, where women and children were murdered and if you bring it up to the present, white racists are also afraid of crime rates in the inner city. And not only racists– my wife saw a fistfight escalate into an attempted shooting at her subway stop many years ago, so the fear of crime wasn’t simply made up. Another friend of mine was mugged during the same period. Racists would ignore the larger social conditions and simply blame the group for being inherently violent.

        My point is that one can recognize that sometimes racists can point to actual dangers or violence committed by members of the hated group and sensible people still realize this doesn’t justify racism or apartheid policies or war crimes or torture. I don’t see the Israelis as uniquely evil, but they also aren’t uniquely endangered and cthey have no special excuse for behaving like the white South Africans. Who, btw, also pointed to the extreme violence in some of the neighboring states as an excuse (in some cases like Angola and Mozambique they were partly responsible for that violence). Israelis are like racists everywhere and so the rationalization are also similar.

      • talknic
        June 19, 2015, 1:36 pm

        Posting f*ckwitted drivel in order to push people to the point where they can no longer contain their anger is typical of the whole Israeli/Colonialist serial abuser technique

        I’d like to thank yonah for his demonstration/s

        ——

        @ bryan Unlike the Northern and Southern American states, Israel’s 67 years of illegal activities in non-Israeli territory are not part of a Civil War.

      • echinococcus
        June 19, 2015, 2:29 pm

        Sibiriak,

        Argumentum ad hominem is there whenever the user resorts to an attack on the person *instead of* addressing the content of the argument. Certainly not when delivering any insult the user judges appropriate. Talknit certainly did address the content of the argument and Jonas’ usual exasperating, slithering routine, *adding* a condign expression of contempt. There is no ad hominem.

      • yonah fredman
        June 19, 2015, 8:58 pm

        bryan- Thank you for your comment. It is of course true that to view Jim Crow in isolation, as if it were not related to the violence of the 19th century, is to obscure the truth.

        Note the context here was this post by Phil Weiss using the toxicity of Bibi Netanyahu watching “Breaking Bad” to declare Israel toxic. As such this was not the place for rhetorical nuance and thus the context for the “nonviolent war” statement.

        I am agnostic vis a vis BDS. There is little question in my mind that when someone like Zeev Sternhell says that Israel will only change through outside pressure that I tend to agree with him. But when I hear Omar Barghouti speak I feel in my bones that he is my enemy and when I hear Peter Beinart speak I feel in my bones that I am on his side. So I respect my own reactions and thus guide my comments that they should be true to the emotions that I feel at any given moment.

        Others may have a more objective view of the morality of the situation including a view of those like myself. I personally do not feel that one can divorce one’s politics from one’s personality and my personality was formed by specific events and milieus and I am not in the business of denying myself to be who I am on the issue of Israel-Palestine.

        I don’t know what the future holds and I don’t know if I will be there in the future to really make any difference, but my vision of the future does include this: at some point in time dialogue will be necessary between those on the ground in Israel-Palestine and there will be a need for people like me who can talk to the side of the Zionists and the inability of some to dialogue with me is a sign that they will be useless at that moment. Until then they serve the purpose of putting pressure against Zionism. God bless them, as Zeev Sternhell says. But at some point it’s going to take more than pressure against Zionism, it’s going to require dialogue and the attitude of this (Walter White toxicity Bibi)= Israel post, plus some of the comments here is evidence that these people (or those of similar mindset that will come after them) will be useless when the time comes to parley and smoke the peace pipe. These are nonviolent warmakers, not dialoguers. they will be useless at that time.

      • Sibiriak
        June 19, 2015, 9:47 pm

        echinococcus: Argumentum ad hominem is there whenever the user resorts to an attack on the person *instead of* addressing the content of the argument.
        ——————-

        Or in addition. Much polemical rhetoric is a mix of personal attacks and content-based arguments.

        Talknic, for example, asserts–without any evidence whatsoever– that Yonah Fredman is a paid Hasbarist (“What a waste of Hasbara payroll shekels.”). That’s an obvious attempt to discredit Yonah. The fact that Talknic also presents factual/logical arguments in no way justifies unsubstantiated character attacks. Besides, the incessant nastiness just distracts from those arguments, imo.

        In any case, whether or not Talknic’s profuse personal attacks are properly classified as “ad hominems” misses the point entirely. I’ll happily re-label them simply as “personal attacks” and note the MW comments ground rule:

        No personal attacks. We encourage spirited, passionate debate, but if you have to resort to vicious personal attack, you’re not advancing the discussion. Stay on the issues.

