‘Netanyahu at War’ on PBS was dreadful but not without interest

US Politics
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A week ago, PBS’s Frontline series was devoted to a two hour documentary entitled ”Netanyahu at War,” a name that recalls Lord Moran’s celebrated book, Churchill at War (2002). The reference to the title of Lord Moran’s history of Churchill makes sense because as the film makes clear, Netanyahu thinks he is Israel’s Winston Churchill. Right up front, former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren says, “Netanyahu was very much a man in the Churchillian sense.” He’s not the only one who believes this.

The multiple references to Churchill brought to my mind the delusional Teddy (Roosevelt) Brewster (played by John Alexander) in the 1944 Frank Capra classic “Arsenic and Old Lace” — the guy in the helmet and khakis who periodically runs up the house stairs (San Juan Hill in his mind) sword in hand yelling “Charge!”. But the Netanyahu we see in “Netanyahu at War” is the opposite of funny.

“Netanyahu at War” is basically dreadful. In a nutshell, the show (transcript here) traces back the “epic story” of how Netanyahu angrily (he’s always angry) came to cast his lot with John Boehner (remember him) and the rest of the Republican Congress in furtherance of his decades-long crusade against Iran when he spoke before Congress last year against one of Obama’s foreign policy achievements, the nuclear accord with Iran and the P5+1 countries, thereby infuriating the Obama administration– which Netanyahu had crossed off as a hopeless cause for Israel.

In addition to being angry himself, Netanyahu is shown to make successive American presidents angry too, but without any consequences for him or Israel. The show does point out that under President Obama US direct military aid for Israel chugs along at a crisp $3 billion per year, thereby dispelling in part the Israeli notion that the president is no friend of Israel. And let’s not forget the potential additional $45 billion in US military aid through 2028 to smooth Netanyahu’s ruffled feathers over the Iran nuclear deal (a deal that in fact makes Israel safer). That’s a lot of money, but nobody ever said that Netanyahu is dumb.

“Netanyahu at War” is a TV show about personalities, grudges, bad feelings, and the so called peace process, which Netanyahu is shown to derail when and where he can. Though as to what Israel has in mind for the Palestinian future, including the next “mowing the grass,” that awful Israeli term used to describe periodically killing lots of Palestinians, we hear not a word.

Since the show’s historical backdrop begins with the 1967 war, there is no mention of the forced and violent expulsion and exodus of over 700,000 Palestinians in the 1948 Nakba (an omission maybe necessitated in order for “Netanyahu at War” to be shown on Israeli TV); and the only real reference to Palestinian suffering and grievances comes from President Obama himself in footage of his June 2009 Cairo speech, in which he said that the situation facing the Palestinians is intolerable– which it is, every day. But that’s it for Palestinian oppression and grievances. You’d hardly know what all the fuss is about.

Last week, +972 published an article by Lisa Goldman entitled, “’Netanyahu at War’: An engaging but deeply flawed documentary,” which, in addition to showcasing examples of “dubious political analysis that is left unchallenged,” points out that the film’s having only three women (not counting Rabbi Rachel Mikva on the subject of Obama’s close relationship with her father Judge Abner Mikva in Chicago) out of a field of twenty-six explainers demonstrates an “unapologetically and shamefully patriarchal attitude that undermines the credibility of this elegantly produced Frontline episode.”

Those three women are Diana Buttu, the Canadian-Palestinian attorney who participated in negotiations with the Israelis; Channel 2 reporter Dana Weiss (who talks amusingly of Israeli hurt over Obama not stopping off in Israel on the way back from Cairo); and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, currently a leading member of opposition to Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Goldman names eleven women, including Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who could reasonably have been included in some of the space occupied by members of “the old boy’s club” who she helpfully also lists, as I do below at the end of this post, because the list is instructive. I would be interested in MW readers’ reaction to the list (as well as the show itself which I suspect many would dismiss in a few sentences).

“There were almost no Palestinians. It was almost entirely establishment ‘experts’ with pro-Israel credentials,” Rania Khalek commented about the documentary (in response to praise for it from the next NYT Jerusalem bureau chief Peter Baker). Besides a few seconds with Buttu, there is exactly one other Palestinian, the negotiator Saeb Erakat. And no Europeans, which is surprising given that much of the film’s focus is on Netanyahu’s resistance to the Iran nuclear deal, which in no small measure occurred because it seemed likely that the Europeans in the coalition sanctioning Iran would have pulled out of the sanctions regime had no deal been reached with Iran.

The presence of some of these (male white) explainers can be rationalized by their closeness to Netanyahu or, in the case of Dennis Ross, special adviser to President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by their being in the room at the time, which Ross was a lot. (Gee, I wonder if we’ll see Mr. Ross in a Hillary Clinton administration.) But did we really need to listen to the wretched Iran-Contra chicken hawk warrior Elliott Abrams? He advised Reagan and George W. Bush., neither of whom are part of Frontline’s story. And not that I have anything against him, but why so much of Marvin Kalb?

My favorite explainer is the low key, self effacing deputy national security advisor to Obama, Benjamin J. Rhodes, also one of those in the room at the time, who seems like a reasonable and sensible dude. But Rhodes does not escape the show’s weirdness when he is a proffered as someone who did not come to the conclusion that Obama’s trip to Cairo was badly handled– because Obama didn’t stop off in Israel first, and was distancing himself from Israel. Then cut to Mr. Rhodes saying that in his experience with Israel you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Boy, that’s a ringing endorsement of the decision. I’m sure a more forceful defense of a perfectly sensible pivot was available to the film’s editors.

The Israeli and Palestinian outlooks are nicely, if unintentionally, illuminated by two moments in the show’s segment on Obama’s Cairo trip. Tzipi Livni says, “We live in a world of images and perceptions.” While Diana Buttu, discussing Palestinian disappointment in Obama, says that Obama sent signals that he failed to follow up; he didn’t back up his statements against settlements in Cairo with “actual action.” For instance, Buttu says, by

“saying to the Israelis you have to make a choice now. Do you want these settlements or do you want the money we give you every year? It’s always been one signal after another signal after another signal. And this isn’t an area that deals well with signals. This is an area that requires concrete action.”

To an Israeli government that has no intention of peacefully resolving the Palestinian conflict, it’s all about images and perceptions intended to bamboozle Americans. While to Palestinians, after how many decades of talking and pretense, only real action has meaning to them.

The film only reinforced my view that U.S. aid, given without condition, has to stop and stop now. Since 2008 the Palestinians have received an average of $400 million a year in humanitarian, non lethal aid from the US. So first we give money to the Israelis to bombard the Palestinians and then we give the Palestinians money to rebuild and patch themselves up in a circle dance of untold death and suffering. Make sense? And if the US were to stop funding Israel without conditions, then I guess I really would have no dog in this fight. Compassion and sympathy (for both sides), yes, but no dog.

