Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 532 (since 2009-08-02 08:11:58)


66 yr old male 5th generation New Zealander. University educated in History and Philosophy, married into Maoridom, got grandkids with skin to die for. Worked as a sailor, musician, Publican, Teacher, carpenter, boatbuilder and joiner, now living my ideal - an acre and a half of garden which I eat, a workshop where I play. Recently did 2 years volunteer aid work on remote Pacific island. Might do it again if the bug eating my prostate keeps at bay. Mondoweissers are welcome to visit - just leave your racial identity on the side of the road outside.


Showing comments 532 - 501

  • Oren's criticism of US Jews earns his book five thumbs down: 'slinky,' 'self-aggrandizing,' 'twists reality'
    • "sadly shifted from measured historian to breathless polemicist "

      No shift. Never was "measured Historian", ask Norm:

      It would seem that Oren's main achievement is lending a scholarly veneer to, as it were, the Abba Eban version of the June war. To reconcile the historical record with this apologetic narrative he resorts to several distinct, if overlapping, procedures:

      attaching equal weight to a public statement (or memoir) and the hard evidence of an internal document contradicting it
      burying in an avalanche of dubious evidence a crucial counter-finding
      minimizing, misrepresenting, or suppressing a crucial piece of evidence

      In the ensuing pages, I will illustrate how Oren skews the historical record of the June war by deploying these techniques.

      link to

  • 'A traumatized society is dangerous'
    • " it took a long time before I felt I understood why he talked in that shocking way"

      Exactly my experience - until I began to discern that he is utterly without prejudice.
      I suspect it has a little to do with his profession. My own sporadic forays into music broke down a number of prejudices I didn't know I had. When some muso comes alongside looking like everything one would normally avoid - and you discover that he/she not only understands the sound you are striving for but is just as passionate about it - it breaks down a lot of barriers.
      In one sense, Gilad is an anti-Semite. He is against the co-opting of Jewish identity as a tool of political struggle. I share this belief and have banged on about it here:
      link to

      Many folk would be appalled at the backstage banter between musicians where racial epithets are traded like ping pong volleys but this is the antithesis of racism, a mini-society so free of prejudice that no offense is either given or taken. For example:

      "Hey M.....f....., you play pretty good for a Honky!"

      ....or "Hey Mooser, you write pretty good for a 4x2!"

    • .....and what is it that you do?

    • Atzmon has been trumpeting this for some time. I wish he could be rehabilitated here on Mondoweiss

    • " why the Palestinian reaction to trauma is so different."

      There is no reward for Palestinian trauma.

  • The living martyr, a visit to the Bakr family in Gaza
    • so then explain why its a “cheap shot” to point out the symbols of violent assault and resistance on the childrens posters?

      A picture worth a thousand words.
      link to

    • DaBakr.

      Please save me the time, energy and disgust I am tempted to invest in eviscerating the putrid corpse of your post by telling me you were paralytic on rotgut whiskey when you wrote it. You'd be doing all of us a favour.

  • Does Israel have a toxic personality? Ask Michael Oren
    • Looks like a couple of "post turtles" to me.

    • "When Israel reacts defensively"
      I think Lawrence Davidson's description of Israel's reaction is a better fit:

      Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has taken it upon himself to set the tone of Israel's counter-attack on BDS. He has declared that there is an "international campaign to blacken Israel's name" and he alleges that it is not motivated by Israel's policies toward the Palestinians but rather seeks to "delegitimize Israel … and deny our very right to live here." In other words, he is claiming that present criticism of Israel is really an attack on its existence, and not on its behavior. For Netanyahu this has to be a form of anti-Semitism. As Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee, describes Netanyahu's argument, "If you criticize me you are anti-Semitic … . If you accept any kind of punitive measure or sanctions against Israel, you want to destroy Israel." That is how the prime minister avoids confronting the facts.

      As bad as this is, it gets even worse. Declaring the goal of BDS to be the elimination of Israel allows the Zionists to use their influence with Western legislators to make cooperation with the boycott subject to penalties. In the United States, AIPAC, the most powerful of the Zionist lobbies, is working on legislation similar to that used against Iran and also the Arab boycott of Israel in the 1970s. This legislation would penalize businesses, both at home and abroad, that favorably respond to calls for boycott. If this works we can expect the Zionists to go further and try to subvert the U.S. Constitution's free speech provisions and then go after individuals as well as businesses. In this regard, efforts are also under way in Canada and France.
      link to

  • The peace process is 'a savior for war' -- Ari Shavit
  • Munayyer-Beinart debate revealed toothless sentimentalism of liberal Zionism
    • “you can’t have a productive debate on solutions if you can’t agree on the problem.”
      Israel and its supporters have expended enormous effort in obfuscating the problem. This has been to buy time. At the current point you have liberal Zionists like Beinart admitting that bad things were done but, what the heck, its all in the past and you can't change things now.
      I call that bullshit. If all the land that was stolen were returned tomorrow in an orderly fashion, it would cause less trauma than the Nakba.
      During the debate I kept waiting for someone to interject "but what is the MORAL, LEGAL and RIGHT thing to do?"
      There is only one answer. In its absence, these people have no claim to any moral high ground.

    • adjective: bizarre

      very strange or unusual.
      "a bizarre situation"
      synonyms: strange, peculiar, odd, funny, curious, offbeat, outlandish, eccentric, unconventional, unorthodox, queer, unexpected, unfamiliar, abnormal, atypical, unusual, out of the ordinary, out of the way, extraordinary;

      Origin: mid 17th century: from French, from Italian bizzarro ‘angry’, of unknown origin.adjective

      Most apposite. A word I use a great deal when dealing with folks who maintain a right of return spanning 2,000 years for people whose forbears left for unknown reasons (mostly voluntarily) while denying the same to people forced out at gunpoint within living memory.

      Truly bizarre. Can't think of a better word except it doesn't quite capture the criminality, the cruelty or the racism.

      Great debate btw. I think we can look forward to more realistic commentary from Beinart after this woodshedding.

  • Kim Philby's last straw
    • Thanks Phil, that is truly a revelation. I suspect it will insert a number of missing pieces into the puzzle. Wright's book raised more questions than it answered but few, if any considered the Zionist angle which may be the clue to the roles of many of the actors in that drama. Back then it was a bi-polar World (us and the Reds) - no-one understood Zionism as an ideology with its' own infrastructure of covert operatives and ulterior motives.
      Anyone sufficiently intrigued by this story as to follow through should also look to the parts the following cast of characters played:
      Anthony Blunt
      Peter Wright
      Moura Budberg
      James Jesus Angleton

  • The grotesque injustice of Obama's speech at the Washington synagogue
    • "But he does mention Sderot."

      Sderot was settled by Jews in 1951. According to Walid Khalidi in All That Remains, it along with the settlement of Or ha-Ner, founded in 1957, were established on the village lands of Najd, which means "elevated plain" in Arabic.*

      Najd's Palestinian villagers, approximately 620 in 1945, were expelled on 13 May 1948, before Israel was declared a state and before any Arab armies entered Palestine. According to UN Resolution 194 and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, Section 2, the villagers of Najd have a right to return home to their personal property and to their native village.

      link to
      I often use this example to introduce neophytes to the conflict and to explain rockets. "Imagine being driven from your home at gunpoint and confined in the concentration camp called Gaza, where, from behind a barbed wire fence you can almost see your former home. For sixty years you watch the invaders build their homes on your land while no-one hears your protest. Who would not fire a rocket?"

      The audacity of Hope?

      Our Mania for Hope Is a Curse

    • @Kris (and every poster with an IQ above room temperature).

      "Sorry, Hophmi. I see that I myself linked to the Occidental Observer"

      Please do not apologize for linking to a site no matter how it is perceived.

      In the first place, whether or not common perception labels it an anti-Semitic site has no bearing on the information or argument you wish to reference. The information or argument stands or falls on its' own merits.
      Secondly, if a source identifies itself as a “white identity” website, how does this differ from a "Jewish Identity" website" or a "Black American" website? Are we similarly to dismiss all ideas emanating from any source that declares its' bias on it's banner? I hope not.

      Diners at this feast of ideas are surely mature enough to distinguish the message from the medium. The trick of dismissing valid argument by attacking the medium is effective but is not logical.