        It’s not complicated: juvenile name-calling, character assassination, etc. add nothing of value to a rational debate. That was my point. It stands.

      • Sibiriak
        June 19, 2015, 10:01 pm

        bryan: “… despite the uphill battle against the power of mega-corporations and the military-industrial complex, ordinary citizens do have some small say in the course of history.

        ————–

        That’s reassuring.

      • Shmuel
        June 20, 2015, 3:17 am

        I am agnostic vis a vis BDS. There is little question in my mind that when someone like Zeev Sternhell says that Israel will only change through outside pressure that I tend to agree with him. But when I hear Omar Barghouti speak I feel in my bones that he is my enemy and when I hear Peter Beinart speak I feel in my bones that I am on his side.

        Stream of consciousness: What sort of pressure would you be OK with? Wouldn’t you be an “enemy”, if you were in Barghouti’s shoes? But, as “enemies” go…. But Beinart isn’t really proposing pressure — so how do you reconcile Beinart with Sternhell? And what about someone like Charles Manekin? Do you feel like you are on his side?

        at some point in time dialogue will be necessary between those on the ground in Israel-Palestine and there will be a need for people like me who can talk to the side of the Zionists

        Who’s to say you won’t be agnostic then as well? There is no absolute moral/emotional clarity here and never will be, just moral/emotional arithmetic. At some point you need to add the numbers up. And if not now when?

      • talknic
        June 20, 2015, 5:43 am

        @ Sibiriak

        “Talknic, for example, asserts–without any evidence whatsoever– that Yonah Fredman is a paid Hasbarist (“What a waste of Hasbara payroll shekels.”). That’s an obvious attempt to discredit Yonah. “

        Mmmm … Y F and his fellow propagandists discredit themselves. They have been shown many times from official sources that the West Bank is not Israel’s to “cede”.

        252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 June 30 1980 and 478 August 20 1980. None of which have anything to do with race or religion. They’re based on and re-affirm and emphasize the UN Charter, binding on all UN Members, International Law, binding on all states and the GC’s, also binding, all of which Israel obliged itself to uphold. Alas it hasn’t.

        1) “Israel must end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem

        There is only one reason for repeating bullsh*t when one has been shown indisputable evidence a number of times, they’re propagandists.

        “…No personal attacks. We encourage spirited, passionate debate, but if you have to resort to vicious personal attack, you’re not advancing the discussion. Stay on the issues”

        The issue is Israeli toxicity. Pro-Israeli propaganda is toxic.

        Perpetuated by people who have been shown the evidence many many many times is a sign of that toxicity. Yet they foolishly return time and time again with the same olde schtick, only to have it thrown back at them again. One must be rather naive to think they show themselves to be f*ckwits on purpose.

      • eljay
        June 20, 2015, 8:20 am

        || y.f.: … my vision of the future does include this: at some point in time dialogue will be necessary … ||

        Dialogue (or, as R.W. used to say “dialog”) and “peace”…but never, ever justice, accountability and equality. They are to Zio-supremacists what holy water is to a vampire.

      • echinococcus
        June 20, 2015, 10:17 am

        Mr Fredman,

        I am agnostic vis a vis BDS.

        What a surprise. The brave propaganda soldier doesn’t know if the Zionist abomination should continue or not?

        But when I hear Omar Barghouti speak I feel in my bones that he is my enemy and when I hear Peter Beinart speak I feel in my bones that I am on his side

        False alarm! Danger averted. All you mean is you are for a fake BDS that limits itself to the post-1967 occupation, so as to calm public opinion and cut the frail external support that the Palestinians are receiving, so that your Zionists can have their hands free to continue their genocide while chanting Never Again.

        Netanyahoo and his band are certainly more honorable than that!

      • yonah fredman
        June 20, 2015, 10:58 am

        Shmuel- Let me answer you in my own way.

        First, I have to tell you, that when you finish off with that “if not now, when?” thing that you did, you really got my goat. I was a believer and follower of Torah til a very late age (23, 24) and pulling away from Torah at that age is actually really too late and I was arguing left and right with people who believed in Torah and who would finish their spiels with some variation of “if not now, when?” and the part of my brain that is stimulated by your “if not now, when?” spells trouble and not tranquility.