Among the worst of the show’s chosen explainers are former and current Israeli ambassadors to the US Michael Oren and Ron Dermer who, incredibly, are handed most of the job of describing the purported Iranian nuclear threat to Israel, leading up to the ridiculous moment when Netanyahu appeared at the UN General Assembly with a cartoon of a crudely drawn bomb with a lighted fuse, purportedly showing how close Iran was to being able to blow up Israel. There is no mention of Israel’s substantial nuclear arsenal. There never is.

The description of Israel’s build up for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear sites is scary, but the conclusion hilarious because right before pulling the trigger for the attack, Netanyahu, the national leader who is at war, decides, thank the gods, and at the urging of his military, that he needs Obama’s green light if not tactical support. He doesn’t get it; and so Netanyahu, not for the first or last time, appeals directly to the American people for US armed intervention. The title of the film should have been “Netanyahu at War on Someone Else’s Chit.””

As for the story line, among the most serious flaws of “Netanyahu at War” is its refusal to put to bed the notion that Israel had any basis to complain that Obama’s speeches in Cairo and at the State Department were somehow hostile to Israel because he called for a return to the pre-1967 War borders with mutually agreed swaps. That’s absurd. The 1967 borders and land swaps have been the basis for US led peace talks going back at least as far as Carter and Reagen, not to mention UN Resolution 242. Yes, the film says that a return to ’67 borders with land swaps was a “familiar demand”, but it also goes on to say that it had “never been made so publicly,” a dubious claim at best. And the segment concludes with Michael Oren telling us that for Israel this was a “major development”– before the show blithely moves on to describe Netanyahu calling an emergency meeting, etc., etc. Elsewhere in the film, Dermer suggests that those borders are indefensible and a “noose around Israel’s neck.”

The film includes repeated suggestions that President Obama’s view of the Arab spring was naïve and in doing so  vastly oversimplifies those events. For example, the film brings attention to President Obama’s call to Mubarak advocating an orderly transition to another Egyptian president, at which point the film’s narrator ominously recounts that some few number of days after Obama’s call Mubarak resigned. I’m sure Obama would be very pleased if he had such power, but he doesn’t. As anyone who has watched the 2013 movie The Square knows, there was something else going on in Egypt besides what the US was thinking– like millions of Egyptians in the streets in full throated peaceful revolt and an Egyptian military trying to ride and control the wave.

And if he does have such power then I suggest President Obama call President Netanyahu.

“Netanyahu at War” is not, however, without interest. Substantial time is spent on Netanyahu’s culpability in the incitement leading to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, who Netanyahu would otherwise have run against for Prime Minister. Netanyahu whipped up right wing calls for violence, which preceded the assassination. The historical footage of Israelis protesting against the Oslo Accords is riveting, as is that of Leah Rabin’s 1995 TV interview in which she cited the Likud rally in Jerusalem, attended by Netanyahu, in which her husband was paraded in effigy, wearing a Nazi uniform. “[Netanyahu] later talked against it, but he was there and he didn’t stop it,” she said. And as one of the film’s explainers says, when Israelis feel threatened, they vote for right wing politicians. Obviously, there is nothing Netanyahu won’t do to win an election, including infuriating successive leaders of its most important “ally,” the United States.

And though the Prime Minister’s office has denied it took place, Martin Indyk offers a gripping account of a conversation he says he had with Netanyahu at Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral: “I remember Netanyahu saying to me: ‘Look, look at this, [Rabin’s] a hero now, but if he had not been assassinated, I would have beaten him in the elections, and then he would have gone into history as a failed politician…’ Netanyahu was thinking, well, politically he was on the ropes before he was assassinated.”

There are other interesting moments in the show. I did not know , for example, that the Clinton administration had tried to influence the 1996 Netanyahu-Peres race for Prime Minister in favor of Shimon Peres (who lost); or the depth of President Clinton’s regard for Rabin, who we are told he was in awe of. Saeb Erekat tells a story about a peace conference in which one morning at 4:00 AM Erekat heard Clinton and Netanyahu arguing: “real shouting… 4 AM in the morning, screaming… President Clinton shouting from the depths of his stomach …and head… and ears and eyes and mouth and legs- at Netanyahu.”

I will skip over the substantial part of the film which is devoted to Netanyahu’s early biography, including the dour pessimistic influence of his fearful father, his American upbringing, MIT, his military service in the Israeli army special forces, his heroic brother Yonatan, who was killed in action, or his stint at CNN.

Basically, the problem with the film is that viewers learn nothing except information about some of the people involved in a failed peace process. In fact, I think the film came about because a number of influential liberal Zionists are really pissed off at Netanyahu for what he has done to the two-state peace process, which they still believe in. The Prime Minister’s making so abundantly clear to anyone willing to think about it for more than a minute that Zionism is brutal and logically spells doom for the Palestinian people is not helpful to Israel’s cause in the US. The film may be intended as a shot across Netanyahu’s bow, telling him to cool it or better yet to get lost.

Viewers would have learnt a lot more if the filmmakers had thought to include interviews with Max Blumenthal (Goliath-Life and Loathing in Greater Israel), Ilan Pappe (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine) or Noam Chomsky (On Western Terrorism and many other books).

A mostly complete list of interviewees in Frontline’s “Netanyahu at War:” Weiss, Buttu and Livni: Eyal Arad (opposition strategist accused by Likud last February of accepting foreign donations and having ties to “left wing” NGOs), Ari Shavit (My Promised Land), David Axelrod (Obama adviser), Chemi Shalev (Haaretz correspondent), Ronen Bergman (Israeli author journalist), the late Sandy Berger (Clinton National Security Advisor), David Sanger (NYT), Aaron David Miller (Wilson Center in DC), Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Peter Baker (NYT White House correspondent who is going out to head the paper’s Jerusalem bureau), Dennis Ross (former US ambassador), Saeb Erekat, Ben Rhodes, Marvin Kalb, Dore Gold (Netanyahu advisor), David Remnick (The New Yorker), Peter Beinart (Atlantic Media), George Mitchell (US negotiator under Obama), Ron Dermer, Michael Oren, Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic), Martin Indyk (Brookings Institution and former US ambassador to Israel), Dan Meridor (Likud politician) and Dan Ephron (journalist).

The film is by writer-producer-director Michael Kirk, along with co-writer-producer Mike Wiser and reporter Jim Gilmore.

About John Fearey

John Fearey is a retired lawyer who now reads, paints and goes to art class among other things.

