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Total number of comments: 327 (since 2011-10-28 06:57:53)

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  • The Jewish community must not embrace Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • "Like most religious texts, it’s full of contradictions – “compassion” one minute, wishing violent punishments on kafirs the next: “but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them”.

      Jaynot, at least learn to quote accurately regardless of your conclusions. Here's the full quote: "Do not, therefore, take them for your allies until they forsake the domain of evil for the sake of God; and if they revert to [open] enmity, seize them and slay them wherever you may find them. And do not take any of them for your ally or giver of succour, unless it be such [of them] as have ties with people to whom you yourselves are bound by a covenant, or such as come unto you because their hearts shrink from [the thought of] making war either on you or on their own folk - although, if God had willed to make them stronger than you, they would certainly have made war on you. Thus, if they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, God does not allow you to harm them."

      The Quran only allows defensive war. This verse applies to those who wish to enslave and kill other people. Innocents and non-combatants are not considered in the equation. This verse may well apply against the Takfiris. However, once the aggressors cease, "God does not allow you to harm them". As for aggression: "God does not like aggressors." It is foolish for the theological illiterates like you to say this book says so many things, great scholars like Abduh and Asad not to mention all the old geniuses described the Quran as comprehensive and united in which all parts support each other, not a loose collection of contradictions. Even in this supposed contradiction, aggression by Muslims is prohibited by God. Not only that, the Quran says that God does not destroy a community for disbelief as long as its members behave righteously towards each other (11:117). These are not the "good parts", but every part supports the other.

    • "Focusing exclusively on one particular problem (cause, evil) leads naturally to interpreting and assessing everything solely from that point of view."

      Again there's an a priori assumption that something is "evil" without knowing fully what it is. It is no different than a Salafist assumption that Socialism is evil.

    • "some scholars who seem to me very knowledgeable, such as Ibn Warraq"

      As opposed to Muhammad Abduh, Muhammad Asad and Fazlur Rahman? Asma Barlas? Not to mention Al Beruni, Ghazali and Ibn Rushd of old? Anyone who knows anything about al Qaeda/Takfiris knows that it is a tribal movement that didn't take hold until the 21st century, hence the large scale slaughter of both non-Muslims and Muslims, while Islam is a universal religion whose greatest scholars have always expressed humanism. The best commentary to Islam is the Qur'an itself, not any scholar.

  • For Miliband, the road to 10 Downing Street runs through Jerusalem and Sderot
    • Once again, Krauss, you are making egregiously false accusations. And an accusation that has more consequences than others. Also, there's nothing anti-Semitic about comparing human behaviour in various genocides and killings. In fact, it's what's needed if we are to have any sense of mutual responsibility. It is precisely presenting one as a mystical rather than real catastrophe that allows a country like Israel and its supporters to turn a blind eye to the catastrophe it continues to perpetrate. Perhaps you really need to get down to the "sewers" to understand.

  • Narendra Modi, a politician who presided over anti-Muslim pogrom, may be India's next leader, and U.S. cozies up to him
    • "the world’s muslims"

      "Will the muslims of the world be outraged at Brazil? Then they have to be outraged at the entire world."

      "but because over a billion muslims matter a lot more to its revenue than a few tens of millions of Sikhs"

      Krauss, as usual, your prejudice is evident even in your use of grammar. It is abundantly clear you know as little about India as Netanyahu knows about the Panchatantra. All you have provided evidence of is how good you are at swallowing the contents of one or two articles you linked to and then regurgigating it to make an ostensibly profound point that no one else can. No, you can shoot farther than anyone. That's right. I suggest you aim for your toilet bowl instead of stumbling to and fro to soil the coat of an honest man of letters like James North. You would have no problem, of course, if a Muslim criminal slaughtered a thousand "jews", disfranchised them and regularly cut off the electricity in the poor areas they inhabit and was later elected as PM. The US would of course welcome him. You would talk of how "the world's jews" have more monopoly on the Economist (for the obvious reasons) than "the Sikhs" and then give us a repetitious prose about all the happenings in India that no one else knows.

      I trust Arundhati Roy more than you. And for anyone interested, here's a great article by John Pilger: link to theguardian.com. The relevant paragraphs on Gujarat:

      Jawaharlal Nehru's democracy succeeded in granting the vote (today, there are 3.2 million elected representatives), but it failed to build a semblance of social and economic justice. Widespread violence against women is only now precariously on the political agenda. Secularism may have been Nehru's grand vision, but Muslims in India remain among the poorest, most discriminated against and brutalised minority on Earth. According to the 2006 Sachar Commission, in the elite institutes of technology, only four in 100 students are Muslim, and in the cities Muslims have fewer chances of regular employment than the "untouchable" Dalits and indigenous Adivasis. "It is ironic," wrote Khushwant Singh, "that the highest incidence of violence against Muslims and Christians has taken place in Gujarat, the home state of Bapu Gandhi."

      Gujarat is also the home state of Narendra Modi, winner of three consecutive victories as BJP chief minister and the favourite to see off the diffident Rahul Gandhi in national elections in May. With his xenophobic Hindutva ideology, Modi appeals directly to dispossessed Hindus who believe Muslims are "privileged". Soon after he came to power in 2002, mobs slaughtered hundreds of Muslims. An investigating commission heard that Modi had ordered officials not to stop the rioters – which he denies. Admired by powerful industrialists, he boasts the highest "growth" in India.

  • Liberal schizophrenia and moral myopia: On Ari Shavit's 'My Promised Land'
    • “I know that if it wasn’t for them [the militias who cleansed Lydda], the State of Israel would not have been born…They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live.” - Shavit

      This is eerily similar to Michael Walzer's views on political theory. No wonder unresolved arguments from the Second World War, Zionism and contemporary "humanitarian intervention" are intertwined. At their heart they all excuse massive civilian casualties and still profess nobility. "Shoot and cry" and furrow your forehead to be admired on the cover of the Times.

  • 'The clash of civilizations’ theory is absolutely and completely dead
    • LeaNder,

      Thanks for sharing your insight and the excerpt from that beautifully titled chapter expressing ugly things. I agree, it's doubtful about Lewis pulling all this on his own. His very influence speaks about the influence of those (the Israel lobby, including those at the New York Times) who propagated him and his views. I think he is definitely one of the pioneering figures in Zionism and the Israel Lobby. He is also an Armenian Genocide denier, at his sentence leading Zionists sent protests including the writer of the Israeli left Amos Oz. From my reading into Muslim fundamentalism, for example, there were two main figures (Qutb and Maududi in Egypt and South Asia respectively) in the late colonial period who shaped a lot of the trouble Muslims find themselves in regarding terrorism, puritanism, women's rights, nation state etc.

      On Talal's book On Suicide Bombing, here's an article by him that relates to issues discussed in his book: link to tandfonline.com. What's funny is how Samantha Power personally reviewed that book, it must have been excruciating for her to read it. In one place, Asad mentions how Israel deliberately left a million cluster bombs in Lebanon after the invasion, that 'blows' the whole argument of hasbarists that Israel doesn't deliberately target civilians. The aim was to terrorise, to put it mildly. He also looks at liberal warmakers in detail, for e.g. how pro-war liberals are "agonised" by criminal decisions (like, support for Iraq war) as if that ritual of relection/confession in opeds/books can morally cleanse them and they can begin again.

