Love in the age of Trump

US Politics
on 54 Comments

There’s a part of me thinking that Donald Trump’s inauguration can’t come soon enough. I’m impatient for him to enter the Oval Office, I’m looking forward to his cronies taking over the West Wing.

It’s the part of me that thinks everything will be so much easier once the Donald is in charge.

Have I lost my mind? Shouldn’t we be mourning the death of truth? Aren’t the lights of liberal reason being snuffed out?

In many respects the fear and foreboding are right and I feel it too.

Trump’s attitude towards women, the LGBT community, Muslims, Blacks, Mexicans are appalling. His views on the environment and nuclear weapons are terrifying. There’s good reason to be angry and worried. As for his foreign policy statements, they’re a rag bag of contradictions and that’s just on Iran and Russia.

Opportunity

But on Israel/Palestine it feels different. Perhaps it’s my innate optimistic disposition, but all I’m seeing right now is ‘opportunity’.

Opportunity to cut through years of political denial.

Opportunity to show people what should have been obvious years ago.

Opportunity to shine a spotlight on the hypocrisy of so much of Jewish communal discourse.

I used to have to write a couple of thousand words a time to make my case on Israel/Palestine. But those days are gone. With President Trump in charge the man himself becomes the message.

Now I can just say: “Take a look over there, what do you see?”

Listen to what they’re saying in Washington. Watch what they’re doing in Jerusalem.

Meet the new US ambassador to Israel.

Meet the son-in-law who’s in the inner circle.

Meet the special representative for international negotiations. 

Welcome to the New World Order.

It turns out there is no Occupation. The two-State solution was always a terrible idea. Listen up folks, Israel can do no wrong. And who wants to be ‘an honest broker’ anyway?

Carrots not sticks

For all my disappointment in Barack Obama, at least he believed there was an Occupation and thought the Settlements were ‘obstacles to peace’.

The problem was, he and John Kerry expended a great many political air miles but no political capital. Plenty of carrots but no sticks. For eight years it was possible to maintain the fiction that diplomatic progress was a possibility. Perhaps, on a good day, even Obama and Kerry believed it was true. But I don’t remember many good days.

In the final days of his administration, we’ve had a picture of what the Obama Presidency might have been. Funny how a UN abstention can look so courageous. And when John Kerry gave his post Christmas speech at the State Department I thought he was auditioning to become a West Bank tour guide for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions or Breaking the Silence. It all looked impressive. But it was just desperation. The clock had already counted them down and out.

United Nations Security Council resolution 2334, if it had passed in Obama’s first term, could have signalled the necessary sea change in international diplomacy. The beginning of political isolation for Israel. A moment when government trade policies might have begun to align with the work of peace-making.

Resolution 2334 could still prove useful, but mostly to those like me who will use it to bolster the argument for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). After all, if the UNSC says all Settlements are illegal and so is the entire Occupation then the onus is on business and governments to justify why they are trading rather than for me to explain why I’m boycotting.

For those still pining for Hillary, remember that had she won the White House we’d be living through more years of say little, do nothing, go nowhere ‘peace process’ but minus Obama’s genuine empathy for the Palestinians. If Hillary had won in November, Obama would have vetoed 2334 and Kerry’s speech would have stayed locked away in a bottom draw. Under Hillary, the current status quo would have gone on providing ‘two-State diplomatic cover’ for the ongoing moral bankruptcy of the international community.

The Age of Trump

But instead we are entering the Age of Trump. And when it comes to Israel/Palestine it already looks like a familiar landscape.

After all, on this matter, we’ve been living in a ‘post-truth’ world for decades.

Until the UN resolution it seemed that nobody was willing to raise objections even when the Settlement facts were in plain view. Meanwhile, ‘post-truth’ has long been the ideology of the establishment Jewish community outside of Israel and for most Israeli Jews. The accepted narrative of Jewish return, national self-determination, Arab rejection, Israeli defence and security have become Jewish articles of faith. They’ve become embedded in our liturgy and in far too many Synagogue sermons. As a Jew, you challenge them at your peril. Social, political and communal ‘excommunication’ soon follows.

But if your aim is to reach beyond those whose minds are already locked down and to get beyond the echo chamber of social media, then there is all to play for.

With Trump running the shop I predict the break-out moment for BDS on university campuses everywhere. I expect the White House to help build the launch pad for anti-Occupation Church divestment campaigns around the world. And I can safely rely on Israel to make the most effective case against its own legitimacy week in and week out.

The end of public ambivalence

With some big anniversaries coming up in 2017, public interest will be running high. Thirty years since the start of the First Intifada; fifty years since the start of the Occupation; seventy since the UN Partition Plan; and it’s the centenary of the Balfour Declaration this November.

I’m hopeful that years of public ambivalence and public confusion are coming to an end.

After all, who’ll believe there’s a peace process to support when the American Embassy moves to Jerusalem? How much longer can the pretence of a Jewish democracy last when the Settlements become annexed but equal rights remain forbidden? And why would an objective observer wait patiently for diplomatic progress when the Age of Trump also becomes the Age of Naftali Bennett?

Of course, I know it’s not all good news.

Making the case for equality in the Holy Land may become easier for me in Britain. But life for the Palestinians will just get rougher.

More homes demolished. More rights denied. Israeli style apartheid growing by the day. While the next assault on Gaza will be delivered without the slightest critical hindrance from Washington.

Closer to home, as the defenders of discrimination and the opponents of equal rights start to panic, I expect emboldened attempts to delegitimise boycott campaigns. As for antisemitism, it will become one of the most debased, misunderstood and misused words in the English language – unhelpful to anyone but those who want to close down free speech.

