Commenter Profile

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


Retired middle American.

Showing comments 200 - 101

  • Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza
    • Lynne,

      Thanks for your testimony, and thanks for what you do. You are courageous. What you do is hard, but important. Surely it will have good effects in the fullness of time.

  • Israeli military demolishes West Bank dairy factory benefitting orphans despite court appeal
  • Ted Cruz praises Israel and gets booed off stage at D.C. Christian conference
    • Yes, I suspect you are correct. Cruz knew what he was doing, and--at least in terms of Texas politics--he accomplished his objective. (Not a benign objective, alas.) I do believe that things are changing among mainline Christian denominations, but the change is not yet fully accomplished, and those denominations--while important--are not as important in American society as they used to be.

  • Three-sentence letter to the 'NYT' results in Yale chaplain's resignation
    • The "baseline of antisemitism" in the U.S. is a tiny fringe; Americans as a whole have positive feelings about Jews, as was reported by a recent Pew poll, described below by Emma Green, writing in The Atlantic:

      "Or at least, that's how I read the latest poll from Pew on American attitudes toward other faiths. The researchers asked a panel of more than 3,200 nationally representative adults to take a "feeling thermometer" about religious groups in America, rating their level of "warmth" or "coolness" toward Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, evangelicals, atheists, and more. Here, the researchers used "cool" to mean "chilly"—the opposite of "cool" as in "you're awesome." Despite making up only two percent of the country's population, despite having only 100 representatives in this 3,000-person poll, Jews were at the top. For Jews like me, this feels like the statistically impossible triumph of Hanukkah, only better."

  • 'The Hill' is to the left of the 'New York Review of Books'
    • Excellent piece in The Hill: thanks for pointing it out. Most people who work on the Hill and elsewhere in official Washington understand very well the reality that Prof. Makdisi describes. They just won't talk about it in public. Which is a sad commentary on the courage and morality of our leaders. For Americans who are disturbed by our government's policy of supporting this on-going injustice, the cowardice and mendacity of our elected leaders adds insult to injury.

  • When 'NYT' reporter's son joined the Israeli army, he didn't want news to get out
    • For some reason, I can't copy and paste portions of that first italicized paragraph you quote, but it is worth reading a second time. No doubt he would not agree, but as I read it, it is an admission of the weakness of NYT's coverage, and testimony that people can and must go elsewhere if they want the truth.

  • Front-page 'NYT' piece on foreign influence on D.C. thinktanks leaves out Israel
    • I don't read it that way David. You may be privy to elite circles that read it in such a fashion, but to me it just says "Israel is different: it is too powerful to be mentioned." What's more, it says, "Israel isn't foreign." For its supporters--including the NYT bosses--it's "our thing."

  • Israel has three years to end the occupation -- Abbas
    • "Abbas said he was pressured not to send the letters by the United States . . . " Why do we continually, year after year, act to support the oppressor rather than the oppressed? What a tragic role for the U.S.

      BTW: can we no longer copy and paste items, such at the words I retyped above, which used to be easy to do?

    • ". . . a time limit is a great idea." Given the history of these efforts, I could understand setting a time limit of three weeks, or even three months, not three years.

  • 'NYT' headline implicating Hamas in teen killings is a lie
  • 'New Yorker' limits its expose of Israel lobby to AIPAC
    • Philip, thanks for this concise map of the state of the Lobby. I haven't read the article in the New Yorker yet. It sounds noteworthy and worth reading, but not as important, to my mind, as the availability of Mondoweiss. Before your site and a few others were created, the kind of vital information you conveyed in this brief post was simply unavailable to most Americans--even those who were well-read-- outside a very few in limited circles.

      I do want to read the article to learn more about that Senate "vote." How strange that we think of our country as a democracy, when it is ruled by such mysterious and undemocratic processes. The lessons my generation were taught in those civics classes years ago seem like quaint fictions today.

  • A visit to the East Jerusalem hospital treating children injured by Israeli strikes on Gaza
  • 'Common Dreams' website traps Hasbara troll spewing anti-Semitism
    • Annie,

      Your use of "COIN" reminded me of a a very informative article in the Guardian back in 2011 which reported that:

      "The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda."

      The article is filled with interesting details, such as:

      "The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries"."

      No doubt many countries, corporations, and other interest groups of various sorts are using similar software in similar efforts now for their own purposes. In the case of Israel, since money is fungible, we can assume that our own tax dollars support such efforts against us.

    • The irony is that, far from being anti-semitic, Americans like Jews more than any other religious group (apart from there own). As Emma Green put it, writing in The Atlantic:

      "Or at least, that's how I read the latest poll from Pew on American attitudes toward other faiths. The researchers asked a panel of more than 3,200 nationally representative adults to take a "feeling thermometer" about religious groups in America, rating their level of "warmth" or "coolness" toward Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, evangelicals, atheists, and more. Here, the researchers used "cool" to mean "chilly"—the opposite of "cool" as in "you're awesome." Despite making up only two percent of the country's population, despite having only 100 representatives in this 3,000-person poll, Jews were at the top. For Jews like me, this feels like the statistically impossible triumph of Hanukkah, only better.

      "As the researchers pointed out, respondents were much more likely to report feeling "warmly" toward the religious group they were part of; Catholics were all about other Catholics, evangelicals were enthusiastic about evangelicals, etc. Of all the groups in the survey, Jews felt most loyal to their own tribe; their mean "warmth" rating of other Jews was "89" out of 100, which roughly translates to "we're totally awesome guys" on Pew's ratings scale."

