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  • Israeli army kills 14-year old Palestinian with U.S. citizenship
    • Poor Jen must have been in a rush to leave the office on Friday and forgot to proofread her statement. The "local authorities" in Area A, including Silwad, are Palestinian. I doubt she wants them to lead the investigation.

    • And Jen was likely thinking, "It's a good thing Matt didn't find out about this until the afternoon briefing was done."

    • Annie--just how did you embed a tweet in a comment?

    • Poor Jen Psaki. She probably had to stay til 5 o'clock on a Friday afternoon so she should put out a release:

      The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a U.S. citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during clashes in Silwad on October 24. Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem are in contact with the family and are providing all appropriate consular assistance. We call for a speedy and transparent investigation, and will remain closely engaged with the local authorities, who have the lead on this investigation. We continue to urge all parties to help restore calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of the tragic recent incidents in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

      But that will be the end of it.

  • Under cover of night, nine Jewish families take over two buildings in Silwan
    • The White House has condemned the movement of settlers into Silwan as "provocative". But Obama should reflect on how he personally contributes to the Judaization of Jerusalem East of the Green Line by considering the events at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Obama railroaded through a platform plank, over the vocal objections of rank-and-file delegates, that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel” . Netanyahu lectured Obama that Israeli Jews should be free to live anywhere in Jerusalem. If Obama is sore from the lashing Netanyahu gave him, perhaps he shouldn't have handed him the whip.

  • Academic institutions that violate academic freedom deserve to be boycotted
    • As David Sheen and Richard Silverstein pointed out, another Bar-Ilan professor, Hillel Weiss, recently called for genocide of the Palestinians. The university's reaction is reported by Haaretz:

      “Firstly, it’s necessary to state that the things Prof. Hillel Weiss published on his Facebook page are contemptible and very grave, and any cultured person – Jewish or non-Jewish, religious or nonreligious – must condemn them,” the university’s statement said. “A call to kill people is un-Jewish and immoral.”

      Whether the post constitutes a criminal offense or is protected by freedom of expression is a question for the law-enforcement agencies, the statement continued. “But, in any case, Prof. Weiss’ comments were written on a private platform, his Facebook page, and not in any university setting.”

      So the call for genocide is brushed off by university administration because it was made on Facebook.

  • An exciting night at the opera: 'Klinghoffer' opening dominated by protest and heavy police presence
    • Annie--Why doesn't my link display as an embedded video? I thought I wrote it correctly.

    • Judging only from the Met's official trailer, it's difficult to see how this opera romanticizes terror or even humanizes Palestinians:

      link to youtube.com

      From these scenes I would have guessed Pam Geller wrote the libretto.

    • The classical music critic of the Nation, Edward Said (yes, him), reviewed the opera two decades ago.

      The background is compellingly established with the opera's opening chorus of Palestine exiles who sing:

      Of that house [in Palestine], not a wall
      In which a bird might nest
      Was left to stand. Israel
      Laid all to waste.

      I found this the most musically impassioned an moving sequence in the score, not least because Adams's music unfolds with a majestic calm that in the final strophes of the chorus blossoms into an extraordinary arabesque digression that loops up and down and around asingle word with breathtaking continuity, searing the spectator's consciousness with the terrible sadness of it all.
      ...
      But as you sit there watching this vast work unfold, you need to ask yourself how many times you have seen any substantial work of music or dramatic or literary or pictorial art that actually tries to treat the Palestinians as tragically aggrieved, albeit sometimes criminally intent, people. The answer is never, and you must go on to ask Messrs.-the-nonideological-music-and-culture-critics whether they ever complain about works that are skewed the other way, or whether for instance, in the flood of images and words that assert that Israel is a democracy, any of them note that 2 million Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza have fewer rights than South African blacks had during the worst days of apartheid, and that the paeans and the $77 billion sent to Israel from the United States were keeping the Palestinian people endlessly oppressed?

  • The Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ passes divestment resolution
    • I think I will send Sen. Mark Kirk, a member of the United Church of Christ, a note congratulating his church for being on the right side of history and encourage him to show his support by boycotting "Israeli products made in the occupied Palestinian territories.” Let's see how this goes.