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67 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    January 13, 2016, 3:01 pm

    Was this video at 2 hours intended as anything but a “keep Israel favorably in the American view” thinggy? Should we be grateful or not that, as apparently a pro-Israel thinggy was timely for PBS, it was about Netanyahu rather than about the holocaust (sorry, “Holocaust”)?

  2. Annie Robbins
    January 13, 2016, 3:04 pm

    what an excellent review john. a couple things. you ask about kalb. not sure if you knew he is a senior fellow at brookings and also the founding director The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is a Harvard University — a center that “explores the intersection and impact of media, politics and public policy in theory and practice….. the center has emerged as a significant source for research on U.S. campaigns,elections and journalism.” and producer director michael kirk was former Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University. the two could have crossed paths there. it might explain kalb’s participation.

    Netanyahu is shown to make successive American presidents angry too, but without any consequences for him or Israel. The show does point out that under President Obama US direct military aid for Israel chugs along at a crisp $3 billion per year, thereby dispelling in part the Israeli notion that the president is no friend of Israel. And let’s not forget the potential additional $45 billion in US military aid through 2028 to smooth Netanyahu’s ruffled feathers over the Iran nuclear deal (a deal that in fact makes Israel safer). That’s a lot of money, but nobody ever said that Netanyahu is dumb.

    “Netanyahu at War” is a TV show about personalities, grudges, bad feelings, and the so called peace process, which Netanyahu is shown to derail when and where he can. Though as to what Israel has in mind for the Palestinian future, including the next “mowing the grass,” that awful Israeli term used to describe periodically killing lots of Palestinians, we hear not a word.

    the film doesn’t explore or explain what benefit or advantage the US has in the US/IS alliance. it doesn’t explain why the US puts up with this petulance that pisses off american presidents. as buttu points out, there’s no actual strength behind american diplomacy when it comes to israel. so why? why do we align ourselves so? there’s just this assumption — the no daylight thing — this is crazy. what does that little rogue state do for us in this day and age that could possibly warrant all the handwringing and crap we put up with.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 13, 2016, 3:15 pm

      and the “the old boy’s club”, i’m sick of them! why are they always dragged out. they’ve been framing this madness for decades — as if people not privileged enough to be in the thick of it have any opinion about it at all or don’t deserve any voice at the table. dennis ross for heaven’s sakes. i did think including Chemi Shalev was smart. but i got the feeling throughout that people we don’t normally hear from, for example Axelrod, that their interviews were cherry picked to fit with a general narrative set out in the film to bolster the beleaguered netanyahu. what you said I think the film came about because a number of influential liberal Zionists are really pissed off at Netanyahu for what he has done to the two-state peace process, which they still believe in.

      i am not so sure i believe that (but partly perhaps). had it been true michael oren would not have been given so much prominence or at least the film would have taken some jabs at him (i don’t recall it did). my memory is not what it used to be and i’d have to see the film again to be more specific, but i thought the historical narratives about particular history was manipulated. and the part about mubarak and obama and the arab spring, why was that even included to such a degree? how did that have much to do w/netanyahu? i felt the framing of that was weird and inaccurate and out of place.

      there was a bunch of framing i completely disagreed with (i recall thinking as i was watching — “this isn’t accurate!”). of course i completely agree w/you about palestinians being cut out. most opposing views of people who really find netanyahu deplorable — those voice were absent or watered down. he was treated with kid gloves even tho there was all that time set aside to explain (his upbringing) why he came out like he did.

    • John Fearey
      January 15, 2016, 10:32 am

      Thanks Annie-much appreciated. I’m glad you raise the special relationship issue which like so many things about the US and Israel go unsaid and make no sense.

  3. David Doppler
    January 13, 2016, 3:13 pm

    Thanks for this analysis and the link to +972. Much of the footage is valuable recording of different people’s views and insights or imagined insights – and the viewer isn’t necessarily forced or expected to accept this view or that. Could’ve been more and different voices, could’ve covered more or different contexts. But valuable is the conclusion I take away. Martin Indyk about talking to Netanyahu at Rabin’s funeral, worth a lot by itself.

    I see it also as speaking to what is allowable in MSM coverage. It’s a dark picture of Netanyahu, and his desire to be understood in the Churchill mold isn’t the universal response, isn’t the universal reaction. Makes me concerned Israel is planning events that will make his Churchillian stance seem correct and heroic in retrospect. I’m reminded of WINEP’s Clawson’s 2012 proposal to start a war with Iran by sinking one of their subs: https://www.corbettreport.com/false-flags-over-iran/

  4. JLewisDickerson
    January 13, 2016, 4:25 pm

    RE: “‘Netanyahu at War’ on PBS was dreadful but not without interest”

    ALSO NOTE: “Are US Relations With Israel a Proprietary Matter? The People at PBS’ Frontline Seem to Think So” | by Thomas S. Harrington | counterpunch.org | January 13, 2016

    [EXCERPT] . . . Last week, PBS’ Frontline aired a new report, Netanyahu at War, whose core aim is to explore the tense and mistrustful relationship between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu over the past seven years.

    On one level, the program is a breakthrough. Up until the vote on the Iran treaty late last summer, one of the unstated presumptions that anyone wanting to be taken seriously in the media as an analyst US-Israeli affairs had to accept was that there were not any real tensions between Israel and the US because our strategic interests were and would always be, one and the same.

    In adopting a story line that tears down this absolutely absurd and intelligence-insulting premise (as I’ve written before, no two people, never mind two nations ever have identical interests) the crew at Frontline deserve a modicum of credit.

    [QUESTION: Is it possible that by so fiercely and publicly opposing the Iran Deal/Agreement, Netanyahu himself highlighted the divergent strategic interests of the U.S. and Israel vis-à-vis Iran, thereby invalidating (at least temporarily, but hopefully permanently) the presumption that there is never any real tension between the U.S. and Israel (because they virtually always have identical interests)? ~ J.L.D.]

    It seems, however, that the task of invalidating this patent, if long submerged, absurdity completely exhausted their existing stores of intellectual courage.

    How do we know?

    By looking at the composition of the chorus of talking heads featured on the program.

    If, as the producers of the program clearly allege, a Netanyahu-led Israel and an Obama-led US have divergent interests, it would seem incumbent on them to explore the causes of clash in the most structurally defined (as opposed to fixating, tabloid-style, on personality) and multi-variable way possible, with a selection of experts stretching from those—and there are many intelligent and extremely well-informed ones out there to choose from—who believe the so-called “special relationship” has been extremely damaging to long-term US interests, to people on the other end who see it as the bedrock of all the good things that this country does in the world.

