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Total number of comments: 141 (since 2010-11-12 04:36:50)

Clif Brown

enough - end the occupation


Showing comments 141 - 101

  • Check out the new Mondoweiss t-shirts
    • Add to cart....looking for it all over the page and in the text...all I see is "order it now" in bold and that isn't a link... yes, I was in mostly remedial classes, I admit, but...

    • Being an old geezer, I tuck my T shirt in. With this design, if tucked in the only thing visible is BDS at my tummy level. Oh, ok, I suppose I can leave it untucked. More important, I see no link to place an order either here on the site on in the email notification I received.

  • 'Six Jews sitting in the White House discussing the Palestinian state'
    • Oren's plea is strange. It's as if someone who lives in a fortress is appealing to free citizens to, if they will not cross the moat into the fortress, at least support those under siege.

      Obviously, the American experience proves that no fortress is needed. Far from elevating Judaism, Israel is dragging it down by contradicting in practice the very worthy sentiments of both Jews in history and those of today.

      Far more logical than Oren's appeal would be the reverse - open the drawbridge, put away the boiling oil and F16's and let there be one land for all the people. The idea that Israel must have a Jewish majority, no matter what the moral cost of maintaining it, is the concrete idea that is disintegrating world Jewry and mocking the transcendent ideas of Judaism.

  • Jewish community must 'welcome' anti-Zionist, pro-BDS Jews, Beinart says-- but Shavit says, Excommunicate them
    • Indeed, to put MLK's name with Zionism is proof that Zionists are blind to anything but their own agenda. There is a desperate attempt, a real need of Zionists to place themselves in a moral light. Shavit openly admits that the moral dimension is needed for the cause of Israel, but what he will not contemplate is that it can't be obtained and attempts only more starkly show the thing for what it is - ethnic supremacy. Will we be hearing of "Gandhian Zionism" or "Mandelan Zionism"? I wouldn't be surprised.

      The horrible holocaust - a moral catastrophe, has enabled Israel and shields (ever less effectively) it to this day. This magical effect of the disaster is the foundation of the impossible attempts at moralizing Zionism. It worked in the past so why not now? Zionism is immoral in itself. The shunning of, right up to the execution of Jews made it appear that Jews throwing innocent people out to replace them with the trope of homecoming and liberation somehow came out as justice. Who cannot feel exhilaration when putting a picture of the piles of skeletal corpses at a concentration camp next to a young Jew of 1950 looking out over Jerusalem, even if a third picture of Palestinians trudging from their land is added?

      Zionism was and is a bad idea. It has come out of the closet of warm emotion that has nurtured it and supports it today, for exactly what it has always been. There's no recovery and all attempts to pull the comfy blanket back over the head will fail. Tragedy upon tragedy are ahead because fanaticism does not go down without a fight, all the more so when the fanatics see themselves as righteous. There's no better proof of this than Shavit's mention of MLK.

  • Two videos to challenge my liberal Zionist friends
    • I watched the entire "Sands of Sorrow".

      The most notable line in the old film speaks of the refugee children: "are they too to be doomed to a life of continuing uncertainty and lack of hope?" Thanks to the United States, the answer is now known and unequivocal - yes! Not once in the film is Israel mentioned as the responsible party for the disaster, it was being let off the hook even then, and viewers are asked to contact their churches to help the relief effort!

  • AIPAC and Bill Kristol turn up the pressure
    • I'm happy to see that my Rep, Jan Schakowsky, will not be attending the speech. Did this have anything to do with my calling her office yesterday to request it? Aw, let an old man have his delusion!

  • Ros-Lehtinen removes pro-Palestinian activists from Congressional hearing on punishing PA for joining ICC
    • Representative Jan Schakowsky is my rep and does NOT have dual citizenship with Israel. I called her office and had this directly, specifically confirmed. This list should therefor be suspect.

  • Pssst! Is Israel going crazy?
    • John Douglas, you are onto something. Both countries are in the grip of a kind of madness of the right, though in Israel (as Max Blumenthal indicates) it seems to be genuinely popular. My impression is that in America there is a sleeping giant that is for the time being tolerating the antics. There seems no limit to how far Israel will go. The "enough is enough" point is coming for America. The left is cowed in Israel out of real danger from the center moving to the right, in America the left and center awaits an electrifying moment.

  • Ilan Pappe offers a reminder that the 'ongoing Nakba' implicates many of us in Israel's history
    • A very moving essay.

      FYI - the Tent of Nations is no more. I read that the IDF arrived and cleared the site. Here is what it was like two years ago.

      For a more comprehensive and personal look at the Tent of Nations, Diana Alzeer paid a visit in 2010 as part of the Sleepless in Gaza and Jerusalem series. Go to 3:30 in.

      I attended Pappe's lecture as well and what struck me was his insistence that there are no chapters in Zionism, that what is going on today is a logical progression from the very first efforts of Zionists in the 19th century.

  • Is Israel the wallpaper in US culture?
    • just, I would suggest that Judaism rather than Israel is wallpaper in U.S. culture, meaning that it is background to American life. Theater, movies, TV shows, books, comedy, all have a generous dose of stories that are Jewish. I'm convinced this is the reason for the positive feeling Americans have about Israel, regardless of what the country does - they simply associate it with Jews, who are so much a part of American culture (wallpaper) that the good vibes are automatic. If you are a rural American, look no further than the Bible. If you are an urban American then you will hear, "I don't know anything about Zionism, but my coworker, Bob Weintraub, is a great guy, and so is Ben Goldfarb across the street". All of this creates the wallpaper.

      I wish I had a penny for every reference to the holocaust that I've been exposed to in my American life. I would say no month goes by without hearing about it in the arts or in the news. By comparison, stories about what Israel has been doing have been extremely rare, one has to go looking for them. You don't need to go looking for wallpaper.

  • The UN can bring peace to Jerusalem by moving its headquarters there
  • Shlomo Sand resigns from being Jewish. Totally. Mostly. Almost
    • American: In the way that I think of identity, my answer to your example would be that biological parents have nothing to do with it, unless they are also the people who raise the child. Though it's undeniable that we inherit characteristics from our genes, certainly our temperaments come largely from that, the contribution they make is insignificant compared to upbringing in the view of the self regarding the world that I call identity. Physical appearance, of course, has long been a strait-jacket for individual freedom, particularly in the case of distinction by skin color. That badge, because it announces itself in itself, lays a heavy load on the individual.

      But putting aside unavoidable stark physical contrast, I think trying to put people in categories by descent is a destruction of freedom, usually done for the purpose of gaining membership for one's group or reproducing one's own outlook on one who is not able to question it.

      My ideal of child care, which I have tried to put into practice, is to raise the individual without inculcating the "we" idea. Needless to say, I think the trips that Israeli teens take to Auschwitz promoted by the government (though I assume it is optional?) is a psychological crime, jamming historical events into fresh minds, forcing in the most intimidating way an identity that the individual has not chosen and, in effect, forcing the future of the individual into the mold of the past. It is virulent racism to mark the recipient at a suggestive age, but I say racism without regard to biological race, so perhaps ethnism would be better. It could also be compared to branding an animal that is powerless to escape the process.

      From what I have read of Netanyahu and his father, Bibi appears to be exactly what his father would have wanted him to be, holding all the views the elder held dear as to what a Jew should be. From what I hear Bibi say, the inculcation went deep and there is no reason to doubt that what comes from the man's mouth is deeply held, though so uncomprehending of the other that it can take my breath away.

      Shouldn't a parent be striving for "human being" as the basis upon which to build an identity, commonality taking the placed of specificity? Too much to ask of humanity? We do seem to be inching that way. My I hope?

    • Can an identity be dropped? I think that without erasing memory, it can't. Which is not to say an individual can't depart from a common path, choosing a novel one, even one that is anti-old-identity, but even then there it is yin from yang. This is true of any human being and is not specific to race or religion.

      Our brains are wired as they develop. We can't blank out experience with others that happened during that development. No sane person could come out of a youth spent in an empty room with gray walls. Our brains latch on to the environment necessarily to make us into a thing that fits in and survives. The result of our maturation binds us just as tightly as the genes of our parents.

      This means we are stuck with our identity and can only turn the mirror to reflect differently. We can deceive others about identity but we can't deceive ourselves or drop it for another. What we can do is leave a practice of similar identities behind. Though I read "The Invention of...", I haven't read Sand's latest. My impression is that the practice of Zionism is what he is renouncing, no matter how hard he tries with words to make it more than that.

      We may be, we appear to be, we very much want to be free to act, but whatever path we take as adults, we cannot erase the one we took to get there.

  • Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza
    • A cause for optimism - would I be right in assuming that none of the people on this spiritual retreat were under 30 (except for the "young" Israeli)?, maybe not under 40?

      There is good reason to value mortality: old minds are usually set, young ones are open to reality.

  • Did Snowden blow the whistle because of the US special relationship with Israel?
    • amen to your last sentence...but I think the basic problem is our completely corrupt system of campaign financing that has created a democracy of lobbies. Israel is only taking advantage of the system that we have, one that all lobbies would unite to preserve.

  • Ohio student leader who dropped bucket of blood for Gaza receives vicious death threats
    • Were I in the local area, I would give Megan Marzec a call and offer to accompany her when she goes out in public. I hope that her friends and others will organize an escort service for her if she wants it. People have to stand together in the face of threats.

  • Settler group demands segregated bus lines out of fear for security
    • It's sad, revealing the mental world (filled with fear) in which the settlers live, even as other settlers are out assaulting Palestinians who are merely tending fields. But then being a settler means not really living in the villa that is in the jungle, but on the outskirts, I guess. Most remarkable, this mindset with all the fear is actively promoted by the government. For all the wonderful things that are said of Israel, there seems to be a bizarre unreality that goes with living there. It makes you wonder what kind of mindset is present in those Americans who would want to go and live there.

  • Rabbi Brant Rosen steps down from Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue saying his activism on Israel/Palestine has been 'lightning rod for division'
    • One of the things that has always impressed me about Judaism is a feeling of freedom to have a house of worship without the kind of physical structure that Christian churches favor if they can at all afford it. You don't need a steeple, in fact I see storefronts that are synagogues. It's what goes on inside, not the external appearance, that counts. That said, the JRC building is outstanding, grabbing the eye while at the same time being environmentally state-of-the-art. It seemed appropriate to me that Rabbi Rosen was there, being the stand out that he is. But things change...

      The alderwoman for the ward in which the JRC building sits has complained in the past that there are too many storefront churches on nearby Howard Street. Rabbi Rosen could help the lady out with something different - a storefront synagogue! : ) I would imagine a wall or two might need to be knocked down to provide adequate space for those who would like to join him.

      In nearby Wilmette there is a church building shared by Christians and Jews, each group having their own services. Evanston has under-utilized churches (like gargantuan First Methodist). Surely the rabbi would not have to go far to find a new home. Whatever happens, the area in which he (and I) live is a great place to be for those with thoughts that differ from the usual.

  • 'NYT' continues using discredited figures suggesting parity between Israeli and Palestinian attacks -- Updated
    • Some years ago, the Chicago Reader newspaper had a column dedicated the critique of a particularly irritating columnist in the Chicago Tribune, Bob Greene. The Reader column was subtitled: "We read him so you don't have to".

      I feel you are providing the same service for all MW readers with the NYT. Every time you do, you confirm my decision to cancel my ten year subscription to the NYT last year. Thank you.

  • 'An extreme rightwing regime behaving in the most criminal fashion and defying the world and unscrupulously using the Holocaust to justify what they're doing'
    • Reading the text of this speech and then watching it spoken by Norris could not more powerfully demonstrate the impact of presentation on literal content. Hearing Norris can give all of us an idea of what incredible expressivity lies in the human voice and body. Norris is wildly passionate and yet controlled.

      I suspect if we were transported back to hear the great speakers of Greece and Rome, let alone the Europeans and the American orators of the 18th and 19th century, we would long for oratory to return. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death brought great oratory to a close in the United States. President Obama, no stranger to a large vocabulary, and said to speak well, comes off like a robot compared to Norris.

      The average American is inept in self-expression. Speech is filled with "just sayin'", "just my opinion", "others may disagree", "don't get me wrong" etc. etc. or slams to the opposite impotence of uncontrolled emotion producing profanity. We are jellyfish sliding all around and never touching what needs to be expressed. Why? Because we have no role models, no inspiring speakers. The great speakers in America doted on the great speakers that preceded them as Lincoln admired Clay and Webster.