      Good luck with your seminar. They definitely have a great point about lifting the beam from one's own eye first that we should all follow. Cheers.

    • Sounds good, will check it out.

    • Thanks for sharing, gamal. Muhammad Asad counts Abduh among the greatest Islamic thinkers of all time alonside Ghazzali etc. I've read his book The Theology of Unity. Like you say, he was an incredible critic of Muslim society. He initiated reforms. He understood what was wrong. He corresponded with Tolstoy etc. and was confident enough in his faith to befriend Bahai leaders.

    • LeaNder,

      Interesting to hear about your friend. I have found the works of the anthropologist Talal Asad like 'Formations of the Secular' and 'On Suicide Bombing' very enlightening on this topic. The source for a lot of this kind of thinking, in my view, is Bernard Lewis who shifted the missionary Orientalism, which included Jews as subjects, of Christian and European travellers into a Zionist one. This realignment into "Judeo-Christian" civilisation has one purpose: to implant Israel or Zionism into the old boys' club. I think Lewis and his modern day henchmen have been very successful. The discourse is part of every day news as politicians and the media rail against "irrational" enemies, indeed one of the great sleight of hand tricks has been to reduce whole countries, not just individuals, into the enemy. Pummel the public with "irrational", "their culture" etc. etc. People like bin Laden and alQaeda share exactly the same worldview, a grossly dehumanising worldview of Westerners that allows people to kill innocent human beings. These acts further cement the propaganda.

    • Just to add a further point to this discussion, to paraphrase the great anthropologist Talal Asad (On Suicide Bombing): "the clash of civilisations" doesn't even take into consideration the inequalities within Europe.

    • Hughes and others,

      I hope you will say the same for the person Krauss accused of Holocaust denial recently. No evidence was given. The comment, in question, made a universalist point and had nothing to do with the reality of the Holocaust. In this thread, above, Krauss repeats this slander. He then expends many more than a hundred words expressing his horror and rancour at being accused of something that doesn't fit his intellectual profile.

      To Krauss,

      You should stick to analysing Liberal Zionism and what you know. Or what you care to know. Which Muslim or Arab sources have you read? Please provide evidence of your arguments. No one is criticising you for participating in this topic. Reactions to use of "Arab" and "culture" are not Pavlovian, your general conclusions from your many posts indeed belong to the Bernard Lewis school of thought. That's what's troubling. I agree with you on the limits of Chomsky's analysis (as does Bernard Lewis, just google it) but that doesn't make your own analysis right. Not only is your analysis of Arab minds, if one can call it that, wrong but your throwing in how India is Switzerland in terms of foreign relations is laughably misplaced without any attention to the fundamentalism in India which in my view is similar to the Egyptian variety. To speak nothing of the psychology of Zionism. This issue is trans religious and even trans cultural.

    • Krauss, how convenient of you to trot out the slander of Holocaust denial at a time when your argument lies in tatters. I'm glad you provided the link though, everybody can revisit your accusation. An incredibly serious accusation for which you need to hold yourself accountable.

    • Keith, I agree. In fact, Bernard Lewis advanced it in the service of Zionism. His formulation of "Judeo-Christian civilisation" when no such thing exists in the first place (the self-important Harold Bloom even admits so and for the reason that it helps Israel). Imagine, if someone had advanced the notion of conflict between Judaism, viewed as an outsider, and Christianity in Europe. And then that was used to attack Jews. Oh wait, some of that happened. People like Krauss here would cry anti-Semitism without saying things like "Judaism, after all, is these people's religion" or opine about how Jewish boys rape Christian European girls in the ghettos.

    • Krauss, your meandering/stumbling/falling intellectualising aside, your persistent, stiff refusal to rubbish "every Arab intellectual" and his/her opinion each time he/she wrote a single point of view article on Mondoweiss smacked of something weird even before. Now here you go again. You may be a non-Zionist but your sources for your analysis are actually Zionist or at least were part of the intellectualising by the Eusten Left in the run up to the Iraq War. Your critique of Chomsky/his ideology cannot allow you to brush over other voices without that same concern. It's like you showing off your knowledge by placing Chomsky's book on a pile of books by persons you are psychologically unable, rather unwilling, to engage with. You also make sweeping brush strokes over "India", forgetting how similar Indian Hindu nationalism to Muslim nationalism, Zionism of course takes the cake on that one, you don't know what bad/evil choices (not circumstances, mind you) led to these ideologies. Neither your superiors Lewis nor Huntington had the answer, in Lewis it was all a matter of conceit. Perhaps you want to feel part of the Judeo-Christian civilisation but it doesn't exist, it is a Zionist construct (Bernard Lewis) as admitted by the otherwise odious Harold Bloom. For all your blustering, I have one advice for you: read. Read better. The world is broader than you know.

  • Conservatives for Palestine
    • two things, how did your study of the Holocaust and the diary of Anne Frank inform your decision to write:

      “Sans oil exports, the Arab world exports about as much as Finland, a country of 5 million, in terms of value in GDP. The amount of literature being translated into Arabic is miniscule compared to the overall population.”

      Krauss has probably been spending too much time hunched over Bernard Lewis or rather his vacuous tomes.

    • I don't think you understood Gamal's point. And so "obviously sympathetic to thank kind of ideology" is false judgment.

  • Citing MLK, Florida students call on school to divest
    • Good post. There are/were definitely efforts to align the narratives of the Hebrews in Egypt with African-Americans in the US. This mythological rendering is best explained in 'Let My People Go' to which MLK himself subscribed: link to rfksafilm.org. It could be a form of Christian Zionism. I don't think it was merely an African-American expression but was pushed by Zionist Jews who believed in multiculturalism abroad but Zionism in Israel. King perhaps felt this was a pragmatic tactic but was squeamish about the moral question.

  • 'Jews For Palestinian Right of Return' endorse American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions
    • "Anti-zionism was a pretty Jewish engagement at the beginning of Zionism. Its Western non-Jews who are late to the party! But, better late than never, I suppose. Assuming you are not Jewish, Kathleen. Welcome. If you are, thanks for re-engaging an old Jewish tradition of dissent and anti and no-Zionism."

      What an astoundingly ignorant and narcissistic batch of sentences. People are "welcome" the moment they are born, they are not yours or anyone's subjects. The first anti-Zionist engagement was that of a Palestinian.

  • American Jewish leader calls Iranians manipulative 'bazaaris'
  • Rejecting collective punishment from Gaza to Syria
    • Inanna, speaking of Bandar further: didn't Bandar tell Putin that there would be no terrorism at the Winter Olympics if Russia sided with the Saudis? Now we have news of terrorist threats. What's Bandar's deal there, I wonder. It is no secret now that terrorism is a form of state violence by proxy. This explains why the Takfiris are not stampeding through Riyadh (or where its interests lie) but places like Kabul and Damascus.