    This ideological panorama would, it seems, need to include, among others, non-Zionist US Jews, who as fervent partisans of Israel all too painfully realize, exist in much greater numbers that the mainstream media in the US would ever have us believe.

    But rather than do this, the people at PBS fell back on a deeply offensive and profoundly anti-democratic idea: that when it comes to matters regarding US relations with the Zionist state, the only people truly qualified to talk about it are Zionists themselves.

    In the eyes of the producers at Frontline, the rest of us—the millions and millions of non-Zionists, post-Zionists and just plain America-first “realists” here in the US—apparently have absolutely no need or right to see our views reflected in the debate over an issue which conditions the US’s engagement with the world in numerous and extremely important ways. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/13/are-us-relations-with-israel-a-proprietary-matter-the-people-at-pbs-frontline-seem-to-think-so/

    • pabelmont
      January 13, 2016, 5:53 pm

      Counterpunch says: ” a deeply offensive and profoundly anti-democratic idea: that when it comes to matters regarding US relations with the Zionist state, the only people truly qualified to talk about it are Zionists themselves.” As usual, it is worth noting that what this means is that American media folks who wish to keep their jobs must limit their choice of commenters to “Zionists themselves”. So, no vanilla Americans, no Palestinians, and no anti-Zionist or post-Zionist (American) Jews. That is, Zionism is far to important a subject to allow anyone to discuss it who doesn’t subscribe to it, tooth and nail.

      Fox News probably discusses many subjects with the same philosophy [you can have your opinion in any color so long as its black], but we hope for better from PBS.

      Thus, reports of the death of the repressive power of big Zionist donors is greatly exaggerated.

      • John Fearey
        January 13, 2016, 11:15 pm

        I’m a reader of Counterpunch from way back, but lost track of it after A.C. died and I think it also became just electronic, not in the Nation. Did Counterpunch have something on this PBS show.. I thought I spotted something but then when went back to find it I couldn’t. Thanks for reminding me about Counterpunch, I’ll start reading it again.

        I agree with all you said. When I first heard about ” Netanyahu at War” I was actually a little excited until someone more knowledgeable than I tipped me off that it was going to disappoint-and it did.

        As far as “”expertise” being in the Zionist camp it’s probably a matter of them needing to knowing enough to dress it up in order to present the story we all know and despise to a largely ignorant US public. I mean who would read about this sh*t if you weren’t a Zionist, a Palestinian or someone who realizes that for years they’ve been taken for a ride and who now fears for and supports the Palestinians, not to mention the moral culpability of silence in the face of Israel. Representatives of the two last groups, of course, won’t be on TV any time soon but it will happen and I look forward to it.

        cheers

      • Annie Robbins
        January 13, 2016, 11:21 pm

        I mean who would read about this sh*t if you weren’t a Zionist, a Palestinian or someone who realizes they’ve been taken for a ride and fears for and supports the Palestinians

        that probably covers about 75% of american adults right there.

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        January 14, 2016, 9:52 am

        A powerful disappointment . No mention of the occupation while the cast of characters interviewed were the usual group that provided little that was new. No antiZionists represented, and what could one really learn from this? Ws a shallow production and a negative for Frontline reporting in my view. I kept waiting for a fresh, honest perspective.

  5. Les
    January 13, 2016, 6:33 pm

    Netanyahu is a sideshow that our media must promote lest people learn why it is that Israel and its zionism are the problem. The pretend oppostion to Netanyahu’s antics is a reminder that when Israel’s politics was limited to Labor versus Likud, both sides supported the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians with Labor called “liberal” for objecting to the pace of that cleansing (because it drew unwanted attention to what Israel, under both Labor and Likud, was doing to wipe out the Palestinians).

  6. ckg
    January 13, 2016, 6:52 pm

    I like Lisa Goldman. But I wonder if she applauded when Netanyahu gave government posts to Ayelet Shaked and Tzipi Hotovely.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 13, 2016, 7:08 pm

      ckg, please explain. why would she do that? solely because they are women?

      • ckg
        January 13, 2016, 7:34 pm

        Annie, yes. She seems more concerned about the gender mix of the film contributors than the ethnicity mix.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 13, 2016, 7:48 pm

        israel (and all things related) is a coveted controversial topic ckg. coveted controversial topics are rarely analyzed by women in the msm. occasionally they are kept around or trotted out for decoration, but that’s about it. as an activist, feminism is not a topic i have focused on much and not something i’ve given a lot of thought to (as an activist). but i’d imagine it would be a very challenging advocacy to pursue. teeth-grinding really.

        but i don’t care if a person is a woman if her opinion is vile. i could care less if thatcher was a woman for example. i wouldn’t consider voting for clinton because she is a woman considering what i think of her politics. whereas in her early days, before i was familiar with her, i would have been more inclined to vote for her because she was a woman.

        in many ways, i find the analytical skills of women much more creative and interesting than men.

      • ckg
        January 13, 2016, 8:04 pm

        Annie–agreed. Good points.

      • John Fearey
        January 14, 2016, 12:11 am

        I think Lisa Goldman is more than equipped to rip “Netanyahu at War” to shreds and I don’t fault her for first focusing on the all male club aspect first. The point needed to be made. And I also think when we get the chance to read or listen to commentary by women, it is very interesting. Last September I went to a really excellent three day national conference in Lexington MA held by The Society For Biblical Studies’ National Conference on the subject: “Christians in the Holy Land: What Does the Lord Require” with Chomsky, Stephen Walt, Pappe, Mark Braverman, Sara Roy (Harvard) Jean Zaru, a Palestinian Quaker activist from Ramallah who I had not heard of. I was late and missed nearly all, well all actually, of Zaru’s speech, walking in at the end to find that she had brought the house down. Sara Roy was excellent too. But I was really disappointed to have missed Zaru who I sensed had talked about stuff nobody else had and made a big impact. Here’s a link to one of her books .http://www.amazon.com/Occupied-Nonviolence-Palestinian-Woman-Speaks/dp/0800663179

        (I never thought I’d ever be going to an event with the name “Biblical Studies” in it, but it was really excellent.)
        John

      • ckg
        January 14, 2016, 6:56 am

        Yes. I think I was being too critical of Lisa.

      • Citizen
        January 16, 2016, 6:48 am

        @Annie Robbins

        Re your: “in many ways, i find the analytical skills of women much more creative and interesting than men.”

        I don’t find this so with the women I know; I have two sisters, inter alia. Can you give us a couple of examples showing how women are more creative and interesting than men? Just asking.

