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Total number of comments: 346 (since 2010-06-26 18:54:32)


have a US citizen's obligatory interest in "the question of Palestine". See


Showing comments 346 - 301

  • Israeli victory in '67 was manufactured in western Europe, not by 'Jewish geniuses' -- Guy Laron at Wilson Center
    • This is more than speculation. Jeff Gates has tracked White House logs and so on and places Johnson and Mathilde Krim together, at the LBJ ranch and the WH, without Arthur Krim. Phone logs show that Mathilde was the first person Johnson called when he was told of Israel's attack on June 5. All this is in one of Gates's books

    • Not a new viewpoint, but an interesting development of the critical view.

      The corollary is that the US Jewish left's overweening assurances that the US wanted to destroy Nasser and supported Israel as a "strategic asset" in 67 are equally false

      In 1956, Britain and France indeed wanted to destroy Nasser, for various geopolitical/chauvinist reasons; the record is explicit

      Contrary to Chomsky et al, the USG was not so obsessed. The supposed threat to Saudi Arabia and the Arabian sheikdoms posed by Nasser in supporting the republicans in the Yemen civil war vs was well-contained; the war had become Nasser's Vietnam, a threat to his power.

      The USG recognized that Nasser was past his peak, that Arab socialism was struggling under myriad problems. During the crisis the USG published studies of likely Arab retaliation for support of Israel, which anticipated the economic consequences, thru the oil market, of the October 73 war. Warnings were received from Aramco.

      Johnson was not chafing for war when the crisis broke in May, tho some of his Jewish advisors were. Various diplomatic gambits were tried. The Israel Lobby was mobilized like the Israeli military. Yet Eban was discouraged after a May 25 visit. Mossad chief Meir Amit, on his famous June 1 visit, tried to scare McNamara with the Soviet threat, and told Helms of a decision to attack, which elicited no resistance. Assenting to Israel's resolution by war was the easiest political solution to a complex international and domestic dilemma.

      Afterward, in contrast to the insistence of Eisenhower and Dulles on Israel's withdrawal from Sinai in 1956, Johnson decided that any withdrawal should be part of a general peace settlement. The paper trail on this is very thin; the first mention is a suggestion from the Israeli ambassador on June 5, in White House documents. The USG diplomatic/intel/military apparatus was otherwise totally excluded from this very fundamental change.

      Johnson was a passionate Zionist and philo-Semite. His family supported clemency for Leo Frank in 1913, and his father and grandfather guarded their house with shotguns against possible reprisal by the Klan. He smuggled Jewish refugees into Texas, and smuggled weapons to Palestine.

      He was a pillar of the nascent Israel Lobby in Congress and his life and career were full of Jewish friends and acquaintances. Abe Fortas, a friend from New Deal days, resolved a legal threat to LBJ's election in 1948 that would have ended his career. Johnson made him a SC justice, and Fortas was invited to cabinet meetings over Israel in May 67. Fortas placed Israel's interests and US obligations to it first, which was the WH atmosphere

      At the time Johnson was probably having an affair with Mathilde Krim, convert to Judaism and Irgun romantic. Johnson told Soviet premier Kosygin at a mtg in June in NJ that he supported Israel "because it was the right thing to do."

      Johnson sold Israel the F-4 Phantom in the last year of his presidency, against the advice of the Sec Def, Defense Intel Agency, and the State Dept, which understood that Israel would use them offensively. The "deep penetration bombing" of Egypt followed, and with it the USSR, in large numbers, providing Egypt with an air defense that grounded the vaunted Phantoms.

      Sadat of course kicked out the Russians, in order to go to war, which led to the 4-fold oil price increases of 1973, deep recession and inflation, the biggest shock to the world economy since 1945. Some "strategic asset".

      The US establishment was duly alarmed, and Kissinger's piecemeal disengagement efforts were deprecated in favor of a comprehensive solution, including 2-states, by Carter and his nat sec team. The Israel Lobby intervened against Carter's attempt, permitting only a separate peace with Egypt, ending the last exercise of US sovereignty against the Israel Lobby.

      Not the story that Chomsky et al tell.

  • How 1967 changed American Jews
    • Chomsky was more anxious in his writings of the time. See his first collection, Peace in the Middle East? from 1974. He "feared genocide".

      Elmer Berger parted ways with the ACJ, but as he states in his memoir, soon after that breakup, met with some of his supporters, such as "Mrs Samuel Kuhn", presumably of the Kuhn Loeb investment bank, the patrician German Jews who were the backbone of classical Reform anti-Zionism. They urged him to continue, and he did, as American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism. See his "Memoir of an Anti-Zionist Jew"

      There were some twitches of anti-Zionism at the American Jewish Committee also, very much a minority current by then, but not totally extinguished. I think it's in Marianne Sanua's history of the AJC post-1945

      This comparison could have included the left in Europe. Isaac Deutscher was not taken in.
      Deutscher was born in 1908 and came of age just after the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary aftermath of WWI, and the rise of the USSR and of Fascism. In April 1939 he became London correspondent of a Yiddish newspaper, probably his planned escape.

      The witness and analyst of the tumult and cataclysm of Europe was not to be fooled by Zionism, and while Chomsky was making the desert bloom on a kibbutz in the 1950s, Deutscher was observing the militarism of the kibbutz and the aggressive nationalism of Ben Gurion. See "Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays", which also has a piece about the 67 war. This echoed the critical interpretations of Israel's actions, which began contemporaneously, with Deutscher, and Maxime Rodinson, as well as Matzpen, not in the work of later scholars like Avi Shlaim.

      Maxime Rodinson was under no illusions either. He was born in 1915 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, entered the higher ecole for Middle East languages without a secondary diploma, by competitive exam, having had to work as a poor youngster. He joined the CP in 1937, during the Popular Front, the height of the party's prestige. After his education he took a French diplomatic position in Syria, and survived the war there.

      After the war, he was attached to the embassy in Beirut, when he learned of his parents' demise in Auschwitz. He was offered a car to drive him to Jerusalem, to "be with his people". He considered it, but declined as a violation of his internationalist principles. This passage is in his Souvenir d'un Marginal, in the intro by Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Rodinson does not make the stmt.

      In the early 1960s, Rodinson spoke against the proposition, "Israel is a Socialist State", in a debate arranged by the Union of Jewish Students in France. On the eve of the 67 war, Sartre's Les Temps Modernes published Rodinson's "Israel: A Colonial Settler State", elaborating that thesis, at a time when the idea was scandalous to the US left. Rodinson's "Israel and the Arabs" (1968, 2nd ed 198x) had a highly critical analysis of Israel's role in the origins of the 67 war.

      The entire ouevre of the Israeli Matzpen, whose critique Phil cites, is on-line at Israel Shahak moved in this circle, tho he was not a socialist. One of Tikva's contemporaries told me that he opposed the attack in 67, did not think Israel was in danger. Matzpen's analysis of the origins of the war as rooted in Israeli aggressive policies was similar to Rodinson's.

      Matzpen was not alone. They and others kept the radical, internationalist principles that the Jewish left in the US has totally abandoned for "Jewish identity", from Chomsky on down.

  • Why has the Israeli occupation lasted so long? It's good for business.
    • I have not read Halper's book, tho I got a sample from a rapturous speaker at Left Forum in NYC this weekend.

      Halper is only the latest "anti-occupation" writer to have a eureka moment, penetrating with x-ray vision to the political economy analysis that explains it all.

      This argument founders at the start, in the 1940s, when the US military and diplomatic establishments opposed US support for Zionism, when the considerations Halper and others claim as fundamental were far over the horizon. The nascent Israel Lobby overwhelmed the government and secured US support for partition and a Jewish state in Palestine.

      This period, which extended well past the 1940s, is inconvenient to the political economy authors, so they ignore it, until one of them tried to backdate such arguments to the 1940s, in a crudely dishonest book, which I reviewed

      In his memoir, which Friedman cites, Halper states that he moved to Palestine in 1974 "for Jewish reasons." In other he partook of the ongoing Jewish usurpation of Palestine in pursuit of his "Jewish identity". He has never examined, let alone rescinded that statement.

      No doubt he has done good work with the "Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions." What would we say about a group of German settlers in Poland in the 1940s organized as the "Committee Against Oppression of Polish Jews"?

      Does Halper claim, or should anyone believe, that the US invasion of Iraq, and the US animus against Iran, are due to Israel's military technology and industry?

      Marxist political economy writers (many of them Jewish) once aspired to explain the world. Today this analysis is applied to the Middle East by mostly Jewish writers to counter the Israel Lobby argument and implicitly (often explicitly) accuse its proponents of anti-Semitism.

      I think the political economy writers need to apply themselves closer to home, geographically and spiritually.

  • The US and Israel: 'An integrated political system'
    • The MIC saw profit in selling arms to the Shah of Iran and would gladly have supplied Iran, after the Iran-Iraq war. Not only the MIC but a substantial business lobby had an interest in reviving Iranian markets that had existed under the Shah. They were prevented from exploiting it by the Israel Lobby, which imposed "dual containment" in the 1990s

    • I haven't listened to the interview but the claim that the MIC is a major reason for US support for Israel is simply wrong. The US-Israel relationship began in the 1940s, when the nascent IL overwhelmed military and diplomatic opposition to US support for Zionism and forced support for partition and a Jewish state on the US govt. The MIC was nowhere to be seen, as far as Israel was concerned. Arms sales to Israel were considered a strategic liability into the 1960s.

      The "strategic asset" school on the left have ignored this chapter, until one of them, Irene Gendzier, tried to impose the asset argument on the 1940s, in a crudely dishonest book. See my review at

      Beyond that, even after the June, 1967 war, the State Dept, the Defense Intel Agency and the SecDef declined to sell Israel the F-4 Phantom on the grounds it would encourage Israel's offensive proclivity. President Johnson overruled them and the deep penetration bombing of Egypt, and the massive Soviet missile defense, which grounded the Phantoms, and eventually a cease fire, in summer, 1970, followed.

      Among other observations. Israel's military aid to Israel is relatively small, and Israel is allowed to spend funds on its own industries and to compete with the US MIC

      The US MIC doesn't spend time and money lobbying mainly for foreign policy, but for arms programs. Profiting from military budgets is not the same as initiating wars. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the culmination of a 25-yr design of the Israel Lobby and above all the neocons, not of the MIC. Etc etc.

  • When it comes to Syria, our press is full of moralizing and propaganda, and short on analysis
  • Trump's Gambit: Sacrificing a fascist for establishment approval and Israeli propaganda
    • I think Trump is more dupe than master manipulator. US intel agrees with the Russian account, that Syrian AF struck a jihadi CW store. It is also argued that McMaster has been controlling the flow of intel to Trump, and the CIA was notably absent from the photo ops. See pieces by veteran nat sec journo Robert Parry at Consortium News, and iviews with Phil Giraldi, retired CIA counterterrorism, and Patrick Lang, retired Defense Intel Agency.

      I agree with Yoav that Trump struck mainly at his various domestic opponents. I don't think he's happy about disowning his base, no triumphant tweets about the Syria attack. Tillerson and McMaster both are saying that regime change is still not US policy.

      Too late for that. "It's worse than a crime, it's a blunder." See

      5 reasons why Donald Trump’s missile strike was a massive blunder

  • The Jewish revolution
    • Beinart also warned that if Israel fails, the Jewish community will be tromping through the rubble for generations ala the momentous failure of Shabbtai Zvi in the 16th century; for this failure implicates an edifice of thinkers .... et al

      The problem is not worship of the state, but of its underlying concept, The Jewish People, a race fantasy, as Shlomo Sand showed in his books and just summarized in Le Monde Diplo, as noted in another Mondo article

      The "Jewish revolution" is certainly not groups like JVP and IfNotNow, with their minimal, philo-Semitic critique, who aspire to be the next Jewish establishment. The needed revolution is tantamount to a second emancipation from "Jewishness" as the ontological basis of existence, let alone politics. It is rediscovering the secularism and liberalism of the modern world.

      "Jewishness" not the Jewish state, is the misguided, Shabbtain obsession, and the needed shattering is regaining perspective, relegating it to an aspect of one's background, instead of social ontology.

  • Broad coalition attends teach-in on Israel lobby ahead of AIPAC conference
    • Phil, thanks for a good summary of the Israel Lobby conference, which I watched on the live internet stream.

      I have one disagreement, your characterization of Grant Smith's position as "nationalist." There is a presumption of democratic sovereignty in our system of government, "We the people..." etc. However corrupted and attenuated, it is the principle that makes the govt accountable to its citizens. The Israel Lobby, as the agent of a foreign government, whose power makes impossible the enforcement of federal foreign agent registration law, is a usurpation of our democratic sovereignty as US citizens. As I pointed out at the end of my article on the first IL conference in 2014 (which I did attend):

      There was a patriotic tone to some presentations, and most of the speakers emphasized American interests. This is an observation, not a complaint. The American system of government expresses the democratic sovereignty of the American people, however corrupted and attenuated that principle is. Israel’s influence is fundamentally a usurpation of our sovereignty as US citizens. Veterans of the national security establishment, and democrats left, right and center can agree on that. They may or may not be allies in the class struggle, but they are allies in the medieval-modern struggle which Zionism has joined. As Stephen Walt noted, we need a “broad tent.”

      However, AIPAC is not simply an agent of a foreign power, but of the Zionist "Jewish people" which the Jewish state presumes to represent, including US citizens. The formation of this quasi-sovereign body "the Jewish people" is a fundamental violation of the liberal compact in which people of Jewish background are either a religious minority, or secular citizens, period. This position was upheld by classical Reform Judaism, and other modern movements in which Jews participated. As I noted at the end of my piece on the JVP attack on Alison Weir:

      Count Clermont-Tonnerre spoke for Jewish emancipation in the French National Assembly in December, 1789. The

      "adversaries of the Jewish people attack me. This people, they say, is not sociable. . . The worst of these reproaches is unjust; the others are only specious. . ."

      "No doubt these religious oddities will disappear; and if they do survive the impact of philosophy and the pleasure of finally being true citizens and sociable men, they are not infractions to which the law can or should pertain."