        How did I know for whom to vote in the US presidential race of 2004? I watched the debates and found myself rooting for Kerry, so I voted for Kerry. You see, not logic, but emotion. I am the opposite of a Vulcan.

        Great! Omar Barghouti is logically the best enemy I can hope for, is that what you’re saying? well that says nothing to my emotions. I do not believe in giving my emotions carte blanche, but I do not override my emotions, when it comes to enmity and pretend that an enemy is a friend and hold hands and sing we shall overcome with someone for whom i feel enmity. maybe you vulcans have no such feelings or only have to press the override button and it’s all taken care of but as for this minus vulcan here, it doesn’t work that way. if barghouti is an enemy, he’s an enemy and that effects me and effects my stance.

        on this post, not as bad as the passover antisemitic post, but on this post, phil weiss is an enemy and it is in this context that i responded to this post.

        when i read magnes i accept his logic, but my emotion is with beinart. and by the way, the wheel is in spin this summer: will the french offer a resolution in the UNSC and what will obama do? and that’s assuming that the US will sign something with Iran before September. Beinart would tell obama to vote for the new UN security council resolution or wouldn’t he? and compared to obama’s choice your protests are at least at the moment a detail of history compared to obama’s choice. so to us do-nothing observers of the situation, this is a summer to observe.

        I was born in a specific year with specific relatives who lost family in the Hitler catastrophe and the Zionist rebirth is all mixed up in that wound. I was raised by specific people who had a specific relationship to Torah. I arrived the first time in Israel in 72 and was in Israel during the Yom Kippur War, so i have been imbibing the daily news from israel and environs for over 40 years. I am to the left of everyone I grew up with. in order to deal with this dissonance I have turned myself into an observer rather than a doer.

        the drunk’s prayer the serenity prayer goes, god grant me the courage to change the things I can and the serenity to accept the things I can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference. to billy pilgrim (kurt vonnegut’s slaughterhouse five) the past present and future were included in the things that he could not change.

        Politics is the art of the possible.

        you and other people were born with different personalities to different families to different realities and therefore your righteous positions fit into your personalities and saint peter will let you in to the pearly gates when that time comes and i’ll be burning down below, or when the history is written the zionists will be viewed as a stumbling block on the road to a better world and the truth will be written that i was associated with an evil cause. this is not important to me. what is important to me is to be true to myself.

        And I wish I had the certitude, the time and the strength to sit in kikar tziyon with a sign that says, “Gideon Saar where are you?” Or “Do you believe in democracy?” that’s what the activist yonah thirty years ago would have done, not join with bds but stand out there with a sign of my own in order to drink in the reaction of the masses. but i don’t have the equanimity to play with such a public role and the role that you suggest that of holding hands with someone holding hands with omar barghouti causes me to pull away from the circle you propose and let go of the hand and stand aside and watch. and that’s my stance.

      • Shmuel
        June 20, 2015, 12:20 pm

        Shmuel- Let me answer you in my own way.

        I’ll follow your lead. This isn’t really all that much about specific questions anyway.

        You’re a little older than I am, but other than that, our backgrounds are remarkably similar.

        If I were to think in terms of enemies and friends, on the whole, I would have to consider Barghouti a friend and you an enemy — but that is not how I want to view the world. There is a kind of cold, “logical” rigidity to your emotional defence that even my supposedly “Vulcan/Litvishe” brain can’t accept. It is the ultimate mind game, because you never have to leave your own brain (or heart, if you prefer — but that’s also the traditional seat of the intellect) in order to confront the real world. The real world is not made up of colour-coded friends and foes or perfect causes. “Righteousness” (ultimately the righteousness of one guy with a sign) is your bag, not mine.

    • Brewer
      June 18, 2015, 11:23 pm

      “When Israel reacts defensively”
      I think Lawrence Davidson’s description of Israel’s reaction is a better fit:

      Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has taken it upon himself to set the tone of Israel’s counter-attack on BDS. He has declared that there is an “international campaign to blacken Israel’s name” and he alleges that it is not motivated by Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians but rather seeks to “delegitimize Israel … and deny our very right to live here.” In other words, he is claiming that present criticism of Israel is really an attack on its existence, and not on its behavior. For Netanyahu this has to be a form of anti-Semitism. As Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee, describes Netanyahu’s argument, “If you criticize me you are anti-Semitic … . If you accept any kind of punitive measure or sanctions against Israel, you want to destroy Israel.” That is how the prime minister avoids confronting the facts.