      This Zionist troll has to fabricate antisemitism, to support his outlandish world view. Of course, in a country of 300 million people, one can find some individuals and some incidents that reflect anti-semitism, but the general attitude, as reflected by this Pew poll and others, is quite positive. The general attitude toward Israel is also quite positive, but--as discussed here previously--rather less so among younger Americans.

    • I don't understand the reason to refrain from disclosing the perpetrator's identity.

      BTW, I would imagine that the name "DeShawn" implies, to many Americans, that the fictional poster is an African American. If "Mr. Beck" shares that perception, he is doubly racist.

  • Entitled ideology supporting 'incineration' of Gaza resonates with Nazi ideology -- Siegman
    • If Mr. Obama would display half the empathy and moral courage that Mr. Siegman displays, Americans would not be condemned to remain complicit in crimes against humanity. Instead, Mr. Obama reveals himself to be a sociopathic coward, and we continue to enable the perpetrators.

  • More Orientalist insinuations in the New York Times
    • " . . . probably not even aware of how offensive his “analysis” and opinion is."

      That could apply to so many Zionists. See, for example, many things by the R. Cohen or J. Goldberg of your choice.

    • Thanks for this analysis. My reaction was similar when I read it, but I didn't make the effort to write an analysis. Truly, a full analysis of its bias would be a massive task, and a distasteful one. His op-ed (for that is what it is) is filled with examples, right up to the conclusion:

      "After all, it was in Gaza that Samson, calling on God, pulled down a temple on his Philistine enemies, making him an early kind of suicide bomber."

      A full explication even of that one sentence would take a paragraph, and would tax my patience, so filled is it with the typical inversion of fact deployed by defenders of Israel.

      At least he does, in the second sentence, acknowledge (obliquely, implicitly, not forthrightly) that the problem stems from the forceable "Redemption of the Land," i.e., ethnic cleansing, in 1948. Ever since, the surviving refugees and their children have been hounded from what homes they could find and otherwise oppressed, with assistance from the United States.

  • Gruesome tales surface of Israeli massacres against families in Gaza's Shujaiya neighborhood
    • Thank you for this report. The American networks I see have moved on. Not surprisingly: it is so hard, so emotionally-draining, for any decent American to know what our taxes and diplomatic and military support for Israel have enabled. We are complicit.

  • Israel's foundation in a 'terroristic campaign of expulsion, ethnic cleansing and murder' is the 'deep wound in that part of the world' -- Sullivan
    • So obvious . . . the truth that must not be spoken. Likewise, one must not speak of the Power that has silenced the truth in America. It is good that you and people like you have broken the spell. The internet has helped. And Israel's excess. I'm not sure that it will matter much in the real world, but at least the truth is there for those who have ears to hear, those who have eyes to see.

  • Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge-- a plausible two-state solution
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 1, ducks question on Gaza, 2, plans trip to Israel, and 3--
    • Money is part of it, but equally important is the awareness that (especially for someone who isn't Jewish) any sign of being less than full-out, no-questions-asked, pro-Israel will incur the eternal wrath of countless pundits, network executives, and other opinion shapers.

  • Israel got tank shell that killed 20 at UN school from US without Obama's approval -- WSJ bombshell
    • Some would say that the notion of a "special relationship" between nations is just a fantasy for the masses, an emotion to be exploited when possible, but not something for governments to take seriously:

    • I don't know what to make of all this. The story as reported in WSJ seems highly important, worthy of comment and reporting, but the spokesperson seems to be saying "move along, nothing to see here" . . . and the U.S. MSM seem to be following that line. At least, a quick Google News search this morning didn't turn up much on it from U.S. sources for me (obviously, I may have missed some).

      I found a few complaints from conservative, pro-Israel voices that Obama would have the temerity to slow the supply of weapons to Israel. There were, however, quite a few references to the story in Israeli sources, and from U.S. sources oriented to Jewish readership. These seem to support the WSJ version, albeit with a variety of perspective and detail, which lend support to the WSJ report. For example:

    • If so, it would not be the first time. Gareth Porter has reported that:

      ". . . Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara's misled LBJ by withholding from him the information that the US commander in the Gulf who had initially reported an attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats on US warships had now expressed serious doubts about the initial report and was calling for a full investigation by daylight. That withholding of information from LBJ represented a brazen move to usurp the president's constitutional power of decision on the use of military force."

      Whether this is true, and McNamara's motives, one can judge by reading the report:

    • I'm merely echoing the "thanks" posted by just. So easy, so truthful, so right . . .

    • From a PR standpoint, banning additional "Hellfire" missiles seems wise. Less colorfully named mortar shells, bombs, etc. will no doubt continue to be okay.

    • If by that you mean that the US provides "diplomatic cover, military and intelligence help" to Israel, then yes, I quite agree.

    • I imagine that if Mr. Obama is upset, it is merely by the public nature of the humiliation. Doing the donkey is more comfortably done in private.

    • Yes, lysias, he could defy them if he wanted to, but he doesn't care to make the effort. If he spoke directly to the public, he could stop the flow of weapons and he could stop using the veto to preclude action through the UN (at least for the rest of his term) . . . but that would be bad for business of garnering contributions.