        At about 4:43 in this videoclip, Hillary is asked, what attribute(s) do you think women bring into the political arena? She responds, “It’s so negative,” meaning that arena, so I guess she means, women bring in a more positive POV? The host adds, “yes, it’s like a reality show!” And Hillary nods, so I guess she also means, women are more realistic?
        http://freebeacon.com/blog/hillary-clinton-lifetime-interview/

      • Annie Robbins
        January 16, 2016, 10:31 am

        examples of the top of my head — check the comment archives of taxi, danaa, tree, just to name a few.

      • Mooser
        January 16, 2016, 12:48 pm

        “Can you give us a couple of examples showing how women are more creative and interesting than men?”

        A couple of examples? That would be big of me! I’ve only got one, “but age cannot wither her, nor custom stale, her infinite variety.”
        And, my wife has decided to take up the baritone horn, too. Now we play different instruments. I never really wanted a same-sax marriage, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      • RoHa
        January 16, 2016, 8:07 pm

        “The host adds, “yes, it’s like a reality show!” And Hillary nods, so I guess she also means, women are more realistic?”

        Reality shows have nothing to do with realism. Or analytic skills, for that matter.

        I don’t know what women can bring to politics that isn’t already there, but it seems to me that the vast majority of women are just as intellectually incompetent as the vast majority of men.

  7. DaBakr
    January 13, 2016, 7:49 pm

    “(a deal that in fact makes israel safer)”. a fantasy, maybe. a farce? most definitely. a “fact”? hardly.

    • John Fearey
      January 13, 2016, 10:56 pm

      Well in a sense I agree. Israel has a huge nuclear arsenal. Iran has none, didn’t before the deal and now really doesn’t. So if Israel was never at risk of Iran dropping the big one, i.e., committing suicide, which I don’t think it was, now or in the future, then Israel is, in fact, no safer (or less safer). By fantasy and farce I assume you are talking about Netanyahu and the American right and I completely agree there.:-0 Thanks..

      John

  8. US Citizen
    January 13, 2016, 11:00 pm

    Thank for this article. This is what I sent Frontline :

    Thank you for the hypocritical slanted view of the Netanyahu ” documentary “. You dredged up the same old, aging cast of characters with little to no women or Palestinian input. You only mentioned the Occupation and AIPAC once. Bravo – you have prevented me from wasting my money and contributing to PBS for the year. Thanks.

    Michael Oren – who has repeatedly insulted Obama – he is an Israel firster > AIPAC > Likudite

    Martin Indyk – Israel firster > AIPAC > Likudite

    And the creme de la creme cheez whiz – Dennis Ross – This cheese whiz who ‘negotiated’ for 30 years with no productive results to his name, the best Israeli lawyer AIPAC dollars could buy in the US government also an Israel firster > AIPAC > Likudite

    Some feedback for your viewing pleasure although I doubt this will get very far:

    To watch this documentary one would also think that America was a majority Jewish male population that carried two passports instead of a mixed gender population constituting 2% of the America’s demographic. Bibi Netanyahu carried a US and Israeli passport in his youth.

    Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US was born in America and went to Princeton. Martin Indyk was an Australlian national two weeks before he was granted US citizenship/ made American Ambassador to Israel. Obama’s chief of staff and his senior advisor were both Jewish.

    Three members of Netanyahu’s former political team respond to questions in a flawless American accent- not a coincidence, since they were all born in the United States.

    The American political perspective is offered by Jewish males Marvin Kalb, Jeffry Goldberg, and Peter Beinart.

    In its framing of events the documentary ironically captures the male Washington DC/ New York City male world that determines US/ Israeli policy: women, Palestinians, all non male goyim need not apply to participate.

  9. John Fearey
    January 14, 2016, 12:19 am

    Well said, thanks. Hope someone does read the whole letter.
    John

  10. Ossinev
    January 14, 2016, 7:12 am

    “The reference to the title of Lord Moran’s history of Churchill makes sense because as the film makes clear, Netanyahu thinks he is Israel’s Winston Churchill. Right up front, former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren says, “Netanyahu was very much a man in the Churchillian sense.” He’s not the only one who believes this.”

    Churchill,Roosevelt,Lincoln,Napoleon,Alexander the Great – yup he definitely believes he is well up there with the best. I think he may have opted for the Churchill persona because Churchill was an artist when he wasn`t being a hero and as we all know Nitay sketches a mean bomb cartoon.

  11. farhad
    January 14, 2016, 7:46 am

    The last time PBS broadcast a reasonably objective program on Israel’s occupation was in 1992, “Journey to the Occupied Lands.”

    • MHughes976
      January 14, 2016, 5:03 pm

      ”What doth the Lord thy God require of thee?’ asks the King James Version of Micah 6:8. The answer is to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

      • John Fearey
        January 15, 2016, 10:46 am

        Thank you. Now I understand the title of the Society For Biblical Studies’ National Conference “Christians in the Holy Land: What Does the Lord Require ” which I mention below. I was confirmed but my knowledge of religious teachings is lacking.

  12. SonofDaffyDuck
    January 14, 2016, 11:02 am

    Knowing PBS, I approached the program with the question: Will there be any Gentiles included in the program? My informal count was that there were 33 speakers in the film and – aside from cameo appearances from George Mitchell and a couple of frustrated Palestinians – the answer was the expected “No.”
    AIPAC luminaries, IDF veterans and relatives of Ben Gurion to represent the American point of view…yes. A perspective from from any of the 300,000,000 Gentiles who provide the cash and the bodies to defend Israeli interests…Nada!

    Lisa Goldman complained only about the exclusion of the Woman’s perspective..revealing a blind spot that to me does not seem unique. Nor surprising.
    I believe Mondeweiss has analyzed the perspective of Public Broadcasting earlier with conclusions consistent with these observations

    In all fairness, one may speculate that few Gentiles might be willing to make comments which would pull accusations of “Antisemitism down on their heads. Additionally, few public officials – present or past -would be terrified of subjecting themselves to the fury of AIPAC by expressing any criticism of Bibi. If this observation has any validity, it carries an inherent truth about how commentary concerning Israel is filtered.

    I would ask any reader of any story on Israel to ask him/her/itself to note the cultural perspective of the author.

    Ironically, it is only due to the courage and persistence of people like those at Mondoweiss that gentiles like me feel comfortable in making such observations

    • Annie Robbins
      January 14, 2016, 11:13 am

      son of daffy, i went on an extended rant once about how much non jews were completely left out of the conversation on everything israel, not just palestinians mind you, but all the rest of us. phil read part of it and encouraged me to finish it but something happened and i dropped the ball. some chilling news event that swept over us and then i forgot about it. i should go dig it up. of course all the references and embeds would have to be updated since it’s so out of date. it really pisses me off tho. it still pisses me off when i think about it.

