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Total number of comments: 1839 (since 2009-08-02 18:11:12)


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  • Oppression by consensus in Israeli 'democracy'
    • Much appreciated, Avigail, the good words and the thoughtful counsel (and it was free too- a bonus!). I think people really appreciate your engagement here - most gracious of you and considerate to boot.

      I'll be in touch....
      *PS don't mind our resident bot yrn. He adds color and makes for a useful foil, now and then. The sign of a blog's success is to have acquired its very own coterie of trolls (there are five regulars, and by last count another 6 or so irregulars, sent for the one-off hit and run missions). The better the blog is, the more dedicated are the resident bots. In time, some even start wavering, which is a sight to behold (tinted glasses help...). Not yrn though - solid as a rock is he. For him, I'd charge premium - too much maintenance.

    • Avigail - superb article - and every note strikes a cord with me.

      I actually taught for a time at one of the ORT schools as a substitute (trying to make just enough for a one-way ticket out). My subjects were math and Physics and at the time, at that age, I did not exactly pay much attention to politics (was too busy trying to resist dating my own students - was only a few years older, after all - and they were all of the male portion of the species). To be fair, in my case, it was the extreme conformism of Israeli society that set me off to other, more flexible lands.

      And though it was a few decades ago, and my memory of what and how exactly we were taught what, I can confirm that subtle indoctrination you are talking about, and then some. My own high school was one of the regular secular high schools, and the message and the branding of zionism as an incipient, never-to-be questioned ideology, were all the more intense for never even realizing that we were being brain washed. My main hobby for years was Gadna Avir - one of the para-militaristic activities that we were all exposed to, one that idolizes the wonders of the Israeli Air Force, that we all aspired to be induced into. If anyone asked me what I wanted to be at 16, I'd have said, without hesitation, that I wanted to be a pilot. It was only when I realized that the IAF had no intention of training female pilots and this little dream of mine was quite over, that I started to wake up and look at things more critically. Of course, waking up in my case, was a rather noisy affair, as it involved smashing quite a few things, especially some precious sacred cow jars.

      It still took years and years and much geographical distance to actually realize how close we were to a cult - as well as the genius of being part of one, while passionately believing we were one of the most open and individualistic societies in the world.

      For some time now, I have been engaged in an internal research to figure out just how could such an "oppression through consensus" be accomplished so very effectively. I know the arguments and I have seen and read Nurit Peled's studies as well as your excellent essays and posts, and they all find great resonance in me. What I can't seem to have come to full grips with yet is the personal aspect - how could one, as fearlessly non-conformist as myself - literally from toddlerhood - still be as much of a subject to the "branding" as anyone. How could one who asked questions about everything, failed to question - even once - the dominant narrative of what actually did happen to all those "Arabs"? Or just was that Kastner character that adults would clam up about whenever children were around, as an example. Though i have no answers yet, these internal questions led me to realize just how susceptible that human children are to "imprinting", if done from early childhood, consistently and methodically. I know that this has something to do with us being a social species but that's just part of the question, not the answer.

      My one (and I'm afraid, only) good excuse is that back when I went to high school, we did not yet have the internet, or even much television yet. Furthermore, many books were not yet even translated into Hebrew and, in a way, those of us who grew up learning strictly in that language (though we may have spoken a different language at home - we just didn't read in it), were, in a sense "locked" into a "restricted information" world. May be not unlike Chinese children growing up in the days of the cultural revolution. Other opinions, other views of history, other narratives, just did not penetrate into our world. There was nothing that disturbed the serene pool in which we only saw our own reflections. In my entire time of growing up in Israel, I never met or heard of a single political "dissident' voice, though there were individualistic dissidents, who, like me, chafed under the pressure to conform, strictly on a personal level. Just as I have never met an "Arab" person (other than as a vendor), or a religious Jewish person (other than seeing them walk about in their black coats and hats in Meah Shearim).

      The bubble of which you speak, Avigail, was once completely impermeable. Nothing came through, even as the barriers were seemingly completely transparent. You are lucky the world got through to you (or you got through and out to the world) as soon as you did. It took me decades to even learn to see the bubbles, much less to pop them. Of course, nowadays popping bubbles IS one of my new hobbies - mucho fun, like learning to play all over again.

      Thanks for this piece - I will contemplate it profusely.

      PS I read "Beyond Tribal Loyalties' - much that is worth reading there from the various contributors. Highly recommended.

  • Update Video: There are no checkpoints atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, reports climber Abu Karsh
    • It is great to read an uplifting story about young Palestinians. As a once hiking/trekking enthusiast (now reduced to trail biking, walking the cats, and running to airport gates in hopes of may be, may be the doors didn't close yet), I can certainly appreciate the effort, especially with a disability. Can't even imagine what it must be like, to not only overcome such a set-back but live to set a spirited example to others. Goes to show you what Palestinians could do - young and not so - if only they had half the chance we all take so for granted in the west.

      I should really make more of an effort to read the positive posts - like this one. Sure helps dispel the clouds of gloom, at least for a while.

      Obviously, the PCRF is doing a great job supporting such commendable efforts. Now, if we could just get J Street to contribute a few shekels to support more worthy endeavors by young people not from their own neighborhood (sorry, couldn't resist!).

  • How we can oppose the Assad regime and Western intervention at the same time
    • Seafoid "worse than a dog"

      Bad Saudi analogy (like every other "intellectual product else they "provide". Well, oil is not really smart just fungible).

      First Rule of the Universe: All humans are worse than all dogs. Even the so-called bad doggies are mostly better than the "good" humans (what's that). And if you ever had a dog you know what I mean.

      But there's more! All dogs are worse than all cats, which are a totally superior species by any account. That's the second Rule of you-know-who.

      And there's definitve proof: only cats ever got the better of me. Though I might, just might, make way for a dog, that is, if it's a German Shepherd or an Alaskan or a cute something-or-other. Or if the poor thing has been somehow disabled, then only vets are certified as saints with the rest of humans hideous sinners (yes, me too). How do I know? just trust me....?

      Ok, this was a brief semi-comic interlude (with more truth than comedy, alas).

      But interlude or not, no one should carry Doggies' names in vein, Saudis included. Remember the anagram! dog = god. And if it were a cat who is in any way mal-mentioned, oh well, that means the end of the world is near.....and this end may not even start in Syria.

    • Kudos to all who provided such excellent links - Keith, Bandolero, Shingo and others (sorry if I forgot to list a name). I found the information and the arguments presented here invaluable. If only we had a fraction of the knowledge accumulated by people here displayed by the MSM (any member thereof)!

      Since we have not yet had any official rebuttal of the propaganda pieces by Omar, Talal et al, let's take stock of who are those on these comments pages who support Al Qaeda in place of Assad and appear to be singing - not quite harmoniously - from the same song book:

      lproyect, Yonah Friedman, OlegR, yrn and in the back-up chorus - the Donald.

      Funny how not one of the ones we know as ziobots or congenital fence sitters or whatever other role has been assigned to them (sometimes self-generated subroutine), had anything bad to say about the composition, behavior and criminality of the "rebels'. or the not-so greatness of the saudi wahabists who fund, arm and incite the Jihadist zombie armies. Why, a truer group of bleeding heart humanitarians has not been seen in these environs for oh so many moons. Yes, I noticed that hophmi is missing in action. Perhaps under the weather?

      Sometimes, we may not know all there is to know about who is acting out what role behind the scenes. But much can be surmised from the opinions and missives projected through shadow mirrors of them who we do know. If yrn is with the 'rebels' and YF calls out the humanitarianism of ISIL (in not so many words), and Lproject is storming the barricades to bring down the tyrant Assad, and Donald bleeds for the terrorists keeping Yarmouk residents hostage, what is it they all know that we don't? or rather, what does it tell us of the instructions coming down which pipes and who exactly may be issuing them (sometimes under that sweet humanitarian subterfuge)?

      That being said I have no doubt that hophmi will not be long to join the choir. He must have been off quibbling with some of those instructions. Perhaps a momentary pang (one could dream, couldn't one?)? or an H1N1 side effect?

    • Bandolero, I think you should absolutely write up such a post and just submit it. people are hungry for more accurate information about the players inside and outside Syria, at least those people who are interested in this dastardly exercise of deliberate regime change perpetrated by neocon Empire "builders' (or should we call them "America destroyers"?).

      Your reply to me below mentions the extremist FSA (Fake Syria Army) commander Zahran Alloush (sp?) as the likely responsible party for that CW attack. I certainly would like to hear more about what you have on this character, whose name I did not hear before. Who has been funding him and since when?

      I have no doubt, based on comments I saw from you, that you can offer a good account of the goings-on as impartially as is feasible (under the foggy current circumstances nothing anyone says will be accepted as totally imparial but that's just saying life is as it is). In any case, annie may or may not pop back into this comment section - it's definitely fatigue inducing.

    • Bandolero "has anyone noticed that the CW missiles, that Syria’s army allegedly fired in Ghouta, could fly hardly more than two kilometers, so it can now be said for sure the US government claim that they were fired from within government controlled territory was nothing than a big lie?"

      Well, wouldn't ya know - the clamor against Assad the chemical weapon user has all but died down in the western press. Hardly a word of it in and around Geneva. This last report by the rocket experts was the last nail in the coffin of that False flag operation.

      But here's the rub: since we now have proof that at least one of the rockets was not fired by the government, the question that remains is - who did perpetrate that attack and how come there's no clamor any longer for holding parties responsible? after all, we all agree people died (even if the exact number is in dispute). So who was killed and who done it so cynically for propaganda value? I, for one, believe we shouldn't let go of these very troubling issues.

      And I agree with you that efforts should be made to counter the obvious propaganda peddled by the likes of Omar - especially when they are published on a Palestinian solidarity and human rights oriented web site lie this one.

    • Thanks Walid for the ferreting out some of of the mystery of Omar. One would be interested to know how he came to peddle the Syria angle -- perhaps a little gravy train happened to come along?

      Clearly our Omar made more than a few "missteps' along his 'activist' career. Looks to me like someone who may be ripe for hitching a ride on a little bandwagon. The psychological profile is a fit.

    • W. Jones- I would if I did not have a pressing deadline next week. Once that's come and gone anything is possible. I do however understand the urgency all too well.

    • Omar Chaaban: "In other words, why should we blame the opposition and bloody elements in ISIS first when these two are a direct and unfortunate result of Syrian government policy? The answer is: we should not."

      To support harrylaw's comment above: who in their right mind can possibly argue that ISIS was a "response" to Syrian government policy? what policy did ISIS object to in particular? Assad's secularism?

      And how can anyone project upon these extreme foreign islamists some kind of a democratic impulse, when everyone who knows anything, and is not part of the propaganda machine, understands that ISIS, like Al Nusra and the other 100 or so islamist groups, are financed, supported, armed and controlled by Saudi Arabia?

      Has Omar looked into what ISIS says it actually wants? a wahabist state, right ?- and even not far enough. What they plan - according to their own people - is a wholesale purge of Shiites and Christians and, if possible, Kurds and other sects - all for the purpose of establishing a pan-islamic sunni/salafist caliphate . So what now, have they become democratic 'revolutionaries" all of a sudden? member-in-good-standing of the family of nations? lovable freedom fighters? Che Guevaras in the making?

      People who read this calumnious, unctuous piece and nod their heads in agreement here and there (like Donald) should at least pause when they get to this sentence. If that's not a dead-on giveaway of the agenda behind, I don't know what is.

    • Donald, so, you and Omar agree that the ones you refer to as "opposition" (but is really for the most part foreign Jihadists paid and armed by Saudi Arabia/Quatar) are guilty of "crimes against humanity". So, how are you going to hold the saudi and Quatar regimes to account? bring whatever his name - Abdullah or something (hard to keep score of the House of saud members with their 10,000 prices and princesses) to the hague? how about the CIA equipped and managed terrorists in Jordan? who you gonna try for "crimes against humanity"? your own CIA director? Obama?

      I do understand the point here is to draw a false equivalence - Assad = terrorists. wanton cannibal beheaders here - torturer assad there. same thing, right?

      I am however impressed with how impressed you are with the convoluted sophistry employed by "Omar". Again, et me ask - who is Omar? where else has he been published? can we see more of his writings? why do he and tala choose not to engage with commenters here who disagree?

      inquiring minds want to know, that's all.

    • Donald, that critique of the so-called "rebels" (cf. foreign paid terrorists) is just for show. That's what I mean by the Trojan horse argument. You need to look at the entirety of this piece to catch the real agenda. Still, looks like you fell for it and may be that was the goal.

    • Annie, I'm with you on this. I note also the letter on behalf of a UN agency that appeared today. All of this just as Geneva II is moving forward to nowhere.

      I saw some pieces along similar veins in other liberal oriented blogs, all carrying Arabic names. All using this newly coined "activist" lingo as something of a scarlet letter?

      When we see a meme repeated - always in impeccable English - it's time to take note of an agenda behind it. There are great minds behind the scenes composing these articles aiming squarely at the "left". I, for one, would like to see evidence of Omar's other oeuvre prior to this post. If anyone - or Omar himself - can direct me to those, I'd be much obliged.

    • Here is another hit piece from Omar, a true friend to al-quada, and a concern troll for the Syrian people (and to palestinians, of course).

      Same lies, distortions and and talking points promulgated by so-called "liberals" and "friends" to Palestinians, a campaign no doubt by Saudi financed well-oiled "Hasbarbara" campaign.

      I can't believe that Mondoweiss is giving AGAIN! a forum for this sleazy trojan horse - two of them today - without as much as a single nod to those who actually care about the people - Syrian, Palestinian, Kurds, lebanese.

      I said, I thought, all there was for me to say, on the previous propaganda pieces, but here we are again. Will await the smart other commentators who have done so very well to debunk the disingenuous talking points before to step, one more time, into the fray, before stepping into the substance of this post, such as it is.

      Phil, Adam - it is high time for an opposing piece, or is this place becoming another "Gaurdian" that has never seen a color "revolution it did not support?

      What's next? supporting the "revolution" in Ukraine? a country that dared resist the neoliberal agenda? dared to walk away from a trade deal that was bound to hurt the majority of the people?

  • Rejecting collective punishment from Gaza to Syria
    • a pollack, thanks for the zionist POV you so kindly shared with us. We whom you call "assadists" (now that's cute. can I call you a Sharonite? a Yahoo-bot? a kahanist? an neo-Irgunist?*). So, those who object to the israeli-brewed, Saudi-infested, neocon-percolated plan to destroy Syria and its people, are called "Assadists". Well, at least that's a step up from "Hamasniks" I should think, which is how you + ilk liked to label all who dared to claim Gazans were human.
      * Darn, Netanyoo-ite just doesn't have a ring to it. I sure hope Bennett comes to power in that land of the brave, because then we can call your like (ilk?) "Bennettons".

    • JPB: "My point was just that we should admit to ourselves that crimes are occuring, regardless if it happens to be by Israel or by Syria."

      You have just demonstrated something I have been harping on for years Re the absence of hard core commitment in the so-called "left". You are willing to bend over backwards to admit that "crimes are occurring" on both sides. Without recourse to how things started, who is fanning the flames, whose motives were served by injecting this jihadi infestation into Syria, and who is doing the defending against what. If we look at it the way you ask then indeed the Allies committed huge war crimes in WWII, as did the Indians in fighting back against the invading colonists as did the the partisans in France and as Russia did in defending Leningrad. In fact, according to your line of argument, the defenders must "admit" to committing crimes, just as the police must admit to having committed a crime against humanity in turning against the Koresh + followers citadel. Continuing along this vein, almost every police action against any criminal, no matter how atrocious the crime, is in itself a crime "against humanity".

      I - and others - have pointed out that the actions the Syrian army is taking to try to dislodge the murderous jihadists from the civilian population into which they were mysteriously embedded, is more like a police action than a war act. Can you think of a way to rid the camp of the terrorists without some forceful action and a siege? what you SHOULD look at is that the Syrian army has been remarkably patient in trying to force the hands of the terrorists to surrender. Were it Israel, we can rest assured everything would have been bombed to never never land several times over.

      I think you should look a bit more carefully at who exactly are doing the criminal acts and who are the defenders, trying - quite hard - to somehow save the trapped civilians without totally caving in to the hostage takers. Any police or military in the world faced with this kind of situation where a few terrorists take over an entire compound would do what Assad's army is doing, except some would be that much more brutal.

      In addition to that situation of the camp in Lebanon invaded by salafis (and please check what the Lebanese army had to do to bring the situation under control - the entire camp was practically destroyed!), I am reminded of the hostage situation in that Kenyan shopping center. Why is it we don't hear more about the brutality and criminality of the "Kenyan regime"?

    • Also, Walid, I'm sure you noted the interesting timing with the upbeat of violence and fanning of demonstrations in Ukraine. Right before the Sochi games. Putin, who doesn't have a single naive sinew in his body, must realize what's going on and the seriousness of the unfolding threat in Ukraine. The PTBs may be trying a one-two move, what with one front - Syria - wobbling - nothing like opening another right in Russia's backyard.

      I further note that the demonstrators (among whom a certain neo-nazi like right wing party is playing a key role) are enjoying the same "get out of jail" card handed out to the Saudi financed Al-Qaeda Jihadists. Funny how we hear on our MSM only one side of the story. Any story, really.

    • Walid, yes, I should have mentioned Hizbullah as one of the key elements helping the Syrian Army improve its warfare techniques so effectively. Still, I wouldn't discount the Russians, who, after all, learnt a lot of urban and battling irregular Chechen guerillas (at the time, I was all for letting Chechnia go independent and was fiercely critical of what the Russian army has done to Grozny. Alas, when it comes to Chechen extremists we have a textbook case of blow-back. The independence fighters have all but morphed into extreme islamists). Assad was really at sea at the beginning, failing to process what he was up against and with an Army that had no experience fighting serious battles, not to mention the endemic corruption in its officer ranks. Had they been better prepared and more capable in 2011, the "rebels" would have never made the gains they did. But then, none of us realized just how much the neocons of the west + Israel + Saudis + Quatar wanted to actually destroy Syria, and how much money went into building up these terrorist mercenaries to do the proxy battling.

      Actually, I think even the Russians didn't realize how serious the planned "uprising' (cf "color revolution") was. Libya has no doubt shaken them and they must have done some deep analysis of what their geo-political needs are, concluding that Syria must not be allowed to become a failed, violence ripped western/Saudi stooge state. So, sometime back in 2012 they upped their commitment and set about the business of helping pull Assad's oats out of the fire. With Russian commitment, and no doubt special assurances and behind the scenes backing for Hizbullah joing in on the fight, things started to turn around big time. Needless to say, that's when the weird Chemical weapons claims started to show up - right on the heels of successful SAA campaign.

      Taken from the same page, no sooner we have a report from rocket experts that no, that rocket could not have come from government territory (right after Sy Hersh's column too), that we have claims of "summary executions' and demands for war crime trials. photos furnished courtesy of a 'defector" popping up just when convenient. Who was killed, by whom and when doesn't matter. the cacophony of voices in the MSM has sprung into the mandated conclusion, to heck with the facts.

    • These are very good points Walid. I can only wish some others here saw it as clearly as you do.

    • JPB, what israel would or would not have done is beside the point, because there's simply no comparison. I can't believe you'd fall for this simplistic argument - the "what if" part. Israel will do what it's been doing for a long time, and frankly, were they in this situation we already know what they'd do - bomb the entire camp to smitherins and to heck with 'civilians". This bringing in Israel for the purpose of drawing false equivalence is what made me suspicious of this Omar character and is why I called out his disingenuous drivel.

      You need to see Yarmouk for what it is - a hostage situation. With 80-90 Salafi types holding the civilians for ransom. These situations are never easy to resolve and giving in to kidnapers and murderers (which is what the takfiris are) is hardly a solution, is it? this has absolutely nothing to do with human rights and anyone who tries to describe it so is doing it either out of total ignorance or is part pf a propaganda machine trying to infiltrate the palestinian rights supporting sites.

      I urge you to read Omar's and Talal's pieces (as well as that pathetic "Open letter") with the critical eye trained through years of hasbara detection methodologies.