    • Yes, frankier, I suspect you are right, it is probably just spin and plausible deniability. Obama being cute, dancing away from responsibility for his own policies, actions and inaction, deferring to power and money. I don't know that for a fact, of course, but it seems a familiar pattern. Or Obama not caring enough to control his own administration . (I wonder if that is the reason for our rhetoric and sanctions re Ukraine . . . having put the neocons in control at State for some reason, and being unwilling to confront them, and his critics on the right.) If it isn't just a matter of spin and plausible deniability, if he is truly outraged, Obama's response--golfing followed by more golf--seems odd to me.

      But maybe that's just me. When the going gets tough, do the tough go golfing? Or is that what sociopathic cowards do? I would like to think well of Mr. Obama, but I find it hard to do so now. It is not as if the issue of providing weapons was new and unexpected. The Campaign to End the Occupation had addressed it before the "sale" was announced. (I put "sale" in quotes, since we give Israel the money to buy the weapons.)

  • The Walzer Problem
    • Well said; thanks for saying it. How ironic that Walzer uses the word "religious" to describe Hamas. As if no Israeli would cite such motivation to dispossess and oppress another people. Another example of Zionist inversion.

  • Rania Masri gives Barack Obama a lesson on the meaning of 'barbaric'
    • Eloquent. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama is too busy playing golf to hear it. He has done his work, having approved sending more weapons to Israel before he went on vacation. As others have noted, Mrs. Clinton has expressed once again her support for Israel. I don't expect any other candidate will say anything different. In our system of government, voters matter on issues that don't matter to those in control.

  • The forgotten victims of Gaza
    • PS: Having just watched the NBC and CBS evening news coverage, I should amend my comment posted this morning to note that CBS has not entirely moved on. They did show the victims in Gaza again tonight, though there was an attempt at balance (I suppose) by showing the plight of Israeli children forced to play indoors, near the bomb shelters. The reporter did observe, however, the disparity in conditions.

    • Yes, based on the coverage I saw this morning on NBC and CBS, I would say that the U.S. networks have moved on. Only fresh victims are shown here. So yes, most likely the victims will be forgotten in mainstream U.S. media. During the inhumane attacks Mr. Obama backed Israel, gave it more weapons and rhetorical cover, and did not take the opportunity to make a change. That was tragic, but not surprising. He has a history of doing that, not only with Israel, but also on other issues. The financial crisis he inherited could have been an opportunity for fundamental change regarding Wall Street: for undoing some of the deregulatory mistakes of the previous generation. Instead, we got minimal patches. Likewise, no investigation much less accountability for the Iraq war, for infringement on civil liberties by the security state, etc. I suspect that many members of Congress and other elites who toe AIPAC's line out of fear would have welcomed some candor on his part. But we can't hope for that now. Nor can the victims in Gaza. They will get some crumbs.

  • israel is the golden calf
  • Evanston Public Library censors Ali Abunimah, saying issue is 'complex' and he'd need to be balanced (Updated)
  • Who broke the ceasefire? Obama blames Hamas against the evidence
    • At the risk of sounding like some people on the far right, I must say that Obama dishonors us, betrays us, and indeed humanity. This is tragic, but no longer disappointing, for who now can hope for better from him.

  • Reading Amos Oz on Gaza
    • Oz sounds like a fairy tale, a fable for children. But such stories can be important, they can shape lives and nations. "Germany was stabbed in the back." "God gave us this land."

      It isn't clear to me why, but evidently some American Zionists set great store by what Oz says. It seems that they look to him for rhetoric and rationalizations that let them feel righteous and judicious. For example:

  • Israel calls Obama's tune
    • Israel may call the tune, but it is his choice whether to sing and dance to it . . . and he does. As I read the headlines on BBC's site this morning, and listen to its coverage from Gaza, I wonder again whether he is a coward or a sociopath. Perhaps there are other explanations, but increasingly I tend to believe that he is one or the other . . . or both. Of course, what I believe doesn't matter.

      As you say, it is tragic and embarrassing. Other words apply as well, many of which have been used in this thread. Words like depressing and infuriating. But not "disappointing." We can no longer be disappointed by Mr. Obama.

      To me, the strongest motivations for the U.S. to behave differently involve notions and feeling of morality, empathy, justice. But even on a pragmatic level, surely it can't be good policy to alienate a billion people. Even if they seem powerless today, mostly controlled by despotic governments or living in poverty-stricken chaos, have we not observed in recent history that some of them can and will find ways to strike back, if driven to rage and despair?

    • I've wondered who was responsible for that decision to give raw NSA info on Americans to Israel. Who thought that was a good idea? Who had the power to order it? When did it happen? All reasonable questions, but I've seen no answers.

    • Thanks for the link to JPost. I found the entire article enlightening, in a dark way. The language, the compassion, the logic: it is quite a piece of work, offering insight into a world view that is so inverted (not to say perverted) that it seems very much a "looking glass" world. The reference to Hoover's humanitarianism was nice. The critique of "flaccid" leadership is something critics of Obama (on the left as well as the right) might echo, if they dared be so phallic, in a post- Weiner America.

      There was one omission, however, unless I overlooked it: where are these relocated "Arabs" to be sent? America, perhaps? That's the answer for all of Israel's problems, isn't it? Perhaps Long Island? A new land without a people, for a new people without a land? Who wouldn't want a trade: our Zionists go to Israel, their "Arabs" come to join us?

