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Total number of comments: 251 (since 2012-03-08 03:29:50)

Good morning sunshine.

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  • Fund Albuquerque's needs, not Israel's occupation, new billboards proclaim
    • If it were not for the Park Service fencing off WWII memorials and trying to Mt. Vernon most people wouldn't even notice the government shutdown. (If you work for the government, that's a different matter, but still no one is going to lose a day's pay).

  • Malcolm Gladwell is afraid to address Israel in his new book
    • "Do you EVER get tired of your own self-contradiction? Do you EVER get tired of the Jew-baiting? Walt and Mearsheimer’s book was published by a major publishing house, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It wasn’t published by Verso."

      When a Jew responsibly criticizes tribal behavior by Jews it is enlightened self-criticism, not Jew-baiting.

      Secondly, despite Walt & Mearsheimer publishing a major work on a major issue, the New York Times did not see fit to review their book. If it hadn't have been for the London Review of Books the world would not have known they'd written it. Someone in a position of power didn't want this book to see the light of day. I assure you it wasn't Italian-Americans.

  • Why Palestine is different
    • I would sure like to know what the U.S. ever did to deserve this "special relationship" with Israel. God knows, no one ever asked me to vote on it. And if there is a treaty out there somewhere mandating our eternal, unending, uncritical support, I never saw that one either.

  • UC Berkeley student president announces he will not veto divestment bill
    • I hope Landgraf has a job lined up after graduation because he will be blacklisted when he applies for any engineering jobs, just as reporters who write critically of the Israeli occupation get blacklisted at newspapers and TV stations.

  • In 'NYT' lecture on intermarriage, Stanley Fish says religious difference is 'deep and immovable'
    • I sometimes find it odd to listen to people here fret and worry about what it means to be Jewish. Posts here sometimes read like one of those Grimm's fairy tales in which some poor boy suspects he's really a prince with royal blood. Most people here, it seems, are on the left politically. So why all the worry with what at root are bloodlines?

    • Catholic husband that spends their mornings in church celebrating Mass, while wife runs around like a dervish getting their children ready, only to see him back in Church in the evening, and at a spiritual ( and child free) retreat at weekends. . .

      I was raised a Catholic in a heavily Catholic part of western Pennsylvania and I must say I never knew anyone who lived like that. Perhaps you're thinking of some other religion?

  • Geyer says 'many Americans' are displeased with special relationship
    • I wonder sometimes who on earth decreed that there was a "special relationship" between the United States and Israel. The earliest reference I've seen to this supposed relationship was in some casual introductory remarks made by John Kennedy when Golda Meir visited Washington one day.

      I must say, a mighty enterprise has been built upon this slender reed. And one I'd be more than happy to dispense with it. As the bandito said in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre," "we don't need no stinking relationships."

  • Vivian Gornick stashed book critical of Israel lest she 'commit literary suicide'
    • I think she's rather saying that to write about Israel without apologetics is to commit literary suicide. I have a friend who was told if he ever wrote in public what he said at at a certain dinner party he would never be published again.

  • Illegal outpost 'security officer' caught on tape beating Palestinian tending herd as Israeli soldiers stand around
    • I'm amazed at the high technical quality of the video that we are seeing nowadays. It makes these soldiers hesitate. It's not like the grainy fuzzy video we had in the Rodney King case where you had to watch 10 times to try and figure out what was going on. Rogue cops and soldiers must really just hate the advance of video technology.

  • Israelis flock to Berlin-- some for 'multicultural vibe'
  • 'NYT' landmark: Jewish philosophy prof says we 'really ought to question' Israel's right to exist
    • Why must Levine couch his discussion in terms of whether Israel has a “right to exist?”

      Well you are right. No country has a right to exist. Countries don't come into existence because of rights anyway. They exist because someone had the power to take the land from someone else and so he did. It's always been that way--with all countries. That being said, it has always seemed to me that when Israel asserts its right to exist it is asserting a good deal more than merely to have what other countries have.

  • Obama scared AIPAC into silence, then defeated it
    • Obama might have temporarily outsmarted Netanyahu but what's so great about that? It's like outsmarting a Great Dane. In the meantime Obama has to go make homage to Jerusalem next week and do a blowjob on that donkey for Israel. Which he unfortunately will do without any regret for what was once the great and powerful United States of America.

  • Israeli drumbeat grows for Pollard's release ahead of Obama visit
    • If the U.S. releases Pollard the Israelis will celebrate it as a huge victory over the United States with parades, speeches, public appearances, frenzied dancing, all accompanied by denunciations of the U.S.'s allegedly cruel and unusual treatment of Pollard while in U.S. custody and attacks on our President. This would profoundly depress me, given that Israel has won so many other victories over the US in recent decades, starting with their attack on the USS Liberty. I hate to hand them another one, especially one that suggests Israeli and AIPAC control over the American government is powerful and ubiquitous.

