Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 104 (since 2010-06-26 18:54:32)

CitizenC

have a US citizen's obligatory interest in "the question of Palestine". See http://questionofpalestine.net

Website: http://questionofpalestine.net

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  • 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

    • Page: 1
    • 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

      link to cjr.org

    • 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"

      link to ericwalberg.com

  • 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 Amazon.de. Her web site does not mention an English translation.

      link to hedyepstein.com

      link to amazon.de

    • 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?
      link to counterpunch.org
      (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...

      link to mondoweiss.net

    • 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
      link to dissidentvoice.org

      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
    • Pappe is on the right track, the narrowness of Chomsky's arguments over Palestine and the need to broaden them. Even if he doesn't go far enough. The general argument is "the end of modern Jewish history", my argument and others' though my take is more critical.

      link to questionofpalestine.net

      It's the same with BDS. The response to Chomsky's attack on BDS in The Nation last summer shows that people realize how retrograde and out of touch he is. My arguments about his views on BDS ran much deeper than the Nation responders', though I used some of their themes.

      link to questionofpalestine.net

  • '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.

  • 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.”

      link to questionofpalestine.net

      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
    • "We may not have Bibi to kick around any more." So we can all relax knowing that the "peace camp" is back, heirs to Oslo and all it has wrought. Here is the "peace" being prepared:

      Former Israeli general Amiram Levine also addressed the crowd, stressing the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative. Addressing Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Amiram argued that peace “is the only way to preserve the settlement project, the settlement blocs and to hold on to the Golan Heights.”

      link to 972mag.com

      The Zionist Union of course seconded the attacks on Haneen Zoabi, opposed her place on the Joint List, inter alia. Zoabi said there's no diff betw Bibi and ZU.

      link to jpost.com

      More recently she may have recommended to Rivlin that Herzog be chosen to form a govt, tho the Joint List won't join it, could not submit to its terms.

      link to jewishpress.com

      For such reasons some experienced observers have said that a Netanyahu defeat would be the worst outcome, would let liberal opinion off the hook, let it accept Israeli Zionist business as usual, no longer so flamboyant and obnoxious, but more efficient, and equally unjust.

  • What we talk about when we talk about ISIS
  • JVP offers bold universalist Hanukkah message in the wake of Gaza slaughter
    • Yes there is a Hanukkah meister, Zionism, as Avigail and the Brooklyn rabbi pointed out in their articles. And more broadly Jewish efforts to distinguish themselves by having a "major holiday" at Christmastime. Hanukkah is a minor event outside the US, as one scholar pointed out in a book on Hanukkah in the US. JVP's "universalization" is the nnth iteration of their mission to Judaize what should be secular dissent.

      Here's the book on Hanukkah

      link to nyupress.org

      Here is a review from the Forward. The underlying facts about Hanukkah appear not to have changed, rather the interpretation. The view of the author's teachers has gone radically out of fashion, on the left no less than the mainstream.

      link to forward.com

    • You didn't re-read the earlier Mondo posts. A "bold universalist hanukkah message" is a contradiction in terms. We urgently need to deconstruct such mythology, not sentimentalize it.

    • As Mondo pointed out a few years ago, Hannukah is the last candidate for an "affirmation of universalism". It is a historical event to which religious significance has been belatedly attributed for Zionist and other reasons, as Mondo noted in 2 posts a while back.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      link to mondoweiss.net

  • 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"

      link to middleeasteye.net

      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)

      link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

      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"

      link to questionofpalestine.net

    • 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",
      link to pmpress.org

    • 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.

      from

      Is Israel a Strategic Asset or Liability for the United States?
      Ambassador Chas Freeman
      link to chasfreeman.net

      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
    • More sense on ISIS from Ahmad Samih Khalidi in today's NYT

      link to nytimes.com

    • See Gary Leupp's piece on CounterPunch about all this

      ISIS and Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide
      link to counterpunch.org

    • 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.

      link to news-gazette.com

    • 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

      link to cosmos.ucc.ie

  • '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"

      link to questionofpalestine.net

    • 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
    • I haven't read his New Yorker article, but from the letter Bernie sees Hamas and Israel as equal actors. What can you expect from the author of "Tragedy of Zionism" whose first edition I read once upon a. And he preaches to Phil about the history and nature of Zionism. For other views of the origins of the current massacre

      How the West Chose War in Gaza
      Nathan Thrall
      link to nytimes.com

      How Israel Provoked This War
      Henry Siegman
      link to politico.com

  • 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.

      link to cosmos.ucc.ie

  • '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.

      link to leftcurve.org

  • 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.

      link to natsummit.org

  • '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.

      link to ncm.birzeit.edu

      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
      link to questionofpalestine.net

  • 'Forward' lives up to its name, bashing denial of Palestinian narrative and donors' control of Hillel
  • Conservatives for Palestine
    • Thank you Pamela, yet more indications that CZ is wide but shallow and breaking up by the day. You've seen Porter Speakman's film, by and for that audience, about Palestine? I think he is making another.

      See this long piece by an evangelical Christian Zionist warning of weakening support from his co-religionists.

      link to mosaicmagazine.com

      For reasons like this, Mears/Walt called the CZs an "important minor factor" but not the main engine of the IL.

  • 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

      link to leftcurve.org

      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
    • Executive Zionism, beyond AIPAC

      The Neocons Won
      link to counterpunch.org

      Neocons and the Ukraine coup
      link to readersupportednews.org

    • 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.

      link to original.antiwar.com

      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
      link to counterpunch.org

      The ADL Spying Case Is Over, But The Struggle Continues
      link to counterpunch.org

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

  • 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.

      link to huffingtonpost.com

      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!
    • Alison Weir of If Americans Knew and Council for the National Interest has a book called "Against Our Better Judgment. How the US Was Used to Create Israel". I've read her "History of US-Israel Relations" in pamphlet and learned some things; this looks promising also

      link to createspace.com

      Weir is co-organizing the National Summit on the US-Israel Relationship in Washington on March 7

      link to natsummit.org

  • 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" link to counterpunch.org

      responding to a piece of the same name by Joseph Massad link to electronicintifada.net

  • 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)

      link to ucpress.edu

      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

      link to ucpress.edu

      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

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