      In truth, putting sarcasm aside, I do think we owe the Gaza residents new homes here: we enabled Israel's theft and destruction of the homes they once had. It isn't the only crime against humanity we have committed in this young century, it isn't the only one for which we owe reparations, but it is significant and ongoing. I've read that Mr. Obama is sending federal employees to central America to interview children, to determine who is eligible for refugee status here. That may well be a good idea. But since we armed and financed Israel's actions, and defended them at the U.N., surely we have at least as much reason to do the same for the residents of Gaza.

  • Crisis in Rafah: Palestinian civilians trapped trying to escape Israeli onslaught (Updated)
    • "At 6:30 am, 90 minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire was slated to go into effect, Israeli authorities alleged that Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier. Though Israel claims that Hadar Goldin, 23, was captured by Hamas, Gaza’s ruling political party issued conflicting statements, eventually denying responsibility.

      In response to the alleged capture, Israel nullified the ceasefire and began heavy bombardment of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, killing 50 and wounding more than 220 people."

      The clearest explanation of the beginning of today's events that I've seen or heard. Thanks.

  • Cease-fire breaks down: Israeli shelling kills 50 after reported capture of soldier
    • Thanks Alex, your report (as well as the subsequent discussion) was helpful in sorting out the confusing (spin-filled) reports on the events of the day.

  • US suspended aid to Egypt after it slaughtered civilians -- why not Israel?
  • 'Is the Zionist dream based on the repeated slaughter of civilians?'
    • PS: From a review of "The Honorable Woman"

      "Whatever the series’ flaws, though, it effectively communicates an impressively high order of ambiguity. Near the very end of the series, an American newscaster talking about the latest spate of complicated developments in Israel-Palestine flippantly says, “It’s a wonder they even try”—meaning it’s a wonder anyone tries to make change in this impossible, thankless region at all. It is clear The Honorable Woman eschews, even disdains this perspective, even as its entire plot is a lesson in the impossibility of making change. It’s not hopeful or hopeless, it’s stalwart: You try because there is no alternative."


      PPS: I just heard a great albeit short interview with Khalidi on BBC World Service. He is wonderfully articulate, and the interviewer let him speak.

    • "At a time when all of us are spiritually exhausted and despairing . . . "

      I often think how emotionally difficult it must be for you and the others who labor at Mondoweiss. Thanks to all of you for what you have done. Perhaps it will bear fruit some day. These are dark days, especially for those in Gaza, but also for those who would like to help them, or at least end American support for the slaughter.

  • 'Children killed in their sleep': Israeli artillery fire hits UN school, killing at least 20
    • "The state department withheld judgment on the UN’s assessment that Israel was behind the latest attack, saying there should be a more thorough investigation to establish culpability. While voicing mounting concern, US officials appeared reluctant to directly criticise its close ally after days of growing friction with Jerusalem that has occasionally surfaced in anonymous briefings in the press."

      “We don’t know if there were rockets in the school,” said Marie Harf, a deputy spokeswoman at the state department, explaining Washington’s refusal to apportion explicit blame for the shelling. “We don’t know for certain who shelled the school.”

      "The Pentagon confirmed a CNN report that the US had recently provided Israel with a shipment of ammunition. “The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral Kirby. “This defense sale is consistent with those objectives.”

      excerpts from:

    • We can infer that this is consistent with United States policy. This is so, because U.S. law prohibits export of weapons for aggression, terrorism, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The State Department must approve export of weapons, and the President is empowered to determine whether U.S. made weapons are being used or likely be used for legitimate self defense, and must report to Congress if he believes such is not the case.

      The humane and moral response to Israel's actions, and the response that would be in the best interest of the United States, would be for Mr. Obama to ban export of weapons to Israel and to demand that the Security Council ban the export of weapons to Israel by any country. Israel already has plenty of weapons for its legitimate self-defense.

      Excerpt from Wikipedia:

      "The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (Title II of Pub.L. 94–329, 90 Stat. 729, enacted June 30, 1976, codified at 22 U.S.C. ch. 39) gives the President of the United States the authority to control the import and export of defense articles and defense services. It requires governments that receive weapons from the United States to use them for legitimate self-defense. Consideration is given as to whether the exports "would contribute to an arms race, aid in the development of weapons of mass destruction, support international terrorism, increase the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict, or prejudice the development of bilateral or multilateral arms control or nonproliferation agreements or other arrangements."


  • The threat of sanctions worked against Israel in 1956 -- and it can work again
    • Petition was a nice idea, but Obama has already approved more, ending any fantasy that he might stop U.S. complicity and moderate Israel's behavior:

      "The U.S. approved the sale of $300 million worth of ammunition to Israel, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday. Among the ammunition Israel bought from the U.S. was “an undisclosed amount of 120 mm mortar rounds and 40 mm ammunition for grenade launchers,” ABC news reported

      "The interesting fact is that the sale was made from the U.S. stockpile (WRSA-I) – an emergency storage of ammunition and other military gear (including missiles and military vehicles) that the U.S. European Command has kept in a secret location in Israel since the early 90s. The storage belongs to the U.S. military, but the president can authorize a sale to Israel under special circumstances, as it did during the Second Lebanon War in 2006."

      excerpt from:

    • Re: "The outrage shown by the US about the UN shelter . . ."

      As the BBC reported it yesterday, "the U.S. condemned the attack, without mentioning Israel."

      It was sad, but there's nothing we can do about it, except send more weapons and money to Israel.

    • Yes, it could work again, if there were a president willing to make the threat.

  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • Thanks for the prescient, eloquent quotation from Senator Morgenthau.