      As bad as this is, it gets even worse. Declaring the goal of BDS to be the elimination of Israel allows the Zionists to use their influence with Western legislators to make cooperation with the boycott subject to penalties. In the United States, AIPAC, the most powerful of the Zionist lobbies, is working on legislation similar to that used against Iran and also the Arab boycott of Israel in the 1970s. This legislation would penalize businesses, both at home and abroad, that favorably respond to calls for boycott. If this works we can expect the Zionists to go further and try to subvert the U.S. Constitution’s free speech provisions and then go after individuals as well as businesses. In this regard, efforts are also under way in Canada and France.
      http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/31307-criminalizing-criticism-a-zionist-project

      • JWalters
        June 19, 2015, 6:31 pm

        A thorough public discussion of BDS might lead to Americans being shocked! shocked! at what they learn about Israel’s history of violence, intimidation, and control of America’s politics and press.
        http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

        THAT would pose a threat to Israel’s existence – as an apartheid state.

      • bintbiba
        June 20, 2015, 4:25 pm

        .

    • Mooser
      June 19, 2015, 10:50 am

      The BDS movement is a declaration of nonviolent war against Israel”

      Oy Gevalt a “non-violent war”. That’s either the worst kind of war there is, or a contradiction in terms, but I’m not sure which.

      Another capsule from Yonah’s bottomless pilpul bottle. Oh, it’s a vial little bottle!

    • piotr
      June 20, 2015, 8:13 pm

      “The BDS movement is a declaration of nonviolent war against Israel.” This is oxymoron. Carl von Clausewitz, in his “On War” brilliantly explained that war is politics by other (violent) means. Hence politics without violence is just that: politics.

  10. michelle
    June 19, 2015, 4:02 am

    .
    why stop with Israel
    this has been going on too long too many people know about it
    is Israel so strong so powerful
    who allowed it to begin
    who gave/gives Israel money knowing what was happening with the money
    who hid the truth from the majority of the people/public
    who supported the lies
    if Israel is sick who has made it/allowed it to be this way
    .
    it isn’t just Israel terrorizing the Palestine people
    BDS should/could do more
    .
    let him have another drink he doesn’t have far to drive home
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

    • Mooser
      June 19, 2015, 10:54 am

      “A psychological profile based on an official portrait? How un-serious can you be?”

      Right you are “Jon s”! Completely “un-serious”. Not like pimping the Jewish religion for personal and political gain. Now, that’s serious!

  11. rosross
    June 19, 2015, 8:27 am

    If Israel were an individual s/he would have been committed and locked up long ago for the sake of all concerned.

    How can a nation founded in religious bigotry and paranoid fear and rage, not be toxic? How can a brutal military occupier bent on murder and dispossession not become debased and toxic? How can an apartheid State sourced in a belief that a particular religion gives superiority over all and the indigenous people, because they are not European, as non-Jews are sub-human, not be toxic and a force for evil?

    Israel is not a Jewish State it is a Zionist State and Zionism is a fascist, racist distortion of Judaism. How can that not be toxic?

    • bintbiba
      June 19, 2015, 9:02 am

      @ rosross

      “Israel is not a Jewish State it is a Zionist State and Zionism is a fascist, racist distortion of Judaism. How can that not be toxic? ”

      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/israel-personality-michael#comments

      Brilliant exposé , rosross !! Why can people not see it … is it not too blatantly clear ?

      “How can that not be toxic?”

    • biggerjake
      June 20, 2015, 9:04 am

      Good points all…

      One other thing that is missing from this most excellent thread is a critical look at what the Zionist enterprise is all about.

      When speaking about the “demographic threat” the Palestinians pose, Netanyahu has said they are ruining the “Jewishness” of Israel. What he and the other Zionists are trying to do is preserve the religious and ethnic homogeneity of his country.

      There were others through out history who have tried to do exactly the same thing for their countries: Hitler in Germany and the Klu Klux Klan in the US.

      Netanyahu is a hero….at least in the US congress. Hitler and the KKK are universally condemned.

      Is there a double standard????

      • biggerjake
        June 20, 2015, 9:34 am

        Actually it should be spelled Ku Klux Klan not Klu Klux Klan….

        Sorry.