  • Judt on Brooks and Friedman's role in pushing the criminal invasion of Iraq
    • And here is Brooks in his latest Haaretz interview:

      Brooks has always had a close attachment to Israel – he’s visited the country almost every year since 1991. But in the past few months those ties have become even stronger, as his eldest son, aged 23, has enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces in the Lone Soldier program (for soldiers with no family living in Israel).

      “Every Israeli parent understands the circumstance, and that it is worrying,” he says, “but I do think children should take risks as they get out of college and university. They should expand their expectation of risk, and I do think they should do something hard – and military service is hard. And they should do something outside themselves. I think that service defines all those three things, and I can’t very well advise that to other people if I don’t think my own family should do it.”

      Clearly he is approaching his parenting from the perspective of an Israeli parent, as if he were in fact an Israeli parent.

    • I am enjoying my new subscription to the NY Times, especially its op-eds. I can read classics like this:

      Vote France Off the Island
      By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
      Published: February 9, 2003

      Sometimes I wish that the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council could be chosen like the starting five for the N.B.A. All-Star team -- with a vote by the fans. If so, I would certainly vote France off the Council and replace it with India. Then the perm-five would be Russia, China, India, Britain and the United States. That's more like it.
      ...
      Most of France's energy is devoted to holding America back from acting alone, not holding Saddam Hussein's feet to the fire to comply with the U.N.

      The French position is utterly incoherent. The inspections have not worked yet, says Mr. de Villepin, because Saddam has not fully cooperated, and, therefore, we should triple the number of inspectors. But the inspections have failed not because of a shortage of inspectors. They have failed because of a shortage of compliance on Saddam's part, as the French know. The way you get that compliance out of a thug like Saddam is not by tripling the inspectors, but by tripling the threat that if he does not comply he will be faced with a U.N.-approved war.

  • The Center for Jewish Life is stifling free speech at Princeton University
    • Apparently Max Weiss's offense was to be one of the 400 scholars and librarians working on the Middle East to sign the letter pledging to boycott Israeli academic institutions, as covered here on MW: link to mondoweiss.net Other Princeton signatories are Richard Falk, Molly Greene, and Sara Pursley.

  • Hamas is Nazi Germany and Israel is valiant and desperate England -- explains Canadian Jewish leader
    • ...should have finished the job?

      Anyone who reads the comment sections of Israeli media know that the new mantra and rallying cry there is Finish '48.

  • Israel wields 'significant US domestic power' to foil peace process -- NY Review of Books
  • British Parliament sends a message to Obama: the people see Israel as a 'bully'
  • British Parliament votes overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian state
    • On reflection, I think you're right. The vote is largely symbolic, so let's praise it for generating a lot of negative press for Israel.

    • Straw's amendment reads a lot like the language AIPAC inserts into any U.S. discussion of I/P. Yes, Palestine needs a state...as part of negotiated solution...but those Palestinians don't negotiate in good faith...we have no negotiating partner...one day they will come to their senses...stop with these unilateral UN actions...pehaps the next generation will stop hating us...

      I'm not celebrating. I'm have a shot and going to bed.

  • British Parliament to vote on recognition of Palestinian state on Monday
    • There is no clear diplomatic path to either a one or two state solution. Israel and the US hold mostly face cards, while Palestine and the Left can't agree on whether to bid spades or hearts. The best card we have is the ICC, and I think a yes vote will make it more likely that it can be played.

  • Tablet types Rev. Shipman as elite, anti-semitic WASP
    • At the time, Lieberman was the most anti-Palestinian and hawkish Democratic in the limelight, but Al Gore was a close second. See here where he blasts Jesse Jackson ( link to nytimes.com ). I have no regrets about voting for Nader.

    • Great piece, Phil. The Tablet ask Shipman if he is a WASP.
      From Wikipedia:

      White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) is an informal term, sometimes derogatory or disparaging,[1] for a closed group of high-status White Americans of English Protestant ancestry. The term WASP also is an indication of a mindset which is self serving, mercenary, low moral calibre and the distinct lack of progressive thinking. Where money is concerned the WASP is the buttress of the static status quo, serving its own limited conditioned thinking. The term applies to a group believed to control disproportionate social and financial power.[2] The term WASP describes a small restricted group whose family wealth and elite connections allow them a degree of privilege held by few others.[3]...People seldom call themselves WASPs, except humorously; the acronym is typically used by non-WASPs.[5]

      Then the Tablet lectures Rev Shipman about anti-Semitism without the least bit of irony.