      "But, they say to me, the Jews have their own judges and laws. I respond that is your fault and you should not allow it. We must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation and accord everything to Jews as individuals. It is repugnant to have in the state an association of non-citizens, and a nation within the nation. . . In short, Sirs, the presumed status of every man resident in a country is to be a citizen. (50)"

      The quasi-national organized Jewish society and sensibility violate the liberal compact that Clermont-Tonnerre outlined. Their quasi-sovereign power usurps the democratic sovereignty embodied in the US government, as famously stated in the Preamble to the Constitution. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union. . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (51) The principle of democratic sovereignty, however corrupted and attenuated, makes the government accountable to its citizens, as the If Americans Knew web site states. “In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a nation’s actions rests with its citizens. The top rung of government—the entity with the ultimate power of governance—is the asserted will of the people. Therefore, in any democracy, it is essential that its citizens be fully and accurately informed.” (52)

      At the end, you (Phil) quote Smith: The Lobby has

      been the largest single factor in the way of a resolution of the conflict, Smith said near the close of the conference. I share that view, the lobby is the reason partition hasn’t worked for 70 years, it’s my original community’s achievement. The community in the room yesterday was much broader than that.

      True, and the Jewish-identified left, from Chomsky to JVP on down, with its absolute insistence on "strategic asset" and its Inquisitions against presumed "anti-Semitism", has been the reason the Lobby issue has been so late to surface, and still is an embattled critique on the left, still attacked by Chomsky, Beinin, and JVP, with the ceaseless cry of anti-Semitism.

      The left Israel Lobby is also why we have a critque of "the occupation" but no critique of Zionism as Jewish racism, and why the universalist positions of classical Reform, Marxist internationalism and plain secularism, the moral antipodes to Zionism, and also to anti-Semtism, have been buried. The Chomskyite left is as invested in "the Jewish people" as Morton Klein and Bibi Netanyahu, they just differ on how best to "be Jewish".

      As you note at the end, "the community in the room yesterday was much broader than that." This is necessarily an urgent issue for all of us, US citizens and people abroad. There is no "Jewish point of view," no "Jewish politics" that is not simply Jewish power and privilege. It is not "nationalist" to point this out, merely secular and democratic.

  • The explosion hidden inside the UN Apartheid report
    • George Smith:

      One can vehemently reject the racialized notion of a “Jewish people” and the Zionist cause it has inspired, while at the same time embrace membership in a Jewish community with (imperfectly) shared values.

      You agree about the "dismaying vilification of Alison Weir" and "rushed to IAK to donate." You cite "other members who complained vociferously."

      You know as well as I do that it came to exactly zero. The criticism of their decision on Weir was too much for the leadership and they shut down the forum for a month, then returned with warnings about "civility" (familiar censorship gambit) and the discussion stopped. Some members wanted a position on Zionism, and after desultory effort and occasional inquiries from the membership that was eventually dropped.

      The attack on Weir led to an incident of violence and an arrest at one speaking engagement of Weir's. Thuggish disrupters tried to shout her down and distributed copies of the contrived JVP attack on her. The same JVP info was used in threats against a second appearance by her. Many SJP chapters dropped her, tho she spoke at one chapter in the midwest recently. They continue to deprecate the Israel Lobby argument and attack it as anti-Semitic

      JVP encouraged the cancellation of Miko Peled's appearance at Princeton, and RV later issued a mealy-mouthed stmt about "possibly overreaching" while never apologizing. JVP for ten years supported only "anti-occupation" BDS, finally endorsing full BDS only in Feb 2015 when it became impossible not to.

      Their critique of "international law" and "peace and justice" is minimal, anodyne language, contemptuous of the victims, that contrasts with condemnations of Judeo-Nazism from Israeli and European Jewish critics like Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Israel Shahak and Hajo Meyer.

      You sweep all this under the rug as "imperfectly shared values". No, shared values, on the importance of "Jewishness", far more important that mere life and death in Palestine and west Asia.

      "Jewish politics" is simply Jewish power and privilege, a form of Zionism, drawing distinction between Jew and gentile.

    • Lillian, JVP is the current incarnation of the identity politics that has replaced secularism on the left over Palestine since 1967, and effectively destroyed our ability to think, let alone act.

      What do you think "anti-Zionism" means? It means, as it did for Berger, that people of Jewish background are either a religious minority, or secular citizens, period. It rejects the notion of "the Jewish people" and the "secular Jew", and identity politics, as racialist.

      This was the view of the classical liberal traditions of the Enlightenment and Jewish emancipation, like Marxist internationalism or plain secularism. It was restated by Shlomo Sand in his three books, which had zero impact in the US.

      Chomsky still extols Zionism and the kibbutz. JVP's literature and web site are full of sentimental nonsense about "Jewish values". A JVPer maundered on "Jewish values" at the Israel Lobby conference, and was scornfully dismissed by Gideon Levy. "I recognize only universal values."

      It took JVP ten years to endorse the Palestinian call for full BDS; Chomsky still rejects it as anti-Semitic.

      During JVP's jihad against Alison Weir, some JVPers proposed a statement on Zionism. A "study group" was to be formed. The issue came up periodically, and nearly a year later Joel Beinin advised against having a position on Zionism, and it was dropped. This was all in the JVP member forum.

      The key issue is the Israel Lobby, an argument that JVP still deprecates and attacks as anti-Semitic, as do Beinin and Chomsky. The moral antipode to the Israel Lobby (and to anti-Semitism) is the aforementioned classical traditions that rejected Zionism, not controlling the discussion with the "strategic asset" orthodoxy and anti-anti-Semitism persecutions

      See my piece on Alison Weir, linked below, on these matters. See also the upcoming JVP Woodstock, the workshop about being "Self-Loving and Anti-Zionist". This is moral and intellectual infantilism.

      I realize that Jewish people have been totally brainwashed over these matters , and I do not object to good faith efforts to learn and grow. JVP is about confirming "Jewish identity" in the face of Judeo-Nazism, not about opposing it. The whole notion of "Jewish politics" is inadmissable.

    • Thanks for mentioning Rabkin's discussion of Ross's book, which I had missed. I did read the book, and found it rather weak. I think Rabkin is making the most of it for Berger's sake, which is understandable. I think anyone interested in Berger should read his own writings, such as Memoir of an Anti-Zionist Jew and others. The Memoir was published by the Institute for Palestine Studies. Thomas Kolksy's "Jews Against Zionism" is also informative, about the American Council for Judaism in its heyday.

    • I would say not only the UN wants to bury the issue of Zionism as racism, but so does the Jewish left, from Chomsky on down. Chomsky still defends Zionism as a "form of ethnic identification as long as it doesn't lead to racism" (but it does by design), still extols the kibbutz as anarchism and Zionist socialism, and defends a Jewish national right to settle Palestine.

      JVP refuses to take a position on Zionism, on the advice of counsel, Stanford prof Joel Beinin. Beinin knows that examining Zionism would expose the racialism and racism of Jewish identity politics. JVP does feature a workshop on being a "Self-Loving Anti-Zionist" at its upcoming Woodstock. That surely is the first question to consider in opposing Zionism, whether one can still love one's self.

      The great anti-Zionist Reform rabbi Elmer Berger, who helped lead a heroic rear-guard action against Zionism in the 1940s, co-drafted, with Palestinian diplomat Fayez Sayigh, the UN 3379 on Zionism as a form of racism, and wrote on the subject himself, as an associate of EAFORD, Org for Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. Look around at this link

  • Almost 1 million Syrian children can't go to school
    • While 1 million Syrian refugee children can't attend school in Lebanon, 4 million return to school in Syria, a revolutionary accomplishment in present conditions, which Syrian "revolutionaries" in the West somehow overlook. This is from September 2015 but the numbers if anything increased in 2016 and will increase again in 2017

  • Remembering Revolutionary Yiddishland
    • But Zionism isn't religious, though there are religious Zionists. Israel's Jewish/non-Jewish distinction isn't religious, it's simply racialist. The national designation that Zionism attributes to "Jewish" is historically and morally untenable. In the Pale of Settlement the Yiddish Jews attained quasi-national status, but that had nothing to do with the acculturated west Euro and North American Jews. The secularism of many Israeli Jews points to secular Israeli Hebrew nationality that would be open to all. That is the normalization of Zionism, on modern terms.

    • As Echinococcus notes above, it is inappropriate

      to call irreligious, revolutionary Bundists, openly connected by their Yiddish language and peculiar culture, “Jewish” instead of what they called themselves –Yiddish? They never considered themselves as anything but culturally Ashkenaze people... and nothing to do with any cloud-cuckoo “Jewishness”.

      Moreover, they did not romanticize their Yiddishkeit, but viewed it as backward and sterile. The Bund was founded in 1897, not by Yiddish speakers, but by Russophones. The workers' movement in the Russian empire, including in the Pale, was begun by Russophones, who were the most acquainted with the wider world and politically conscious.

      Julius Martov, a key figure in the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (later a Menshevik) was one proponent of a Yiddish-speaking mass movement, but some Russophone Yiddish-speaking workers opposed Yiddish as backward and the Yiddish masses as unpromising. The Bund did not hold a congress in Yiddish for many years.

      I haven't read the book but it seems to be an exercise in "Jewish identity" and unsurprisingly Max Ajl's review does not escape that. Of the Jewish Spanish Civil War veterans he states:

      Accompanying their awareness that anti-fascism was a struggle being fought with arms and not merely with words was a desire to settle accounts with that stereotype of antisemitic propaganda – European Jewish weakness.

      Does the book actually say that? Or is that Ajl's projection? It is hard to believe that being a "tough Jew" was very important to the internationalists who fought fascism in Spain knowing what was at stake. One recalls Ajl's old "Jewbonics" web site (now retired), with the statement by the Russian soldier, speaking of Jewish partisans: "These Jews know how to fight!" Is that,
      what the left was about, being a "tough Jew"?

      Ajl does recognise that "socialist Zionism" was a racist/racialist chimera, to his credit. The same must be said for secular "Jewish identity", beyond the obvious fact of Yiddish language and culture. They were destroyed by Nazism, but also did not survive integration and assimilation in liberal societies, which was a positive development.

      Consider also Shlomo Sand's critique of the "secular Jew", and the legacy of those who abandoned their Jewish backgrounds and thereby contributed to the modern world, from Spinoza on. The Yiddish radicals were part of that, with the Yiddish non-radicals who came to the US by the million, leaving Yiddishkeit behind.

  • Resolution for 2017: Stop substituting 'the occupation' for 'Zionism'
    • Zionism, not occupation. But what is Zionism? Not merely the colonization of Palestine, but a reaction against the modern world, against assimilation and integration, an attempt to preserve pre-modern "Jewish identity". The basic opposition of Zionism is not Jewish settler vs Arab indigene in Palestine but Jew vs gentile everywhere.

      This separate "Jewish identity" is morally and intellectually untenable. See for instance Shlomo Sand on the "inventions" of Zionism, including the myth of the "secular Jew." Dezionizing Israel means, to start, secular Israeli nationality in the place of Zionist Jewish nationality.

      Dezionizing the US means replacing Jewish separatism and identity politics, which is as untenable as Sand's catalog of "inventions", with politics drawing on the classical liberalism of the Enlightenment and Jewish emancipation. In religion, classical Reform (and perhaps classical Orthodox insofar as it is anti-Zionist), socialist internationalism, or plain secularism.

  • Some big Jewish donors to Clinton don't seem to care about Israel. Hallelujah
    • What nonsense. JVP has indeed tried to stop Alison Weir; that was the whole purpose of their campaign against her with End the Occ. They and others have actively pressured various groups not to host her for speaking engagements. SJP is deeply influenced by JVP, rejected Miko Peled due to JVP, and would not consider Alison Weir because of JVP.

      It's not just Alison Weir it's the whole Israel Lobby critique. JVP recently hosted Mitchell Plitnick in NY, to promulgate "strategic asset" orthodoxy.

      The first, if not last, opponents of Palestine, of recognizing the Israel Lobby, as Phil claims is imminent, are the Jewish left, from Chomsky on down.

    • How will this mainstream epiphany take place when Jewish Voice for Peace attacks Alison Weir as anti-Semitic for her Israel Lobby argument, attacks Miko Peled for comparing the power of US Jews to anti-semitic stereotypes, and complains (after the Forward and ADL) that the presidential campaign was anti-Semitic because it talked about wealthy elites?

      No doubt there is a "Jewish debate" and that is exactly the problem, it will never become a general debate, because most of the Jewish critics won't let it. It's one thing to talk among themselves, and decline to donate to Israel. It's quite another to let the Israel Lobby become a public issue, let a candidate for office charge that his opponent is too dependent on the IL, that the IL gets us into wars abroad and provokes terrorism against the US.

  • Miserable night, bleak forecast
    • Plitnick denounced the Israel Lobby thesis as anti-Semitic, the work of "Jewish conspiracy theorists," in Jewish Voice for Peace's "Reframing Anti-Semitism" booklet in 2004

      His claim that the IL became powerful only in 1967 is nonsense. The IL has been a factor in US politics since before WWI. It achieved maturity in the 1940s, when it overwhelmed the US military and diplomatic establishments and secured US patronage for partition and creation of a Jewish state. That quasi-sovereign power preceded the "enmeshment of US and Israeli intelligence, defense, technology, and economy" and has been a factor in US politics and ME policy ever since.

      JVP and other elements of the Jewish left waged a multi-year campaign against Alison Weir for her advocacy of the Israel Lobby critique, above all her book, which has sold 28,000 copies. The result was the 2015 show trial for violating "anti-racism principles" which do not mention Zionism and drumming of Weir and If Americans Knew out of the US Campaign and off campus, through JVP's influence on groups like SJP, who have denied Weir a table at their national meeting

      JVP's charge of anti-Semitism against Miko Peled for daring to compare Jewish power to anti-Semitic stereotypes resulted in cancellations of 2 campus engagements for him, including one in San Diego by the SJP chapter, after it consulted campus JVP.

      Presenting a debate betw Plitnick and Alison Weir, or Jeff Blankfort, would have been honest and constructive. But years ago Plitnick (and Chomsky and Phyllis Bennis and Joel Beinin) all declined to debate Blankfort with the same reason, "it wouldn't be useful." Not useful to the Jewish left's campaign to bury the Israel lobby critique and control the issue.

  • New statement calls on the movement to focus on Palestine, not divisive internal conflicts
    • Philip Crawford claims that my article included "slanderous and divisive attacks on Jewish Voice for Peace and the U.S. Campaign", and that "the only people launching divisive attacks are the fanatical followers of Alison Weir."

      A subjective judgment to say the least, which the reader may make for him or herself. Note the availability of a longer (13000) word version of the CounterPunch article.

      The reader may also consider that 2000 people signed the petition in support of Alison Weir in 2015. So far 1600 have signed the petition against the attack on Miko Peled, and all the attacks mounted by JVP in the last few years. Weir's book "Against Our Better Judgment" has sold 28,000 copies.