  • Former 'NYT' reporter says Times should assign non-Jews to cover Israel/Palestine
    • Some of the Indian Americans are big funders of Hindu fascists in India as well and unsurprisingly big fans of Zionism.

  • 'Scarlett letter' -- Social media pillory Johansson for representing settlement business SodaStream
    • Yes giladg, "Arab oil money" fuels the conscience of the world in their machinations against poor Israel. Yeah this is the same Israel which is conjoined with that other misunderstood illustrious country of Saudi Arabia whose oil-starved, zombie takfiri-raising royalty are actually emaciated owing to their great labours for man.

  • Israel's '60 Minutes' attributes success of boycott movement to unending settlement of West Bank
    • That's it, seafoid. You laid the miscalculation bare in a nutshell. If there is no humanity in intelligence, then it is no intelligence at all. Zionism was doomed from the start, it broke all the Ten Commandments. I hope the Takfirism-by-proxy will meet the face of justice, too. Here's to a better world!

  • Eric Alterman declines request to debate Max Blumenthal at Brooklyn College
    • "who pointed out the scariness of Islamic practices and beliefs and pointed to a ceremony that seemed barbaric"

      yonah, your language suggests more of what you are advancing than what someone "pointed out". Someone can only point out something if it is true. Bring forth scriptural proof of your claim. I have one advice for you: read about a subject before making claims that suit your agenda.

    • "(whether such a thing exists I don’t know: I defer to those more knowledgeable about Islam than I am)"

      Tree, such a thing may well exist but has no source in Islam. Supporters of Israel like yonah and that woman deliberately conflate individual actions and group customs with Islam. It all goes back to the meme of the clash of civilisations, which directly profits both Zionism and its ideological cousin Taqfirism.

  • Israeli settlers set mosque on fire as UN says settler attacks have quadrupled in last 8 years
    • "I can’t agree with that. Anymore than I can I agree with Hamas (replace with favourite/least favourite group) terror attacks are Islamic terror."

      It wouldn't be accurate even then. Hamas terror attacks can be called Muslim terror attacks but not Islamic terror attacks. Islamic terror attacks is the same as Judaic terror attacks, not the same as Jewish terror attacks.

      "Muslim" and "Jewish" have to do with actions of individuals. The Muslim equivalent of a "Zionist" would be the "Islamist" (an inadequate term to begin with) going to fight in Syria and Afghanistan just as non-Israeli Zionists enlist in the IDF.

    • Page: 3
  • 'We can't let Israel determine when and where U.S. goes to war,' says Feinstein, but Hillary is quiet as a mouse
    • " Saudis at least do it rationally, assuming that they want to advance Wahhabi cause."

      The cause of the Saudis is the Saudis. The Saudi royals are interested in their material power and station, not ideology. Ideology is important in the sense of doctrine, not rule. The "advancement" of anything by the Saudis is defensive to the extent of their rule. That's why they have a Communist-style police state. They don't hate Iran for being Shias, indeed the Saudi founders would well have embraced Shia Islam if history were different.

  • 'His eye was not dim' -- Council on Foreign Relations gushes over Sharon
  • Ariel Sharon, whose political career was unhindered by civilian massacres, dies at 85
  • Arab-American scholars back ASA boycott as legal threats start pouring in
    • The academic institutions in none of these countries is entrenched in the policies of the govt. but are the victims of oppressive rule.

  • Who are the Arab-Americans and Muslims on State's Israel/Palestine team?
  • Should Jews break bread on Yom Kippur?
    • Oops I meant disagree, not digress. Also how do you explain the fact that there is less racism in Chaucer than in post-Enlightenment thought? My point is simply, mindful of the great tradition of the European Enlightenment, that the "Hellenistic" hagiography is misleading.

    • "What Marc doesn’t know is that the Muslim clergy is already like the rabbis, priests and ministers."

      True, it's a myth Muslims don't have a clergy. Islam doesn't have one, but like in all "religious institutions" the clergy have carved their own niche. Where there is business, there is corruption. And when a religion is seen as an institution, it makes it hard for the People of Conscience.

    • "Professor Ellis has an amazing talent for filling his articles with total, unmitigated, bollocks, and this article is a particularly rich collection, but he has surpassed himself when he write...."

      I digress. Professor Ellis has written another great article.

      "Western media are full of arguments about a huge variety of ethical questions: the morality of military intervention, euthanasia, human rights, environmental ethics, moral treatment of animals, gay marriage, etc. These sort of issues come up as editorials in newspapers, soap-opera storylines, TV talk shows, and more."

      I agree in part. On the other hand, you are giving too much preference to the "Hellenistic" etc. Wealth and technology under the umbrella of liberality offer good civic societies. The notion that there is diversity of views on the legality of war is itself not symptomatic of an ethical tradition. I believe any ethical human being would opposed warfare.

      There are scholarly texts (e.g. Talal Asad's endeavours on the anthropology of secularism) and Terry Eagleton's work that question some of the chest-thumping.

  • Was Obama bluffing on Syria all along?
    • Sorry for the misunderstanding. Good points.

    • "however the chips fall on this, whether we end up invading or not..it will likely be long and drawn out and create a loud national dialogue."

      I don't think you meant it like that. America should not have national dialogues at the expense of illegal invasions. Neither should America's civil rights battles - first black president, first woman pres. etc. - be at the expense of the world.

    • "sometimes, it does occur to me obama is more like a chauncey gardner, which allows people to infuse whatever their own beliefs are into his actions and speeches. "

      Yes, Chris Hedges has called Obama a brand: "Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest."

      link to truthdig.com

    • Putin should indeed get the main credit.

    • Great comment, American. I don't believe it started out as a bluff either. Hawks like Samantha Power were itching for war. Obama did not expect the public outcry. The public is the winner here. Congratulations everyone!

  • Chomsky: Israel and US enjoying the spectacle as Syria descends into suicide
  • 'Reincarnated war hawk' Samantha Power presses case for Syria attack to Beltway liberals
    • Samantha Power's raised left hand definitely resembles a hawk's talon. Unfortunately, her ideology is the worst that humans can produce.

  • NYT article raises questions about possible US allies in Syria as rebels ransack Christian village
    • riyadh,

      Some noteworthy comments by Chris Hedges on the role of saudi arabia regarding Syria and the impending war against Iran: link to truth-out.org

      JAY: I was at a conference a couple of months ago. I was invited as the press. And it was a lobbying agency that lobbies Middle Eastern governments more or less on behalf of arms manufacturers. I found myself a rather strange table fellow there. But the talk there was all about how much Saudi Arabia wanted the United States to not just deal with Assad, but wants an attack on Iran, and that the Saudis were going to find some way to make this happen.

      HEDGES: And, you know, the Saudis have created more havoc and damage within the Middle East, arguably, in the last two decades than any other country or any other group, including, of course, al-Qaeda.

      JAY: Yeah. I mean, Israel is a story all of its own, of course, but I take your point.