  • Israel and the g-word
    • Twelve Ways To Deny A Genocide
      By Israel Charny, these 12 methods were originally called "Templates for Gross Denial of a Known Genocide: A Manual" in The Encyclopedia of Genocide, volume 1, page 168.
      1. Question and minimize the statistics.
      2. Attack the motivations of the truth-tellers.
      3. Claim that the deaths were inadvertent.
      4. Emphasize the strangeness of the victims.
      5. Rationalize the deaths as the result of tribal conflict, coming to the victims out of the inevitability of their history of relationships.
      6. Blame “out of control” forces for committing the killings.
      7. Avoid antagonizing the genocidists, who might walk out of “the peace process.”
      8. Justify denial in favor of current economic interests.
      9. Claim that the victims are receiving good treatment, while baldly denying the charges of genocide outright.
      10. Claim that what is going on doesn’t fit the definition of genocide.
      11. Blame the victims.
      12. Say that peace and reconciliation are more important that blaming people for genocide.

  • Put a spike in the wheel of injustice
    • Bonhoeffer is a great writer. Like many who have heard Matthew Arnold's melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Bonhoeffer has kept me in the fold. I don't mind taking some liberties in interpretation, as McGrail's Herzog has done. In fact, it's necessary.

  • Following shocking sermon, Atlanta JVP calls on area rabbis to challenge racism in Jewish community
  • The Titanic of the occupation -- SodaStream (Update)
    • Enthrallment with the NFL and with Israel are two hallmarks of the common man. One is full of self-centered, unthinking uniformed brutes who often wind up in the news for pulverizing weaker victims. The other is about touchdowns and field goals.

    • At one time Sodastream was a sponsor of a few progressive radio talk show programs. Thom Hartmann, for example, personally endorsed the product year-round. But I haven't heard any Sodastream ads on progressive radio for a long time. Has anyone? It would be great to know that what happened.

  • White House is now in open spat with Netanyahu over his 'American values' lecture
    • I am struck by how similar the Earnest's phrasing and choice of words is to that of Psaki's responding to Matt Lee yesterday. They must be memorizing a script.

      QUESTION: Prime Minister Netanyahu over the weekend talking about how the criticism of his country, or at least of his government, is – conflicts with American values. What’s your response to that?

      MS. PSAKI: Well, American policy has been clear and unchanged under several administrations, both Democratic and Republican: We oppose any unilateral actions that attempt to prejudge final status issues, including the status of Jerusalem. These can only be legitimately determined through direct negotiation between the parties. So I have to say it was a bit odd to use American values when clearly we’ve had a consistent view and a consistent position on this particular issue.

  • Sweden's recognition of Palestine will license activists
    • Ali Abunimah writes "By recognizing 'State of Palestine,' Sweden could harm Palestinians."

      As I have explained in my book The Battle for Justice in Palestine and in an article for Al-Shabaka recognition of a Palestinian “state” in a fraction of Palestine actually negates the rights of most Palestinians and conflicts with the Palestinian right of self-determination.

      While recognizing the “State of Palestine” excites and pleases many people who support the Palestinian cause, people should not to get carried away with the aesthetics of “statehood” in what would amount to a bantustan.

      Instead, I have argued, they should focus on the negative consequences for the right of return and the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

      So from my perspective, I do not see recognition of a Palestinian “state” in the context of the so-called two-state solution as anything to celebrate. Indeed, it may well be harmful to Palestinians in the long run.

      link to electronicintifada.net

      In apartheid South Africa, the Pretoria government strove to see that its bantustans were internationally recognized as independent. The international community wisely did not concur.

  • Where is the antiwar movement?
    • Ron Paul's take (from 2009):

      What [Obama] is doing is a little more dangerous [than Bush] because he has neutralized the anti-war left. The antiwar left has just left. At least Bush was honest, I mean he was upfront. He believed in pre-emptive preventive war but everybody was hopeful that Obama would do differently, but he hasn’t. So he has quieted down the left and there is a very weak anti-war movement in this country now.