      Notice that Norris makes no apologies, comes on full bore, grabs each topic fully and squeezes the juice from it, yet concisely with powerful words that need no elaboration, and all with only quick glances at notes and within an allotted time. Bravo, excellence of expression lives! May some, may many be inspired!

    • This can't be emphasized enough. Though not included in the text provided here, I believe Norris said that 90% of his constituent email is in favor of Israel, and yet he speaks against Israel. With campaign funding the way it is in the U.S., it is virtually guaranteed that nothing even remotely like Norris' candor will be heard from anyone elected to office in DC.

  • Evanston Public Library censors Ali Abunimah, saying issue is 'complex' and he'd need to be balanced (Updated)
    • Thanks for the email address. I am an Evanston Public Library user and have just sent Mrs. Lyons my thoughts on this transparent attempt to prevent Ali Abunimah from making his very reasonable presentation (which I have heard at another venue).

  • Amira Hass and the end of Jewish ethical history
    • your insight is concise and brilliant.

      My interpretation of it - What gives value to Judaic ethics over the centuries was made possible by the inability to be the power in the world or in any region. This denial allowed the maintenance of an ethos distinct from might makes right. It could not be corrupted because it was prevented from tasting the apple of power. The alternative to utter despair under continual oppression was keeping the faith, for otherwise the suffering would have been meaningless.

      Now the apple of power is being eagerly devoured and my impression is that if questions of ethics from the Judaic tradition were posed to most Israelis, the answer might be, "what the hell are you talking about?!" And yet there is a remnant that is closely held - the idea of being the victim, even in the absence of any is like an empty shell...a container with no content...carrying the ark with no covenant inside and no understanding that anything should be inside. Or perhaps a better analogy is that the ark was dropped and nobody noticed.

  • Israel's actions 'unjustified' in eyes of women, non-whites, Dems, indy's, and those under 50 -- Gallup
    • This is a particularly interesting statistic. While it is true that in the world of post graduates, networking is everything and the good opinion of powerful people, particularly in business, is essential, this poll gathers opinions of people who remain anonymous, allowing anyone to air an opinion freely, not constrained by any fear that their identity will be discovered. So the poll should reveal true beliefs.

      This leads me to the conclusion that the post-grads are expressing views taken from their immersion in a group of people who overwhelmingly support Israel unconditionally. In other words, it isn't that post-grads are afraid to express pro-Palestinian opinions, it is that they have been swimming in the society of pro-Israeli opinion and have quite naturally taken it on for themselves.

  • Something you can do, wherever you are
    • Good work, Henry!

      Speaking of making signs, a couple of years ago I took two images, one of an IDF soldier in full battle gear, and another from the the ICAHD website, then used my graphics program to add titling. Beneath the soldier, in TrueType font, I put ISRAEL DEFENSE (of ethnic cleansing) FORCES. The other graphic already had the titling I wanted.

      I then dropped in to the local FedEx/Kinko's store to see if they could make a poster from the JPEG's I had created. They could and did. The result was two 18 x 24 inch glossy on foam-board signs. I glued on carrying sticks and hit the pavement at the next Friends of the IDF bash in Chicago. Each sign put me back $40, not cheap, but the look is absolutely professional and there was no problem with pixelation even though the originals I grabbed online were not hi-def graphics. Because of the cost, I chose subject matter that will be applicable to many different events. The signs look fantastic - far better than those with scrawled letters, and, being foam-board, are waterproof.

      This isn't something you can afford to do for distribution to a whole group of people but it adds a professional touch to any demo.

  • You are not Alone: To Palestinians on July 20, 2014
    • The Chicago turnout, including me, was terrific. The picture you feature was taken in front of the ABC studios of WLS-TV at State and Lake streets. Watching nearby, I didn't see any reporter/cameraman come out the front door, nor did I see any newsgathering trucks.

      But most interesting - take a look at how this monster demo was written up on the WLS-TV website, pay particular attention to the "Jews in danger" gratuitous inclusion at the end, leaving the implication that those who are pro-Palestinian are, what else? terrorists.

      "CHICAGO (WLS) -- Members of the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine staged a rally downtown Sunday afternoon, marching to the Israeli Consulate in the Loop.

      Earlier they staged a "Die-In" outside Tribune Tower to commemorate the Palestinians killed in Gaza.

      Tensions overseas also spilled into the North Side Peterson Park neighborhood, where police were called to the 6300 block of North Monticello Saturday morning after anti-Israel letters were found on six cars.

      An ABC7 Eyewitness News viewer says the letters threatened to bomb Jewish residents in the neighborhood if Israel continued to bomb Gaza."

  • And now a word from our Democratic Party standard bearer
    • How many of us wouldn't do the same if we were looking at a position of power realizing that one wrong comment on one particular issue would destroy any hope of gaining that position? It is true that to avoid the issue is gutless, but it is also true that it is pragmatic given our corrupt campaign funding system. All these pols know that they have little to lose and much to gain by toeing the Israel line. Kucinich and McKinney have zero chance of gaining a political position where they could have an impact on I/P, and it is in large part because they are honest about I/P that their chances of holding high office are nil.

      The problem is campaign financing. We can criticize scenes like this one with Max and Warren but nothing is going to change until we get public financing of elections or, what is more likely to happen first, the elderly Zionists pass on leaving heirs who don't share the prejudice.

      We KNOW there will be no difference between the presidential candidates on Israel. So will we not vote? I plan to vote, placing my hope for change in I/P elsewhere than the in U.S. government. BDS is slow but sure, that's where my hope lies.

  • 'I was a Zionist till I was 64. I want to hit myself'
  • Tourism under occupation
    • I'm worried that after this story, the authorities will show up at the shop with some permit that isn't being obeyed to the letter and goodbye Tariq.

  • Let it go
    • Accept no hand-me-down identity. The only way one can have a true identity is to freely choose it as an adult, holding what was said by parents in one's youth at a distance for careful examination.

      A great deal of the mindless inhumanity we see across the world comes from the unquestioning and comfortable acceptance of what is given; of the blind passing on their particular kind of blindness, proud to do so. When one can see fault in one's own family, race, tribe, and react to it just as one would to the same seen in a stranger, then one has established one's own identity.

      What I am suggesting is nothing less than asking for individuals to step out into the cold, when others are sitting warm by the fire. Such an act will never be a common thing, but it offers the chance of real authenticity, the best way to peace of mind.

  • Why didn't ADL poll anti-Semitic stereotypes held by Israelis?
    • Let's say there is a famous attack-dog training school in a town. Night and day, residents hear the dogs growling and snarling. Occasionally one gets free and bites a citizen. Go to any fence bordering the school and you'll get a dog trying to get at your throat but for the fence. The school is accomplishing its mission.

      A pollster arrives in town asking how people feel about dogs, then reports in a survey of the country on the attitude of people toward dogs that this particular area shows real hatred of dogs, but doesn't put any notes about the dog school or the behavior of the dogs from the school.

      This is precisely the situation with the ADL survey on the results from Gaza and the West Bank. When people act badly toward others while proudly proclaiming that they are the members of a distinct group, it is not bigoted opinion that is being expressed, but rational reporting. Jews can behave badly, like any other group, and in Israel with regard to the Palestinians, they do!

  • 'San Jose Mercury News' runs many pictures of Israeli children caressing guns
    • I would argue that something worse is going on - the new effort in Israel to introduce the holocaust to children starting in kindergarten. To attempt to fix ideas in the heads of those far far too young to have any perspective is, unfortunately, something that each generation does to the next, but to have a state do it, too, makes it all but certain that young minds are chained before they have any chance of freedom...but of course that is precisely the goal: as we are, so must they be.

  • Newsweek: Extensive Israeli spying in the US kept quiet due to pressure from the lobby
    • A breath of fresh air is felt with Stein's work. As Tony sang in West Side Story - something's coming, something good - and I feel elation. I went to the Newsweek article and submitted a comment (contact us link at page bottom there) to give them a hearty pat on the back and to ask for more of the same.

  • Beinart predicts J Streeters will tackle immigration before thinking critically about Israel
  • Liberal Zionists turn on media darling Ari Shavit for promoting Netanyahu's bluff
    • Of possible interest: I went to a scheduled appearance of Ari Shavit, but he did not show up. I was disappointed, but they handed out free copies of his book to all who came. I read it and wrote a review of it at Goodreads. The review (a lonely 3 star review amid many 5 star reviews) brought more responses than any other book of the over 100 I have reviewed. All of the responses were defending Shavit.

  • Journalist David Sheen delivers blistering indictment on Israel's racist war on African migrants
    • Those who are pledged to never forget, have forgotten.

      absolute power regarding the powerless always plays out the same way. There are no special people. Experience in one position is no proof against the eagerness to take the other.

  • NYC Community Board member calls BDS 'the face of anti-Semitism'
    • You would think it standard practice to have a large digital timer on the wall that officials could not control. Two minutes would be clearly two minutes and the timer could be set to shut off the mic.

  • Following criticism, 'NYT' quotes Barghouti, Vilkomerson and Ashrawi on BDS
    • Thank you, Mr. Conners, for putting the effort into this.

      It seems a perfect occasion to acknowledge the long time work of Alison Weir at If Americans Knew who has been documenting the lopsided reporting in the news media for many years now, presenting in in graphical form at the If Americans Knew website.

      BTW - I dumped my ten year subscription to the NYT when the editors decided that the Snowden revelation that the NSA was sharing intelligence on Americans with Israel with essentially no restrictions, was not news worth reporting.

  • Meet the Jewish students who are taking on the Jewish establishment
    • Not bitterness, impatience perhaps.

      We are all of the identity: human being.

      When I look at the world of bickering, warring parties, knowing that any two individuals who are antagonists could have been swapped at birth only to end up in the same conflict but on the opposite side, I ponder what free will means that is is so rarely used.

      I always admired Erich Fromm's idea that freedom is frightening; that people will go to great lengths to avoid it, often finding "leaders" to tell them what to do. There is no more effective escape from freedom than simply wearing the comforting cloak of selfhood that comes with upbringing.

      If I am not what I have been told I am, then who am I? What should I do? With whom should I associate? What is right and wrong? There is a bit of terror there.

      One day in my youth I was riding in the car as my dad drove. I forget what brought up the comment he made, but it remains with me. He said, "whatever others may do, or how many may do it, don't believe you have to do it too."

    • “It’s not like I had a choice about whether I get to be Jewish or not. I went to Jewish day school, and being Jewish is an essential part of who I am.”

      One can always determine what one is, though most don't even try; some distancing from "me" is necessary to realize that "me" is a construction, impressed deliberately and with great force, by others upon the self. Yet the self has agency. Upbringing is not a life sentence for either good or bad.

      If I may steal a phrase from Rousseau to apply to this: "man is born free and everywhere he is in chains." These invisible chains on "me" are the hardest to break.

  • Our museum is not allergic to controversy -- director explains Judis's reinvitation
    • You mention the distinction between scholarly and journalistic writing. Point taken.

      But it is curious that human behavior is hardly the antiseptic procedure that one must try to make it when the desire to be taken seriously is kept in mind.

      We all know that people do things rashly, emotionally, with motives that are far from purely logical. Consider the spoken words of Victoria Nuland when she was the State Dept. spokesperson and her comments about what should be done to the EU in the captured phone conversation we've heard.

      My point is that it is wrong to rule out writing that contains phrases that, while not dry and seemingly objective, actually cut right to the issue and can perfectly capture the situation in a way that reserved writing cannot.

      Zionism is nothing if not driven by passion and as such has relentlessly swept all before it. Now that the world is waking up to what took place, we must be passion free and reserved in our analysis? A bully has taken over the schoolyard, but let's reason with him and carefully consider all the issues involved, giving particular weight to balance. Bah!

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  • New Mexico's 'God gave Greater Israel to the Jews' bill is killed
    • What impresses me most about the last couple of years is how suddenly those whose number one concern is the protection of Israel no matter what it does, are popping out all over the place in these frantic legislative moves to give semi-legal authority to the object of their devotion.

      This is a good thing, whipping away the curtain to expose the Wizard of Oz, as it were.