      Anti-Semitism is a canard. The concept is itself racist, I have written about this before with little or no dispute:

      Anti-Semitism is a very odd concept in that it posits that an action is of a particular type if (and only if) the recipient is of a certain group.......
      ....Racist acts are the same class of action when perpetrated against members of any group. The identity of the victim is not (or at least should not be) relevant to the act, its severity or the response, yet if a Jew is the victim of racism or assault, that is exactly what happens - the act takes on a different name, motive and response and what is more, other acts or speech that would not normally be considered racist (e.g. political, critical) can now be included, bringing the full weight of every crime against every individual Jew throughout History behind the the severity of the "crime". - See more at: link to

      Despite this, I acknowledge that the "anti-Semitism" canard is powerful. I believe however that it is part of the responsibility of clear thinkers to deconstruct it and relegate it to the museum of false concepts.

      Personally, I read any and all opinions regardless of reputation. To me it is the logic that matters.

  • Sam Harris and the dangers of false atheism
    • Apologies for the above - wrong thread.

    • First take a look at Asma al-Assad. In the first place she's much better looking. Secondly she is articulate, humane and knowledgeable. I find it impossible to reconcile the husband of this remarkable woman with the demonic image ascribed to Bashar al Assad.
      link to
      The follow up clip is Bashar's interview by Barbara Walters.

    • "a couple of individual cases of Indian Muslims fighting alongside Isis"

      Compare with:

      Australia: 250 (ASIS, April 2014)
      Belgium: 250 (Official figure, April 2014, 200 still in Syria)
      Canada: 30 (CSIS, February 2014)
      Denmark: 100 (PET, May 2014)
      Finland: 30 (Supo, March 2014)
      France: 700 (Official figure, April 2014, 275 still in Syria)
      Germany: 270 (BfV, January 2014, ‘about 300’ March 2014)
      Indonesia*: 30 - 60 (Official estimate, May 2014)
      Ireland : 25 - 30 (Ministry of Justice, February 2014)

      *Indonesia has a Muslim population of 204,847,000.

      Not sure how to interpret this but it appears other factors besides religion are in play.

      Source: link to

  • The U.S. is at last facing the neocon captivity
    • Citizen and Keith.
      I have given consideration to both your points long since. They are valid but neither individually nor together do they constitute a unifying theory given the lead up to, the conduct of the War and its' aftermath. Certainly they are contributing factors but if you follow the careers of the major cheerleaders, only some have connections to the plutocracy and Military/Industrial. All have strong ties to Israel or are the tools of those who do. Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle and Wurmser devised "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," for the Israeli Govt.
      I will try to put something more comprehensive together soon, unfortunately I am occupied elsewhere at present.

    • Keith.

      The destruction of intellectual capital was implemented from what my American friends call the "get-go".
      Dig deeper. Follow the tracks of Wolfowitz, Perle, Ledeen (who orchestrated the laptop "evidence") , Abrams, Feith, the Wurmsers et al . Read this Mondo article about "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" again and follow the links:
      link to

      The pattern is unmistakeable. The same names keep popping up.

      Now that MW has at last brought this to the table I will try to put all the evidence into some coherent order. Unfortunately I am busy with other projects at the moment.

    • Thanks from one old geezer to another - and I am getting old for when I read of this atrocity I wept old man's tears. Nothing in my studies of History steeled my imagination for a crime so heinous.
      Was it known that preservation of the intellectual capital of Iraq was essential to its' rebuilding? Of course it was.
      Was the destruction of its' intellectual capital deliberate?
      Of course it was. If it was not, protection would have been a priority.

    • "The key explanation is indeed energy policy and oil."
      Do the damn numbers. Here is a start:

      NEW YORK The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

      link to

    • You are getting close but this: Iraq didn’t go as planned is not correct.
      Iraq has gone precisely as planned.
      The plan was basically to degrade Iraq back to a dysfunctional state. That is why 26 modern Universities along with their faculties were obliterated.
      Here is a list of 193 academics killed.
      link to
      Estimates were around 380 by 2006.
      Here is an article from 2012 about the destruction of the institutions and paltry efforts to rebuild:
      link to

      In 2004, John Agresto, the US Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Education, assessed the rebuilding needs of devastated Iraqi universities. He requested from Congress $1.2 billion even though the UN and World Bank had estimated it would take almost $2 billion to “ensure minimal quality standards of teaching and learning.” Nonetheless, Agresto received $8 million, less than 1 percent of what he had asked for.

      link to

      You need to dig deep but the inescapable conclusion is that the complete destruction of Iraqi society was deliberate, as is that of Syria and Libya - as per the Oded Yinon plan.

    • Since first coming across the Yinon document some six years ago it has become, in my opinion, the touchstone for all that I have witnessed in the Middle East.
      When Bush II declared War on Iraq, I asked one of my colleagues "why". When he replied "for the oil of course", I quickly calculated the projected cost of the War and realised that the entire Iraqi oil reserves, were they simply stolen, would not represent a realistic return on the investment in war.
      In my semi-retired state I have had the leisure to research. Educated in History and Philosophy and a writer well used to academic rigour, I consider myself analytical, not inclined toward popular sentiment but sceptical of mainstream media comment.

      Events in the Middle East are a puzzlement but most observers satisfy themselves with simplistic rationales - "they hate our freedom", "we are bringing democracy and modernization", "securing resources" despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

      In my view, there is one unifying theory which, once understood, makes sense of it all, eliminates all the "buts" in the argument and in fact explains a great deal more besides.

      Israel exemplifies an ideology that has adherents in all states. Israel is the guiding light of right-wing thinkers who truly believe that its, not just survival, its expansion is crucial to the furtherance of their ideology.

      The breaking up of the States that surround Israel is essential to Israel's survival. The Yinon plan makes that very clear. If one admits of the influence of Israel within the U.S. political establishment (and who could seriously deny it), and understands the significance of the "Strategy" - all the pieces fall into place.

      (Posted in memory of Israel Shahak)

  • 'For Palestinians, history is never behind us': Family memories on Nakba Day
    • Mooser.
      This turned out to be another case, the like of which I have become accustomed to. In my experience, if something doesn't gel with what I have come to learn about pre-Nakba Palestine, there is always a counter-narrative to be found if you dig deep enough.
      Its understandable really. Given that these fundamental religious adherents have a core belief in God-given rights and privileges for their own kind, it is inevitable that they will conflict with the indigenous population. This case is interesting in that it seems they were initially shown cooperation and the proverbial hit the fan when the debts went unpaid. I dare say that the arrogance of the true believers contributed to the growing antipathy as the debts piled up during the twenty years it took before the locals finally said "enough" and (I'm speculating here) reclaimed the building materials.
      Happens every day in the real World. Only through the lens of Zionism can it be viewed as cassus belli.

    • After further reading the situation becomes more interesting:

      "In the year 1700 a company of several hundred Ashkenazi families riding donkeys and dressed in white had appeared at the gates of the city. They were Shabbateans, followers of the false messiah Shabbatai Tzvi, who, in the mid-seventeenth century, had created pandemonium among Jews who had believed him the long-awaited messiah. Even after Shabbatai Tzvi's conversion to Islam and his death, the controversy over his claims had barely subsided, and the Shabbatean Yehuda He-Hasid (" Judah the Righteous") and his followers were forced to disguise themselves discreetly as ordinary Jewish pilgrims. They had come to Jerusalem to await their messiah's promised arrival in the year 1706, the thirtieth anniversary of Shabbatai Tzvi's death. Spreading baksheesh liberally in every direction, they had won permission to settle in the city and immediately established their center in the heart of the Jewish Quarter in a ruined thirteenth-century synagogue, which they reclaimed and rebuilt at great expense.

      From the beginning things did not go well. Only five days after their arrival, the charismatic Yehuda died, leaving the group leaderless. Soon his followers fell to bickering among themselves, and when the long-awaited date of Shabbatai Tzvi's arrival came and went without a sign of him, the small community collapsed. A number embraced Islam out of disillusionment; others, including Yehuda He-Hasid's own niece, were baptized. In the end most of the group returned to Europe.

      The few that remained fell on hard times. The funds they had brought had long since run out and there was no possibility of raising more, either through donations or through gainful employment. Having squandered huge amounts on rebuilding their synagogue and forced to borrow simply to support themselves, they fell deeper and deeper into debt. Finally, in 1721, their Muslim creditors, tired of waiting for their money and seeing their repeated warnings go unheeded, destroyed the synagogue. The Ashkenazim were driven from the city, and after that any European Jew caught in Jerusalem was liable to be held for the outstanding debts. The synagogue and the other buildings that made up the complex, called the Hurva, or "ruin," remained in Muslim hands, waiting for its future redemption."

