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Total number of comments: 23 (since 2012-03-23 21:17:30)

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  • 'Killing civilians is unheard of' -- Israeli propaganda gets red carpet reception in US press
    • Imagine how Americans would react if huge numbers of Arabs/Muslims immigrated to the United States and established an Arab/Muslim state on 80% of the land, expelling most Americans while subjugating the rest as second-class citizens.

  • No one cares about intermarriage anymore
    • “...when the establishment threw itself into the fight against intermarriage with slogans and war cries. “

      The non-Jewish establishment sat on the sidelines. Any non-Jew who took a position was denounced as an antisemite: for agreeing with the authors of the Nuremberg Laws if he opposed intermarriage, and for seeking to entice Jews into defilement, like a candy-waving child molester (an analogy once used by Dershowitz), if he approved of intermarriage.

  • Where do we go from here? Our thoughts & yours on the US election
  • Norman Finkelstein on Sanders, the first intifada, BDS, and ten years of unemployment
    • Activist scholars like Ilan Pappe make a strong case that
      (a): what has long been the politically dominant form of Zionism is an ideology of supremacist racism; and
      (b): this ideology is and has always been the driving force behind the dispossession, ethnic cleansing, and subjugation of Palestinians.
      This odious ideology and its role should not be ignored simply because some people like Noam Chomsky have used the same word ("Zionist") to refer to more benign goals.

  • Oren's demands make Israel's liberal apologists squirm
    • In his juxtaposition of "universalist" with "particularist" as a choice of priorities for Jews, Oren echoes Gilad Atzmon's dichotomy of Athens vs. Jerusalem. Not long ago, this distinction was a forbidden thought and was hysterically denounced as anti-Semitic on the rare occasions when it was voiced.

      The difference between Oren's notion of "People" and the old German notion of "Volk" is unclear. Why devotion to the former as one's highest allegiance is held to be noble while devotion to the latter is held to be vile racism is also unclear.

  • Sam Harris defends his silence on Gaza slaughter (or tries to anyway)
    • Well, Harris does have the fact, on his side, that when Americans or Israelis or Europeans are caught beyond plausible denial committing atrocities, they will denounce those atrocities. They will denounce as "rogues" the soldiers who pulled the trigger, or the " fog of war" or "mistake" that was responsible, or the evil enemy who "made us" torture and kill him.

    • Hitler and associates, I understand, never employed suicide bombers . Auschwitz carried out its "task" without suicide bombers. This lack of suicidal fanaticism places them on a higher ethical plane, according to Harris, than fanatics who do employ suicide bombers.
      The SS officials in Schindler's List were ethically superior to the Cuban rebel in Godfather 2, who blew himself up together with a captain (in Harris' ethic).
      Most societies in which Jews were a not-very-powerful minority could have murdered them all. It follows by Harris logic that any Jews they did kill, they killed by accident.
      Harris prattles incessantly about Hamas' charter. Does he think political parties' platforms, written or oral, are, or should be, classified as an acts of war, by international law, which would justify acts of war, like unending sieges, in self-defense?
      When a hugely powerful country uses military force to impose military control and subjugation on an infinitely weaker population, Harris seems to think the latter has two "ethical" options: it can submit meekly to complete foreign control and domination, or it can fight pitched battles which would be acts of futile suicide; but if it employs the guerrilla tactics generally used by occupied resistance fighters, it is less ethical than the occupiers, because in that case it is "using human shields." In fact, since, according to Harris, suicidal attacks are the most morally vile, even the pitched battle option is ethically unavailable to the weaker population.
      Thus, Harris' position is that "might makes right." The force used by the mightier occupying army to maintain subjugation of the weaker population is always more ethical than any force used by the latter in resistance to subjugation, because the latter can either engage in pitched battles which would be suicidal and therefore fanatical and evil, or it can use guerrilla-type tactics which involve "using human shields."
      So Palestinians need to shut up and happily accept whatever control and subjugation and submission Israel demands. It is because of Muslim Antisemitism and an irrational love of terrorism for the sake of terrorism that they don't.

  • 'African Americans for Justice in the Middle East & North Africa' condemn rising tide of racism in Israeli society
    • Clearly there is only one possible explanation for this denunciation of Israeli policy: anti-Semitism. Those not anti-Semitic will have their minds angrily closed to the very question or idea of Jewish or Israeli racism.