      As I pointed out in my article JVP, after 20 years of existence, is about 1300 people nationwide, notwithstanding their ceaseless claims of importance. Its August election for board of directors required a quorum of 20% of the membership, 1250 votes, which was attained in the final hours of 10-day on-line voting period.

      More people signed the petitions against JVP's attacks than vote in JVP's elections. JVP's active members are less than 5% of those who bought Alison Weir's book. Like the rest of the Israel Lobby, JVP has little to do with the views of the American people, but imposes itself by being relentless, highly organized and lavishly funded.

      Crawford states that:

      “BDS is an inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that is opposed on principle to all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.” Should we conclude from this that the BNC has also decided to “prioritize Jewish preoccupations?”

      Yes, we should ask why the BDS Committee has accepted the JVP "anti-racism" formula. It opposes Islamphobia, which has no adherents in Palestine ranks, and otherwise mentions only anti-Semitism, and is obviously designed to persecute people for anti-Semitism. This double standard was so egregious that JVP discussed formulating a position on Zionism, which was dismissed on spurious grounds by Stanford historian Joel Beinin

      Palestinians should not be so bound. We should indeed ask why a group addressing Palestine, above all one formed by Palestinians, does not condemn Zionism as a form of racism, given its racialist and racist theory and practice, and the many critiques of it on those terms.

      Palestinians accept the double standard of "anti-racism" that ignores Zionism, because Palestine politics in the US is dominated by Jews just as much on the left as in the mainstream

    • Since Alison Weir has come up, and the JVP charges against her repeated, readers may find interesting a critique of their "case", including a discussion of Clay Douglas. And the absurdity of "anti-racism principles", from a group supposedly concerned with Palestine, that do not condemn Zionism as a form of racism, despite the long history and literature on the subject.

      The "principles" mention only Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, suggesting that they were devised to mount a show trial for "anti-Semitism," and that JVP's real animus against Weir lies elsewhere. That would be her version of the "Israel Lobby" critique; her book that has sold 28,000 copies, "Against Our Better Judgment"

      "When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

      “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

      “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

      That is JVP's use of "anti-racism principles"

  • Israel lobby panics about 'spoiled' next generation of American leaders turning against it
    • I would only comment that Yudof, Goldberg and Herzog are the real threats to the Jewish future.

      Their past was an attack on all of us, not simply on "the Jews", and their future threatens us all

  • The 'New York Times' is dead set on marginalizing Jewish anti-Zionism
    • No, the racism is entirely on the "Jewish" side, constituting "the Jew" as an ontological category, just like racialist anti-Semitism.

      This is Jewish hate speech pure and simple, and entirely typical of the "left" today

    • JD, while something calling itself "Jewish anti-Zionism" may exist, it is indefensible, simply prejudice and privilege, as the politics of "Jewish anti-Zionists" shows. As Eric Walberg argued in the piece I cited at the outset.

      "If those who call themselves anti-Zionist Jews without having lived in Israel, and without knowing its language or having experienced its culture, claim a particular right, different from that of non-Jews, to make accusations against Israel, how can one criticize overt pro-Zionists for granting themselves the privilege of actively intervening in decisions regarding
      the future and fate of Israel? The Jewish signifier undermines the anti-Zionist one."

      Nor can "Jewish anti-Z" be sustained citing Israeli ex-patriates.

      Above all:

      "Assimilation is not like extermination, despite Golda Meir's cries of "Wolf!" Non-religious Jewishness will continue to evaporate, along with Christian and Muslim identities for those who abandon their faith. There is no shame in calling oneself an ex-Christian or ex-Muslim. "

      That is normal, not the obsessive cultivation of distinction, difference and separatism of today's Jewish left, which obstructs Palestine politics, just like the obscurantist rabbis who burned Mendelssohn's German bible translation and murdered a Reform rabbi obstructed liberalism.

    • You have misread Sand, or perhaps not read him at all. He isn't "upset that as a non-practicing Jew, his Jewish status gives him racist privileges in Israel." He doesn't consider himself a "Jew" at all. He says quite clearly that there is no such thing as a "secular Jew" or such "culture", the idea is retrograde nonsense. This is what racialist anti-semitism said after all.

      The Bund was not "Jewish anti-Zionism", it was Yiddish anti-Zionism, arose in Jewish quasi-national conditions in Poland. American Jewish people no longer have anything to do with Yiddish culture, or any other distinctive ethnic culture, however much they cultivate separatism and distinction.

      "Jews who oppose Zionism, whether out of Jewish values or anything else". There are no "Jewish values". Gideon Levy laughed at the idea when JVP maundered on about it at the Israel Lobby conf 2 yrs ago. "There are no 'Jewish values', only universal values" he said.

      The socialism of the Yiddish movements was a universal idea, articulated by Yiddish speakers, which did not make it "Jewish", any more than German socialists made socialism German. See internationalism.

      The historical Jewish presence on the left did not make the left a "Jewish" idea. Socialism, communism, civil rights, were not "Jewish values". The Jewish presence was historically contingent and has declined with Jewish socioeconomic advance.

      Until the 1967 war, this confusion did not exist. The New Left of the early 1960s was heavily Jewish, but they did not want to be a "Jewish" movement, they wanted to appeal to all. That vanished with the June, 1967 war, since which time secularism has been obliterated by identity politics.

      These aren't theoretical questions of no practical import, but supremely practical, determining strategy, rhetoric and tactics on a daily basis.

      Another Mondo uproar in the offing. Time to quit, for good

    • See Elmer Berger's "Memoir of an Anti-Zionist Jew" for a hilarious account of an encounter between Berger and Dorothy Thompson and Turner Catledge of the Times about their "Hitler on the Nile" coverage of Nasser in the 1950s. The Times did not then fear being a "Jewish paper". Not mentioned in the Neal Lewis piece, though I thank you for that reference. Here is the direct link

    • Really Phil. I read the Haaretz piece about the 2 historians a few days ago. Another exercise in "Jewish identity". It will be news when it stops being a "Jewish debate" and the Jewish critics start acting as secular citizens, joining the rest of us and opposing Israel and the US Jewish establishment as a mortal threat to us all. The Times might even be forced to cover it.

    • What, pray tell, is "Jewish anti-Zionism"? It is proper to speak of "Judaic anti-Zionism", referring to the religious rejection of Zionism. whether classical Orthodox or classical Reform. Otherwise, "Jewish anti-Zionism" is meaningless, because the notion "secular Jew" is meaningless.

      See for instance this July 30 piece by Eric Walberg on the inadmissability of "Jewish anti-Zionism"

  • Israel’s opposition parties plan to filibuster bill to expel Hanin Zoabi
  • Holocaust survivor and activist for justice Hedy Epstein dies at 91
    • Hedy told me about her grandchildren 12 or 14 years ago. There may have been other factors, and/or things may have changed over time. Pianoteacher's info is obviously much more recent. But her family situation is not important.

      What is important is her principled dissent. Joining a vigil outside a synagogue about Israel was anathema to liberal Jewish opinion, which did not faze her in the least. She came up from St Louis, spoke at an event, tried to contact the rabbi, who hid from her, and published a letter in the Ann Arbor News.

      Likewise her stand against the JVP/End the Occupation attack on Alison Weir. Many people who disagreed with it did not speak against it because they are afraid of JVP/ETO. Not Hedy. As her participation at the synagogue vigil showed, she agreed with Alison's critique, about the influence of American organized Jewry, which was the real basis of JVP/ETO's attack on AW.

    • It's nice to memorialize Hedy in the various ways noted, but the best memorial might be to commission a good translation of her memoir, Erinnerung ist nicht genug (remembering is not enough) still available at Her web site does not mention an English translation.

    • I met her twice. When I lived in Ann Arbor MI a group organized a vigil outside a Conservative synagogue. She came to join the vigil, spoke at a separate event, and tried to contact the rabbi, who hid from her.

      I also met her at one of the anti-AIPAC demos in DC. At the Busboys and Poets event after the demo she spoke, and in response to my question frankly described herself as a lifelong anti-Zionist.

      She opposed the JVP/End the Occ jihad against Alison Weir, which resulted in threats and violence at an appearance by Alison at Walnut Creek CA earlier this year.

      Hedy told me that her children had prevented her from seeing her grandchildren over her views, outrageous.

      She was courageous and exemplary.

  • Reinterpreting Truman and Israel: A review of Irene Gendzier's 'Dying to Forget'
    • For a contrary review see

      Dying to Forget the Israel Lobby?
      (5900 words)

      The book purports to be a major revisionist statement about Israel's "strategic value" to the US in the 1940s, against a large body of writing attesting to the paramount importance of the nascent Israel Lobby in this period. In my view the book's claims are based on omissions and exaggerations, and will not persuade anyone interested in the period. The paramount influence of the nascent Israel Lobby remains the story of the 1940s.

  • Sick of Zionism’s stranglehold on Jewish culture? There is an alternative.
    • Gosh, whatever happened to, what was it called, I think... secularism. What Israel Shahak called "the modern, secular [non-]Jewish tradition", which he dated from one of those old guys, who was it, Spinoza, yeah, the greatest of the 17th c rationalist philosophers so they say. But that was then, "Jewishness" is now, fuggedabout that passe secular stuff. Too goyisch.

      Remember this? Not secular, but universalist, goyisch...

    • What does medieval Andalusia have to with Jewish membership in the International Brigades? What do either of them have to do with being a 21st c American or European? Absolutely nothing, except in some mythical construction of "The Jewish People". This thinking substitutes "being Jewish" for being human, attempts to make "Jewishness" an ontological category, beyond history (like racialist anti-Semitism, the mirror of Zionism)

      This is not an abstract observation. This thinking results in the crippled identity politics that still dominates the left on Palestine. Thus critique focuses on "the occupation" but not Zionism as Jewish racialism, on the absolute distinction between Jew and gentile, which is the fundamental problem, Jewish racialism, now reaching genocidal intensity in Palestine.

      Activism focuses on BDS, rather than on what matters in the US, the Israel Lobby, even as the Lobby moves to quash legally BDS, which has finally attained critical mass, no thanks to JVP et al, which limited it strictly to "the occupation" until a year ago.

      This thinking empowered the JVP/End the Occ attack on Alison Weir, a prerogative of "Jewishness" as constructed on the left by such exercises as Birthwrong.

      It has also throttled the annual rally in DC against the AIPAC meeting. JVP and its affiliate US Campaign to End the Occupation in 16+ yrs of existence never tried to do anything like it until Code Pink came along in 2011. Then Phyllis Bennis came aboard to drive the people who knew something about AIPAC off the program (Jeff Blankfort,Janet McMahon, Grant Smith and Alison Weir). Bennis, according to talk in DC, later masterminded the campaign against Weir. Now Al-Awda and Answer are getting behind it and the Jewish left may be losing control

      This is only the recent history of Jewish identity politics on the left. 30 years ago New Jewish Agenda was suppressing calls for Israel's aid to be cut, keeping Palestine off the general left agenda, etc.

      The About page at Mondo recently dropped its qualification about "a progressive Jewish point of view" and now states

      We recognize that Jewish voices are often prioritized in discussions of Israel and seek to challenge that dynamic by bringing a universalist focus to an issue that is commonly dominated by narrow points of view.

      Does anyone realize that Birthwrong and the Jewish identity fetish are part of Old Thinking?

  • State of the Union 2016
    • The federal govt burned alive 80 or so white Branch Davidians in Waco TX in 1993, including whole families. I think they have played this correctly. The "patriots" have been denounced by the Mormon church, by the ranchers who had to return to jail, the nominal cause celebre, and by the people of Burns, OR, incl more ranchers. They have become a laughing-stock, and will probably wind up being arrested with no shots fired.

      I"m not defending the blatant racism of US law enforcement, but I think the feds did the right thing in this case.

  • Do 'Rabbis for Human Rights' protect Palestinians or the Jewish State?
    • Ascherman and Halper should come home and confront the zealots of US Jewish institutions. As native born US citizens their responsibility lies at home, opposing the forces that drive US policy on Palestine (and much else). Not as part of some Jews-only protest designed to showcase "Jewish debate" but in concert with large crowds of gentiles, since this is all of our urgent business. "Jewish people yes, Zionism no!," chanted at the doors of the DC convention center during the annual AIPAC mtg in March, is the needed approach

  • 'Turning point' -- Obama defeats Netanyahu and 'destroyers of hope' on Iran Deal!
  • Pappé on apartheid, ideology, Chomsky, and the contradictions of "liberal Zionism"
  • Israeli President Reuven Rivlin calls for removal of Israeli flag
    • No, Andy Borowitz would decline to write such a piece if he ever had the thought. And the New Yorker would almost certainly decline to print it.

  • What if the Times had sent Rudoren to Selma in 1965?
    • North's article needs to be transposed to a lower register, like Rudoren in Nazi Germany. The Palestinians, including the 1948 Palestinians, are not in the position of the civil rights movement in the South, appealing to a lawful if sluggish federal government over the heads of state racists, but in the position of Jews in Nazi Germany. See for instance my article on Haneen Al Zoubi's recent tour of the northeastern US.

      Invader of the Jewish State

      The title is how Al Zoubi was addressed in the Knesset by an Israeli minister.

  • Ilan Pappe on the western awakening and what it means for Israel/Palestine
  • 'NY Review of Books' says Tony Judt didn't really mean it when he called for the end of a Jewish state
    • I find Phil's interpretation much more plausible than Freedland's. An alleged retraction of anti-Zionism over whisky, recalled 12 yrs posthumously by a liberal Zionist apologist. You can only make it up. But given the Zionist climate at the NY Review and in US intellectual life they can get away with stuffing Tony under the bus, no matter how preposterous.

    • Page: 3
  • Obama's role model to journalists -- Dorothy Thompson -- turned against Zionism and was silenced
    • There is a great passage in Elmer Berger's "Memoir of an Anti-Zionist Jew" about Dorothy Thompson in 1955 taking him to a meeting with Turner Catledge, editor of the NYT, to protest the Times's "Hitler on the Nile" editorials against Nasser. These contrasted sharply with the reports of the paper's Egypt correspondent, Kennett Love, who noted Nasser's animus, but also its basis in Palestine and the 1948 war, and Nasser's desire for peace in order to develop Egypt.

      Thompson confronted Catledge with the contradiction, taking him aback. After some embarrassment he essentially said that news and editorial weren't related, that Love was not the source of all wisdom, that the paper's readers were acutely concerned about Nasser, not about Egyptian development, and that was that.