At some point soon it will become clear that our Jewish leaders have opted for blinkered tribalism rather than anything resembling the prophetic biblical values that are our enduring Jewish inheritance.

Actually, the tribalism is already here. In Britain, in the closing days of 2016, the President of the Board of Deputies, Jonathan Arkush, castigated not only the UN, Obama and Kerry but Theresa May too for her anti-Israeli deceitfulness. And this just weeks after May’s prolonged standing ovation for her speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel.

The Jewish Chronicle editorial of 30 December under the headline ‘Obama’s last kick’ spoke in a similar tone: “UN Resolution 2334 will not, of itself, change much. But it has thrown a light on the hypocrisy and double dealing of our current political leaders.”

So that’s the Jewish support that $38bn of carrots and eight years of UN vetoes buys you these days.

As for Theresa May, the left hand is out of touch with the right. One minute the UK Foreign Office is helping to draft 2334 and the next the PM is rebuking Kerry for making it sound as if the Settlements are the only issue that matters.

In trying to keep Obama, Trump and the Jewish community in Britain all on side, May has only succeeded in looking ridiculous. The PM has learnt an interesting lesson though. Support from the Jewish community in Britain can quickly evaporate if you dare to question Israeli policies.

A reckoning

So yes, it will be a rough ride at times but let’s embrace the dynamics of the new order. Let The Donald give truth a helping hand.

There’s a long delayed reckoning coming on Israel/Palestine. But it’s coming.

With pro-Israel lobby groups (Jewish and Christian) still bombarding my inbox insisting that Settlements are not the only obstacle to peace, I look forward in 2017 to proving them absolutely right.

We shouldn’t just be talking about Settlers.

There’s the entire separate and unequal domination of the West Bank. There’s the siege of Gaza. There’s Jerusalem too. There’s compensation and return for Palestinian refugees. There’s security, justice and peace for all who call the land home and holy.

So build your courage, spread the word and gather support.

Think global, act local, care for yourself and for all who are your neighbours. It’s still going to be a long haul. But however long it takes, remember that at every moment we have the freedom to choose where we stand and who we stand with.

So this is it.

It starts now.

It’s you, it’s me. It’s us.

It’s Love in the Age of Trump.

This post first appeared on the Patheos site. 

About Robert Cohen

Cohen is a British writer. He blogs at Micah's Paradigm Shift. http://micahsparadigmshift.blogspot.co.uk/

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54 Responses

  1. AddictionMyth
    January 3, 2017, 11:56 am

    I agree with the analysis and share the optimism. At first I was distraught about Trump, and then I realized all the faults he would expose, and how easy it would be to exploit them. People can see more clearly that Boobi and Trump are different flavors of supremacists. This was not obvious 8 years ago. And Obama couldn’t have spoken out 8 years ago – it would have been completely unilateral and put his entire agenda at risk.

    And the Resolution discredits anti-free-speech legislation as you point out, which is my number one issue.

    Dare I say – I’m now glad that Trump was elected over Hillary. The ironies are rich and oh so delicious.

  2. HarryLaw
    January 3, 2017, 12:46 pm

    How much longer can the pretence of a Jewish democracy last when the Settlements become annexed but equal rights remain forbidden? Why should Jewish citizens of Israel worry about a Jewish democracy since the US is best friends with all the “Democracies” in the GCC countries? I suspect Israel will continue to colonize area C but refuse to formally annex it, [there are not many Palestinians living there in any case] It is possible areas A and B will be offered some kind of autonomy, without sovereignty of course [sovereignty of any part of the West Bank] will not be given away by any Israeli Government. This will rightly be refused by the PA, leading to the inevitable train crash ahead. But let us assume democratic rights are given to the 2 and a half million Palestinians in the West Bank, it would still mean an approximate 60% Jewish, 40% Palestinian make up in the ‘Land of Israel’. How Gaza would figure into this calculation is unknown since Israel [nor Egypt] want nearly 2 million Palestinians. It must be remembered that one of the oldest democracies in the world, the United Kingdom, actually governed one of its constituent parts, Northern Ireland without giving the one and a half people living there the vote, [please understand that because the ruling Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties in Westminster refused to contest any seats in the Province or allow membership in their parties, nobody in the Province had a say in who governed them, hence no vote]. The one state solution including Gaza would not be countenanced by Israel, since although it is a perfectly democratic solution, it would mean the end of the strangely named ‘Jewish and Democratic ‘ state dream. Incidentally Professor Finkelstein thinks people who advocate a single state are ‘insane’. It would appear Bantustans with no sovereignty, surrounded by settlements is all that will be offered to the Palestinians, until outside forces [the International community] find the political will to bring sanctions, failing that, the forces gathering in the region Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, Yemen and possibly Egypt backed by Russia could threaten military pressure.

    • just
      January 3, 2017, 1:34 pm

      “How Gaza would figure into this calculation is unknown…”

      Ask Naftali Bennett:

      “The far-right Israeli education minister, Naftali Bennett, has vowed to introduce a bill this month to formally annex Maale Adumim, one of Israel’s largest settlement blocks in the occupied Palestinian territories.

      In remarks made at a museum in the city of 40,000 located outside Jerusalem, Bennett said: “After being here for 50 years, the time has come to end military rule.”

      The hardline leader of the Jewish Home party also made clear that he saw the annexation of Maale Adumim as a first step in annexing all of “area C”, the part of the occupied territories still under full Israeli control.

      “For this reason,” said Bennett, “by the end of the month, we will submit the bill for applying [Israeli] law to Judea and Samaria [the name used by Israelis for the occupied territories] and will embark on a new path. We will present to the cabinet a bill for applying Israeli law in Maale Adumim.”