  • The situation in a nutshell, part 2
    • Certainly you are right. Arabs are likened to animals, insects, etc. They are the worst class of non-Jews in the establishment Israeli perspective, and are singled out for oppressive discrimination.
      But the article was about a tiny number of converts to Judaism from Peru being admitted to Israel as Jews. The fact of the occasional convert is often cited by Zionists as proof that their ideology/discrimination is not racist, and it is the absurdity of this claim that I was addressing.

    • @ talknic Perhaps I was too subtle in equating Israeli policy (in discrimination, not overall brutality) to Nazi policy. I apologize.

      To put it less ironically: all discrimination is relative, in that "treating A better than B" is equivalent to "treating B worse than A." Nazi policy and Israeli policy both discriminate on the basis of "Jewishness," but in opposite directions, with Nazi policy treating Jews worse (than other people) and Israeli policy treating Jews better.

      Moreover, the two policies employ largely the same conception of Jewishness. The overwhelmingly primary criterion is a person's ancestry: anyone with the "right"/"wrong" ancestry is immutably Jewish. In addition to those who are immutably Jewish by ancestry, a few converts are also classified as Jews.

      Therefore, Nazi policy is racist if and only if Israeli policy is racist, since they both discriminate on the same basis, but just in opposite directions.

      The two policies clearly are racist, despite the lack of a precise definition of "race," regardless of whether the word "race" is used, and notwithstanding the occasional convert (which is often cited by apologists for Zionist discrimination as proof that it cannot be racist).

    • Israeli policy is not racist, as it favors Jews regardless of their race. Similarly for Nazi policy: it sought to persecute and murder all Jews, regardless of race (according to Hilberg, the official definition of "Jew" included anyone who ever practiced or believed in the Jewish religion).

      Both policies discriminate---although in opposite "directions"---on the same basis, namely that of a person's "Jewishness." Moreover, both define "Jewishness" in the same way: conversion "in" is possible, but not conversion "out," although it is overwhelmingly a matter of a person's ancestry. Hence, one policy is racist if and only if the other policy is racist.

  • The kids are back, and it's not alright
    • Michael Neumamn has an excellent discussion in his book The Case Against Israel of how the idea that all "peoples" have a right to "national self-determination" on their own sovereign land, though perhaps well-intentioned, is ultimately rooted in Romantic German notions of "blood and soil," and thus in practice tends to perpetuate ethnic divisions and racism.

    • Like, say, Norman Finkelstein's mother?

  • A debate over Zionism in the bowels of the Rayburn House Office Building
    • An insightful observation.

      Norman Finkelstein often opines that American Zionist Jews of the AIPAC sort urge American support for Israel (as an oppressive, discriminatory, and militaristic state), because doing so increases American power and hence their power as members of the American power-elite.

      In my view, Finkelstein omits an important nuance, namely, that they seek primarily to increase their own power, not by increasing the power of America as a whole, but by increasing the power of their particular faction within the American power structure.

      A good analogy might be the Nazi state as described by Franz Neumann in his book Behemoth: under Hitler was a morass of partially overlapping and constantly competing fiefdoms. The potentate of each fiefdom sought to increase his own personal power by expanding the range and influence his fiefdom relative to the other fiefdoms. Each potentate would argue and perhaps even believe that increasing the power of his fiefdom was "in the interest of Germany," i.e., was the best way to increase the power of Germany as a whole. But his real interest was simply in increasing the power of his faction, which may not be in the overall power-interest of the state.

      Similarly, support for a militaristic and ethnocentric Israel is a vehicle through which to maintain and increase the power of the American Jewish establishment.

  • The 'double standards' issue and moral judgment of Israeli policies
    • Somehow the notion of "hypocritical racism" escapes Strenger----that one may oppose all racism except that by his own group.

    • Well said. The voluminous literature on the Holocaust dwarfs the COMBINED literature on Stalin's atrocities, Mao's atrocities, King Leopold's atrocities, and the genocide of Native Americans. According to "what about" logic, all those who've written about the Holocaust but none of the other "hemoclysms" are guilty of profound hypocrisy, and cannot therefore be actuated by the humanitarian principles they profess; rather, they must be actuated by malign anti-German or anti-Gentile or anti-Christian hatred. Similarly guilty of profound hypocrisy are all those who have agitated for a Jewish state in Palestine based on past habitation, but who don't agitate more forcefully for a Native American state on the whole of the North and South American continents.

  • Why Palestine is different
    • For Judaism "to have no concept of supremacy," it is not enough that it accord "civil" non-Jews some value; rather, it must accord "civil" non-Jews a "worth" equal to that of Jews. It is a strange reading of the Talmud which concludes that such is its uniform message. How many Israeli politicians and Rabbis would concur with the statement that Jewish and non-Jewish lives have equal value?