    • PPS: my perception that U.S. networks seem to be cutting back on the Gaza coverage was reinforced today, when I listened to PRI's The World on NPR. Marco Werman opened the show by saying words to the effect that events in Gaza were more of the same, so they wouldn't spend time on it. I understand that radio and TV have limited time, and the other stories they covered were good, but still, it leaves Americans less informed about Gaza. Most of what I learned about it today was from BBC World Service.

      To compounded my frustration about this, my TiVo suggested a documentary about Gaza among the "popular from the web" selections. But when I tried to watch it, I learned that it was from Aljazeera, and not available "in my region." This happens regularly. But perhaps it is just as well. Seeing more images from Gaza would merely upset me more. I couldn't do anything.

    • PS: regarding that report from Israel I saw on NBC this morning, Kate Snow said that the Obama administration was "bending over backwards" to defend Kerry. It was an apt phrase, I thought, an accurate portrayal of Obama's posture when it comes to Israel . . . though I'm not sure whether she meant to imply what I inferred.

    • "When you are part of an election process that asks for a terrorist organization which proclaims in word and in deed that their primary objective is to destroy their neighboring country and not to build schools or commerce or jobs, you are complicit and you are not a civilian casualty."

      So actually you don't need to vote for anyone in particular, if you had the opportunity to vote you were "part of an election process." And indeed, as an American, I did feel guilty, and sickened, as the U.S. launched "Shock and Awe" over Iraq. As I do now reading about the most recent attacks in Gaza . . . attacks with weapons we supplied, by a nation we protect at the U.N.

      I mainly learn about the recent attacks from the internet. I watched NBC and CBS news this morning, but there was very little. On NBC, for example, a report from Israel about anger at Kerry was followed much later by a shorter piece by Engel from Gaza. At least based on this morning's sample, they seem to be cutting back on their coverage, doing enough to say they covered it, moving on to other issues. I don't have cable, but wonder if would be worth getting . . . is it any better?

  • To my Jewish friend (you know who you are)
  • How many would be alive today if Obama had not quashed Goldstone Report?
  • Pro-Israel Facebook page is titled, 'Death to Dianna Buttu'
  • Claim that Hamas killed 3 teens is turning out to be the WMD of Gaza onslaught
    • How sad, how many deaths were avoidable. Too many successful politicians, it seems, are sociopaths.

  • The killing fields
    • Disturbing to watch as a human. And as an American, disturbing to know that, once again, we are complicit in so much death.

  • Raising money for Israelis being bombed in hospitals and schools, NY synagogue has not one breath for Palestinian dead
  • Breaking: Israel shelling hospital in Beit Hanoun, injured Palestinians and internationals trapped inside
    • Yes, Kay24, in practice what you say is true. Yet I know that Mr. Obama has ample power to rein in Israel, if he really wanted to. I don't expect that he will, based on his track record, but he could if he wanted. He would pay a political price, but he will never run for reelection. I think most Americans would support his actions, if he spoke directly to the American public, using his demonstrated power of oratory to explain what Israel has done and continues to do with America's support, and why humanity, justice, and our own self-interest require a change. Politicians may be sociopaths who don't care about such matters, but most Americans are not. Israel-firsters would never forgive him, and some of them are billionaires, while others run vast media companies. So there would be a price, but a statesman would pay it.

    • Back in February, Amnesty International called on the US and EU to suspend arms shipments to Israel, based on its treatment of Palestinians then. I think it is is high time for Mr. Obama to do so. He has ample legal authority to do so (former President Carter has described how he effectively used a threat of such action). The only question is whether he has the will. Thus far, I have not seen any hint of that, but perhaps the images from Gaza will soften his heart, and stiffen his spine.

  • Dr. Kristol's curriculum: US 'special responsibilities' include 'ancient longings' of Jewish nationalists
    • A recent poll revealed that Jews are American's favorite religion (or ethnic group?), next to their own:

      "Whatever the cause, at some point during the last 100 years, America developed a little crush on the chosen people: Jews are officially cool."

      Every group felt "warmest" about their own group, of course, especially Jews:

      ". . . respondents were much more likely to report feeling "warmly" toward the religious group they were part of; Catholics were all about other Catholics, evangelicals were enthusiastic about evangelicals, etc. Of all the groups in the survey, Jews felt most loyal to their own tribe; their mean "warmth" rating of other Jews was "89" out of 100, which roughly translates to "we're totally awesome guys" on Pew's ratings scale."


      Reading your report, and watching the pictures from Gaza, leads me to wonder how long this popularity will last.

  • U.S. casts lonely vote against establishing war crimes inquiry in Gaza
  • Israeli forces shell UN school where displaced Palestinians gathered, killing at least 9
    • Thanks for the sad news; this is the first I've heard about it. The internet is my main source of news, with BBC and PBS second. I don't have cable, but watch CBS and NBC as indicators of MSM coverage, as well as for whatever news they show. A couple of days ago I made a favorable comment about their coverage, but since then it seems to me that they have moved on: less about Gaza, more about Israel, and less about either of them in favor of other topics. I hope that I'm wrong. (From the beginning of the current conflict, I've heard little about it on NPR, but I don't hear all of their coverage, so I can't judge.)

  • The swan song of the Israeli left
    • Well said; I echo just's "thank you."

      Regarding this:

      "But for God’s sake, here in Israel-Palestine, there is no real struggle between right-wing and left-wing Jews; the right is in complete control," I would add that here in the United States, when it comes to Israel-Palestine, there is no real struggle in public discourse and public policy. Don't expect help from the United States.

