Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1351 (since 2014-02-14 21:33:31)


Retired middle American.

Showing comments 100 - 1

  • Obama raises big bucks at home of man who said president and Netanyahu are on 'the same page'
    • "I . . . CAN'T . . . HEAR . . . YOU" . . . how depressing, how cynical, how immoral. Not surprising, for those of us who have observed the past 6 years, but still, depressing. Reminding us how impotent we are.

      By the way, a comment prompted by that "rock solid" support. As others have mentioned, Richard Silverstein suggested the other day that Israel's name for its current operation can better be translated as "solid rock" or "mighty cliff." I can't evaluate the translation, but it sounds plausible.

  • Video: Diane Sawyer misrepresents photo of Gazans in aftermath of Israeli bombing as Israeli victims of Palestinian missiles (Updated)
  • White House says US can't stop 'tsunami' of boycott and isolation if Israel won't end 'occupations'
    • Obama's policy seems contradictory, saying, in effect, "we are with you, right or wrong." I haven't seen anything about this in the MSM, but I agree with Steve Zunes, who says,

      "Unless and until the Obama administration decides to end its unconditional backing for Israel’s right-wing government and instead support Israeli and Palestinian moderates, there will be no hope for peace."

      Actually, I think Israel can continue to beat the Palestinians into something close enough to peace to keep Israel happy. But it won't be a just or moral peace. And the U.S. is culpable for making that oppression possible.

  • 'Operation Protective Edge' begins: Gaza rocked by Israeli airstrikes as Palestinian militants shoot at Jerusalem
    • No, the next day, the principal comes and gives the bully some money and weapons, and calls for the two to settle it between themselves. And the day after, the same thing happens again. And again. And again.

  • A Call from Gaza: Support our right to life!
  • Can a neocon change his spots (and come back as a liberal interventionist for Hillary Clinton)?
  • 'I was a Zionist till I was 64. I want to hit myself'
  • Israel maintains gag order in missing teens' case, leading to charge of media 'manipulation'
    • Re: "U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said any language directly criticizing Israel would be “a red line” for the Americans. " By "the Americans," she obviously does not mean "the citizens of the United States of America." No, she means, "the Americans who matter," the small but powerful group that set policy on this issue.

  • 'Washington Post' suggests Presbyterians voted against Jews and peace
  • After ADL says opera is 'biased' toward Palestinians, Met cancels broadcast, citing rising anti-Semitism
    • Thank you for this background information (mostly new to me) and for your thoughtful analysis.

    • It seems that for Zionists, feeling empathy for Palestinians--seeing them as suffering humans--is itself suspect: dangerous for Israel at best, and likely antisemitic.

  • Mainstream piece lays settler teen abduction at feet of 'illegal' and 'indefensible' occupation
    • It is well written, but how many will see it? If it were in WaPo or even the Atlantic, quite a few. But at "Vox"? I do know about a site called Vox that is a good source for somewhat-wonkish types, but it is--I infer--a different site:

  • Human rights activists are 'out front' of others and 'thank goodness they are' --Hillary Clinton
    • Henry Norr observes:

      "But instead of challenging her about, say, Guantanamo or drone killings or “free trade” or the abject betrayal of the Bahreini people or the idiotic embargo on Cuba or her support for Kagame, Museveni, and other brutal dictators in Africa, or, or, or, …. "

      Indeed. To say nothing of neocon policies on Iraq, etc.

  • Neoconservatism is 'vindicated' in fawning 'NYT' piece on power couple of Kagan and Kristol
    • Disturbing, infuriating, disgusting, dishonest, but not surprising. It isn't only the NYT, of course. ABC, NBC and CBS routinely present people from the administration of the junior Bush as if they were objective authorities, often without identification of their previous roles and recommendations. The big media constantly showcase a limited number of people and viewpoints, carefully curated. Before the internet, this was less obvious, especially for those of us in the 99% who don't rub shoulders with the movers and shakers.

  • Sunday morning macabre
    • More blatant than some examples, but this Alice in Wonderland "logic" is typical, and a sad commentary on human nature.

  • What the MLA vote showed: Israel is losing the battle for liberal support
    • Thanks for this report on the MLA. Perhaps, as you suggest, Israel is losing the battle for liberal support. (It still has 88 Senators in the U.S. Senate, however, which probably matters more.) Actually, I don't understand how any decent person--liberal or conservative-- could support Israel's current expansionist and oppressive policies, unless that person is incredibly ignorant of the reality, or blinded by group attachment to universal principles of fairness and humanity.

      I say "incredibly ignorant" because, in today's world, despite the bias in U.S. media, it would seem to require a willful refusal to face reality to maintain such ignorance. The alternative explanation, of blinding group attachment, may explain support for Israel's policies among Jews, but I find mysterious the explanation for such support among others.