    • I must disagree. Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews each need their own separate states. So do all the various competing Hassidic sects. And Mormons. And Presbyterians. And Episcopalians. Women have long been oppressed, so they need their own nuclear-armed state. Each individual should have his or her own exclusive state.

    • I am looking at many factors.
      1) There are far more Jews serving as governors, senators, and congressmen than is proportional to their part in the population, who are being elected therefore by largely non-Jewish constituents. There are also a disproportionately large number of Jews who occupy high-level positions in presidential administrations, as Supreme Court Justices, as Federal Reserve Chairmen, etc. These are all high-profile political positions once largely closed to Jews. Where once there were strict quotas, official and unofficial, limiting the numbers of Jewish students and professors at Ivy League Schools, now there are many presidents of such schools who are Jewish. Similarly, many Commissioners of major sports leagues are also Jewish (proportional to their part in the population). Unlike in the past, Jews no longer change their names or try to conceal their Jewishness from the public, as anti-Semitism once forced them to do.
      2) One need not look at FBI statistics to see how Congressmen fall all over themselves to grovel at the feet of Netanyahu when he delivers a Congressional speech. If the US were rife with closet anti-Semites, they could not do this because they would get voted out of office. Anti-Semitism is so moribund in the US that it doesn't even affect the way people vote.
      3) Not long ago, Jewish-owned newspapers would advertise residences for sale or rent that were "restricted," which meant "no Jews."
      4) The most "elite" Gentile American families (Kennedys, Rockefellers, etc.) intermarry with Jews. Not long ago that would have been "socially incorrect." Now it is socially incorrect (rightly) for Gentiles to regard it as "socially incorrect." Today it is far more socially acceptable for Jews to object than Gentiles.
      5) When the people who commit high profile crimes that perfectly fit the most firmly entrenched anti-Semitic stereotypes are all or mostly Jews (e.g., Boesky, Milken, etc. with their financial swindles), their Jewishness rightly elicits no more comment than does their middle-age white maleness.

    • Do other ethnic groups have prominent members acting similarly? Certainly they don't represent all or most Jews, but it does show that there still persists a thriving (if small) current of particularist chauvinism among Jews, evidencing Israel Shahak's observation that anti-Semitism and Jewish chauvinism need to be combatted simultaneously.

    • Israel is a result of the Holocaust, in that prior to the Holocaust, Zionism was a fringe political movement with little international support.
      Many of the most liberal minds of their day also endorsed the view that women are naturally inferior to men and unfit for most positions of authority. Many "liberals" also endorsed the seizure of the North American continent from the "savages" that resided there, and similarly embraced most European colonization as the spread of superior civilization.
      Jew hatred is practically nonexistent in the Western world. It is a moribund form of bigotry. American Jews enjoy unprecedented power, prestige, and influence.
      Israel has always received and depended upon a huge amount of support from other countries, which would not have happened if other countries were filled with fanatical anti-Semites and Jews were powerless and at their mercy. In other words, Israel owes its continued existence to external support. If anti-Semitism really does become rife throughout the rest of the world, then Israel is doomed. If not, then it's unnecessary.
      How shall this logic be generalized? Do Native Americans need a strong and discriminatory state for their self-defense? What about Gypsies?
      Zionism is a vestige of the old Romantic and Germanic "blood and soil" mentality in which it arose.

    • No great power feels "guilt" unless it is defeated like Germany and is forced to admit that it committed deeds that leaders of all countries profess to regard as crimes (genocide, launching aggressive war, wanton or intentional killing of civilians). "Guilt" is proportional to the current power of the former victims and inversely proportional to the power of the perpetrators. Since in the postwar war Jews and the Israel Lobby have considerable power, the monstrous evil of the Holocaust must be acknowledged, and the charge of antisemitism carries great weight. But since the remnants of the Native American peoples have little power, their genocidal destruction can be ignored, and a charge of bigotry against them had little force.

  • Chomsky, 'materialism,' and the Israel lobby thesis
    • He does understand it, but the rest of your response is true.

      Chomsky does claim that US support for Israel is to enhance US strategic interests, and is not DUE to pressure from the pro-Israel Lobby. It is also true that Chomsky argues that what the Lobby promotes happens to be largely consistent with elite interests, and that the Lobby only seems to have great power because of this largely incidental alignment of its "program" with the agenda of "real power."

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