      The timing of Bennett’s announcement, and of his plan to introduce the legislation in the first place, appears to have been designed to exploit the inauguration of Donald Trump on 20 January. The US president-elect has indicated he will be more supportive of Israel in international arenas that regard the settlements as illegal. …

      … It began with a speech to the Saban forum in Washington in December and continued with an interview in the rightwing, English-language Jerusalem Post on Monday in which Bennett again made clear his opposition to a Palestinian state.

      “I do not believe in a second Palestinian state beyond what we have in Gaza,” Bennett told the paper, saying that instead he proposed a staged end of Israeli military rule in Area C while offering full Israeli citizenship to the 80,000 Palestinians living there.

      For their part Jewish settlements in the West Bank would be incorporated into Israel while the remaining areas under Palestinian administration – known as Areas A and B – would be given a degree of autonomy short of statehood.

      “This would be less than a state, but [it would still be] a lot,” he said. “They would have a central government with elections, if they so choose.”

      In a question and answer session with the Washington Post on Monday Bennett denied that his plan violated international law, despite the clear view of UN security council resolutions over the years as well as widespread international consensus on the issue.

      “It does not violate international law because that would suggest that we occupy a state,” he said. “We don’t. There was never a Palestinian state. The British conquered the land from the Turks, the Jordanians illegally conquered the West Bank from the British, and then we released it.”

      Bennett’s proposal does not tally with Israeli political consensus, with only about a third of voters supporting annexation.

      However, his recent success pushing a weakened Netanyahu into supporting another piece of legislation – a proposal to retroactively legalise illegal Jewish outposts built on private Palestinian land – has underlined Bennett’s skills in leveraging the right of the country’s political debate.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/03/far-right-israel-minister-naftali-bennett-bill-annex-maale-adumim-settlement-palestinian-territories

      He’s certifiable …

      • HarryLaw
        January 3, 2017, 2:14 pm

        just, “He’s certifiable” I agree, or he has not thought through, or more likely, refuses to blurt out the ‘final solution’ [transfer] which he has in mind. Then he said, “I do not believe in a second Palestinian state beyond what we have in Gaza,” Is he unaware Palestine is already a state [including Gaza] which has been recognized by an overwhelming number of states at the United Nations? With leaders like Bennett and Netanyahu, Israel faces a grim future.

    • HarryLaw
      January 3, 2017, 1:56 pm

      One and a half million British citizens of the UK of GB and NI could of course vote for NI based sectarian parties, but were unable to vote for the parties that actually governed them at Westminster, because the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties refused to contest elections or give membership to anyone resident in NI, those parties alone, or in coalitions made legislation for taxation the NHS and all the other legislative measures only the Government of the UK, state could make. The bottom line was, if you could not vote for or against the parties that govern you, you effectively had no vote.

    • Maghlawatan
      January 3, 2017, 3:14 pm

      Palestine was a stupid site for a settler colonial project in the second half of the twentieth century. They couldn’t kill enough native people and pauperising them was pointless cos they aren’t going anywhere. They spent over $120bn on the settlers and they have 50-50 Jews to Palestinians. Insane.

  3. john douglas
    January 3, 2017, 2:55 pm

    Dinner with friends on the Saturday before new year’s of course prompted mountains of hand wringing, jabs, jokes and diagnoses straight from the DSM concerning The Donald (as I knew him during four lost decades living in New York), most of which thoroughly deserved and reasonable. I asked politely if, it being almost a new year, could I mention a small opening for optimism. Snickers followed, but I was allowed, and mentioned the vast forces in the US and EU frothing for a return to the Cold War, with is guaranteed stream of billions for the chosen few, and how under President Hillary this would have been a certainty and how under The Donald it just might, just might mind you, not happen. I was able, because I was right, to beat back a mountain of fury amounting in the end to one claim (ironically modelled loosely on a Gospel quote) “no good could come from Trump Tower.”

  4. JLewisDickerson
    January 3, 2017, 3:17 pm

    RE: “Perhaps it’s my innate optimistic disposition, but all I’m seeing right now is ‘opportunity’. Opportunity to cut through years of political denial.” ~ Cohen

    MY COMMENT: That’s also pretty much the way Jeremy Hammond sees it.* Of course, Netanyahu will use every trick in the book to make it look like it is entirely the fault of the Palestinians that the two-state option didn’t pan out. And the mainstream/corporate press in the U.S. will eagerly assist Netanyahu in pinning the blame on the Palestinians.

    * SEE: ■ “Why Netanyahu and Trump Are Good for the Palestinians” | By Jeremy R. Hammond | ForeignPolicyJournal.com | Dec 30, 2016

    [EXCERPT] Ironically, Netanyahu and Trump being in power in Israel and the US, respectively, is the best thing that could happen for the prospects of peace.

    Pessimism is high as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defies the recent UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement regime by escalating this illegal policy and President-elect Donald Trump prepares to settle into the Oval Office.

    It’s easy to see why people are pessimistic about the prospects for the Palestinians to achieve their freedom given these two characters’ rejection of their fundamental rights.

    For example, Trump blasted the Obama administration for not vetoing the resolution and tweeted his reassurances to the Israeli occupation regime that things will be different come January 20 when he is inaugurated.

    So the US will go from having an administration that feigns to respect international law and Palestinians’ rights while in deed supporting the occupation regime to having an administration that drops all pretenses and openly expresses its contempt for international law and prejudice against the Palestinians.

    But that’s actually the best thing that could happen for the Palestinians. . .

    CONTINUED AT – http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/12/30/why-netanyahu-and-trump-are-good-for-the-palestinians/

    P.S.
    ⛔ HIDEOUS PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Vulgarian President-elect Donald Trump at Trump’s über-gilded residence in Trump Tower (Interior Design/Decoration by Madame de Pompadour)

    • Boo
      January 4, 2017, 12:39 pm

      Drumpf’s room reminds me of nothing so much as the “Amber Room” of the Tsars. Perhaps the similarity won’t end there.