      It is also encouraging because it shows desperation, an attempt to go over the head of the public that is warming to BDS. It's far easier to work on politicians in their offices than it is to present a case to the public that will stand up to debate.

  • Gaining the 'valuable hatred of their enemies,' boycott movement is educating others
    • What a marvelous quotation! The written word is a gold mine for insight into the human condition. History is a teacher for us to know ourselves, if only we listen and bring it forth into the present to share with others as has been done here.

  • 'I'll believe a corporation is a person the day it gets a colonoscopy'
    • Capitalism, socialism, anyism, it's all deck chairs on the Titanic. Human beings are acquisitive and 6 billion of them are driving the environment into a wall. Ideologies are irrelevant to the basic human drive of "I want more". No place on earth serves this drive better than the U.S. but capitalism only expedites and accelerates our consumption. It produces the goods at incredibly cheap prices. Competition works to drive down wages, but also prices, and in doing so offers a barrier to any thought of revolution.

      All the technical stuff that we all love, all the consumer-coddling gadgets and frills, the big screen displays, the smart phones pour out of the bottomless cornucopia. The system is so productive that there can be such as Larry Ellison and Bill Gates and so many more like them. The injustice of such economic inequality is stark, but, hey, let's go watch that concert I grabbed on Tivo.

      Socialism, even if it were to live up to the ideal, would only slow our exploitation of the planet and distribute the wealth we take from it more equitably. It would not help a bit to stop too many people wanting too much from a finite physical world. That issue is present to each of us individually, as agents who claim to be free to choose what we do...and look at how we address it - by buying more and more every year. I understand the desire for big houses is now coming back even as average household size continues to shrink.

      The problem is not what "ism" we live under, it's in the insatiable desire we seem helpless to control as individuals.

  • Stephen Harper's Criticizing-Israel-Is-Anti-Semitic screed is exploded on CBC
    • Israel's government refuses to define Israelis precisely because it equates the State with all Jews worldwide, who either live in Israel or should be living in Israel.

      So Israel says it is the voice of all Jewry, an instrument of Judaism. It is in the political interest of Israel to make Jews and Israel one and the same. That's why Ben-Ami is unable to answer the question: "where to you draw the line - how do you distinguish between anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism of Israel?" Israel has created a situation, for its benefit, where you logically can't draw the line if you accept the State's assertion that it and Jewry are one.

      Don't see Palestinians being beaten by Israel border police, instead see valiant Jews in uniform preventing the return of Auschwitz. Don't see Israel exclusively holding nuclear arms that allow it to act with impunity against its neighboring states at any time and in any way it chooses, imagine Jews with power to protect their shops from another Kristallnacht.

      This claim of the identity of state and people, I am convinced from listening to the many voices that convey it, is not some masterful creation of scheming politicians, it is a solid construct in the minds of many people such as Ben-Ami, who cannot see through the illusion that comforts them and justifies their support of the state.

      It is the ultimate red herring, deflecting all criticism. We can disregard the mock-earnest line that "some criticism of the state is justified" because we know that it is the speaker's decision alone on where that line falls, and that means essentially no criticism is allowed. Ben-Ami typically tells us to look elsewhere for worse treatment of the Palestinians even when nothing more is said than that Israel oppresses them.

      Those who conflate Israel and all Jews will hold the view until they are gone to their reward. We shouldn't get too bothered by it as that long arc of justice is bending, we can see it happening.

  • In 2014, BDS movement will outflank Israel lobby -- Beinart
    • Isn't this sequence familiar in human experience and particularly with Zionism?

      it's impossible
      it's improbable
      it may happen
      it is happening
      it's a miracle/God's will
      nothing is impossible
      nothing will stop us
      superiority confirmed (the victory of hubris)

      then decline, through one means or another, but you may simply reverse the order of the above, as if removing the bricks from a pyramid, starting at the top.

  • 'Forward' columnist says 'divided' loyalty is as American as cherry pie
    • The issue is simple for me.

      Do you put the interests of those you live with in daily life (Americans if you are American, Israelis if you are Israeli) behind those of people who you do not live with? If you do, something odd is going on, you are putting second those who are your actual community; the people you interact with on your block, in your town, the people who support the status quo that provides the kind of life you choose to live and underlies your choice to live where you do.

      The Israel Firster issue doesn't appear to be nuanced - it is unconditional support, with no brake. That's why it should arouse anxiety for Americans, let alone that it is exhibited by some powerful people who are near or have political power in America.

      It's interesting...we rightly condemn those Americans who jump to the conclusion that American Muslims are Islam-firsters, implying disloyalty to the U.S., without the suspects saying a single word to indicate they might be so, that contrasts sharply with little or no uproar over Israel-firsters who come right out and say that they are such.

      Slowly but surely, Israel is ceasing to be the untouchable subject politically. It is a signal of how powerful this untouch-ability is that Israel-Firsters can proclaim themselves so boldly, even defiantly. There should normally be great reticence to proclaim loyalty to another, any other country than the one lived in, because it is a rejection of community.

  • Kristol says Obama appeases the new Hitler, Rouhani, making Israel 'the leader of the west'
    • I heartily recommend the book, "Wrapped in the Flag" to all MW readers as a spotlight on how people can be so obsessed that there is no reality beyond their own rigid thinking. Thinking is never modified by experience, rather experience is merely a continual confirmation of unalterable thought. Though this book deals with the John Birch Society and not rabid Zionism, the parallels are striking, in particular the righteous victim/"they are out to get us!" view.

  • Obama's greatest achievement-- blinking on Syria
    • Donald, you have it exactly right. Bumbles Obama finally bumbled in the right direction and suddenly he is a genius. The accolades are bursting out as if a bottle of champagne had been opened. That he decided to throw the issue to Congress could as well be an act of desperation by a person who put himself in a corner. I think the HOPE corps is still yearning to find evidence they were not deceived. We're imagining future historians looking back at this with awe? Please, let's just get Bumbles through the remainder of his term without disaster.

  • 'It is Zionist to think that American Jews have any connection to Israel'
    • David, in contrast to the comparative-badness theme, I have a friend who has said to me more than once, "why do you care about this Palestinian thing? There are so many bad things going on in the world, how can one choose?"

      Though I say to this person, "choose one bad thing, any one or more, but choose at least one and act!" it doesn't get through. She uses the so-many-problems theme to justify doing nothing at all, a non-sequitur if I've ever run into one.

    • "I am an American who happens to be Jewish, why should I care about Israel?" A breathtakingly simplistic view!

      Let's drop Judaism entirely and put it this way...

      I am an American, why should I care about Israel?

      Well, the body of politicians who claim to represent Americans from the President on down cannot stop falling all over itself giving money to Israel, protecting Israel from any sanctions by the UN, conducting a charade diplomacy that covers for continued settlements that violate one of a body of international laws that the US claims to stand for in the world.

      In short, the promotion and protection of Israel is American political bedrock, the special (truly, as in bizarre) relationship, unless Americans express themselves to the contrary. We who know what is going on from having been there or who have investigated the situation deeply, MUST speak out precisely because we are Americans!

      Now let's bring Judaism back into it.

      Near where I live are many many synagogues, where I see "We Stand With Israel" Note this statement is not conditional, and it is "We", not "Some of Us".

      While it is true that Jews are all over the map regarding religion, it is a fair statement to say Jews support Israel in that same way that one could say, if most every church openly displayed a sign, "We Stand with Italy" that Christians support Italy.

      In that case, it would be particularly important for Christians of any and all denominations who aren't Italophiles to speak out.

      Netanyuhu and company have hijacked a religion, as terrorists might hijack an airliner. But Jews, unlike plane passengers, are free to, and must, speak out to put the lie to what Netanyahu continually spouts.

      The young bus rider is doubly culpable because he is idly putting aside both the responsibility of being a Jew, and that of being an American to be silent on Israel. How can he claim both attributes when he nullifies them regarding a project that is specifically Jewish and American?

  • More mainstream snark over NSA sharing info with Israel
    • As promised, I ended my 12 year subscription to the NYT today and the conversation was quite prolonged. I clearly stated my reason for the termination - the outrageous omission of coverage of the NSA-Israel story and then the explanation, insulting to any intelligent reader, that it wasn't a significant story.

      I explained that I had borne the pro-Israel spin on stories for many years, but this was too much, admitting that the Lustick piece was a step in the direction of balance, though buried in the Sunday Review.

      The operator offered me 12 weeks at half price, then 24 weeks at half price, then a promise that my objections would be made known to those in charge with a note that I was on the verge of cancellation - but I held out and insisted that the strongest message I could send would be not a threat to cancel, but the completed action itself.

      I hope others have done the same - we little people have to do what we can.

      And now I'm off to read the WaPo with a Kindle subscription. Come on, Jeff, let's see some good journalism!

  • All The News That Is 'significant or surprising': NYT editor defends ignoring NSA-Israel collaboration (Updated)
    • The New York Times has indicated by this glaring omission that its claim to responsible journalism is as phony as the "peace process" on which it devotes much space.

      This long-time subscriber is ending his subscription immediately, after submitting the reason to Ms. Sullivan.

      I'm going to see how Jeff Bezos does at the Washington Post.

  • 'AIPAC must be kept for consensus issues only': Israeli diplomat slams Israel lobby for engaging on Syria
    • Who makes these decisions about activating AIPAC? Is it one person, five people? Who gives the "go" command and is there someone (Netanyahu?) that can countermand what others have decided?

      Perhaps the NSA could provide a recording of the phone calls, and perfectly legally, because no doubt there is at least one call to a "foreign country" involved in the AIPAC phone tree, so everybody could be roped in.

  • Will Obama strike without congressional or UN approval?
    • Obama is standing on a corner, wanting to cross the street. A reporter asks how Obama feels about the DON'T WALK sign being on.

      "We must have rules and, you know, everyone knows red means stop and green is go, and I've always advised my daughters on the value of understanding the very valuable caution warning indicated by yellow. There are clear white lines laid down on the pavement that all Americans realize are the limits to where we can walk when we cross the road. Heck, Michelle, makes me look both ways all the time."

      He then proceeds to jaywalk.

      Obama has raised the bar for BS beyond anything I could imagine from listening to his predecessors. He is the complete con-man, all the more effective because I think he cons himself with his delivery.

  • Rep. Alan Grayson: '[AIPAC] falls to the wayside when the public weighs in'
    • Imagine if the public could weigh in on every issue as it appears to be doing regarding Syria...what trembling in the halls of power! But the issues are legion and bring a maze of complexity that few but the paid lobbyists can negotiate (often by their own design). The miracle is that the whole huge apparatus stumbles along as well as it does. Eternal vigilance by the public demands more time and energy that even those with a will can provide.

      What is discussed here on MW is a very big deal to me, but I'd be the first to admit to ignorance and inaction on a host of other issues. How about you?

      I'm very glad to see a possible breakthrough on the longstanding Israel first problem; the Red Sea is parting, temporarily. But the problem of the lobbies is with us until campaign financing is limited to public funding and all lobbies are united against that. Can the public be aroused for the lengthy period of time it would require to get that true restoration of democracy through?

  • Egyptians overwhemingly oppose strike on Syria; US only has support of Arab dictators -- PBS
  • For criticizing Israel not Russia, Roger Waters reveals anti-Semitic 'undercurrents' -- Foxman
    • What would Foxman have to say about Henry Herskovitz' activities in Ann Arbor MI, recently related in the local media? I've met Henry and he is definitely not an anti-Semite, but he is resolute in his attempt to make The Jewish State into a state for all who live there, and all who were expelled.

      To be against what the Nazis did to the Jews was not anti-German, yet the Nazis were at pains to portray it as such, as they were to portray Germany as the victim of the Jews. This idea of "we are the sole judges of those who criticize us" should always be dismissed.

  • 'NYT' never mentions military occupation in piece calling Palestinian stonethrowing a cultural practice
    • I am glad to see a Palestinian story on the front page of the NYT. I'm glad to see the map that shows the Palestinian town surrounded by settlements. I'm glad to see contributors to the story, who presumably worked with Rudoren, with Arab names. I'm glad to see the story free of the word terrorist. The Times is no leader against the occupation, but I was prompted to write the following to the editor...

      "I was very pleased to see the NYT take a cautious dip into the Palestinian situation on today’s front page. After 65 years of eviction by armed force and continuing today with Israeli settlements, you are at last portraying them as human beings, just as time has altered the Anglo-American view of native-Americans from savages into the victims of injustice they are. Please continue to do this kind of reporting (I noted the contributors with Arab names) and become more bold in your truth-telling as you do."