      A final point, if Israel is the slightest bit remorseful about the Pollard affair, why don't they return the stack of documents he stole--said to fill a room ten feet on a side?

  • Biden says Jews can't be safe in the U.S. without a Jewish state
    • Anyone who hasn't done it should read the comments by Washington Post readers on Biden's groveling to Israel. Nine out of ten of them are strongly opposed to Biden's remarks. Among other things, they consider them embarrassing, ill-advised and disloyal to America.

    • Jews who are worried (in my opinion needlessly) about their safety in America need only find themselves a gentile spouse. At that point they will have a fierce defender against all enemies, foreign or domestic. What's not to like?

  • AIPAC request for U.S. backing of Israeli strike on Iran gets Senators' support
    • A famous American scientist once told me the president could get the American people to go to war with any country with three speeches. Getting the American people to go to war with Iran on behalf of Israel would probably take only two. In fact all the president would have to do is whisper the words "war" and "Iran" in the same sentence and our congress would demand he start bombing tomorrow.

      Sometimes America is such a tool of our betters.

    • Israel is asking the US Senate to issue a declaration of war. Furthermore it's leaving the decision in the hands of Israel. Are we nuts? Why don't we just Fedex the (launch authorization) football to Netanyahu so he can launch our missiles whenever he likes?

  • Chuck Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense by 58-41 vote (Updated)
    • Will Hagel be a better secretary of defense for America than anyone else? In order to get confirmed, didn't he promise to love Israel more than America, more than his family, more than life itself? If Hagel is just another Israel-Firster how does that help anyone in this country?

  • '5 Broken Cameras' director detained in LAX on way to Oscars (Updated)
    • If he does win the Academy Award I wonder what percentage of the audience will boo and what percent will cheer.

    • I don't understand this. Immigration (finally) let him into the country because he was nominated for an Academy Award. What if he was here merely to go to Disneyland or to visit the Grand Canyon? They would have immediately sent him home?

  • 'Commentary' says some elected Democrats 'pledged' to protect Israel
    • Tobin will say anything, true or not, if it helps Israel. Years ago when I told him in an email that Israel's West Bank settlements were an obstacle to peace he answered that Israel hasn't built any such settlements in over 10 years. When I replied that the US reconnaissance satellites that monitored illegal settlements in the West Bank proved otherwise, he answered that it was a "scandal" for the U.S. to waste its valuable satellite resources spying on an ally. He then announced that our correspondence was closed.

      Well, it was closed but not so much as his own mind.

  • Which will prevail-- latest neocon charge on Hagel over Israel, or D.C.'s fatigue over delay?
    • Didn't Obama first check with Netanyahu before nominating Hagel? I can't imagine that Netanyahu checks with Obama before selecting his own defense minister.

  • When loving Israel is a social credential
    • well said

    • I've never understood why Americans are expected to love Israel. No one expects us to love Iceland, Bulgaria or New Zealand. But if you are a public figure who shows insufficient love for Israel (not dislike, just insufficient love) your career is shot before it begins.

  • Obama's 2-day schedule in Israel/Palestine: 3 hours in Ramallah, 45 hours celebrating the special relationship
    • I have often wondered how our "special relationship" with Israel came about. It wasn't established by treaty. Yet it seems to supersede our relationships with Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Canada and Mexico.

      It's not because the U.S. and Israel have common origins or similar founding philosophies. As far as I can tell, the earliest reference to any special relationship innocently started when President Kennedy used the phrase in some welcoming remarks for Golda Meir. And that casual beginning has become some sort of Magna Carta which makes our politicians fall over each other to show the most craven obeisance whenever an Israeli leader drops into town.

      I just don't understand why our congress is so obsequious. I recently read that 80% of the questions at Hagel's confirmation hearing had to do with Israel. Don't our senators and congressmen know that in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky ordinary working class Americans are watching these hearings and saying, "What the hell is going on? I've been out of work for 5 years and all congress cares about is Israel???"

  • Obama set to visit Israel this spring
    • What a strange state off affairs. When Netanyahu addresses the US Congress they give him 29 standing O's. When Obama goes to address the Knessett Netanyahu has to beg the members not to boo the US president.

      It is clear who holds the upper hand in this relationship. Obama is so picky about slights and insults with everyone else yet he allows Netanyahu to treat him like his not-too-bright serving boy.

  • Is Ed Koch's passing another sign of lobby's generational fade?
    • I'll never forget the way Koch deflected dual loyalty charges. He said that the minute that Israel invades the U.S., he'd be on the front lines.