      From Jeff Halper's Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv of Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century P. 37-38.

      So this Jack, along with the bombardment of the Synagogue from which the Hagganah were attacking the Jordanians (and were given the opportunity to withdraw) is what inspires a hatred sufficient to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians generations later.

      For the sake of my descendants I earnestly hope I never run afoul of you or your kind.

    • Jack.
      A little reading indicates that the story of Yehudah he-Hasid and his synagogue is more complex than your myopic version:
      link to
      It is an interesting tale involving unpaid debts, lack of building consent (sound familiar?) and War. Close reading indicates plenty of grievance on both sides and some goodwill eg.:

      "The Hurva Synagogue was designed and constructed under the supervision of Assad Effendi, the sultan's official architect".

      It is interesting that on this thread, you have pleaded "fog of War" excusing the expulsion of Palestinians on the one hand and cite the destruction of Ha Hurva as cassus belli. What do you make of this:

      "On May 25, 1948, during the battle for the Old City, commander of the Jordanian Arab Legion, Major Abdullah el Tell, wrote to Otto Lehner of the Red Cross to warn that unless the Haganah abandoned its positions in the synagogue and its adjoining courtyard, he would be forced to attack it. Moshe Russnak, commander of the Haganah in the Old City, ignored his request, knowing that if the Hurva fell, the battle for the Jewish Quarter would soon be lost. On May 26, 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion delivered an ultimatum to the Jews to surrender within 12 hours; otherwise the Hurva would be bombarded."

      Whatever the rights and wrongs of that situation, invoking it as justification for ethnic cleansing exemplifies primitive tribal violence.

    • Is this the general direction of your argument Jack:
      "The Arabs and the Turks beat, abused and murdered my ancestors in 19th century Jerusalem"

      ..... therefore I am justified in dispossessing and abusing the Palestinian people, some of whom might be their descendants*.

      Put this way I think the fallacy involved becomes rather obvious yet this justification is still the linchpin of Zionist argument, developed ex post facto. You will find no reference to any such grievance in early Zionist literature.

      *The Palestinian people are in the main, the descendants of the populace that have inhabited the area since at least the neolithic age. To characterise them as Arabic and Turkic is deliberately misleading. A great many are descended from Jews who adopted Islam and Christianity during centuries of Ottoman rule.

    • Jack.
      A dissertation covering the entire settlement History of New Zealand is not appropriate for me to give in these pages but it is not difficult to establish the gulf that separates it from the Zionist model. In the first place, the colonisation of New Zealand occurred a full century prior to that of Palestine when such concepts as "Manifest Destiny" were common but in fact it took, and retains, a very different form from that of Palestine in a supposedly more enlightened age. .
      New Zealand has a founding document. The Treaty of Waitangi:
      link to
      Some relevant clauses:

      HER MAJESTY VICTORIA Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland regarding with Her Royal Favor the Native Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and anxious to protect their just Rights and Property and to secure to them the enjoyment of Peace and Good Order....
      ....Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession...
      .....In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.

      (signed) William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor.

      Now therefore We the Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand being assembled in Congress at Victoria in Waitangi and We the Separate and Independent Chiefs of New Zealand claiming authority over the Tribes and Territories which are specified after our respective names, having been made fully to understand the Provisions of the foregoing Treaty, accept and enter into the same in the full spirit and meaning thereof in witness of which we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified. Done at Waitangi this Sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.

      This is a living document. The Waitangi Tribunal (Māori: Te Rōpū Whakamana i te Tiriti) is a New Zealand permanent commission of inquiry established under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. It is charged with investigating and making recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to actions or omissions of the Crown, in the period largely since 1840, that breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi. You can read about settlements made under its auspices here:
      link to

      Again Jack, you are attempting a diversion. That this is fallacious is easy to demonstrate.
      Suppose the indigenous people of New Zealand had been subject to wholesale slaughter and dispossession. Would that somehow excuse the Nakba?

    • @Just.
      Appreciate your generosity but I truly feel that it is thanks to MONDOWEISS and its writers that such as I can now make such comments succinctly without including masses of History in support. It is worthy of note that Jackdaw does concede ethnic cleansing : "That did happen in Palestine in 1948. It happened a lot"
      This I believe marks significant progress attributable to this site, its authors and posters.
      Look past Jack's pedantry and I think you see a mind approaching that tipping point when the full extent of the Nakba is comprehended and such "counter-truths" are seen as insignificant tropes adding nothing to the narrative. Its a journey we have all made.
      I'd like to mention that I read MW every day but do not post so often due to the enormous up-tick in Historical awareness both on the site and among the general public. You guys are to be congratulated. Us old History-buffs are becoming redundant!

    • As a Kiwi I feel great shame at mention of the massacre at Surafend, a drunken rampage by Anzacs and British troops in retaliation for the killing of a soldier. Despite the prior evacuation of women and children, it was a barbaric and criminal act and I believe my countrymen were the principal instigators. Nothing can excuse the act but let us compare the reaction to it by the authorities. Allenby condemned the participants as "cowards and murderers" but the soldiers refused to testify so individual punishments were stymied. The Australian, British and New Zealand governments acknowledged the massacre and it remains a huge stain on our national pride. Compensation (albeit paltry) was paid

      Disgusting but not denied, excused or cloaked in dis-information, activities that you, Jack, are engaged in here and have been the policy of Zionists for nigh on a century.

      This should answer your question:
      "Why are you people so nasty to me when all I do is speak Truth? "
      "Truth" is not served by pettifogging, diversionary argument and yours place you squarely in the camp of the perpetrators.

    • Jack, you are being disingenuous. Sure, civilians flee battle zones. To prohibit their return is a War Crime however and it is ethnic cleansing. You know that.
      The Plan for Partition offers no comfort to the thesis you appear to be propounding here. You may well argue that the plan was legally formed (and I would happily dispute that point) but even if it were so, nowhere in it is there sanction for the alienation of property or the transfer of population. But that is what happened and, as time goes on, more and more evidence emerges that such a transfer, equivalent to ethnic cleansing, was planned. We have the statements and the documents.
      I am surprised to see such a point of view being voiced here. Those old tropes have long been settled. Taking an incident like Ibdis and trying to divorce it from what was a crime of colossal proportions committed against a largely defenceless indigenous populace is just silly. It might work on Zionist-oriented blogs but you are dealing with grown-ups here.

    • Page: 5
  • David Horowitz to OSU: 'Jews didn't expel the Arabs in 1948' and 'the occupation is a huge lie'
    • Looks to me like Horowitz is a spent force. This rambling, shambling, semi-coherent diatribe is almost comic with its constant reference to long dead tropes and catch-phrases. They were all in there - even Golda's "no such thing as a Palestinian". The appropriate response to this clown is laughter.

  • UN: 'Not a single destroyed home has been rebuilt' in Gaza since Israeli war last summer
  • 'Everything Hillary Clinton will do will always be for Israel' -- Saban warns the Republicans
    • If that is not the best standup routine of all time I don't want to see the one that tops it. At my age and stage there's risk of heart attack!

  • On Palestinian Prisoner Day stand in solidarity for the freedom of all indigenous peoples
    • Then the storm comes rumblin' in
      And I can't lay me down
      And the drums are drummin' again
      And I can't stand the sound

      But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
      Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

      And there'll be no barricades then
      There'll be no wire or walls
      And we can wash all this blood from our hands
      And all this hatred from our souls

      And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
      Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

  • No Palestinians need apply to program on 'Palestinian issue' at Center for American 'Progress'
    • Never fear, Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Director of Arab-Israeli Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace - is on board.
      Flush from her success in Iraq:

      "The Institute has received $10 million from Congress that it plans to use for programs to prevent sectarian violence, promote the rule of law, train and educate a new generation of Iraqi leaders, and prepare American civilians for assignment in Iraq."
      link to

      .....she'll get it sorted.

  • Israel could reduce anti-Semitic violence by not calling itself the Jewish state, Finkelstein says
    • "He referred here to the rights of Israelis to their state, which is recognized under international law."
      Maybe my view is somewhat simplified but I tend to get a bit picky when it comes to what exactly is recognised under international law.