      I say this despite having just heard Krista Tippett's discussion with Jonathan Haidt about the psychology behind morality. It is an interesting discussion but--although ostensibly focused on the problem of the I/P conflict--not very revealing (to me at least) about how any decent person could regard Israel's current policies and practices as moral.

  • Feinstein, Baldwin, Kaine, Paul among 12 senators who didn't sign AIPAC letter blasting Palestinian gov't
    • 88 AIPAC votes. Depressing. Either they see the evil and are afraid to oppose it--even passively by abstaining--or they actively support the evil. Either way, they are part of the problem. Profiles in cowardice, prostitution, evil.

  • Palestinians 'under occupation... denied dignity and self-determination' -- Clinton
    • Thanks for the information. It is something, I guess. As for whether she will do anything constructive about it, I won't hold my breath. As I've noted here previously, after her husband became President she said some modestly encouraging things about Palestine. That was when she had some association with Rabbi Michael Lerner. In response, NYT had a long article about "St. Hillary" and the "politics of virtue." When she decided to run for the Senate in New York such comments ceased.

  • Chris Matthews and David Corn defend Israel against 'slander' of apartheid
    • I agree that "apartheid" is a relevant term now, regardless of disputes about percentages. But I also think that arguments about the term, and the percentages, are mostly distractions from the ugly reality that the U.S. has enabled. Regardless of what one calls it, it is a reality of dispossession and oppression that the U.S. continues to support. The U.S. should end that support. It is immoral and contrary to U.S. values and interests. We should instead do what we can to make amends.

      PS: kudos to Phil for his eloquent "Let it Go" cri de coeur. We are fortunate that he is willing and able to do what he does. (I tried to post this comment on that thread, but wasn't able to do so.)

  • The NYT and the NSA: Abramson and Baquet have different journalistic values
    • RE:

      " Gaza Freedom Flotilla was “not morally different from a Nazi convoy"

      That is just amazing. What kind of person would say such a thing? What values animate them?

  • Rothkopf's jailbreak from the Zionist captivity is sure to embolden others
    • Re: "As long as he continues to dismiss Jimmy Carter and Mearsheimer and Walt as totally out of the discussion on Israel I would have to say that he remains inside the Zionists camp"

      Indeed. In that comment and in others, as you note, he reveals the ugly truth of his values.

  • 'NYT' publishes unvarnished ADL propaganda: 93% of Palestinians are anti-Semites
    • RE: "Again, aren’t Israelis part of that dyad? No; to say so would be to endorse one of 11 anti-Semitic stereotypes, per the ADL"

      There are so many aspects of reality that can't be acknowledged without being called anti-semitic. Being out of touch with reality is one definition of insanity. Being aware of an immoral reality but continuing to enable it makes one guilty of perpetuating it. Being called anti-semitic then becomes a badge of honor.

    • Obviously, this thread could go in many directions, but your question, "to what extent have Jews been treated as natural and normal parts of North African . . . " reminded me of an interview with Marco Werman, in which he observed that:

      "The French government gave citizenship to all Jews in its colonies -- which in the North African colonies created great resentment among Arabs, who weren't granted the same status. Some of that has carried over to the present. It's weird, because to an outsider the Jewish and Arab Algerians are hard to tell apart. The Jewish music, to an untrained ear, sounds like Arabic music, the foods are the same. Yet they're bitterly divided."


      Resentment under such circumstances would be understandable. How much more reason for resentment in Palestine after 1948!

  • After first visit to Israel, 'Foreign Policy' editor says religious, garrison state has 'passed its sell-by date'
    • Re: "PW repeatedly disclaims that this is an intra-Jewish discussion, but I do not and probably never will understand why people like DR, that have come so far in their thinking, do not, or will not go 10km to the east to say Nablus or Jenin or even Gaza to complete the picture."

      At one level, I agree, it seems very strange. At another level, I think I do understand. They know well enough what they would see. They are not concerned with Palestinians. That is evident from DR's comments.

  • Why the two-state solution never got anywhere
    • Re: "The moral consequences of zionism"

      Thanks to Les for the link. That is an excellent review, and an excellent summary of the situation.

  • 'Price tag' attacks, land confiscation and plans for transfer: A crash course in the struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel
    • A good report, albeit depressing and distressing. It is a shame most Americans don't know this, because the major U.S. news sources are so consistently silent about it. Silence that amounts to a lie, perpetrated over many years.