    • "It’s not to say that all these justify its human rights failures or its meddling in Syria but the good it has done has to be also acknowledged."

      I think you mean "positive side-effects", not "good". As American put it, these are done to keep the monarchs as royal as can be. I'm sure the money-changers in Jesus's time were also funding a few orphanages here and there to keep their lurid business going.

    • P.S. I know of no other country but saudi arabia that was carved out of the original land (Arabia) to serve the sole interests of cruel princes, upturned Islamic theology by publishing and distributing third-rate texts to burnish their own hegemony, funded sectarianism against minority Shias and Christian and Jews and Muslims, and talked about interfaith dialogue in Europe while prohibiting pluralism in their own country lest it complicate their own royalty, kept their people in darkness and ignorance so no one would revolt, spoke of Islamic values and abused Indonesian women working as maids who mistakenly thought they would be treated well by these devoted Muslims who turned out to be arrogant, self-satisfied hypocrites funding war and ignorance in many lands.

    • They are supporting their human rights which are not ordained by riyadh or saudi arabia or bandar bush or the terrorists you adore and support. Imagine yourself a Christian in that Christian village and being attacked by the takfiris you here support. Try to be human for a change.

  • AIPAC comes out for strike on Syria-- and mentions Iran more often than Syria
    • AIPAC: "The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons...."

      AIPAC sounds a lot like Samantha Power @ twitter: "Findings of our assessment on #Syria are clear, and there's a reason after WWI the civilized world agreed CWs should never again be used."

  • No one knows what Obama stands for
  • Do's and don'ts for progressives discussing Syria
    • I only recognised Paul Berman, BHL and Karl Rove on that list, but they should be enough for Hugh's Three Bad Things: link to rivercottage.net

    • Amen.

      'Israel should shut it, too. They cannot be trusted any more than the “west’ can.'

      Not to mention Saudi Arabia.

    • "especially when they’re as poorly informed as this author.'

      Not poorly informed. Fiercely ideological.

    • Good analysis, Annie.

      Also Kudaimi bashing "the left" on her recent twitter for not jumping on the warhorse is eerily reminiscent of the "principled left" baying for war against Iraq. Read Eusten Manifesto, Hitchens, Michael Gawenda and Pamela Bone.

  • Are we all Islamists now?
    • Taxi, except in Egypt it is a recipe for disaster. This coup will only embolden the takfiris. Also there is a mighty difference between mb and the takfiris of Syria. But after this coup - particularly, the massacres -- the difference may well be slimmer. The radicalism of the mb is directly proportional to their suppression. Welcome to the history of fundamentalism. The coup has worsened the situations, Morsi's excesses could have been curtailed without it. It has set Egypt back. Chris Hedges has a column on this. And the history of fundamentalism is repeating itself. Also check this out: link to jadaliyya.com

  • In Egypt, fascist incitement
    • Nick Cohen: 'between “fascists with uniforms and fascists with Korans” as the Egyptian feminist Mona Eltahawy put it'

      Eltahawy, whose twitter account is more unbearable than 1000 screaming cockatoos and whose vocabulary can be summed up with her favourite word "shit", has been justifying the pro-coup killings on the street. How convenient for Eusten Cohen Manifesto to quote Opportunistically Ambivalent (Me, me, me) Eltahawy.

  • Jews are smarter, and funnier too
    • "I grew up with these beliefs. Maybe they were true once."

      These beliefs are myths. Otherwise, how can one explain that the wisest medieval Jew (still celebrated) was an underling of a philosopher called Averroes? If Jews held more power, the wisest medieval Muslim would well have been an underling of a Jewish philosopher. How do heralded identities fare in different times? It has everything to do with power, liberality (as opposed to the establishment "liberalism"), opportunity, patronisation and the socio-economic landscape. People usually get to act smart and funny when they are privileged in the first place.

  • Morsi, the last caliph-president of Egypt
    • Excellent interview with Talal Asad on Egypt: link to jadaliyya.com

      "What I have said about the situation is as much as I know–and probably even more than I know. But it is very, very distressing. Unfortunately, what I find most distressing are the activists who are neither heroes nor villains but have contributed to making the situation in Egypt more difficult."

    • "I think that all political governments which are based on one religion or another are potential disasters."

      Spot on.

  • Alicia Keys show in Israel has propaganda backbeat-- repeatedly tweeted by consulates and Foreign Ministry
    • No, he’s retired and doesn’t legally represent anyone anymore.

      That's an incredibly disingenuous argument. Clinton is representative of state, of Hilary Clinton (including her future in politics), of the Democratic Party even.

      I’d like to remind you that the 2005 BDS call to action specifically stated: We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.

      Eventually it might mean the pressure will hinder figures like Clinton. Even International Law can be trashed similarly. International Law and the last ditch and small effort called BDS can work simultaneously. Let's not get into the anti-BDS cult or the BDS cult.

      We need to get our priorities straightened out a bit when that happens and no one bothers to complain.

      I agree.

    • The press has never named one Israeli public figure or state official who attended her concert.

      They've used her for propaganda and public relations as this article states in the very headline. Compare this to the information put out by US Campaign to end the Occupation quoted here: "However, Keys and her legal representative, the firm Ziffren, Brittenham, LLP, whose partner David Byrnes is also an advisory board member of Creative Community for Peace, took legal action to remove from Youtube a video made by activists of Palestinian women protesting set to the tune of "Girl on Fire" that called on Keys to cancel her show in Israel."

      Surely Keys picked a side. It's obvious to most.

    • Hostage,

      That's because BDS is a response to the unwillingness of the state. Clinton represents the state. Keys doesn't. There's a big difference between the two. Though I would argue that Keys' actions place her an enabler of the structures of power from whom nothing can be expected but platitudes.

  • In Photos: Crossing Qalandia on the second Friday of Ramadan
    • Is Alicia Keys going to read this? Is this better than the situation in Florida? Update on Keys: despite lecturing everyone on the "universal" healing of music and playing in Israel, Keys has lent her name to boycotting Florida.

  • Ramadan in Palestine
  • Syria's faultlines extend into Lebanon and Palestine
  • Exile and the Prophetic: Samantha Power’s quest
    • "To me it appears they are consoling each other. They look beaten rather than triumphant."

      You are unwittingly humanising those who have voluntarily sold their souls. They are not consoling each other. They are acting out for the camera. The distance between them and a humane (rather than human) concept of "consolation" is that between Martin Luther King (a practicing human being) and Barack Obama (a brand like Nike).

  • What Bradley Manning showed the world about Israel/Palestine
    • "If Mitt would have won POTUS seat, he’d be even more Israel First, but his regime would have been subjected to more effective dissent via identity politics since he’s has white as can be."

      Great observation, Citizen.

  • UN nominee Power spoke of Israeli human rights abuses and US 'domestic constituency' with 'tremendous' financial clout
    • Here is Power kissing up to Boteach and the Lobby:

      link to haaretz.com

      She has recanted all those 2001 statements which are hardly newsworthy even on their own. Power lives up to her name by hungering for power like all those other crooked people like the Clinton's, Rice's, Obama, Cheney etc.