  • 'No food, no water to revive awaiting certain death...': Horrifying report from Khuza'a village following Israeli attack
    • Yes, we are complicit. We have allowed the Palestinians to be relegated to refugee camps and to open air prisons, where they are now being slaughtered. Our elected leaders are unwilling to stop Israel, or to deny them anything. The only moral response I see then is to give the Palestinians a new home as citizens of the United States. Give them passage here, and let Israel take Gaza and what little of the West Bank remains to the Palestinians.

  • It's time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand
    • Thanks for the link to Walt's analysis from last year. He was so right, and so depressing. A shame that Obama hasn't surprised us. There is much he could have done, and chose not to do.

  • 'Heartbreaking' is U.S. government's talking point for Gaza massacre
  • US plays decisive role in Israel's attack on Gaza
    • Prior to 1967, an American who served in a foreign military was considered to have forfeited his citizenship. A series of court rulings and State department interpretations subsequently changed that. As I recall, the desire of many American Jews to serve in Israel's military after the '67 war was a significant factor in precipitating this change. I think the change was problematic as a matter of policy, adding yet another way for the U.S. to become involved in conflicts overseas. Brain Williams recently reported that an estimated 2,000 Americans currently serve in Israel's "IDF."

    • Yes, we play a decisive role. We provide weapons, money, training, and diplomatic support . . . and we bear a comparable share of the guilt for what is happening. There has been much outcry from the U.S. about the downing of the passenger plane in Ukraine, much assertion of Russia's guilt because it provided the weapon used. The amount of suffering and death for which the U.S. is more directly responsible is far greater. I read recently that some in Israel say that civilians in Gaza brought this on themselves, by voting for Hamas. Therefore, they say, Israel can rightly attack them.

      Does not similar logic apply to citizens in Israel, or the U.S.? The U.S. has actively enabled the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians since 1948, and indeed, as an American, I feel that we collectively bear responsibility for that, as for much elsewhere in the world. Yet what can I, as an individual, do? Writing to officials, making token contributions, participating in paltry demonstrations . . . these have had no discernible effect.

      I've read more than a few Jewish critiques of the "Good Germans," and of course Osama bin Laden's critique of American citizens for their support for Israel and oppressive Arab states as justification for 9/11 is well known. We like to think that we are right and the Other is wrong, that the distinctions are clear, and that we are blameless. That is what our leaders seem to believe, or would have us believe. But things are not clear to me, and as an American I don't feel that we are without guilt.

  • The deafening silence around the Hamas proposal for a 10-year truce
    • Yes, I've noticed that, and have been frustrated by it. Thanks for your informed and detailed discussion of the issue. The United States has the power to end the killing by endorsing a reasonable resolution, but evidently our leaders think they would pay a political price for doing so, and evidently they are not willing to do that.

  • Arab reporters come under attack from Israelis
    • Maybe NBC was being honest, and maybe it was making the right call, when it said it was pulling Ayman Mohyeldin for his safety. Now I feel bad about expressing my regret about that to NBC. I've only seen one report from him since he returned. I wondered why that was the case, but maybe he has had to stay low for safety. Engel actually has been doing a good job. When one learns about episodes like this one, in which a civilian was targeted, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that anyone who looks like an Arab is at greater risk:

  • US Jews occupy Israeli army support office in NY in civil disobedience action
    • Until last night, it would have seemed odd to me that there should be such an office. But on NBC news last night, Brian Williams mentioned that an estimated 2,000 Americans are in the "IDF." So I guess it makes sense that such an office exists. They probably recruit for the "IDF." It says something about where one's primary loyalty lies, when one enlists to fight and possibly die in the army of another country rather than in the U.S. military. It also says something about the number of Americans who have such intense loyalty to Israel. After all, each of those 2,000 has family members who, presumably, share that loyalty to some extent. And there must be many other, similar families, who don't happen to have children of the proper age for military service right now. So when American politicians defer to Israel, maybe it isn't only about the billionaires. I recall hearing a California politician (Pelosi, I think, but possibly one of the senators . . . they blur together on Israel), who told a cheering audience something to the effect, "we don't want an even-handed policy when it comes to Israel . . . we want a pro-Israel policy." I don't know who was in the audience, but maybe they had children in the "IDF."

  • Finally, Israel is alienating the US mainstream media
    • I hope you are right. I suspect that if one looked, one could find as many counter-examples (e.g., Richard Cohen's recent piece in WaPo), but we can hope. Actually, I think what matters is not so much media/intellectual attitudes as those of the public . . . which of course are shaped by the media. I've been monitoring NBC and CBS, as indicators of what the general public is likely to see, and it seems that both networks are trying to be objective and to show what is happening in Gaza. If they continue to do that, the public may be alienated.

      That happened with the war in Vietnam, but of course it was American draftees who were fighting and dying on the evening news. Arabs dying may be different, but still they are human in the eyes of most Americans. Last night Scott Pelley on CBS mentioned that the inhabitants of Gaza were there due to being displaced by the creation of Israel. Providing that kind of context, that reminder, is a small thing, perhaps, a mere straw, but I'll grasp at it. After all, it was his predecessor, Walter Cronkite, as much as anyone, who ended public support for the war in Vietnam by speaking candidly to the American people.