      • SonofDaffyDuck
        January 14, 2016, 12:20 pm

        Annie:Thanks for the comment as it puts me more at ease. It is important that all rifts between communities of our citizens be avoided by frank – but not rancorous -discussions of issues like these.
        If our relationship with Israel were a “normal one” as with countries of similar size…Holland, Ireland… I would not feel perplexed nor concern myself with them disproportionately. But as we are tied at the hip(“unbreakable bond”..”no daylight between us” ), actions/policy by Israel become American Actions/policy for which I and my children must expect to be held accountable.

        Again, I am thankful for both Mondoweiss and Haaretz for the info and perspective they provide.

      • John Fearey
        January 14, 2016, 4:29 pm

        You should and it would be interesting. I noted in my comment to you and ckg above I mentioned the seriously good three day national conference in Lexington MA held by The Society For Biblical Studies’ National Conference on the subject: “Christians in the Holy Land: What Does the Lord Require -…sort of a funny title. “Require”?

        Its an interesting organization which I remember encourages Christian tourists to consider that they are not insignificant component of Israel’s economy and the impact of Palestinians. It’s worth Googling.

        My point is is that there are a number of Christian organizations that are pretty active i n supporting the Palestinians. The Rev Sloan Coffin was kind of a beacon in the 70’s and 80’s. The Rev. Bruce Shipman paid the price for making a completely innocuous statement in a letter to the NYT that rubbed a Jewish student and a Washington Post blogger the wrong way. He pointed me to St. George’s Episcopal Cathedral on Nablus Road, and also Sabeel, the center for Palestine Liberation Theology and the Tree of Life. And as mentioned Jean Zaru is a Quaker. Maybe Christians (and atheists) need to MAKE SOME MORE NOISE in order to get in on the conversation. Plus, I would have thought the “anti semite” charge wouldn’t work so well anymore after the past few years when it started to ring pretty hollow, but I don’t know, they sure pasted Rev. Shipman with it.

      • Citizen
        January 16, 2016, 5:31 am

        @Annie
        Alison Weir established If Americans Only Knew due to the same observation,

      • Annie Robbins
        January 16, 2016, 10:37 am

        yes, we definitely need to make some more noise john. i’ll see if i can dig up that old draft and dust it off. it’s calculated imho, and thoughtfully so. meanwhile, it’s not a demographic israel left alone. they heavily lobbied evangelicals. so if you’re pro israel you’re it’s ok. it’s just people who are not they intimidate and are scarred about. primarily because there are so many of us.

        Plus, I would have thought the “anti semite” charge wouldn’t work so well anymore after the past few years when it started to ring pretty hollow, but I don’t know, they sure pasted Rev. Shipman with it.

        it still works on lots of people, but as i mentioned before “It’s only a powerful weapon to silence us if Americans rise to the bait and buy into Tablet’s scolding hogwash.”

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/semitic-israel-lobby#sthash.CvmLHQOk.dpuf

      • Annie Robbins
        January 16, 2016, 11:27 am

        citizen, there’s a box waiting for us. it’s been carefully prepared, looked after, nurtured, designed, redesigned and updated repeatedly. there are no windows looking out, only those looking in. when you step into the box everything is ready and waiting for you there. the door is always open. when you enter there are carefully placed boundaries you learn about including dangerous ideas and words not to use and roads not to travel outside the box. when you speak about israel, as long as you do it within the confines set out by parameters in the box you’ll be fine. it wasn’t just that alison explored the box and rejected it like so many of us have. alison built a mansion dedicated to exploring the box and flung the doors wide open.

      • justicewillprevail
        January 17, 2016, 8:43 am

        Beautifully expressed imagery, Annie. Right on the button.

    • ritzl
      January 14, 2016, 12:44 pm

      I think that half the people watching that show would come away feeling that such overwhelming Israeli influence means our policy is in good hands and half would be shocked and/or disgusted that they count so little in such life and death issues that directly affect them and their families.

      I think that 50-50 split might be an improvement in the latter awareness.

      • David Doppler
        January 14, 2016, 2:13 pm

        I agree Ritzl. While lacking substantially in balance and diversity among the voices included, it was good and sometimes original (for me) to hear directly from those voices.

        On further reflection, if the piece IS sophisticated hasbara, PBS flavor, it is to set the table for Netanyahu to prove himself Churchill, by what he says now, in the “appeasement” stage, to contrast with what will need to be done in the coming all-out war stage, which is surely the end-game of the Neo-cons/Likudniks. So stark and dark are his angry statements about how bad a deal it is, the hasbarist contrast is of him who “knows” we are already at war, with those who are naive peace-wishers. The strangely neutral point of view seems very studied, perhaps serving the ambivalent American Jewish viewpoint – tied to Israel in so many way, yet deeply disaffected with it in many ways, unable or unwilling to act to force change in Israeli leadership, unable to do anything but watch, with a strange mix of horror and pride, as Netanyahu continues to lead Israel to the right, and to a war comparable to WWII in which, this time, the Jews will “win.”

        Unless, of course, enough Americans – both Jews and non-Jews – rise up and reject Neoconservativism, Islamophobia and Israel’s right-wing momentum, as un-American. This has started with Obama’s election and re-election, BDS and academic condemnation, with rancor among Democratic Party faithful, with veterans and former intelligence operatives opposing the methods and ideas of the Neocons, with Jewish Voice for Peace, Mondoweiss, Open Hillel, etc. Perhaps Hillary’s edging downward is contributed to by her allegiance to Israel. It won’t have real momentum until there is more accountability for those who abuse the power tied to Israel’s influence, or just sit silent in seats of power or influence, and let the abuse go on, afraid to object.

        In that sense, the strange neutrality of Netanyahu at War speaks to the tension in America’s values as our country is pushed ever farther in support of Israel’s right-wing Neocon agenda, while the popular justifications for it progressively fail to persuade.

    • Mooser
      January 14, 2016, 4:56 pm

      “Ironically, it is only due to the courage and persistence of people like those at Mondoweiss that gentiles like me feel comfortable in making such observations”

      Well, if you lose heart, check the numbers. That should help restore your confidence.

      • Citizen
        January 16, 2016, 5:37 am

        @ Mooser
        You mean Cruz and his 30 million Christian Zionists, or the total hoard of Evangelicals he says he’s bringing into the voting arena?

  13. ritzl
    January 14, 2016, 12:47 pm

    Thanks John. Good review. A lot of ways to perceive such a lopsided portrayal. I hope most viewers came away from that piece asking themselves whether such incredible imbalance is a good thing or not.

  14. Johnz52
    January 14, 2016, 12:48 pm

    “Netanyahu at War” was the zionist equivalent of “Triumph of the Will.”