    • "Unfortunately she made that ‘monster’ remark about Hillary and had to resign from the election campaign."

      No doubt out of professional animosity/envy than moral truth. Power's actions in Libya make her a "monster". She is another power-hungry monster loose in D.C. She reminds me of Susan Rice. Race and gender have been used as propaganda tools. White or black, man or woman, they play the same old games.

  • A debate over Zionism in the bowels of the Rayburn House Office Building
    • Sand: "This is an oxymoron that has severe consequences: it creates injustice; it leads to exclusion of native locals, and it may bring destruction upon us all."

      In one perfect sentence Sand has levelled the delusions of liberal Zionists like Beinart and his silver-haired fanboys.

  • Tell Alicia Keys: Don't entertain apartheid
    • The article gets worse and worse as you proceed. The quote from the Qur'an in the article is incorrect. Check out M. Asad's 'The Message of the Qur'an' (Ch. 9, V. 29) and the explanation. Granted, that quote may appear in one Islamist translation by a political Muslim ideologue but that is like quoting a Zionist translation of Judaism. Also I have often come across quotes I cannot find anywhere. It's a cheap and disingenuous to say that "this statement" doesn't appear in the Talmud. Shouldn't he mean the Torah? How much did this guy get paid, I wonder, and who commissioned him to write this? He clearly does not know his own religious texts.
      BDS has really given the ziobots another reason to draw on that uber-Zionist Bernard Lewis's propaganda of "the clash" in the obvious service of Zionism.

    • "One thought a black woman would have better judgment when it comes to apartheid."

      We already saw it with Obama, Susan Rice and Condoleezza Rice. Keys is a big supporter of the fashionable Brand Obama, just another megalomaniacal leader with a god complex. Color has nothing on justice. Tribalists, whether black or white or in between, are the biggest obstacles to universal justice and their music certainly doesn't speak a "universal language".

    • Keys: "I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”

      What an astoundingly inconsistent statement. Fiercely ideological gloved in sanitised neutrality. Perhaps Keys in unaware of the fable of the wolf is sheep's clothing. The hallowed social category called artists should live up to their words before speaking. Just because you can sing or speak doesn't make you an expert on morality. Stop destroying concepts like "universal language".

  • George Orwell would hate Israel
    • "I do think morality is often overlooked when considering who is an intellectual and not. An intellectual, if we are serious about the term, should be someone who informs not just by facts but from a strong moral position against more powerful forces with such an intellectual force..."

      This is why Chris Hedges is actually America's greatest intellectual. Chomsky's probably the second or third.

    • "Among Buddhists, let’s say? I’m not aware of any."

      Yes certainly. The ongoing violence in Burma demonstrates that Buddhists are no different from other human beings. Furthermore, Hinduism in its established order has a big hierarchy, an outsider/insider. It is further revealed in the first encounters with India (see Al-Biruni).

    • '“You are the best of mankind raised for the benefit of humanity” is how the Qur’an describes Muslims.'

      I don't want to get into theological debates here, but let's clear some errors. The Qur'an only contains one reference to "Muslims" and that, too, to admonish the desert Arabs to not call themselves "believers" but "Muslims" for "faith has not entered their hearts". Belief in God is coupled with good actions and "kindness is a mark of faith" etc.

      So "Muslim" in fact has a neutral connotation in the Qur'an.

      Your quote refers to particular people in a particular time, to believers who do good actions, not Muslims.

      In no way can I believe that it refers to the takfiri Salafists in Syria who by all Islamic precepts are criminals. They are Muslims certainly but not believers.

      As a universalist monotheist I find expressions of "chosenness" as espoused by Jews, Christians and Muslims deeply problematic. Violence as perpetrated by them is inherently tribalistic, and you can say the same for violence by Buddhists. The notion of chosenness, an invention and ideology of all religious and political institutions and the hypermasculine ego, is anti-humanistic. It is also stupid since this world is bigger than a single country/single tribe/single gender etc. etc.

  • Dershowitz calls Hawking an 'ignoramus,' a 'lemming,' and likely an anti-Semite
  • Islamophobic 'Foreign Policy' article compares Boston bombing and Palestinian resistance to occupation
    • Great article.

      Bernard Lewis has been peddling this nonsense for ages. Everybody knows why. Yair Shamir or Sam Harris, they all rely on that same clash of civilisations ideology (the phrase originally coined by Bernard Lewis who the NYT describes as the "doyen of Middle Eastern studies" which is equivalent to a paper in a Muslim country describing Sayyid Qutb as the "doyen of Western studies"). The dehumanisation helps killing the Other, whoever does it.

      Bernard Lewis, a Zionist foremost, offers a myth called the "Judeo-Christian civilisation" against "Muslim rage". This is ideological service for Zionism as even the odious Harold Bloom acknowledged here link to beliefnet.com:

      "It is absurd to talk about a Judeo-Christian tradition. I say this in spite of the political good that this does for the State of Israel or the remnant of Jewry."

      Bloom is wrong just as well: like all Zionists, or tribalists of any religion whether they are atheist (as he is or not), he makes claims for Jewry that would be opposed by any right-minded Jew. Zionism is advertised to the "Western audience" in this language, drawing upon terrorist atrocities like the Boston bombing in a united front. It knowingly exploits the fears of ordinary people. If the original inhabitants of Palestine were Buddhist, they would be peddling nonsense about Buddha. Fundamentalism, whether coming from the Islamists or Zionists or Hindu nationalists, is the same thing. Yair Shamir and Bernard Lewis are both fundamentalists.

  • Obama has done nothing to alleviate 'explosive' occupation -- eminent Europeans
    • Reminds me of:

      "How do you take your poison? We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us ...." - Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Sept 24 2012

  • Extremists & traitors
    • Annie, Djinn and Shingo,

      Mendes once came to lecture Mondoweiss, I remember from a comment ages ago. He never returned, wonder why, though that's one less hasbarist. "Mendes and co." tried to bully Overland magazine and failed: link to overland.org.au

      I was googling for his exact comment on Mondoweiss but instead came upon a dishonest recent article smearing Mondoweiss. Mendes, of course, couldn't miss commenting on it and ran with his usual propaganda.

  • My guide was a righteous radical
  • Two very different Israeli replies to Samer Issawi's invitation
    • Citizen,

      Aye. Aye.

    • Fritz, thanks for the explanation of the parable and the background info.

      Also curious how "just war" was used as a liberal hasbara meme relating to "the wish also to be seen as most moral". Hand it to Walzer: link to mondoweiss.net

      As you put it "the arrogance mixed with liberalism". That hits the bull's eye.

    • "... the arrogance mixed with liberalism ...."

      Bingo. Here is Fania Oz-Salzberger:

      "Of course, civilians have always been in the line of fire and conquest, from Troy to Berlin. But no regime has ever used its citizens so deliberately as tools to arouse world sympathy, as hostages to modern sensitivities. While theories of just war instruct us not to hurt noncombatants, Hamas and its military arm have made a conscious decision, banking on global humanitarian concerns, to ensure that Israel hits as many civilians as possible."