      There are a few alternative sources available these days, for the few who seek them out. This report reminds me of a good piece about some Palestinians on BBC News recently. It showed the deplorable conditions and treatment imposed by Israel. It also showed an Israeli settler who said something to the effect that "for 20 years Israel has given and given" to the Palestinians. What a bizarre worldview.

  • 'NYT' correction privileges Israeli military investigation over firsthand Palestinian accounts
    • Thanks for your persistence and good work. It must be very difficult to persevere in the face of such mendacity.

  • 'Where will they evacuate us -- to the moon?' Palestinian leader says of latest evictions
    • RE: "Abu Affash said. 'Where do they plan to evacuate us? To the moon?' "

      I would say that the U.S., having enabled this, is morally obliged to give them new homes in the U.S.

  • NY Times troubling corrections: Hebron youth who first 'had brass knuckles' now investigated for possessing 'weapons' (Updated)
    • Thanks for the good reporting on your part. Alas, the shamefully bad reporting in the NYT will be read by far more people.

  • On NPR, two states is still what 'the solution needs to be'
    • Unfortunately, NPR's failures in objective reporting regarding I/P go far, far beyond this.

  • Nonviolent resistance through art in Aida refugee camp
    • Thank you for this for this terribly sad yet important report. Those of us who depend mostly on mainstream news sources in the U.S. rarely see any hint of such things. The U.S. enabled and enables this. Surely we have a moral responsibility to do something about it. Those who go and report do far more than most of us have, or can. Most of us simply pay our taxes and watch as our elected leaders continue to aid and abet the perpetrators. This is disturbing.

  • Wesleyan students take a stand against Israeli colonization of Palestinian land
    • Commendable. I hope this gets attention. But I wonder whether it will.

      Yesterday, while listening to "The World" on the local NPR station, I heard the announcer introduce a story by saying that "divestment" used to be about South Africa. "Now," he said, "it is again a growing movement, but this time about . . . "

      Here, I expected him to say "Palestine" or "The West Bank" or "Occupied Territories." But no, it was about Stanford's decision to tell its asset managers to avoid investing in coal. The story was about environmental concerns.

      All well and good, I suppose, but a bit of a let down.

  • Beinart predicts J Streeters will tackle immigration before thinking critically about Israel
    • Thanks for the info. Evidently I misinterpreted what I read. I see from Wikipedia that his parents are from South Africa, not him. He certainly has an illustrious resume: He comes from, and travels in, high circles. But, if I understand you correctly, I shouldn't expect him to use his influence to help the Palestinian.

    • Yes, it could be helpful. What is more, justice demands it. As I said elsewhere on this thread, in today's world, I don't think it is desirable as a general rule to allow anyone who wishes to come here to do so, but I do believe that the U.S. owes it to the Palestinians to offer them a new home here. The United States enabled Israel to take their homes and farms, to make some of them second class citizens, and to make more of them stateless refugees. We are guilty, and should make amends to the extent feasible. Giving the Palestinians new homes here is the most feasible way I know to do that.

    • Regarding Beinart, I've learned from reading this site that what he says evidently is important, though I have not learned why that is the case. (I also recently learned from this site that he evidently is from South Africa, which seems ironic.)

      Regarding immigration, in today's world, I don't think it is desirable or feasible as a general rule to allow anyone who wishes to come here to do so, but I do believe that the U.S. owes it to the Palestinians to offer them a new home here. The United States enabled Israel to take their homes and farms, to make some of them second class citizens, and to make more of them stateless refugees. We are guilty, and should make amends to the extent feasible. So if Beinart is proposing that J-Street should lobby to give Palestinians new homes here in the U.S., I am all for it.

  • A cruel fantasy: 'NYT' sets hopes on US principles for a peace deal
  • Jewish neocons and the romance of nationalist armageddon
  • Israel spies on U.S. more than any other ally
    • I had no idea. Thanks for this history lesson. There is so much history that affects me and those alive today, though we are ignorant of it.

    • It is good that this fact is getting out. It has been common knowledge in Congress (and, obviously, in the Executive Branch) for years. Amazing how that has not seemed to matter. Some politicians don't care, others are afraid to express concern.

  • Palestinians remain marginalized at the New York Times
    • RE: "The NYT merely reflects the Zionist concensus among the older, established classes in America. It is still a very Jewish paper, in no small part because it is based in New York. So of course all these things color the coverage deeply."

      True. Perhaps it is not inconceivable that the views of the owners play a role too.

  • 'NYT' terms Islamic Jihad's 4 percent support-- 'new traction in Gaza'
    • Of course, details of impact are vague now, but the potential is that this site could take much longer to load than sites that pay the ISPs for faster access, thus making it unpleasant to use, thus making it less used.