      Koch might be right in saying he would have been on the front lines if Israel invaded the U.S. It just might not have been on our side of the front lines.

  • Hagel hearing word count: Israel 178, Iran 171, military suicides 2
    • What kills me about Hagel is that he once said he would be a senator the United States , not the senator for Israel--an honorable and candidly refreshing observation for those who grew up in fly-over country and just assumed any American senator obviously put America's needs before those of any other country. But then Hagel goes into his confirmation hearing and in response to demands that he prove how much he loves Israel he repudiates his whole life and thereby destroys whatever respect ordinary Americans had previously accorded him.

      The Israel lobby took a good (but unfortunately not a very brave) and humiliated him into pledging to love Israel more than any other country, including even America. If Hagel really believes what he said in the hearing room the other day it's time for him to fly to Tel Aviv and join the Knesset because he's clearly not suitable to represent his own country anymore.

  • Hagel obeyed Senate taboo against criticism of Israel-- 'our most important ally in the entire world'
    • If Hagel had refused to repudiate what he previously said about the Israel Lobby he wouldn't have become Secretary of Defense but at least he could have retired with his honor intact. Now that he has repudiated everything he ever believed he still won't become Secretary of Defense but now his retirement will be full of shame.

  • Hagel offers himself as secretary of Israel's defense
    • Israel apologists have already called Hagel anti-Semitic for saying this. They argue that his comment about being loyal to the constitution, not Israel, implies that Jewish Americans have dual loyalty issues and thus is anti-Semitic on its face. Either that or they just condemn such comments as having an "odor" about them.

    • I don't understand how Israel Firsters couldn't know that ordinary Americans watch performances like this and when they do it turns their stomach to see our public officials forced to say they love Israel more than life itself. This is worse than the loyalty oaths of the fifties. At least then people were required to love America. Today they have to promise to love a foreign country first.

  • Kentucky paper publishes piece describing Palestinians as 'chosen people'
    • Oh bull to you. Before seeing the cartoon I was expecting (and hoping) to be amused or impressed by it. I was neither. The cartoonist had a good idea and ruined it with his crude execution.

      As far as my having a victimization complex, I don't think so. I am not Jewish and I certainly don't walk around hoping to see something I can claim offends me. I'll go further. I think people who compare everything they don't like to Hitler or the Holocaust are just plain dumb (or dishonest). Even so, my first reaction to the cartoon was dismay that it gave such an easy target for Netanyahu apologists.

    • The cartoon is offensive. But not because of the idea conveys--that Netanyahu's wall is killing the Palestinians, but because the execution of the cartoon counter-productively reminds the viewer of Nazi depictions of German Jews in the thirties. Perhaps the cartoonist intended that. If so, he made a bad mistake.

  • On US television, Zuckerman, Ross and Remnick all refer to Israeli prime minister as 'Bibi' on first reference
    • Obama talks to Netanyahu every day?

      Surely that can't be true. I doubt Obama talks to Michelle that much.

  • Israeli reporter admits suppressing images of 'piles of bodies of civilians' when Israel went 'crazy' in Gaza
    • There's another thing Friedman doesn't seem to recognize. Israel controls our Mid-eastern foreign policy. There's no other country in the world that could make us attack Iran, thereby destroying the American economy for an entire generation, killing tens of thousands of Americans and earning us the enmity of the rest of the world. Only Israel can do that. Americans have a right to have concerns about a country which is pushing non-stop to involve us in a ruinous war.

  • The reviews are in: 'Zero Dark Thirty makes me hate muslims'
    • "No, I haven’t. And anyone who says that without seeing the film is a fool, a fanatic or worse."

      You are so right. I find that even people I know and otherwise respect sometimes grievously mis-characterize films, videos and press conferences. If you don't go view the source material yourself you would come away thinking that the person being characterized is an idiot or a bigot. Then when you actually view the supposedly egregious material in context, along with the speaker's intonation and inflection, you discover that his remarks were completely reasonable and unexceptional. Or, as one of my writing instructors in college used to say, "over-checking has ruined many a good story."

  • Fallows bridles at the use of the anti-Semitism bogy
    • The prosecutors in the Aaron Swartz case knew they would never get a unanimous guilty verdict against him from any computer literate jury. So they grossly over-charged him in hopes of scaring him into a plea bargain that would make him accept significant jail time. Instead they scared him so badly (he had always battled with depression) that he took his own life.

      When I hear a song like "God Bless America" I sometimes wonder what America they're talking about.

  • University of California students mobilize against California bill equating activism with anti-Semitism
    • I went to grad school at Berkeley in the late sixties. The famous free speech era, it seemed to me, was anything but that. Anyone who failed to share the prevailing left wing ideology was condemned, slandered and on occasion physically attacked. I had come to Berkeley directly from the US Naval aviation. It seemed to me that one was a lot freer to voice contrary opinions in the Navy than was ever possible at UC Berkeley. The Navy only cared that you did your job. At Berkeley, they had ubiquitous thought police trying to stamp out "badthink."