      Berger was by then already jaded about the Times, having dealt with them since the mid-1940s, when the American Council for Judaism was campaigning against Jewish statehood. There is another account in the late 1960s, when a successor at the ACJ dragged him to another meeting, with then editor Clifton Daniel, to impress on him that not all American Jews were chauvinist about Israel.

      Somewhat to Berger's surprise the Times did run a piece about the ACJ's opposition. But of course their news and editorial coverage continued the American Jewish establishment party line.

  • Leading American rabbi issues first public criticism of apartheid conditions in Jerusalem
    • Another sighting of that moral unicorn, the liberal Jewish conscience, a creature in the fairy tale of "the Jewish people."

      See Rabbi Elmer Berger's "Memoir of an Anti-Zionist Jew" etc for an example of a real Jewish conscience, or to be precise, Judaic. Berger dismissed the "Jewish people" as a reactionary, anti-modern idea, and accepted fully the modern liberal status of Jews as a religious minority. Or secular citizens, for the irreligious.

      Berger and his secular analogues had principled, unapologetic stands on Palestine, unlike the moral unicorns, and their "secular Jewish" counterparts.

  • Jewish and Palestinian women are segregated in Israeli maternity wards -- Chomsky
    • Chomsky didn't know. What a fraud. This comes from defending 2-state, and ignoring the convergence of the Jewish state and occupation regimes since Oslo, and the struggles of the Palestinians within for a democratic regime

  • 'United States of Israel' has compromised U.S. 'sovereignty' on Iran policy -- Gideon Levy in D.C.
    • Levy said that Israel has "compromised US sovereignty." As I wrote in concluding my article on last year's conference

      The American system of government expresses the democratic sovereignty of the American people, however corrupted and attenuated that principle is. Israel’s influence is fundamentally a usurpation of our sovereignty as US citizens. Veterans of the national security establishment, and democrats left, right and center can agree on that. They may or may not be allies in the class struggle, but they are allies in the medieval-modern struggle which Zionism has joined. As Stephen Walt noted, we need a “broad tent.”

      I listened to the live stream, but did not attend this year. I think some aspects were not as good this year, though others were or even better. Levy was a powerful voice. Levy said in opposition to Alice Rothchild, self-proclaimed "secular Jew", that there aren't "Jewish values", only universal values. The PJs need to be retired in favor of the Levys, the Peleds, and the Shlomo Sands, since the US cannot produce any universalists of Jewish background of their stature---or even gentiles capable of dismissing the PJ sentimentality that befogs the left.

  • Stanford Hillel defied Hillel guidelines by hosting Gottlieb -- 'and no one burst into flames'
    • Then what is wrong with Jewish life in the US today that it produces such uncertain, cloistered young people that they need moral training wheels? This is 2015, not 1975, at Stanford. These very bright young people from advantaged backgrounds were born in the mid-1990s, by which time there had been much bloody water under the Palestine bridge.

    • What has prevented these students from learning about Palestine outside Hillel? How does the Judaization of the issue---speakers, venues, audiences---affect the message? What is different inside and outside? Why should there be any difference at all?

  • DEAL!
  • We may not have Netanyahu to kick around anymore
  • What we talk about when we talk about ISIS
  • JVP offers bold universalist Hanukkah message in the wake of Gaza slaughter
  • Yes, Virginia, there is a liberal Zionist
    • Malign him? Discredit him? Do you have some investment in liberal Zionism? Fortunately scholars like Dowty do not; Dowty was interested in investigating AH's liberal rep. Dowty is prof emeritus of political science at Notre Dame inter alia. Same for Zipperstein, who started his bio thinking AH might have something to offer on today's issues but abandoned the idea in the end.

    • Unfortunately the "cultural Zionists" were not an exception, as Brownfield claims. See Steven Zipperstein's bio of Ahad Ha'am, who was very political when it was effectual. He moved to London in 1908 and was Weizmann's closest confidante and adviser from then on. He was deeply involved in the negotiations leading to the Balfour Declaration, as Weizmann acknowledged. AH's home was their chief meeting place, which they used daily when talks were at their height.

      AH wanted unlimited immigration leading to a Jewish majority. His 1891 essay, "Truth from Eretz Israel", which supposedly shows great concern for the Palestinian Arabs, was dismissed as "Much ado about little" by Alan Dowty, who did the only full translation, in 2000= something, and wrote an article of that name.

  • Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia
    • Straws in the Wind Dept.

      Netanyahu may have misjudged and the coming elections may not give him the support needed to form a govt Or so said a recent piece in Haaretz.

      Iran is of more use to the US against ISIS than Israel a piece in the NYT (or somewhere) said.

      Perhaps the catastrophe of neocon-led radicalism will finally produce an elite reaction. Certainly some elements, like the national security alumni at the Summit on the Special Relationship in DC in March, are on that track, though it's not clear they have any purchase inside the fringe.

      History is full of curves. It will take many expert curves and fastballs to strike out US Zionism.

    • Sorry to interrupt the counterattack...

      I was at the Columbia event also, and would like to add a few comments. As Phil noted Mahmood Mamdani disagreed that the S Africa moment had arrived. He cited the defeat of South African military forces in Angola, supported by Cuba, as a key turning point. This forced South Africa out of Angola and led to the independence of Namibia, which S Africa had occupied; SA does not share a border with Angola. No such turning point has occured in Israel's regional relations. That is one major reason why Israel has not agreed to live with the Palestinians, because it can keep the whole region down; the other is continued US support of course.

      I asked a question about the Israel lobby. I said that there was no comparable "Afrikaner lobby", and how would BDS actually affect US policy? Or was the IL not a problem, as some thought.

      Barghouti's answer was evasive. He said that corporations were a powerful lobby for South Africa. No they were not; they were a lobby for their own investments, defending their economic value to South Africans, signing on to token measures like the Sullivan principles, devised by a black clergyman on GM's board, etc. They did not flood US culture with propaganda extolling apartheid, and Afrikaner "self-determination", they did not vilify and terrorize critics as "anti-Afrikaner". Did they lobby the US executive and Congress in support of the S African govt, beyond implicity supporting it by defending their investments? That is not at all clear; Bartghouti was talking off the top of his head.

      After this initial smokescreen, he then tacked and jibed. "Neither Chomsky nor Mearsheimer/Walt are correct. Sometimes the tail wags the dog, sometimes the dog wags the tail. But they are part of the same animal." At another point he said that "supporting Israel benefits the 1%", a vaguely Marxist political economy argument. These remarks contradicted his response to the question before mine, in which he said that much of the investment in Israel was "ideologically driven", meaning Zionist, and I think he is correct. There are powerful Zionist factions on Wall St and elsewhere driving support for economic ties with Israel, apart from economic opportunity.

      So on the fundamental question of how BDS is supposed to affect US policy, Barghouti said basically nothing. Still, it is not mainly his place, as a non-US citizen, to analyze and confront the forces at work here. That is the task of US citizens, who presumably know the territory. Barghouti is doing what he can, developing BDS, which is limited but constructive.

      In my view much of BDS seems to carry on as if the overwhelming and crucial US official (and semi-official Jewish) "support for Israel" is taking place on a different planet, while the "movement" concerns itself with Soda Stream and Ahava and other "anti-occupation" activity. Focusing on Israel at least names the culprit and implicitly raises questions about US policy. The academic boycotts sanction Israel and also represent elite opinion.
      Rashid Khalidi discussed this later, saying that BDS affects public opinion. He said the political level will "remain impervious" to change, a phrase he repeated for different establishments, the straight media will "remain impervious," X will "remain impervious, Y will "remain impervious", strongly emphasizing "impervious". I felt that RK's remarks, and my question, were over the heads of the audience (and panelists).

      There's no question that BDS has grown, and I do not deprecate the efforts and the courage of those who have stood up under the pressure. But as Barghouti himself said, BDS's biggest asset is Israel itself, its endless appetite for death and destruction. It would be curious if some form of resistance did not grow. A minor literary genre has emerged, the "why I now support BDS" article.

      But so far Israel "remains impervious" because US support, and above all organized Jewish support, "remains impervious". BDS indirectly challenges that support, but indirection isn't adequate. Alex Kane had a piece recently about "playing the Washington game"

      That game is totally rigged, but occasional bets can be won on the side; the US-Israel strategic partnership act passed without exempting Israelis from visa requirements. BDS alone will not unrig the game. What would in my view is partly different activism, but partly analysis, of Zionism, historically, and in the US, and its cost to the country, a whole culture shift in perception, to overcome the deficit of Chomsky and the Jewish left, over the last 50 years.

  • Chris Hughes brings down the curtain on neoconservative New Republic
  • The Minds of Others: An interview with Max Blumenthal
    • This exchange is yet another example of why "the left" is a total mess on Palestine.

    • We disagree on what English means. I think that when MB responds to Beck's attack on him as an anti-Semite by explaining how it denies his "Jewish identity" that it means that he sees such attacks in terms of his "Jewish identity".

      You think it means something else and claim my meaning is inconceivable. You are entitled to your opinion, but how many people can you convince?

    • You, not I, are having problems with reading comprehension. I wrote

      In stating that, in Germany, “my Jewish identity can be negated, simply because I’ve defined it outside the frontiers of Israeli nationalism and to some extent, against Zionism” , MB takes
      “Jewish identity” as a guide to politics.

      The phrase "in Germany" refers to the exploitation of official "Jewishness" in Germany and elsewhere. I clearly understand that MB can be "de-Judaized", not because he defines his "Jewish identity outside the frontiers", but because of the "arguments of his attacker."

      MB quite transparently interprets Germany in that interview through his "Jewish identity":

      "In the German cultural frame, Jews can only be strong within the Israeli military, which means that Jewish strength is synonymous with the oppression of Palestinians. This warped understanding of Jewish strength implicates all Jews in Israel’s crimes, which is also what actual anti-Semites seek to do. It also hollows out the identity of Jews who have no interest in Israel or in living inside of it, and casts them as weak, as lesser Jews. "

      That is, "Jews" like himself. So what? This is a Judeo-centric view. The issue isn't Beck's offense to MB's "Jewish identity", the issue is Israel and its power in Germany and the US., which is destroying Palestine and the region and threatens us all.

      I said MB hadn't examined Zionism and in that iview he did not, went into a tangent on "whiteness" as I've repeated several times. I have his book Goliath. It is a constructive book but he is not nearly as acute as Jonathan Cook, who has a much deeper grasp of events and the underlying ideas.

      MB (and you) ignore what I said about Zionism as Jewish racialism, about separating Jew and gentile, as it proclaimed, and as the classical critics denounced. In doing so you haven't acknowledged Zionism. Read the Pinkser that I linked.

    • I didn't mean to imply Max had stated that himself directly. But clearly, he offers an interpretation of German politics based entirely on his sense of himself "as a Jew". It is not a tenuous "inference", it is exactly what he has done.

      He then analyses Germany's problems with "Jewishness" in terms of "whiteness", and also interprets Jewish authority in the US in the same terms. He fails to examine Zionism on its own terms, as "the Jewish people", in Israel and "the diaspora", whose power is so destructive.

      I stating that, in Germany, “my Jewish identity can be negated, simply because I’ve defined it outside the frontiers of Israeli nationalism and to some extent, against Zionism" , MB takes
      "Jewish identity" as a guide to politics, which it cannot be, in modern liberal terms, as his mistaken tangent into "whiteness" confirms.

    • Annie, here is MB's Jewish interpretation of Germany:

      MB: It also hollows out the identity of Jews who have no interest in Israel or in living inside of it, and casts them as weak, as lesser Jews.

      Iviewer: So are you a weak Jew then? Do you see yourself as a weak Jew? Are you a Jew according to their address?

      Max Blumenthal: In Germany I apparently am not as Jewish as Volker Beck, a man who has never had a Bris or a Bar Mitzvah.

      On top of that, you and David Sheen have been accused of anti-Semitism. How does that personally feel for you?

      Max Blumenthal: My work was called “consequentially anti-Semitic” in the Berliner Morgenpost by Volker Beck, who has never read anything I’ve written.

      But how does it feel, Mr. Blumenthal?

      Max Blumenthal: This is not the first time I’ve been to Germany but it’s my first visit as a political actor. And my initial feeling was that I was an alien exploring another planet. Now that I’ve had more time to insinuate myself into the political environment, I can make out a vision of what Zionism is doing to Jewish identity, and how this political ideology is permanently altering what it means to be a Jew. I am terrified by the sight.

      As long as Judaism is conflated with Zionism, a pro-Israel gentile like Volker Beck can declare himself in so many words more Jewish than I am, and I can be essentially de-Judaized; my Jewish identity can be negated, simply because I’ve defined it outside the frontiers of Israeli nationalism and to some extent, against Zionism.

      Does that make Germany a Jewish friendly country?

      Max Blumenthal: It makes it a white country where Zionism is proscribed as part of the hegemonic narrative that’s imposed on everyone and used to advance the culture of whiteness. Germany is the whitest country in the world. It’s so white that it doesn’t know that it’s white or what whiteness is.

      "what Zionism is doing to Jewish identity, and how this political ideology is permanently altering what it means to be a Jew."

      The issue about Zionism is not mainly "what it means to be a Jew", it is German support for the destruction of Palestine, and for the US-Israel relationship, a partnership that is has greatly radicalized US foreign policy.

      The issue is not that MB is "un-Jewish" in Germany, but Jewish supremacist ideology and its immensely destructive effects. Instead, MB goes on a tangent about German "whiteness" and Jews shoring up "whiteness" in the US.

      The essence of Zionism was that Jews were irreducibly separate, distinct, alien, incapable of integration and assimilation, the very same idea as racialist anti-Semitism. See Pinsker's Auto-Emancipation (1881)

      This, the "Jewish people", not simply the Jewish state, is the basis of Zionism. That is why I said that JVP's separatist identity politics is Zionist.

      Beyond that one can easily show that such politics is truncated, misinterpreted, Jewish privilege, and anti-gentile, the latter often explicitly.

      Yes we did have this discussion before. I do not wish to reprise it. These ideas, that there is no "secular Jewishness", that "being Jewish" is not a political statement, that Zionism is Jewish racialism, are not novel and radical, but have all been stated long before, because they are the basis of the modern world we live in. That they have to be restated show how deranged things are. See for example "The End of Modern Jewish History"

    • Max Blumenthal's "Jewish identity" shapes his reporting and his politics. That is the import of his stmt on Germany. The gentile German pol's attempt to "out-Jew" him is not fundamentally an affront to MB's "Jewish identity". It is opportunistic politicking on Jewish supremacist ideology. It is an affront, a mortal threat, to everyone. That ideology, not "whiteness", distorts German (and US) culture around questions of Zionism, Israel and "Jewish identity".