      For the most part, the telecoms own Congress on their issues just as Wall Street does on its issues, but there are some corporations on the other side, so perhaps the outcome isn't already set in stone. Mozilla has made a proposal (also a bit vague at this point), which sounds interesting:

    • Exactly. For now, those views don't matter to Congress or the neocons in the State Department, of course. But perhaps someday . . . we can hope.

    • I don't know where you get your numbers, but I think there is also a qualitative element. I don't have poll data to support my perception, but I think that some of us who are uneasy with U.S. support for what Israel has done and is doing have become more willing to talk about it with friends and neighbors. Thanks to sites like this one, we have more awareness of reality, more facts, and more references to credible sources of information that does not get reported by ABC, CBS, NBC and NPR. Ten years ago, a combination of ignorance and fear of being labeled anti-semitic kept more people silent. That kind of change (if my perception is accurate) can have an effect over time, much as global warming can eventually melt all glaciers.

  • In historic interviews, US officials blame end of talks on Israeli land theft
    • PS: one small quibble with your comment, albeit somewhat tangential: I would say that Russia's case historically and demographically vis-a-vis Eastern Ukraine is a good deal stronger than Israel's re the occupied territories. That history goes a long way back, but also includes recent overt and (I suspect) covert actions by the U.S. to topple a democratically elected regime it did not like and replace it with one more agreeable to the West and less agreeable to Russia. Old habits die hard.

    • irishmoses, you may well be right. For me, and for many here, that is a melancholy conclusion, but not a new one. It is possible, I suppose, that Obama might summon the courage (now that he can--if he wishes--focus more on history than on the next election) to speak the truth to the American people. He could say that he will no longer use the veto in the Security Council to give Israel impunity. But I don't expect that. Daily we hear him and his minions lie to us about many things even less important politically than Israel.

      It is depressing to me to realize that I long ago ceased to expect honestly from my own leaders, especially regarding foreign affairs. (There seems to be a legacy of dishonestly about what we do in the world, dating from the day--now long ago--when few Americans could know what was happening in the world.) Of course, it is equally depressing to consider that our leaders don't care much about the public's opinion, which is mostly malleable. They mainly care about the opinions of the ultra-rich.

      When I was young, I felt sorry for the people who lived in communist countries who, we were told, could not believe the propaganda their leaders fed them. How superior we were, with the benefit of a free press. Perhaps we were superior in that regard, but not so different as I once believed. We too are routinely fed a disgusting diet of lies and propaganda.

    • Re: "Now if the official had a name and published in the NYT or WAPO, then we may have something." I agree. I guess we can hope for that to happen, but I won't hold my breath.

  • Thousands of Israeli soldiers protest 'their hands are tied' while serving in the occupied territories
  • When the Holocaust shows up
  • 15 years ago, 'IHT' piece warned: failed peace process='apartheid'
    • I don't know about Time (could be, I just don't know) but you are certainly right about CNN. Even Aljazeera now has gone that route, in an effort to get an audience here. Even so, it is still a better source on I/P issues than other U.S. MSM. I don't know how many Americans see it, or even have access to it.

    • Re: "I initially stated that Sourani’s piece ran in the New York Times. It is archived at the Times, but it appeared in the IHT."

      Evidently "not fit to print" where Americans might read it.

  • Guess who else fears that Israel will be labeled an Apartheid state?
    • How terrible it would be to attach a label. So much concern about the sensitivities of those in Israel who perpetrate injustice (and those in the U.S. who enable them), so little concern about those who are oppressed.

  • Ari Shavit blames breakdown of talks on Arabs' 'anachronistic political culture'
    • "they wouldn’t recognize the Jewish state and Zionism’s legitimate claims–"

      Right, the "anachronistic" Palestinians' bizarre refusal to recognize as legitimate the Zionists' right to steal their homes and farms, to exile them from the place where they and generations of their ancestors had lived by use of deadly force and threats of more, to make them stateless refugees, to deny them rights as citizens . . . the list goes on. How obdurate, how outrageous are these "anachronistic" Palestinians, especially compared with Zionists who lay claim to this "homeland" by virtue of their tribal myths dating from the dawn of the iron age.

  • Kerry says that Israel could wind up being 'an apartheid state'
  • John Judis's Truman book is a landmark in anti-Zionism
    • Thanks to you and the others here for the relevant history lesson. Not for the first time, I'm reminded how much we are affected by history many Americans don't know, myself included.

      After 9/11 the Bush administration told the U.S. media not to publicize bin Laden's videos "because they might contain instructions to terrorist cells in the U.S." I was amazed that the media complied. But before the word went out to censor, the Washington Post did publish a transcript of one of Osama's videos. In it, he referred to events of "80 years ago." I knew just enough to recognize this as a reference to WWI and its aftermath. That was when I started learning about the history of that era and region by reading books such as "A Peace to End all Peace." I thought I had become reasonably well-read on that topic. But I hardly scratched the surface, compared with the knowledge some people here display. This site is valuable for several reasons, but certainly among them is the trove of relevant history that is very much relevant today.