  • The Israel/Palestine issue seeps into American culture
    • Anything can be accepted once one takes up the us vs. them mindset. The Old South was filled with those who defended slavery without a thought as "our way of life" etc. etc.

      My analogy would be to the submarine crew. Once inside with the last hatch closed, you exist in a world in itself, safe from the great pressure of the water around you. The ocean contains your environment but the crew is oblivious to it, can't see it, can't feel it and there isn't a drop of salt water allowed into the sub.

      But carry the analogy further - the sub cannot stay under indefinitely. At some point it must be resupplied. The U.S. is the reliable re-supplier of the Israeli submarine. Until that changes, that submarine crew will continue to be in a world of its own.

  • The homogeneity and 'intense political programming' of Jewish day schools
    • This kind of indoctrination of the young has been the rule historically. The only difference here is that a foreign country is the object for affection rather than the native country.

      Parents have the right to indoctrinate their children as they wish, the kind of school you describe is only an institutionalization of that right. The best that can be said is that no child who is Jewish is forced to attend regardless of the wishes of the parents.

      Every one of us has the challenge of breaking free of what was fed to us as children. Many don't even try, but the encouraging thing is that we live in a far more open world than ever. The gay marriage issue should be spotlit as an example of the truth coming out no matter how strong the opposition. The conservative idea of a mold from which the young should emerge with the proper and normal makeup of their elders is on the wane. Individuals are living more freely than ever before; the pursuit of happiness is working.

      The ideal parent, I believe, wants complete mental freedom for the child. Despite parochial schooling, the wide world has never been more difficult to hide, people have never been so likely to say "I'm different, it's what I am, deal with it". I'm optimistic about youth and America. Israel? It's an anachronism with the clock ticking. The most carefully designed Jewish day schools won't save it.

  • Zombie Hasbara: 'World War Z' and Hollywood’s Zionist embrace
    • A very interesting review. Most interesting is the speculation on why zombies are in vogue. When I was a pre-teen and teen I loved monster movies and there were so many. Looking back now, it seems the threat of atomic war was the underlying fear that drove those movies. Nuclear radiation was very often the cause for the giant insects or other mutants and, of course, zombies have always been part of the monster family.

      Fear of death is at work, then and now. Zombies have eternal life in death, an inversion of the promise of a heavenly eternity. As we twist and turn our thoughts on death (if we dare to think of it at all), most of us can't come up with any satisfactory outlook that allows acceptance of mortality and with it, peace of mind. The slow fading of the religious mythos under the microscope of science leaves us filled with angst that can't be addressed by the shaman or priest of old, nor the psychiatrist of the present day.

      The horror movie offers a preposterous threat followed by an equally preposterous solution. We take these cinematic roller coasters for the jolt of anxiety followed by the relief. Then, after a day or two, we are back to our insoluble anxiety: we are going to die. But in the meantime, hooray for Hollywood!

  • Tough love from Clinton at a 'left-leaning' celeb party beats having anything to do with Palestinians
    • Isn't all of the celebration par for the course for those powerful politicians who survive to old age? The Presidents, the Secretaries of State, the National Security Advisors, etc., etc., and of course notable Israelis are part of the same glittering galaxy. Stir in Barbra Streisand. Dang! A lustrous patina collects on everything they did and imposing memorials come at their departure. Oh the tears! Oh the greatness! Pure show business as epic egos express how close they are to each other. Of course they all are invested in polishing each other's image and this event was only the latest example. And did I mention it's a perfect example of the wealthy making the wealthy even more wealthy - half a million for a friendly chat by Bill.

      What is most galling is the condescension/arrogance. Please think of the Palestinians! Come on now, they have feelings too! But if you don't take our soft and gentle words of persuasion, hey, we're still good friends. The U.S. and Israel just wallow some more in the sticky goo of the special relationship.

      It reminds me of a group of neighbors who gather to ask one of their number, let's call him Pete, to please stop beating his dog. A few days later the dog is still beaten and everyone shrugs their shoulders and says, "well, what can you do?" After all, it's only a Ara., er, I mean a dog, and Pete's a good guy.

      65 years and counting.

  • Tom Friedman says candidate with AIPAC backing can raise in 3 phone calls what his opponent needs 50,000 calls to raise
    • Lobby money is what rules, whether it involves Israel, the banks, the fossil fuel industry, the farms, or any other issue. The mission of Congress is what is printed on so many police cars; "To Serve and Protect", but not the American people.

      This week I participated in a protest demonstration at a fundraiser given by the Friends of the IDF. As we stood on the sidewalk, one luxury car after another pulled up. The car competition was won by a Lotus Esprit ($150,000+). I can't guess at the net worth of those assembled and they came not for the Zionist project itself but only for USO type support of the IDF. What could and do they contribute to politics? As for our group, I don't think it would be a stretch to say our total net worth would not match that of the poorest attendee alone.

      Public funding of elections at all levels is the only solution to the handover of democracy to the wealthy. Almost every lobby, not just the one devoted to Israel, will join forces to make sure public funding doesn't happen, so what hope is there for the American people to get back their government?

  • The MSM tries to distinguish between Manning and Snowden. Don't let them
    • When individuals stake everything on an action, I always think of the simple words of Martin Luther (not MLK): "Here I stand, I can do no other."

      It's easy to be a cynic and sarcasm is rampant - but once in a while, something happens that takes the breath away.

  • Approaching 60, Norman Finkelstein reflects
    • When I hear the phrase "a mind like a steel trap" I think of Finkelstein. When you hear him in debate it's the rational mind at it's best - he comes back to any challenge with facts as comprehensive as if he knew what his opponent would say before he said it - like a champion chess player who sees moves 20 plays in advance. Many people can claim like he does that they have read a room full of books, but he retains it all. It's not that he's un-emotional, far from it, but he has the rare ability to channel emotion into reason when under pressure that would cause most people to lose control.

      And he uses words with such precision, not a gratuitous syllable comes out. He is the razor cutting through butter.

      Several references have been made to his arrogance, yet I can't think of anyone more entitled to it. I've no doubt he infuriates many simply because he leaves them stranded on the island of their opinions, unable to defend themselves with facts and unable to deny they have been defeated with logic, often their own.

  • Exile and the Prophetic: A word from the (Jewish) Secretary of Pandering
    • I have discovered a distant ancestor was an Indian at the Little Big Horn. Therefor, my entire attitude toward native-Americans has changed and I am suddenly qualified to speak on native-American issues. Huh?

      Can we all drop the ancestry thing?

      Human rights stands on its own. People have rights or they don't. If they don't, they deserve them and we need to act to get to that point.

  • Exile and the Prophetic: (Accurately) reporting Alice Walker’s truth
    • The day is coming when Israeli Jews will be held responsible just like everyone else for what they do, even by America. There will be no invisible shield provided by the holocaust, no possibility of calling out anti-semitism. As the 20th century fades, its psychological effect on those who lived in it, and the leverage it provides will disappear with them. Someone born in 2000 is now 13 years old. Time moves on.

      Before we are Jewish or Muslim or Finns or Mongolians, we are human, something notable Jews have been saying for quite some time! Humans can behave badly. Jews can behave badly. That the terrible treatment received in ages past is now used, by the descendants of those maltreated, as a shield to permit them to treat others as subhuman, will stand monumentally in history as testament that there are no special human beings by group. One wrong, appropriated, can make another possible. Has there ever been a shorter interval between a group feeling the lash and then taking up the lash to apply it with a will?

      Being human means identifying with the other. Sui generis is on overdrive in Israel.

  • Top Abbas Confidant: 'I give up… We failed.'
    • I know a Jew who hates the Arabs (though he knows not one) and his philosophy, formed by the holocaust, is to get the other before the other gets you.

      What struck me when I read Pappe's book on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was how deliberate and methodical the process was - right down to infiltrating each Palestinian town to do a secret census for the purpose of rooting out the leaders at the desired moment. Pappe even mentions how the hospitality of the Palestinians was exploited.

      Now, who would be able to argue with a Palestinian who believes one should get the other before he gets you? They have been "gotten" so many times, a listing would be very long. Yet the evidence is they don't generally have this philosophy even so.

      My point - is it possible that the hardened attitude I first described above not only helped to form the state but is also working to end it? To look at the other, in whatever form, as the insidious enemy, is not sustainable. The attitude undermines the one who holds it.

  • Video: Vomit for Civil Rights -- Israeli performance artist protests racism in Nazareth Illit
    • Not the usual protest. I don't think many will watch it through. At first, I was curious. Then it seemed silly, mundane. But as the words of the pamphlet were spoken, they affected me due to their familiar sound...of history, of other places and other people but with the same contempt mixed with arrogance of humans amid others they consider dogs, cockroaches, the names vary, of efficient removal of litter or refuse from a community. What a litter-free public space. It is a clean community!

      Then the vomiting, slow, deliberate, wordless expression. The national blue is forced down but comes up again from at least one stomach. The message arises with the method and my emotions began to stir.

      Then the upside is down. The head, the site of reason, is in the bowl of vomit and the dirty shoes are up at the level of face-to-face conversation. Finally, the song derived from pain, supporting the rise of a state...for the oppressed who dreamed of it, but not of what it does. The blue wiped on the shirt, making the clean shirt a rag...or is it a flag?

      Message received. Well done.

  • US Jews are so 'polarized' over Israel they can't talk about it to each other, 'Jewish Chronicle' reports
    • I am not Jewish. I attended a weekly vigil in downtown Chicago for the JVP. I was given signs to hold, there was a banner. A leaflet was passed out. When I originally asked if I could help pass out leaflets I was refused. Then I was told that I could pass them out but if any passerby asked about it, I was not to comment but to direct them to a Jewish demonstrator. Since this was the only show in town, I continued attending, though somewhat put off by the treatment.

      Then I decided to bring my own sign. This was not appreciated. I was told that all signs had to be approved by JVP beforehand, though I protested that we were all working for a common cause - to relieve the oppression of the Palestinians. I was also told I was not "showing respect" to JVP when I brought my own sign without approval. I was then told that JVP essentially owned the site for the one hour that they have their demo, although it is a public space.

      I explained that I supported them and was not opposed to what they were doing, that we should work together. When next I showed up with my sign, one of the JVP people attempted to force me away from passersby, stepping in front of me so that he could pass out a JVP flyer and I couldn't pass out something I had brought.

      Feeling this was childish, I put down my sign and started calling out to the people to take his material, telling him at the same time that I was not in competition with JVP.

      I did get an email explaining how JVP needed to control the content of the material and that since they had been conducting the vigil for many years, they felt it was legitimate for them to do so, or they would be misrepresented to the public.

      To my mind, the presentation of the plight of the Palestinians to the public is all that is important. I don't think the general public gives a hoot about the manifesto of this or that subgroup and would never bother to take the time to find out about them. I haven't been back but, as far as I know, they are still there passing out the densely worded pamphlet explaining who they are.

  • What you need to know about Bradley Manning
    • Prepare for Hillary to be served up as the next Dem candidate for president. Not that new faces are any guarantee of change, Obama's performance in office has put an end to that idea. But hope springs eternal - how about Elizabeth Warren?

  • Fear of democracy in the Jewish community
    • Being special is dangerous, a double edged sword. If the special are unprotected they are abused by those who are not special. If the special are secure and cannot be touched, they will abuse those who are not special.

      The proof of the above comes first with the holocaust and then with Israel. Israel cannot be touched so it abuses, with a will, blatantly, not only without apology but with a condescending self-righteousness.

      What does this say but that Jews are no different from any other people. Power corrupts and by making Israeli power absolute, the United States has fueled the corruption until it stands flagrantly before the world. Because of previous abuse, those who follow the religion of those abused can now abuse without limit. The next tour of Yad Vashem begins in ten minutes.

      How I wish that every human being could continually remind him/herself, "my outlook and identity are created by what I was fed by my elders. This is what distinguishes me from other people and what makes them distinguish themselves from me. Beneath this indoctrination, every one alive is equally human...without distinction, human. I will make an effort to put aside my treasured opinions/identity to find the human part of me that is the basis of my existence, the real untutored me."