      In general, "being Jewish" is not a political position. Claiming that "Jewishness" has secular meaning in a political sense, as MB does, is indeed Zionism. It affirms a secular Jewish essence, which is the foundation of Zionism (and of racialist anti-Semitism). It does not exist (see Shlomo Sand, "How I Stopped Being a Jew" for starters)

      This is not to deny an interest in one's background and family history, which is perfectly natural. However it must be kept in perspective. MB and his fellow travelers are not on the left because of "Jewish identity", but because they have consciences. As the radical labor activist turned historian Noel Ignatiev put it:

      a friend was joshing me about being Jewish in some of my tastes and habits. I have never denied it, I replied (though I would prefer the term Yiddish), but that is not all I am: my musical preferences range from Mozart to Miles to the Rolling Stones; my sports heroes are Willie Mays, John McEnroe and Michael Jordan; my reading taste runs to Mark Twain and B. Traven... you get the idea. Like any person living in America, I am, according to Albert Murray (The Omni-Americans) "part Yankee, part Indian and part Negro," with a pinch of ethnic salt. Or as blues artist Josh White sang, I am African and Indian, Mexican, Mongolian, Tyrolean and Tartar---and that's the news, yes that's the news---that's the free and equal blues.

      Noel Ignatiev, "Memoir of an Ex-Jew 6",

    • I think Max B is wrong in talking about Germans and "whiteness" when he needs to talk about Zionism. Zionism is the source of today's ultra-philo-semitic German attitudes, not simply the Holocaust. Zionism is also the source of US Jewish privilege, not "whiteness". Zionism, and the money and organization to back it up. That is, the idea of "the Jewish people", which underlies both the Jewish state and the "diaspora".

      The problem is not simply that gentile Beck can pose as "more Jewish than Blumenthal", who is (or claims to be) "Jewish" (which has no meaning in a secular sense, is in fact Zionism). Beck's claim is not mainly an affront to Blumenthal's "Jewish identity" it is an affront to all of us, it is the power of Jewish supremacist ideology that has the force that Nazism had 70 yrs ago.

  • Why we are blocking the boat
    • Jeff Blankfort makes these remarks on the Oakland actions on his FB page.

      ZIM NOW SCHEDULED FOR 10:10 am TUES. OCT. 28. That's three days late and must be costing Zim some money. Clearly the changes in schedule are designed to put off potential picketers. The rally at the port tomorrow is not what concerns them --no more than a picket of the Israeli consulate, but the pickets who block the gates through which the dockworkers must pass to unload the ship and the dockworkers who honor the picket line and refuse to unload the Zim containers are becoming, I am sure, a major concern for the Israeli government..

      The two successful picket actions that have taken place thus far, Aug. 17-19 and Sept. 27 were carried out by the Stop Zim Action Com. and the Transport Workers Solidarity Com.not by Block the Boat. From what I gather, if and when the Zim ship does arrive they will be back on the job.

      I don't believe BtB, judging on its actions in August and this time around, fully understands the significance of keeping Zim ships from doing business in the Bay Area and elsewhere (and this is not, apparently, a problem limited to BtB in the Bay Area) and that, like virtually every other outfit that emerges on the scene, it has become overly concerned with organization building and outreach which leads to placing a greater emphasis on holding large rallies with maximum publicity within a minimum circle than focusing, with less fanfare, on actually accomplishing something substantial such as preventing Zim ships from unloading their cargo. Those involved with Stop Zim Action and the Transport Workers Solidarity Com. are long time activists, some within or close to the radical sector of the labor movement, who are not out to build their organizations or claim credit for stopping Zim, which BtB has done and, no doubt, will claim at its rally today, but to do what needed and, in the case of Zim, could be done

      The same thing seems to be happening in the NY area. A BtB rally was held at the Israeli consulate Saturday, which is not on the waterfront obviously but on 2nd Ave in Manhattan near the UN.

  • Homegrown jihadis and the limits of the Israel lobby
    • The nascent Israel lobby secured US patronage for partition of Palestine and a Jewish state in the 1940s, against the opposition of the US military and diplomatic establishments, whose views were rooted in the strategic thinking of the day.

      We need to begin by recognizing that our relationship with Israel has never been driven by strategic reasoning. It began with President Truman overruling his strategic and military advisers in deference to personal sentiment and political expediency.


      Is Israel a Strategic Asset or Liability for the United States?
      Ambassador Chas Freeman

      That pattern has persisted since the 1940s. The Israel lobby possesses a quasi-sovereign power that is independent of the rest of the forces cited above. Blocking a Palestine settlement, numerous Arab-Israeli wars, the dual containment of Iran and Iraq in the 1990s (against substantial business opposition), the 9/11 attacks, the domestic police state and Islamophobia, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the institutionalized animus against Hizbollah/Syria/Iran, are due in the first instance to the protean Israel lobby.

      As Freeman noted, the US did not created Israel for its own purposes, but has adapted its interests accordingly. The IL has strengthened the worst gentile elements (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) has radicalized US politics and foreign policy. Robert Parry argues that the Ukraine crisis is a neocon gambit to destroy US-Russian entente and problem solving over Syria and Iran. Etc etc.

  • ISIS, 9/11, and the terrorism time loop
    • See Gary Leupp's piece on CounterPunch about all this

      ISIS and Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide

    • To be clear, the US did not create ISIS. That is, it did not fund and train ISIS in Syria in the way that it funded and trained the Mujahideen (from which al Qaeda emerged) to fight its proxy war with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

      This is egregiously wrong. The US did not create AQ any more than it created ISIS. AQ emerged from the "Arab Afghans" who were trained, organized, funded and led by Osama bin Laden. And what set OBL on the path to jihad? Michael Scheuer, who headed and later advised the CIA's bin Laden unit, argues that it was the malaise of defeat, powerlessness and inferiority in the Arab world after Israel's crushing victory in 1967. Mohammed bin Laden was fiercely patriotic over the loss of Palestine in 1948, and Osama, who was born in 1957, was deeply affected by Palestine as a teenager.

      Professors Mearsheimer and Walt and and many other commentators have warned that the US-Israel relationship is the chief factor encouraging terrorism against the US. The "notion of payback for injustices suffered by Palestinians is perhaps the most powerfully recurrent in bin Laden’s speeches," wrote Max Rodenbeck of The Economist.

      Ambassador Chas Freeman stated, "There is no reason to doubt the consistent testimony of the architects of major acts of anti-American terrorism about what motivates them to attack us. In the words of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is credited with masterminding the 9/11 attacks, their purpose was to focus 'the American people... on the atrocities that America is committing by supporting Israel against the Palestinian people...' As Osama Bin Laden, purporting to speak for the world’s Muslims, has said again and again: 'we have... stated many times, for more than two-and-a-half-decades, that the cause of our disagreement with you is your support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine...'"

      It is the US’s reliance on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates to push back against the so called Shia Crescent (Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria, and for a time the Sunni Hamas) that prompted rich donors in the Gulf States to channel funds to ISIS in Syria

      No, it was the overthrow of centuries of Sunni rule in Iraq, and the installation of a Shia regime, that destroyed the regional balance of power and put the Saudis and the Gulf on the warpath against Iran. The US has been following in their wake, trying to arm the "moderate secular rebels" (a fiction) to have leverage while the Saudis armed the Islamists (not ISIS, which is even worse) until late in the game.

      The simplest way to defeat ISIS is to let Syria do it but that clashes with the neocon-ordained tilt against the Shia axis of Hizbollah/Syria/Iran.

      The present phase of the US destruction of the ME is not a strategic master stroke but something like Stalingrad

      All this has been set loose by Zionism, which is the sine qua non of the War on Terror and "clash of civilizations". Its supporters have radicalized the empire, turned southwest Asia into the "eastern front", site of its most depraved deeds and ideologies, like the eastern front of Nazi Germany. Robert Parry argues that the Ukraine crisis is a neocon gambit to wreck US-Russian entente and mutual problem solving over Syria and Iran. Etc

  • Photo of six shoveling secretaries needs a caption
    • US diplomats plant Victory Garden to combat ISIS. "Heirloom tomatoes and heritage blueberries will help us overcome the medieval fanaticism of dates and figs," explained master strategist Henry Kissinger. "We've all seen the barbaric videos of olives being brutally pitted and mercilessly pressed until they yield their oil. If we don't bomb ISIS young eggplants will be sadistically smoked for baba gannoush and innocent mint leaves plunged into boiling water. There isn't a moment to lose."

  • It's 'bomb or bombing' in Iran inside of a year, Israeli leader tells US pol
  • Salaita firing turns into a 'catastrophe' for University of Illinois
    • Wise told The News-Gazette she has no plans to alter her decision, but said "there have been some errors in the process. People are on campus and working before their appointments are approved by the board. We need to correct that."


      But she admitted she wished she had sought more consultation before writing that letter.


      Wise said she's been surprised by the extent of the reaction to her decision.
      I.e., "I did what has gotten me to the chancellorship, listened to powerful, moneyed, established forces. What went wrong this time?"

      What a commissar. Her future in higher ed is over in any case; she can only go sideways after this.

    • half a million dollars for an endowed chair? Income on that is chicken feed, would be even if interest rates were above their present rock-bottom. It would have to be supplemented to pay a distinguished scholar a decent salary. Illinois is selling itself very cheaply.

      It is remarkable how little thought was put into the decision, how oblivious Wise was to the prospect of resistance.. People like Wise are used to doing as they pleased behind closed doors and getting away with it. For them to back down now, come what may, would be a stupendous loss of face and of autocratic autonomy.

  • Entitled ideology supporting 'incineration' of Gaza resonates with Nazi ideology -- Siegman
    • Yonah, in Judaism, Human Values and the Jewish State, he rejects Zionism with such statements as:

      "the social reality before their eyes is not the Jewish people as represented by three thousand years of history but the territorial administrative framework we have erected in the past generation. I myself have no interest in this framework as such, and consider the idea that it possesses intrinsic value a clear-cut expression of chauvinism that is partly naive, partly brutal, or to use a stronger term---an expression of fascistic mentality."

      This is from a 1966 interview, revisited in 1974, but the remarks appear to belong to the 1966 part. It's on p 194, in "Jewish Identity and Israeli Silence (1966)"

    • Well said Henry Siegman. But courageous Israelis like Israel Shahak, Y Leibowitz and others compared Zionism with Nazism decades ago. Moreover, everything that is happening now was inherent in Zionism from the start, though it has taken many contingencies to come to fruition.

      There has never been anything positive about Zionism. It was, as the classical critics said (Berger, Shahak, Marxist internationalists), a reaction against liberalism and the assimilation and integration of Jews. Zionism held anti-Semitism to be a permanent, irrevocable, natural condition, and attempted to build a positive program from that.

      Zionism is colonialism, but much more. Its basic opposition is not Jewish settler vs Arab indigene in Palestine, but Jew vs gentile everywhere. It is Jewish racialism, best compared with Nazism, as Siegman acknowledges, with which it notoriously collaborated, as it did with other anti-Semitism from the outset.

      The classical view of Zionism as racialist and reactionary still is not espoused by the left, which clings to chimeras like binationalism and Zionist "socialism" or ignores the question, and limits critique to "the occupation".

      For a 1974 statement by Shahak comparing Zionism to Nazism see

  • 'I mourn my Jewish community, which seeks to justify these inexcusable acts'
    • Mooser, is it really so complicated? They are "Jewish Voices", they organize "as Jews", they don't appeal to gentiles to join them, because these are displays of "Jewish dissent". They implicitly (and explicitly, in JVP literature) accuse gentiles of anti-Semitism by these Jews-only exercises. ("If we don't showcase 'Jewish dissent' constantly the gentiles will think askance of us"). Never mind the immense damage Zionism is doing in the world. The main thing is Jewish interest.

      I have zero appetite for an extended discussion. I will let Moose have his call and bow out.

    • Yet more "Jewish debate." The protestors act "as Jews", not as American citizens. Support for Israel is a Jewish internal issue. They mourn "the community" not its victims in Palestine and southwest Asia, and the US, as on 9/11, which was mainly an attack on US support for Israel. Yet this liberal Jewish narcissism is viewed as heroic and exemplary.

  • Three dissident Jewish orgs to hold silent vigil during 50 Jewish orgs' memorial to Israeli dead
    • They are standing "as Jews", not as mere US citizens. They demonstrate against the Jewish establishment "as Jews", separately, without gentiles, though they attend "mixed" demonstrations "for Gaza"--en bloc.

      "A Jewish voice in the progressive community, a progressive voice in the Jewish community." It's two, two, two mints in one.

      It's neither. It's 50 years of gatekeeping of acceptable criticism, and shielding the Jewish establishment from direct public opposition.

      In the words of Count Clermont-Tonnerre, during the debates over emancipation in the French National Assembly in 1789, "to the Jews as a nation, nothing. To the Jews as individuals, everything." In today's idiom, "Jewish people yes, Zionism no!" to quote a chant at a ("mixed"!) demonstration outside a JCC a few major atrocities ago.

      The trouble is that the Jewish left, from Chomsky on down, as fanatically as the Jewish mainstream, is attached to Jewish separateness, distinction and difference, to the Zionist idea of "the Jewish people", even if they interpret it differently.

      Thus we have this 50-year old "progressive Jewish" critique, of "anti-occupation", "law and rights", "Israel as strategic asset," and "anti-anti-Semitism". Rather than rejecting Zionism categorically, as did the classical traditions descended from Enlightenment and emancipation.

      The failure to confront Zionism, in the Jewish state, and in the US Jewish establishment and its overwhelming, malign influence, is the greatest disaster on the left since the German Communist Party misread Nazism, weakened the left, and assisted the rise of Hitler and all that followed.

      See for instance "The End of Modern Jewish History"

    • Yet another "Jewish debate", public relations and implicit accusations of anti-semitism for the gentiles. Take these people seriously when they lead a public movement against the Jewish establishment.

  • Gaza war gives rise to new Jewish group targeting Jewish institutions that support occupation
    • The Jewish establishment will be threatened when these groups include gentiles in their protests. Until that happens, these efforts function as Jewish public relations, s and implicitly accusing the gentiles of anti-semitism. These efforts also imply that the activities of the organized Jews are an intra-Jewish matter, not one for the rest of the population.