  12. Landie_C
    June 19, 2015, 9:53 am

    Larry Cohler-Esses at The Forward shows that Oren is playing fast and loose with the truth in his new memoir, “Ally”, which has the right-wing trolls there up in arms.

    http://forward.com/opinion/310338/new-york-times-michael-oren-book/

  13. Landie_C
    June 19, 2015, 10:21 am

    There’s no question in my mind that Israeli politics is toxic and that debates among Jews in America have suffered from toxic spillover. This has occurred because of the Right’s framing of all of Israel’s policy choices in terms of existential threats and its relentless interrogation of others, Jews and non-Jews alike, according to the Machtstaat formula: Are you mit uns or gegen uns?

    While I agree with Weiss that Israeli leaders come across as angry people, it’s interesting to note the paradox that Israelis seem to score high on global happiness rankings. I suspect it may have something to do with so many Israelis responding to the toxicity by tuning out and escaping into private worlds of friendship, family and leisure pursuits.

  14. broadside
    June 19, 2015, 12:14 pm

    “Israel had killed nine Turks on an aid ship three years before.”

    Wrong. Israel killed eight Turks, and one American, Furkan Dogan, a fact our wonderful media did its best to conceal from the American public. (The autopsy showed Dogan took four bullets to the head, lying prone on the deck of the ship.)

    And that is the issue to this so-called apology: Obama got Netanyahu to (reluctantly) apologize to Erdogan; needless to say, our fearful leader didn’t even ask for an apology from Netanyahu to America, or to Furkan Dogan’s father.

    • lysias
      June 20, 2015, 6:24 pm

      And Furkan Dogan was carrying no weapon. Unless you regard a camera as a weapon (as the Israelis probably did and do).

  15. hophmi
    June 19, 2015, 1:28 pm

    Or maybe Netanyahu doesn’t smile with his teeth. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a picture of you smiling with your teeth either; you must be a joyless person. C’mon, Phil, this is stupider than body language nonsense Bill O’Reilly puts on TV.

  16. JLewisDickerson
    June 19, 2015, 2:58 pm

    RE: “Does Israel have a toxic personality?”

    ANSWER: Yes! And, some might say the U.S. does as well.

    SEE: “Is There a Way Beyond Israeli Madness?” [Will the Chosen People and the Exceptional People Go Down Together?] ~ by John Grant, Counterpunch, 8/31/12

    [EXCERPTS]

    The patient, by the name of Israel, walks into the room and instantly bursts into a tirade of arguments conclusively proving his credentials, and says that he is better than everyone else. – Ofer Grosbard, “Israel On The Couch: The Psychology of the Peace Process”

    The problem Americans have with Israel is that the region it exists in is in the midst of a major political sea change, while Israel is frozen in time and holding on to its militarist, right-wing policies of extending settlements in the West Bank. It’s a policy that harks back to the ideas of the British-trained militarist Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall [now augmented by the US-funded “Iron Dome” – J.L.D.], which is based on the idea a live-and-let-live policy between Jews and Arabs is impossible and, thus, Jews must militarily control and repress Palestinians . . .
    . . . How does a people turn back a racially-oriented demonization program with roots that extend back many decades? How do you ratchet down a nation’s narcissism so people are able to simply see the other as a human being? . . .
    . . . On our part, Americans and the United States need to stop being a permissive yes-man and begin to show Israel some tough love. We need more US criticism of Israel. No doubt this approach will be received with gales of cynical laughter from hardliners … but so what?
    In my mind, the Israeli narcissistic and arrogant mindset would benefit from a little Buddhist detachment, more of the posture that sees the world not of separate individual selves and egos but of human beings as part of a larger flow of life. The Buddhists call the self-obsessed, separatist state-of-mind [i.e. the “pale” of Israel surrounded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall augmented by the US-funded “Iron Dome” – J.L.D.] that Israel thrives on and defends with weapons as “the illusory self.”
    “Once one identifies with a permanent self-concept, the pride and craving adhering to this become the pivot from which an egocentric world arises,” writes Gay Watson, a psychotherapist attuned to Buddhism.
    David Loy puts it this way: “To become completely groundless is also to become completely grounded, not in some particular, but in the whole network of interdependent relations that constitute the world.”
    I’m not suggesting Israel become a Buddhist nation. The point is for Israelis, and more important Americans, to figure a way out of the worsening condition of “us versus them” to avoid the need to obliterate them and set off a war that no one really wants. The point is to re-shape our minds to make “the other” less threatening to permit talking.
    I’m not holding my breath that Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are going to become peace activists.
    But I’m done as an American being a silent stooge while Israeli militarist madness fuels hatred and sets the stage for war.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/31/is-there-a-way-beyond-israeli-madness/

  17. michelle
    June 19, 2015, 6:08 pm

    .
    Israel is killing David
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  18. Vera Gottlieb
    June 20, 2015, 9:32 am

    I stay away from the entire country. Netanyahu will be israel’s downfall. Can’t people see this?