  5. mcohen.
    January 3, 2017, 3:51 pm

    Love in the age of trump.i like that.positive outlook.one should always look on the bright side of life and peer cautiously into the darkness.

  6. Citizen
    January 3, 2017, 4:24 pm

    When Trump sits in the oval office and mouths words put into his willing mouth by his son-in-law and personal bankruptcy attorney, will anybody in the main cable tv news/infotainment media bring up the actual situation in the Holy Land, given he’s the POTUS? Will his spontaneous nature say something off-oral script so glaringly counter-factual, even said media will feel they have to say something? Maybe Slurpy (Chris Matthews)?

    • Mooser
      January 3, 2017, 5:25 pm

      , “will anybody in the main cable tv news/infotainment media

      Today’s media companies are very, very dependent on Federal regulation. And Trump is known to be vindictive.

      • echinococcus
        January 3, 2017, 10:10 pm

        Mooser,

        Th sitting government had, of course, a media line-up that fully justified the phrase “free press”… and wasn’t vindictive, either.

      • Mooser
        January 4, 2017, 2:13 pm

        “and wasn’t vindictive, either.”

        And now we will get to see what it’s like when the Administration is vindictive.

  7. K Renner
    January 3, 2017, 5:23 pm

    Friedman looks like an ugly, fat toad. And that’s an insult to toads and other amphibians.

    These people simply don’t deserve Jerusalem. All Likudniks and “settler” advocates should be barred from the city for life with severe punishment for transgressors.

    • Marnie
      January 4, 2017, 1:12 am

      My first thought on seeing this picture was that he looks like the alt-right meme Pepe.

      • K Renner
        January 19, 2017, 12:26 pm

        Yeah, he kinda does.

  8. Kay24
    January 3, 2017, 8:08 pm

    Well, what do you know, the Clintons have decided to attend the inauguration of the orange lunatic. I wouldn’t want to attend the inauguration of a man who has done nothing but lie and insult my family.

    • Marnie
      January 4, 2017, 1:15 am

      Maybe they’re entertainment? It seems the tRUMP team is having a very tough time finding anyone to perform. Will Bill and Hill get their usual fee? If they’re smart they’ll get cash way up front as tRUMP is rumored to not pay his bills (or hills).

      • Kay24
        January 4, 2017, 5:41 am

        Good point. It does seem he is struggling to find ‘A” rated entertainers. Some have declined, or denied they are participating, and even Mormons are petitioning against the Tabernacle Choir performing. Imagine the TC and the Rockettes get top billing for an inauguration!. It is very telling. The orange lunatic, if he was not in denial, would realize that he is the most unpopular President elect, considering nearly 3 million did not want him. But in his little mind he won such a landslide victory!

      • Boo
        January 4, 2017, 1:41 pm

        “Imagine the TC and the Rockettes get top billing for an inauguration”

        And even with the Rockettes, individual members have asked and been granted the option of declining to perform for him. Under the circumstances, you might rename the remnants the “BottleRockettes”.

  9. echinococcus
    January 3, 2017, 10:02 pm

    Kay,

    You seem to forget that your favorites against the orange lunatic are confessed and bragging criminals against humanity, the same crimes for which the Nazi government was hanged in Nuremberg. I don’t know how that compares with insulting one’s family (even provided such a thing were still possible.)

    A continuous flow of open propaganda for our “two-party” system, more especially for the wing of it that is currently the main culprit, in fact a main first-person actor, in the continued conquest and genocide by Zionism, can understandably get on the nerves of a lot of people.

    You’re welcome to point to solid evidence favoring significantly less warmongering or significantly less support to Zionist crimes by your favorite wing as opposed to the one you pretend to dislike, of course, should you happen to have any such evidence,

    • Boo
      January 4, 2017, 1:51 pm

      It’s been said before here, but apparently still bears repeating, that it’s most often counterproductive to be a single-issue voter. While IP is one of my ongoing top concerns, domestic issues are equally important (and frequently more so). This should hardly come as a surprise, and was abundantly the case in the late election.

      To repeat another old but true saw, “Politics is the art of the possible”. I learned many election cycles ago, through bitter experience, that a third-party vote is almost always a futile, wasted vote. Most of my recent votes have been for the lesser of two evils. Despite your attempt to set up a false equivalence, I’m not about to reconsider my votes.

      Changing the current two-party oligopoly will likely take an upheaval — perhaps a cataclysmic change. I’m more than ready to help precipitate that, but in the meantime I’m not going to abdicate my vote just to make a useless point that would go unheard anyway.

      • echinococcus
        January 6, 2017, 1:10 am

        Boo,

        You’re welcome to your excuse for perpetuating the single-party dictatorship, doing business as “two-party system”, by the single fact of accepting to participate, thereby guaranteeing that your vote is not only “futile, wasted” but will achieve the diametrical contrary of your ostensible intentions. We’ve heard it for a long time.

        What counts here is not the “lesser evil” voting by itself. It is about your catastrophical misdiagnosis of the “lesser” one. Why do I have the impression that no matter the “impartial” discussion you can only be a Democrat?

        Also, every time I heard attacks against “single issue voting”, tolerance of war of aggression was sure to be the next thing to be defended.

        Anyway, it hits one as inappropriate to use a forum supposed to gather people from all political tendencies in support of Palestinian resistance for unrelenting partisan propaganda not directly connected to Palestine.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 6, 2017, 3:10 am

        echi, what “unrelenting partisan propaganda not directly connected to Palestine”? are you referencing kay’s mention of hillary going to the inauguration? was that just too over the top for you?

        boo, speaking of lessor or 2 evils, i considered that and considered clinton worse because of syria. however, i still couldn’t vote for trump. i’m at the point where i can’t vote for a lessor evil when the options are both so hideous.