      Full article: link to japantimes.co.jp

  • Celebrating Israel's birthday, '2 luminary philosophers' to explore whether Zionism and liberalism are 'complementary identities'
    • Always enjoy Phil's take on anything to do with Walzer. Mondoweiss blows the bubble of myths and discomfits composed "luminaries" with straightforward facts and reflections.

  • Hiroshima epiphany
    • "BTW: Read about some of the Islamic mass murders of Buddists when they conquered India. Read Here link to fsmitha.com"

      That is no different from the Buddhist mass murder of Muslims in 1258 and razing Baghdad to the ground: link to en.wikipedia.org

      To call it "Islamic mass murders" is a bit rich when these murders, like the ones committed by Buddhists, were actually Mongol conquests in religious garb.

      The rest of your "history" on the Native Americans and the Crusades, which objectively were mutually destructive and aggressive, is just as nonsensical.

  • 'FEMEN' and the suppression of native voices
    • "At the same time, it is hard to swallow the claim that Islam is not a patriarchal religion. Can anyone really read the Quran and fail to perceive that the author has a patriarchal view of women?"

      I think it boils down to who is doing the interpreting and who is the translator/interpreter, who has power over discourse (gender group etc).

      One can similarly argue that the Qur'an's absolute prohibition against burying female babies alive or dead because of their gender or rebuke to the Arabian polytheists who claimed "God has daughters" while not wanting daughters themselves and not accepting what the Qur'an calls "glad tidings" of a girl's birth is anti-patriarchal. How are these meanings not conveyed by the religious orthodoxy when "honour killings" are committed?

      A religious text is not a concrete manifestation. Islam certainly arose in a patriarchal societal context but is not bound by a context as theologians like Muhammad Abduh argued. The argument that Islam is a patriarchal religion is perfectly valid, ontologically speaking, from the perspective of non-believers who consider religion a historical document or religious traditionalists/Puritans who consider religious knowledge as constant and anchored in history or commentary.

      Learned scholars like Abduh, derided by Puritans as rationalist/liberal/modernist, would disagree that the "author" is patriarchal. Muslim family law is definitely patriarchal. But there is a difference between law and the text. The law is a contested interpretation. To call the author "patriarchal" would make no room for thought, which devoids the very stated purpose of the text.

      For example, check this debate, including some of the patriarchal and anti-patriarchal responses: link to goatmilkblog.com

  • Tribalism in the Jerusalem speech
    • "Ultimately history is determined by those who are organized, who feel there is something worth fighting for, and who are prepared to put their lives on the line."

      The fact that you think that's gallant reveals a lot about your ideology. A tribal Zionist sounds a lot like a tribal Islamist (excuse the superlative "tribal").

    • "What makes matters even worse is that the liberals ignore the draconian nature by which Arab and Mulsim societies are usually run, and refer only to the liberal Israeli press for their political thermometer. Only that the liberals pursue narrow agendas and don’t represent a lot of people."

      What balderdash! You make some astonishing, false claims about "liberals". It must hurt you to know that the liberal establishment actually supports Israel and is largely PEP and supports colonialism without batting an eye: link to guardian.co.uk.

      Ordinary liberals, on the other hand, are much more informed. Most educated university students are liberal. They don't support draconian anything.

    • Thank you Marco. When I read this piece I knew something was amiss. Anyway I was thinking further: that if we are to scrutinise, we shouldn't leave out the myths, including the grand, self-important national myths Americans believe in about their own nation. To take these two examples is selective at best. I consider Obama a brand and am not his fan, but let me ask Bromwich and those who consider this article excellent: can you name one national leader who does not believe in the myth of the nation? Obama's only problem here is echoing more myths than one. It's not like he has ignored the myth of American exceptionalism which like all his predecessors he is sworn to repeat.

  • What's the point of this trip?
    • "That’s the brilliant, truth-telling MSNBC analyst that so many liberals seem to love."

      These liberals are ensconced in privilege and incapable of any questioning. They are Puritan minded and liberated only in their latte sipping or sexual awakening, whatever they want to call it. It was not the conservatives that run Pilger and Hedges under their wheels by censuring them though conservatives are abominable too, it were liberals like Maddow, who edit papers and the liberal establishment in general.

      Here's another such liberal: link to antonyloewenstein.com. The case reveals how the liberal establishment functions.

    • "Even if one accepts the 2SS along the 67 borders (with any adjustment in boundaries compensating the Palestinians in some major way for what they lose), the rhetoric employed by Obama and most “liberal Zionist” politicians is heavily biased in favor the Israel."

      Right on Donald. I also think liberal Zionists happen to be the number one fans of Obama even if other liberals have given up or are giving up on him. Liberal Zionist critique of Israel is tepid even at its most severe, it is made to ingratiate liberal Zionists to the wider and corrupt liberal establishment while at the same time maintaining Zionist credentials. Those who are truly liberal and universalist have no place in the liberal establishment and neither should they.

  • Obama praises Israel to high heavens as Israeli and American elite cement 'unbreakable' alliance
  • Obama scared AIPAC into silence, then defeated it
    • Good, but did these feminists have anything to say about the secular Labor party? Condeming the orthodox or religion is a convenient distraction. The religious who are deluded did not receive revelations from God but from the state.

  • 'Tablet' publishes Vilkomerson saying lobby promotes Islamophobia, and 'power over justice'
    • Hophmi, methinks you protest too much. Let me put this straight: the Zionist movement as a whole fosters Islamophobia. Islamophobia is ingrained in Zionism just like Islamophobia is ingrained in Hindutva. Just as anti-Westernism is ingrained in Islamism. The beginnings of these movements can be traced to the last two centuries are so.

      Let's stop pretending Zionism is a Biblical prophecy. It's another petty, paranoid, non-special, fascist, gold calf-like, tribe-makes-right fundamentalist movement that comparatively gets way more respect than other fundamentalist movements.

  • Emad Burnat's Oscar speech: 'We are seeking freedom and peace -- for my son Gibreel and his generation'
    • Or better yet, as Abraham said something like: "I don't believe in the sun because I can't see it at night. It can't be godly like the pagans around me seem to think, nor can the tree control my destiny nor objects of stone." The great rationalist if there ever was. A few Greek philosophers reached the same conclusion.

  • Wait, why would a liberal Democrat line up with Dick Cheney?
    • "William C. Thompson Jr. is a progressive black Democrat ..."

      It should now be clear to anyone that a person's colour or his own emancipation has nothing to do with his sense of justice. People bought in to Obama's brand too quickly, forgetting that Bush's cabinet was perhaps the most multiracial in US history (Pilger). The right of coloured people to hold equal power against the myth of white superiority (which was enchained to technological progress) is indisputable. What is troubling is the liberal penchant to ignore human rights abuses whether in their country or abroad just for a brand utility. Case in point: consider the liberal Zionist support for Obama at the expense of the Palestinians. As for enclaves of African-American support for Obama and for power in general after continued exclusion, without reflection of its ethical merit, it should be called out for the ethnocentrism it is. The same applies to other tribal politics, including the one underway in Syria at the behest of Saudi Arabia et al. or what occurred in Libya, including the massacre of sub-Saharan workers there.