    • Walid, far be it from me to raise Assad to sainthood. I am just saying that he has likely changed quite a bit through this ordeal by fire. As has the Syrian army which has become quite a good fighting force dislodging barbarian hordes from one stronghold after another. Actually, for those who want to follow the Syrian Army progress in cleaning out the islamist mad-men from towns they have eviscerated, there are a few good blogs and news outlets out there that tell the story of the SAA progress quite well. Somewhere along the lines they have learned strategy and tactics. may be the Russian advisors, may be necessity, probably a combination. The tactic they have been deploying recently with considerable success is to get the FSA people (ie the real Syrians) to surrender towns and weapons in return for amnesty. This seems to be working well and helps isolate the cannibal Saudi mercenary crazies.

      I believe that the process of learning good tactics and thinking strategically can change people. For that reason, despite assad's many early mistakes in dealing with the opposition I think that should he be allowed to triumph by the Empire (and they - meaning the west + Turkey may well want to do that) I have an inkling that he will use better tactics and methods negotiating with opposition and ethnic conflicts in a post-invasion Syria. But it's just a hunch, I admit.

    • JPB, I have no idea where you see the slightest 'right' in this Omar anti-Assad propaganda piece. You need to read Walid's points. Those criminally insane Jihadists (80-90 of them plus a few supporting fellow salafists) are holding 20,000 people hostage. They are the ones who wouldn't let help through to the camp and are not willing to negotiate for the departure of the civilians. I think you need to read a bit more widely on what's really going on here. Omar doesn't need to read any more since his gravy train pays him probably not to so he can stay on it.

      I am sure Walid will be glad to repeat the sad tragic tale of the same type of takfiris who took over a Palestinian camp in Lebanon (near Tripoli, was it?), forcing the lebanese army to come in and clean up the infestation. many palestinians were caught in the middle and quite a few innocent people died. The story of Yarmouk is a near -repeat, seems to me. Unfortunately used and promulgated to win propaganda points against the Syrian government. I understand the malevolence of the zio bots all too well. of course they jump on the bandwagon hoping the story will "stick". Of course, the Saudi/Israelis will deploy a few hasbara types to implant sad stories like this, hoping to confuse people. What I don't understand is how naive some people can be (or how determined not to educate themselves about what has really transpired in Syria).

      Walid, if you get to read this before the thread shuts down, could you provide the link to that one detailed expose you did in a comment (well, there was one that struck me as particularly cogent) back when the situation unfolded in lebanon?

    • tokyobk, funny how these photographs surface just before Geneva II. Quite mysteriously too. Even funnier to see who jumps on the bandwagon - why, it's the same group who screamed WMD! from every rooftop, claiming that it was the Syrian government that done it, without a shred of decent evidence. Now that it's becoming obvious that at least one rocket carrying sarin came from Jihadi territory (I refuse to call them "rebels" - that word itself is a whitewash) , the PTB looking to destroy Syria need something else. And Voila! here come some more photos.

      No, I don't think you are naive, tokyobok, in case you wonder. I think you have a core ideology which distorts everything you look at, sometimes making you appear naive, sometimes manipulative, sometimes almost well-meaning (at least to yourself and what you consider your own).

      The case against Assad launching those chemical weapons has all but disintegrated. So they need something else to counter the cannibal beheaders army of saudi sent mercenaries.

    • ToivoS - well stated!

    • Keith, so you think Phil is a stealth imperialist at heart? for what it's worth , I don't think it's so simple in Phil's case. I remember Libya and I must confess that I was sort of for overthrowing Ghadafi myself, at least at the beginning, before i got to do a whole lot more reading on the situation there. I think the problem with copping an opinion about what's really happening in Syria, or was happening in Libya, is that considerable reading of various sources is required to get a view of what was really going on that we never get on the MSM. And most people can't or are just not willing to take the time to learn.

      One thing I did learn about Syria from reading various bloggers and alternative news sources is that this is one heck of a compicated country. Originally carved out by the brits with relatively little regard to natural and human boundaries. The intent there, like in Iraq and Jordan was to keep them forever weak, and the masses forever cowed in ignorance. Seeing how relatively easy it is to ignite even long dormant enmities between eg, shiites and sunnis, and between kurds and everyone else, we should perhaps take the time to understand just why there was such a propensity to rely on "strong men". to rule those countries (propensity on the part of the people, acute desire on the part of the colonial powers, unless it's a real nationalist, in which case it's out the door hit the road).

      As for democracy, we should do well to remember just how much the west (US/America/France) did to prevent anything truly democratic from rising anywhere in the ME. After all, it could bring to power an element the Empire didn't like! may be even someone like Morsi (Islamist! gevalt!)?

      Anyways, I do agree with you that we must never take our eyes off the ball, which rolls ever so briskly to the tune of Empire. It's always there, quite visible, if one cares to put on the proper glasses.

    • Obviously, the one and the same Omar, with slight changes to the last name. One is compelled to ask: are Omar and Talal really "Palestinian activists" or are they so when someone pays the bills?

      I keep saying - looking at the arguments advanced by both personalities - it sure seems like there was some effort behind the scenes to get the "right twist". Annie pointed out that pivot from "human shields" to "if you don't agree then you must be a cast lead zio-supporter'. That caught my eye as well, as I do recall just such tactics used by the Hasbara bots periodically unleashed on this site. The argument line has that funny familiar smell to it, like a slightly pungent deja vu odeur. Though I doubt i'll be able to prove it, something tells me that the training manual used in serving up Omar's piece de resistance was similar to the one consulted (and not so ably regurgitated) but the likes of the late commenter Robert Werdine.

    • One more comment to clarify my position; I believe that Assad has been thoroughly chastised by what happened to his country. Whatever dictatorial impulses he may have inherited, it is quite likely that, should he triumph over the evil-doers, he would institute more than enough reforms to satisfy the real Syrian people who were asking for them. Definitely more so than anything brough in by the crazy barbaric beheading enamored rabble sent in courtesy of one of the most backward, reactionary and barbarian states in the world today (yes, I mean SA with Qatar a runner-up).

    • Omar: "We must cast aside our attachment to neutrality and replace them with unequivocal rejection of anything that comes out of the Syrian regime. We must express in the clearest of terms our support for the millions of Syrians who continue to reside in more than abhorrent circumstances in under-equipped refugee camps where many have died from starvation or piercing cold. "

      This is completely disingenuous statement on Omar's part and I am left wondering who is paying the bills to put up this hash. This is the third post in three days by someone claiming to be sympathetic to the Palestinians", using the same stock picture of the girl in the blue hijab, and making the same arguments we hear ad nauseum on our MSM.

      I believe there is a campaign going on, funded by Saudi to co-opt the tragic story of the palestinians for extremely dubious ends. Assad, for one has been rather good to the palestinian before the western/saudi/israeli conspiracy took shape to try and destroy Syria, as part of a rearrangement of the Middle east, per the neoconservative/Likud textbook prescription.

      I, for one am not neutral and am hoping for a speedy victory by the Syrian armed forces over the terrorists and jihadists that infested their country. This is by far the only thing that would help the Syrian people as well as the palestinians. We should support the millions of Syrian people who are paying a horrible price for this truly barbaric invasion of their country that's trying to undermine one of the few secular governments in the ME.. There is absolutely no indication that the majority of Syrians have any interest in establishing a wahabist/ultra-Islamist/Salafist regime and the behavior of the foreign terrorists sent in and paid for by Bandar--Bush-Likud have the slightest interest in democratic reforms or have the interests of the Syrian people at heart.

      I have really serious doubts about this posts and why it shows up pouring a reactionary message at this time, just before geneva. Could it be that as military victories elude them the Jihadists have turned to the tried and true hasbarbara? If anyone doubts that there is an agenda here, note where the piece starts and where it ends. from tug-on-heart-strings to "regime change" in the space of a few well crafted paragraphs. Does the tactic not look familiar somehow?

      That said, I don't think Omar and the previous posters are naively deluded into thinking they are helping the Palestinian residents (the civilians) os yarmook. I happen to believe they know what they are doing and are part of a well-coordinated effort to spread lies that serve a purpose very different than what is ostensibly portrayed here. Again, I will take note of the excellent English and the well-devised, calculated points, now repeated - in a slightly different package - for the third time. I can only hope that people will see through the craft and the feigned sympathy to catch the glow of the demons behind it all. I know people reading this blog are smart cookies all and trust their judgement to see the agenda, as couched as it seems to be at first.

      An aside: the Syrian government let some aid into the camp, after being fired on by terrorist snipers. The condition is that it be available to the civilians and not to the evil tones now terrorizing the camp's residents. Whether that can be arranged I don't know. Hopefully the Palestinians will ultimately be able to kick out the Salafi nut-cases and go on with their lives. What's going on in Syria is not their fight, but unfortunately an islamist terror regime can and already does affect their fortunes adversely.

      Also, let me express the hope Adam and Phil will not again fall for these disingenuous attempts to infiltrate the site with false pleas for sympathy. Nothing good can come of entering the Syrian fray at this point for the human right causes we all believe in.

  • 'Palestinian liberation incomplete without the liberation of all'--a statement on the siege of Yarmouk
    • Walid, I second W. Jones. Won't you consider a front page post for MW collating all the good information you have been giving out here? I think it would be more valuable than searching through scores of comments?

      I think the site desperately needs another voice to counter the propaganda lines disseminated by now three posts. You would be the best person to do it, IMO. And yes, I know it's trouble...but perhaps just staple together your selected comments?

    • Walid, I have been reading some of the same things but you are always bringing new information to light, for which I thank you. One can only hope more would be willing to process reality instead of fantasies. I still think though the deliberate promulgation an/or acceptance of misconceptions is due to a strange reluctance ton the part of some otherwise well meaning people to learn more about the situation in Syria (ie, when it's not deliberate propaganda). Perhaps it's just too complicated for the great western minds?

    • I agree with other posters here - Taxi, Walid, ToivoS - this is basically an attempt at infiltration and a cynical co-opting of the Palestinian tragic narrative for extremely dubious ends.

      Seeing that this is one of three posts just in the past 2 days - all written in impeccable English - can't help but wonder - who is paying for this campaign?

      I do hope people who read this will take the trouble to find out what's really happening at Yarmook Camp, which was effectively overtaken by Jihadi Terrorists who are holding the civilians there hostage.

      The Syrian government has been more than generous to the Palestinians over many decades when few others were. But given the huge amount of money dropped by the saudis and Quataris to fuel the destruction of Syria, it's no wonder that there will be some Palestinians who will fall for this. But, like Taxi and walid know - along with many others, bandar bin moron is far from a real friend to the Palestinians. He and the despotic tyranical monarch he serves have made more than one deal with Israel and perhaps they are now receiving the benefits in the form of a carefully staged "Saudi Hasbarbara".

      What the palestinian civilians in yarmook need to do is to hand over the Jihadi/salafists terrorizing their camp to the Syrian authorities and join in the campaign to clean up Syria of these brutal miscreants.

  • While you were neutral about Yarmouk
    • ToivoS to Austin. Ditto. Sad here too. Hard for mere right to compete with might, and what the empire is offering is mighty indeed. Don't we know that...

    • Iproyect,

      Another new poster sent here no doubt specially for this occasion. Islamophobia, eh? pray do tell - can you support the contention?

      But wait - here's a new one! linking the "palestinian solidarity" circles and the malaise thereof to Baathism. Wow - we must have hit rock bottom in our hasbara...

      BTW, you should try to cover your tracks a bit better, or at least hide the pay master behind the curtain.

    • Keith, tell it like it is (so I don't have to).

    • Austin, there is no other way for police or an army to deal with an extreme hostage situation than asiege. Please note that the Syrian army has been a heck of a lot more patient than the police who staked out the Koresh compound in the US or the lebanese army that entered the palestinian camp to evict similarly crazy terrorists.

      You label walid and ToivoS "Assadists" 9for all intents and purposes. Does that mean you can be labeled a terror supporter for arguing the case of terrorists? not that i do so because I have no idea where you are coming from. but I urge you to read more widely on the Yarmouk camp situation rather than accepting as fact the obvious western/Saudi/Israeli generated propaganda to which we have all been subjected.

      one more: you do know that Chemical attack on Ghoutta was perpetrated by the so-called "rebels", right? that seems to now be a forgone conclusion, which is why no one is talking about it any more. So, given that these illustrious 'revolutionaries' were all too willing to kill scores of people in the interest of propaganda victory, where do you stand in your opinion about these creatures and their well oiled and monied promoters?

    • UshPhe - the siege on the palestinian camp would be better understood as police action dealing with a hostage situation. This is very similar to what happened in Lebanon couple years ago when salafists entered a Palestinian camp and effectively kept the civilians hostage, mounting a violent insurrection in favor of some crazy form of Islam. Negotiations with the Lebanese army failed and the Army ended up entering the camp to take on the terrorists, unfortunately causing massive destruction along the way, before sending them to their heavenly fate. Civilians - many of them were caught in this situation and quite a few died. walid knows a lot about what happened there and you can look back through his comments history to find out the details.

      Similarly, the terrorist attack on the mall in Kenya led to a long stand-off with the police who again, mounted a siege trying to starve out the terrorists, ending up blowing up big portions of the mall in the attempt to free the remaining hostages and overcome the terrorists. Yes, many hostages died in process - and the air still has not cleared about what really happened there. So where were you UshPhe when some wailing about an unfair siege was needed there? this was not even all that long ago!

      Other similar cases: the siege on the Koresh compound in Texas - used largely similar tactics to what the Syrian Army is now using, starting with a protracted siege. This time, the situation was made worse by the fact that the hostages were willing ones, members of a cult. But were the children willing too? Again, and most unfortunately, the end was not good, and continues to serve as rallying cry for many on the right to this day (I am not taking a position on the police methods in that case, but suspect that with a little more patience perhaps the outcome could have been less costly to lives, and may be something a little clever could have been done to save at least more of the children. But I'm no hostage situation genius and clearly it's all hindsight now).

      There are numerous situations of such difficult hostage situations where terrorists take hold of a large camp or area, forcing the police or the military to resort to siege to try and force the terrorists into the open. remember the Chechens who took over the theatre in Moscow? that sure was awful. All the terrorists died but so did many perfectly innocent people? brutal tactics? may be - but it can't have been easy to come up with a better life-sparing solution.

      Fact is, we do not know how and who injected the heavily armed terrorists into the palestinian camp and have little idea of who they are and who paid them to commit the barbarous acts of which they stand accused. probably the Saudi money was behind it just as it is behind all the crazy-mad Jihadis and foreign mercenaries. Probably quite a few indigenous Syrian so-called "rebels" are on the payroll as well. may be some palestinian camp residents were talked into supporting the 'cause' pathetic as it is. Fact is, most of the camp's residents left long ago - aided by the Syrian government forces, many becoming doubly refugees now, with unclear prospects as to when and if they can return. The people who were left behind probably tried to tough it out but are now prevented from leaving by the criminal gang holding the camp. Unfortunately we get very few reports from people inside the camp who are not terrorist sympathizers, so no one knows exactly what's going on. what we do know however is that the Syrian army has been quite patient in letting the situation continue, no doubt in the interest of avoiding too many casualties. Obviously, they could have stormed the camp any time, just as the lebanese army did but chose not to do so. Worried about collateral damage, bad publicity and quite possibly, loss of innocent life.

      With this very difficult situation, there is clearly a concerted attempt to turn an act of sheer terror into a propaganda victory for the Saudi/Israeli/neocon side, as evidenced by this truly transparent piece of shilling by Talal et al sent here to comment. The hypocrisy behind yours and some of the other commenters here is bone chilling. OTOH, I am very glad to see that others, more informed minds are battling this propaganda gambit, quite ably if I may say so. Bandolero's and Keith's comments and links are especially appreciated as are Annie's and many others. What we have is nothing short of a new Hasbara war on our hands, this time trying to co-opt the Palestinian tragedy to very dubious ends. Not unexpectedly, there'll be some who may fall for the tactic, but thankfully most of the commenters are too smart not to recognize a cynical ploy when they see one, and have had lots of experience battling back the best good old hasbara had to throw at them.

      One final note f wonderment: couldn't help but notice that Talal, Omar, UshPhe and several others who support the destruction of Syria by malevolent collusion of forces arrayed against the people of that country, are new to this blog. One may be tempted to ask - if they care so much for Palestinian rights - where have they been all this time? not one of the previous 10,000+ posts on MW ever tweeked their interest? just Syria? just all of a sudden before Geneva? what other blogs have they posted on? does anyone has post history for Talal for example - other places where he shared his writings? please share if you know, anyone.

  • Israeli champion of 'tolerance and multiculturalism' suggests medal of honor for army torturer
    • OlegR - Ron Arad was a war criminal as are most israeli pilots who killed indiscriminantly men women and children. As are the israeli regime rulers and most of the commanders in its criminal colonialist army (known otherwise as IDF). I would rather see a murderer like this Artad person hauled in front of an international court rather than be killed. In any case, whatever Dirani was guilty of pales by comparison to evil people like "captain george" or, for that matter, people like Ron Arad who were no doubt "just following orders". ideally, lebanon would have had a proper Air Force and anti aircraft defense that would have shot Arad's plane down more conclusively and no one would suggest that this was not an act of self-defense.

      In any case the noises israeli make about someone like Arad are truly puzzling. he was a trained killer who could navigate a plane, and had the moral fiber of the Huns and the Conquistadors. so it's really hard to feel sorry that there was one fewer of them. Of course, the Spanish Inquisitors who followed the conquistadors would have been much worse than good old george, surely (and no doubt georgie-boy wishes he could have only been more effective using Spanish instruments of torture rather than mere batons).

      As for Dirani, it's good that he sued. His biggest error was to hand over Arad to others. They should have tried him upon capture and provided the same courtesy extended by the IDF to Palestinian children.

  • Happy new year from Mondoweiss
    • And may 2014 herald the long awaited ROS (Return-of-Mooser)... those 90.000 comments are just not the same without you.

      Cheers and HNY to all absentees too. Once a favorite, always a favorite - present or absent - for good reasons, not-so-good and no reasons at all.

    • Happy New Year to all resident Hasbara Trolls too!

      Without you the Comments board would not be what it is (honest! we need you...well. some of you - like 2-3 would be enough? IDF hasbara unit - please hold some back for a rainy day, OK? like fnlevit (of the no fun-low-wit fame...), may be? Let's admit it - the trolls may suck up some O2 but they sure deliver CO2 and sulphuric acid rain aplenty. Yes, the environment gets toxic sometimes - but what a clean-up crew! wow! (not enough space here for all the great minds lurking herein and I'd sure hate to leave any out. So no names - for now...).

      And while on the topic of trolls - there are those we see and those we [mercifully] don't. hail to the chiefs and EHNY (Extra Happy New Year) to all the hard working Mods. Atta boys and girls...

      And Phil, Adam, Annie, Alex, Allison et al - can we pretty please have the green highlights back? we have been so good! and it was so hard to be so!

    • Page: 18
  • Indiana scholars say their school presidents are wrong on boycott
    • You shouldn't be surprised, OlegR. Most scientists/engineers show little, if any, interest in political affairs. Or matters of Ethics. Not their department, right?

      When was the last time you ran into, say, an electrical engineering professor, who knew more than the average person in the street about US domestic politics? or showed the slightest interest/know-how on foreign policy?

      Besides, an increasingly larger fraction of all US scientists/engineers in academia are Asian, with a smaller hailing from east Eurpean countries (including Russia). Of these, the former are notoriously impervious to political issues in general, whether or not they involve questions of Ethics. And the latter, if somewhat more knowledgeable about European history (as they would be if they received early education in their home countries), are often aligned with the more right wing of the spectrum (no, I don't mean Libertarian. immigrants of all levels are generally ignorant of that stream in the American political landscape).

      The more interesting news, if you want to call it that, OlegR, is that the number of native American Jewish academics in the Sciences has precipitously declined over the past 2 decades, other than Computer sciences and mathematics, and perhaps, Biotechnology etc. Such people with jewish heritage in fields as material sciences, Electrical Engineering, Physics and the like have increasingly been immigrants (including from Israel). Jewish or not, the ignorance and disinterest in all matters political remains true for the vast majority of men/women of science.

      May be they are just too "nerdy' to care?