      By what right did the Colonial powers and the League of Nations initiate the alienation of sovereignty from an indigenous people? Similarly with the U.N. Neither Palestine nor the Zionists were members of that organisation when the carve up was made. So there is a shadow over the legitimacy of the entire enterprise.
      More importantly however, is the question of land ownership. I am perturbed that very few seem to distinguish between what was supposedly within the League's and U.N.'s gift (sovereignty) and what was most definitely not (title to land). In all the documents attached to this issue, where does it state that individual landowners were to hand over the title deeds to Jewish immigrants? Come to that, where in International Law is any such transfer of individual property rights sanctioned?

      When Norman makes the case for "the rights of Israelis to their state, which is recognized under international law" does he mean rights to sovereignty after the Palestinian property rights are restored. At that point Israeli sovereignty could not be maintained by anything remotely resembling democracy.

      To me the land is and always will be the issue, as it has been in every indigenous rights struggle.

  • Philosophy prof who likened Palestinians to 'rabid pit bull' ignites protest on CT campus
    • If for nothing else, this character should be denied tenure and sacked for just cause, that being incompetence in his field.
      No-one competent in the Queen of all Sciences could possibly think, let alone utter, the venomous illogic contained in his statement.

  • The Obama-linked ad that imagines Mr. and Mrs. Netanyahu leaving the official residence (Updated)
  • The Nakba Day denial
  • Do not let this opportunity for peace with Iran pass
    • BTW. If I ever needed a "mad mullah" I'd trade three of Iran's for one Ovadia Josef:

      “The six million Holocaust victims were reincarnations of the souls of sinners, people who transgressed and did all sorts of things which should not be done. They had been reincarnated in order to atone.”

      Hurricane Katrina as divine punishment for godlessness and American support for the disengagement from Gaza:

      “There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, because there isn’t enough Torah study… Black people reside there [New Orleans]. Blacks will study the Torah? [God said] let’s bring a tsunami and drown them.”

      “Hundreds of thousands remained homeless. Tens of thousands have been killed. All of this because they have no God.”

      “Bush was behind Gush Katif [the Gaza settlement bloc]. He encouraged Sharon to expel Gush Katif… We had 15,000 people expelled here, and there 150,000. It was God’s retribution… God does not short-change anyone.”

      “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.”

      “In Israel, death has no dominion over them… With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.

      “This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.”

      “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat… That is why gentiles were created.”

      “How can you make peace with a snake?”

      “Those evildoers, the Arabs — it says in the Gemara [Talmud] that God is sorry he ever created those sons of Ishmael.”

      The Times of Israel
      link to

      “’It is forbidden to be merciful to them (Arabs). You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

      Read more: link to

    • "Not that IS is equal to Iran but the leadership of Iran shares many of the same extremist views"

      What are you referring to here? Please cite examples of extremist views emanating from the leadership of Iran or are you referring to the mistranslations and agitprop from MEMRI and the like?

      "the totalitarian mullahs in Iran"

      Have you ever studied the political system of Iran? It doesn't appear so. Here are some pointers:
      Assembly of Experts - elected by universal adult suffrage for eight-year terms. The Assembly elects the Supreme Leader.
      Majlis - 290 members elected by universal adult suffrage for four-year terms.
      The Guardian Council - 12 jurists, six elected by the Parliament (Majlis) six appointed by the Supreme Leader.

      It is a complex system of competing power centres each elected or appointed by elected representatives. There is a healthy array of political parties. Around 80% of Iranians support their system of government.

      Doesn't look like totalitarianism to me.

  • Israeli voters not impressed by Netanyahu's speech to Congress
  • Factchecking Netanyahu: An annotated guide to the Israeli P.M.'s speech to Congress
  • Netanyahu speech is 'destructive' of 'bipartisan, immutable relationship' between US and Israel, Rice says
    • It would benefit Hophmi to study the Iranian political system in some depth. Along with the Libyan system under Gaddhafi it maybe offers some lessons in how a democracy can be more representative of the people it serves.
      Whatever you might think of the statements made by its leaders, they appear to me to be supported by the people which is more than I can say for either my Government or yours.
      link to

  • Jewish groups that blindly support Israel make US and European Jews potential victims of violence -- Avnery
    • Suspect that quote is apocryphal. I can find no reference to it.

    • Glad to see an established Israeli figure opening this can of worms. Apart from dropping a few hints I have been reluctant to tackle it overtly, even in this forum where I rarely feel inhibited.
      Emboldened by Avneri I'll take a shot.

      Anti-Semitism is a very odd concept in that it posits that an action is of a particular type if (and only if) the recipient is of a certain group.
      Almost everyone has been subject to prejudice at some stage or other. I have been physically assaulted on one occasion because I was (very wrongly) perceived to be a member of the white establishment here in NZ. Another occasion I was severely beaten (by an ex-middleweight and light-heavy champion of Australia) for being a rather young and precocious boss (a hazardous position in the Australia of the sixties). These were common assaults but, had I been Jewish, they would most likely (and very easily) be attributed to anti-Semitism. Who could possibly prove otherwise?
      Racist acts are the same class of action when perpetrated against members of any group. The identity of the victim is not (or at least should not be) relevant to the act, its severity or the response, yet if a Jew is the victim of racism or assault, that is exactly what happens - the act takes on a different name, motive and response and what is more, other acts or speech that would not normally be considered racist (e.g. political, critical) can now be included, bringing the full weight of every crime against every individual Jew throughout History behind the the severity of the "crime".
      We do not do this in any other case. For example, should someone use the "N" word or criticise MLK, we do not link that person to the lynchings and burnings of yesterday's South. If the victim is Chinese, we do not reference imperialist crime against China. No criticism of Arab States is regarded as racism.
      As a humanist, I do not subscribe to exeptionalism in any form. It is itself a type of racism, one that is currently being yoked to the justification of State-sanctioned, vicious and violent racism in Palestine.

      "Anti-Semitism" is a "Humpty Dumpty" term that is starting to mean whatever the user demands. This lack of specificity allows evil users to malign a huge class of people to whom racism of any kind is anathema and to manipulate statistics and public opinion into justifying murder and mayhem. As the scope of its reach increases, its meaning diminishes.
      As such it belongs on the scrapheap of History.

  • 'Large group' of indigenous Indians are cleared to immigrate to Israel and convert to Judaism
    • Greetings ziusudra.
      Its a fascinating story that still has many chapters to reveal. What I find interesting is the gradual alignment of the History and DNA records. Have you figured out why there is such a discrepancy between Elhaik and Ostrer? I'm afraid I know too little of the science to follow the argument fully. I can only rely on their conclusions. What intrigued me about Ostrer's thesis was the disappearing Khazar traces - there must be plenty. Elhaik seems to account for that anomaly which is why I think he may be more reliable.
      Whatever the final result I think enough is known to put paid to the "Historic Homeland" argument. What are your thoughts?

    • " loved the Khazars. "

      Me too Mooser. Kvetch and shout was big down under as was I wanna take your Land. Their pop-flick "Book burning bingo didn't do so well however. My personal favourite was Oy vey Jude.

    • I should mention that the first paragraph above points to the rationale behind Geneva IV which states: The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

      Creating a programme specifically in order to naturalize, then transfer immigrants into occupied territory is defiance taken to a new level..

    • This guy is making some waves:

      Eran Elhaik, a geneticist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, thinks so. In a recently published study in Genome Biology Evolution (Elhaik 2012), he is calling for a rewrite of commonly held assumptions about Jewish ancestry. Instead of being primarily the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel, present-day Jewish populations are, finds Elhaik, primarily the children of a Turkish people who lived in what is now Russia, north of Georgia, east of Ukraine. This civilization, the Khazars, converted from tribal religions to Judaism between the 7th and 9th centuries.
      link to

      'Jews a Race' Genetic Theory Comes Under Fierce Attack by DNA Expert
      Israeli Scientist Challenges Hypothesis of Middle East Origins

      Read more: link to

      The Jewish people's ultimate treasure hunt
      In his search for Jewish ancestry, Eran Elhaik says he has discovered that some Ashkenazis originated in the Khazar empire, not the kingdom of Judah.
      link to

    • An immutable law of war is that territory can be easily conquered and occupied by a superior military force but it cannot be held long-term unless settled by a populace sympathetic to the conquerors.
      Recent moves such as Netanyahu's overtures to European Jews and this (almost comical) immigration tactic prove beyond any shadow of doubt that, whatever Zionism has been in the past, it is now a good old fashioned colonial enterprise of conquest, acquisition and ethnic cleansing. None of the former justifications - security, historic homeland etc. are compatible with importing ersatz "Jews" to settle on occupied territory. The single characteristic shared by both the Israeli establishment and such immigrants is their willingness to displace the indigenous populace.