  • Two social critics who used Nazi analogy-- Mark Rudd, Betty Friedan
    • "First, there is no analogy: even among evils, the Holocaust is in a class by itself, as absolute and unimaginable form of evil as the world has ever known."

      There is a relation between all sufferings. To not believe so would justify absence of empathy. Evil is imaginable. Let's not smother reality with mysticism.

  • Gay porn mogul unveils pinkwashing documentary
    • Piotr, early Muslims made considerable forays into philosophical and scientific discourses and made many inventions that were not pioneered in India. Yes like all thinkers they were influenced by those that came before just as today's Muslims cannot claim great and profound European achievements as their own. How does that nullify those achievements? Also AlBeruni travelled to India, you might want to look him up. In truth, I am more with Gamal on this topic. We are just one family, even if distant relatives as AlBeruni would say. Also achievements are made by individuals, not cultures. As the Prophet Muhammad said: a tribe that does not desist from boasting of its forefathers is like a beetle which rolleth forward a ball of dung by the end of its nose.

    • This guy sounds as ignorant as Frank Miller. The civilisation of Islam produced the highest number of polymaths in the shortest time span ever in human history and the highest number of polymaths in general. Look up Ibn Rushd, AlBeruni, Ibn Sina, Ibn Khaldun...they are unheard of but talking facts each of these men intellectually weighed more than Voltaire, Freud and Spinoza combined.

  • 'Gentiles of the Year 2012' include singer who performed for Israeli army benefit in LA
    • Isn't that akin to some American joining the Taliban? The question remains: Why is one form of violent tribalism permissible while the other is not?

  • Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor to speak at Columbia Law School tonight
    • Interesting how pro-Israel advocates build their common case with Europe through the "Islamic spectre". Imagine if someone talked about the "Jewish spectre" or rather the "Judaic spectre", no you would never hear that. These people continue to lump all Muslims together, incidentally they also lump all Jews together. Bernard Lewis's wet dream come true.

  • Samer Issawi is like an olive tree; his head reaches the sky and nobody can uproot him
  • Chomsky: Obama strongly supported Israel's 2006 Lebanon invasion
    • Yes those are conspiracies, but how does that take away from legitimate critiques of Chomsky's analysis of responsibilities? Since Chomsky is often regaled as a guru, it is only right to shine the light where he doesn't tread all too well. Why is that a problem?

  • Hillary Clinton showed more spine with Netanyahu than Obama has
    • Your comment struck out in the first piece, one of the best I've read on Mondoweiss. Couldn't agree more. Anything else obfuscates reality.

  • Video: Israeli occupying forces arrest mother and her 18-month-old child near Hebron
    • Recently I have not heard any Brand Obama customer 'droning' about how 'universal humanistic' their guru is. He has been reduced to the "lesser of the evils". Perhaps further discounts will apply? Has the Brand lost the charm? I don't think this tragedy will figure in his or any other statesman's periodic ponders -- if they even do ponder, which I reckon is not the case. If they did, they would be held unsuitable for public office.

  • All the news that's fit to print... 65 words
  • Blowback, from Mali to Iran
    • One thing is clear: these interventions have successfully instituted a Taliban Raj. The citizens, besides a handful of "rebel" strongholds whose voice was amplified to that of the "Libyan nation" etc., of these countries did not ask for anyone to intervene, they well knew the ugly ideology that Saudi Arabia's clergy propagate and whose foot soldiers wreak tremendous havoc in addition to centuries of Western interference. Even Al Jazeera appears to be distancing itself from the Syrian rebels now or it was in that one Al Jazeera English report I watched.

      Libya was essentially about the US-Russia/China Cold War standoff and look how far that arrogance got them and at what cost to ordinary people.

  • Fallows bridles at the use of the anti-Semitism bogy
    • "New anti-Semitism has think tanks devoted to classifying and tracking the phenomenon and branding the perpetrators. It has about as much of moral validity as Intelligent Design has scientific validity."

      What's interesting is that Bernard Lewis's Islamophobia fully mirrors, no comprehensively extends, what he called new anti-Semitism, including his wet dream about Iranian cosmic evil.

  • 'Beyond Tribal Loyalties' -- new volume spotlights awakenings of 25 Jewish activists
    • Betsy, nothing wrong with the word 'tribal' here. 'Tribal' is indeed bad and racist ethnonationalism. Before human beings were divided into tribes, still prevalent with Indigenous systems, but the nation-state limited that to families. The 'tribal' in Indigenous systems has nothing to do with racism, but tribal partisanship as espoused by certain groups is indeed bad. It has nothing to do with Indigenous system of tribalism. All fundamentalist movements are driven by tribalism.

  • Lobby leans on Schumer to block Hagel-- now that Ackerman, Berman, Frank, Weiner, Rothman and Lieberman are gone
    • Zionism is the golden calf, not the monotheist God. And the monotheist God is not a tribal god or "the God of Israel" (that would make it close to paganism), but of everyone. Perhaps those who have no understanding of monotheism should limit their critiques to tribal monotheism. I wouldn't call the Zionist conception of God as monotheist, only universal, humanist souls understand monotheism.

      Even Gandhi was inspired by true monotheism, other great minds like Tolstoi and Abduh. You also forget that there were monotheist Greek philosophers who resisted the idols of the state.

  • AP headline projects 'Jewish state's end'
    • Krauss, that's like saying a person is not a human if he projects inhumanity. Let's face it, liberals can be war-mongers, close-minded and imperialists. The argument that liberalism and Zionism are incompatible is a different one, even here we must note that contemporary liberalism is vastly different from classical liberalism.

  • 'This is war propaganda, and you are the target'--latest anti-Muslim subway ads get another makeover
    • Waleed, you may read it whichever way you like. The verse following this refers to the battle of Uhud. And also chastises the Muslims for their weak faith. It is within that context. Interestingly Muhammad Asad's translation uses the word "dread".

      I was replying to Abu Malia, I didn't use the word "Mushrikoon", perhaps you need to take that up with the relevant person.

    • Yes idolators, but not all idolators. Verses such as the above refer to the persecution meted out to the fledgling Muslim community by the polytheists. I think Islam is very clear: all human beings are to be respected and God alone is the Judge. Religion cannot be coerced and no human being can be cursed.

      The Qur'an endears itself to "believers who do good deeds", and only once refers to Muslims and that to correct them by saying that they should not call themselves believers. Clearly the Qur'an is a deep book and I believe it has not been understood as it should be.

    • Also worth adding that the worst offenders in Islam are hypocrites from among the Muslims themselves (a whole chapter is dedicated to them) and it is reported that they will earn the lowest depths of hell fire. Muhammad even said: "The greatest enemies of God are those who are entered into Islam, and do acts of infidelity, and who without cause, shed the blood of man." Muhammad also said: "Feed the hungry and visit the sick, and free the captive if he be unjustly confined. Assist any person oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim." This effort to paint Islam as darkness itself both by Muslim hypocrites and the Gellers of this world is predicated on ignorance of the religion and political opportunism. Muhammad Abduh has already addressed these matters in 'The Theology of Unity'.