  • Amira Hass and the end of Jewish ethical history
  • Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists
    • Jews of conscience must organize with one foot inside the Jewish community and one foot outside it. That is the only way to move the Jewish establishment, and America. Jewish Voice for Peace: a rally against the massacre, today in NY:

      "One foot inside, one foot outside" is a 50-year old illusion. It has separated the "progressive Jews" from the secular left, except as gatekeepers, and blocked any real analysis of and opposition to the "Jewish community".

      Only by recovering classical liberal standards can we think, let alone act. "To the Jews as a nation, nothing; to the Jews as individuals, everything," said Count Clermont-Tonerre in the debates over emancipation in the French national assembly.

      In today's idiom, "Jewish people yes, Zionism no!" Where Zionism includes separatist "Jewish politics" on the left, with its truncated agenda of "anti-occupation" (Quote from a chant outside a JCC a few atrocities ago)

  • Avishai says we misrepresented his views
  • Reporters talk about Sykes-Picot of 1916 (and ignore the Balfour Declaration of 1917)
    • The role of Israel and its US supporters is more direct than inciting Arab and Muslim anger. The states that were created after WW1 eventually were accepted and earned the allegiance of their inhabitants. The current breakup of the region was an Israeli/neocon gambit, as Israel Shahak presciently noted in 1982. His notes and translation of Oden Yinon's 1982 article "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" made it notorious. Today one finds maps of a Balkanized Middle East in the NYT and elsewhere.

      This link is to the valuable Palestine with Provenance archive kept by Irish activists at Univ of Cork.

  • 'J Street has to change or die': Divestment battle exposes tactical rift among liberal Zionists
    • This is somewhat off-thread, the source for Chomsky's statement that BDS cannot be imposed on Israel because Israeli Jews would disapprove. I am unable to enter it on the item about 3 critical responses to Mondo's account of the Presbyterian divestment vote, where it arose.

      The statement was made in a well-known interview given to Christopher Lee in Safundi, 10 yrs ago. Jeff Blankfort cited it in an informative piece on Chomsky written shortly afterward. Jeff discusses Chomsky on BDS and much more in this longish article, which appeared in Left Curve.

      I have no interest in an extended exchange (or any exchange) on this, but Mondovians should know what Chomsky said.

  • Three critical responses to 'Growing Jewish support for boycott'
    • The authors failed to note that JVP is committed to full equality of Israelis and Palestinians; and that Chomsky is on the board of advisors of JVP.

      JVP's commitment to "full equality" is in my view merely nominal, because they have no analysis of Zionism, and reinforce conventional Jewish wisdom on critical issues. For example they don't support BDS against Israel itself, and other factors I could mention.

      Chomsky for his part has said Israel cannot be boycotted because "the majority do not approve" including Israeli Jews. He has also accused BDSers of hypocrisy and damaging the Palestinians because they don't boycott, for instance, the US.

      Where Palestine is concerned, the role of "the US" is in the first instance the work of the Zionocracy, which has captured public policy and the culture generally. It should be the focus of US protest, but Chomsky's "strategic asset" dogma gets rid of that one for him.

      In general, Chomsky (and JVP and the Jewish left) have foisted on us a minimal critique of "anti-occupation", etc, rather than rejecting Zionism categorically, as did the classical left and liberal views descended from the Enlightenment and emancipation. This is in my view the greatest failure on the left since the German Communist Party misread Nazism.

  • Scene of NY derailment that took four lives is a disgraceful mess six months later
    • I've also taken that train, since the crash, and thought about it. Very sorry about your friend Phil.

      At the time I googled a bit and found a wealth of info on Metro North safety, which had been going downhill for a while, with several accidents and official investigations and reports.

      Beneath the talk of "failed safety culture" and worker-bashing you can discern neoliberal economics. The engineers were earning enough to stay awake; the typical engineer's wage was over $100K, thanks to unionized labor. The info I found did not say, but I suspect that the wages included a fair amount of overtime.

      Also, Metro North had been hit with a wave of retirements since 2011, 30 yrs after it was spun off from Conrail, itself the patchwork of the former railroad lines. Salaries had not been keeping pace and there was nothing to induce experienced personnel to stay on once they could retire.

      As several have pointed out, this is part of the disastrous state of US infrastructure esp of public services and investment. Commuter rail has to be subsidized, because it doesn't pay its direct costs, apart from its benefits (and indirect costs of automotive transport). In rail's heyday commuter lines were subsidized by long distance passenger service. Congress let Conrail out of the commuter business for that reason in 1981, leaving it to the hard-pressed states and whatever federal policy allows (after trillions are spent fighting wars)

  • Israel spies on U.S. more than any other ally
    • At the National Summit on the US-Israel relationship, Phil Giraldi said that over 100 investigations into Israeli espionage in the US had been quashed. He had an exact figure, it was > 100

  • Fear of Arab-Americans in the public square
    • PS. I have read Rudd's piece, read it when it came out in 2005. In 1968 "Jewish radicals" were making aliyah and extolling Zionism and Israel's 67 victory as "the national liberation movement of the Jewish people". Rudd and his cohort may have had concerns related to their Jewish backgrounds, but they did not adopt such a "Jewish" politics. The Arabs and Muslims on campus are not practicing an "Arab" or "Muslim" politics, though the issues they address concern them immediately.

    • I believe these fears [of BDS] are overblown, and reflect a different fear entirely: the fear of Muslims daring to participate in American public life.

      I think it has little to do with young Arab-Americans acting as aggrieved Muslims and Arabs. Many women wore hijabs. (heavens!) They are mainly aggrieved, period.

      The Jewish establishment (campus branch) isn't worried about Arabs qua Arabs, it is worried about losing control of the environment. They have no trouble "accepting" Arabs who don't challenge them

      In fact, these young Arabs and Muslims are a lot like radical Jews who played such an important role in the anti-Vietnam-war movement.

      The "radical Jews" weren't "being Jewish", they were being radical. See Arthur Liebman's classic "Jews and the Left" on the New Left. They were not enamored of "Jewish identity" at all. That is an anachronistic projection of today's identity politics.

      The young Arab Americans aren't mainly concerned with "identity", they are concerned with mass murder and destruction in Palestine and the Arab world at the hands of Israel and the Zionist-influenced United States.

      This is not a clash of "identity", it's about politics and power.

  • Zionism has distorted American Jewish life
    • Zionism has distorted the world. It is the prime mover in the "clash of civilizations", the "war on terror" and Islamophobia. It has "distorted" western Asia, to say the least. It has distorted the US; more than anything, it incited the 9/11 attacks, and the ensuing police state. It has distorted politics on the Middle East throughout the Euro-American world. It has done same to dissent from left and right alike. As other presentations at the Summit point out, for the US.

  • 'NYT' music piece strikes false note on Mehta and Israeli politics
    • Come on. How many Palestinians in Israel have studied Western classical music?

      Those Ay-rabs. They're all watching Mohammed Assaf on Arab Idol, never heard of Mendelssohn Abbado.

      Here are a few Palestinian music students.

      But somehow they don't make it into the Israeli orchestra.

      It's also notable that JVP had a big "standout" in Harvard Square the week before the IPO played in Boston. They posted about it on FB, congratulating themselves. Likewise they posted pix of their heroic role in the demo for SJP at Northeastern. The IPO got a pass

  • Brandeis prof blasts school's deference to Israel and AIPAC (and donors Steinhardt, Schusterman, Crown)
    • When the Goldstone report (the UN investigation of Israel's attack on Gaza, New Year 2009) was in the news Brandeis invited Justice Goldstone to speak opposite Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN. I went from idle curiosity, but was so appalled I wrote 4500 words about it. Brandeis basically set Goldstone up, put him on trial, for the benefit of the university and Boston and world opinion. The hall was full and an overflow hall received an internet stream, and more listened remotely. Media people and their gear filled a balcony at the rear of the hall.

      I actually pulled my punches somewhat in the title, which should have been "Brandeis Tries Justice Goldstone", and the intro should have emphasized it.

      Justice Goldstone at Brandeis

  • 'Forward' lives up to its name, bashing denial of Palestinian narrative and donors' control of Hillel
  • Conservatives for Palestine
  • National summit to re-assess the special relationship -- Friday in D.C.
    • Jeff Blankfort is alive and well. See this in re his presentation at the summit

      See the several Mondo items on John Judis's new book showing (after Michael Cohen et al) the quasi sovereign power of the "Israel lobby"

    • I know that some in the Palestinian solidarity camp aren’t enthused about this gathering, regard it as American nationalist; for my part, this is how I came to the issue. Folks like Raimondo, Walt and McConnell forced me to look at Israel/Palestine from an antiwar national-interest perspective

      Our system of govt expresses the democratic sovereignty of the American people, however corrupt and attenuated that principle is. Israel's influence is fundamentally a usurpation of our sovereignty as US citizens. The foreign policy establishment and
      left democrats can agree on that. The establishment may or may not be allies in the class struggle, but they are allies in the medieval-modern struggle where Zionism operates, and their insights and influence are essential.

      The real story here is the failure of the left to develop any critique
      of the "Israel lobby", by the same people who sniff at "nationalism"

  • Israel lobby AIPAC is down, but not out -- yet
    • AIPAC is the "representative" face of Zionist influence. Starting with the Reagan Admin in the 1980s it was overtaken by an "executive" face within the govt, as Wolfowitz was joined by a host of neocons. This continued under Clinton, with Indyk and Ross. The neocons schemed while out of power and returned under Bush 2, to catastrophic effect. Zionist thinking continues to dominate foreign policy as Gareth Porter shows in a piece on the Iran negotiations where the US has introduced new demands that will lead to failure. See the first piece at this Porter archive.

      The overthrow of the Ukrainian govt, a disaster for eastern Europe, and for that matter for US interests in conservative terms, is a neocon job. Victoria Nuland, a Bush holdover and Hillary favorite, and undersecretary for European and Eurasian affairs, is the chief culprit, Jewish and married to Robert Kagan, among other neocon antecedents.

      Zionist influence may be past its zenith but celebration is premature. Zionism is as deeply rooted in the US as slavery was.

  • Israel lobby group compiles secret dossiers on pro-Palestinian speakers
    • Try reading the articles before sounding off.

      "After examining the sequestered files, San Francisco police inspector Ron Roth, estimated that 75% of the information had been illegally obtained..."


      "What was particularly embarrassing for the ADL was the release of information that Bullock and Gerard, who had also provided information directly to ADL officials, were also being paid by South African intelligence agents to supply information on the activities of the Bay Area’s anti-Apartheid organizations and South African exiles affiliated with the ANC and other black African organizations.

      In one of his depositions, Bullock acknowledged that doing this required no additional work since he was already spying on the anti-apartheid movement for the ADL. Foxman, on his part, had openly condemned the African National Congress as a “terrorist” organization that supported the PLO.

      One individual the South African agents were particularly interested in was Chris Hani, the man who was expected to succeed Nelson Mandela as the country’s president. Hani was assassinated in South Africa shortly after a speaking tour in California during which he was trailed by Bullock who prepared a lengthy report on it for the South African government, a copy of which was found in his files."


      "One of the targets Bullock “befriended” was Palestinian-American Alex Odeh, the head of the Orange County chapter of the ADC who would be killed by a terrorist bomb when he opened the door to his Santa Ana office on October 11, 1985.

      In Bullock’s files, police found a key to Odeh’s office as well as the floor plan. Although Bullock has not been linked to the unresolved murder, the fact that an ADL spy was in possession of such items is something that Foxman obviously would not want advertised."

      Don't know offhand how deep SWI is in but they are doubtless working with the Israeli govt at some level.

    • Plus ca change...

      ADL Spies

      The ADL Spying Case Is Over, But The Struggle Continues

      FBI Investigated Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for Espionage
      "Quashed case" mystery solved: culprit is once again secret Israeli intervention

  • Jewish day school student first learned about 'occupation' when he got to college
    • This is interesting, despite the equivocation of the filmmakers, because it challenges the Jewish establishment's cure-all for liberalism, Jewish education. See Marianne Sanua's Let Us Prove Strong, her history of the American Jewish Committee post-1945. The AJC went from fretting that Jewish education was inculcating nationalist and self-segregating tendencies in children, in the 1950s, to seizing Jewish day schools with both hands in the 1990s, as the ultimate weapon against the liberal scourges of intermarriage and assimilation. Peter Beinart favors Jewish education also, as a way of reproducing "Jews" who don't intermarry and care enough to support a liberal Zionism. But not even Jewish education is fully effective, at least against Israel's current Zionism.

      We may also note the terminal bankruptcy of the US Jewish establishment (and of Beinart's liberal Zionism) in advocating "education" not as a way of enlightening and broadening minds, but of brainwashing and constraining choice.

      Actually I think Mondo had an earlier post about the indoctrination at one Jewish day school, from an alum.

  • Meet the Jewish students who are taking on the Jewish establishment
    • W Jones, I know very well what Plitnick has written. There is also a second piece by him directly addressing Mears/Walt.

      The idea that the Zionist lobby is "supporting state policies" as if these would have been the same absent Zionism, is nonsense, for starters.

      Well, I didn't really mean to get carried away and comment at length on Mondo again. I will leave you all to your regular rounds.

    • Henry, I doubt very much that the JVP leadership favors the action, given what I've read by them. The stmt strikes me as PR, attempting to have it both ways, to hold their limits and to avoid embarrassing themselves as the ASA action illuminated the issues. The fact remains that the ASA action would never have been conceived by JVP. I raised it on this thread as the likely terminus of the students' actions, after graduation.

      The organized Jewish community, of which campus Hillels and Jewish academic units are a part, is the chief source of US Zionism since 1948. That is quite a butcher's bill. Addressing all the apologetics and illusions that created it is the task facing dissenters. The detachment of M J Rosenberg's student, noted below, is needed, for starters.

    • Recall M J Rosenberg's encounter last fall with the college student on the bus, who dismissed MJ's idea that he was obligated to be active on Israel/Palestine "as a Jew". The student insisted that he was an American whose religion happened to be Judaism, that he had no obligation toward or connection to Israel, and told MJ "you're still a Zionist." MJ was totally flummoxed, but the student was exactly right. His words could have been written by Elmer Berger.

      The student's indifference toward Israel led his activism to other issues, like poverty in the US. An appeal to be concerned about Palestine must be based on his obligations as an American, not as a "Jew".

      One of the dissident Hillel students says,

      All are welcome to walk through our doors and speak with our name and under our roof, be they Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist, or non-Zionist.