      Americans' relative ignorance of history isn't limited to the Middle East, of course. It seems evident in the way our leaders and the media talk about Ukraine, for example. I assume our leaders aren't ignorant, but for some reason prefer not to to share their knowledge with the public. I'm less clear about why the network news I watch seems ahistorical. Whether the reporters know more than they say remains mysterious.

    • ". . . only by force can a Jewish state in Palestine be established or maintained… nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine . . . "

      Prophetic indeed! Thanks for that bit of wisdom from nearly a century ago, tragically ignored.

    • For years I've been "agnostic" about a two state or one state solution. It isn't up to me, and I don't know what is feasible. I just want the U.S. to end its support for what has been done, and is still being done, to the Palestinians.

      And I want the U.S. to do something to make up, at least in some small way, for the evil it has enabled there. Israel and its lobby won't give up what they have gained: it is futile to hope for that. But perhaps the U.S., having deprived so many of their homes, having made so many become stateless refugees, can at least offer them a new home here.

      In general, I'm not in favor of unrestricted immigration. It may have been feasible in 1903 to say,

      "Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me . . . "

      In today's world, however, that is not a feasible or desirable policy. But with respect to the Palestinians, both those living as stateless refugees outside the undefined borders of Israel and those living as second-class citizens in the "Jewish State," it seems to me that we can give them a home as citizens here, and we owe them that.

      We have committed other sins for which we should attempt at least some restitution. We owe Iraq a lot for example, though we could never really make amends for what we did there. But those sins are not the focus of this site (though some--including Iraq--are not unrelated).

  • Reports of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Hungary
    • Yes, "The media disinformation campaign" is amazing. Full-court press. Reminds me of the days before we invaded Iraq. But why, I wonder? It seems disproportionate. I guess the folks calling the shots don't believe in proportion. "Extremism in the cause of X is no vice," as it were. But what X here could be important enough to trigger all this sound and fury?

  • Stephen Walt: publishing 'Israel lobby' ended any thought of serving in US gov't
  • It's time to reveal the Israeli role in the US surveillance machine
    • Thanks for reporting this reminder. Much had been reported, but pulling it together is good. Your call to action is well-advised, but I fear it will avail little.

  • Land seizures-- near Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin and in Jordan Valley
    • Sad news, but thanks for reporting it. It is good that Americans know what is being done with their support.

  • 'In every generation they rise up against us' -- Passover and the Jewish imagination
    • The stories we tell ourselves, both individually and collectively, are indeed important. Thanks for helping to craft a better narrative.

  • 'NYT' self-censors, axing headline blaming Israeli settlements
    • Thanks for this. Over the past 15 years I've become aware of how much propaganda we are exposed to from sources I used to regard as reliable and objective. The Internet is mostly responsible for that belated education, and this site certainly plays a key part.

    • Re: "Why would criticizing both sides be harmful?"

      From my perspective, it is harmful because it perpetuates the fiction that the current situation, including the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians, is not imposed by Israel and the USA. By which, I mean that any valid criticism of the Palestinians is insignificant compared with valid criticism of Israel and the USA. But that's just my perspective.

      Among U.S. politicians, of course, the perspective is different. I recall one of the top female federal officials from California telling her audience something to the effect, "we don't want an even-handed policy, we want to support Israel." I don't recall whether it was Pelosi or one of the senators, but on this issue it hardly matters: they blur together. That may be true due to their sincere Zionist-racist beliefs, or simply because is that they know what happens to politicians in the U.S. who dare to call for an "even handed" I/P policy. It may sound reasonable to most Americans, but that does not matter.

  • 'Poof' -- Kerry blames Israel for breakdown of talks (Updated)
    • PS: Seems to me that we should also pay the relocation expenses for those non-Jews in the Jewish state to move here, as well as give them citizenship. And while we are at it, we should do the same for the Palestinian refugees made stateless by the actions the U.S. has enabled, supported and defended lo these many years. Expensive? Well yes, but probably less so than attacking Iraq. At least it won't kill hundreds of thousands. And we could cover much of the cost by eliminating aid to Israel, which doesn't need it.

    • Kerry says, "The president supports the notion of Israel being defined as a Jewish state. … We believe that should happen." There seems to have been some back and forth on this. For a while, I thought the Obama Admin agreed with this, then backed off. Looks as if it is back on . . . perhaps it always was. I guess it is time for all non-Jews to get out of Israel. Maybe the U.S. should grant them citizenship; it seems only fair.