      • echinococcus
        January 6, 2017, 5:22 am

        Annie,

        Totally agreed about the “options” we had. This was not, however, in any way limited to this one election –I never was offered anything different in the last 50+ years.

        As for partisan propaganda, you guys own the site. My rights stop at trying to observe that the most destructive thing that one can do against Palestinian resistance in the West is to smuggle in anything extraneous, especially anything as acutely divisive as liberaloid culture war propaganda, where our single common interest is supposed to be Palestinian resistance –even in cases where Palestine is not directly involved. I also hope to keep the right to protest. We can’t afford to turn away the most effective part of the public.
        I would love not being provoked into responding.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 6, 2017, 11:54 am

        My rights stop at trying to observe that the most destructive thing that one can do against Palestinian resistance in the West is to smuggle in anything extraneous, especially anything as acutely divisive as liberaloid culture war propaganda, where our single common interest is supposed to be Palestinian resistance –even in cases where Palestine is not directly involved.

        and this is your answer to “what “unrelenting partisan propaganda not directly connected to Palestine”?”

        seriously echi, if i had a dollar for every time we published one of your lecturing diatribes.

        I would love not being provoked into responding.

        uh huh. i’m afraid not provoking you is rather an impossible task.

        I also hope to keep the right to protest. We can’t afford to turn away the most effective part of the public.

        heavens no.

        I never was offered anything different in the last 50+ years.

        have you thought about running for public office? ;)

      • Mooser
        January 6, 2017, 12:57 pm

        “I would love not being provoked into responding.”

        Oooh, I hope “eljay” doesn’t see that. I don’t want to hear about that basement again.

      • eljay
        January 6, 2017, 4:22 pm

        || Mooser: “I would love not being provoked into responding.”

        Oooh, I hope “eljay” doesn’t see that. I don’t want to hear about that basement again. ||

        Mooser, are you trying to provoke me into responding? Well, it won’t work – I refuse to respond to your comment. :-P

      • Mooser
        January 6, 2017, 6:32 pm

        Well, it won’t work – I refuse to respond to your comment.

        See, that wasn’t so hard.

  10. RoHa
    January 3, 2017, 10:24 pm

    “Shouldn’t we be mourning the death of truth? Aren’t the lights of liberal reason being snuffed out? ”

    What truth? What liberal reason? What fantasy world is Cohen living in?

    Such things are long gone, and they were hardly there anyway.

    • ritzl
      January 4, 2017, 11:10 am

      Yup. I hope they find it quickly though, build on it during Trump’s clarifying “window” now, and apply it with force in the next, less nutter admin regardless of which political “side” it may be.

      That may be a “dog dream” but it’s all I got.

  11. RoHa
    January 3, 2017, 10:24 pm

    “Shouldn’t we be mourning the death of truth? Aren’t the lights of liberal reason being snuffed out? ”

    What truth? What liberal reason? What fantasy world is Cohen living in?

    Such things are long gone, and they were hardly there to begin with.

    • RoHa
      January 3, 2017, 11:51 pm

      Whoops! Electronic hiccups in the server led to duplication.

  12. RoHa
    January 3, 2017, 10:35 pm

    “May has only succeeded in looking ridiculous.”

    Not an unusual position for a PM.

  13. JLewisDickerson
    January 4, 2017, 6:14 am

    RE: “For all my disappointment in Barack Obama, at least he believed there was an Occupation and thought the Settlements were ‘obstacles to peace’. The problem was, he and John Kerry expended a great many political air miles but no political capital. Plenty of carrots but no sticks.” ~ Cohen

    MY COMMENT: This is quite similar to the “constructive engagement” used with apartheid South Africa where the U.S. offered S.A. many carrots as incentives to institute meaningful reforms only to discover that the South African authorities had simply made a big carrot stew and eaten it! ! ! *

    ● FROM WIKIPEDIA [Constructive engagement]:

    [EXCERPT] Constructive engagement was the name given to the policy of the Reagan Administration towards the apartheid regime in South Africa in the early 1980s. It was promoted as an alternative to the economic sanctions and divestment from South Africa demanded by the UN General Assembly and the international anti-apartheid movement.[1]
    The Reagan Administration vetoed legislation from the United States Congress and blocked attempts by the United Nations to impose sanctions and to isolate South Africa.[2] Instead, advocates of constructive engagement sought to use incentives as a means of encouraging South Africa gradually to move away from apartheid.[3] The policy, echoed by the British government of Margaret Thatcher, came under criticism as South African government repression of the black population and anti-apartheid activism intensified. . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_engagement

    * ● FROM ForeignAffairs.com: “South Africa: Why Constructive Engagement Failed”, By Sanford J. Ungar and Peter Vale, Winter 1985/86

    Article Summary
    Ronald Reagan’s imposition of limited economic sanctions against the South African regime in September was a tacit admission that his policy of “constructive engagement”–encouraging change in the apartheid system through a quiet dialogue with that country’s white minority leaders–had failed. Having been offered many carrots by the United States over a period of four-and-a-half years as incentives to institute meaningful reforms, the South African authorities had simply made a carrot stew and eaten it. Under the combined pressures of the seemingly cataclysmic events in South Africa since September 1984 and the dramatic surge of anti-apartheid protest and political activism in the United States, the Reagan Administration was finally embarrassed into brandishing some small sticks as an element of American policy.
    [We’re sorry, but Foreign Affairs does not have the copyright to display this article online.]