  • Guilty on Christmas
    • Contradictions are the very essence of the "New Jewishness" that Phil seems to be embracing. Which really is more like "New Humaness". Like anything based on Free Thinking, contradictions will abound, because they are endemic to human nature. Yet, an enlightened "nature" will take a bit from nurture and a bit from the environment, and lots from a growing and changing self to make a complete individual. The nurture may be in the past and the parts played by Heritage difficult to separate out but it is the job of an evolving Self, to sort the ingredients, recombine the chopped pieces and let it all simmer into a fine goulash - full of contradictory tastes, yet fit for consumption, and then some. Those who try to store the Goulash, adding not a few preservative traditions to keep it from turning altogether stale, may find that it will never taste as good as one made fresh, full of newly conflicting tastes and smells.

      Alas, the worst contradiction of them all lies within the self itself, forever living in the shadow of its own eventual demise, deep thoughts, beloved traditions and great intentions notwithstanding. And therein lies the greatest contradiction of them all, one shared by each and every member of the human species, compared to which what's a little Jewishness? or Catholicness? or, for that matter, assimilation?

  • Gaza is the only place the world forgets about (or pretends to forget about)
    • "They can only blame themselves ..." is what the guards said at the concentration camps too. The israeli plan for Gaza is clear - what we are seeing is something far beyond ethnic cleansing. It is a slow strangulation of an entire people, while the evil-doers a stone throw away, wash their hands and say, "who, we? blame hamas!".

      Every israeli who pretends to care about anything at all is guilty. Far more guilty than the German people were at the time. Because nowadays, the information is out there, at one's finger tips and the eye's edge. One cannot say 'but we didn't know!".

      The incredibly tragic truth is that just about all israelis know exactly what they are up to in gaza. And many only wish that it would "end' already, however the "end" happens. Or, if they have no strength for wishing on a star (of david?) they just don't care. And that tells you all one needs to know about who and what they are.

      And right along with the israelis and their hard spinning co-ideologues outside, the world also pretends that gaza is already on the dust bin of history. The beautiful souls of the world move about their do-goodism business, as if gaza does not and never did exist. It is not our business, the good people of the world shrug. And the few who made it their business get mysteriously killed, or smeared, or exiled, or silenced.

      This story, the life of Gazans is hearty-breaking, but NormanF laughs all the way to the park, where he gets to munch on a bagel while watching for his very own much promised rainbows. Because the likes of NormanF, whoever he is, have had nothing to do with "it", after all. It must be hamas (that israel created so it can have a boogey-man) or that Egyptian Junta Israel so kindly helped bring to power, right?

      Later, NormanF, or one just like him, will ask - "but what about the Syrian refugees"? and the loud echo from the civilized continents will reply - "yes, what about them?".

  • Senior faculty have 'intimidated' junior faculty who supported boycott measure, ASA caucus says
    • jeffb - Ellen hartman is a poster person for the israeli Lobby and, indeed, for the corruption that lobbies are, in general. She illustrates why money wins elections, not that she - an outed spy and an agent for a foreign government that is quite anti-American - should have even be allowed to go free, much less stand for elections.

      jane harman is what corruption of the US government system looks like. I wouldn't shake hands with her if you paid me to.

    • Question - is Eisgruber jewish? how many of the donations to princeton are from jewish donors/alumni? and, most importantly - do people really want us to start asking these kind of questions?

      because if we do, we might find out stuff. And then what?

      Your comment Ellen about that israeli agent Harman (who should have been in jail for treason, actually, given what she did as an anti-American agent) is interesting. If ASA BDS starts bringing out all these shadow connections out into the open - the backlash may end up giving itself a whiplash.

    • jon s - I bet those academics who want to be considered "Israelis" (ie border-line fascist apartheid supporters) have never been particularly caring about being American in the first place. or worse - perhaps they never internalized what American values really are, at heart, enough not so, that they can't view palestinians as human. Academics or not. I say, let the intellectual fifth column pretenders out themselves - why not? saves the rest of us the trouble.

      Long live ASA and the human rights movement!

  • ASA members vote 2-1 for academic boycott of Israel
    • Allan, it's the precise number of the Haredi that's closely guarded. As is the number of the palestinian residents of israel, BTW. So all we have are estimates. The 50% figure is for all the religious sects combined - and I believe I may be conservative here. If not for the Russian influx (of which more than 1/3 were not erven jewish) the Ashkenazi secular would already be down to something like 30% of the jewish population. As it is, they can still claim a 40%n representation in the population, but that one is going down fast.

      The number I just recently read is that over 50% of kindergartners in israel now go into the religious education system. That should be indicative of where the country is heading.

      Also BTW, I did not count in my percentage those who are "merely" observant. Most of those tend to be more nationalistic than the average secular. So, add those to the numbers.

      As to the political parties - the religious and ultra-religious distribute their votes among many parties - quite a few members of the Likud for example are religious (though not haredi). Check out the distribution of the different parties in israel - should be quite an enlightening exercise.

      I do expect that sometime in the next decade we'll see the first religious israeli PM. A few will make their way to the higher ranks in the military as well. No, they won't be haredi, but may be something that's even worse. Naftali Bennet is just a canary in the mines. Hope you get to enjoy the show about to be unveiled.

    • Allan, it is you who is ignorant - the haredi are now over 20% (exact percentage is a closely guarded state secret)of the people in israel and, depending on sect, some have turned quite nationalist - in a biblical sense. It's only one sect the neturei karta which does not recognize israel. To the ultra-orthodox (haredi) you should add the not-quite-so-black-coats who are the orthodox, usually allied with mizrahi and they are quite nationalistic in a very authocratic sense (how many turned out for that ayatollah Ovadia guy's funeral? 700,000? did you notice all the black coats by any chance?). To this you should add the ultra-nationalist religious, American influenced who are allied with the settlers. In tot, that makes over 50% of the people. And almost all of these want an israel ruled by sharia law (oops, did I mean halacha? ouch it's all these lower case letters. Confusing...). And that's what i meant by counter-enlightenment.

      really, Allan (see?/ upper case!!) you should check into the pedigree of the state you so support.

      BTW, should halacha be upper case or lower? what about sharia? what about ayatollah? oh my, but for a few good editors...

    • Allan, singling out israel is perfectly legitimate since it singles out itself - and not just by its actions. israel is a country way worse than Iran which is subjected to extreme sanctions - promoted by Israel.

      israel is, in fact, one of the most dangerous countries in the world when it comes to threatening peace. A look at their words and actions just in the past year should be convincing enough. Contemplating their nuclear arsenal and where exactly those warheads are aimed is another. No better way to defang an increasingly crazy, theocratically minded and soon-to-be--despotic state actor than BDS. Alas, I wish only that BDS was applied far more broadly, universally and sooner rather than later. In fact, one could say once a broad-based sanctions regime is instituted against this madcap apartheid state, there are a few others lining up behind it, ready to stand in the dock. Among which Saudi Arabia is near the head of the line (as soon as it becomes clear, if it isn't yet, that they are already well past their peak oil production phase).

      At the end of the day, we all need to decide whether enlightenment is here to stay or whether it was just a phase, as we role things back to the Middle Ages - where over a third of israel's population dwells (yes, i am referring to the black coats + like-minded allied nationalists).

    • nabokov,

      Some of us are already boycotting israeli products (when they are marked as such), israeli performers (especially when we feel like not going anyways), israeli airlines (good thing that - way too much security for those of us who like to show up at the last minute plus I have to sneak in my milk for lunchtime coffee due to all the silly kosher stuff) and collaborations with israeli companies and individuals (within reason; There are a couple of people I really like to collaborate with, so I defined them as 'exceptions"). This not to mention the hebrew language and certain israeli cultural thingies I'm intent on forgetting.

      So, you see, boycott can be a very personal thing - we all basically boycott what we can.

      As for israeli drug companies, I'd have to look into which multi-national bought them and what are the clinical trial practices in israel (say with regard to animal care). Also, I might take a look at the photo of the CFO, before deciding whether I really needed that one drug. If Intel chose to erect yet another center in israel (out of the 10's they have around the world) well, that's just opportunism on intel's part and the day may come when boycott calls will be extended to companies like Intel for choosing to put up facilities in a country that believes and practices supremacy, ethnic cleansing and whatever is to follow those.

  • Apartheid lives on in Israel, rampant, disguised, and despised -- says 'Le Monde' correspondent
    • Hostage,

      My apologies if I misunderstood your intent. I don't always read as closely as I should, and jumping to conclusions is my favorite form of exercise. I will re-read your comment more carefully.

      My second set of notes took on the word "hafrada" (didn't come up, as of yet), to which I object based on the fact that israelis at least it means any number of things, so it gives them a chance to weasel out of any attempt to broaden - or legalize - a preferred definition.

    • On another note (or five) to Hostage:

      To the best of my knowledge, Hafrada, in hebrew means, simply "separation". The Israelis use it, however, as a cover , imbuing it with 10 thousand different meanings, depending on the speaker's inclinations or proclivities. To them it's spoken as a code, meaning whatever they want it to mean, just like so many words and passages in the old testament. To some, "hafrada' is a sanitized nomer for establishing a caste system. One where the indigenous people, Palestinians in this case, become for all intents and purposes, untouchables. A leftist may speak the word with secret intensity, churning it over in his/her private laundromat, until neither stain nor garment are left. The rightist will say it, winking as best they can, to mean sequestering the palestinians (and to some extent, other non-Jews) in ghettos, as a prelude to outright expulsion (basically waiting for a moment of the world's inattention). The centrists mean, more simply, old-fashioned bantustans, a geographically-defined containment system. And many religious mean expulsion - with or without the preceding ghettoization phase, as long as it's sooner rather than latter, and as long as the "noise" is manageable.

      We, simple-minded dwellers of other, not so holy lands, ones not so well-versed in either legal subtleties of verbiage, or code-speak of the [self] chosen, prefer to use that simple word 'apartheid". To us, it's a perfectly excellent catch-word for all the imaginative scenarios that "hafrada' labors to hide. Apartheid certainly means something well beyond mere 'separation" of the ethnically challenged. It can mean, for example, a system of outright division of humans into more and less desirable, with the intent - spoken or not - of keeping the latter in a permanently subjugated state. Not unlike the apt descriptions given by the late, much lauded rabbi Ovadia. To whom great 'wisdom' was attributed with no small number of scholarly pearls. Including the pearl sanctioning a n outright caste system, where the "undesirables' become also "untouchables'. Which is, kind of, what "hafrada" means to many in Israel, be they one of the 700,000 who attended the august Ovadia's funeral or not.

      The short of it - "apartheid" is a fine word to use for that which many of us find repellant, whether it's more like jim Crow south or south africa. It goes without saying that the situation in israel is not quite the same as in South Africa because no two places are ever exactly alike. What matters is that the negative connotations bundled in the word 'apartheid' are part and parcel of what is conveyed. A negation of some humans in favor of another. So while we may not all have UN definitions at our finger-tips, and are not always as linguistically discerning as we should be, we may be forgiven a little imprecision now and then. Besides, recognizing that intent can be more fluid than rigid definitions, apartheid will not be the first or last word to acquire meanings that go beyond and besides attachment to an original birthplace.

    • Hostage, you have been fighting tooth and nail against using the word 'apartheid" to describe Israeli policies - stated or not - for lo these many years. You are now suggesting the hebrew word 'hafrada' as more appropriate, if I get your drift. So, as one who doesn't always know what to ask, I ask nonetheless, why would you be so fiercely opposed to use of one mere word, even going as far as to suggest another, an occupier sanitized version, to describe that which we all agree is abhorrent?

  • The woman on the plane
    • Shmuel, the jewish "identity beyond religion" is, fundamentally, a tribal one (though some may quibble, and say it's culture, or ethnicity. But to a simpleton like me, it just sounds tribal). And that is kind of what Atzmon was talking about, dubbing this concept "Jewish-ness (a word that, alas, was already taken, hyphen notwithstanding). Of course, Atzmon went on to label this entity an "ideology", which is where I part ways with him, since I reserve that word for things a bit more political.

      Now, the woman-on-the-plane's reference to "orthodox Jewish" was an interesting choice of words. To me that starts to at least suggest where the problem might be with israel - cf., more of a cult rather than mere tribe. I say that because i can easily see using such a wording in other contexts, say "orthodox mormon", or "orthodox christian' (oops, that's already taken too, darn). Also, because sometimes it seems as if the israeli being (whatever that is) forever attempts to pressure other jews-in-the-world to join the cult, even as those "other jews" (-in-the-world) prefer to just stay a happy little tribe tied together rather loosely with a rather stretchy string. Funny tribe too - with multiple, often conflicting ideologies. Cults OTOH, tend to lose the comedy (come to think of it, did we ever see a Mormon comedian?).

      A few new good words is all we need, I says. Perhaps, MRW's suggested reading could help?

  • Corasanti responds to Abulhawa: My purpose in writing 'The Almond Tree' was to shine a light on Palestinian suffering and help bring about peace
  • 'NYT' article on Palestinian refugees manages to quote Israeli govt spox but no Palestinians
    • I'd like to add my voice to tree and others who pointed out that fnlevits is engaging in outright Nakba denial, which I believe is a banning offense, per the comment guidelines. haven't seen that so obviously expressed in quite a while.

      For the sake of consistency he should be sanctioned forthwith. I see little point in engaging with someone who holds such odious views. What he does - rather typically - is certainly on par with the worst of Holocaust denialists. Interestingly, he doesn't even try to hide his racist supremacist colors behind some false sophistication, like Hophmi was so keen on doing. There is obviously little point in engaging with such on the merits since there aren't any,

      It's time.

  • Palestinians increasingly concerned Jordan may be given control of West Bank in future deal
    • Walid, you are right on that one point - only marc himself can interpret what his own position is vis-a-vis a "Jordanian option" and "normalcy". I am actually surprised he chooses never to engage with anyone here, if only to correct misconceptions about his positions. May be we are not "academic" enough for him, or may be we are just low on some theological totem pole. After all, I never did see a comment (mine included) that showed genuine willingness to engage on the "prophetic" concept. Or the "exilic" for that matter. Or, what's more likely, not everyone can or wants to take the time to engage with some commenters on an on-line blog.

      I still happen to think however that he is more worried than accepting of a capitulation by Palestinians for the sake of "normalcy'. I note that in his previous post he specifically mentioned that such an a"agreement" (ie capitulation) will likely pull the rugs from underneath Jews of Conscience too, not just the palestinian civil society's call for BDS. I thought that comment was interesting on its own as it discloses, perhaps inadvertently, the weakness underlying the premise of universal right advocacy. It would lead someone like me, a decidedly not a person of faith, to ask - is "concsience" really such a toothless, inconsequential aspect in human affairs that a small wind, a little huff and puff, is enough to blow it all away?

      Yes, the palestinians have every right to lead the way in the battle for their own rights. But if the "other side", the brutish adversary, finds a way to cordon them all off - mentally and physically, must we all stop the fight for rights, including those they were forced to renounce in the face of torture and pressure?

      To me, this is a really important question, as it has to do with my continuing puzzlement over the relative silence from the people of conscience (including jewish ones) with regards to the intolerable situation of Palestinians in Gaza. Where are the great voices of the left when children there must wade through sewage to get to school? when fishermen are shot and power stations go dark? yes, we have posts on MW - but where else? where is Peter Beinart? where is Medea Benjamin (yes, I know she does outstanding job advocating against those horrid drones raining on powerless people in remote lands)? where is Bill Moyers? and where, oh where are the interfaith groups?

      Israel. for its part takes good notice of that silence, the effective shut-down of any and all debate about the extreme injustice of shutting people off in an internment camp (if not quite concentration camp, at least not quite yet). from the ubiquitous silence, Israel infers that "conscience" has its limits, and can be managed, if not entirely ignored. From that the great minds of israel seek to draw lessons about the west bank and jerusalem. In the end, it's what you can get away with, isn't it?

      And that's where my issue is with what I see as Marc Ellis' position - if he is willing to concede defeat and fold up his "Jews of Conscience" tent at the first sign of the ill wind of defeatism in the Palestinian street, what is there for the great leaders of the "Jewish" state to worry about?

      Whether or not Marc chooses to take anyone on here, I think he should clarify his own take on these matters somewhere, sometime.

    • Walid, you are misrepresenting marc Ellis' position when you call it "selling". Nowhere did he in any way indicate he would be OK with a "Jordanian option". Quite the opposite. His position appears one of apprehension at the machinations behind the scene, feverishly working to weaken palestinian resolve and civil societies.

      What he worries about - and you should worry too - is that Abbas, a putative, unelected "representative" of the palestinians is perfectly capable of selling out the palestinian interests for the sake of "economic peace". behind Abbas is a cadre of palestinian well-to-do's who are increasingly alienated from the Palestinian masses who are doing all the suffering. fact is, fayyad and Abbas are able to get through check points rather swiftly. they can look around in ramallah and not see any olive trees being uprooted in Area B or the expulsion of palestinians from Area C, jerusalem and the jordan valley.

      Ever it was so that the more well-to-do are relatively easy to convince that "land doesn't matter" and that reality is what it is. Comfort has a strange way of erasing revolutionary zeal - just look around at the US economic landscape, which betrays a decided turn towards neo-feudalism.

      Obviously, what marc has been hearing (and he is far from the only one hearing rumors about the upcoming "interim" peace) comes from well within the Palestinian civil society, and in particular, segments that are more faith oriented,, since that's the conference he went to. You can't take away from him that he heard murmors because I am hearing them too, and am way on the outside (of faith, if not society).

      if you look again at Marc's piece from yesterday you'll see the despair behind the scenes. After all, any interim "agreement" by Abbas and cohorts will come with pressure on Palestinian activists and the many people of conscience outside Palestine to abandon BDS, to abandon the quest for human rights, to turn from the fight for Palestinian statehood in the interest of "normalcy". hFar from supporting the jordanian "option" he fears the wedge that even waving around such options comes wrapped in. That it is israel brandishing this latest weapon in an increasingly depleted arsenal is beside the point. But we should pay attention to the many creative ways - new and old - israel, and rabid "friends" abroad, come up with in this 40+ year long campaign to crush the palestinian spirit.

  • The current round of talks leads inevitably to... the Jordanian option
    • Sibriak, good highlights from the links.

      Alas, this is indeed what the so-called "peace talks' are moving towards. An annexed Area C, all palestinians herderded into areas A and [some of] B (note that the settlers are encroaching on parts of Area B too). No jerusalem. No jordan valley. No plaestinian state except as a nonsensical "confederacy" with "Jordan".

      So, did the greater israel project win - as marc Ellis seems to fear?

      That is the question. The answer is unfortunately, probably yes.

      Did jews of Conscience lose? that is the trick question isn't it?

  • Goldberg's 'willingness to accuse everyone of anti-semitism makes it impossible to respect [him]'
    • Shorter Krauss:

      Zionism can make you stupid (and does).

      My add - the relationship seems strangely proportional: more zionism, more stupid. I wonder if it's a straight line or a quad curve. Need more points!

      otherwise, another good comment Krauss (you must be on a roll...).

  • Real estate, racism, and righteousness -- a grim visit to Israel
    • That was a good essay, jon s and yes, a bit on the lengthy side.

      I am not sure you'd agree with the direction of the essay, though. Which kind of points out that the spirit of real Judaism got lost in israel BECAUSE it has no separation between religion and state. My paraphrase, if israel doesn't watch out it is at serious risk of becoming a great shtetl. Of course, the essay ends on a more positive note - but essays have to do that sometimes, especially if they are that long.

      You might want to take a look at Avigail Abarbanel's comment in the talk backs. It's interesting, to say the least.

    • I think your 20 year prediction, Krauss, is close enough to the mark. It will take that long for the current cohort of children educated in the religious systems to come of age, join the army and have their concerns and affinities reflected in the electoral rolls. The reverberations will, however be felt sooner - within less than a decade I believe because Israel's all-out Neoliberal policies will exacerbate the social, educational and religious divisions - as we are already seeing. the face of israel that will be out there following the next election will be worse than Netanyahoo's current government, and the one following that will be worse still. people like Avigdor Liberman will become the rule, not the exception. More and more high ranking military will derive from the ranks of the religious, something that is already happening.

      While this is going on, the traditional jewish establishment in the US will be forced to align itself with an increasingly theocratic state, in the face of its traditionally liberal rank and file. The shake-ups, hand wringing and desperation will become more pronounced and less rational sounding, even as the younger jews will continue to peel away.