  • Outspoken Rahm Emanuel goes off-the-record when asked about Israel
    • So he was a "volunteer for Israel’s army during the first Gulf War." I don't recall Israel being involved in that war. The U.S. Army was involved, however, and was accepting volunteers.

  • Friedman says Iran's friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement
    • Good links.

      “If things were done that were not acceptable to the Americans, then we are sorry,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom avers, “but these things were done with the utmost innocence.” Yeah, right.

  • US is 'absolutely adamant' that Palestine not go to ICC and wreck the peace process -- Power
  • 'NYT' stamps Jimmy Carter 'radioactive' and not 'a force for good'
  • Oren says Pollard 'sacrificed himself for the Jewish people'
    • That is amazing. It offers real insight into the mentality at work here. The Obama administration is a bunch of "Palestinian Firsters." News to me. The comments section is replete as well. I haven't the heart, or the patience, to play "spot the ironies" as you suggest. It would be such a long list. More of an article really, but who would publish it? Not the New York Times, I think, nor WaPo.

    • Well said. Thanks for saying it.

  • From Portland to Portland, and Amman to Lahore, 'NYT' letter-writers are sharper than 'NYT' writers
    • "We’ve been Israel’s lawyer, arms supplier, and enabler as they oppress the Palestinians."

      Yes, sad but true. We have been all that, and more.

  • Reports: Abbas faults Israel for 'procrastinating,' says Palestine will move to join int'l organizations
    • PS: A quick search of Google News failed to turn up any mention, apart from the newswire source bilal linked . . . an indication of how the media handle this.

    • Interesting. I first learned about this from a brief reference in an article in the New York Review of Books years ago. I doubt that was the first publication of it. Yet somehow it has remained an "open secret" all these years. Like so many others. Whether the declassification now matters . . . and whether it is related to current events, I am not sure. In any event, it is good to have it out. Maybe other secrets will follow.

  • Obama's European message-- self-determination, equality, dignity-- is null and void in Palestine
    • Thanks Phil, for your analysis. It is a good piece, on which you obviously devoted some considerable effort. I only want to add that, long as it is, good as it is, it still doesn't seem fully to explain what is going on here. Not that I can. I remain perplexed by the position Obama has taken regarding Crimea. I don't like his position regarding I/P, but I imagine that I can understand it. But I don't see the rationale for "punishing" Russia, unless it is fear that Obama will be attacked for being "soft." If that's all it is about, it is a poor reason, and Obama is a poor excuse for a man.

      I may be missing something. It does seem that the U.S. has been taking an activist role in Ukraine for some time, working toward the downfall of the Russia-leaning elected President. That policy--wise or not--has worked, except for a small part of Ukraine that reverted to Russia. The cold-war fighters in the U.S. government--people like Victoria Nuland--got 90% of what they wanted. Can all this uproar, all these threats, be because they are miffed about not getting the last 10%?

      Equally perplexing (and perhaps indicating that I'm missing something) is the fact that it is not just Obama sounding as if Hitler has just invaded some neighboring country. The news media have very much gone along with the narrative. One can find exceptions, such as Patrick Smith's piece, under the title "The New York Times Manufactures Ignorance"

      One can find similar, sober commentary from various scholars and experts, if one looks for it, but they aren't very visible to most Americans, or, evidently, to President Obama.

      I tend to agree with Congressman Alan Grayson that instead of labeling Russia's annexation of Crimea as "aggression," the United States should be "pleased" that Crimeans established "self-determination" for themselves.

  • 'What's being done to Palestinians is wrong,' evangelical Christian says on NPR religion show
    • "settling down in the featherbed of Israel support"

      A nice turn of phrase, Phil, an excellent play on/with words. That bed has been excessively stuffed by Americans for too many years.

  • 'Forward' lives up to its name, bashing denial of Palestinian narrative and donors' control of Hillel
    • "You have to break down this powerful ideology in its own burrows."

      True. And you and your colleagues are doing a great work here toward that end."

  • Does Israel Have a Right to Exist as a Jewish State?: An excerpt from Ali Abunimah's 'The Battle for Justice in Palestine'
    • Over the years, I've heard the outraged question, "do you question the right of Israel to exist?" posed to silence any criticism of Israel's actions and U.S. policy in support of Israel. Any response other than a simple "no" followed by silence was taken as proof that the person who expressed such criticism was a bigot--possibly even a Nazi sympathizer--whose opinion could and should be ignored. I always thought the question revealed the moral weakness of those who deployed it. What's more, it seemed irrelevant. Israel exists, it has many atomic bombs and the means to deliver them, and it isn't going away. But the question did end conversation. By adding the phrase "as a Jewish state," an interesting new dynamic has been added. "Hoist on his own petard" comes to mind. Juan Cole has a good discussion of this at

  • United Methodist General Board of Church & Society issues call to boycott SodaStream
  • Six Palestinians killed in 24 hours by Israeli forces
    • Very disturbing. As is the fact that the U.S. provides the guns and bullets, as well as the veto at the UN that enables the perpetrators to continue such actions with impunity.