    SOURCE – http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/40525/sanford-j-ungar-and-peter-vale/south-africa-why-constructive-engagement-failed

    ● MAGGIE THATCHER’S OPPOSITION TO USING SANCTIONS AGAINST APARTHEID-ERA SOUTH AFRICA :

    . . . While Thatcher maintained throughout her political career that she “loathe[d] apartheid and everything connected with it,” she . . . refused, alongside Ronald Reagan, to back sanctions against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. “In my view, isolation will lead only to an increasingly negative and intransigent attitude in the part of white South African,” she said in December 1977 . . .

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2013/04/supposed-democracy-dictator.html

    P.S.
    ■ PAPERBACK: “Israel on the Couch: The Psychology of the Peace Process”
    (Suny Series in Israeli Studies)
    By applying a clinical psychologist s insight into the Israeli-Arab conflict, Ofer Grosbard lays the foundation for a new theory and practice that espouses the use of clinical tools to promote relations between countries, religions, political parties, cultures, and different identities.”

    Product Details
    Series: Suny Series in Israeli Studies (Paperback)
    Paperback: 216 pages
    Publisher: State University of New York Press (January 9, 2003)
    Language: English

    LINK – https://www.amazon.com/dp/0791456064

  14. ritzl
    January 4, 2017, 11:01 am

    Yup. Brilliant! Well said and covered. Pitch perfect.

    I hope the Palestinians in soon-to-be annexed Palestine can survive the pain that is about to bring all the clarity, recognition, publicity, and – dare I say it – resolution to their currently, interminably, hopelessly festering (by design) predicament.

    • Sibiriak
      January 4, 2017, 11:19 am

      ritzl: I hope the Palestinians in soon-to-be annexed Palestine can survive the pain

      ————–

      I’d worry much more about the millions of Palestinians who live in never-to-be-annexed areas.

      • ritzl
        January 4, 2017, 2:57 pm

        Sibiriak, with respect, if they annex completely around your “non-annexed” areas they have annexed those as well. They’ve already cleansed most Palestinians from “Area C” into the Palistan areas so either way they do it (whatever bits they do or don’t deign to formally annex) they have 2M+ Palestinians in former Palestine under their control and without rights – aka [legal definition of] Apartheid.

        The world may let that fester for another 70 years, but I think that’s less likely than the current situation. I just think that more obvious wrong means more likely action to resolve that wrong. I could be way off base in that belief.

      • Sibiriak
        January 4, 2017, 8:11 pm

        ritzl: , if they annex completely around your “non-annexed” areas they have annexed those as well.

        ———————-

        1)It’s doubtful that Israel can annex completely around Gaza.

        2)Surrounded non-annexed areas remain occupied but not annexed. “Annexation” has a specific meaning: a state’s application of civil jurisdiction/municipal laws over the territory in question. And in the case of the WB, Israel will most likely offer citizenship and to the Arab Palestinians in annexed areas.

        But you are absolutely correct: “either way they do it (whatever bits they do or don’t deign to formally annex) they have 2M+ Palestinians in former Palestine under their control and without rights – aka [legal definition of] Apartheid.

        It’s a horrific system of human oppression. An evil “matrix of control”, to use Halper’s term.
        ——————————-

        I just think that more obvious wrong means more likely action to resolve that wrong.

        I’m just a little concerned about the widespread faith in “worse before better”, a faith in the inevitable bending of an “arc of history” toward justice; the faith that that the more Israel succeeds in denying Palestinians their rights and expropriating their land, the better it is for the realization of just, peaceful, egalitarian single democratic state. I think that kind of faith-based thinking, while inspiring, may have some negative potential as well.

        In any case, what specific actions to “resolve that wrong” are you suggesting will become more likely?

        I asked you previously:

        [Sibiriak December 24, 2016, 9:46 pm:] What possibly could be the conditions attached to international sanctions on Israel?

        If the conditions are Israel complying with UN resolutions, then that would be in your view a “retrospective application”, since all the UN resolutions and the ICJ “Wall” opinion are unequivocally oriented toward the two state concept. [See Finkelstein’s latest analysis of res. 2334 at MW]

        So what would a “prospective application” actually look like, in terms of the conditions put on sanctions?

        Sanctions will be maintained until Israel does X?

        What would that X be, if not compliance with UN resolutions ?

        Can you give me any idea at all?

        ——————–

        Perhaps you might have time now to respond?

      • Maghlawatan
        January 4, 2017, 9:45 pm

        Sibiriak

        You don’t have to be hopey changey and believe in the arc of justice. Just look at how the occupation and the education system needed to sustain it have mangled Israeli Jewish society. Israeli Jews are brainwashed. They do that to their own people . High performing Israelis just leave quietly and educate their kids in normal societies.

        Israeli potential is harnessed for a project that has no legal basis. And costs increase at 7% that Israel can’t afford over the medium term.

        That is before considering the Orthodox.
        Israeli collapse is a system issue. It can be catalysed by any one of 5 or 6 mismanaged issues.

      • Sibiriak
        January 4, 2017, 10:27 pm

        Maghlawatan: Israeli collapse is a system issue

        —————

        It’s easy to make comforting deterministic predictions of “collapse” without providing any concrete scenarios (will brainwashed-since-birth batshit crazyIsraeli Jews just give up their homes, their dreams and their nukes and voluntarily flee?) and without any providing any time frame –10 years, 30 years, 100 years?

        (I’m sure capitalism will inevitably collapse, it being a system issue as well. The world’s ecosystem too, another system issue. )

        So, we just have to sit back and wait for Israel to “collapse.”

        Maybe your right.

        But what if it doesn’t? What if it lingers on, or somehow evolves and adapts?

        Is there a plan B?