      What of the palestinians? what indeed. like you say, Phil fears the violent cataclisms of Algeria. I tend to agree with you that intifadas will become harder and harder to mount under apartheid. Israel is not France of the 50's and 60's, and we should do well to remember that. Truly, the one - and perhaps only - thing palestinians can do is persevere and keep advertising their plight. The tale of israelis vs palestinians is not just a land grab by one and rebelion by the other. It is certainly not a mere religious conflict. It is a moral tale where jewish people - in israel and outside it - will find themselves in the wrong - as it already is. And that realization, one that gets more and more play everywhere, is slowly seeping into the israeli - and jewish supporters' consciousness. Eroding something from within, An old cohesion of ethical attitudes, one that is seen as considerably more jaundiced than we thought.

      Thus must the palestinians wait, as events and outside them transform their blood enemy into a full blown Golem, one the rest of the world will no longer be able to abide. As they wait - taking their blows, almost unbearably forbearing of their suffering, the palestinians continue to speak up, make song and film, write and demonstrate against the injustices inflicted upon them, where and however they can. Converting the conscientious of the world to their cause, including many jews.

      In the end, it is not only the difference between france in Algeria and israel in Palestine that we must bear in mind. It is also that the palestinians are not American Indians, not Philipinos and certainly not Tibetans (though each and all mounted valiant resistance to their forced subjugation and/or assimilation). Palestinians are people made from another cloth, one that has fierce memory weaved into it. A memory that cannot be killed no matter how hard the israelis try. This is what drives the israelis absolutely bonkers - the knowledge that Palestinians match them, one for one, in the power of memory - collective and individual. neither people forget their dead. neither forgets a displacement, no matter how long in the past. The jews of israel have forged - unintentionally, of course, their own nemesis on the moral battlefield. The world has yet to fully process this amazing turn of historical events - that the jews, those people whose stock in trade was collective memory woven through and through with colorful alternating yarns of victimhood and morality, have finally met their match.

      I think Phil and the rest of us need to hold on to that thought, as an antidote to despair.

    • Krauss, that was a really good post, and i tend to agree with you on the dire prognosis. Indeed, the problem for israelis is ultimately internal - especially as, like you say, they are very good at walling themselves off from the rest of the world.

      Like you I pointed out the increase in the religious component of Israel as the key wedge. That's what will ultimately separate it not just from the world but from its own founding myths. On one side, the haredim who are growing more muscular in their demands as their relative numbers explode. On the other side, the national orthodox (resting primarily on mizrahi populations) represented by Shas etc. who are growing ever more nationalistic. And there, no longer on the fringe are the religious nationalists that formed the backbone of the settler movement. between these three movements, each of which has their schools, segregated from each other and from the secular ones, Israel will have a clear majority of religious jewish population, most of whom will be less than sufficiently well educated for the modern world, less well inclined towards palestinians and otheir own disadvantaged groups (like ethiopians) and generally more fanatic in how they view israel's right to lord over the entire land. It is from their ranks that future leadership of israel will come, with the Russians increasingly marginalized as their relative numbers decline.

      israel at the moment can still present a secular face to the world, a face that hides the terrible divisions within its society, allowing lying liberal language to paper over the horrors of occupation of others. Israel still has supporters like jon s, a confessed liberal zionist, desperately trying to prop up the foundational myth. Note that this is all he picked out of your comment krauss.

  • JDate's mission of making 'JBabies' might provoke outrage, 'Atlantic' writer allows
    • yonah: "[Phil is] opposed to anything which talks about Jewish continuity as a positive value."

      That is a serious misrepresentation. It is not jewish "continuity" that is opposed, but the subversion that occured as zionism became grafted to Judaism, producing a golem. I believe that if it had been just about Jewish "continuity" there would be issues, but they would be more like the issues with say, Mormonism. Yes, it's exclusive and yes, it has this whiff of "superiority" about it that is well, a bit un-American. But it would also be understood as one more attempt by a people, now American, to preserve bits and pieces of a culture and a set of traditions.

      really, not so different from Catholics (with all that implies), right? except that Catholics are not subverting the US's entire foreign policy to conform with the vatican's wishes. Whereas the jewish establishment is out there, as we speak, banging their loud drums for netanyahoo's vision of destroying Iran, for no reason other than - well, why not. for better but more likely the worse, netanyahoo who looks more and more like some Middle easter tin pot zealot, IS what the jewish voices of America track with, whether through AIPAC or ADL.

      We look at the hysterics and hystrionics emanating from land of Judea, and we must wonder - is that where jewish "continuity" leads? many would shrink in feigned horror - of course not! we are all for 2 state! but the reality is what it is. And jewish "values" have become wedded to the israel that we see. In so doing they are less about that mysterious "continuity" and more about something a lot simpler - cover-up for greed for land not theirs.

      The negative reaction towards these overt 'continuity" campaigns in an American context, are quite different - in spirit and in practice - from the desire to preserve Judaism, as promoted by the rabbis of the middle ages. Then Judaism was a tradition and a religion practiced by a minority, which incurred persecution as happened to all minorities that tried to remain distinct - in a European land mass, busily splitting up into regions and nations, even with Rome's fiercest resistance. The "continuity" in a modern American context is, unfortunately some say, tied up in knots with the israel experiment, which has gone rogue, sweeping jewish religion and jewish "values" with it.

      The question that's being implicitly asked is - can "continuity" be a good thing if it comes at a cost of greatly increased misery inflicted upon another people? Most Jews in America avert their eyes - quite successfully - from that misery and persecution inflicted in their name. It is only natural that in such a context, the "continuity" itself will be questioned as long as it continues to give a hand to and cover up evil deeds.

    • Donald, I think you don't get Phil's point (may be because you don't want to?). It's not just the preachiness and sanctimoniousness in these exhortations to marry "Jewish". It's the implications in doing this within the context of the democratic, ideally inclusive, American culture. Whether acknowledged or not, one of the most unique aspects of the American experience (again, ideally, if not always in practice) is the "melting pot" concept. At its very best, and very fundamentalist level, it is about erasing tribal boundaries, so all may partake - on an equal-before-the-law basis in the "tribe of men (and women)". That's where the best of the individualist streak has sprung from, and that is what is enshrined in the American constitution (with all the amendments and interpretations it allowed over the decades). It is also what attracted - and continues to attract - people from all over the world to come to and become American.

      What this kind of "Jbabies" concept - raised to level of outright campaign - conjures, is a return to tribal mode of being. And what is a tribe if not an exclusivist club? a tribe is something to which some belong and others are excluded by virtue of a birthright and/or some ritual of initiation, such as a conversion. Tribes tend to be fundamentally intolerant, virtually by definition, hence the negative reaction among the population at large, to prohibitions - or even encouragements - to marry within the tribe. Though many religions in America overtly encourage marriage within their religious set, using even various shunning rituals to "exile" the non-compliant (mormons, Amish and ultra-orthodox jews come to mind) this is hardly the American model that the great society of America was built on.

      As an example, consider the difference between exhorting, say a Chinese-American to explore his/her roots and continue some traditions in the home, and an outright campaign to "make Chinese babies". While the first may appear to be part of a wholesome quest for a complete identity - on an individual level - the last would be considered somewhat xenophobic and would indeed be frowned upon.

      Exclusive "societies within societies" are actually well tolerated in America, as long as they don't resort to coersion. So dabbling in "new age" religions is well enough but Scientology, with its cultish over-tones is not considered quite "kosher". The same is true of ultra-orthodox jewish communities - OK if they stay to themselves, not OK if they overdo the prosleysizing or resort to coersion to discipline wayward members. I think it's fair to say that cultism and/or overt tribalism is generally not considered representative of what we refer to sometimes of American values (yes, I know. There's a special dispensation here for the America Indian tribes. Those are somehow OK, but that's a separate and unique situation).

      To me personally, the beauty of American society is that it brought forth some of the most creative people and innovators the world has ever known. and being "mongrels", of mixed heritage may well be part of it. So yes, assimilation as an enrichment ingredient is an American value, as long as it proceeds in a "let nature take its course", without any overt enforcement, one way or another.

      Naturally, this has always caused huge resentment and a backlash from cultures that felt they are being wiped out in the assimilation process. And that includes religious as well as ethnic cultures. JDate's calls to 'turn the clock back" and go all Jewish can be seen as part of this backlash phenomenon - no different than Catholics lamenting the erasure of catholic life. Unfortunately, in the jewish case there's something more going on - partly represented by deeper and more corrosive guilt trips as Phil has experienced. Though the more disturbing part is what has actually been happening to that vaunted Judaism, which has been largely swallowed whole by zionism. That Judaism - which people are encouraged to embrace and 'continue" is unfortunately not only about staying in touch with ancient roots and traditions. It is now also about celebrating and supporting an ethnocratic, intolerant state that's gone nearly biblical in its zealotry. And that zealotry - as it emanates from the judean "land of the Jews' is increasingly at loggerheads with American - and indeed - humanistic universalist values. There is a whiff of that in JDate, as well as in birthright. And that whiff goes somewhere that has less to do with religion and more with tribalism, one that's become allied to a colonialist, ultra-nationalistic enterprise. Which is, yes, problematic.

  • Reports say peace process is 'fantasy' and 'worst' since Oslo-- but blame falls on Israel this time
    • David, the palestinians really had no choice but to sit at a table. probably the best Abbas could get is that Netanyahu agreed not to herd all the Palestinians into a barn, for now. In any case, Abbas has to do what the US insisted he does - which is pretend to "talk peace". He, or any other palestinian, have no choice on the matter, or else, what aid they get from the outside will be cut off. Insisting on anything from their end was not in the cards. What would Vichy have insisted on in talks with the invading germans?

      I see nothing but bad things coming, like Abbas being compelled to agree to that "interim peace" where the palestinians have less than 60% of the west bank and no right to anything other than food stamps, courtesy of the western aid agencies.

      there is simply no universe where Israel returns any part of east Jerusalem, or the Jordan valley, or shares water rights to the aquifier, or agrees to remove its hooligans and storm troopers from palestinian areas. That's the offer on the table, from Israel's side, allowing the west bank to become kind of like Gaza.

  • Israeli gov't upholds denying entry to American teacher in Ramallah
    • Norman F, except that Israel IS NOT a sovereign state, except on paper and to a few deluded Israeli citizens (+ their hypocritical American cohorts).. It is a client state of the US, that thinks it found a way to get away with behaving like a really bad vassal. If history is any guide though, one of these days, the empire will have had enough. But the violations and nose thumbing were so egregious that once the gates open, the resentments and barely suppressed fury - felt by just about anyone in the US government (well, except the fifth column, like Dennis Rose) - will be something to behold.

      Of course, Israel knows that, which is why it is collecting intelligence on just about everyone in the US government, and congress, as fast as it can. Not very hard with those NSA back door - or is it the front door through Narus, Verint and that other company that shall not be named?

      But nothing lasts forever, not even Chutzpah. The more the arrogant rise, the harder they fall - i think it says that in the bible somewhere.

  • Adelson's atomic moment: Help us break more video stories
    • Well done Mondoweiss! I happened to turn on MSNBC for just a moment last week (I no longer watch it like I used to, since it became largely an Obama propaganda channel), and lo and behold! there was Chris hays showing and talking about the Adelson video.

      Now, one thing probably allowed him to do that - Adelson is a totally caught in the Republican party embrace and was known to fund many republican candidates including Romney and Gingrich. Beating up on anything and anyone that smacks of republican, is part of MSNBC's mission, so the door was open to expose Adelson. However, to be fair, hays did say - with emphasis - that Adelson is also a major funder of establishment Jewish causes such as Birthright (specifically mentioning the 40% figure), so that kind of pulled a squealing kitty out of the bag for a moment of sunshine.

      Alas, I am sure that in contrition hays will now have to do some Arab bashing segment sometime in the future. Just like Jon Stewart had to do a ludicrous gig about hamas dolls after his ground breaking interview with Balzer and Barghoutti.

      Still, Hays could do really good programs were he free to do so. I think the loss of that saturday AM program he hosted was very unfortunate. All in return for lots of prime time weak tea. At heart, I believe Hays would like to be a Greenwald, blazing new trails, taking on establishments etc. But, unlike greenwald, he could not resist temptation. The wages of youth, perhaps.

      I'll contribute some more next week (though you may not know it's me....I do my humble share).

  • 'The Nation' should stage a debate between Alterman and Blumenthal
    • As Krauss says above, there's no way Alterman can agree to debate Max, if only because he, Alterman, knows next to nothing about israel, be it the history, current political climate or trends. So all he has left is the very lame "what about hamas?", as if that was an argument, or a point of fact. Max did not exactly extohl hamas in his book either, the subject of which was attitudes within israel. And if the subject of hamas did ever come up, then Alterman will have to respond about the unbearable conditions in the gaza civilian internment camp (or ghetto, as some call it), and he would have little defense there - other than more "but what about Hamas?".

      In a debate, Max will have all his facts straight about israel and what goes on in the various segments of that society, and Alterman will have - what? some warmed over factoids? some hasbara sheets that can be debunked by a child?

      Neh, not gonna happen. For the same reason no liberal zionist will debate Phyllis Bennis, or even Phil himself, just to use a couple examples.

  • MJ Rosenberg owes Ali Abunimah an apology for false accusations of anti-Semitism
    • jonrich111: "Jews ARE the native people of the land. We never chose to leave – we were violently expelled by Roman imperial forces. Jews have been in the region, and the land of Israel, for far longer than Arabs or Muslims."

      Can you please bring supporting evidence, such as a deed of trust signed by eg, god (or a certified representative thereof, such as an official prophet, should god not be willing to be bothered)? also, if you could, please provide evidence that Jews were expelled en mass by the Romans. there are, you see, some disputes about that among notable historians.

      There is BTW, rather strong evidence that the jews of today have far less original jewish blood than the Palestinians, who, in large part, may be the true descendants of the Judeans who once lived in the land. May be you could kind of, assimilate into them to acquire the heritage you want?

      I recommend some good reading of the books of prof. Shlomo Sand, including "The Invention of the Jewish People".

      PS alas, the old testament doesn't qualify as historical documentation. So you'll need to supply additional sources to support your claims. Also, if you could, a DNA analysis certifying your genetic relation to at least one jewish ancestor from antiquity would be nice (to be generous, you'll just need to go back about 1700-1800 years to find said ancestor. That would be acceptable proof that you descend from people who populated palestine before Palestinians. It's OK if the ancestor lived in good old babylon, as long as there is proof they were kind of jewish).

    • Donald - with all the obvious bigots out there (the entire pro-Israel crowd, for example, and the majority of the Israeli population), people going digging tunnels and using microscopes to find this or that evidence of supposed "anti-semitism" is a mighty silly game. After the smears and hatchet jobs Gilad was subjected to, who wouldn't be a little ill-inclined towards his accusers? who wouldn't slip into untoward generalizations now and then? what's interesting to me is that those who pick silly bones with something Gilad said or meant about one past persecution have so little to say about the ghastly attitudes expressed day in day out by the population of Israel (the part of the population that cares to say stuff. We know little of what the silent ones think but if you ever met a silent israeli, why do tell --). A population that for the most part wouldn't mind it at all were the Palestinians done away with once and for all (though most Israelis would definitely like to keep it "humane", I.m sure). Worse part is, your average zionist crowd in the US, including not a small number of "liberals" would find ways of going along just fine. My proof? do you hear any of the recanters, like Eric Alterman, express as much as a whiff of sorrow for what was done to 100's of thousands of Iraqis? in a campaign of terror, through an atrocity he supported. So, were I to call him an Arab Holocaust supporter, would that be so far off the mark? and would that make me "anti-semitic"?

      So do think about this Donald, on the one hand gilad making careless artless statements, no doubt coming from a place of fury about his persecution by the well-spoken, correctly thinking crowd. On the other hand, countless jewish people (yes, jewish) who cheered on the devastation, murder and destruction of a people - some in the name of their "liberalism" (hey we got rid of Saddam, so what if we committed worse atrocities than saddam ever dreamt of in the process?). yet here we are, discussing this non-existent phenomenon sometimes referred to as "anti-semitism".

      What's lacking here is a sense of proportion.

      Something that's also all too evident in MJR's ill-tempered outbursts.

    • jimby, I think you've hit on something. It must have been very lonely for Norman and MJR, and they probably paid a high emotional price for being out-front.

      But both carry scars, which seem to be deepening. It could be that we are seeing the first shock waves from the realization - now all but self-evident - that the 2SS is a goner. That was a great crutch for many, including those who dared to speak out when no one else did, and that crutch is disintegrating in front of our eyes.

      We may just be noticing the wounds now. And they go deep. I can only wish merciful healing for the both of them, in time.

    • Pablemont, let's face it, MJ, may be a fine liberally-minded individual, but deep at heart, like many, probably way too many jewish people, he considers nearly all non-Jews to be fundamentally anti-semites (with exceptions granted to Budhists, shintos, Hindus and Druids). That's just the way it is, and he just dropped the mask for a moment. Not to worry - he'll put it back on, real soon. I'm sure he will be able to identify at least one palestinian who is not "anti-semite". Or an Arab, for that matter. Or, actually anyone whod dares to pipe up about israel or Jews, or zionist history while not being Jewish.

    • By way of a side comment and not to indicate any desire to relive last year's wars: what we should all bear in mind is that Gaza is worse off today than it has been in a very long time. Now both Egypt and israel are collaborating in this extremely prejudicial effort to squeeze the locked up inmates of gaza as much as possible, until all hope has gone for them. Let us further remember that Abbas, the Vichy representative of the west bank is being squeezed too, as we speak, to let the people of gaza go and face their fate. And that fate, as envisioned and prepared by Israel (whether people perceive it or choose not to) is something far far worse than anything Ali could conceive of under his one state umbrella for those who consider themselves "Jewish" Israelis.

      Greta and the Free Gaza movement did much to bring attention to the inhumane conditions Israel has condemned the Palestinians to live under. With America's tacit approval, even as much of the world continues to be deaf and blind to the continuing atrocity perpetrated by the "only "Jewish" state in the world". That is all I need to know about Greta - the work she has done to bring that tiny tiny sliver of hope to one of the most oppressed people in the world. And no one, to my knowledge, has taken the place of that work, or brought much publicity to gaza's plight, in quite a while.

      Seems to me that viewed from their angle, that of the people of Gaza, the grandiosquish battles, accusations and counter-accusations of "anti-semitism" - whatever that is - are kind of trite. There are in the great I/P saga only two sides, really - those on the side of human rights, and those who are not (even if they just be equivocators) - fine words and hair splittings aside. The rest, frankly, is just so much fluff.

      And yes, MJ just did some mighty fluffing. As is the wont of all who consider themselves zionists, be they "liberal" or not.

  • Journalists should tell their readers if they're Zionists
    • Krauss, I know beinart did the Mia Culpa. Like several others. But what did he apologize for, basically? for having made a mistaken judgement? for being wrong? even for being blind?

      What I want to see is something beyond apology for poor judgement call. I want a full up acknowledgment that Iraq was a war crime in which upward of 460,ooo Iraqis dies horrible death (by the latest count) , millions were displaced and the country effectively divided and still suffering from daily bombings (In which the US is still culpable, even if it Saudi Arabia that pays the piper). I want an apology directed not at us in the US gallery, saying something like, oopsy, sorry, but something not only more heart felt, but directed at the ultimate victims - the Iraqi people.

      I want accountability from those who cheered for, pushed for, abetted and excused war crimes. I want them to admit that they gave a hand to evil. An evil that went way beyond Bush and Cheney.

      There is blood on Beinart's hands. And Cohen's, and Goldberg's and a whole lot of members of the tribe, right along with their non-Jewish bretherns. This blood can never be washed away until they do more than apologize a little for it. They have to be made to come face to face with the icy cold steel buried in their heart, the daggers zionism buried there. Nothing less than that will be enough, especially for them that cannot feign ignorance or stupidity. They knew what the consequences of destroying Iraq will be, and they wanted it anyways, because Iraqi people didn't matter. Only israeli ones did.

      I'll listen to and read Beinart because he is a smart cookie. But I will never agree to ignore his bloodied hands. At least until the right amends are made, to the right people.