  • Boteach and Israeli ambassador say everything from BDS to Abbas places Jews under threat
    • The Fraudulent Rise in UK Antisemitism

      .....Note how the incidents are broken down into categories. The numbers of incidents are then totalled up arithmetically to produce the annual time series which formed the basis of evidence of a sharp rise in 2014. Let’s first say that there are some blindingly obvious issues with this methodology; for a start it equates an act of “extreme violence” with an act of “abusive behaviour”. That would mean that a year in which 500 Jews were brutally murdered but none insulted would be a “good year” for antisemitism compared to a year in which 1000 were insulted and none murdered. It’s a ridiculous methodology.

      Another obvious issue is that the most numerate incidents, the “abusive behaviour” are not incidents that are considered hate crimes and so have not been subject to police investigation or verification. If I phone the CST and say “I am a Jew and a guy called me a fat Jew on the bus” it would simply be noted as an incident.

      ....What you can see is that the CST systematically estimate higher numbers of hate crimes than police, by around 100% this year down from a 32% overestimate compared to police in 2009. But even looking at their systematically overstated figures, there is no increase. Both the police and CST figures show a consistent significant downward trend over the last 5 years.

      So, neither report supports the supposed (i.e. media-manufactured) “consensus” that there has been an unprecedented increased in antisemitic incidents in 2014.

      Combine with the above a survey conducted by the Campaign Against Anti Semitism which purported to show an increased fear of antisemitism amongst Jews, and then you have a complete media narrative on which to base dozens of scare stories. The whole premise is totally false.

      link to

  • I misremember Iraq
    • Nothing has changed:

      Wretched US Journalism on Ukraine
      February 9, 2015

      Exclusive: The U.S. news media has failed the American people often in recent years by not challenging U.S. government falsehoods, as with Iraq’s WMD. But the most dangerous violation of journalistic principles has occurred in the Ukraine crisis, which has the potential of a nuclear war, writes Robert Parry.

      link to

    • The Yinon thing ("A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" ) has invaded a lot of my thinking on these matters since I first heard of it. Israel Shahak revealed it in his pamphlet "Zionist Plan for the Middle East ". Previously it had been published by "Kivinum"in Hebrew only.
      Full text here (published by The Association of Arab-American University Graduates):
      link to

      I don't know how influential Yinon was. He is a shadowy figure, reputed to be a Sharon adviser who, after the "Strategy", disappeared into academia. His bio is difficult to find. Here is a picture alleging to be him with Sharon:
      link to

    • "Cook looks back to the seminal essay by Israeli foreign affairs official Oded Yinon, which was published by the World Zionist Organisation in 1982, advocating the transformation of Israel into a regional imperial power by fragmenting the Arab world “into a mosaic of ethnic and confessional groupings that could be more easily manipulated”. (p. 107)
      Not least of the benefits to be derived from dissolving the existing Arab states was that Israel could more easily proceed with its ethnic cleansing policy in the occupied Palestinian territories.
      At this time, however, US administrations were pursuing a status quo policy, bolstering compliant regimes and harassing the non-compliant. Also Israeli officials’ vision of their empire was based primarily on ensuring regional stability.
      It was not until the rise of the neocons and their exploitation of the post-September 11 climate that US policy decisively shifted in the direction charted by Yinon and increasingly adopted by Israeli strategists in the interim period."
      link to

    • The reasons were fake, the goals were fake, the triumph was fake.

      Oh no. The triumph was real.

      The key to understanding is one simple, unavoidable fact, one that we resist because it is hard to even imagine the depth of depravity that could create it.

      What you see in Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria - the total annihilation of civil society, the destruction of millions of lives and the degradation of of formerly developing states into anarchy was the object, the goal.

      Mission accomplished.

  • Lawrence Summers says BDS movement is 'persecuting' Israel
    • Sorry JeffB. I can't see any relevance to your contention that European Jews are possessed of "National rights" to Palestine in the above. It seems that you are making a case for "racial rights" - a position you have already spoken against. I have yet to discern, from your posts, what it is besides a religious tradition that defines the class of people you contend own those rights.
      This topic is now passing its use-by date so I'll make this my last and agree to disagree.
      Although I find your posts hard to follow, they have been civil which is appreciated.

    • I am not convinced you fully grasp the thrust of my argument so lets take it one step at a time. First lets dispense with "racial rights" which has no part in my thesis.

      What Oppenheim's data indicates is that Palestinans (of whatever religion) are “descendan­ts of a core population that lived in the area since prehistori­c times “ . No more no less. That, along with their continued occupation of the land makes them the most qualified (in my view the only qualified) candidates for "National rights". Do you agree?

      If so, on what basis do you assert that "Jews" who have been (like your German child raised in France) of other nationalities for over 2,000 years are possessed of "National rights" in Palestine?

      Let us deal with that first, bearing in mind what Bartal refers to as "the myth of exile". Note also that we have it on good authority (Strabo, Josephus, the author of the Oracula Sibyllina etc) that Jews were widely dispersed over the known World (mostly voluntarily) before 300BCE so the "Jews were dispossessed" canard doesn’t work.

    • JeffB.
      Be happy to address any points you wish to raise but I need them to be put coherently. I cannot make head nor tail of most of the above except perhaps that you regard the results of Ariella Oppenheim's research into DNA extracted from archaeological remains and contemporary inhabitants in Palestine as "total crap" - which echoes your response to Professor Bartal.
      Ms Oppenheim (PhD University of California) counts Professor of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Research Scientist, Hadassah University Hospital (Jerusalem, Israel) chair of Gene Therapy (established in her honour), and visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health's Laboratory of Molecular Biology among other credentials.
      In support of this disparagement you state semi-coherently:
      "the population shifted a 1/2 dozen times in the last few thousand years. If they have some vague genetic ties to a prehistoric population it ain’t strong because no one has those ties the population has been cleared too many times."
      ....citing no reference and which, if it were credible, would make a mockery of your own claims of "national rights" for Europeans 2,000 years removed. My reading of the History indicates that much of the populace remained in place despite changes in governance and culture precisely as we observe happened in virtually every other geographic location in the World.
      In my view, if DNA from the remains of ancient people matches that of current inhabitants there are very few conclusions available, the one you posit being most certainly excluded.

      Your point regarding Mizrahim is taken. Those native to Palestine are what we in NZ would call "tangata whenua" - the people of the land, along with their brothers and sisters who embraced Christianity and Islam. Of course they have "national rights" (along with their brothers and sisters who embraced Christianity and Islam). It is Europeans whose claim is based on what Sand calls an invention I am dubious about. It seems to me that it is these people for whom you claim a right which you would deny to a people who are in every sense, indigenous.

    • "Arab" BTW is a Zionist term - for Palestinian.

    • JeffB

      No serious historian denies that the territory of Palestine was run by Jews at least 600 BCE to 73 CE.

      You do not seem to have grasped the fact that the veracity of the above statement is not remotely relevant to the argument you initiated.

      Let me put it this way:

      Who qualifies for (your term) "National rights" ?

      Those whose physical and ethnic links to the land have remained intact and who are, in the words of geneticist Ariella Oppenheim , "descendan­ts of a core population that lived in the area since prehistori­c times "..... religiousl­y first Christiani­zed then largely Islamized, and all eventually culturally Arabized"


      ....a polyglot group whose physical ties to the land (if they ever existed) are interrupted by 2,000 years living as a different nationality and whose ethnic link is diluted by descent from and intermarriage with a significant proportion of European converts to Judaism, leaving their only significant claim to even being a group to be a religious commonality.

      Even if there were some small shred of legitimacy to your claim for "National Rights" for such a group, it would most certainly not extend to the property of even the most recent immigrant into the subject territory.

      If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers had lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse. - Erich Fromm.

    • Summer's intellect:

      American academic community is being implicated in uniquely persecuting the world’s only Jewish state for sins that even on the least sympathetic reading are small compared to those of many other nations.

      Kindergarten 101.
      "Why you pickin' on me ? Tommy were badder'n me"

    • The doctrine that Jews should be forever disenfranchised from national rights because a century ago they missed the starting gun is bogus. “Other people’s lands” is the fundamental name calling in that it argues that Jews are permanently illegitimate forever the bastards of humanity.