      Surely, such inclusiveness cannot be an end, but must address the role and responsibility of war criminals and liberal equivocators, or it is just apologetics. Without a strong universal reference and support, such criticism will struggle in an institutional Jewish setting.

      Elmer Berger spoke anywhere he could get a hearing, including in "the community" but he had his bearings and never felt beholden to it, on the contrary, he called it to account.

    • Your comments on the letter to the NY mayor avoid the main point, that these people ask to be listened to "Jews" as if there are no other voices. That is not an "anti-Zionist" (universalist, democratic) position.

    • Come on Annie, they did not support or endorse the ASA action, because it exceeds their limits of "anti-occupation" BDS. When the Zionist forces reacted against the ASA JVP joined in. Had it been up to JVP there would have been no action.

    • This post IMO shows what is wrong with the Mondo sensibility. Despite its admirable attention to the "Israel lobby" and cognate issues, like Jewish wealth and influence throughout US political culture, Mondo persuades itself (and tries to persuade us) that "the community" is the key arena of struggle. IMO this is quite wrong, "the community" is and will always be dominated by its wealthy Zionist machers and shakers, and the "struggle within the community" is basically Jewish public relations. The young people are still figuring it out; but they are obligated not mainly to "the community" but as US citizens. When they graduate, the default destination for their Jewish identification will be JVP, which accuses "Israel lobby" critics of anti-Semitism (see "Reframing Anti-Semitism"), declines to organize or endorse the ASA boycott (but "supports" it as "not anti-Semitic"), appeals to Mayor de Blasio to "listen to other Jewish voices" as if there are only Jews in New York City and the US, criticizes "the occupation" but never Zionism, etc.

      These activist "young Jews" are obligated as American citizens, not as "Jews". That obligation must inform their position toward "the community", which can mean only outside it, after the heroic examples of Elmer Berger, Alfred Lilienthal, and others, against Zionism, and with the gentiles.

  • Judis says Museum of Jewish Heritage has reinvited him to June 1 appearance!
  • Jewish community commits intellectual suicide before our eyes
    • It has been happening since the early 1960s, when the success of liberalism and the prospect of assimilation led to the "first Jewish continuity crisis" and measures to head off intermarriage and other liberal horrors from the American Jewish Committee. See Marianne Sanua's history of the American Jewish Committee post-1945, for this and later episodes.

      This tendency was fatally supercharged by Israel's dramatic victory in 1967. Read Jacob Neusner's collection Stranger at Home, from the 1970s and 1980s, the telling passages about the insularity and chauvinism of American Jews--from a Conservative Judaic scholar, not some peacenik. See ditto in Peter Novick's book on the Holocaust in American life. See Peter Beinart's kid glove treatment of same in "The American Cocoon" in the NY Review late last year.

      As I argued in my recent "Theses on Zionism" the modern period of Jewish history has ended. The social and political outlook of the Enlightenment, of emancipation and integration, has been replaced by "the Jewish people" in the form of the Jewish state and the organized Jewish communities abroad, as the Jewish social principle. This outlook has also deeply informed the left.

      Here are my "Theses"

      responding to a piece of the same name by Joseph Massad

  • Truman feared backing Israel would involve US in 'new world conflict' -- Boston Globe
    • The US military and diplomatic establishments opposed Zionism and US sponsorship of a Jewish state, but Truman's Sec of State from 1945-47, James Byrnes, was not a diplomat but an old Washington political hand, veteran of the House, Senate and Supreme Court, and simply avoided Palestine. The task of expressing the official view fell to Loy Henderson, head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He had this to say:

      It "would not be in the national interests of the United States for it to advocate any kind of a plan at this time for the partitioning of Palestine or for the setting up of a Jewish State." Such advocacy would jeopardize "our efforts to support world stability and to prevent further Soviet penetration," damage "relations with the peoples of the Near East and with Moslems everywhere," impede plans to use
      "the resources of the area... for the reconstruction of Europe," encourage
      "violent Arab nationalist uprisings," etc. (FRUS 1947, V, pp. 1153-59, Henderson to Marshall, September 22, 1947. See also Miller, "Search for Security," pp. 163-72, and Ch. 7, "Palestine and Pipeline"; Brands, "Inside the Cold War", Ch. 12, "In the Palestine Labyrinth.")

      The "Zionists would 'win the first few rounds' but be unable to establish anything like lasting peace and stability. The American people... would find themselves increasingly drawn to the Zionists' defense. Anti-western elements would batten on the chaos ... The region would experience
      'the rise of fanatic Mohammedanism' of an intensity 'not experienced
      for hundreds of years.'" (Brands, op cit, p. 186, quoting a private letter
      by Henderson of March, 1948)

      For his acute prescience Henderson's career was essentially halted. The Zionists forced him out as NEA head; the Ankara embassy was proposed, but it was to close to Israel; he became ambassador to India.

  • Museum of Jewish Heritage spikes panel on John Judis's book as too controversial
    • I've ordered the book. I wonder what it will bring to the subject that Michael Cohen did not provide in "Truman and Israel" which is outstanding, used Max Lowenthal's papers for the first time, showed how clearly Zionism outflanked the diplomatic and military establishment, via key operatives in Truman's inner circle, bipartisan control of the parties and Congress, financial contributions, enlisting gentile opinion, etc. Cohen was torn between his scholarly integrity and competence, and reluctance to admit the picture he painted. At the very end he tries to claim the circumstances were unique, but they became a blueprint for Zionist influence, at least in its "representational" phase. A more comprehensive and insidious phase in which Zionist influence started to constitute the government, not just influence it, began with the neocons under Reagan (IMO, not Cohen's)

      The ToC is accessible on the UC Press web site. Chap 15 is about "consensus on strategic asset". This reflects Pentagon appraisals of Israel's military prowess in the war, but as Cohen acknowledges, such judgments were "ephemeral", meaning overtaken by larger Cold War strategy, in which the US cultivated Arab nationalism as a potential Cold War asset, for a time at least.

  • Scholar explodes 'canonic' American Jewish belief: Russian Czar was behind 1903 massacre
    • Pamela's comments are interesting. His scholarly views are more nuanced, not to say critical.

      Zipperstein's bio of Ahad Ha'am is also required reading. AH is of course the great liberal Zionist hope for an 1891 essay about Zionism and the Arabs. Zip says that he approached AH's life expecting to find something relevant to contemporary critique of Zionism, but found only that AH was simply a 19th c conservative Zionist ideologue. Inter alia the distinction betw "cultural" and "political" Zionism vanished. AH was supremely political when it was effectual to be so; he was a confidante of Weizmann in London and was a key figure in the Zionist negotiations with Britain over the Balfour Decl. The bio is out of print, UC Press says, but surely available used

      Note also Alan Dowty's translation, the first complete one, of the article on which AH's reputation rests, published in 2000; Zipperstein echoed Dowty's view of AH's instrumental Zionist attitude toward the Arabs.

      Much Ado about Little: Ahad Ha'am's "Truth from Eretz Yisrael,"
      Zionism, and the Arabs
      Alan Dowty

      Alan Dowty
      Israel Studies, Volume 5, Number 2, Fall 2000, pp. 154-181 (Article)

  • France to perform CPR on Scarlett Johansson's image -- award for film career!
  • Surviving anti-Semitism smear, Walt and Mearsheimer seem to have influence in high places
  • Bill targeting academic groups that boycott Israel halted in New York Assembly
    • Try reading something about OBL's views instead of talking with a chip on your shoulder, like your opponents are creationists. Start with Mears/Walt's discussion and sources.

    • Contra Hostage, JVP does not "support" the ASA action. They "have no position on academic boycotts" as their stmt says and had nothing to do with developing it. They have been forced by the movement around it to ask their members to "defend ASA's right to call the action even if you disagree with it". This is pure hypocrisy and doubletalk.

      The letter of Jewish New Yorkers stating that "AIPAC doesn't speak for me" is self-serving and complacent.  It accuses the gentiles of anti-semitism implicitly.   If "Jews" don't speak up they will be blamed. It assumes that AIPAC'S worst can and will happen and  resistance is futile.  The only thing they can do is say "don't blame me".

      Resistance would point out that
      AIPAC has brought us 9/11, several wars and trillions in debt, on top of what it has done to the region directly. The authors ignore all that;  they are interested only in their Jewish selves.

      This contrasts with the attitude of We Will Not Be Silent which denounces de Blasio in the name of New Yorkers as in their rally at City Hall today.
      That's the difference between democratic politics and Jewish politics.

    • It is noteworthy that the "activists" were not Jewish identified. They acted on broad liberal grounds, though no doubt many of them were Jewish. JVP opposed the ASA academic boycott, but has been drawn into urging its members to defend the action ("even if you disagree with it personally") because exposing the rationales and forces at work advances the issue.

      This is a sharp, sad contrast to the recent "Jewish declaration" opposing NY Mayor de Blasio's fealty to Israel. Non-Jewish New Yorkers are reduced to cheering the "good Jews" who proclaim "I'm Jewish and AIPAC doesn't speak for me!" As if this is the ne plus ultra of morality and politics when it is self-interested and complacent.

      New York's relationship to Israel is, need one say, an urgent matter for all New Yorkers, esp considering that 9/11 was mainly an attack on US patronage of Israel (which fact has disappeared from the culture). It is an urgent matter for all
      Americans, not to be delegated to Jewish identity politicians.

      The ASA action--against Israeli academia, not "the occupation"--raised broad issues beyond the circumscribed agenda of identity politics.

  • Fearless authors dance on third rail of US politics...
    • Phil left out the most critical title of all:

      The Fateful Triangle. The Jewish State, the US Organized Jews, and the US Empire
      by Noam Chomsky

      A comprehensive, meticulous, damning indictment from the distinguished professor emeritus at MIT, radical godhead, and "most important intellectual alive." Still going strong at 88, Chomsky illuminates with unique authority how the incorrigible racialism and irredentism of the Jewish state, and the fanatical chauvinism of the US organized Jews and their Jewish billionaire patrons, have radicalized US Middle East policy since the end of the Cold War.

      Chomsky shows how the "Zionocracy" as he calls it may have tipped the scales in the vote for the Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, the closest since the War of 1812, and long sought by the Zionocracy; how the "dual containment" of Iraq and Iran in the 1990s was implemented largely bv and for the Zionocracy, even as US foreign policy experts and business interests sought an opening to Iran after the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s; how the 9/11 terrorist attacks were chiefly against US patronage of Israel; how that led to the devastating assault on civil liberties in the US; to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the effective destruction of the Iraqi state; how that wrecked the regional balance of power, increased Iranian influence, and escalated the Iran-Saudi antagonism, leading to the current dissolution of Syria; and warns of further horrors to come.

      "An inspiring jeremiad, and a much-needed spotlight on neglected issues"--Phyllis Bennis

  • The long war: Syria is at the crux of 'pipeline geopolitics'
    • As usual, the brain-damaged left acts like its cerebral fluid has been replaced by crude oil.

      Nothing to do with oil, everything to do with radical, racialist and militarist nationalism, with Zionism at the forefront, in western Asia and in Washington.

  • 'US had as much a hand in Egypt as in Chile' -- leftwing perspectives on the massacre
    • So much Zionism, so little time...

      For years GE and Halliburton were opposed, because they were doing business with post-revolutionary Iran.

      Yes, a powerful business lobby opposed the sanctions on Iran, but was no match for the Zionocracy. Here are Sasan Fayezmanesh's paper on the politics of Iran sanctions

      and his book.

    • The situation in Egypt is not remotely comparable to Chile

      “Given the situation, a complete halt to US military support to Egypt is called for—but it will be useless, and it will likely backfire as happened in Pakistan after Washington broke with Islamabad over Pakistan’s nukes. Egypt’s military seems to know what it wants, and it won’t be deterred.”

      Is the US Powerless in the Egyptian Crisis?

      WSJ seconds Dreyfus; I think talk of "collision course" is wrong; the US is the VW bug and Egypt and its forces the SUV in this collision; the US has lost control, while the WSJ editorial outlook interprets it as a clash of wills; but the facts are correct, the US has failed to get its way

      Allies Thwart America in Egypt
      Israel, Saudis and U.A.E. Support Military Moves

      Egypt, U.S. on Collision Course
      Military-Led Government Says It is 'Reviewing' Relationship With U.S. Amid Criticism

    • The situation in Egypt is not remotely comparable to Chile.

      "Given the situation, a complete halt to US military support to Egypt is called for—but it will be useless, and it will likely backfire as happened in Pakistan after Washington broke with Islamabad over Pakistan’s nukes. Egypt’s military seems to know what it wants, and it won’t be deterred."

      Is the US Powerless in the Egyptian Crisis?

      WSJ seconds Dreyfus

      "Given the situation, a complete halt to US military support to Egypt is called for—but it will be useless, and it will likely backfire as happened in Pakistan after Washington broke with Islamabad over Pakistan’s nukes. Egypt’s military seems to know what it wants, and it won’t be deterred."

      Egypt, U.S. on Collision Course
      Military-Led Government Says It is 'Reviewing' Relationship With U.S. Amid Criticism

      in Cairo and
      in Washington

      Egypt's military-led government said it was "reviewing" its strategic relationships with the U.S. and other Western governments critical of its crackdown on Islamists, deepening the divide between the Obama administration and Cairo.

      Egypt's military-led government said it was "reviewing" its strategic relationships with the U.S. and other Western governments critical of its crackdown on Islamists. Meanwhile, deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could be freed from prison this week. Jerry Seib discusses. Photo: Getty Images.

      Amid expectations of more violence in coming days, the death toll rose on Sunday as dozens of Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed in Cairo in what the government described as a prison-break attempt. The Islamist movement's leaders called for continued defiance against Egypt's generals, despite signs that their supporters were becoming limited in their ability to take to the streets.

      The weekend developments were the latest signs of the constrained ability of the administration of President Barack Obama to influence events in Egypt. The White House, while deciding Friday to postpone joint-military exercises with Egypt, has indicated it plans to continue sending $1.5 billion in military and economic aid to Egypt as a means to try to guide events there.

      Egypt's military-led government said it was "reviewing" its strategic relationships with the U.S. and other Western governments critical of its crackdown on Islamists. Meanwhile, deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could be freed from prison this week. Jerry Seib discusses. Photo: Getty Images.

      But the announcement by Egypt's foreign minister of the review of its ties to the U.S., and growing opposition on Capitol Hill to the aid, might make this impossible.