    • hophmi, it may not be their responsibility to declare their true allegiances, but it is the responsibility of the rest of us to ferret out those which acted and advocated things that are criminally inhumane AND likely ran counter to the interests of the country in which these individuals live and work. Beinart or Cohen likely have not a single relative, or acquaintance no matter how distant in the US armed forces. And neither do you hophmi. So you p- like them - probably don't give a hoot about how many soldiers die - it's probably just a "little" collateral damage for you. of course, if an israeli soldiers dies, no matter what cause, it's a huge tragedy, right? because perhaps you consider them "one of yours", unlike those hapless, un-urbane, non harvardian US grunts that are just so much gist for the mill?

      I, for one, do not believe that it is possible to be a zionist and an true American at the same time. the values are just too far apart, as are, ultimately, the allegiances (whether or not it is clear yet).

      there, I can be in the open now....

    • More than that - US troops casualties aside for a moment -did beinart - or Cohen - ever apologize to the countless thousands families of Iraqi victims of the US's invasion and destruction of Iraq? did they realize - or have ever acknowledged - that this so-called "war" (really an imperial invasion) - inflicted horrible wounds on Iraqi society, wounds that may never heal, helping usher a "failed state' that is so much worse than anything Saddam has ever Wrought? are they surprised in the least that most Iraqis believe they only lost from having their country, invaded, bombed, sectarianized, reduced to near-penury and basically destroyed? Will Bynart/Cohen/etc. take responsibility for having pushed for that which to all appearance is a serious war crime? do they realize now the utter horror of what they advocated?

      Or, are we to believe they were "naive", "misguided liberals" whose zionism played no part in their advocacy? as Phil most ably notes in this post?

      More to the point - had we ever seen an acknowledgment of the suffering of the Iraqi people from either of these two personalities? and though "liberals' they may profess to be, do not their actions/inactions indicate that zionism ate away their soul to such depth that really, they have little heart left for anyone but jews (their protestations to the contrary)? IOW, has not their membership in the zionist cult gobbled up a huge chunk of what real liberal sentiments they may have ever had? possibly to the point where, really, a dead Arab matter so much less that the spiritual suffering of a "fellow" Jew? yes, I know Beinart calls for listening to palestinian voices. How good of him to note the obvious. Well, I shouldn't be mean and be glad for small steps, right?

      Beinart speaks well and writes well, so I don't quibble with his eminent perch on The daily beast (unlike Alterman, who i still have no clue what made him more worthy of note - or publication - than a 1000 other first rate writers from the country of the US of A that is not limited to one side of the Mississippi river). What I do quibble with is his capacity for empathy with humans not of his tribe. he says he's got it. I just don't believe him - at least till he admits his complicity in a war crime, and makes an honest go of it.

      IMO, Zionism is the heart-eating daily beast, whether open or closed.

      And I know what M J Rosenberg - another excellent liberal zionist - will call me for saying that. Or not - since my first name is not Ali, so I get to say some things, and they'll just chuck it up to disgrantled, intra-tribal musings.

  • For Eric Alterman defending Israel trumps longtime friend and employer
    • Some questions:

      1. Who is Eric Alterman that makes his review any more significant than any other reviewer on

      2. Why does the nation give Alterman space to pen anything? what are his credentials other than being born apparently jewish? does he have unusual linguistic prowess? clarity of analysis? originality of thought? if people know please by all means share some nuggets with me of Alterman's accomplishments that netted him this perch?

      3. Someone above said he was a "professor" and a "historian". How come i never heard of him? what important work has he done or published that I should be bothered to read a review from him on anything? is he one of the many who have done a review on Philip Roth or something (another personality whose books are apparently aimed at the jewish male and stricly to them who live a goodly distance from a warm sea shore. no one i ever know who is not Atlantic Coast jewish male was able to get through even 1/3 of Roth's works. yet, some consider him an illustrious author. never seen a good explanation of this phenomenon, though personally I think it has to do with the type and amount of sun one is exposed israeli i know could ever get through the first 2 pages of Roth, even translated to the more forgiving - and colorful middle eastern hebrew).

      4. How come much of what this Alterman person writes above (as quoted by Ira) reads like a polemic from Dershowitz? are they now training "professors" in certain lauded east Coast universities to use similar style of rant-writing?

      5. i get the point that Alterman is mad about something. Frankly it reads to me (and I didn't read the entire rant - not to my rant-standards, alas) like the indignant incantations of a committed meat eater when presented by well researched book that decries the morality and health consequences of the practice. Basically the flip side of meat eating is the slaughterhouse. Yet hardly any who cherish their "beef' care to know much about what goes on at the initial stages of procuring flesh from living things so it can be turned into a staple appearing on their plate. in this sense the Altermans of this world are like the rest of us, spending our lives inured to the collateral damage of what our way of life entails. On the other hand, Palestinians are not beef, though to Israelis, they might as well be. So perhaps Alterman is a goodly step beyond what the rest of us, indifferent, ignorant humans, are ignmously willing to tolerate.

      PS I wonder if there is a ranking system for rants. Something like the US&World News ranking for universities. But if there was such, I guess, as a rant-weaver myself, I would not place Alterman in the top 200.
      PPS In case anyone wonders, i do consider jeremiah to have earned a place in the top 10. I take many lessons. sometimes me learn something. Alterman seems not have even studied the masters, and he is supposed to be an academic?

  • Jewish stage in Washington cancels Nakba play by Israeli, amid donor pressure
    • Philip, thanks for letting us all know. I am not surprised at the nature of the threats you received, because when it comes to israel's zealots, nothing at all is sacred. There are reasons activists on many fronts are often people who are either just students - young enough to not have a family or dependents yet, or older, mostly retired and not so dependent on company paychecks. Individuals may be plenty brave when it comes to themselves, but when it comes to young children, spouses or the sanctity of the workplace, it gets that much harder. Whether the threats are real and can be put into action or not, doesn't matter. It's enough to instill mortal fear about the well-being of innocents.

      Everyone here on MW knows the stories about what settlers do to palestinians everyday, and what the Ziocons do to people they decide to persecute (like Norman Finkelstein). But how many people are willing to actually consider what it means to be capable of such callous zealotry? We watch moviesand read books about psychopaths or serial killers, but can rarely fathom what it means to be such a person - internally. That's because there's an invisible wall between the normal emotional landscape and that of someone who has gone all cold inside, cold enough to kill at random, for example. To imagine what it's like to be void of compassion, even momentarily, or to imagine what it takes to participate in a mob of would be lynchers (say the beitar fans who shout "death to Arabs"), is both frightening and incomprehensible to the average person, doing average things (ie, average on the normalcy everyday scale, not a soldier on a battelefield situation, faced with imminent danger).

      But I think that to imagine we must. Not only because of a few settler types or crazy-mad zios issuing threats willy-nilly, but because the capacity for extreme evil is there in a whole collective of people. it is, to some extent, there in each person, though some are more aware of it than others. And many, if not most of those people in the zionist-on-steroids collective are as far from being inherently evil as you and I. But there is a freezing cold hand that's taken over the hearts of many in Israel (Plus their advocates outside) and shields it from normal capacity for compassion. It is something that happened to the conquistadors in South America and allowed them to eviscerate an entire population of natives. To the cheers of their compatriots, mere settlers they brought with them. It is the kind of thing we read about and wept over, reading Uncle Tom's cabin as children. Becoming heartless is something that can happen to otherwise good people. We know where it happened on a massive scale. It can happen again. Goldstone probably came face to face with that possibility, and like any normal person, shielded his eyes, ran for the hills and shut himself off from further duty in the moral battlefield. Sadly enough.

      Philip, I really hope a way will be found to produce your cantata without it affecting the peace of your mind and family. Things can happen. I'll be watching in the meantime to see how this play and Max and his book fare.

  • Deconstructing Ian Lustick's 'two-state illusion'
    • Excellent points, Abuadam and Walid. You bring up some of those thorny little issues that we never see discussed in the context of solutions that really are just intellectual cover-ups for "what's good for israel", or the more ubiquitous "what should be good for israel, were it and supporters, rational entities". Whic really covers up the deeper and ever-present question pre-occupying so many great minds "what's [really] good for the jews", which then leads to the eternal question of questions: "what's a jew, anyways?"

      I wish there was ever a discussion about "what's good for palestinians" or even "what's good for some palestinians and may be not so good for others and why". Will we ever have those kinds of discussions (as in 'we, the smart and sensitive of the world over"? I know this is discussed among palestinians aplenty, but among the rest of us? could we possibly, just possibly, be not so interested, and if so, what does that mean?

      So many questions today, so little time...

    • I see this entire discussion of '1ss' vs '2ss' as an interesting exercise for those who want to engage in a brand of optimism essential to the ever hopeful of the west's political left. It is, of course an exercise in futility, a pretense where we all agree to draw a world as we wish to see it, ie, ruled according to rational principles, then proceed to discuss "solutions" that could happen in such an imaginary world.

      The reality of course, is different. What's on the table from the Israeli side at most are only the terms of surrender. What Netanyahu and other Israeli "negotiators" are dictating is the 60% solution: palestine on the 60% of the land israel designates, mostly centered in enclaves around the main cities, no Jerusalem as capital, no Jordan valley, no army, no independent right to build roads or allocate water, no uniting with Gaza. Israel keeps Area C with the fate of the palestinians still there (300,000?) to be decided however israel wants that fate to be (preferably they will be moved to the newly designated Palestinian reservation). These are the parameters of the "Economic peace" and that is pretty much the maximum israel will offer. There will be no dismantling of settlement blocks, E1 corridor will go forward, Area B will be carved up as is now planned, contiguity will become just a word, water rights will be as israel determines them, and israel will maintain the right to re-designate areas it wants later as future settlements pretty much as it sees fit. That includes a plan for a robust jewish settlement in Hebron, one the palestinians will just have to accept, and who knows where else. As for "sovereignty", that too is just another word, that can be redefined with the stroke of a pen.

      The danger for the palestinians is that their hapless "leaders" may just have to accept what's on the table. Which though it'll be presented as an "interim solution" will really be the final - and only one they'll ever get. In return the palestinians will have to recognize israel as a "Jewish" state, forgo future claims at the ICC court, direct its activists to stop criticizing israel, call a stop to BDS plus who knows what else.

      The only hope the Palestinians have is that there is a strong sentiment among israelis against even offering that much, since for the most part the majority of israelis would rather have it all, lock, stock and barrel, preferably with the palestinians out of there - permanently, however that can be achieved.

      The israelis have, of course many other plans. The number 1 plan is to play for time as they keep squeezing the palestinians unto smaller and smaller tracts of land, making their lives less livable and more miserable, even as they find ingenuous ways to keep foreigners out of the west bank, just as they got them out of Gaza. Ultimately, they hope to negotiate something with Jordan to take in more of the west bank Palestinians, perhaps in return for goblets of money. Not unlike the deal they are working out with Uganda to accept the African refugees in return for some antiquated re-polished armaments. As for the plan for gaza, that's more complicated, but the plan was always to pan it off on Egypt and nothing changed in that regard. It's really just a question of how to get the Egyptians to go along (Saudi money could smooth the way perhaps?).

      Frankly, I believe the time of the great western intellects like Lustig, Ben Ami and Slater will be better spent on figuring out ways to better inform the world about the plight of the Palestinians now, including those stuck at the internment camp of gaza. That and advertising - to whatever extent possible, Israel's true intentions. And of course, support the great cause of BDS - hopefully an all out one, where all contact with israel ceases - on every possible level. That, IMHO< is the only hope Palestinians have - keep their plight front, back and center, with the goal of preventing an even worse calamity. Final solutions and various state plans are really a whistle in the wind at this stage.

      On the other hand I may, of course, be wrong. Even Attila the Hun let some cities stand, as long as the original rulers were done away with and the good citizens agreed to pay tribute. Or we can jump ahead to Ginghis Han centuries later. who was also willing to negotiate "in good faith" with the citizens' representatives, as long as he got to interpret what 'good', 'faith' and 'negotiating" meant. Who knows, israel may find in its cold little heart just enough of a flicker to at least be a good Attila.

  • 'NPR' whitewashes Israeli rabbi the 'Forward' calls a 'provocative bigot'
    • Absolutely not, Krauss. Some things in this life really ARE predictable. may be there's a weird comfort in that?

      Admit it, were hophmi to change his tune, even a little, that would throw us all off big time - it'd be like the oil companies going all benevolent for a day. Or like Washington actually functioning for a week. Or a study coming out that definitely proves that creme puffs are actually really good for you.

      You listening hophmi?

    • On the funeral - it was supposedly attended by 700,000 people. That's more than 10% of all the jewish citizens of israel. If the Mizrahi population is 30%, not all of whom are Shas followers, why, that's 1/3 of the total. one might as well assume that quite a few ashkenazi attended as well.

      The problem with eulogizing Ovadia Yosef is that, beyond acting like an Ayatollah, issuing Fatwas, edicts and accepting accolades, he presided over one of the biggest rackets in Israel, one that is corrupt beyond measure, yet rules over the lives of so many. It's not for nothing that Shas political personalities ended up in jail for racketeering etc (though that is hardly unusual for israeli politicians).

      Shas and Ovadia are a microcosm of much that ails the israeli enterprise at its core - when all is said and done, it's about "let me have mine now". Shas is just a vehicle for at least a few Mizrahis, who feel - justifiably - much excluded from the israeli goodies at the center table, to get a little piece of the pie, plus a bit of revenge, with a smidgen of pride thrown in. Shas and the ostnesibly-religious apparatus it has grown act much as Hamas and the muslim brotherhood do. In fact they are a direct jewish analogy to the latter - it's been all along a system based on patronage - almost feudal in practice - where a large chunk of the population, typically more disadvantaged and less educated, can get some help - one that's hardly forthcoming from the state. In return, these people become devout, almost fanatic followers of the religious organization, cloaking themselves in reverence of their "spiritual" leaders, acting as a single united movement, papering over the many divisions underneath.

      It was, BTW, my opinion that were the Muslim brotherhood allowed to stay in charge of Egypt, propelled there by the unity of their followers, they would end up much as Shas would, were they in charge of israeli coalitions. Both would act like the mafia (or the vatican of old, take your pick), dispensing favors and meting out punishments as needed to consolidate their rule, using religion as cover. Just something to think about....

  • When myths about Jews collide with Jewish reality
    • Robert, glad to see you have moved your position in view of more evidence. This is as it should be. You will likely be attacked though if you bring up Veterans Today (not by me, mind you).

      Thanks for the stroll down memory lane to that old interesting post by Phil and the ensuing interesting conversations. Gosh, I do so miss Jeffrey Blankfort at times....(and the old me, who, prompted by jeff, went far and wild into matrix land, OT and all. And, of course, the old free-ranging comment boards, even if they still had Witty. Boy, those were the days!).

    • MRW, can I hire you to shorten all my comments?

      An aside: in the biblical admonitions by god to the israelite tribes, he did warn them of the evils of centralized power (be it a king or a state). But did they ever listen?

    • Keith - I honestly did not mean to be quite so encompassing - the "civilized" I had in mind were more in the sense of politeness-laden soiree's of the ever-so-well intentioned. Or just your average dinner table for six where all can be discussed, except you-know-what.

      I used to just love them soiree's. Funny I don't get invited quite as often. In revenge i spend time with assorted barbarians where anything at all can be mentioned - in the hope that most are too far gone to take note of the etiquette violation (sorry, couldn't resist. trying to fill in for Mooser here. Failing, I know...).

      As for your comment that; "Israel’s fault isn’t that it deviates significantly from this bloody tradition, but that it conforms so closely to historical norms of imperial brutality and self-righteous callousness." - there's much truth to that, but I'll up you one: israel's other fault is that it keeps forgetting that there's internet around now, and what dark deeds were once passed over by virtue of not too many knowing, nowadays it's all over the front pages of blogs, if not the papers-of-record (too delicate, those). That being said - sensibilities do change. Slavery is no longer palatable, though in various forms it's still happening effectively (cf. Qatar?). And darker people, not of our caste or religion or group did acquire a measure of humanity, if an incomplete one.

      So back to your comment: Israel runs afoul of some kind of collective desire - in many, if not all parts of the world - to not step back into the past. But a day doesn't go by that we don't seem to be dragged back into something we'd rather not confront or deal with. Darkness was everywhere, indeed, for all those centuries past ( the 14th century in Europe is but one favorite example). Must this one little country keep throwing icky, if mythical, biblical times in our face?

    • I think I understand Marc Ellis' predicament:

      Once upon a time, shortly after the great War, Jews and Conscience were taken as a tautology. How could Jews not know Conscience? did they not stand there as a rebuke to the rest of the world of what happens when Conscience takes a break?

      Now, the mere fact that there has to be a special movement called Jews of Cosnscience is a testimony to how far jewish fortune has fallen in the moral department.

      To make matters worse, it is but small movement, one that may not grace the vaunted debate tables of J Street, and cannot come within 2 blocks of the hollow halls of great jewish establishment.

      Worse yet, the multitudes of other people with more or less faith, the many who struggle with their own Consciences, given history, know about the marginalization of Conscience among the very Jews who once, not long ago, wrapped themselves in universal conscience's flag, as they stood lecturing about it from the lecterns. From South Korea and to Vienna, they watch Conscience being exiled from Israel, and from the hearts of those who support Israel's depraved arrogance as it wallows ever more deeply in dark deeds that can barely be mentioned among the civilized. Then marc Ellis has to talk to these same audiences who just watched Netanyahu, the epitome of a man-without-conscience throw a temper tantrum because the time for bombing appears to have dropped back just a tad.

  • In Pew poll on American Jewish identity, 'caring about Israel' is way behind 'working for justice'
    • citizen, I definitely agree that the numbers of "Jews of no religion" should be viewed in context of trends in America, and is in line with the decline in religious affiliation among the rest of the population. the pew poll did indeed note that but also it was hard not to notice that the decline among those who identified as jews was more precipitous than in the population as a whole.

      Similarly for the total of whites in the population - that category is in decline in general, but in the case of the "Identify as jews" it's the absolute numbers that tell the tale.

      Mind you, there are another factors that may bolster the "Jews of no religion category". For one there has been some serious influx of jews from Russia to the US, many by way of israel. Those will likely not identify strongly as "Jews by religion". On the other hand, these Russians should have bolstered the total of jews substantially. So, the question is - why didn't they? have many of those who were reached gone to the category of "Jews by background but no longer jewish"? or did they simply refuse to identify as jews at all?

      And what of the large number of ex-Israelis in the US population? surely some would have been reached by the survey, as many of these have become citizens and quite a few have some jewish affiliation 9say a school if not a synagog).

      What I am trying to point out is that this total number of 5.3 million (leaving aside now the messianic/christian jews, the "affiliated" jews, etc), should have been considerably larger, even given ongoing trends. basically,given the influx from Russia (somewhat overlapping with israel), the influx from israel (how many are now US citizens is a number no one is willing to stake reputation on), the total number should have been higher by about 1 million, if the "jews of no religion" are included. It is impossible not to conclude that assimilation has not only been more rapid than projected but also much much deeper.

      Sure, the pew Poll could be undercounting, but I would love to see others' take on this.

    • annie, your numbers from the jewishvirtuallibrary is just one set of numbers that is not always backed by other polls.

      On this particular Pew poll, there are some numbers to take into account that definitely give the population numbers a different twinge:

      For the Adult Jewish population of the United States, the following were counted:

      Jews by religion (Judaism) 4.2 million
      Jews of no religion 1.1 million

      Total: 5.3 million.

      Note: if the numbers of Jews born jewish but who don't consider themselves jewish any longer (ie, they may have another religion, or none at all) is not included, then another 0.6-0.7 million have to be subtracted. These jews were referred to as "Jews by background with other types of religious beliefs".

      But here is the kicker: this survey also included estimates of "Other types of Jews", such as:

      Messianic Jews, Christian Jews, “completed Jews”* - about 1.7 million.
      With these "non jews" or "completed jews" the total # of adult Jews in major belief groups comes to 7.0 million. Subtracting the aforementioned "jews by background who are no longer Jews" (estimated at 0.6-0.7 million), the total of all those who consider themselves jewish adds to 6.3-6.4 million.

      Another note: the survey also estimated the numbers of Jews by affinity (gentile Christians, “grafted-in Jews)* as .7 million, and a category called "Other Jews by affinity" estimated at .5 million.