      • Sibiriak
        January 4, 2017, 11:03 pm

        Maghlawatan: High performing Israelis just leave quietly and educate their kids in normal societies…

        ————————

        If the best and the brightest Jews, the most open-minded, liberal, and secular ones, leave Israel for the great western tracts of normality, like Trumpian America, the result may not be “collapse” but simply further consolidation of Israeli militarism , fundamentalism and chauvinism.

        Also consider:

        Survey says brain drain from Israel has halted ”

        http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Survey-says-brain-drain-from-Israel-has-halted-409601

        ——————–

        Wikipedia:

        According to public opinion polls, the main motives for leaving Israel have not been the political and security situation, but include desire for higher living standards, pursuit of work opportunities and/or professional advancement, and higher education. Many Israelis with degrees in scientific or engineering fields have emigrated abroad, largely due to lack of job opportunities. From Israel’s establishment in May 1948 to December 2006, about 400,000 doctors and academics left Israel. In 2009, Israel’s Council for Higher Education informed the Knesset’s Education Committee that 25% of Israel’s academics were living overseas, and that Israel had the highest human capital flight rate in the world.

        However, an OECD estimate put the highly educated Israeli emigrant rate at 5.3 per 1,000 highly educated Israelis, meaning that Israel actually retains more of its highly educated population than many other developed countries.

        In addition, the majority of Israelis who emigrate eventually return after extended periods abroad. In 2007, the Israeli government began a programme to encourage Israelis living abroad to return; since then, the number of returning Israelis has doubled, and in 2010, Israeli expatriates, including academics, researchers, technical professionals, and business managers, began returning in record numbers. Israel launched additional programmes to open new opportunities in scientific fields to encourage Israeli scientists and researchers living abroad to return home.

        These programmes have since succeeded in luring many Israeli scientists back home.
        [emphasis added]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_capital_flight#Israel
        ———-

        According to demographer Pini Herman, this circular migration has been an economic boon to Israel. Israel does not have the technological, academic, and other infrastructural resources to absorb its disproportionate number of highly trained and skilled population, second only to the United States.

        As a result, many Israelis have worked overseas for extended periods of time. Upon their return, they have often attracted or repatriated with them to Israel new infrastructure, such as that provided by companies like as Intel, Google, Microsoft, and IBM. [42]

        [emphasis added]
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerida

      • ritzl
        January 5, 2017, 1:27 pm

        Sibiriak, ftr I have said for years now that Gaza will NOT be part of any incorporation of Palestine into the combined state. Gaza will likely be the standalone Palestinian state for Palestinians to make of what they will. Israel just wants Palestinian natural gas so they will keep Gaza in limbo while annexing the WB where they want everything. Different struggle but one where a reliance on long-held principles of IL might actually balance out a less determined Israeli desire to hold onto Gaza, in limbo, for that reason. Unlike the WB, the cost-benefit analysis for Israel on Gaza may exceed Israel’s political capital to keep both.

      • ritzl
        January 5, 2017, 2:05 pm

        Sibiriak, on your previous questions I view that as a question of debating whether a historically feckless “what might be” is more probable than an inexorable “is.” I can’t wrap my brain around the concept so I’m really ill-equipped to give anything approaching a meaningful response.

        I’ll just say briefly that all the implied, notional, or whatever, “remedies” geared toward two states will come to be applied to the existing Apartheid/Hafrada reality and not to the chimeric two-state failure. Prospective and retrospective, respectively.

        But I will say (as I’ve said before in Hostage threads) that something egregious and/or precipitous could reverse that order (like a massive Pogrom against WB Palestinians). But Israel has been so disciplined in doing just enough to “stay under the radar” of international outrage while furthering its annexation goals that I just don’t see that happening.

        If you need a longer or more “Fisked” answer I’ll have to get back on my computer in a few weeks so I can see what I’m writing.

        Peace.

      • ritzl
        January 5, 2017, 2:35 pm

        Sibiriak: Can you give me any idea at all?

        Yeah sure. End of Apartheid/Hafrada. Equal rights in the new state. As simple examples.

        Sanctions are just tools, independent of application but requiring real, ongoing motivation. Obviously IMHO two states is not a real, ongoing motivation any more. Too much lip service over decades for it to be.

        So let me ask you… What’s different now with two states that makes you believe that “this time it’s for real?”

      • Mooser
        January 5, 2017, 3:21 pm

        “a faith in the inevitable bending of an “arc of history” toward justice”

        It doesn’t have to bend towards “justice”. Just towards reality.

      • Sibiriak
        January 5, 2017, 7:45 pm

        ritzl: So let me ask you… What’s different now with two states that makes you believe that “this time it’s for real?”

        ——————

        I don’t believe “this time it’s for real”. Where did I write that?

      • Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 12:17 am

        ritzl: ftr I have said for years now that Gaza will NOT be part of any incorporation of Palestine into the combined state. Gaza will likely be the standalone Palestinian state for Palestinians to make of what they will.
        ——————

        Thank you for pointing that out. I recall now this statement of yours back in Aug. 2015:

        I’ve written before that I believe Gaza will be the Palestinian state . Nobody wants it as part of anything – including the PA. That seems to me to be the path of least resistance in all this, and on the upside would give Palestinians a potentially resource-rich place to pour their considerable and pent-up abilities and energies to make magic. Separating Gaza makes WB annexation more likely for the reasons you list.

        [emphasis added]

        The problem I’m having with your position is: On many, many occasions you have asserted the inevitability of a “ONE state reality”. Yet you simultnaeously assert a TWO state reality: a Palestinian State in Gaza + Israel including the WB

        A few examples:

        [ritzl: ] Two states is just never going to happen, or if it does, contrary to the conventional wisdom, one state will have to happen first.