  • Jewish New Yorkers to Schumer and Gillibrand: Enact the Leahy Law and stop US military aid to Israel
    • Thank you, Jews Say NO! and Jewish Voice for Peace/NY.
      Just a quibble with the title: the Leahy Law has already been enacted. These New Yorkers are asking that it be enforced.

  • TX congressman who expressed concern about Gaza deaths undergoes 'healing process' and will fly El Al to Israel
    • But then Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni will arrive and say, "It'll be as if she never existed. All that's left is our friendship."

    • O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of Beto O'Rourke's nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.

  • Why must Gaza wait in the dark?
    • HRW on Aug 10:

      Damaging or destroying a power plant, even if it also served a military purpose, would be an unlawful disproportionate attack under the laws of war, causing far greater civilian harm than military gain.
      ...
      “If there were one attack that could be predicted to endanger the health and well-being of the greatest number of people in Gaza, hitting the territory’s sole electricity plant would be it,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “Deliberately attacking the power plant would be a war crime.”
      ...
      The laws of war obligate countries responsible for violations to make full reparations for the loss or injury caused. This would involve at a minimum providing materials and assistance to permit the prompt restoration of the power plant to its pre-war capacity.

      #‎ICC4Israel

  • 'Ethnic cleansing for a better world' -- Richard Cohen says Palestinians brought the Nakba on themselves
  • Netanyahu at the United Nations: Hamas, Iran, ISIS and 100 cheering Israelis
  • Lutheran activists fear new church leadership will stifle criticism of Israeli occupation
    • Mooser-- both Luther and, to a lesser extent, Calvin were polemical in their writings about Jewry. It's the cross we bear.

    • Hi W.--Yes, Methodists and Episcopalians are also at the forefront of Protestant denominations with members supporting Palestinians. Methodists, like Presbyterians, had a schism over slavery in the 1840's leaving the mainline branch with a mostly northern congregation. Episcopalians are the most affluent--and educated--of large Protestant denominations.

    • W.--Many distinguish generally between Reformed denominations and other non-Catholic denominations by their lineage to John Calvin. My Presbyterian church lobby, for example, has a stained glass window depicting Calvin, but I doubt you would find the same in a Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, or Mormon building.

    • The one thing that I can't figure out is how the Reformed movement gave birth to two recent reactionary colonialist enterprises (NI and SA) and yet recovered with its moral instincts intact. I think we have short memories, fortunately. The ELCA, which is not Reformed, may still harbor reticence dating from the aftermath of WWII.

    • Many older mainline denominations, including Reformed congregations, had schisms during the Civil War, that were never healed in Reconstruction. The mainline denominations were left with Northern adherents largely immune to the evangelical movement that embraced Christian Zionism.

    • Hi Joe, I've been curious about this too. I think the answer may be less theological than sociological. Reformed denominations are among the oldest in the U.S. and therefore have the most affluent members who may have been fortunate to go to college. Many like myself, who grew up in fundamentalist/evangelical churches, migrate to mainline denominations seeking 'enlightened' congregations. Conversely, many literalists who welcome CUFI eschatology may make the reverse migration. Also, mainline churches have a considerable missionary presence in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Many immigrate to the U.S.

    • Thanks, Betsy, from a fellow PCUSA member.

    • This is great news. Thanks.

  • Netanyahu heads to New York to ‘refute all the lies’ and praise ‘the most moral army in the world’
    • Thanks, just. She is hasbarists' worst enemy. I am aware that she is in the inner circle of the PA and so may be accused of being a quisling. But there is no apparent corruption here for the retired English professor.

    • After Samantha morphs into 'the bloody red' Power Ranger, she alone can hold off the forces of perceived evil. Saban expects it.

    • #MostMoralArmyInTheWorld would make a great twitter hashtag today, e.g.

      "Protective Shield is our way of helping Gaza deal with its overpopulation problem. #MostMoralArmyInTheWorld"

    • Francis Scott Key was a slave-owner and anti-abolishonist. His lack of self-awarenss in penning the phrase 'land of the free' is equaled only by Netanyahu's extolling democratic values.

    • Even if he brings cartoons of Tom and Jerry and tries to convince the world that Israel is Jerry, he's not going to get 29 standing ovations. And because of this, the U.S. media will portray the U.N as hopelessly biased.