  • Battle over Maryland's anti-boycott Israel bill heats up
  • Conservatives for Palestine
    • If, in fact, some evangelicals are--like some mainline protestants--becoming more enlightened and active in the cause, that would indeed be a pleasant surprise.

  • Dateline, Ukraine: How the State Department 'midwives' democracy
    • Bandelero:

      Thanks for the link; I wasn't familiar with the site.

    • I guess that I don't need to start paying for cable. Thanks.

    • I found a long discussion of neocon influence in the State Department--and how it continued during Obama's administration--over Juan Cole's blog. If one believes that version of history, it all comes down to Mr. Obama's courage and character.

    • This thread provides important information that seems to be largely ignored by the U.S. news coverage that I've seen and heard, on NPR as well as the networks. It is amazing to me how one-sided, superficial, even propagandistic that coverage seems, based on my unscientific sample. (I don't have cable, so perhaps I've missed something better.)

      Of course, we have seen that kind of coverage before, e.g., before the U.S. invaded Iraq, but somehow this seems worse. As I recall, before we invaded, many newspapers in middle America editorialized against it, even though WaPo, WSJ, and NTY were mostly beating the war drums.

      What's more, Mr. Obama's rhetoric seems oddly strident and unrooted in reality. It is amazing to me that Obama would even have Ms. Nuland in his administration. She was, after all, principal deputy foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. Not for the first time, I wonder just who Obama really is. I'm left perplexed and confused.

  • State Dept to 'check out' vicious attack on Palestinian athletes
    • So disturbing, so distressing. (I must change my habits. Reading such reports early in the morning is a bad way to start the day; better to wait until later. Getting angry leads to heart attack and stroke, according to recent reports.)

      It is bad that that such things happen at all, worse (for Americans) that the U.S. enables them. But thank you for reporting it. Better that it is reported here, than not at all in the U.S.

  • House delivers for AIPAC, 410-1, passing Israel as 'strategic partner' bill
    • So depressing. At least there was one vote no. That is something. And most of the 410 will quickly change if the political winds change. But that may not happen during my life. Reflecting on this changes my attitude toward those Biblical promises that the gentiles would someday serve Israel. I took them as historical statements about the attitudes of Jews in ancient times. Now, they seem literally true. I don't attribute that reality to supernatural intervention, but to the power of the stories we tell ourselves. We need better narratives. This site is trying to change the story, and that is a worthy effort.

  • 'NYT' boycott debate features two Zionists, and excludes BDS
    • Right, as when God tells Moses, "I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people."

      Oh, wait.

      Forget that.

  • AIPAC denies us credentials for its policy conference
    • Say, that is good news. I regret not being able to attend. Perhaps I could have, had I known earlier. Still, I suppose we will be able to read about it afterwards, perhaps even see some video.

      With respect to AIPAC, it seems that Jim Lobe also is unwelcome:

    • Based on the quick search I just did on Google News regarding Amnesty's report, I infer that your prediction is correct, as far as U.S. MSM is concerned. There are some articles about the report in non-U.S. sources. The exceptions I found were negative comments in a few U.S. sources, mainly those aimed at a Jewish audience. I suppose that suggests we should expect something similar with regard to AIPAC.

    • I assume that many reporters will be there from MSM. Is it too much to hope that someone will report what goes on?

  • When Israel attacked Gaza, killing 100 civilians, Hillary Clinton said we have to support it '110 percent'
    • "If Clinton is elected . . . oppression and Occupation of the Palestinians will go unchecked and unabated….."

      You may well be right. It is a depressing thought. But even more depressing for me is the reality that it is hard to imagine either party nominating someone who would be substantially different on this issue. Those who like things as they are in Israel/Palestine are firmly in control of U.S. politics on this issue. Or so it seems.

      Americans who are concerned about what U.S. policy has done and is doing to Palestinians are rather like those Americans in the early 19th century who objected to the dispossession and forced removal of native Americans: insignificant in numbers and influence. If someone sees reason for hope for something better, perhaps they will share it. It would be good to have hope.