      Conclusion: the number of those who identify as jews DID go down over the years, quite substantially, it'd seem. I base that not only on the relatively low number of 5.3 million Jews (see above), which further includes nearly 0.7 million of those who are only "Jews by background but no longer consider themselves jewish", and excluding the messianic, christian and "completed" Jews as well as the "Jews by affinity".

      I base that conclusion on projecting from the numbers quoted in late 1950's and 60's, assuming natural growth, which should have added up to well over 7-7.5 million of just the Jewish category (aside from those 1.7 million messianic and "completed" Jews that are separate). The total number of those who identify as jews is now only about 1.6-1.8% currently of the total US population, which represents a precipitous decline from the 3-4% it once was in the late 50's and 60's. That nominal 1.6-1.8% (depending who's counted) BTW is well in line with other estimates, provided for comparison in the complete Pew report, and conforms to the 5.3 million number above (give or take some adjustments to the US population totals). To me this speaks to a picture of really rapid - and accelerating - assimilation.

      I will also note the divergence from the numbers provided by the jewishvirtuallibrary that Annie quoted. More needs to be said about the discrepancy, but basically we don't know where those estimates came from. I can see why the jewish Agency declined to conduct the survey, letting the pew organization take on the task.

      More later....

  • Hillel director slams Birthright for refusing students' requests to meet Palestinians and see checkpoints
    • Aren't you right, Elliot. American jews are considered effete, pale, physically cowardly, sort of dorky and generally not very handsome. Basically, they wear bermuda shorts, which is all the speedo wearers need to know to put them somewhere on the lower rungs of the hierarchy. American jewish girls is a somewhat different story - they do get some respect, though are generally suspected to be lesbians - or just severely neurotic - if they fail to jump into bed with any one of the above speedo-wearing types - at a drop of hat. The begrudging respect comes IMO from healthy appreciation of what trust funds can do for you. For the average israeli male a trust fund would be something like magic, and many a jewish American princess is reputed to have access to those secret doors. Some might even consider waiting for the second date - the sacrifice!

      If ever some of these Birthright types could understand what the talk is about them in that "other" language, they'd shrink and wilt in an instant. That would be kind of fun to see - in a crazy reality show kind of way?

      That being said, someone like Phil, with a popular blog, and followers galore, WILL get some respect, a touch of American jewish dorkiness and bermuda shorts be damned. Popularity, in israel is, after all, the ultimate Jewish value, even above material goods.

      If only, if only, I could get Max Blumenthal could do a some proper interviews!

  • Cooper Union's bizarre 'Jewish values' panel: Accused war criminal and pro-occupation billionaires speak about the 'strong protecting the weak'
    • Comm'on Walid, after the horrors visited upon the Syrian state and its people by these biological viruses known as Jihadis, injected thanks to that war criminal bandar, his buddies in tel Aviv, Obama and Turkey, I wouldn't blame the Syrian people one bit if they exact revenge here and there. It is truly unfortunate that none of the hideous players of games care a hoot about the Syrian people. That's the bottom-line isn't it? the "people" were just a fun game for those nasty foreign "rebels", the majority of whom are simply barbarians. Neither does israel care an iota if 3/4 of the Syrian people die, or most of the lebanese people for that matter. As for the likes of clowns like Erdogan, Holland, cameron, Obama etc, let's take a quick peek at how deeply moved they are by the plight of the Iraqis right now. Who exactly is responsible for most of the bombings there? and who funnels the money for such "honorable" endeavors?

      Face it Walid, you team up with who you can to preserve the little you got. No one in the great West, or the reactionary ME (that's SA, qatar, Dubai and other slave labor based so called "countries"), and certainly not one single person in israel would care were Arabic people were decimated to just a few oil well managers, their Bangladeshi slave laborers and a few hangers-on to keep up "appearances". So compared to these evil people (the US alone responsible for how many Million dead by now?), Assad is far from the worst monster. You gotta go with those who care a little bit about the day after, and that much I believe Assad does.

      I think you have to get over what Syria has wrought in Lebanon under a previous administration I think, and look at what there is now. in particular, you got lebanon to look after and I'm pretty sure you know what the evil master planners have in store there.

      My apologies for sounding all sanctimonious like. But what the PTBs did to Syria, deliberately and methodically, really has no excuse.

    • Will send some more tomorrow Annie.

    • painstaking analysis of the videos were done by others as well (eg, petri krohn, one of three I have). Basically anyone who took the time, and had the stomach to look through those rebel-released videos came away with deep doubtsn about who perpetrated the attacks and who the victims actually were. basically, to the observant, nothing added up in those videos, other than as a put-together job. I wouldn't be surprised if Sister Mariam took some of her pointers from those others. I posted before two links to some of those other, highly credible and thorough bits of analysis. Which for me, pretty much nailed the case.

      In my own "dossier" on the CW attack being a clear-cut case of false Flag, I don't even include the nun's reports, or dale gavlak's and yahyeh's Mintnews piece. There's just so much else that points in that direction, and more importantly, virtually nothing that can be said to credibly point in the Syrian government direction.

      Whatever one thinks of Assad, and I know you ain't no friend of his Walid, that attack did not come from his military. If MW lets me, I'll be glad to share my "dossier" + conclusions. Just did not find the right opportunity and time break yet, and this thread isn't it either.

  • Netanyahu says Rouhani denies the Holocaust. But he doesn't
    • Annie: "i am pretty sure that’s the part of the discussion we’re not interested in delving into here."

      Obviously I agree, which is why I kept my own comments kind of abstract. I know you are getting lots of comments we never get to see (thanks god), and it is not my intent to in any way invite those.

      To explain, I do have an interest in the psychology of zealotry, and definitely not just in eg, the extreme nationalist ethnic context. Zealotry, in its many variants (religious, political, etc) is like a virus that's endemic to human nature, it'd seem. Dormant most of the time, it can periodically break out in a full blown ravaging disease. Human history is full of such examples. Alas, this is clearly not the thread to discuss such fascinating issues, though the time may yet come.

    • Annie, those were points well stated about the holocaust conversation. to take the liberty of reiterating:

      Just because something terrible happened to the jews in the middle of last century - or centuries past - does not in any way justify visiting the atrocities of killing and dispossession upon the Palestinians. By a similar token, just because some of the zionist leadership was so zealously committed to colonizing a piece of land in the Middle east that they callously and heartlessly abetted the fate that has befallen certain jewish communities in Europe, does not in itself say that most of those who ended up in Israel were callous by nature. The really really bad things committed by cynical zealots were bad because zealotry can make one blind and deaf to human suffering. Isn't that how it's always been?

      I also tend to agree that, be it as it may, t discussions about how nasty X Y, or Z were in the last century fail to advance the Palestinian cause one iota. What those discussions did however shine light on was that the zionist enterprise had a a partly rotten core - masquerading as idealism - from its very inception, going back to Herzl and the rest of the colonialist schemers that followed. Was it all rotten? probably not if we look at it in the context of the times, where Algeria also happened, and borders were drawn willy-nilly in Africa and the Middle east, and regimes were propped up and deposed and to heck with the people, and the Phillipines happened, and South America and all the rest. It is not difficult to look back to early-to-middle 20th century and find numerous examples of atrocious behavior by the Empires of the day, and their willing servants. So it's not surprising that the rotten core of Empire is also what Zionism was weaned on. Whether all that contributed to what zionism is now is again, hard to say. Modern israel is its own beast these days, drunk on its power, as blind as an appendage of the American Empire can be. Ultimately its fortunes will depend on how the Empire fares far more than on its own beginnings, as tainted as some of those were.

      Unfortunately all the knowledge of all the history of the world cannot help the Palestinians overthrow the yolk of their oppressors now. The only thing that history does teach - rather ably - is that what goes around comes around, though rarely as fast or as justly as we would like to see. I happen to believe that time is on the Palestinians' side because of this one lesson of history. Will it be enough time or too much none of us know at this moment.

  • What if your friend had to die to preserve a Jewish state?
    • Yonah, that goes to show why it was hard for you to acclimate to Israel. Most israelis, young and old, love nothing better than to answer existential sounding questions, especially if it comes out of the blue. Makes them feel important that someone older would actually care about what they think. The young man - and his girlfriend - are probably still talking about the interview, and he is no doubt going over his own answers in his mind, wondering whether he should have said more, been more articulate, elaborated better to clarify things.

      Also, I doubt you ever caught a tremp in israel. But i spent years doing just that, and let me tell you, anyone who hitches a ride knows there's a secret price for the privilege. one just keeps hoping the price is not too high. Being asked a few questions is really an easy way to get off. Probably kept the young fellow awake, for which he was most grateful.

      Israel was definitely not for you if you could say what you just did. Should I be sorry?

  • Violence works-- by ending complacency
    • Sorry benedict but my little town was - once - not crowded either. Nahariya was kind of nice, right on the sea shore with nary a Haredi in sight (I didn't even know those exotic creatures existed, other than in some musty old shtetl tales (that we were forced to read through, alas) and a few cult enclaves like Meah Shearim, into which no civilized person would ever venture).

      Rehovot was not bad, I recall, if one could just hang around Weizman and not venture too far into the down and out sections. Personally, I kind of doubt you lived there much, but who's quibbling....

      Alas, neither Nahariya, nor Tel Aviv, nor rehovot are what they once were, but that takes some looking around to notice. And I am not saying the little greek fishing villages did not undergo some changes, either. But it's all about the pace of change, and the human element.

      As for my circle of acquaintances, yes, they could definitely use some broadening. But at least I got to know a few much improved versions right here on MW, where the company is always great (those selected pretend israeli resident notables and hasbara machinations, of which you are one, exempted from the pleasure. Not saying you are bad just not who you pretend to be. Pretense is a hard act to carry and the strain kind of shows).

      Anyways, people can live where they please. I can see why you don't visit South Tel Aviv much (why would you - no one goes there if they can help it) and probably not the beaches of Nethanya either, on a crowded saturday. We humans, when we are lucky, get to vote with our feet. Yet, here you are, feet, keyboard, top coat and all, hanging out with the likes of me. Now that opens the door to some serious questions, doesn't it...

    • Benedict - I see you a reading the kool aid about the Haredi (Not to worry, they'll soon be drafted, we'll yet teach them arithmetic, they'll work - in something....they are making fewer kids already, etc etc.). Any time now they'll start intermarrying with the secular and dance the horrah. Why - they might even dress ....a tad more fashionably? go for the sky blue of the Burqua instead of the polish black hats....what's more, who knows, they might even learn thate birth control has its virtues?

      As for the "other" israelis, these oh-so-advanced-democracy-lovers - I am sure the once evil settlers will soon be singing kumbaya with their palestinian bretherns; the Mizrahi, will become magically integrated, their learnedness, erudition and respect for other humans shining all the brighter (especially during soccer games); the street language will become less crude, acquiring an almost civilized tone; and the government - why - it'll be a paragon of virtue, just like now, right?

      Did you by any chance notice in your many travels to this most civilized and kindly of lands just how unbelievably crowded it is? how high the level of noise is? were you able to escape the blight and ubiquitous litter by keeping eyes fixed hard on the sky scrapers? (hey, it's almost like Switzerland!)? and the legendary politeness - why - ten volume books can be written about that alone....

      Just explain this one little thing to me - how come every person I know there always either asks if I know a good way to get out for good, or if they are older, laments bitterly that they stayed when they had the chance to leave.

      Personally, I believe the best thing israelis can do is to intermarry with Palestinians (those who'd have them) and perhaps imbue some good manners and respect for other humans. i think that should definitely go some ways legitimizing them as real jews too since the vast majority of them have never descended from as pure a Jewish stock as some of those palestinians. In America, you know, we find that there's nothing like mixed marriage to bolster the spirit and raise one's economic fortunes. perhaps even improve one's sense of humanity?

      But that last one - it's for the day after.

    • Unfortunately, the time for a violent third Intifada has come and gone. The Israeli occupation legions have been effective at imposing a "Matrix of control" upon Palestinians' everyday lives. The fascists troopers - and their armed settler milita now control palestinians' water, livelihoods, food sources, sewage, means of electronic communications and daily movements. israel has countless political prisoners in its dungeon jails that can be used as bargaining chips to get still more informants. Plus there are those PA types who can be utilized as a collaborator Vichy government as has been the case these past 10 years. that part can only get worse as the "economic peace" spreads its tentacles across the population.

      Whatever uprising takes place will be quickly subjugated, and will be used as excuse for extreme punitive measures - the great Israeli fascist thinkers have no doubt a sliding scale of such penalties from torturing children to confiscating lands to outright executions, to just slow strangulation of entire villages. They will not shy from using any means necessary and the sum total of voices in israel itself against the most brutal means will amount but to a faint whisper.

      That path is not the way anywhere. So what is?

      IMO, the first order of the day is for Palestinians to survive - as best they can with their spirit intact - however that can be done. Concentrate on education and make sure that everyone speaks English (hebrew is much less important I believe. Palestinians should speak to their conquerors and oppressors in a third language as a form of protest. I believe most israelis have the necessary rudimentary knowledge of English, though here and there, for the less educated, sign language may be needed. Bonus: it drives them nuts when palestinians speak English to them). they should hold on to their dignity and try and maintain as much as possible of their culture and knowledge of agricultural skills. Whenever possible, build small manufacturing and/or electronic/software based entities to maintain and enhance technological competence and generate pockets of employment. It's not right for everyone, but technology can play dividends for entire communities. Continue to reach out to the rest of the world to whatever extent possible - on the human rights level and by all means get as many versed in law as possible, including international law. And, most significantly each and every person, village and community should practice BDS as best they can, as we all should.

      The rest is waiting. I believe the next big upheavals will come from within the israeli society itself. Which is undergoing serious demographic and cultural changes as we speak. Already, a majority of students are enrolled in religious schools and the haredi in particular will need to expand their habitats further. And as they do, israeli society will become increasingly sectarian in outlook. Far from a melting pot, it's be like a centrifuge that will separate the different layers of society further and further apart. More and more will leave as soon as they can and all the departures will be from among the skilled and the secular. The Tel Aviv bubble will shrink upon itself, until it's like little islands around hotels, beaches and some high rises, where the Avishai tanned cosmopolitans will continue to sip their pale lattes and contemplate their ever shrinking navels, smug in their sense of superiority, far far from all those maddening "others". And as they sip so shall they plan their next trip abroad, wondering whether the next one is the one for keeps.

      I predict that two decades from now, the "new" israel will be radically different in outlook, culture and composition from the current one, despite superficial similarities. The ever declining educational standards will finally catch up with the workforce and a steady deterioration in workplace skills will become impossible to ignore. With an ever increasing number of ultra-orthodox mouths to feed, more drastic housing shortages inside israel and higher taxes to pay for it all, will result in shakier economic foundations. The government will be more right wing than it is now, more oppressive, racist laws will be passed, the supreme court eviscerated and much of the "left" will be forced to go underground or leave and continue to battle from the outside. Most significantly, the IDF will change completely as the officer corps from among the nationalist religious will reach the highest positions. At that point it'll be clear that there can be no removing of settlers. Possibly, the plans for a third temple will start taking shape. And who knows what other crazy plans will be laid for all to see. Religion can be a crazy thing indeed. It's funny that way.

      When American visitors show up they will sense, even not knowing Hebrew, that something is amiss, since the all-around expressions of triumphalism mixed with paranoia will be palpable. After all, such changes as I predict will be accompanied by the rest of the world really turning off in disgust. As the oppression of Palestinians - inside israel and in the OTs increase, BDS will have picked up lots of steam, perhaps even gone mainstream in places. It will not be possible to say one is from israel without feeling condemnation. And israelis will respond in kind, going ever deeper into their respective shells, comforting each other through mutual dread of the "bad goys" out there, baying for their blood.

      How will all this save the Palestinians? that's coming in part II may be soon, may be not so soon (hint: it's not obvious, but sometimes the best outcomes aren't).

  • 'New Yorker' follows Lustick by publishing Munayyer's argument against two-state solution
    • Threatening legal actions, now, fnlvit? a tad too aggressive, aren't we? consider yourself lucky that any part of your mendacious comments even see the light of day here.

      Did you know BTW that you could have your very own blog, to use it to preach and to rant to your heart's content. You could even import the entire camera/MEMRI data base there (am sure they'll gladly give you the copyright). And the beauty of it is - on your own blog you can ban us all, should any of us ever care to make the occasional visit (offering tea and cookies might help, you know).

      Here at MW, we all post at the pleasure of the blog owners. they can post the comments, edit them, shorten them, whatever. That's just life in blogland. May be hasbara central, which directed you here, could explain this to you. I'm sure they have a manual. Oh, and while you are there, could you please put in our collective request for at least one Class A operative? this is getting really tiresome.

  • Obama's greatest achievement-- blinking on Syria
    • I agree with you MRW. Some powers went to work that had immense influence over the right wing hosts. And that could only be one force - the military. I think you are on to it - the military brass must have gone to work overtime on Tuesday, and they do have influence over the right wing, big time. Far more influence than just Lobby and/or mere money. Beck doesn't go anti-war lightly. And neither does Hannity. or the rest of Fox for that matter.

      I heard from my own military sources that week. By Wednesday it was thumbs down across the board, and i was told that's how everyone thinks. One army officer i know took the trouble of specifically contacting me to let me know that it's not going to go down, asking me practically to spread the word (he knows I'm politically "tuned" into the progressive networks). The military simply refuses to work with Al-Qaeda, much less with the Saudis and Israelis who manage it. It was funny how informed some who i thought were not interested in politics suddenly turned out to be. The distrust of Saudi Arabia in particular runs deep in military circles. High and low. That's who done 9/11 didn't they?

      Later, in front of the congressional hearings, we were all treated to Dempsey's dejected body language. He took a sip of water whenever Kerry opened his mouth. When it was his turn to answer he did so criptic-like, in monosyllables. Could anyone be clearer that they were not on-board?

      I also think you are right MRW about OBAMA. he must have heard not just from the military but from his intelligence guys. The verdict must have been unanimous; get out of it somehow - it's not going to end up well. So he punted to Congress. Then there was that famous Kerry "slip". And whoosh - in flew the Russians with an olive branch, no doubt agreed to a priori by their respective military and intelligence guys.

      Alas, it ain't over till the fat lady sings. Saudi Arabia and Israel refuse to accept defeat. They'll continue to try, every-which-way they can. They are both flush with power - and money - and the power of self-deception. To think that all we have in the breech are the militaries - the US and the Russian!

  • Red Lines and Green Lights: Israel still angling for attack on Syria and Iran
    • "Jihadists on the side Assad" is the new meme they are trying to spread Annie. Kind of like a new talking point. Blunt the edge of who those "rebels" really are....

      "Masters degree in Controlling" - that's a great one. I suggest a not-so-Freudian slip? may be he meant to say "Control and Communications"?

      this is what i get for asking Hasbara central for at least one better one....

  • Major 'NYT' piece calls two-state negotiations 'phony'--and catastrophic
    • Shingo, one more thing with regard to the Werdine vs MY1 persona - the made-up "oriental" background. Werdine claimed to be a muslim from Lebanon (a Shiite, no less) , complete with made-up names, places and relatives. MY1 claims to be a kurd, a Mizrahi par excellance. An evolving impersonation, no doubt. For some reason someone at hasbara central believes that such outlandish impersonations may actually serve a purpose. Unfortunately, they must be mistaking MW with some other publication, as these personalities they build seem to fall apart at the slightest breeze, even with all the cut and paste material they are being supplied with. And I think you are right, MY1 was assigned to a different writer, one better equipped linguistically.

      Note to Hasbara Central: it is NOT easy to build an artificial persona, not easy at all. to sustain it requires the conviction of the professional actor, and all you got are professional shills, which won't do at all. also you need to know what's a step too far, and for israelis, anything shiite is as foreign as a moon landscape. As for kurds, oh well, much work to be done....

      Re miriam6 - that's just standard issue bot, persona-less. May be a trial run, may be a trainee. Still, got the thread hopping, it's always nice to see the juices are still flowing, fresh as always. And i am so impressed with the thought and passion people put into their arguments, even knowing it's a bot, even after all this time.