  15. James Canning
    January 14, 2016, 1:26 pm

    Are we to understand that a purpose of “Natanyahu at War” was to help Israel to continue its repeated “mowing of the grass”?

  16. gingershot
    January 14, 2016, 2:06 pm

    I watched an entirely different version of ‘Netanyahu at War’ than the author and some of the commentators

    This Frontline program is historical because it CLEARLY is the hatchet job on Bibi intended to make it theoretically possible for the Diaspora to cut itself free of Apartheid Israel/Settler State(represented by Bibi).

    Think Captain Courageous wth Spencer Tracy – this is the Diaspora cutting Apartheid Israel loose to her doom. See the Haaretz debate between Chemic Shalev ‘The Great Betrayal’ and the Forwards Judith?. The Diaspora is cutting Israel away. Just like the Forward/Commentary told Kristol no dice about not putting their neck in the noose again’ or going down the Apartheid ship.

    This PBS Frontline ‘Netanyahu’s War’ on the heels of the WSJournal article about American spying on US Congressmen visisting Netanyahu are historical political documents, to my lights

    Bibi’s government is being toppled by the US and this program is a critical part of it., successfuly demonizing Netanyahu prior to cutting Israel loose

    Hot on the heels of the WSJ article of NSA spying on Netanyahu’s office and the Israeli Lobby/Jewish Lobby US Congressmen conspiring with Netanyahu’s Putsch against Obama/America last Spring in the Jewish Lobby, I take it as revolutionary documentary in the Obama in motion plan of toppling of the Netanyahu government which the Obama adminstration is currently engaged in. See Ben Rhodes appearences in the film for the clue in

    Indyk’s demonization of Netnayahu – ‘screaming and banging the table’ is setting the stage for the broader ‘Mad King Bibi’ meme the administration has been pushing for over a year now. in line with the humiliaition of Bibi from the Chickensh*t remarks onwards

    Netanyahy is on the brink of having lost Israel, the Man Whom Lost Israel, The Jew who Lost Israel. There is no hole on earth deep enough for him to hide in from those who will come looking for him.

    Collectively Remnick, Goldberg, and Beinart are the bellweathers of the Israeli Lobby/Jewish Lobby lines in the current American struggle against Israel and her Israeli Lobby.

    These three mark the lines of the Israeli Lobby, and we have overrun them – the remind me of the old Civil War era Confederate/Union lines so generals could even keep track of the battle lines. What you hear Remnick Goldberg and Beinart admit are the marksrs of The End of Apartheid Israel and the Diaspora cuts Israel free

    Like the ‘Gatekeepers’, ‘Netanyahu’s War’ is devastating to Israel and meant to help pave the way for the CIS Commanders for Israeli Security (including Gatekeeper Yuval Diskin, whom worked with Obama (published) in Fall 2012 to stop the in motion Israeli attack on Iran – now come to light – done without coordination with the US and pitting Israeli pilots against American pilots without coordination and at hostile purposes. (This is known as pulling a gun on a friend and is how Obama neutralized Graham, McCain and other movers in the Israeli/Jewish Lobby, and how we justified spying on these Benefict Arnolds).

    Watch the humiliation of the American congressmen endlessy applauding Bibi – this is humiliation of the Israeli Lobby as well. I found this frontline programrevolutionary for the American people

    Courage is contagious…

    • John Fearey
      January 14, 2016, 5:28 pm

      Gingershot, I’m not sure that the film we each saw is that different. I mean I did say,

      “In fact, I think the film came about because a number of influential liberal Zionists are really pissed off at Netanyahu for what he has done to the two-state peace process, which they still believe in. The Prime Minister’s making so abundantly clear to anyone willing to think about it for more than a minute that Zionism is brutal and logically spells doom for the Palestinian people is not helpful to Israel’s cause in the US. The film may be intended as a shot across Netanyahu’s bow, telling him to cool it or better yet to get lost. ”

      But I found your comment very interesting and you have more conviction than what I said. I saw the critique as directed at Netanyahu not Israel as a whole which is where i think you’re going when you say, “The Diaspora is cutting Israel away. Just like the Forward/Commentary told Kristol no dice about not putting their neck in the noose again’ or going down the Apartheid ship. ” And clearly Netanyahu and the Likud have done Israel no favors by laying bare the underlying logic of Zionism and the need to crush and remove the Palestinians.

      But as with Mubarek, I’m just not sure the US has that much power to get rid of Netanyahu.

      Thanks for the comment..

  17. lysias
    January 14, 2016, 3:59 pm

    Sad news: Alan Rickman, coauthor of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, has died of cancer at the age of 69.

    • amigo
      January 14, 2016, 5:41 pm

      lysias , sad news but I was not aware of his connection to the Palestinian cause.Wish I had known sooner.

      We have two celebs coming to Dublin next week.Jeff Halper and Gideon Levy They will be at the Abbey theater on fri 22nd Jan.

      What an honour and a thrill it will be to be in the same room as Gideon —if I can get a ticket.Of course Halper is impressive ,also.

  18. Atlantaiconoclast
    January 15, 2016, 11:46 am

    Does anyone see the irony of Israelis complaining about the vulnerability of the 67 borders, given that Zionists knew from the beginning that Palestine was not a big piece of land. So why in the world would they have thought it wise to create a Jewish state there? Only supremacism among Zionists can explain this irony. Yeah, its a small piece of land, and there are two peoples there, but we need all of it otherwise, we can’t have a Jewish state. Well duh!

    • John Fearey
      January 15, 2016, 3:06 pm

      I do. Amazing isn’t it? Thanks for noting this.

      John

    • Annie Robbins
      January 15, 2016, 4:02 pm

      sometimes i wonder, if they got away with this then hundred years down the road what border they would be pounding on. after all, there’s so much jewish history in jordan. they won’t stop, why would they? in every society there are radical fundamentalists. as long as they keep placing them on the edge with no borders and funding them — those few bad apples — how far will they go? baghdad?

  19. David Doppler
    January 15, 2016, 12:01 pm

    Further to this new (still opaque) direction in MSM reporting, Vanity Fair has a piece about Huma Abedin, Hillary’s “other daughter,” wife of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, that is eye-opening, if baffling, in her connections, or should we say, position at the switch, between Saudi Wahhabism, the Muslim Brotherhood, and liberal Israel’s presidential candidate of choice, Hillary Clinton. Here’s a key paragraph about her that I did not know:

    “In June 2012, then congresswoman Michele Bachmann and four conservative congressmen wrote to the State Department warning that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the highest levels of the U.S. government. The letter specifically cited Abedin: “Huma Abedin has three family members—her late father, her mother and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,” they wrote. But a month later Senator John McCain, no friend of the Clintons, took to the Senate floor to denounce Bachmann’s letter as an “unwarranted and unfounded attack” on Abedin. “I know Huma to be an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working, and loyal servant of our country and our government.””