        * * *
        Imho the annexation inertia won’t be countered by the nascent, yet ultimately overwhelming, rights dynamic before Palestine is absorbed into a single state. In the end, “the moral arc of the universe” (firm believer in that), wins via the like-to-like (Apartheid/Hafrada) clarity, awareness, and legal precedents that the annexation vision of the new state will bring.

        * * *

        I’m just hopeful that whatever the new single state is called becomes (can become) one with equal rights.

        * * *
        ..the inevitability of one state is completely separate from these current two state gyrations.

        * * *
        But you’re right it doesn’t matter anymore. One state is here.

        * * *

        No sane or otherwise clear-thinking person/leader/government/Zionist can on one hand “push” for two states, and on the other hand accept this level of ongoing integration as “natural” or as anything other than a confirmation of the inevitability of one state. [emphasis added]

        http://mondoweiss.net/profile/ritzl/?keyword=one+state
        http://mondoweiss.net/profile/ritzl/?keyword=single+state
        ——————–

        It’s impossible to reconcile all your talk of a ONE state future with your prediction of TWO states.

        Even more unfathomable is your suggestion that this new TWO state reality–a Palestinian state in Gaza + Israel w/WB– can, if equal rights are obtained in the new Greater Israel, somehow represent a “win” for the so-called “moral arc of the universe“, a great win for justice, equality, and the human spirit.

        In fact, such a TWO state outcome would represent the final, irreversible political fragmentation of the Palestinian people (split between Gaza, Greater Israel, refugee camps/diaspora.)

        It would represent the final, irreversible nullification of the Palestinian people’s most fundamental right: the right to self-determination on their own territory.

        It would represent the final, irreversible nullification of everything the Palestinians have fought for since at least 1917.

        Moral arc? Really???

        (Not to mention the fact that a Palestinian state[let] in Gaza would most likely be a FAILED state, a humanitarian disaster, given the lack of land, exploding population, and a host of other problems.)

      • ritzl
        January 6, 2017, 9:44 pm

        Sibiriak, I have now lost your point completely. Now you’re just poking at length, imo. Noted.

        My view is that the WB will be merged into Israel. Gaza will become a separate state. Since the WB is what all the hubbub is about, and that’s where you seem to have started out proclaiming that IL would have effect, I chose my emphasis on one state to mean the merging of the WB into Israel and considered (without stating that specifically, this time) that Gaza is a separate issue. You call that unintelligible. I call it a simplification to avoid writing a book about it. It is in no way an inconsistent conceptualization, non-standard, yes, but inconsistent with this thread and your original/ongoing contention that IL will force a two state outcome, no. Gaza is easy compared to what’s coming in the WB-Israel one state struggle. Israel will NEVER let the WB go. Nobody wants Gaza. It will be orphaned (but I completely disagree with your failed state prediction. Palestinians are amazingly resourceful and energized people and all that will descend on Gaza to make it a success.). So yeah, technically two states, but for the sake of discussing the critical/big issues in this thread, one state consisting of WB-Israel. Hope that helps.

        And to conclude, your entire contention about this latest resolution is that it advances the case for an IL-compelled two-state outcome (meaning, I suspect, separating at least the WB from Israel). You argue like “this time it really means something” (sneer quotes if that’s where the confusion lies) whether you used those words specifically or not. Good luck.

        Fini.

        Obtw, the “moral arc” assertion comes from my belief that the WB-Israel state will in fact end up as a rights driven democracy after much struggle.

      • Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 10:21 pm

        ritzl: your original/ongoing contention that IL will force a two state outcome.
        —————-

        I’ve never once made such a contention.

        Please stop strawmanning.

        Thanks.

      • Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 10:30 pm

        ritzl: So yeah, technically two states, but for the sake of discussing the critical/big issues in this thread, one state consisting of WB-Israel. Hope that helps

        —————-

        Yes it does. Thank you.

        Two states is two states. It’s not a technicality. There are millions of Palestinians in Gaza. And the population is rapidly expanding.

        And your TWO state scenario leaves out the Palestinian refugees, needless to say.

        Gaza and the refugees ARE critical/big issues.
        ——————

        [ritzl: Nobody wants Gaza. It will be orphaned

        False. The Palestinians have NEVER accepted the permanent orphaning of Gaza.

        And I’m surprised that you think such a reality would be a promising development–the Palestinian “state” shrunk down to the tiny Gaza strip. All the rest, absorbed by Israel. Great.

        That’s even worse than the worst Israeli two-state proposal.

      • Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 10:57 pm

        That’s even worse than the worst Israeli two-state proposal.
        —————-

        Correction: ritzl’s TWO-state scenario is in fact very similar to the extreme right-wing Israeli proposals:

        I do not believe in a second Palestinian state beyond what we have in Gaza,” [Naftali] Bennett told the paper, saying that instead he proposed a staged end of Israeli military rule in Area C while offering full Israeli citizenship to the 80,000 Palestinians living there.

        For their part Jewish settlements in the West Bank would be incorporated into Israel while the remaining areas under Palestinian administration – known as Areas A and B – would be given a degree of autonomy short of statehood. [emphasis added]

        http://mondoweiss.net/2017/01/love-the-trump/comment-page-1/#comment-866071

        The strange thing is that he shares Bennett’s view that this is a positive development.

        I really hope that all the good people like ritzl who believe this think it through a little more.

      • Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 11:59 pm

        ritzl: You argue like “this time it really means something” (sneer quotes if that’s where the confusion lies) whether you used those words specifically or not.
        ————

        No, I haven’t argued that “this time it really means something”.

        If you are going to sneer at me, which I really don’t mind at all, please sneer at my actual words, not a paraphrase you concoct.

        Peace.

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