    • miriam6 - don't even dare to go on about Syria. the country that israel has been doing everything in its power to pull asunder. We out there, know what the plans were and still are, and what fate the evil ones have decreed for the Syrian people and their country. Israel, in cahoots with the saudi arabian monster-king and his sly Bandar-Bush rasputin-impersonator, brought and are training and equipping the takfiris as we speak. We know who planned and executed that CW attack (hint - it wasn't assad's people), and have a pretty good idea how it was done and with whose help.

      Just like we know that israel was largely behind the horrors that have befallen the Iraqi people. I put the murder of over 200,000 Iraqis and the dismantlement of their country, right along with the murderous campaign to do the same to the Syrian people - at Israel's feet.

      So yes, Miriam, i accuse the israeli collective (some great people excepted) of being as guilty as sin of inhuman behavior, possibly being behind some of the worst atrocities ever committed in human history (I include Iraq and Syria in that, and lebanon of course; and the "plan" they have for iranians). This web site was founded by Phil Weiss to protest the great c\alamity brought upon Iraq and the Iraqi people, thanks to the machinations of israeli war-crime planners aided by their neocon friends in the US.

      So don't even think of bringing me that gibberish about the "humane" israelis. the saying in israel - taught in my days to all school children in israel from cradle and on was - a good arab is a dead Arab. To which they'd add sometimes, in perfect hebrew - Inshallah! possibly they toned in down some by now, or perhaps they just whisper it. But everyone knows.

      You may not know miriam, because you know absolutely nothing about the Israeli cult and the ugly hive mind that's come to fruition there. Of course, you can only truly know it if you speak hebrew, which you don't. Why don't you take some lessons and go for a visit? i am sure they'll treat you well....quite humanly too.... you might even learn a couple of things and won't have to rush back to hasbara central for new talking points (that somehow never seem very new...).

    • hophmi: "it would be nice if you could bring yourself, sitting pretty in comfy germany, to acknowledge her humanity and the humanity of the israelis people".

      care to provide some examples of said humanity? say, with regard to miriam - you sure it's a human and not a hasbara humanoid, made to measure for MW? can you bring any support for this not being the case?

      Here is a snippet of my arguments for why the miriam6 poster is a bot rather than human:

      1. It does not address the main point but actively tries to slide comment threads on side issues (kuttab! yay!)
      2. It is repetitive and does not seem to evolve beyond a few basic points
      3. It seems to have no first hand knowledge of israelis (including the vaunted Mizrahis)
      4. The points raised have all been seen before, including from you hophmi. that's because you have no new arguments
      5. The allusions to something slightly personal seem forced, like the poster is trying to build a persona (and failing ....need lessons urgently); make themselves human through panda babies that may or may not have been conceived (of course, I could totally agree that israel has too many people and not enough pandas....please feel free to contact me about ideas on how to redress the imbalance).

      As for the humanity of the israelis. Well, they can be perfectly human towards each other, especially from their own bubble, whichever it is. It's towards all others outside their immediate bubble-zone (which includes many other nominally jewish, much less Arab or just not-jewish and not blond Ukranian leggy girls) that their humanity is not so manifest. Serious trouble with that Tikun Olam business, I'm afraid.

      But hophmi, by all means go search for that elusive humanity. let me know if you need a flashlamp.

    • Donald, I think you got it alright. Miriam6 is a bot, sent to disrupt threads with various side-arguments and tangents (also known as thread-jacking, or thread-sliding). She is being fed a steady stream of Hasbara pointers and retorts and that's what she send back to those who take her on. the conversation appears somewhat disjoint and risks sliding into incoherence, because the purpose is to make it so.

      Someone at hasbara-central must have pointed out that she risks appearing not quite the humanoid she pretends to be. And pronto, along come the pandas and the disclosure about UK time zones.

      I understand people have reasons to engage even if they don't take the bot seriously, same as it was in the RW days. It allows them to make points that need making. I just happen to think those points - and many good ones were made - would stand out better if not buried in an interminable exchange with a troll.

      BTW, is anyone else reminded of one Robert werdine, of the longest long-winded repute? am not saying it's the same as Miriam6, but they probably report to the same department.

    • Shmuel, beware, the Miriam6 poster-bot is trying to soften you with pandas. Such perseverance you guys (and gals) got!

      May be, just may be, i was hoping hasbara central will send something better along. Hope rings eternal, as they say...

      Off to check out on some latest panda videos....who knows, at this rate I may just be ready for a bout with the Miriam6-bot myself....unless of course, i choose to follow up with Kitty videos....

  • Our indigenous preoccupation
    • Walid, not my intention to beatify Assad and frankly, neither did MoA. I am not sure whether you read the piece I linked - the history he provided, stretching from 2006, which is when the insiduous plan to break up Syria was born (thanks to Hezbollah's relative success) is interesting. Assad is an authoritarian and no one denies that. But he is also the only card Syrians have for not seeing the break-up of their country and a disintegration into Iraq-like mayhem. To make assad into a "hitler', the worst tyrant ever, is sheer nonsense, of course, and merely serves the 'cause" laid out by the israeli handlers of the US foreign policy broken apparatus. To see kerry dangling to the tune of his handlers IS the most pathetic sight we have been served in many years. To hear the emanations coming out of the AIPAC firsters, our pretend senators and reps, is to cringe in embarassment. To hear Alan grayson go out there and practically call it like it is - a dodgy dossier - and hear how the American people weighed in on the side of common sense , is to have a sliver of hope.

      You may put your faith in America, which is fine as long as you accept that there is no independent american policy apart from israel, which dangles American presidents from a shoe=string. And you know very well what the plans are in israel for lebanon. It is to partly to deny hezbollah a supply route through Syria that that the Syrian people had to be made to suffer so. As for Russia, well at least there's independent policy there, or seems to be. We never doubt that putin does what he feels is in Russia's best interests. We always doubt what Obama - or any American president - does. as a result, when we see Putin speak and act, we understand the logic of where he is coming from. When an American SoS or president speaks, we only hear incoherence, because they are not acting as free agents, but rather try to serve a foreign agenda, mixed in a crazy soup, with "something American". Incoherence is the result. and the American people - they may not be well informed, but they sense when they are being sold a bill of goods.

      In any case, you are doing MoA an injustice. his is one of the few places one can read cogent analysis of the situation in Syria. Realpolitik in the old tradition at its best. You may disagree, but from a dispassionate look at what's best that can happen to the Syrian PEOPLE, is to have assad defeat the jihadi forces of evil sent courtesy of bandar-Bush, hand-in-hand with israeli manipulators. It bothers me to see how many who could care less about the actual Syrian people, nonetheless purport to speak for them. Let the Syrian people decide their own government once the foreign interventionists and blood-letting barbarians injected into their country are defeated. A transition requires order, not chaos. And assad's government is the sole agency that seems capable of maintaining that order.

      Unless of course, you are looking forward to keeping millions of Syrian refugees in lebanon, the better to de-stabilize it next, right along with the salafi hordes coming next to lebanon.

      Again, I think if you read that particular piece of bernard that I linked to, you may find much to agree with there. I am not sure about the rosy conclusions, but one can hope.

    • I will again take an issue with Marc's pressumption that the suffering of the Syrian people will take back seat due to the ingenuous rescue of the hapless US regime by the very capable Russians. For one, what could possibly make Syrians suffer more than an endless barrage of missiles falling upon their cities and the people, killing countless people? for another, what could possibly be worse than a continuation of the American/Saudi/israeli "inspired" terror war against a perfectly legitimate government, the only purveyor of law and order in that country, for better or worth? those 2 M refugees were brought courtesy of American/Saudi bandar/israel neocon policies, who saw to it that some minor demonstrations in a few locations were turned into a bloody armed insurrection, a would-be civil war in which countless people died. except it never was much of a civil war really, before barbarian hordes of takfiris from the outside, made it so. It is the US, ruled by Israel, allied with saudi super-reactionary, al-qaeda supporting saudis that caused the lion share of the suffering that the Syrian people had to endure. If anyone is to be held to blame it is the horrid, evil neocons who will not rest until every country that dares to stand up to the miscreant creation of Israel is pulled asunder.

      On these high holidays, it is the Russians we should all give thanks to, for being at least cleaver enough to see a way out, even the American regime-change peddlers and deliberate bringers of chaos and misery to muslims the world overt, had their evil plans mislaid. Watch those peddlers foam and wail and derive a small measure of satisfaction that, at least this once and for a short time, the Syrian people will have a chance to live another day. Hopefully, Assad's army will be given enough time and space to rid the countryside of the CIA/Mossad/saudi paid jihadi death squads, followed by promised reforms and reconciliation.

      As for the prophetic tradition this year of vaunted jews everywhere, I didn't see all that much in action. All I saw are some very confused communities of thinkers, with many a thinking cap all agog. Some individuals who saw clearly, because they were able to resist the propaganda and were perhaps able to remain true to their own professed universalist traditions. as for certain others? it may suffice to mention that from now on, the sad symbols of grand jewish traditions will forever have to include the spectacular fall from grace of Roger Cohen and the moral self-compromise of Krystof (I assume he is jewish). Out there in the front, pushing a cart of much used "values" surrounded by a chorus accompanying the spectacle. A cantatic production of much gnashing of teeth and wringing of arms by ever-so-many fine souls, who knew not what to think (feeling generous today - no more names for the hall of shame!).

      For a real prophet for the times on all matters Syria, read Moon of Alabama from yesterday, Sep 14:

      link to

      After that, let's all have a good cry for what Syrians had to endure, like iraqis before them , Afganis and Egyptians. later, should bernard's optimism turn out to be prescient (let us hope and pray for that), we could have another one of those group therapy sessions for the wounded jewish soul (sorry, not-jews, and so-so jews, and almost-jews and wanna-bes. You'll have to get your own therapy racket.....for a very modest fee, i can help, you know...).

  • Should Jews break bread on Yom Kippur?
    • yrn, Ill bring you a few examples; the Huguenots and the Anabaptists. over 100,000 of the former were thought to have been massacred by mid 17th century and close to 0.5M had to flee France for more hospitable regions elsewhere in Europe. In the context of the times, these represented sizable proportions of the total inhabitants. the all-out persecution of anabaptisits during 16th and and 17th centuries where thousands were executed and entire communities exiled, is responsible for the mass migration of members to north America.

      During the same centuries in western Europe far smaller number of jews were thought to have died through pogroms, though several communities had to periodically relocate , and just like the huguenots found more hospitable places in eg, middle and eastern Europe.

      This BTW, is another thing that really bothers me in the way all too many Jewish people - learned and less so - tend to depict their own history in Europe through the middle ages and into the enlightenment days. History, to the layman, which yrn surely is, is rarely done in the context of highly intolerant and extremely turbulent times; Jews rarely choose to view themselves as another sect that at times prospered and at other times ran afoul of the politics, mores and ill winds sweeping through the European lands. Their history is nearly always singled out - at least in their own eyes - as something exceptional. when bad things happened to them, it is as if no bad things were happening to others, not jewish, all around them. And in so singling themselves out, they then turn to descendants of christians from manycenturies past and demand penance - pronto. In so doing they lump one and all with the same cloth - Catholics, Protestants, Anabaptists, CoE, what not, then throw in a smidgen of muslims for good measure. Makes a great goulash to wallow in, right?

      Lately i have been finding the deliberate misreading of history and the willful ignorance of certain ideas and deeds to be rather tiresome. Once there may have been an excuse. But now that Wikipedia and google are but a click away, that excuse is all washed up. And that goes for scholars and peasants alike.

      PS thanks tree.


    • Many good points in this essay, except there is this:

      "But since that end occurred more or less in the 4th century when Christianity became the religion of the empire, many Christians have never experienced a vibrant ethical tradition"

      This kind of statement about Christianity and christians can only come from a place of deep ignorance and dismissiveness of a rather rich and varied ethical history. An unwarranteed generalization, ignoring the many revivals and attempts to return Christianity to its place of origin where humility, service to fellow men, and seeking a state of grace were the ruling principles. St Francis of Assissi comes to mind, among others, too numerous to name.

      And then to brush aside the rise of Protestanism that explicitly sought to overthrow the empire of popes and other church goblins is really a strange over-sight. Ultimately, I believe that, in their American manifestation, it is the universalist ethical traditions of protestanism that gave rise to the so-called "Jewish values" in the first place. the entire concept of Tikkun Olam is borrowed from the best of Protestant traditions , in that a very minor, universalist-sounding value in jewish tradition, was elevated in its American version to a major principle. Then Jews, even those of conscience, have the temerity sometimes to shove it back in the faces of Christians as if to say - see' we were first, as always.

      I never fail to note, with some amazement - how willfully ignorant jewish people, even the best, most conscientious and learned of them - are of Christians' history, development and traditions. Probably Ellis doesn't even realize how deeply offensive this throw-away statement is, that I quoted above. No matter how well intentioned, Jews still approach Christians and Christianity from a place of perceived superiority coupled with indignance over injustices committed against them over millenia of rule, basically by overlords. Jews do expect christians to forever pay penance on behalf of a religion that some of them parted ways with over 500 years ago, for the reason that the catholicism became a religion of Empire rather than of the people. Yet even when it comes to Catholic christianity, let's face it, there were many Mother Thresa's that religion produced - not nearly enough and not where most needed - but there were quite a few over the centuries. Where were those in the jewish tradition (yes, i know one can name Albert Schwitzer, though there's that little "hitch")?

      i present that, at its foundation, it is the sin of supreme arrogance that jews, including those of conscience, must repent at Yom kippur. Every year, and this year more than others. Far more so than the average well meaning christian, it is this sin that led directly to the disgraceful abhorrent sins of supreme injustice perpetrated against the Palestinian people; a sin ongoing that Jews, not Christians, have to atone for. Alone in their torment, as their so-called "ethical" edifice crumbles all around them. An edifice that perhaps, despite centuries' worth of work from good people, great rabbis some, has now come to be seen as nothing more than a house of cards. That vaunted "Tikkun Olam" was just so many words, wasn't it?

      As for Marc, perhaps it wouldn't hurt to look deep in his soul to find that place where the offending sentence came from, and having taken full measure of just how wrong it is, confess that which beget it, and no more. Therein, real conscience lies.

      Yom Kippur sermon over.

  • Was Obama bluffing on Syria all along?
    • MH976 "the need to divert attention from Egypt."

      And from the vaporware that are the israeli Palestinian talks.

      And, of course, from the all too meaty, escalating NSA revelations. Keep it off the front page...

    • Is there a chance that the Nobel committee can just take that dork Obama's thoroughly undeserved prize and hand it over to Putin? who will no doubt be ever so gracious and let obama keep half of it. credit, you know, is cheap. It's life that's expensive

      I think the "bluff' concept is probably what the Obamabots will be running with now. They already started the great celebrations on DailyKos, complete with 3D chess sets. that dailyKos, BTW, which had a pathetic count of 2 articles on Grayson in the past few days.

      What IS likely is that the US armyy chiefs that have been looking for a way out, brokered something with their Russian counterparts. lit may have been presented to kerry as a possibility, hence the "gaffe". But the speed with which it was adopted by Obama does say that he has been warned that he better find a way to climb down. this CW guardianship has "military" style agreement written all over it. Cut the Gordian knot style.

      The real heres in all this? the American people. for once we can be proud of them. they did what they needed to do - give spine to their elected officials. And garayson, who sure seemed presidential material in his spinefulness. And we can't forget rand paul, who didn't get blown over in the senate.

      The losers? Kerry, Rice, whose speech was so badly delivered in her infamous staccato style that 10 more no votes materialized at the end of it), Power with her red hair off to one side, conjuring - what? fierce femininity a la the new cartoon heroine styles? hagel who looked clueless, Pelosi who looked like an enforcer whose troops were ready to desert at a drop of a hat, Durbin, Schumer McCain, Graham et al in the senate, WH dodgy dossier, Syrian takfiris, AIPAC the newly defanged lobby, jewish people in the US for allowing themselves to be associated with AIPAC ever, Israel, for shilling selfishly for the break-up of Syria, saudi Arabia for being what they are, and not to forget - cameron who got his head handed to him plus Hollande, whose french mandate went poof! like french smelling vapor.

      Alas, too soon to celebrate though. Those who planned this CW false flag are not about to give up. What, of what will they be up to next?

      Stay vigilant, people!

  • Jews without Israel
    • Hostage, condemning expansion of settlements is the easy part. has URJ taken a position on the settlement enterprise in general, as in stating the need for it to be scaled back? have they taken a position on the unilateral annexation of east jerusalem and the dispossession of its indigenous inhabitants in favor of all-encompassing greed?

      More questions: what was URJ's position with regard to the murderous attacks on Gaza and the slaughter of children there?

      the displacement of bedouins in favor of rapacious private interests and ever crueler state confiscation of property?

      Or, more generically, the 1967 borders?

      Sean's contention was generic - that Judaism, especially in its secular version, but partly the religious one two - was folded into the tent of zionism. If URJ - with all the Tikkun olam talk cannot bring itself to condemn egregious violations of human rights in the territories, acquired by cconquest, then what's left of the vaunted jewish values?

      Actually, come to think of it, seeing what all these jewish people are peddling at the moment - mayhem and death - should I take those as part and parcel of Jewish values? followed by individuals clearly lesser than yourself, are those values, at their base, the least bit universal? and if, as seems to be the case, they are only universal-when-convenient (again with you and like-minded aside for a moment), what is secular Judaism left with other than allegiance to a country hell bent on being a very bad actor? oh and lots of theoretical talk about "humanitarianism" and grand sounding 'fellowship of men". just no acid tests please, or it'll crumble, like a house of cards, with a joker in the deck.

      You may be one of the last Lamed-Vav Tzadikim for all I know, roaming the earth in search of justice prescribed by law. A fine Jewish value indeed, were it only followed by more. This value ascribed to no doubt by all 36 of you in any generation - some known, some not - tirelessly showing the way out to an unheeding multitude. Indeed you have brought light to many of us in the limited audience here, jews and not, on many occasions. I do believe you have thus more than earned the right to advocate on behalf of those more miscreant jews in front of god when the time cometh. Alas, we really need at least another 25 now - I can count only to 20, no matter how hard I try (yes, i know they are supposed to be hidden - but isn't there a saying about justice needing to be seen to be effective?).

    • tokybk, you are behind the curve about the polls. They moved - 6 polls released today from pew to ABC to NCC etc. They are all pretty consistent with about 2:1 against and the No opinion inching to 60-65%. As the analysts all confirm, the undecidedes are breaking towards the No column.

      Percentages are similarly lopsided in other countries, the only exception being israel - where it's 2:1 for a little bombing fun.

      In congress too, the lines are shifting with the Nos gaining sharply in the house - one count has the No's at over 240 now and the yes's actually dropping to below 30%, probably as more progressive caucus members are making their opinions known.

      In the senate it's a toss-up about 26 to 20 for the Yes column and numerous undeclared.

      The break-up becomes interesting when one looks at the districts with lots of jewish voters. those - as best I could tell - are all yes's or leaning so.

      My personal opinion is that if there was a poll taken of just known jewish people (not sure how that would work), it would be about 50-50. Still significant divergence from American population as a whole but not monumentally so. The only other demographic group that's all for bombing are - Cuban American. Heard that on the grape vine. I won't venture to estimate how many jewish people out there are in acute distress ....

    • Annie, I know quite a few jewish people who are not only not down with AIPAC but pretty much hate all it stands for. Most progressive jews for example - or those who belong to progressive groups - despise AIPAC, not just because it's another twisting, churning Lobby in Washington, but specifically because it taints them in the eyes of their fellow Americans and forever they have to answer for its actions.

      I certainly don't doubt this site, and you in particular, carry not a tiny drop of water for AIPAC or even AIPAC-Lite, like J street et al. So many good commenters here who took stand on this issue many, if not most, Jewish.

      I don't even doubt that most American jewish people have little to do with AIPAC and many may not even know what the heck it is.

      But that's not the problem I was pointing out. The problem is what people see out there, on MSM channels and media. And what they see is AIPAC and some rather unpleasant sounding people speaking for it. Not many people are familiar with MW or MJRosenberg or Peter Beinart. They see what they see. And Aipac is out there, in full force, acting like the shrill shills that they are. making themselves unpleasant. Pushing for things no one wants. Suspected of lying through their teeth.