    It seems the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, founded and run by her parents, where she once worked and her sister works, is allegedly (according to David Horowitz) part of a Saudi Wahhabist initiative to activate Muslims in western countries, to discourage assimilation, and promote the spread of Shariah law, and Muslim influence. http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/default.asp

    The Vanity Fair article further reports that her role within the Clinton world has become something one doesn’t question or talk about, if one knows what’s good for oneself. All the bad stuff about her is introduced by mentioning the right-wing conspiracy-theorists one will find when one googles her parents and their organization.

    With those who know her best afraid to speak, and reliable but not too bright Neocon puppets like McCain leaping to her defense, across party lines, not contesting the facts, but defending her character, one wonders about the full story.

    Have the Likudnik/Neocons been “playing” the Wahhabists all along, to promote their vision of sectarian chaos throughout the Muslim world, and a clash of civilizations with the West? That would explain a lot, e.g., why Saudi Arabia recently executed that Shi’a cleric, trying mightily to derail the Iranian agreement (who else has been vowing to do that?), why Patrick Clawson of WINEP was so openly bemoaning how hard it was to start a war with Iran in 2012, why the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi and the Mossad was following them, why Israel supports Al-Queda-affiliate Al Nusra in Syria, why Judy Miller, armed with a very hot leak from a federal grand jury, alerted the Holy Land Foundation between the issuance and service of a search warrant intended to find out its sources of funding and connections to 9/11, why Congressman Charlie Wilson checked in with his Jewish funders (according the movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War)” to gain approval for US arming the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan to resist the Russians (was he checking in, or taking direction?), why Act of Valor, made with full cooperation of the Navy (with access to intelligence, and an axe to grind over Liberty), included a Jewish mastermind behind the terror network they were fighting. And at the time Israel’s march to its own war with Iran was at the brink, Admiral Mullen telling the Israelis not to fly over Iraq, “we don’t want another USS Liberty.” https://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/us-warns-israel-there-will-be-no-uss-liberty-pt-ii/

    This Vanity Fair article could also use a full Mondoweiss dissection, because there’s so much to this young person, even aside from the totally weird Anthony Weiner side. Too many connections and coincidences to justify a journalistic hands-off approach.

    If gingershot is right that Netanyahu at War is American Jewry’s slow separation from Netanyahu, is this Vanity Fair piece an escalation? Those who know the elite establishment better, what say you? Who is Huma Abedin, why is Hillary so joined at the hip with her, and why are Neocons defending her? What’s in it for the Neocons, if not a key operative in the effort to foment WWIII?

  20. rugal_b
    January 17, 2016, 6:02 am

    @Roha,

    To say women politician are equally idiotic as their male counterpart is simplifying reality far too much to for the statement to mean anything. While it might be true for men and women to be equally bad leaders if all else is equal, reality is, all is not even close to being equal. Not to mention, modern Western society’s understanding of gender and sexuality is so misinformed it verges on falsehood. What society defines a man and women is inherently problematic, and therefore any discussions stemming from such definitions cannot lead to any form of fruitful discourse. Gender and sexuality is not as simple as who has a penis. It is far more complex than that, and goes right into the fine genetic makeup of a person, like your fingerprints or patterns on your iris. It is infinitely fluid, not neatly formed categories like men and women, gay and straight.

    Plus, would you say a black female politician is equally as idiotic as her white male counterpart, knowing the vast gap in privilege and unearned favors the latter can experience over the former? Please don’t be so ignorant and make such outrageous statements.

    • tree
      January 17, 2016, 3:24 pm

      To say…

      Wow, two whole paragraphs to misquote Roha while saying absolutely nothing of substance at all! ( And a negation of first paragraph in the second paragraph.) Sunshine must be proud!

      Please don’t be so ignorant and make such outrageous statements.

      I’d suggest you rework that sentence and make it your daily affirmation, rugal. Stand in front of the mirror each morning and repeat: “I will not be so ignorant nor make outrageous statements today.” It might help.

      • MHughes976
        January 17, 2016, 3:46 pm

        Black female admirers of Donald Trump are to be estimated in the same way as their white male counterparts. Anything else would be racist and patronising: there is no racial imbalance when it comes to common sense.
        Mondoweiss is under attack from impostors. This should stop. As should the Nakba justifications and the threats.

      • RoHa
        January 17, 2016, 7:20 pm

        “Mondoweiss is under attack from impostors. This should stop. As should the Nakba justifications and the threats”

        I like the threats. They help to support my sense of being a victim.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l8ukak8P2vY

      • Mooser
        January 18, 2016, 11:14 am

        “Tree” I’m afraid “rugal b” is right.
        I once told my wife men were superior, to which she replied that women were better, and proceeded to list over 57 varieties of ways women are better.
        Terribly frustrated by this feminine obduracy I was finally reduced to challenging her: “Yeah? Well, let’s see who can pee furthest!”, as I was sure of my male ballistics.
        “Okay,” she replied, “but no hands”.

        Ever since then I have accepted my role as a Kippahed pantaloon, and a “hey, you” around the house.

    • RoHa
      January 17, 2016, 7:16 pm

      Rugal, before you expend any more energy on fashionable blather about gender and sexuality, take a few lessons in learning to read plain words.

      I explicitly admitted that I did not know what women could bring to politics.

      Plenty of room for someone to step in and offer a list.

      This is not saying that women politicians are as idiotic as male politicians. (Though I will add that experience of numerous women politicians in Britain and Australia does not provide me with a strong counter-argument.)

      But my main point was about women in general, and was made in reference to Annie’s comment about analytical skills.

  21. rugal_b
    January 18, 2016, 12:57 am

    @Roha, you said a vast majority of women are as “intellectually incompetent” as men, referring to potential impact of women in politics. But this can’t possibly be true, considering the lack of privilege and various barriers existing for women entering the power structure, compared to men. As such, a woman would have no choice but to be in every way superior to men, in order to get herself a seat in the table which entry requirements are fundamentally unequal, and unfair for anyone who is outside of the white, cisgendered, straight male group.

    • RoHa
      January 18, 2016, 4:47 am

      I clearly reserved my position on the impact of women in politics.

      My comment about intellectual incompetence was referring to the vast majority of women. The vast majority of women are not in politics. (Neither are the vast majority of men.)

      Your knee-jerk responses and half-baked sociological jargon are misdirected.

      • rugal_b
        January 18, 2016, 9:54 am

        Ah okay, so you basically said a person’s incompetence has nothing to do with the person’s gender, right? Good on you for coming up with such wise insight.

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