      "The attempts to internationalize the discussions about this event is something that Egypt rejects," Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said Sunday. "I ask the foreign ministry to review the foreign aid of the past and to see if those aids are used in an optimal way."

      The comments from Mr. Fahmy hewed to a theme that has dominated Egypt's airwaves and newspapers the past two months: disappointment and hostility toward criticism of Egypt's security forces by Western governments. Interim-government officials have also complained of "biased" coverage in Western media.

      Criticism of the Egyptian military's actions grew on Capitol Hill. A widening number of U.S. senators took to the Sunday news shows to challenge Mr. Obama's Egypt policy.

      "I think the actions of the last week no doubt are going to cause us to suspend aid," said Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) on ABC. He added that the U.S. should "recalibrate" its aid to Egypt while keeping open lines of communication with the Middle Eastern nation.

      The prisoner deaths book ended a bloody week of clashes that have spawned political violence unprecedented in modern Egypt. Egyptians are now looking at yet another week of potential flare-ups after supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohammed Morsi announced weeklong protests.

      The violence has hardened attitudes on both sides, strengthening the appetite for resistance among both Mr. Morsi's supporters and his opponents. Leaders of the movement backing Mr. Morsi issued a call for further demonstrations on Saturday night, the same day that a police raid ended an armed overnight standoff at a Cairo mosque in which at least 173 people were killed. Egypt's military spokesman said 120 soldiers died in the siege.

      "We believe that Egyptians are determined to get their freedom back peacefully," said one senior Brotherhood official. "In history, all the revolutions were against very powerful regimes. They succeeded to overthrow them. And this is what we believe that the Egyptian people will do."

      In speeches, political leaders in the military-backed government justified last week's crackdowns and asked the public to remain steadfast in the face of what they describe as a terrorist threat posed by Mr. Morsi's supporters.

      Senior government officials have defended the crackdowns, saying military and police have shown restraint.

      Cairo's crowded capital made a tentative return to normal life on Sunday, even as a monthlong, all-night curfew first imposed last Wednesday remained in place. Businesses that had been shuttered on Saturday were open for the first day of the Egypt's workweek, and the city's familiar congestion once again returned.

      Egypt's Interior Ministry called for an end to the so-called "popular committees" of local residents who have set up roadblocks during the curfew hours. The committees, which the ministry had encouraged for much of the past week, had been "abused" by local thugs, the ministry announced.

      Both General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Egypt's minister of defense and the head of its armed forces, and Mr. Fahmy, the minister of foreign affairs, said that security forces were prepared to use force against pro-Morsi protesters if the former president's supporters continued to use violence. Leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood, which backed Mr. Morsi's presidency, have argued that their demonstrations are peaceful.

      "What we do is a reaction and not an action, and we exercise a great deal of self-restraint," said Gen. Sisi in a televised address Sunday afternoon. "I am confirming that those who attack, however, we will face them strictly."

      Mr. Fahmy's announcement of a foreign-policy review was a thinly veiled swipe at U.S. criticism of Egypt's recent crackdown on Pro-Morsi protesters. Many Egyptians believe the U.S. has taken the Brotherhood's side.

      Some Egyptians have also expressed outrage at Mr. Obama's announcement last week that U.S. forces wouldn't participate in the biannual "BrightStar" military exercises scheduled for this fall. Mr. Obama said he was withdrawing from the exercises after at least 600 people died when the military forcefully dispersed a pro-Morsi protest camp last Wednesday.

      The U.S. has given Egypt $1.3 billion each year in military aid since the early 1980s.

      Though leaders in Mr. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have pledged to maintain their vigils, there were signs Sunday that continuing violence had put a dent in the group's ability to organize supporters. In one sign of disorganization, the group canceled one of about a half-dozen marches originally planned for Sunday. But a separate march to the Supreme Constitutional Court in the Maadi neighborhood of Cairo didn't materialize after conflicting reports from Brotherhood spokesmen over the cancellation of all demonstrations on Sunday.

      A small group, numbering some two dozen, held a rally about a mile from the courthouse. "Where are your big numbers now?" one passerby shouted mockingly at the group.
      —Leila Elmergawi, Tamer El-Ghobashy and Maria Abi Habib contributed to this article.

      Write to Matt Bradley at [email protected] and Jay Solomon at [email protected]

      A version of this article appeared August 19, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Egypt, U.S. on Collision Course.

  • 'NYT' capitulates to rightwingers, declaring settlements not illegal
    • And one more thing: The imbedding of rightwing Israeli interests inside our political culture is why the Israel situation is historically more similar to Algeria than South Africa. I'm going to be writing about this a lot in weeks to come. We've created a disaster.

      Algeria rather than S Africa, very good, Phil. Think Day of the Jackal. Packs and packs of jackals are loose within the metropole. And the pied-noirs have nukes.

  • I lose it at the post office
    • I am not so confident that we won't get a Christian dictatorship. We have Christian fascism in Texas and other red states in the fanatical attacks on women's rights and other issues. The right has paralyzed Congress and the federal govt in public policy, except as a means of coercion, and ALEC has done the same for many state legislatures.

      However, this would not be the traditional "the goyim are out to get us" Christian dictatorship decried by liberal Jews. The Jewish establishment are more powerful than Christian fundamentalists at the national level. It would if anything be their project, for the sake of Israel, and for militarism and belligerence which place it at the center, and against any serious liberal challenge.

      The organized Jews are already in bed with the Christian right for Israel's sake, in which relationship they are the dominant partner. The traditional Jewish support of secularism and separation of church and state has already been compromised and in a crisis would be thrown away entirely, whatever the Jewish public thought. It has no more say in the President's Conference than in the Pentagon.

      With these qualifications I think Phil is right to be more concerned about Zionism, but its allies are diverse and its relations very complex. FWIW

  • US Jews are so 'polarized' over Israel they can't talk about it to each other, 'Jewish Chronicle' reports
    • And did they invite the gentiles to chain with them? The whole idea of secular "Jewish anti-Zionism" is an oxymoron for reasons I explained. If you look at IJAZN's web site, you will find a truncated, Zio-Marxist critique of Zionism as colonial-settlerism. CS is simply a question of method. The essence of Zionism is a reaction against liberal modernity, against the integration and assimilation of Jews, which separatist politics upholds. See Shlomo Sand's forthcoming "The Invention of the Secular Jew". We need a sequel about identity politics in the US.

    • So when are these heroic, enlightened "anti-Zionist Jews" going to join a movement against Zionism? The Boston organized Jews staged the "Amazing Israel Race", centered on the statehouse on Beacon Hill. "The Amazing Israel Race is a fun-filled day with YOU racing around Boston with your teammates led by clues and obstacle tasks in search of sites related to Israeli culture and history."

      Jewish Voice for Peace organized a demo and put out email on non-Jewish lists. "Join us to challenge a local event that celebrates Israel's settlement industry, erases occupation, and ignores restrictions on Palestinian movement."

      I was pleasantly surprised, and decided, after some thought, to show up and help them out. I brought my non-sectarian banner, "Zionism Threatens Us All". It got
      some comment from the handful of demonstrators when I unfurled it. Then people moved away, and I didn't realize exactly why. One guy attending the "race" said he opposed what Israel was doing, but insisted that the banner was dangerous. "That's what they said about the Jews. You really mean Jews." I tried to tell him that 9/11
      happened because of our relationship with Israel but he wasn't receptive.

      Then the JVPers politely informed me that my banner was off-message. I
      explained that they had to appeal to the public, that they would always lose an intra-Jewish debate, that this was an urgent issue for all of us. They invited me to stay, but not with the banner visible. Essentially, they chose to endorse the views of the man who had denounced the banner, rather than stand with the 98% of the US who pay the bills and suffer the consequences, not to mention the Palestinians and their regional neighbors. I was happy to leave in a way, had things I wanted to do.

      The term "anti-Zionist Jew" is an oxymoron, in any secular sense. Shlomo Sand's third installment in his trilogy will be "The Invention of the Secular Jew". In the modern world, people can be Judaic, practice their religion. They can be "Jewish" in a "cultural" sense, whatever that means to the most acculturated and accomplished elements of US society. "Jewish identity" in a political sense, or anything approaching it, is either a) not Jewish, but merely liberal; or b) privilege and discrimination, as the demonstration clearly shows.

  • Palestine and the Left
    • Here is a review of Shlomo Sand's sequel to The Invention of the Jewish People, The Invention of the Land of Israel.

      This is a review of the Hebrew edition from last year, more informed

      Note this passage:

      This was no accident: Zionism and anti-Semitism were, and to a large extent still are, mirror images of each other, both accepting the axiom that Jews have no place in Europe and that they must be “returned to their homeland.”

      As Israeli critics overturn Zionism totally, equating it with anti-Semitism, the Jewish left, in its latest form, Jacobin, calls it "a classic struggle for national liberation".

      American Jewish chauvinism is simply off the charts.

    • This is yet another colonization of the left by Zionism. It never, ever stops.

      Meanwhile, some recurring tropes within the pro-Palestine community have also blurred the issue. What is essentially a classic struggle for national liberation has been obscured by a tendency to exceptionalize Israeli crimes, distracted by a barren fixation on international law, and lost in a hopelessly abstract analytical idealism. A corollary of these analytical faults has been the so-called Israel lobby thesis, which argues that were it not for a handful of pro-Israel lobbying institutions, America might not support the occupation or continue its “special relationship” with Israel.

      This is unsurprising from the usual suspects on the masthead.

      For a different look, see my Reboot the Left on Palestine (2100 words, written as notes for a discussion)

      And also Notes on Universalism (2800 words, bibliographic essay)

  • Rashid Khalidi on the Israel lobby
    • Just for the record, I have read Rashid Khalidi's "Brokers of Deceit." Overall its discussion of three episodes of peace processing is very insightful and compelling. The introduction is where Khalidi gives too much weight to "strategic asset" in the US-Israel relationship. He also mostly ignores the consequences of Israel's influence apart from Palestine. He mentions Iraq toward the end of the book, not in the intro. The intro is a small part of the book but its judgments are important, importantly wrong.

    • While most of the left is in vulgar Marxist mode, Perry Anderson,
      perhaps the greatest Marxist scholar of the day, is not. After the
      Mearsheimer/Walt book on the Israel Lobby appeared, Anderson wrote:

      “The Middle East is the one part of the world where the us political
      system, as presently constituted, cannot act according to a rational
      calculus of national interest, because it is inhabited by another,
      supervening interest. For its entire position in the Arab—and by
      extension Muslim—world is compromised by its massive, ostentatious
      support for Israel.”

      “The outstanding work of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt has finally
      broken this silence… In striking contrast has been the general
      pusillanimity of the American Left, prone to emphasizing the role of
      its bugbear the Christian Right as a more acceptable culprit, when the
      latter’s function has clearly been in effect a force d’appoint.”

      This is in section 4, and the note to that section, in this piece:

      New Left Review, n. 48, November-December 2007

    • I have Khalidi's book, as yet unread. He is speaking here (Boston) next week. As someone else said above, the US did make a serious effort for a 2-state solution o n the 67 lines, under Carter. It failed chiefly because of the Lobby (an inadequate term, Zionocracy is better). Begin's obduracy was based on forces in the US. After a joint US-Soviet declaration of principles for a Geneva conference, then-Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan read the riot act to Carter, Brzezinski and Vance at a meeting in NY, made barely veiled threats to unleash the Zionocracy. Dayan forced a disavowal of the principles. That collapse is what broke Arab unity, sent Sadat to Jerusalem and the separate peace.

    • In my view not a word Chomsky says can be taken seriously. He is not trying to resolve some social/historical conundrum, he is creating one, blowing smoke, acting in pure bad faith, contriving controversy where none should exist. This is driven fundamentally by anti-gentilism, as Phil argued here

      This is true a fortiori not only of Chomsky but of the whole Jewish left which pushes this argument so adamantly, and for decades.

      Shimson and Bichler try and make an economic argument in The Political Economy of Israel, which others rely on. They claim that a "petro-arma complex" is driving things. They have causation exactly backward. Ideology and politics drive war, not oily merchants of death, and they concede this, piecemeal, directly and indirectly.

      They mostly assume causation from profit to war, and conjure up numbers. Their chief analytical construct is "differential accumulation", the claim that profits of the "petro-arma core" are higher than the average of the Fortune 500. Yet the Zionocracy dates from the 194os, when it overwhelmed US diplomacy and military strategy. Arms sales to the region were negligible then and Big Oil favored the official position against Zionism, was a chief basis for it. This factor was inoperable then.

      Otherwise, it begs examination of the same data, and global Fortune 1000 data, from other angles. Is their differential a function of size? How do other firms in the petro-arma size bracket in different industries compare? Is it a function of US firms, not foreign? Etc. A piece of simple arithmetic is a rather weak argument.

      Even if it does hold it does not at all constitute causation; it is an anachronism for part of the period needing explanation. Even in the period where it presumably explains, they concede in little exceptions and qualifications that ideology and politics drive war. US Zionism is an apex predator, in the jostling of predators that constitutes US governance, able to stage ideological and institutional productions, like the US-Israel relationship, and Islamophobia, that drive war. "Corporate and strategic interest" have adapted to this, not vice versa.

    • This is so pathetic of Khalidi, and equally pathetic of Chomsky. He is just using the idea of "US interests" to write Jewish power out of the picture. Contra Chomsky, "US interests" are not axioms from which we can deduce things. He actually says that nothing has changed about US ME policy since 1945--it's all about control of oil. So there is no difference between cultivating Nasser as possible Cold War asset in the early 1950s, to invading Iraq in 2003.

      "US interests" are not axiomatically defined, but constructed daily in Washington by the various interests that comprise society. Since the 1940s, when it overcame the opposition of the diplomatic and military establishments to US sponsorship of a Jewish state, Zionism has been one of those interests, and has radicalized US pursuit of the "corporate and strategic interests" Chomsky (and Khalidi) claim are dominant.

      Thus the anti-Iran policy encountered substantial business opposition in the 1990s, but was overwhelmed by the Zionocracy. The Iraq war was the product of the neocons and the gentile radicals and was a strategic and corporate disaster.
      Zionism has been the chief driver of US militarism since the end of the Cold War. The Zionocracy contributed to the Gulf War vote in 1990, the closest since the War of 1812. 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq 2003, from which the dissolution of Syria has followed, the virulent Islamophobia---Zionism has turned western Asia into the eastern front of the US empire, site of its worst deeds and ideologies, like the eastern front of Nazi Germany, with the war on "Judeobolshevism" and the Judeocide.

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