    • echinococcus
      June 20, 2015, 4:07 pm

      Vera,
      It’s obvious but there are no guarantees, so there is a lot of work to be done yet. Also, there is always a danger that he could be replaced by a an insidious”liberal” that would run a genocide acceptable to the “Western” governments. But let’s hope.

  19. Theo
    June 20, 2015, 9:39 am

    So Obama did not get a permission from Netanyahoo before he made that famous Cairo speech? (Pity, but he never followed up on his plans).
    Did Israel contact our president during June 1967 before they attacked the US Navy ship SS Liberty, killing 74 sailors and wounding another 170 or so? Now, there was no better time for a US president to really get pissed- off with our best friend in the ME, however Johnson was already bought by zionist interests, as also was Adm. McCaine, who ordered our planes already in air to return to base and so allowed a massacre of our men.
    Adm. McCaine was the father of Sen. Bomb-Bomb McCaine, who just as faithfully serves the interests of the only democratic country in the ME.

    • lysias
      June 20, 2015, 6:22 pm

      Actually, there is a strong case that the attack on the Liberty was the result of a plot by both LBJ and Israelis. Philip Nelson’s new book LBJ: From Mastermind to Colossus argues this. So did Peter Hounam’s Operation Cyanide.

  20. piotr
    June 20, 2015, 8:41 pm

    Perhaps a minor contribution to the discussion on “Israel spiritual outlook”. A member of intellectual elite (cinematographer) was removed from the flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv for unruly behavior and paid a fine of 100 Euros. Excerpts from http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-removed-from-vienna-tlv-flight-for-unruly-behavior/

    “We happened upon a Muslim stewardess who decided to abuse us. I told her: ‘Why do you not weigh anyone’s carry-on luggage but you weigh mine? To what degree can you abuse a person?’ and she said: ‘I learnt it from you people.’ At this point, I lost it,” Davidov told Channel 2 in a clip shown on Saturday evening.

    Davidov’s attorney, Reuven Laviav, said: “My client went to film an event in the Bucharian community in Vienna. On the night of the 12th he called me and said he was arrested along with three other cinematographers. I don’t justify him, but when he went on the plane there was a Muslim stewardess with a headscarf and it seems that because she saw him with a Star of David chain she decided to treat him badly. He was traveling with cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars and he always takes them to the cabin. On this plane, they wouldn’t let him and so he got upset.”

    Davidov was dragged out by airport security, refusing to obey order shouting “I do not understand English”, and then “You killed six million Jews and now you want to kill another one?”.

    ——

    As a matter of personal experience, you can obtain a lenient treatment from an airline by being polite. Before my flight from Brussels to Chennai security check discovered a bottle of liquid in my backpack that exceeded allowed capacity, and I pleaded that this is mosquito spray, necessary to avoid malaria, and a supervisor ask me to spray it on myself, and as it indeed stinked like a mosquito spray (and it was a bottle labeled as such) they made an exception.

    • a blah chick
      June 20, 2015, 9:36 pm

      “The altercation, caught on video by a passenger, began when Davidov wanted to bring cameras aboard the flight as carry-on. Flight attendants believed the equipment was too heavy to be carried in the passenger cabin. Davidov told them in Hebrew: “You don’t like us because we’re Jews.”

      Didn’t waste time pulling out that Jewish card did he?

      In tepid defense of Mr Davidov it had probably been a long day and then here comes this Muslim woman telling him he must be parted from his cameras. He’s not use to dealing with lippy Muslims so he lost it. No doubt he is glad to be back home in a society that maintains the proper hierarchy of humanity.

      • piotr
        June 21, 2015, 1:58 am

        That explains why so many Israelis declare themselves to be happy. Allegedly, a while ago a former mayor of Chicago said that he does not know what is fun about baseball (or was it golf), because it that sport “you cannot punch anyone”. And Israel provides her favored citizens with tons of fun.

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