  • Massacre in Gaza: At least 60 killed in Shuja'iyeh, over 60,000 in UN shelters
  • Video: 'It's a hell of a pinpoint operation' -- John Kerry caught criticizing Israel on hot mic during Sunday news show
    • As an American, watching Obama, Kerry, et al on this is so frustrating, so disturbing. When I was young I believed, naturally enough, that the U.S. was good, and a force for good. The commies were evil, we were good. As I've gotten older, the disillusionments have been all-too frequent, and all too painful. Learning the truth about our war in Vietnam was the first of those disillusionments, and Kerry played a part in that. Now, it seems, he has gone over to the dark side. I recall all too well the shock and dismay I felt while watching my nation open its invasion of Iraq with "Shock and Awe." Once again, watching the news from Gaza (on BBC), I feel that sense of shame.

      Reflecting on this, I was moved to make a token contribution to the United States Nakba memorial and museum, which I assumed must exist somewhere: DC, NYC, or perhaps Detroit. A quick web search, however, turned up no links for such an entity. I found one in Bristol England, and one in the West Bank (which the Jerusalem Post referred to as "a safe place for dangerous ideas.) But if there is one in the U.S., I didn't find it. If one exists, perhaps someone here will let us know about it. If one does not exist, perhaps Congress will fund one to match the Holocaust Memorial and Museum in DC . . . right after it renames Columbus Day "First Nations Day."

  • Mr. Obama, spend one night with us in Shifa hospital, it would change history
    • Bless you for the work you do; I can only imagine the courage and moral strength it must require. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama and our other elected leaders won't even offer a word of solace and recognition for Palestinians, much less go to Gaza. Instead, we hear words of sympathy and support for Israel from our Noble-prize-winning president, who says words to the effect that, "no nation on earth should accept rockets being directed at it." This is said without recognition of what has been done, and is being done to the Palestinians, enabled by America. They have been driven from their homes and concentrated in small enclaves like Gaza, subjected to continual blockage and oppression.

  • Israel is in a pickle
    • I agree with you Annie, that Israel's acceptance should not be the deciding factor. In practice, what we have seen (and what you know) is that if Israel won't accept it, the U.S. will veto it, thus precluding action through the Security Council. In theory, other nations could organize BDS type actions without the U.S., but whether that will ever happen to an effective extent in the face of U.S. opposition seems doubtful. At least not unless and until the U.S. role in the world is reduced by the rise of other powers. That seems to be inevitable, but probably not soon enough to help Gaza.

      I see that last night the Security Council declined to endorse Jordan's draft resolution for a cease fire. Jordan's draft evidently included provision for Israel to withdraw forces from Gaza and relax the restrictions on import of food and other items. The news accounts I've seen did not explain why Jordan's effort failed, but I infer that it was not acceptable to the U.S.

    • Annie,

      I didn't mean, in my earlier comment, to disagree in anyway with your conclusion. Israel should reach an agreement with Hamas. The Hamas proposal is reasonable; actually quite modest. Whether Israel will see things that way, absent pressure from the U.S. (which obviously does not seem likely), is another matter. In this regard, I find it helpful to review a chronology of recent events:

    • Annie, you may be right about the pickle, but it isn't clear to me that is the case. At least not in the short run. As Mitchell Plitnick observes:

      "[Israel] has no reason to sacrifice its impunity, because it has might — militarily, economically and politically — on its side. And as long as that is true, it simply has no good reason to moderate its position. In this regard, it acts like any other country. And the ineffectual Hamas rockets, terrifying though they may be to so many in Israel, are not coming anywhere near giving Israel any incentive to change."


      Personally, I would say that Israel has no "compelling" reason instead of no "good" reason for moderation. From the standpoint of morality, ethics, and justice, there are good reasons. But they are not part of realpolitik, at least in the short run. The long run may be different. With the long run in mind, I am struck by O'Hehir's concluding observation at Salon:

      "Of course there’s more to the history of the modern State of Israel than its fraught relationship with the United States. Israel’s roots extend back to 19th-century European Zionism, and before that deep into the peripatetic story of the Jewish people. But in the decades since Israel was born out of the global guilt and shame of the Holocaust, America has become its adoptive parent, banker and principal benefactor. From the American perspective Israel looks something like Frankenstein’s monster, a morally dubious and arguably unnatural creation that was stitched together with the noblest of intentions but not much foresight, and that produced a painful litany of unintended consequences. In that analogy we are Victor Frankenstein, who can never unmake his wayward creature, control it or untether himself from it. If I remember the story correctly, they destroy each other in the end."

  • Why I, a Palestinian-American Muslim, went to the White House Iftar and what I learned
    • Re: "Is the president so politically out of tune as to not understand the insult of Dermer and the defense of Israel in his speech?"

      On the contrary, he dances precisely in tune with the music: "who pays the piper calls the tune."

  • Mohyeldin's boss at NBC rallied 'Jewish passion' for Israel when 'it is physically threatened'
    • You have reported that NYT observes "gag orders" from Israel. I suppose all media report from Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank only to the extent Israel allows. So NBC may have gotten a call from someone in Israel. Or from a shareholder here. Or an advertiser. Or from the ZOA. Or maybe the top execs at NBC (& CNN, CBS, ABC et al.) are sufficiently Zionist themselves to take such action on their own. The censorship is "over determined" as some academics might say. I wish more Americans (myself included) had ready access to Al Jazeera.