      Islam positions paganism as ignorance, monotheism redeeming man, acts such as burying infant girls alive are considered ignorance of old before man is emancipated ethically through Divine guidance and rational evolution to consider the message, with the One God of all asking the child for what crime she was slain. Contemporary actions such as honour killing continued by populations would not meet the litmus test of belief if one considers it intelligently.

  • After Islamophobic hate crime in New York City, mayor wants public to 'keep death in perspective'
  • With conventional wisdom solidifying behind Hagel, will Obama finally declare on 'Meet the Press?'
    • Sean, I don't feel this is a controversial statement either. I have myself lamented on this site of how mid-20th century fundamentalist pioneers advocated the changing of the meaning of Islam itself and undid the great efforts of luminaries like Abduh. Those who ignore the fact or do not wish to consider that Zionism is changing the meaning of Judaism and how corrupt the establishment has become are actually unwittingly letting it happen. It is participants in a socio-historical context who give meaning to a text, even a sacred one (Khaled Abou El Fadl). I disagree with you on a few points in this diverse exchange, but good on you for firmly reinforcing this absolutely crucial fact. It is indeed a matter of fact.

    • Interesting. The secular gets played down a lot.

    • Hophmi: "India is a country that is certain in part an ethnic nationalistic state. It is a tech incubator. The idea that ethnic nationalism has dragged Israel down is belied by your own argument; it outpaces virtually every country on earth in tech start-ups per capita."

      Chris Hedges: “We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”

    • Sean, sorry if I misunderstood you. I think of Zionism as more of an illusion, like the golden calf and I do the same for Islamism and the Christian Right. But the bigger worry than these philosophical questions is what it does to Palestinians day in and day out. Legal action must be taken on that account alone, and the struggle for the Jewish soul should be left to serious-minded Jewish ethicists who I think will be born or active in this century. The use of Jewish iconography by Zionists - a feature of all false, morally vacant, ethnoreligious movements - only shows that a theological critique is indispensable. The latter should not dwarf the immediate, practical concern of freeing Palestinians from the yoke of abject injustice and continual 24/7 war crimes.

      We agree on the universality and importance of knowledge and freedom and on monotheism understood within the context of reason and inquiry, indeed it calls for it. As expressed by great people like Abduh, Elmer Berger, Tolstoi, Gandhi, and yes Newton.

    • Sean, I agree with many aspects of the Enlightenment (such as those you mentioned, particularly freedom of opinion even though it was and is applied selectively by the elites) and disagree with others ("scientific racism"). I was in effect responding to your statement quoted by Mooser where you argued that Zionism was a corollary of Judaism, which I protested. Similar statements have been made by posters on monotheism, some Jewish. So your statement was not extraordinary. I didn't think you were attacking Judaism in particular, but attribute it to your Enlightenment Whiggishness. You appeared to have overlooked one simple fact: Zionism, like all modern fundamentalist, ethnoreligious segregationist and violent movements is wedded to the ideology of revolution which is one of the bad products of the Enlightenment. That Jewish establishments have bought into Zionism, we agree. That is a task for Jewish ethicists to recognise and separate the two. This is true for all violent, revolutionary movements that have hijacked the moral voices of faith. On Hitchens, we disagree. I think he was always deluded and was at best a mediocrity. My attitudes are shaped by a rational, universal monotheism ontology of One God, one humanity with compassion toward all that exists, everyone has freedom but no one is a master of his destiny. Some of the thinkers other than the monotheist prophets I admire are Muhammad Abduh, Elmer Berger, Tolstoi, Lao Tse and Gandhi and the many women who history has not recognised such as my life mentor. I dislike all forms of tribalism and ethnic-binding. Life has taught me nothing is permanent, we are all travellers. And yes I like Newton on your list. I admire both his scientific and theological observations.

    • Sean: 'All ethnic groups have “intrinsic traits” — statistically significant characteristics, mannerisms, attitudes, behavioral styles, customs, etc. Contemporary Hollywood exploits this basic fact of life on a regular basis.'

      Behaviour is formed not out of genealogical predestination but fully through conditioning and commerce, including through categorisation by dominant groups which affects subordinate groups to view themselves in the defiled image, which is in fact what Hollywood does. Contemporary Hollywood, like popular cinema anywhere, is fascistic.

      Remember Spielberg's Temple of Doom? How close was that to reality? What's the moral lesson in that? Simple: Hollywood is opportunistic and plays upon political moods. It is not art or sociology, it's the establishment run by men who lack any moral depth or even shallows.

    • Mooser, to be fair that quote on Judaism is ideologically consistent with the anti-monotheism screeds by a lot of people on this site. You may have missed Sean's responses to the killing of Christopher Stevens at the hands of deranged "revolutionaries" in Libya. Sean, I think, subscribes to the progressive linear Enlightenment nature of time. Within this context Christianity is treated to the same apprehension. He believes that traditions must be facilitated to this scheme. The problem with that is that he can take up allies as morally shallow, overrated thinkers and advocates of murder like Christopher Hitchens and forgets that the ideology of "revolution" of which Zionism is a product comes out of Enlightenment Europe, not monotheism. These masters of rhetoric like Hitchens would not have earned a second glance from great sages like Socrates who already deconstructed rhetoric.

      This often blindsides blind Enlightenment-thumpers just like their fundamentalist religious opponents, other than the fact that their worldview is provincial and often excuses and even celebrates polytheism which is also riddled with fundamentalists and "revolutionaries". There are two sides to the Enlightenment, it is not sacred as testified by Hitchens et al., it has influenced humanity for both good and ill. Judaism is just like any other religious tradition. I lean toward universalism, which I believe is the true message of Jewish thought as advocated by Elmer Berger. Zionism appeals to the early religious construction of tribalism which is particular to a tribal notion of God but theological contested by right-minded, universal-oriented Jews.

  • Bagel for Hagel?
    • Couldn't agree more. Obama will principally be known as a scam or a brand by future generations who have acquired distance from the public relation stream of the present. Those who have recognised him as such in the present have been shunned by the so-called left. I have heard otherwise intelligent people express support for him just because of the colour of his skin, which is patronising to say the least. That may be historic, but universalists never cared about a history that sins. Each man is known by his fruits. No one with moral integrity can be allowed to run for president. There are too many players and powers you must bow to. No truly moral man can fulfil the duties of a president. The whole system in place is rotten. Now they come out to stone Hagel and Brand Obama could care less.

  • Why should I be accused of being Westernized?
    • OlegR, the question is directed at you. As you are the occupier, does the direct relation between occupation and conservatism not interest you? Why would you choose to denounce conservatism while actually profiting from it?

    • "A classic totalitarian trick, a permanent state of national emergency that forever takes priority over any kind of internal problems."

      This is not "dirty laundry", it's a discussion. Avi G pointed out the connection between occupation and conservatism. What do you have to say to that?

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