      A Jew, an Arab, an Irishman, a Jain, an Inuit are all, if shuffled at birth, interchangeable human brains ready for feeding. I cringe when I hear someone say "we" when referring to history as if that person had been present at some remote time in the past, and is still alive today nursing some physical scar. We all begin anew at birth. We become what we are fed. Israel takes a commonly fed diet of ancient history and beliefs, reincarnates the phantom for the present day, to abuse, dispossess and oppress, all made possible under the label of Jew.

      My wife and I are lily white. My son is marrying a woman from Cameroon who could not be blacker. My daughter has married a Peruvian who speaks no English. Let all the world's special creeds and religions be forgotten and let children of all colors and appearances grow to mix and mate seeing each other for what they are - equally human.

  • Feeling the wrath of the Israel lobby, 'WSJ' neocon virtually accuses some advocates of dual loyalty
    • You quote Michael Desch - "The reality is that our ideological soul-mates are ruthlessly self-interested."

      This is nationalism at work. See 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th century Europe. Israel and the United States are subject to the same disease, but I believe it will ultimately sever Israel from Judaism as a whole as it become blatant (if it isn't already) that love of nation subverts the historic humanist strain in the religion. Strutting uniformed armed Jews barking orders and treating unarmed Arabs as cattle. What would Hillel (the man, not the organization) say? The sturdy supporting columns of the diaspora will turn to sand. Israel will ultimately be seen an embarrassment, a mistake, the creation of a nation making a mockery of the very thing it was supposedly created to insure.

      Herzl, unfortunately, could not see the abyss into which nationalism would fall in the 20th century and thought of it as a preservative. Europeans look back with horror at the carnage. Their former colonies look back at the oppression and injustice. But Israel pushes the nationalism accelerator to the floor, heedless of predecessors who chest-beat, bellowed ultimatums and marched to destruction carrying high the national banner.

  • What's the point of this trip?
    • I forgot to mention - Minnesota is on the Israel bond-wagon too, even in the face of the courageous attempt by the Minnesota Break the Bonds group of activists to get it off.

    • flyod - thanks for bringing attention to this. Illinois has been on the Israel bond-wagon for several years now since State Senator Jeff Schoenberg cleared the way with legislation allowing state purchase of foreign debt - though interestingly in most of the years this has been legal, Israel bonds alone are purchased.

      Ohio has recently joined the Israel bond-wagon, I believe last year.

      Each year I write to each of the members of the Illinois Board of Investments and remind them of the hypocrisy of funding a state that denies indigenous people liberty and justice in their own land. The official response from the attorney of the Illinois State Treasurer is that Israel bonds are a great investment. How the debt of one country outshines the investment possibilities of dozens of others that "foreign investment" would must remain mysterious to investors, to those of us who read Mondoweiss, there is no mystery.

      I encourage any readers in Illinois, Ohio or NYC to write, letting the decision makers know that some can see through the curtain to the Wizard of Oz behind these "investments".

  • US Jews leave 'Gatekeepers' asking why we give money to Israel -- says Oren, outraged
    • He is in a fix, no doubt about it. But what IS the job of an ambassador if not to put the best spin on things for the home country regardless of the truth, smiling all the while?
      "Mr. Smoothie" is a perfect fit, is he not?

      Of all ambassadors to the U.S., the one from Israel shouldn't complain - what others have such a mighty machine of propaganda working for them in the form of U.S. citizens who will see no fault with the country he/she represents and are more than willing to shout it out at every opportunity while shouting down those who disagree?

      I'm afraid he's just going to have to work harder to keep what's looking more and more like a rotten tomato smelling like a rose.

  • Double standard
    • On a related topic - I've noticed rather than saying "X is a Jew", people will say "X is a Jewish person", while there will be no hesitation in saying "X is a Catholic", for example.

      I think the penetration of the Jewish experience in the 20th century is deep in the mind of Americans, with images of Jews being called out for persecution or destruction never far below consciousness. The word Jew is uncomfortable. Inhibition in expression results. In particular, appending "person" to "Jewish" is a direct indication that the speaker is identifying Jews as persons, something they were denied in the holocaust, though the speaker may well not be aware of this. The simple use of a three letter word carries baggage, the need to declare to oneself and others "I am not anti-Semitic" is there.

  • In remarks on 'threats and challenges,' new DefSec Chuck Hagel leaves out Iran
    • Politicians typically wiggle and squirm, saying anything to get into office. As a result it's difficult to know who they really are. Abe Lincoln was an exception - true to himself throughout his campaigns and even dooming his re-election to the House by speaking forcefully against the Mexican War.

      Hagel writhed in his nomination hearing. I hope, along with you, that he will now conduct himself as we hope he will. If he does it will be against the current of American Empire thinking - a very hard thing to buck. Empires are not known to rationally scale themselves back, no matter who is in power. Visions of the world are not easily altered. Group-think is powerful. Let's cross our fingers.

  • Hagel reportedly said Israel headed toward apartheid; 'American Prospect' says it's already there
    • I'm reading Ilan Pappe's Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. If only Hagel had taken a copy of this book to his hearing and to each questioner about Israel responded with, "Senator, have you read this book?"

      Time and again in my reading, I come across some episode that could come right out of today's news from Israel. The project of Zionism has never deviated, only the words spoken to distract the outside world have changed. This book, along with the confirmation provide by Mearsheimer and Walt, leaves no room for doubt that the United States has abetted a historic injustice. If only Hagel had used his time to confront it head on. At some point, someone in power will. In the meantime all of us little folks have to keep up the fuss.

  • Life under the F16s in Gaza
    • Speaking of the impact of munitions, I was impressed by two photos I found in the penultimate edition of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. The first shows an Israeli soldier taking a picture of the impact crater from a Palestinian rocket and the second shows the impact crater from an Israeli missile (from an F16, most likely). These pictures are definitely worth a thousand words.

  • Official who threatened Brooklyn College funding calls BDS speakers 'anti-Semitic fools'
    • Thank goodness for this ridiculous reaction - it gets nonsense out in the open and into the headlines. Someday, perhaps the story will be about the boy who cried anti-Semitism instead of wolf.

  • Hagel obeyed Senate taboo against criticism of Israel-- 'our most important ally in the entire world'
  • Israel and the nomination of Chuck Hagel
    • What a brilliant piece this is, so concise, penetrating, perceptive. There isn't a paragraph that isn't worth quoting. I'm sorry to say Kovel is new to me, but I will make it a point to follow his output. One more treasure found in the gold mine that is Mondoweiss.

  • Israeli pours putrid skunk gas over homes in occupied Palestine
    • I think the highest priority should be to get quantities of this skunk water here in the United States so that people can smell it. A quart jar of the stuff would be great to have at any talk about what Israel is doing. It should be possible to obtain the stuff from those on the scene since the IDF is not stinting in the application. Shooting it with a fire cannon as seen in the photo means there are hundreds of gallons available for the taking. Runoff from roofs could be captured.

  • United Methodist Reverend brings the struggles of Wadi Foquin to Washington DC
    • Annie, thanks very much for posting this. I have had zero luck getting either of the two pastors of the largest Methodist church in the area (the sanctuary could easily seat 1000) to even respond to my queries to them (beyond "I'll get back to you") about the decisions of the church's General Assembly on Palestinian issues compared to the lack of action from most congregations to support them. I will copy this post of yours and mail it, allowing them to see that some Methodist clergy are not passive in the face of injustice, just as was the case of a certain person 2000 years ago that is the model upon which they claim to live their lives.

  • Song critical of the IDF goes viral after being banned by Israeli Army Radio
    • I went to YouTube just now to check the stats on views of the video, but found something I have never seen before on YouTube "public statistics have been disabled"

      Hummm, now I wonder what the story is on this? Though I can understand how comments might be disabled because of nothing but profanity, etc., what sense does it make to disable statistics on viewing?

  • Green Party pres'l candidate misses crucial political opportunity by not talking up democracy in Israel/Palestine
    • You are swimming in the middle of the ocean, struggling to stay above water. In all directions it is same-old, same-old. Suddenly, you spot an air mattress. Do you hesitate, wondering if it is properly inflated, pause because you wonder how it got there?

      When I read the position statement on the Green Party website concerning the Russell Tribunal, I immediately sent the largest political donation I have ever made to any political party.

      I look at Obama and Romney and am disgusted. The two are what can be expected of a rotten process that is completely entrenched, accepted by a gullible public that thinks what has recently taken place between the two on TV was a debate.

      McCabe/Kovel offer a detailed critique of the air mattress, but I will grab for it anyway.

  • Another morphing Muni ad and a hat tip to Ayn Rand
    • maggielorraine - your insightful comment brings to mind what is meant by individualism.

      Many years ago I participated in The Forum, a derivative of Werner Erhard's EST. To make a huge simplification of the program, it was all about the individual coming out; to discover freedom, to find yourself whatever it be. The takeaway for me was the huge inhibition of the individual by the expectations of society.

      One of the participants was a woman from an Islamic country, I believe it was Pakistan. At the start of the weekend program she was emotionless, would hardly say a word and that almost inaudibly; self effacing in every way. By the end of the program her face was alive with a smile, she was talking eagerly with others and it was clear she was, for the first time in her life, enjoying herself as a person fully interacting with others. She was suddenly a person and loving it. If there were proof that the program worked, she was it, and we had all seen the transformation take place along with the change most of us had found in ourselves. It was a turning point in my life.

      That's "good" individualism - the development of the person to appreciate and take advantage of all life has to offer. I think of this when I read of your coming out, making a positive move influenced by Rand's writing.

      But the bad individualism comes from going beyond the positive self-development into the easy trap of feeling superior and justified in dominating others, into making oneself the judge of others, the superman. This is Rand's failing. She goes so far into this dark extreme that contempt and rejection of the other stands supreme.

      Remember Mick Jagger singing "I rode a tank, held a general's rank, while the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank"?

      Ayn Rand could have accompanied the spread of European dominance in exactly the same way as indigenous people were swept aside by the individuals who were clearly their superiors, urging them on. Her comments regarding Israel and Arabs are hardly surprising.

      You grabbed the good idea of individual freedom, used it to your advantage, not over others, but, like the Pakistani woman, over the not-you that you had been. You stopped before you became the monster that lurks in us all because you distinguished the repulsive from the worthwhile.

      From what I see of the actions and the words of those who trumpet Ayn Rand, they've run with her blindly and cannot see what they've become. Once the self is almighty, it can no longer judge what it does: all that I do is good because I do it.

  • Must Read -- Medea Benjamin's Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control
    • I bought Benjamin's book at a talk she gave locally. I was disappointed to see a low turnout and mostly elderly people. For entertainment, a singer gave us his composition, "Protest Songs are Dead". But Media is a dynamo and shows up everywhere, seeming to be about 3 or 4 people in one. I told her that Code Pink's creativity is wonderful. The skits they put on in public are nothing if not attention getting.

      Per the drone issue. I think we are in a fairly brief window of unchallenged drone operation during which it appears to be a magic weapon. Nobody gets killed except for people who are expendable in the view of the administration. With lots of folks like Dick Cheney at the top, that includes a very large number of people. But drones fly slow and usually low (the remark about a lawn mower sounding like a drone is proof).

      With freely available remote controlled "omnicopters" and such which can be carried in a large attache case, eventually drones will be brought down by home-made counter-drones. Conceivably, even a fly by wire system would work that would overcome electronic countermeasures by drones.

      Whatever comes along will provide the latest replay of a response to any technology. As in the past, the counter-measure will cost a fraction of that of the weapon it is designed to destroy, as we've seen with the IED's.

      The result is one country spending billions with no end in sight and the opposition spending hundreds or thousands to keep the dollar hemorrhage going. It can't go on indefinitely. The old standard of who is winning is becoming as out of date as the idea that war has a beginning and end.

      Remember all the sympathy of the world (even from Hezbollah) after 9/11? That sure is a distant memory and drones have put a definitive end to it.

  • What Americans must do to support the Palestinian commitment to nonviolent resistance
    • Pessimism, may I speak to it?

      Ms Harvey, you say "When the day comes that Israel realizes that it is standing against the whole world..."

      Don't many Israelis already take this for granted and even embrace the idea of standing tall no matter what others do or think? Isn't this a part of the history of Judaism that kept it going through the years of persecution when there was literally no help to be had from any direction? Flight and relocation were common, but now we have visions of God and Masada and a last stand on sacred soil all swirling together with some pretty potent weaponry. Doesn't every Palestinian know that Israel is holding Dirty Harry's pistol just itching to say "make my day"? An American from NYC, just moved to a settlement, sees himself a hero standing upon the shoulders of 2500 years of history; pure madness in the individual.