  • Elliott Abrams calls Chuck Hagel an anti-Semite
    • If the senate fails to confirm Hagel for not loving Israel enough, Obama should nominate Benjamin Netanyahu for the post. This way we won't end up with a Secretary of Defense who is torn between the neocon requirement to always put Israel first and the human desire to be loyal to the country of one's birth.

  • Obama taps Hagel with combative speech-- following outreach to AIPAC
    • I took Woodward's statement to mean we would be talking more about Israel than we would like because a war had erupted in the Middle East.

    • You are more optimistic than I am about Maddow's aversion to talking about the Israel Lobby. She would choke on her blouse before ever saying "opposition to Hagel" and "Israel" in the same sentence.

  • Multiple reports say Chuck Hagel to be Defense Secretary nominee
    • "If Hagel simply says this, “The national security interests of the United States come first.” I will be thrilled."

      I too would be thrilled to see anyone in public life say this. But it won't happen (and Hagel won't repeat this sentiment). There simply are too many supporters of Israel who believe that it's anti-Semitic for Americans to put America first because this carries the implication that people who support Israel don't put America first. While this is in many cases true, it is another of those things which simply can't be said in America today. I suspect if Obama does in fact nominate Hagel (and I'm thinking more and more that he won't) Hagel will suddenly start talking like he loves Israel so much he will bomb Iran before 5 pm his first day on the job.

  • Bil'in protesters oppose a 'horrible, horrible wrong' -- Michael Moore
    • As far as I can tell, the film is only playing in two theaters in the entire country. How does one get to see it?

  • With conventional wisdom solidifying behind Hagel, will Obama finally declare on 'Meet the Press?'
    • "There is AIPAC and many similar jewish organisation working for the interests of a foreign country and there is the NRA, whose members collect private armouries to fight their own government under the disguise of the 2d Amendment."

      Many of the Founding Fathers, such as James Madision, who wrote the Second Amendment, believed that American citizens needed the right to bear arms in order to oppose oppressive government. This is what Madison once wrote on the matter:

      The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms . . . offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

      Supporters of gun control often say they don't oppose the use of guns for hunting, target shooting or home defense but to the founding fathers, those were secondary applications. The highest and best use off guns was to oppose tyrannical rulers.

    • "Obama will capitulate. . . Everything we know . . . about him points to the fact that he is spineless. This is especially the case when it comes to the Israel lobby. "

      Man, you are so right.

    • Too many Jews not only oppose Hagel but would fight to the death to keep him out of the office of Secretary of Defense. No American president can stand up to that kind of pressure, especially someone as spinally-challenged as Obama.

  • 'Daily Beast' crank against intermarriage pushes regime change in Iran on the side
    • "Weakening the Jewish people is a bad thing."

      I always thought if a Jew marries a non-Jew both of them get as much as they lose. It's not enough to say "our culture must be preserved." People ought to just jump into the ethnic stew and not worry themselves that somehow a bit of carrot got in the horseradish.

  • Israeli ambassador Michael Oren gets hero's welcome in liberal enclave of Brooklyn
  • Israeli air force shoots down unidentified drone over Negev
    • I've often wondered what would happen if someone bought an off-the-shelf remote control model plane, put a little explosive in it, and launched it at the White house from a Washington D.C. street or parking lot. The drone wouldn't have to do any real damage--just bounce off one of those impregnable White House windows and start a little brush fire--but our government would go nuts. Civil liberties would disappear. Everyone who has ever operated a model plane would get a visit from the FBI. You wouldn't be able to get on a train (or city bus) without going through a scanner.

      We have to end all our foreign wars and quit using drones on everyone if we don't want to end up a police state here at home.

  • Was Obama just doing the rope-a-dope last night?
    • 3. My formula for using these debates to decide who to vote for is: A. determine which one hogs the clock the most. B. Vote for the other guy. That’s b/c the guy who hogs the clock the most because is the bigger a-hole. Motor-mouth Mitt was clearly the bigger a-hole.

      The debate analysis that I read said that, surprising as it might seem, Obama actually spoke three minutes longer than Romney.

  • 'Boston Globe' columnist sells one Jewish state (and wonders why Israel's image is tanking)
    • hophmi: There is a recent AJC poll that lays waste to a central claim on this site, on which American Jews are frequently accused of dual loyalty.

      I don't know that many people on this site think that Jewish Americans have dual loyalties. What many have said (including me) is that Israel Firsters are the ones (not Jews in general) with dual loyalty issues.

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