      Seems to be a fundamental category mistake here. National rights appropriately belong to those people who are born into a Nation or ethnicity, not an identity that takes its primary indicator from a religion. The argument that Jews are an ethnicity is over, finis:

      “It is irrelevant whether the conversion to Judaism encompassed a large stratum of the Khazar nation; what is important is that this event was regarded as a highly significant phenomenon in Jewish history, a phenomenon that has since totally disappeared: Judaism as a missionary religion…No “nationalist” Jewish historian has ever tried to conceal the well-known fact that conversions to Judaism had a major impact on Jewish history in the ancient period and in the early Middle Ages. Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions. Important groups in the Jewish national movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely."
      Prof. Israel Bartal, dean of the humanities faculty of the Hebrew University.

      (As if the existence of Ethiopian Jews did not already make this point graphically)

      Go ahead and make a case for a "National Home" for your co-religionists by all means but I suggest that you find somewhere that is not already inhabited by a people with very clear National Rights of their very own.

  • 'Great American villain' Henry Kissinger faces citizen's arrest inside a Senate hearing room
    • Why go after a nonogenarian War criminal?

      Candidely speaking I can think of one very good reason:
      "Pour encourager les autres".

      Well done CP. Don't forget Albright next time.... and why not Barbara-Ann McCain?

  • Auschwitz revisited
    • Its a bit like the "My Dad's got a bigger one than your Dad" argument found in institutions of higher learning.
      Just about as edifying too.

    • No other group faced the uniquely horrific threat of total annihilation

      Despite the probable inaccuracy of this statement, I can't help wondering how one should react to it. If it were true, should it induce us to modify our behaviour?
      Are we to deduce from it that Jews, apart from the victims, are somehow more deserving of sympathy, forbearance or charity than any other people (or any individual for that matter) who have been victims of tragedy?
      Is there some special way I should treat my neighbour, a descendant of Jews who arrived in the 1800s during the Central Otago Gold Rush? Up 'till now I've been treating him like any other Kiwi. Put yourself in his place Mayhem and give me your advice. You see, I can't claim close losses resulting from WWII apart from a couple of uncles (one of whom survived the death march across Northern Poland losing teeth and hair which never returned) so I don't know how he feels about being one of "a group who faced the uniquely horrific threat of total annihilation". I've been treating him pretty much as I treat my cousins.

  • 'NYT' perpetuates myth Israel was 'fighting for its very survival' during 1967 war
    • "closing of the Straits of Tiran was an act of aggression "

      An act that affected just 5% of Israel's shipping?
      An act of aggression that Nasser immediately referred to the U.N. (and the World Court) for mediation and declared a moratorium on any belligerent acts in the Straits. The compromise solution offered by U Thant was rejected by Israel by the way.

      Sorry Jon. The facts have been known for decades. Surprised you haven't come across them. Begin's statement (and dozens of others) shows the "Straits" cassus up for what it was.
      Time you read Image and Reality.
      Very interesting page here:
      link to

  • Finkelstein on Joan Peters's legacy (and Dershowitz's legal troubles)
    • How I love this man Finklestein whose name (to a South Seas islander) sounds like the beginning of a Jewish joke. A modern day St George striding across a devastated, perverted intellectual landscape armed only with his massive sword edged with truth and reason leaving the severed limbs of the dragon in his wake and unmindful of his own wounds.
      I hope he knows how influential he has been, that justice has a legion of supporters half a World away thanks to his courage.

      Finklestein's fierce devotion to staying "on point", evidenced in the addendum is an example for us all.

  • Obama won't meet Netanyahu during 'bizarre,' 'historic,' 'unprecedented' visit (Updated)
    • I wrote about this affair back in 2009 after coming across Gareth Porter's investigation. I've been back to my blog and updated the links. Here's the main one from Porter:

      link to

      After spending several months interviewing officials at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires familiar with the Argentine investigation, the head of the FBI team that assisted it and the most knowledgeable independent Argentine investigator of the case, I found that no real evidence has ever been found to implicate Iran in the bombing. Based on these interviews and the documentary record of the investigation, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the case against Iran over the AMIA bombing has been driven from the beginning by US enmity toward Iran, not by a desire to find the real perpetrators.

    • Yes Eva. That looks like the plan:
      "Nothing new: Nisman's report fails to fan flames of conspiracy "
      link to

    • .....and this:
      Woman says Dershowitz 'is lying' in new court filings by U. professor

      "In her declaration, the woman states, "I have recently seen a former Harvard law professor identified as Alan Dershowitz on television calling me a 'liar.' He is lying by denying that he had sex with me. That man is the same man that I had sex with at least six times," she stated. "

      link to

    • How 'bout this one:
      Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet

      link to

    • Judging by the hasbara surrounding the death of Alberto Nisman, the push to demonise Iran is up to full noise again:
      link to

      Nisman had been trying to fit Iran to the AMIA bombing for decades despite massive evidence to the contrary. His "evidence" relies on the claims of representatives of the armed Iranian opposition Mujahedin E Khalq (MEK), claims reliant on access to the highest levels of Iran's Government which they clearly do not have.
      link to
      He also claimed claimed that Tehran was involved in a 2007 plot to blow up fuel tanks at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.
      link to

      For a full account of the AMIA fiasco see:
      link to

      Racking up these accusations against Hezbollah/Iran is significant I think. Perhaps we will see Israel provoking Iran through Lebanon again if Bibi goes back in?

  • Living in Israel isn't the solution to antisemitism
    • Dear Mooser.
      You will probably have guessed my post had to go through several re-writes. My first impulse was simply to call Mayhem out for being a "Lloyd Bridges" !

    • If the above post by Mayhem is not satire, it presents a superb example of the psychopathology of bigotry in general and, in particular, the self-absorption of those who believe their their Jewishness is primary, their membership of the human race, secondary.
      Please tell me its satire.

  • Congress invites Netanyahu to rebut Obama on Iran, and White House slams 'breach of protocol'
  • Virulent, violent verbal tactics reveal Dershowitz as a bully, says fellow Israel advocate
  • 'With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France': Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper
    • Fascinating article: The Road From Paris to Damascus–and Back Again

      The so-called West doesn’t like freedom of expression. When I began working at Al Jazeera, then investigating Al Qaeda, the Qatari company was violently targeted. When I was at the BBC, we had a source who was trying to tell the world that Tony Blair’s government was deceiving the public about evidence for an invasion of Iraq. The scientist David Kelly was allegedly driven to suicide. Afterwards, millions were made refugees, wounded or killed, in and around Iraq. Journalists who tried to be free to express themselves were driven out. The head of the BBC was removed.

      When The Guardian tried to reveal the Edward Snowden revelations about everyone in Britain being bugged by the secret services, David Cameron sent in the heavies – not to kill editor Alan Rusbridger – but to smash up Guardian computers. Snowden had to flee to Moscow with the aid of Wikileaks. The mass surveillance state had already been used against Wikileaks for having the temerity to believe it was free to expose U.S. military killing of civilians. Thousands more than who died in Paris have been extra-judicially assassinated by President Obama’s drones. There was no place in the Western mainstream media for blame on NATO nations for aiding Israel as it killed and maimed thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza over the summer.

      link to

  • Why I am not Charlie
    • JeffB.

      I kept thinking there is another fallacy in your argument but I couldn't quite figure it until now. I think it lies here:
      "The issue is though those people were French."

      In my view, this does not make any difference. What would you say if this attack had been perpetrated by a Gallic or Norman Frenchman? Would you say he was disloyal to France or simply criminal?
      The victim of the attack was a publication that fosters Islamophobia. That particular prejudice is a detriment to French society. The attack is not therefore, in my view, an attack on France per se. If one held the extreme view that Charlie Hebdo's activities were endangering France, quite the opposite conclusion might be drawn. In other words, criminality and loyalty are separate issues.

    • Anyone who hasn't yet recognised Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah as one of the most rational actors in this tragedy needs to read more. Here's a start:
      link to

    • My post was originally composed for a blog with a readership of less subtle minds than yours dear Mooser - but you are correct as is usual.
      It seems to me that the difference between the perpetrators of atrocity such as these fellows (or IRA, Irgun, Mossad etc) and such as myself lies simply in the attitude to violence. I do not believe in it, not only on moral grounds but also practically - I don't think it is productive in the long term.
      These so-called "terrorists" are of a different mind. Their outrage is similar to mine but we differ in method of expression. Their methods mirror those of the current leaders of the Western World, Christian and Judaic, who also subscribe to violence as an instrument of policy.