      Consider the paranoid individual convinced that all are against him and ready to lash out unpredictably because no action by another can be framed as anything other than a threat. There are drugs for such individuals but no drug for a country of them. 1940's German and Japanese leadership felt justified until the bitter end when the whole world had long since been against them and they literally had hardly a bullet left with which to hold out; pure madness in the state.

      The lesson is that paranoia/entitlement as a national trait only ends in catastrophe brought on by the trait in itself. This is happening with Israel, so far in slow motion.

      The United States offers fawning support which only feeds the beast. The only thing that could end this fawning is revulsion in the U.S. at the cost to this country for supporting an irrational act by Israel that is clearly seen to be such. When carte blanche is given, some such act is inevitable. Would you say to a paranoid, "do what you think is best and I'll back you up all the way"? Then he goes on to kill your sister. Your attitude is changed.

      An attack on Iran by Israel is exactly the kind of insanity we should expect. Obama has not shown himself the kind of man to stand up absolutely for anything. I honestly can't see him doing anything but piling into a war Israel starts.

      The U.S. began as a daring assertion of the rights of the people. It appears to be ending that experiment with the triumph of lawlessness: it starts wars on its own, and will reach the nadir by handing the power to bring it to war over to another country with which it doesn't even have a treaty.

      Something will happen. Our attitude will change.

  • Palestinian villages struggle as Israeli settlement waste contaminates the environment
    • This is in perfect accord with the "Arabs are animals" idea.

      Think about how people have treated animals through the ages. If they are considered a nuisance or interfere with what people want to do, they are swept from the area by hunting or poisoning. If not a nuisance, they are ignored and left to deal with the consequences of human populations as best they can. My drinking water and yours must be pure, but the animals can swim in our sewage, so what? After all, they are just animals.

      We humans, as we are always pointing out to each other, are not animals, right?

  • Terror war comes home: White supremacist kills 6 Sikhs in Wisconsin
    • I read in the NY Times a month or two ago that the great majority of funds from Homeland Security given to private organizations for protection of Americans went to Jewish groups. This makes no sense when it is crazy Americans who are suspicious of and attacking Muslims for being Muslim.

  • Trapped
  • Anti-Zionist dozens
  • We need another name for the occupation
    • Krauss, your comment is exactly to the point. I've copied it and reproduced it at my blog as an example of how comments can greatly enhance a topic.

  • NY assembly member urges censorship of maps ad, citing offense to 'a multitude' of Jewish orgs
    • For the relatively short time I've been involved in the effort for Palestinian justice, I've thought the series of four chronological maps is the most powerful imagery available. In a glance it tells the story.

      Far from complexity, the word to think about is perversity. All should look at the maps and wonder about the perversity of Israel claiming to be a victim that is always on the verge of being "driven into the sea".

      So many positive things are happening as the truth comes out. What could send me into a deep depression, however, would be the election of Romney, the very model of a one-percenter and a guy that would bring any and all Israel fanatics accidentally left behind by Obama back into the administration.

  • Ali Abunimah KO's Jonathan Tobin in 'Democracy Now' debate
    • Those in power, who daily oppress and try to expel as many Palestinians as they can, appeal to the world's sympathy by claiming that those who who have no power want to throw them out. It confirms that Israel doesn't exist in the real world.

      The flag of Israel and the uniforms worn by the IDF should all have a flame icon to stand for the holocaust, because a major idea in the state and its supporters since WWII has been that it is impossible for Jews to be oppressors by virtue of the fact that they were so terribly oppressed. No other oppression can compare, no other oppression deserves the name. Jews have a unique right conferred by way of a colossal wrong.

      But it's pure delusion, as is all nationalism. When those who hold the delusion voice appeals based on it, the absurdity comes through loud and clear. Why did so many Slavs have to die a few decades ago? Because Germany needed living room, wasn't it obvious? To the Germans it was.

  • Burston calls for 'quiet revolution'-- give Palestinians the vote
    • I live in a residential neighborhood where I can easily hear children playing in yards that our building overlooks. It's wonderful to hear the kids but I'm sorry to say that these tots give voice to things that put me in mind of Israel. Two that are heard very frequently are "IT'S MINE!" and "I WAS HERE FIRST!"

      That Palestine should be a democracy is plain, it is the very minimum that justice demands, leaving aside the displacement and occupation issues. Yet to hear American politicians talk you would think it is the Israelis who are under occupation, not the occupiers. Anti-Semitism gets bandied about frequently by Jews who are in the top ranks of the power structure here. Doesn't anyone, any Joe Citizen, ever pause to consider that such speakers are talking nonsense given the position they have achieved and the air-play they get?

      I've lived over six decades in the Chicago area. I'm not Jewish, so you would think I'd be likely to hear anti-Semitic remarks freely given, particularly back in the 1950's and 60's while I was going through school.

      The grand total of anti-Semitic remarks that I have heard comes to 1. That's right, one, and the person from whom I heard it has been in the grave for 30 years. Yet Abe Foxman is still sounding the trumpet. What has been a frequent occurrence is my finding out someone is Jewish accidentally when they mention it themselves. My conclusion from this is that anti-Semitism is a red-herring and to call it out is the mark of a fraud.

  • Former DNC member got in hot water by forwarding Code Pink email blasting AIPAC
    • When, oh when will Americans have the guts to say "I am against Israel". In this account, as in so many other cases, a critic must always profess praise for Israel with the exception of the difficulty of the Palestinians.

      But the little difficulty is the basis on which the country was founded - dispossession - that continues to this day.

  • Normalizing violence-- a report from Nabi Saleh
    • I'd recommend Occupied Palestine ( as another site where the nitty gritty of daily life and strife for Palestinians is given. There are so many news items that I usually scan the headlines or it would be overwhelming.

  • Netanyahu says Shamir statement, 'The sea is the same sea and the Arabs are the same Arabs,' is correct
    • Phil, I wanted to let you know of the effectiveness of you and your crew at MW. I sent the link to Nima Shirazi's piece on Shamir that you posted to a friend of mine. Here is his response:

      "This is disgusting. Everyone put your heads in the sand. Even back when he was in office, I didn't trust him. What newspapers/blogs do you subscribe to? I need to get angrier!"

      Chipping away little by little produced Mount Rushmore - so also can Zionism be brought into high relief from the block of ignorance of most Americans.

  • It's not just the settlers: Samah Sabawi responds to liberal Zionists on the settlement boycott
    • Suppose a mine had extended under a town and there was a great danger the mine would collapse and take the town with it.

      You lived in a nearby mining community and all you ever heard was talk of the mine - how much ore it was bringing out, what should be done to make it safer, how many miners it employed and how to enlarge it to get greater output, whether there was good management, etc. The one thing you would never hear about is the danger to that town that is over the mine because the mine is the unquestioned good.

      So it is with Israel, a colony that has brought nothing but grief to all around it and certainly to the people who live or lived where it now holds sway. Like those in the mining town, the world and the United States in particular have been listening to the talk of the miners. Only now and with such clear statements as Sabawi makes, and on a site such as Mondoweiss, is the reality coming out about the town that has always been sitting on top of the mine.

  • Obama adviser freaks out over BDS (Dersh calls Alice Walker neo-Nazi terrorist)
  • What forestry teaches us about ethnic cleansing
    • Binyamin is, surprisingly, the only one to mention the crucial point of full citizenship. A Native-American can move anywhere in the U.S. and cannot be prevented from buying property just like any other citizen. The Palestinian is a sub-citizen and there is no qualm about, rather a determination to keep him that way.

      I think most Americans feel some shame for what happened to the natives, even going so far as to claim native blood (often with little or no proof) as a point of pride. Though Indians were treated in the past in a way that I think any Palestinian would easily recognize, current Anglo accounts in literature and common perceptions in society give native-Americans a nobility that is in no small part due to guilt about a history that none can deny. The connection between injustice and the Native-American is very solid in the American mind, whether or not most Americans are aware that all is not well even today.

      Of course, complete conquest allows we modern Anglos to indulge in this elevation of those who have no chance of seeing the return of their civilization, no chance of claiming even having even a tiny compensation for the loss of a way of life that would impact the modern white man.

      For me, the terrible history of Anglo treatment of the Indian is a driving force behind my efforts for the Palestinians. I cannot go back to 1800 to work against what I know was wrong (as futile as that would be even if I could), but I damn sure can work against my own self-satisfied countrymen supporting the current iteration of the same project.

      The proof of hypocrisy in American lamentation about the Indian today, is the support of Israel, either actively or through apathy that allows the repulsive pandering to Israel by the U.S. government.

      It's to the credit of many Jewish Americans (and far too few non-Jewish Americans) that they are very disturbed about what Israel is doing and, like Phil and Adam and many others, are acting while the tragedy is in progress.

  • The Israeli consul is selling 'brand Israel', but very few in one upper west side synagogue are buying
    • My first thought was the consul general believes Americans are fools who will never bother to find out what's going on. But on second thought, from all I hear of how Israelis feel, they are engaged in exactly what the consul is trying to get going here - they go about their active lives, perhaps birding, running, etc. and ignore what is going on a few miles away. So the consul general can be forgiven for suggesting what is proven to work on home ground; thinking the same thing can be pulled off in the U.S.

      I have a very good friend that I asked to watch the video I made about the situation in I/P, a few weeks before we met for lunch so she'd have time to do so. We have lunched regularly for many years where we talk enthusiastically about everything under the sun. So at this most recent meeting I asked her if she had watched my video. She replied apologetically that she had seen part of it (it's ten minutes total!!!) but that she "just isn't interested in those kinds of things".

      Now if a good friend cannot spend ten minutes of time to view the effort of someone she knows and likes, how can there be any hope to influence the American public? The United States is an unused democracy - the process could work but it is barely used as was intended by those worthy designers in the 18th century.

      It's no wonder lobbies rule Congress, the American public almost rolls out a red carpet for them to do so. Let me modify the saying: the only thing required for the lobbies to triumph is that the electorate do nothing.

  • 'Let go of two-state solution insanity' -- says Illinois congressman who supports transfer
    • Things have come to a head at a local school. The constant turmoil there since a bully arrived has become intolerable, with students being prevented from playing on the playground equipment and many injuries as fights have broken out with the bully.

      The school principal calls an assembly with the police standing behind him and announces that all the kids but the bully will be moved to another school so that the bully will have the place to himself without the constant strife that has made it so difficult for him.

      This is Joe Walsh's reasoning and why we have a need for the acronym "WTF".

      I looked Walsh up on the list of Congressional recipients of Israel lobby money in the current issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and, remarkably, he is not listed. So perhaps this position of his is from the heart?

  • Native American and Indigenous Studies Scholars defend UCLA Professor David Shorter and supporters of BDS
    • The similarity of the Native-American experience and that of the Palestinians is profound. I was so struck by it that I created a ten minute video called Twin Tragedies: Manifest Destiny and Zionism. Most Americans, I believe, are ashamed of what was done to the "Indians" but aren't lifting a finger over the re-do in Palestine that they are fully supporting.

  • 'Shame on You': Why I interrupted Obama counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan
    • A clear voice speaking the truth. May there be thousands of comments in thanks. As for the lack of reaction of the audience there at the time, at least it's an improvement over audiences jumping up to attack the protester(s) as we have seen numerous times. The glacier is melting, can you feel it?

  • Three score and four years ago our forefathers brought forth on this planet a new nation
    • I regularly get emails from the "White House Office for Jewish Outreach" which is curious since I am not Jewish. But since I'm on the inside now, I thought I'd ask the Office if there is a similar Office for Muslim Outreach. No reply.

  • Judge rules against Minnesota 'Break the Bonds' campaign
    • I'm sorry to hear about this. Here in Illinois, the state continues to buy Israel debt (and that of no other country) each year. My state senator Jeff Schoenberg pushed through the legislation years ago that allows state purchase of foreign debt, which has been used with only a few exceptions to purchase Israel debt only. Schoenberg is retiring. The man who hopes to replace him, Daniel Biss, has remained silent to my emailed request to him to indicate his position on Israel.