    • There was a time, after her husband became President, when she said some encouraging things about Palestine. That was when Rabbi Michael Lerner was called her "guru," and NYT--not being entirely pleased--had a long article about "St. Hillary" and the "politics of virtue." Lerner didn't care for this spin on his ideas, and responded here:

      Of course, that phase didn't last. For me, disillusion set in when her campaign for Senate began.

      There was also a time, prior to the election of 2008, when young Senator Obama said some things that seemed just possibly constructive and hopeful regarding the I/P situation. For me, disillusion set in early, even before the inauguration, when he declined to issue even a modest call for an end to the killing in Gaza. His silence was "explained" by saying that "there is only one President at a time." That didn't prevent him from speaking out on a more important issue, however: the urgent need to defer the switch to digital television, which might force people without digital TVs to get converter boxes.

      I can't think of a single elected federal official today who talks honestly about I/P and the role the United States plays there . . . and its impact on us. If there is one, perhaps someone will let me know. Ron Paul used to do this to some extent. He was a flawed spokesman, of course, and never more than a marginal figure. Sort of the exception that proves the rule. The response to his comments was telling. I recall that in one of the few Republican debates in which Paul was allowed to participate he alluded to the blowback--including 9/11-- from U.S. support of Israel and despots in the Middle East. Mayor Giuliani said, with a straight face, something to the effect that "he had never heard that." That response pretty much ended the discussion of that subject, as I recall.

      The continued lack of any meaningful discussion of this issue among elected politicians in the U.S. (and those who hope to be elected) is profoundly depressing.

  • Wesleyan President's BDS denunciation fails to meet university's ideals
    • Though I am a Methodist, I only recently learned of the "United Methodist Kairos Response," which to me seems more consistent with Methodist values than Mr. Roth's statement: I am pleased to know about it, and to support it. Of course, Wesleyan, like many other colleges and universities founded by the Methodists, is independent of the church and free to do as it likes . . . as is Mr. Roth.

  • Goldberg slams Kerry for mentioning boycott-- though he saluted it as 'smart strategy'
    • It is indeed worth watching, and ABC is indeed mainstream media in Australia, but I will be surprised to to it on any U.S. networks.

  • Israel moves forward on high-rise settlement in heart of Palestinian Jerusalem
    • Kate: thank you for your work in posting this disturbing news. It must be as disturbing for you to post it as it is for us to read it -- daily seeing what is done with American support. Still, it is good to know. I would like to think that if more Americans knew what is happening, they would urge their elected leaders to end U.S. support for such actions.

    • " . . . Israeli export Authorities instruct all their exporters from occupied areas to insert the word “Israel” alongside the names of all the locations [including postal codes] where production conferring originating status took place, in occupied territories. see 7[2][b] to Clearly the use of the word “Israel” in the export documents was never agreed by the EU Commission, yet there it is, with not a word of complaint from the powers that be, disgraceful."

      I'm new to this, and confused by some of the BDS discussions, but this information seems important. It would seem to undercut attempts to boycott goods from the settlements, and make the distinction between Israel and its settlements meaningless.

  • NYT obit of rabbi left out his urging Sharon: 'Very simply, wipe them out'
    • I am very impressed by "Zionism Unsettled." It is very well done, and very welcome. I learned about it here and recently received my copy. As someone who grew up in one of the mainline Protestant denominations (not Presbyterian), I see it as a noteworthy step. A number of Protestant clergy and lay persons have spoken out over the years about the role the U.S. plays in perpetuating the problems in Israel/Palestine. The Quakers and others have done notable work. Even so, the churches--apart from Christian Zionists--have mostly remained wary of getting involved, for the obvious reasons. Perhaps this publication marks a change in that regard.

      I don't know any of the people involved in producing "Zionism Unsettled," and I can't speak for them. But I credit Mondoweiss and other Jewish voices with helping to create space for Americans to speak honestly about this, even those Americans who are not Jewish. I hope that "Zionism Unsettled" reaches a wide audience. (Thus far, from what I see via Google News, it seems to have been mentioned mostly in the Jewish/Israeli press, mostly with negative assessments.)

      As for David Hartman, what I know of him I know from hearing an interview Krista Tippett did with him. It was recently rebroadcast: My reaction was mixed. His language and ideas often were elevated, noble, appealing. Yet, when Tippett asked about the Palestinians, his response struck me as muted, muddled, morally and logically inconsistent with the best of his own thought. At the same time, Tippett's respectful, even deferential attitude seemed typical of the attitude toward Israel assumed by most of Protestant America. I don't fault her as an interviewer. She does not see her program as a combat like BBC's "Hard Talk," and that is fine. She has a different role, and does it well. But it is time for Americans to be less deferential to oppression of Palestinians that is enabled by financial, diplomatic, and military support from the U.S.

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