    • It seems to me that context is important to understanding controversy.
      The overwhelming reaction to atrocities such as the Hebdo massacre is to place responsibility on Islam, a notion you seem to be buying into. My point is as simple one.
      I assert that any group identity subjected to attack by powerful forces will react asymmetrically.
      I do not assert "Muslims are intrinsically untrustworthy as French citizens". I maintain that the religion of the perpetrators is secondary to their outrage at the on-going slaughter of innocents in Iraq, Libya, Syria etc who may or may not be co-religionists.

    • Lets try an experiment shall we?

      1. Invade Israel to bring about “regime change”.
      2. Arrest and/or assassinate Israeli political leaders and Rabbis who object.
      3. Deploy drones to eliminate any opposition to regime change (issue apologies for “collateral damage” to schools, hospitals etc).
      4. Repeal all European laws outlawing anti-Semitism in Europe and set up a magazine specializing in cartoons of big-nosed rabbis in obscene poses characterising Judaism as a violent, nihilistic religion.
      5. Count the days until said magazine is attacked.

  • Dershowitz story is also an Israel story
    • Apparently Edwards and Epstein have a little more History.

      "In 2009 he (Epstein) sued Rothstein and Edwards individually in Palm Beach Circuit Court for defamation and civil racketeering violations. He alleged Edwards touted Epstein's willingness to settle sex abuse lawsuits for big bucks to lure Ponzi investors.

      Edwards filed a counterclaim saying the suit was a frivolous effort to force him to drop the federal lawsuit.

      "The sole motivation was an attempt to intimidate Brad to abandon the interests of his clients," Scarola said.

      Perhaps Epstein had interests other than his own in mind. Edwards had put him on notice he intended to depose in the federal case heavy-hitters including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Dershowitz.

      "Epstein's housekeeper Alfredo Rodriguez testified Dershowitz stayed at Epstein's house [at times] during the years when Epstein was assaulting minor females on a daily basis," according to a 39-page "statement of undisputed facts" Scarola filed in Epstein's defamation suit on April 8, 2011."

      Read more: link to

    • Come to think of it, was that you we used to step over coming out of Gary's Red Lion Mooser?

    • The Beeb has a bob each way on Dershowitz. Coupla quotes:

      "...Noam Chomsky...told an interviewer that Mr Dershowitz is "not very bright" and "basically a clown", often resorting to personal attacks.

      "He knows that he can't respond to what I say," he said. "He doesn't have the knowledge or the competence to deal with the issues. Therefore, the idea is to try to shut it up by throwing as much slime as you can."

      "...Dahlia Lithwick says that the lawyer's career "has been a natural experiment in the proposition that the cure for toxic speech is invariably more speech"

      link to

    • I spent a Spring working for Anacortes Yacht Charters many years ago. Loved it. Would have stayed there but for commitments down here in Kiwiville.

    • And to think that Alan didn't see it coming. The Nostradamus award for 20x20 foresight goes to the High School teacher who told Alan to get a job where he uses his mouth rather than his brain.
      Dersh should have recognised the game Edwards was playing :
      "In poker it is impossible to bluff with all your cards showing. In law it is difficult, but not impossible."
      —Alan Dershowitz

      link to

    • I can see the reasoning behind the question but........

      link to

    • Many of the players must have viewed Dershowitz's antics of the past few days with great trepidation. It remains to be seen whether criminal proceedings can be brought (because of the previous plea deal) but it is now inevitable that all the evidence will be aired in public court. This is a huge victory for Edwards who was incensed at the injustice of the plea deal. Heads are gonna roll. I'm getting out my knitting.

    • Here's my take on what has happened here.
      The deal Dersh engineered back in September 2007 was designed to make any further litigation/examination of this offending impossible. It was specifically designed to circumvent any prosecution of Epstein's co-offenders - make it all go away.

      Here it is back on the front pages and in several court rooms.

      Well done Brad Edwards.

    • That snapping sound is the jaws of the Cassell/Edwards/Scarola trap coming together.
      link to

    • Cassell and Edwards appear to be playing this very cannily.
      Dershowitz has acted predictably, shooting his mouth off and impugning their reputations in, what appears to me, an actionable way. They would have anticipated this.
      Dersh's suit against them hasn't a prayer (a lawyer is entitled to believe his client) but theirs against him appears to have more substance - Dersh has mouthed off in every media outlet that would have him. - "defamatory per se directly attacking the fitness of the plaintiffs to engage in the honoured profession of the practice of law".
      I wonder if they planned this - its all happening very rapidly as if they had prepared for it.

      Then there is the business of the other three Janes unidentified so far. Might we anticipate a sharp intake of breath from the vicinity of casa Dershbag when they are revealed? We know measures were taken to buy or bully some victims into silence. Maybe it wasn't enough.

  • Dershowitz named in lawsuit alleging abuse of underage sex slave
    • "blackmail of powerful politicians" may be the big story here.

    • Lawyers acting for Ms Roberts and three other women, who claim their right to be consulted on the non-prosecution deal was infringed by US prosecutors, believe that documentation exists to show that a number of public figures, including Prince Andrew and the former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, lobbied on Epstein’s behalf during the case. Mr Dershowitz also strongly denies the claim.
      But under an unpublicised ruling obtained by lawyers for Epstein, the details of the documents cannot be disclosed after it was argued that the negotiations over his plea deal were confidential and should not automatically enter the public domain.
      Legal documents seen by The Independent said the material potentially includes “letters of recommendation or similar communication to any [US] government official vouching for or providing support for Jeffrey Epstein”.

      In May last year, prosecutors surrendered 541 pages of correspondence with Epstein’s lawyers leading up to the 2008 non-prosecution agreement as part of an ongoing process by the alleged victims seeking access to almost 15,000 pages of documentation.

      Instead, lawyers for the women must redact any references to the correspondence in their public filings after a judge ruled that Mr Epstein had “shown good cause to prevent potential dissemination... to the press for the purposes of generating publicity”.

      The so-called protective confidentiality order was fiercely opposed by those representing Ms Roberts, now 31, who has three children and is living in America. They argued that it risked impeding public scrutiny of the Epstein case.
      In a legal paper opposing the order, Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell, the lawyers for Ms Roberts, said: “There is an overriding interest in having these matters exposed to public light.

      “There is considerable public interest in the question of how a serial child molester could arrange such a lenient plea agreement.”

      link to

      " it was argued that the negotiations over his plea deal were confidential and should not automatically enter the public domain."

      I'd be interested in seeing the legal arguments for this extraordinary decision.

    • When the above video ends you are offered a number of others. Among them is this:

      If anyone (and I'm looking at you Hoppy) should not understand why this community is enjoying Alan Dershowitz coming under fire, this video in which Norman's sincerity and humanity are palpable provides the reason.

    • For goodness' sake why aren't the media fact-checking? It can't be difficult to ascertain the state of completion of the New Mexico ranch at the time of Dersh's visit. I for one want to know.

    • "Give him enough rope" is also buzzing round my addled brain along with "haven't laughed so much since aunt Mabel caught her left tit in the mangle".

    • Awww cmon. I know a sea cucumber who's not too fussy. Said she'd do Alan for a few grand, sight unseen.

    • "She claimed to meet the Queen."
      She did not. Her father suggested she might have and has since retracted.
      "Serial prostitute" reflects rather badly on Dersh's procurer buddy does it not? How long has Dersh known she is a serial pro?
      Come to think of it, I'd suggest he has already swallowed his feet with this blast. Does it not confirm all of the allegations about the goings among Epstein's distinguished guests?

      There is a circularity of argument to the accusations of lying and perjury - "She is a liar because I am innocent" ...."I am innocent because she is a liar".

    • That article gives me more confidence that Cassells/Edwards are deliberately enticing Dershowitz because they have him bang to rights.

      Considering the pictures of Dersh, do you guys have the expression "possum in the headlights"?

    • Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is boldly hailed as “the most famous Rabbi in America, is calling on Jews to defend lawyer Alan Dershowitz against accusations that he sexually assaulted an underage girl......
      Shmuley asks, “Where are the Jewish leaders to rise to Dershowitz’s defense? He deserves our support. He deserves our solidarity. And he deserves our voice. ......
      “Well I’m not surprised that they would jump on these allegations with great glee,” Shmuley told The Mirror. “While no one knows whether these allegations are true or not — and I suspect they are not — he is a man of sterling reputation. …We need to show gratitude and solidarity.”
      link to

      Hmmm. In my book the appropriate response would be to advise Jewish leaders to take no position until allegations are either substantiated or refuted.