      Israel is a beneficiary of so much behind the scenes activity like this that the public doesn't know about (tax deductible contributions to settlement support groups, etc.)

      My email to the members of the Illinois Board of Investments has also gone unanswered, but every attempt should be made to let people know that there is an awareness of what is going on.

  • Jon Stewart keeps upping the ante
    • Phil you are exactly right and tod's comment is too.

      I watched, but it was like hearing a long joke in which the punch line is missing. It's clear that the punch line would be just a little bit too much to say, so we are left hanging with a non sequitur video as it stands.

      Stewart is usually excellent in that he nails the culprit whatever the subject at hand. Here, he couldn't do it.

  • Lerner and Gottlieb have dialogue in New York synagogue
    • Phil, you say "Deeper things had to change; American consciousness about the patriarchy had to change. "

      But I wonder about this change. I suspect very much of the animus against Obama and yes, women, is a barely suppressed rage that everything has gone wrong since the good old days. Rick Santorum is tapping this bile that has not gone away.

      I read that the Southern Poverty Law Center and the FBI say the number of hate groups is shooting up. I used to think America had changed but I'm becoming convinced that there is a large store of intransigent hatred of all things progressive that is barely contained.

  • In 45 minutes with Obama, Goldberg asks repeatedly about Iran, nothing about Palestinians
    • "a small country in a tough neighborhood"? The metaphors that are used to cover for Israel. I prefer this one: A bully complains that (after he has repeatedly kicked kids off the playground) he is just one guy in a playground full of those who want to get him.

      The self-righteousness is astounding. As is mentioned on MW frequently, the Palestinians don't exist unless they can be held up as bad guys. The danger of Israel to the United States is that it is blind to reality and in the view it holds, it is the eternal righteous victim that can do no wrong. The Iran issue is proof that there is no bridge too far for Israel when the US is so easily leveraged. For the U.S. President to be on the leash of this thinking is terrifying, as is the fact that it is so blatantly obvious -yet most Americans sleep.

      Friends of mine who are intelligent people respond to my pleas to them to do as little as write their Congresspeople with "why do you care about this so much?" as if it were of next to no significance to Americans. My favorite response from one of them who is pro-Israel: "What have the Palestinians ever done for you?"

  • Dog-bites-man story in NYT leads readers to say, tail wags dog
    • It's all good.

      Things change when a particular political movement becomes so outrageous as to be a farce and transparently so. This is what finally causes a neon sign to turn on in the public mind flashing STOP THIS. Think of how long the antics of Joe McCarthy went on and with time he became so strident, so bold, so full of himself that the tide turned. J. Edgar Hoover only lasted because he kept everything discreet and was a master of backing off when necessary.

      Extremism of any stripe is nothing if not certain of how correct is its thinking. When mass opinion tends in its direction, it can remain subdued because things are going its way. But when serious questions start, when doubt appears, it's like the curtain being pulled aside on the Wizard of Oz and the lever pulling is revealed.

      I would like to thank Bibi and the Republicans for making possible his astounding performance in front of Congress last year. It's the kind of bold, self-confident move that shows just how far things have far gone is our legislature.

  • 'Cruelest demolition' kills Palestinians' sheep and signals political tension with Europeans
    • Hey I made a quick fix discovery that I will reveal first right here on Mondoweiss for the benefit of all video makers worldwide. No, no need to send me huge amounts of money.

      After making my comment about wind noise, I realized you had probably been using a cellphone cam or a tiny pocket camera that has nothing more than a tiny hole for a microphone. Today being a windy day, I took mine out and tried using a cotton ball with a rubber band holding it in place over the microphone hole. It works great! The wind is audible but doesn't cover the person talking. It could save an interview and as far as I know, even the notorious IDF checkpoints will let a rubber band and a cotton ball through!

    • Phil - thanks for this video. Yet another tragedy.

      A tech tip for the future, from my years in broadcasting - Though I haven't been there, I know that Palestine is a windy place because of the many videos I have seen with wind noise a problem for the audio. The solution is to use a muff (usually made of foam plastic) on the microphone. If a camcorder is being used that doesn't have a mic that sticks out from the body of the camera, an inexpensive external mic can be purchased at a place like Radio Shack (if the camcorder allows one to be plugged in) and a muff placed on it. This will also get rid of the explosive popping sounds made when people speak very close to the mic and hit it with their breath.

  • Half the story: What @IDFSpokesperson leaves out about Gaza
    • A similar tally might compare the number of arrows shot by the American Indians at the white man vs the number of bullets shot by the US Cavalry at American Indians. one side is resisting and the other side oppressing.

      The American Indians were composed of many tribes with sub-factions within those tribes. Not all resisted with violence and certainly no one had control of all violence directed at the white man.

      The US Cavalry, like the IDF, was a military force deployed by and directed by a central government with complete control over all violence by uniformed personnel directed at American Indians - it was a policy.

      We know from comments generated by the recent Palestinian school bus accident that the sentiment of "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" is alive and well in Israel.

      The capture of American sentiments on Israel by hasbara is evident from outrage that is voiced at the Gaza rockets and silence about IDF turkey shoots. Anyone who knows the history of the Zionist project in Palestine should not be even slightly surprised that, like the American Indians, there are those who resist with violence.

      No doubt there were many Americans in the 19th century who were outraged and cried "the Indians are shooting arrows at us!"

      Was the destruction of the Native Americans due to the fact that they resisted with violence? It's a laughable proposition in hindsight, but you can be sure there were many white Americans who convinced themselves at the time that the US government was performing a service to the country and civilization by sweeping violent animals from the plains.

  • 'NYT' gives big platform to Israeli journalist to espouse Israeli attack on Iran with OK from Uncle Sam
    • TetaMM: thank you, thank you for the link to the 2010 presentation that included the insight-filled remarks of Ian Lustick, every sentence of which is worth reading even more than it was 18 months ago. It's links like this in the comments on MW that make it a gold mine for those who want to know more. Of course the average citizen will never get word about the content of such speeches like this. Even if the printed text were presented to them, one look at the length would likely result in a pass, but it's encouraging to know that there are people out there with the knowledge needed and, I hope, with the ear of those in power.

  • Ron Paul's foreign policy should be embraced
    • My concern is not so much with large-scale wars such as Afghanistan and Iraq, because they have proven to be disasters. I can easily believe the claim that enlisted personnel overwhelmingly approve of Ron Paul. What has me worried is the new love for targeted assassinations, drone strikes, etc. a la Israel. If the US becomes a known user, even a proud user of this method (judging by Obama's elation), the danger of a hit being attributed to the US, correctly or not, will invite exactly the kind of response that we all want to prevent, acts of terror within the US.

      I think this is the recipe for endless anxiety. Something awful happens. Who did it!? There must be some immediate response!!! Formal armies can be withdrawn fairly easily and obviously, but where is the end to infiltration by difficult to identify individuals and small groups? Who can say conclusively "it's over"? It was the hysterical fear of infiltration that drove the US into the anti-Communist hysteria that was a low point in our history.

      If acts of terror within the US occur, there would be even more calls for the kind of Patriot Act legislation that is causing the United States to self-destruct, eroding the very things that make this country the standard for human rights and liberty for all. Fear can drive people into a cage of their own making.

      This is why I love to hear Ron Paul talk about limitations on what the President can do. Recent occupants of that office apparently believe there are no limitations. It was one of the highlights of the 20th century, a glorious moment for the United States when Richard Nixon was on the point of being brought to book.

      I also love to hear him ask us how we would feel if we were in the position of Iran at the moment, being dictated to and threatened from all sides. The foundation of sanity is being able to see oneself in the other.

      Finally - for proof that we have gone insane and need the kind of antidote that Paul could provide - I give you Leon Panetta, moaning and groaning before Congress, warning of the dire consequences of any cuts to the military, a military that is bigger than the next five (maybe ten) runners-up combined, with no contenders and no enemies on our borders. The United States policy makers have lost all perspective and Paul stands alone among any candidate for the Presidency including the President that shows he draws a connection between our Constitution and what we do.

      P.S. there was a warning long ago - when the Department of War was renamed the Department of Defense

  • Trivializing the Holocaust charge
    • Self righteousness is one of the great dangers of life. It is so comforting and excuses anything in the mind of the holder.

      In Christianity, Jesus exemplifies innocence that is punished. We are told that because of his complete innocence vs the total guilt (evil) that opposed it, the result of the opposition was cosmic - enough to make up for all the sins of mankind from the beginning of time.

      That is one heck of a lot of righteousness, ready made for those who wanted/want to latch on to it to make themselves righteous or, better said, to make them self-righteous. One can comfortably get behind Jesus in this way that is antithetical to everything attributed to him.

      So off to get the Christ-killers people went, filled with hatred but convinced they were acting with a pure, the purest possible, motive!

      We all tend to wear a wolf's clothing while seeing ourselves as the most innocent of sheep. One can bellow about Christ, but that is very old hat and has a very odious history that can't be denied. Bellowing about the Holocaust is far more contemporary - the odious history of this bellowing is only now being written.

  • Prayer
    • Sarah, I'm an atheist who believes that we are chemical machines with nothing about us that is supernatural or spiritual (non-physical).

      But that said, I believe that such events as you describe can re-wire the brain in an instant - can change views, can alter behavior from that point on. We are all powerfully affected by what we see others do and particularly so if we are in a position to join them. At worst this produces mob violence but at best it results in what you saw. I would bet that none of the people who participated in the prayer that day left the scene quite the same. They were strengthened by it, religion at its very best.

  • Linda Gradstein: 'I'm not an Israeli citizen, but that being said, I'm part of Israel.'
    • Thanks for the very well done report.

      People operate on feelings. Rational thought can be powerful but feelings prevail. Being a journalist should continually cause one to question one's own feelings. In this report, the key for me for me was the remark (intended as humor) about being able to be home for dinner - couldn't Ethan Bronner say the same?

      For myself, I realize living a sheltered life as an American without a single anxiety about my personal security, where I will find the next meal or the next dollar, make me almost certainly incapable of knowing in the smallest degree about the residents of other countries subject to those who move the levers of the American Empire. It is the contrast between my life and that of a Palestinian without rights for the same duration that fascinates me and drives me to do something about it.

      Once I assumed that Walter Cronkite was as close to speaking daily truth as was possible. Now I never watch MSM news and suspect anything I hear from it. NPR I find particularly smug and self-righteous. Just the precise and carefully crafted sound of Robert Siegel's voice puts my teeth on edge.

      To know anything about anything, you have to do the work to find out. MSM news is really storytelling where the daily report builds a linear puzzle with virtually predictable pieces that confirm what has gone before - rather than a take on a multidimensional puzzle with the next piece of many possible shapes. God forbid viewers should be confused!

      "There's Always More to Know" should be the motto of every journalist, particularly with daily news when there is such pressure to have a tidy wrap-up to end every story. In the best of all worlds it would be the motto of every citizen.

  • Mainstream press sniggers at Ron Paul's antiwar message
    • I'm 61 years old and have never given a penny to any presidential candidate (though maybe my memory is failing). I just gave $50 to Paul's campaign. I disagree with him on some points, but the least danger to our country is the most hyped - terrorism, and the greatest danger is the loss of our freedoms under cover of the terror hype.

      Obama, with hype about hope and a mellifluous, lofty oratory that comes off as one addressing children before proving its emptiness by the contradictory actions that follow, is so infuriating that I want him out of office. He is a fraud who belongs back in the patent medicine era.

      The Republicans with the exception of Paul are a cast of cartoon characters. The list from which we must choose our president has never been shallower, nor the amount of financial power interested in a shallow president being elected, greater.

      I hope everyone who picked Obama because he is black is now properly educated that any kind of racial selection, for or against - is no good ground for action. Too bad we can't have the voices of all the candidates first processed through the monotonous Kindle voice reader before we hear them - THEN make a decision on the worth of what we hear based on content and not delivery. Or simpler, read the full text of a debate rather than listening to the candidates. If you don't believe in the power of delivery, check out any of the many videos done at XtraNormal, where the impact of what a blue bunny says can be profound.

  • Obama administration is likely to fold on AIPAC-backed legislation it opposed targeting Iran
    • Hey everybody.

      I'm not sure if this means anything, but I just dug this story up from a couple of years ago...