  • Palestinian problem is central to region but Israelis control U.S. policy -- Brahimi
    • Phil, I think David Remnick is on the right track. But our president is all too ready to poke him in the eye. Here is Obama on Wednesday at the UN: The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that [the Israel/Palestine] conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home.

      So on the one hand, Obama says the status quo is unsustainable, but then he undermines the argument of those who say that a just resolution is urgent. I think he just wants to punt.

  • Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders get off Israel bandwagon, for once
    • I see neither Tammy Baldwin nor Bernie Sanders signed. I wonder if Chris Hedges was an influence. Two weeks ago the progressive 'Fighting Bob Fest' took place in Wisconsin with Baldwin and Sanders the headline speakers. But Chris Hedges--who is no PEP--also spoke. And he spoke of Gaza as only he can:

      And in this charnel house, this open-air prison where 1.8 million people, nearly half of them children, live trapped in an Israeli ghetto, I have witnessed the crimes of occupation—the food shortage, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. As I have witnessed this mass of human suffering I have heard from the power elites in Jerusalem and Washington the lies told to justify state terror.

      An impoverished, captive people that lack an army, a navy, an air force, mechanized units, drones, artillery and any semblance of command and control do not pose a threat to Israel. And Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill hundreds of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war. It is state-sponsored terror and state-sponsored murder.

      The abject failure by our political class to acknowledge this fact, a fact that to most of the rest of the world is obvious, exposes the awful banality of our political system, the cynical abandonment of the most vulnerable of the earth for campaign contributions. Money, after all, has replaced the vote.

      The refusal to speak out for the people of Gaza is not tangential to our political life. The pathetic, Stalinist-like plebiscite in the [U.S.] Senate, where all 100 senators trotted out like AIPAC windup dolls to cheer on the Israeli bombing of homes, apartment blocks, schools—where hundreds of terrified families were taking shelter—water treatment plants, power stations, hospitals, and of course boys playing soccer on a beach, exposes the surrender of our political class to cash-rich lobbying groups and corporate power. The people of Gaza are expendable. They are poor. They are powerless. And they have no money. Just like the poor people of color in this country whose bodies, locked in cages, enrich the prison-industrial complex.

      I wonder how Baldwin and Sanders reacted to being called out as "AIPAC windup dolls".
      link to madisonrafah.org

  • Netanyahu erases the boundary between world Jewry and Israel in celebration of 'our country'
    • PM Netanyahu laments, "Over the past few months, three of our teenagers were kidnapped and brutally murdered".

      He is certainly aware there was a fourth who was kidnapped and brutully murdered. But that boy's name was 'Mohammed'. The government of Israel, for some reason, never seems to count boys if their name is 'Mohammed'.

  • Ohio treasurer fights divestment from the 'beacon of American values' in the Middle East
    • Mandel says in Israel women are treated "equal to men". I am reminded of article from this afternoon's Telegraph:

      An El-Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv was turned into an “11-hour nightmare” after hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women.
      According to those on board the flight descended into chaos because of their demands.
      ...
      One passenger described the entire experience as an 11-hour nightmare.

      link to telegraph.co.uk

  • Obama says Muslims bear responsibility to counter radical Islam (so are Jews responsible for Israeli violence?)
    • Geraldo's personal blog elaborates and also mentions the Gaza War.

      For historic reasons, and now mostly because of paper's willingness to criticize Israel's unlawful occupation of Palestine, many Zionists have smeared the NYT's ownership as self-hating Jews. Anti-Semitism is a disgusting, low-down and dirty phenomenon that has plagued the planet for millennia. Its purveyors must be confronted and routed from the ranks of decent, civilized people. But those of us who refuse to recognize how the Gaza War and the 47-year long occupation of Palestine is exacerbating this most recent incarnation of that age-old instinct are self-denying Jews.

      I am sure he will hear from Cpl. Goldberg about this.

    • Edit: Those are Obama's words, not Cair's.

    • CAIR put out a press release praising Obama's speech, and I'm not going to second-guess its assessment. But many on the right (e.g. Breitbart) are upset about these words:

      The violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace. And that’s something worthy of reflection within Israel.

      Because let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable. We cannot afford to turn away from this effort – not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis, or the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza.

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