  • Bowing to AIPAC, Senate unanimously passes resolution supporting Israel
  • Netanyahu says there will never be a real Palestinian state
    • Perhaps more Americans will begin to ask why their government and their tax dollars support a society that treats people this way. After 50 years of struggle to give civil rights for all, Americans won't be happy about that if they know. But it seems that the U.S. media only give grudging attention to Palestinians when they are being killed in large numbers. A few at a time won't be reported. So maybe things will change, or maybe Israel will go back to doing just enough to stay off the American public's radar.

  • Ceasefire. Tightening the Gordian Knot?
    • You should be ashamed of yourself. Don't you know that anyone who wants to free Palestine "is either ignorant of the situation or hates the Jewish state of Israel." -- from TMZ:

      "The oldest "Pro-Israel" organization in the United States is lashing out at NBA star Dwight Howard -- claiming his "#FreePalestine" tweet is hateful and ignorant.

      "As we previously reported Howard tweeted -- and then deleted -- the message on Saturday ... and then issued an apology for commenting on international politics in the first place.

      "But the Zionist Organization of America -- an international group with more than 30k members -- says Dwight's apology isn't enough.

      "He should be publicly condemned as strong as Donald Sterling was," ZOA President Morton Klein tells TMZ Sports.

      "Anyone who uses the phrase 'Free Palestine' is either ignorant of the situation or hates the Jewish state of Israel. It's a hateful position."

      "Klein adds, "Celebs have great influence. When he makes a ridiculously false statement like 'Free Palestine,' it's frightening."

      "Read more:"


  • Understanding Hamas
    • "The people of Gaza continue to be reduced to an Israeli discourse that depicts them as terrorists, which has allowed for endless bombing and incessant attacks that continue at this very moment."

      Yes, it is tragic. Sadly, I see little hope for change. On NPR's "On the Media," Phil recently suggested that the "narrative" in U.S. media is beginning to change, with a growing recognition of the occupation. If he is correct about that, perhaps there is some basis for hope.

      At best, however, change will come too late to avoid more death, dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians by Israel, with help from America.

  • The players may change, but the game remains the same: The use of racism to justify the massacre of innocent civilians in Gaza
    • "In the digital age where a wealth of information is available at the tap of a keyboard documenting background facts that are disputed by no serious historian—the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their land, and the continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinians–it is difficult to understand how otherwise reasonable, fair-minded people can continue to support and justify Israel’s aggression against this helpless group of human beings."

      Well said.

  • Israel's message to the Palestinians: Submit, leave or die
    • "Make no mistake about what the United States is backing here. This is as pure a war of choice as any. Netanyahu has set up this fight, and has waged it. And, as always, it is the people of Gaza who pay the heaviest price. But Israelis too will bear the cost of this ruthless escapade in the long run. And the United States can only look at itself in shame as it supports this murderous and reckless endeavor."

      Mitchell Plitnick

  • Palestinians are 'trapped' in Gaza in 'lopsided conflict', Brian Williams says
    • Congrats to Philip on making the MSM. I just heard him on On the Media . . . the first time I've heard him. Good job.

    • Maximus,

      Thank you for the link. That looks like an excellent charity. I appreciate the link.

      As I told adele, who also responded to my question, after I posted my question here, I heard a report on PRI’s The World that included a brief interview with Arwa Mhanna, a Gazan employee of Oxfam. link to Oxfam may be another possibility. I've contributed to it in the past, but didn't know they did work in Gaza.

      In a part of the interview not included in the transcript, Arwa indicates that food is now available in Gaza, but could soon become a concern. She says that most of the tunnels to Egypt have been destroyed. I infer that the only aid that can reach Gaza is what Israel permits.

      Nevertheless, as I told adele, I feel like making a contribution to show which side I’m on. As an American, I feel responsible, even though I don’t agree with my leaders’ policy of supporting the oppression of Palestine.

    • adele, thank you for those links. They look like excellent charities.

      Last night, after I posted my question here, I heard a report on PRI's The World that included a brief interview with Arwa Mhanna, a Gazan employee of Oxfam. I guess Oxfam may be another possibility.

      In a part of the interview not included in the transcript, she indicates that food is now available, but could soon become a concern. She says that most of the tunnels to Egypt have been destroyed. I infer that the only aid that can reach Gaza is what Israel permits. Israel can just starve them into submission.

      Even so, I feel like making a contribution to show which side I'm on. As an American, I feel responsible, even though I don't agree with my leaders' policy of supporting the oppression of Palestine.

    • Yes, by the standards of the commercial networks in the U.S., the NBC report was a good one. My heart went out to the poor woman who lost her unborn child, as well as her house. I wish I could help her, and her neighbors, at least in some small way. The humanitarian crisis there is obviously huge, and (alas) created in part by American support to Israel. Does anyone know how an American can make a small contribution to some reputable agency that is helping in Gaza? Usually, when disaster strikes anywhere in the world, we see information about relief agencies that are working in the area: Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, etc. But in this case, I don't know.

  • Obama raises big bucks at home of man who said president and Netanyahu are on 'the same page'
    • "Perhaps his ear canals are stuffed with Israel lobby contributions (ILCs)."

      Evidently. That would seem to be the only explanation, unless he sincerely agrees with the right-wing Zionists here and in Israel. That would be surprising, but I suppose it possible. People often do tend to shift their views in order to reduce cognitive dissonance. A politician who initially chooses to spout a certain line in public because he thinks it is politically expedient may eventually convince himself. It is easier than consciously being a liar.

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