    • He's on better form in the Today interview. The interviewer is also impressive. Is "Today" a reputable news source?

    • I doubt a U.K. court would exercise jurisdiction in an action between Dershowitz and Cassell/Edwards. Dersh would have to sue one of the U.K. newspapers. Difficult to succeed if they have reported only what people have alleged accurately - if my recall of Torts (our legal system derives from and is very similar to the British) is reliable.

    • "The only community I see obsessively discussing this story in relation to Dershowitz is this one - See more at: link to"

      "Alan Dershowitz story is now trending at number 3 on yahoonews" link to - See more at: link to
      ....not to mention CNN, Today, The Daily Mail etc etc.

      "So your response is to suggest that the guy’s a pedophile"

      Find another bale of straw. Every comment here deals with the likelihood of a contingency and the ramifications should that contingency become fact.

      Seriously Hoppy, you don't seem to be a zealot. Why don't you come up with substantiated arguments rather than trying to weave them from gleanings? I for one am always ready to consider a well referenced case. You seem to share Alan's proclivity for pyrrhic victories.

    • Seriously, watching his own performance on CNN must be excruciatingly painful for Alan, even if he is squeaky clean. His own self-image as a surgically precise advocate must be painfully hurt by these huge gaffes in front of (as my Dad would say) "God and everyone".
      "Double spanking today please mistress and hold the mercy!"

      By maligning Paul Cassell he has upped the ante considerably. I believe Cassell possesses the goods and may well be waiting for the proper forum in which to lower the boom. If so, Dersh is courting disaster.

    • Who is anti-Semitic here Hoppy? Haaretz, Wikileaks or the State Dept?

      WikiLeaks: U.S. worried Israel becoming 'the promised land' for organized crime
      U.S. Embassy follows Israeli crime families closely and considers them a serious threat, cable shows.
      link to

    • His "reproductive agent" probably couldn't be found with a button-hook right now!

    • Not only but also. From the interview:

      "The real villains are the lawyers Brad Epstein and Paul Cassel"

      - the name is Brad Edwards. Epstein is his procurer buddy.

      These slips enhance the body language enormously.

      I am thoroughly enjoying this. Please let it be that Tony Blair gets enmeshed in it too - he was in Epstein's "black book" of contacts.

    • Freudian slip on CNN?

      "I am filing today a sworn affidavit denying categorically the truth"

    • "Why stop the chase?"

      This seems to be the king-plank in the deck of Israeli Jurisprudence - "Look, we've gotten away with it so long we deserve to be let off". It is applied to U.N. sanctions, land theft, ethnic cleansing, offences against Geneva accords etc in equal measure. In the end it comes down to an ideology that sanctions different classes of people, in short, exceptionalism.

    • Oh come on Hoppy. Take your hand off the Anti-Semitic button. "communities that have obsessively spread this story on social media" are acting exactly as they do when any celebrity or powerful figure is suspected of impropriety or hypocrisy, no matter the faith or ethnicity.

      It is perfectly natural that this story will have legs in this community, Dershowitz has offended each and every one of us either directly or by implication. That we do not like this man's actions and are enjoying his discomfiture tells you absolutely nothing about our attitude to race or religion.
      When you begin to understand that your philo-Semitism is simply the mirror image of anti-semitism, equally egregious, you will be on the road to recovery and rejoining the community of man.

    • Lovely picture at your link Taxi.
      link to

      This story looks like going somewhere. Paul Cassel has immaculate credentials. He does not seem the kind of fellow to make an allegation without watertight backup.
      Perhaps he is an upright chap who resents the disrepute brought to the Law by the likes of Dershowitz? There has to be a reason for including that name in the motion.

      This from Taxi's link intrigues me:

      "Mr. Dershowitz said he would deny the claims in a sworn affidavit, “subjecting me to criminal prosecution if I’m lying.”......
      In a statement Friday, Mr. Cassell said the allegations in the motion were truthful, but declined to discuss what steps he and his co-counsel, Mr. Edwards, took to verify them.

      “We have been informed of Mr. Dershowitz’s threats based on the factual allegations we have made in our recent filing. We carefully investigate all of the allegations in our pleadings before presenting them,” he said.

      Mr. Cassell said that he looks forward to reading Mr. Dershowitz’s affidavit when it’s filed."

      There are dates and times for verification (Dersh has already asserted he wasn't there) and rumours of peekaboo film.
      Lets see if he does indeed swear an affidavit.

      Here's a list of his more notorious clients:
      Harry Reems
      Sheldon Seigel
      Bernard Bergman
      Ricky Tison and Raymond Tison
      Claus von Bulow
      Leona Helmsley
      link to
      Michael R. Milken
      Jonathan Pollard
      Mike Tyson
      OJ Simpson

  • Our top ten viewed posts in 2014 -- and five most prolific commenters, too!
    • Seasons greetings to all from downunder. 2014 seems to have been the year that Mondoweiss really broke through. Its been a privilege to exchange views with some very good folk here and to watch the site grow in stature.

  • Israel will lose all American Jews but the crazies
    • Danger of Rabies. The dog might catch it should it happen to bite someone.

    • Those are not muzzles, they're mouth guards - everyone needs one in company like that.

    • "flash as a rat with a gold tooth"
      Lovely! Most apposite. Haven't heard that saying for years. Some readers might need to know that "flash" downunder means "showy" - often applied to con-men, shonky used car salesmen. Ooops, do I need to define "shonky" ? Stiffen the crows, this could go on forever.

    • Forgot the link to "The Ultimate Ally. The "realists" are wrong: America needs Israel now more than ever. "

      link to

    • I guess its all in the perception.

      "Martin Indyk, the courtliest man in the world" and "The distinguished Oren" have always made my stomach churn. Both are propagandists of the worst kind as anyone even vaguely familiar with the History of Palestine could clearly see on first reading of their "impressive books. Indyk has a special place of loathing in my rogues gallery for his being raised "down under" just a few years after me. Watch how he reacts to Norman then spews gobbledegook to cover up his embarrassing inability to counter the valid points Norman raises:
      link to

      Norman also pointed up the flaws in Oren's "Six days of War", nailing him for:
      "attaching equal weight to a public statement (or memoir) and the hard evidence of an internal document contradicting it, burying in an avalanche of dubious evidence a crucial counter-finding, minimizing, misrepresenting, or suppressing a crucial piece of evidence"
      - the hallmarks of the propagandist.
      link to

      How does a reading of Oren's 2011 essay strike one today? A sample:

      "What is the definition of an American ally? On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America’s values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people’s beliefs. Tactically, an ally stands with the United States through multiple conflicts and promotes its global vision. From its location at one strategic crossroads, an ally enhances American intelligence and defense capabilities, and provides ports and training for U.S. forces. Its army is formidable and unequivocally loyal to its democratic government. An ally helps secure America’s borders and assists in saving American lives on and off the battlefield. And an ally stimulates the U.S. economy through trade, technological innovation, and job creation. "

      Have to go, my stomach is gurgling.

  • Jews who speak out on Ferguson but not Palestine fear 'vengeance of Jewish establishment' -- Magid
    • {{{Greetings and best wishes!}}}

    • Yes. I often ponder the success of the transfer propaganda technique - the art of taking what "we" do and making out it is being done to "us". Similarly with modernity thing. In fact many of the early Europeans who invaded were inexperienced in agriculture and land management, requiring huge assistance whilst Palestine was already quite well developed, particularly so compared to colonies like New Zealand and Australia. Here's a picture of Jaffa circa 1930.
      link to
      ....and one taken in Auckland around the same time:
      link to

    • This is the type of story I like to see.
      One of the most challenging tasks lies in helping others to understand that the Palestinian situation is "that" kind of struggle.
      The entire edifice of Zionist colonialism is built on exceptional-ism, has been from the beginning. Much of its longevity is owed to the manufactured images that portray it as being different, unique - when in fact it is a very old, commonplace predatory philosophy arising out of divine right.
      I have watched the scales fall from many pairs of eyes when the realisation hits that Palestinians are an indigenous people all but expelled from their native land. This is easy to bring about when the listener has already been involved with or at least understands indigenous rights movements. He/she has been accustomed to thinking that Palestine is an intractable Gordian Knot of a problem with religious complications.
      The comparison with Human Rights/Police Brutality struggles is also pertinent and therefore an effective consciousness-raising method.
      I hope Magid continues to push this barrow. Is he an influential figure? Does he read Mondoweiss????

  • We're all anti-American now

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