      " Palo Alto Artificial intelligence experts have announced the creation of a machine that, while not fully human, certainly looks the part and, it is hoped, will be able to show basic human thinking ability. One problem already encountered is unexplained repetition of phrases of speech. It will soon be tested on what may be quite challenging tests of logic, such as playing checkers and low level reasoning tasks. In an attempt to humanize their creation, the scientists have nicknamed their creation 'Victoria' and plan to eventually donate it for government work."

  • 'Mustafa was freedom': Testimony from an eyewitness in Nabi Saleh
    • I haven't asked him to do anything more than change the view he has had for decades that both sides are equally responsible and that he wishes they would simply destroy each other and be done with it. My appeal has been for him to simply keep in mind what I've mentioned to him the next time he hears news from Israel or sees U.S. politicians talk about Israel. The bottom line - Palestinians are people.

    • I have been exchanging emails with a very good friend, trying to snap him out of his paralysis on the subject of Israel. In his latest to me he included this:

      "Right now my main job is taking care of my wife and the kids... This is the best I can do, and I won't apologize for not being able to jump feet-first into any cause, no matter how compelling."

      This is a generic excuse one can use for anything - my family first. It's commonly used as a conversation stopper.

      But reading it, I thought of Mustafa pictured with his family. Is there any reason to believe that Palestinians love their families less than Americans or Israelis? Of course not. This is, in fact, what drives my activity concerning the Palestinians. I daily think of how much I have that they are denied, and with my money expediting the denial.

      So I sent my friend the picture of the Tamimi family titled "TamimiAlive.jpg" and the repulsive photo of his shattered face called "TamimiDead.jpg" and explained that his capital crime was stone throwing, with a link to the story.

      I asked my friend to consider how he would feel if Mustafa's fate were meted out to either of our sons.

      In this way, Mustafa lives and continues to do good work and I'm glad to help him do it.

  • Iran airs footage of US drone intact
    • Ok - here's the scoop. It turns out that the drone was being run under Windows, there was an unexplained error and the message "DronePilot has encountered a problem and needs to close. Send error report to Microsoft?" appeared. Unfortunately, the operator panicked and hit "no" or we would have a full report from MS on what happened. ALWAYS send error reports to Microsoft - it's a patriotic duty!

      Seriously, I think we need to wait for further info before jumping to conclusions about how it happened. Drones are designed to fly slowly and with great stability. This may be a very lucky event in that the thing came to rest in an area without obstacles such as trees. If communications failed, it's possible the thing slowly lost altitude until it reached the ground, though you would think there would be an auto-destruct method to prevent that.

      If we see a video of the Iranians flying the thing, then I will be impressed!

  • Another Israeli hankering to be in the Diaspora
    • We have Liad, who seems to be a decent chap, wishing to come to America. At the same time, I understand that many of the most rabid settlers come from America.

      What does this say about the future of the two countries? If the foreign policy of the United States regarding Israel were not so captive, this movement of populations would be win-win for the U.S., but if the extremists are calling the shots what does it matter where they are located?

      As for the idea of individuals gaining at the expense of the common good, isn't the US a good example? After all, what is this whole 1%/99% thing, the bank bailout, the Citizens United decision and the continual call for less regulation all about if not the few gaining at the expense of the many?

  • Israel's true fear re Iran is... balance of power
    • What has tripped up the U.S. repeatedly is the anxiety factor of our leadership. How can a democratic political system that has shown it's inherent strength now for over 200 years be continually headed by people who think it is about to be undermined by every wind that blows?

      While the world admires the personal freedoms we enjoy and most would love to share it in their own part of the world, our leadership counteracts that very positive image with the endless fear they show by an obsession with domination everywhere. From the frenzy over Communist power (a system whose collapse was welcomed by the very people who were supposed to be under its sway) to the current Islamophobia, America must be forever planting military bases and issuing warnings; setting up trip-wires for intervention and laying down markers not to be crossed.

      How ironic that freedom and liberty, so attractive to the great majority of mankind, cannot be allowed to do their good work of setting an example for others to try their best to emulate. Instead we must have a ponderous and heavy-handed policy backed with unlimited weapons that disfigures the U.S. image all over the world. Top it off by calling it "national security".

      Now after 19 people pulled off an attack with airliners of all things, we have heavy-handed law enforcement right here in the U.S. to oppress us as well with the FBI running after people who simply visited the occupied territories. If anything, it appears this monster of coercion and force is relentlessly putting liberty and justice for all in the shade everywhere, crushing the very way of life that it is promoted as protecting!

      Israel and the U.S. are alike in one way - they are hard at work on their own undoing, completely blinded by an obsession with hard (as opposed to soft or diplomatic) power.

  • From Occupation to 'Occupy': The Israelification of American domestic security
    • What a comprehensive and informative piece. It's what I've come to expect from Mondoweiss.

      I was so inspired by it, I decided to send a link to it to the police chief of my city. In my cover letter I mentioned that he may already have some familiarity with the things discussed so should find the reading particularly interesting.

  • A brief story of dispossession, American-style – and what you can do about it
  • Activists to sue Minnnesota for investments that fund Israeli occupation
    • Good work! I am trying to find out the situation in Illinois. I have discovered that a strong supporter of Israel, State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (now retiring) was instrumental in getting legislation passed within the last ten years that allows Illinois to purchase foreign debt. Schoenberg has been silent to my email expressing my concern with his trips to Israel and attempts to pass Illinois legislation regarding Iran, I've no doubt he would have nothing to say on Israel bond purchases.

      Thought it has not been easy to find the state's investments for the past decade on the Net, I have found the information for 2007 and 2010. In the earlier year there were other countries along with Israel whose debt was purchased. In 2010 there was $12 million going to Israel alone. I suspect that the purchase of Israeli debt has been a constant throughout the period with other countries' debt purchased only from time to time to give the illusion that Israel just happens to be one of a group. I am attempting to find out the full history of Illinois purchases of Israel's debt as I write this.

      I have been unsuccessful so far in getting a statement from Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford certifying that state money paid to Israel has not been used for the settlements, nor have I been able to get his office to provide me with any Israel-supplied information submitted to his office certifying that the money will not be so used. I did inform him of the international law issues you describe. All I have received is a letter from the attorney representing the Treasurer's Office that "due diligence" was done on the Israel debt instruments, and that Israel debt is a great buy. We all know how meaningless due diligence is from the recent banking disaster and the meaningless AAA ratings of junk derivatives. I think rubber-stamping would be an appropriate description of the process.

      When the public is not paying attention, we know that legislators routinely pass legislation that benefits their own favorite causes. My state representative, my state senator, my rep in Congress, my two Senators are all staunch supporters of Israel, Mark Kirk being the blue and white flag-waver in chief. To get past this wall is a task for which I welcome others Illinoisans to join me and I applaud the efforts of those who are doing the right thing in Minnesota.

      BTW - one of the people who has announced that he will be running for the Illinois state senate to replace Jeff Schoenberg has been silent in response to my email to him asking if he expects to continue the practice of taking trips to Israel. If nothing else, I am learning patience!

  • 'If Rosa Parks could have called a press conference it would have looked like this'
    • How things have changed for the better since the time of Rosa Parks' bus ride. She was alone, there was no press, no video, even to make an audio recording would have been difficult as audio cassettes were in the future. Let people say what they will about technology, for outing what needs to be outed, we are living in a wonderful time.

      But more could be done. How about a way to up-link to satellite from a cheap camcorder? With this it would be possible to get video/audio without the possibility of the authorities (in any of their many forms) grabbing the memory chip or tape. For example, you are being approached by people who intend to beat you. With the up-link, everyone can see it coming along with you and no destruction or seizure of your equipment can stop your video from being seen because it has already been sent.

  • This is not what containment looks like
    • Reading of what the Knesset and the U.S. House are up to brings up a vision of two idiots joining hands to jump over a cliff together. The U.S. is the unquestioned superpower yet from the home-grown fanaticism, one would thing we are in mortal danger from a country floundering toward getting a single nuclear weapon of which we have many thousands. Iran doesn't keep me awake at night. Israel does because it has tremendous destructive potential with a free pass from the US. Khrushchev famously said "we will bury you!" but it's looking like we will bury ourselves.

  • Israelis respond to Obama snub on Facebook
    • Hussein Obama has long been a topic with the settlers. Take the example of Hebron settler Alfred Ginsburg (he is I believe from Brooklyn per his comments) interviewed on the street in Hebron in 2010 by Ashira Ramadan, a Palestinian seeking the views of the settlers (and finding it expressed with gusto). The source is episode 63 of the excellent series "Sleepless in Gaza and Jerusalem". Go to 20:00 in. Go to 20:00 in.

  • Rattling Sabers & Beating Drums: Fear-mongering over nuclear Iran reaches a fever-pitch
    • From all I've read of the run-up to the Iraq War, Iran was the preferred target of the Zionists but Cheney and Rumsfeld held out for Iraq. Iraq it was, with Iran still left on the list. The United States has been hijacked.

  • Bellow: Diaspora Jews support Israel because it restored our 'manliness' after the Holocaust
    • I know someone who lost family in the holocaust. Though otherwise a timid person and the last that I can imagine taking to arms, his face lights up when he speaks of Israelis being trained to fight and how all know how to use weapons, that to see a soldier carrying a gun is no unusual thing. He also rants against the hated Arab, though he doesn't know a single one. Toward critics of Israel he is bellicose. I think that he has substituted the Palestinians for the Nazis since the former are present and available while the latter are gone. For him, Israel is a standing monument to counter the image of the meek and submissive Jew that for him is shown by the holocaust. To speak with him about all the oppression we know to be happening under the power he so admires is pointless. Israel is acting to sooth his sense of humiliation while he sits safe and warm at a great distance. I can't imagine anything the Palestinians could do that would be satisfactory to him. There is no reasoning with outlook because it isn't based on present reality. The only hope I see is that his generation is aging and will be passing. Those not touched as he has been will be open to thinking differently

  • The lobby rescues its old warhorse from glue factory: Israel is a strategic asset
    • All arguments about alliance, identity and commonality fall before the incompatibility of the following two fundamental items

      1) Liberty and Justice for All
      2) The Jewish State

  • Minneapolis panel pitting Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews gets no media attention
    • Sylvia, thank you for your very comprehensive account of the gathering. I think your conclusions are valid. I am not Jewish, but attend JVP events and participate at their vigil in Chicago. I am also a supporter of the SJP group at a local university and attend their events as well. It's my wish to see more WASPs (my P has lapsed) like me get involved because all Americans, not just those who are Jewish, should be outraged at the claim that modern Israel is almost another state and that Israel is an asset to us.

      My sister, who converted to Judaism decades ago, absolutely refused to attend a meeting with me when I challenged her to meet an Arab in person, a group about which she has rigid views but no member of which she has ever known. She, like your father, is cemented into position. Having sent her kids on Birthright trips long ago, I wonder how in the world she could alter her outlook even if truth should meet her face to face.

      I also find it difficult to believe that Americans will be budged. There is too much entrenched opinion allied with indifference. What gives me encouragement, however, is the wealth of information on the Net. The case is made by all the videos, interviews, blogs like Mondoweiss, that are always there for anyone who will be bold enough to entertain a doubt. All it takes is a tiny bit of curiosity to take a look and the whole castle of preconceptions can crumble - as it did for me.

  • A Presbyterian take on divestment from the Israeli occupation
    • This is good news. As readers may not know, the United Methodist Church passed a resolution at its General Assembly in 2000 opposing the occupation. Though I am an atheist, I was raised by an ordained Methodist minister and remained within the church through my teenage years. With this as an introduction at the largest Methodist church in the area, I thought it might be interesting to find out why I had seen nothing in the news in the 11 years since that resolution was passed indicating any action on it.

      A letter to the senior pastor at the church brought silence. A phone call to the same person brought no response. Not easily deterred, I attended a Sunday service, being well familiar with the greeting of the congregation afterward. Upon shaking the man's hand to whom I had written and on whose voice-mail I had left a message, I identified myself. He apologized, said he would have replied but I had not included a return address. I could only think to myself "Help me, Jesus!" to keep my cool. What a silly excuse to hide behind for someone who heads a congregation claiming to follow a moral course and who suggests to so many how they might follow moral lives. I gave him my phone number and he said he would call. He did not.

      I can only conclude the 2000 resolution of the United Methodist Church General Assembly is meaningless. Kudos to the Presbyterian Church for actions taken.

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