      That's the image. And it unfortunate. And it taints me as well with an invisible brush that we know is unfair. And that sucks and i doubt i'm the only one annoyed of being lumped with idiots. Kind of like some astute republicans got lumped with Donald Trump and the squirrel on his head. I recall how irate some people i know got at the time (even as some were digging the dagger deeper. hey those were innocent days...).

      I was merely suggesting that some high profile people, known to be jewish, get out there pronto and pitch for the other side. Where are they all? grayson alone just doesn't cut it, does he (as great as he is)?

      Don't get mad at the messenger now, OK?

      PS correction to my post above: "those Americans INCLUDE many jewish people..." (minus the "may" - just haste, no slip)

    • Annie, there is no American organization pushing this morally reprehensible push to bomb people other than AIPAC +Establishment jewish orgs and individuals, including it's coterie of neocons, a couple of christian zionists-de-jour and a host of harvard-trained shills. The latter include a smattering of house-moslems and christians, usually embedded within "exile' groups (people like elizabeth O'bagy come to mind, or the washington DC offshoots of that justly disreputable "Syrian" observatory in London, or that oh-so-human group known as "Human" Rights Watch, with a rather not-so-humane looking director by the name of Kenneth Roth, who I just saw the other day).

      Oh yes there are the famous American Saudi groups (including all of what, 2 individuals?) or a some American iranians and most importantly some American aerospace companies, reputed to be working behind the scenes for a strike for pure profit reasons, but unfortunately not seen or heard much from.

      As for Americans, opinions run somewhere between 9 and 7:1 against. Now those Americans may include jewish people and certainly progressive groups coming out against this punitive operation" include many jewish people in their ranks.

      The problem is AIPAC is, by its name, a shrill and openly extremist pro-israel group, the country that most analysts believe is behind this push to "degrade' Syria and throw it into chaos all along (lame denials notwithstanding), teamed with that other bastion of human rights Saudi Arabia. AIPAC is basically out there - in force - advocating something that is expressly against the interests of the American people. It doesn't do to ignore that this is first and foremost a jewish group, a very-in-your-face group, one that is recognizable as such.

      Are there nice jewish people too (I don't consider anyone involved with AIPAC "nice' any more than any other cult member)? sure. but my recommendation is to get out there in front beating the drums right now, Or else, the impressions left behind will be what they are. On one side Americans. On the other? israel + super=pushy/aggressive lobby arm. Not a good set-up, I'd say.

      Around where i live people are already noticing. I make it a point to speak clearly about where i stand on this Syria issue and sure ain't with the Polosi/Feinsteins of this world. Now that's been making republicans out here quite happy. they might even let it slide that i have any slight connection with AIPAC-like traitors (which is what i call them sometimes. Easy kudos. Why not?).

    • walid - do you happen to have a name and/or link to the Documentary? I would be interested. Got my own info but could use updating - especially the part about the military penetration into the religious school system. That, I know, is a relatively recent development (am assuming you meant the ultra-orthodox system, not just the national religious, or observant, which has always been the case).

      not sure what the documentary shows, but I agree that disdain for Arabs as basically an inferior life form - whether or not explicitely stated - is a common theme in the education system. there are many ways to do that with children but the most obvious trick is to avoid showing anything positive about arab history, culture and lifestyles. the less humanizing, the better.

      Which is a trend resisted by not a few pieces of israeli literature and movies. of course, those works will be watched /read by only a small subsystem and there you have it in a nutshell - the relatively few vs the all too many. An especially dangerous trend among the religious who are generally not exposed to much movies/book/art.

    • tokyobk, however you choose to cast it, the people out front pumping up a bogus case for strikes, are jewish. Wherever muslims are (and i didn't read juan Cole's piece0 it's a red herring. many establishment moslems are by definition 'exile" groups. many were pumped with AIPAC type money or seduced with think tank jobs. rank and file moslems are divided because many have a dog in the fight and figure they stand to win depending which side prevails.

      BTW - are those establishment jews (or empire jews, as marc Ellis refers to them) everyday Americans? really? may be we should take a vote?

    • I agree that Syria has really brought things out to the fore. It;s basically AIPAC and establishment jews against most Americans. can anything have ever been clearer?

    • Good piece, Corey. Perfect for Rosh Hashannah.

      I do tend to agree that something has been happening in the past two years; that based on a couple of my own personal experiences plus my readings that indicate a intensifying sense of anxiety about israel. On a recent visit to NYC for a family member i was asked (well, ordered) to not bring up israel - good or bad - in any company, no matter how large the temptation. I said that's not fair as Israel is part of my history. The reply was that there just may be a few more bits of history i could draw on, if need be. Besides, I could make things up, right? why not have things happen - if happenings are to be recounted - in say, Russia, or Sweden? surely, a little imagination might make the stories even better, and who's to tell anyways? But what of the political message(s) buried in the stories? Ah, they said, that's the point, may be it could be wrapped in russian politics or something so people won't realize it's actually about Israel until at least a year has gone by and dinner, in any case, was saved.

      like the rabbi in Corey's congregation implied, the topic of israel has become a toxic subject among Jews. Everyone knows israel did not quite turn out as hoped and is, at the very least, something that not everyone can feel proud about. All of this indicates that the schism in the jewish community is, in fact happening, if most of it is still underground. But as this post indicates, the rumblings that come from deep within are a portent of things to come. It won't be too long before it breaks above the surface.

  • Rep. Alan Grayson: '[AIPAC] falls to the wayside when the public weighs in'
    • Chu, I understand your admonistions not to count the chickens yet. Still, I/P is a hard one. Bombing Syria may be less so? baby steps, you know...

    • Alan's tie vs samatha Power's hair. What's with that style, exactly? is that like in your face uber-feminism or something (so says one female bitching about another. and only we know of which we speak)?. Does anyone else find that irritating or am I the only one?

      The tie is good though. That's how one makes a statement.

    • irmep - people know more than they care to disclose or share with outsiders. In much of the country, people keep lots of opinions to themselves. One of those is the outsize inflence of jewish power. They may not know it as "AIPAC" but they know it as the exercise of brute raw power. perhaps more people than we think have been looking for an opportunity to strike back.

      What i know - from my limited experience - is that for the first time in, like, forever, I'm having all kinds of common ground with die-hard republicans. not just libertarians either. But real republicans. I am afraid that I know part of what's informing this sudden common ground. They finally are figuring out a way for someone like me - a nominal progressive - can be brought around to agree on a few things. Like American values? I am reminded of the time when Bush seems to have utterly lost his luster even in republicans' eyes. They all seemed to want to run away from his as fast as they could. many kind of accepting that Obama could be the punishment (in their eyes) for Bush. Now the tables are turned and it is progressives who are singularly disenchanted with Obama - the disappointment is palpable. Lo and behold, one can commune with people of "the other side" on that basis - at least for a while, before we get to deep into certain pesky details ....

    • Nowadays Grayson does not even bother to mention his religious affiliation. I had no idea he was jewish for example - is that true?

      Lots of people are looking at him now - to see how he'll fare. if he comes through, it'll be a sign that may be, just may be, that Lobby is a paper tiger after all.

      IMO, it is. Pushing back against it forcefully - or like Grayson did - blowing it away by lumping it with raytheon is the only way. Once it is done by one or two or three, assuming the people are behind them there's indeed nothing the Lobby can do.At the end of the day all they have is money. and all one needs to hold out against it is to keep one's ambition in check (easier said than done?).

      Interestingly, in a state like texas with so many other influences, AIPAC hardly plays a role in elections, other than one or two tiny enclaves. That's how Ron paul survived all these years - he didn't need them. At all.

    • Chu, I've noted this amazing shift in grayson's demeanor this time around - it's like he found religion or something. may be he realized that at the end of the day consistency matters. Either one is progressive or one is not. Fact is he did lose his seat for a while and perhaps became reinvigorated with his new position. Not only that but to have lost and come back again must have given him a unique confidence - he did it twice and he can do it again. may be he is not so worried now about his re-election prospects.

      But also, there must be some wind puffing up his sails. He is surely getting all kind of positive reinforcement here. He must because this is the one guy who put himself out there actually questioning the evidence the US had, implying it was far from convincing. Or worse.

      Grayson is playing the "Emperor has no cloths' gambit. So far, so good.
      I know he set out to get 25,000 signatures on his petition. Within less than a week it's up to 60,000. And still going strong, to the best of my knowledge. That should say something right there.

  • Mondoweiss partners with TinyPass for Fall drive -- $5 a reader
    • I am willing to donate more if some can go towards having a near full time moderator. I believe this is really important for the site to keep its vibrancy. many of the readers want to engage - some more than others, which is fine. It's been really difficult with so many comments backing up due to insufficient personnel resources - - - there have been quite a few good suggestions on streamlining too in the Comments policy thread (see tree recently).

      As i said, i am willing to put my money where my opinions go, and am seconding taxi as well. In any case i'll contribute.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg assails NYT's David Kirkpatrick for describing Israeli attitude as 'ugly'
    • ivri, Israel is one of the key reasons that Arab democracies have failed, often what green shoots there were, they were toppled by force. Israel has done everything in its power to ensure that nothing but chaos and blood-shed will ensue in the neighboring countries. You might want to take a look at Syria's history, going back to 1949, as one example. Lebanon, where Israel's hand was in everything is another example, at least until hezbollah consolidated some of its power and a modicum of law and order was established (a major thorn in Israel's side). Then we have Egypt of course, where israel was one of Mubarak's tyrannical rule's key supporters. And no doubt had a hand in the military coup by Israel's ally Sisi. Lastly but not firstly there was Iraq, which also experimented in communism and democracy before these attempts were swept aside by Empire and israeli vassal (OK, that was before the Empire became israel's vassal, but that's another story).

      So there we have it - israel has been doing everything it could to bring chaos and misery to the ME - as far as it could reach - supporting the gulf states and Abdullah's monarchy behind the scenes. heaven forbid that a little Arab Spring would break out there, right? If some of the ME was turned into a jungle, israel can claim much of the credit.

      Of course, the "villa" where israel thinks it lives is but a garrison state, protected by jewish lobby compadres in the US, UK, canada and Australia. A Lobby that has done more to derail a sensible foreign policy for America than anything else.

      But feel free to enjoy the fruits of your ugly labor. Including this last little false Flag perpetrated upon Syria. To listen to the voices on israeli facebooks baying for Syrian and iranian blood is to lose your faith in humanity (but you have to read hebrew to get the full extent of it. It is beyond bad...).

  • Illegal. Immoral. Dangerous. Why Congress needs to say No!
    • Couple of interesting links from commenters on MoonofAlabama:

      Noirette analysed some of the videos:

      link to

      Petri krohn has a whole analysis of the "who done it" in Syria. recommended reading - lots of good questions raised.

      link to

      My question: why don't we see this kind of analysis/investigation on the MSM?

      Answer (to quote Kerey et al): just because.

    • I am surprised Phyllis Bennis seems to take it for granted - if obliquely - that it was assad's forces behind this CW attack. many have pointed out that the arrows just simply don't line up for this being the case. it's not just that Putin would call this contention "utter nonsense', something he wouldn't be likely to do unless there was some evidence that this was a False Flag operation. It's also that major questions are being raised about any number of quoted assertions by kerey et al. Such as - how many died? as it 1429 as kerey said, over 500 as cited by british sources or 335 as mentioned by MSF? Then there is analysis of those videos helpfully loaded up by the rebels which again raise more questions than they answer (link later).

      That not to mention the increasingly suspicious Israeli sources for those "intercepted' calls. As Craig murray just wrote, it is kind of strange that the extremely capable and well-equipped GCHQ station at Troodos - one that has every bit of the capabilities mossad and/or unit 8200 do, didn't pick up on these calls. see:

      link to

      And that before we even ask the Cui bono question, one the likes of Kerey and warmonger rice dismiss (why ask - just because).

      My theory is that israel and friends in SA jumped the gun. I believe it was because there was serious alarm following Dempsey's report that America and UK have given up on Regime change and are were looking for alternatives, with Assad remaining in place, at least for a while. In addition, the battelfield victories by Assad were quite substantial in the past 6 months, and it was clear they were planning to move in on Alleppo next. I saw an article (forgot by whom) from haaretz raising alarm about Alleppo possibly falling to the Syrian government forces, going on about that just can't be allowed to happen.

      If Israel + SA did jump the gun, the timing is extremely inconvenient for Obama to become embroiled in the contentious bombing operation. Obamacare is off to a rocky start, debt ceiling negotiations are not going well. The sequestration is likely to go into second year forcing still more cuts, and NSA is reeling from Snowden's revelations, which have caused serious collateral damage for the entire internet model. Perhaps the idea was to do this little "operation" when congress is out on a break, do a little "Guns of August". Quite likely, the planners of the FFO did not count on the vote in the british parliament and tended to dismiss the huge resistance to this course of action in the military - both the US and UK. More than anything they failed to read the ground swell of resistance from the republican ranks in the US, normally a segment that can be counted on to be gang-ho about any bombing anytime.

      To return to my first question, perhaps phyllis did not want to wade into the murky waters of who really was behind this operation so as not to hang her arguments on the likelihood of a FFO. It's probably a good tactic. Still, adding the likelihood that we had another iraq WMD/Niger yellow cake operation, followed by Gulf of Tomkin style PR, makes her arguments all the more poignant and the case for the immorality/illegality of a Syrian bombing "Fun Run" all the more pointed.

  • Obama lost his English poodle, but it looks like he'll get a French one
    • Yonah: "As far as I can tell, the intelligence community can assert with clarity, where the missile bearing the poisonous sarin gas came from and where it landed and who it killed. The only question is regarding the tape of the Assad official which is Israeli intelligence."

      And that you take verbatim from kerey's little "speech".

      Funny that the Russian satellites recorded images of rockets that came from rebel held areas right about the same time the attacks were supposed to have happened. So, which rockets were those vs which rockets did that other "intelligence community" record? was israel part of that community too, perchance?

      Could it be that this "intelligence community" attests - with "clarity" - to exactly that which the politicos tell them to attest to?

      You do understand yonah, that if this was a FFO then there would be all kinds of 'clarity" inducing (but never shown) images, prepared by an "intelligence community", which apparently does not include the UK's, the Russians or anyone else.

      i say, show us the rocket trail, rather than rely on the "we know". they knew all about that 1986 intercepted communication from Libya too. The one Mossad has all but admitted to carrying out. Why, if it worked once, why not a second time?

      Next, Yonah, you are going to tell me you care a hoot about Syrians - whichever side they are on - right?

    • As the AIPAC based US regime prepares to launch a few good old new atrocities against Syria and its people, based on a rather transparent False Flag operation, Obama et al seem to be under the impression that they can "get away" with a "limited" action. But he, kerey and the rest of the deluded, lying administration are wrong in that assumption. Israel and its neocon thugs read from a different playbook. Just listened to some WINEP types chattering on CSPAN. Clearly limited action is not what they are after. they openly urge the break up of Syria into three regions and one was frothing at the mouth calling for "going after the troops". There is little that will satisfy these shrill warmongers other than regime change and the killing and dispersing of Syrians far and wide followed by installed puppet regimes.

      Israelis, for the most part, have one goal for Syria - weaken it as much as possible and get rid of as many of its people as the world will tolerate. That last one is the only question to which there is some uncertainty in the answer - what WILL the world tolerate?

      There is what you get from "official" channels in israel and there's what you get from the "man in the street" in Israel. Those who care to listen to the latter and process what israelis actually want, may have a bit of a hard time getting a good night sleep. Too many jewish Americans succumb to wishful thinking about what the israelis SHOULD want. Only a few care and/or can bring themselves to hear what israelis - as a collective, as a majority, do want. That is "lost in translation".

      Which is why this attack is so very dangerous. the people who prepared the ground for this and staged the false flag are not the ones to be satisfied with a finger. It's the whole arm they are after. Once they figure Obama + kerey to be ostriches, the road forward will be laid straight around them.

  • Do's and don'ts for progressives discussing Syria
    • Ellen, far be it from me to raise either Hannity or Beck to sainthood or such. But I think something a bit more complicated is going on with regard to conservatives and Syria. for one, it is BECAUSE they usually parrot the zionist line - and run with that crowd - that I think they may have seen some things that has given them a bit of a pause. For some time now individual commentators on Fox - like laura Ingraham , usually a trusted zio-troll - have been urging serious caution with regard to who the "rebels' are in Syria. Among other aspects, the behavior of the jihadists (Al Nusra and friends aka "rebels") has been raising more than a few eye brows among conservative people, and not just in the US. many reports have come out of persecution and pogroms against Christians in syria who know very well they are not for long there, should islamists come to power. There were many cases of beheadings of priests and other executions.

      We, who are not conservatives, usually pay little attention to the political and ideological goings on in the various conservative and Christian groups, whether in the US or elsewhere. We tend to simply dismiss them as useful idiots and canon fodder for the zio planners. And much of the time, their leaders are just that. But behind the leaders there are many true believers too, who have not been subjected to those machinations, and can be riled along directions not exactly resonant with dictates from above. I also did note that most of the Christians in Syria are not copts. Some/most are closer in spirit to greek orthodox and/or other ancient streams of Christianity. The come to Jesus moment that happened to Paul was on the road to Damascus which therefore carries a special place for most serious Christians - catholics and protestants alike. The word that's come out of Syria was that Christianity and Christian communities had special protections from Assad and the ba'atists. As a result they are and will be viewed by the "rebel" camp (including those few actual sunni Syrians who are fighting assad - a small group by now) as potential enemies. So, they are leaving in droves propelled by fears of massacres by the islamists.

      So when I mention the "face of attila", I mean the side which will sacrifice Christians at a drop of a hat to achieve their aims. perhaps to those who meet and speak with neocons daily, it has become momentarily all too obvious that to the average israeli-supporting ziocon, Christians are really just another canon fodder, no more.We tend to assume that grand pontificators such as glenn Beck - or Hannity - are cynics to the core who'll sell their souls to the highest bidder. But perhaps there is enough of a smidgen of regard for their own co-religionists to give them a pause? even if they are Syrians and therefore "Arabs"? perhaps they and their sensibilities have been insulted/discounted by the zio handlers one time too many/ (I can just envision those insults...).

      In addition I think that the republicans do have to pay attention to the libertarians in their midst. fact is, most Tea party followers still admire Ron Paul. And Ron has come out extremely forcefully against intervention in Syria, be it a bombing fun run or worse.rand paul is firmly against it as well.

      That doesn't mean that whatever resistance is offered by republican leaners is not primarily there to oppose any policy or action by Obama. Also, I agree that once the bombing starts most of these conservatives may well jump on board. But we really should leave a door or two open here and pay attention to what's going on in their own ranks as well. there may be a few surprising turns.

    • If Kudaimi is so keen on taking out Assad at any cost, it is fair to question how high the cost is that she is willing to accept.

      It seems that:

      1. nearly 1 M refugees,
      2. over 120,000 dead (an underestimate surely)
      3. secularism abolished
      4. many cities destroyed including precious, irreplaceable antiquities
      5. christians persecuted and priests beheaded
      6 a reign of terror descedant upon numerous cities occupied by terrorists forces
      7. Incredible misery all around
      8. Destruction of the economy
      9. potential break-up of the country
      10. becoming the playground for israel's special forces intent on marching into Iran and destroying what they can.

      Are not enough. She actually wants the people 0f her own country bombed to smitherins. That I'm afraid is disgusting beyond measure, and there can be no excuse for that.

      Whatever credentials she ever had with regard to anti-occupation etc are now seriously called into question.

      We shouldn't be so naive as to think there are no sleeper agents among the left and the anti-zionist crowd. Code Pink probably has quite a few of them, working their way "up the ranks". As does the End the Occupation group and no doubt JVP etc. In fact, what you are telling me, Walid, convinced me that she has been indeed deployed as a sleeper, woken up like a sleeping beauty when the opportunity came. Something tells me I might know what the magic potion was, too.

      We had these kind of agents when Iraq happened and Libya and kosovo and surely we'll have them come out of the woodworks when lebanon is the target**.

      I can't believe Walid, that you, the master of all cynics and a true connoseur (sp?) of proper conspiracies, step in - if gingerly - for the author of this piece of disingenuous inciting dribble, masquerading as tender loving care for Syria. That is the Syria populated by the 10 people left over when all is said and done. All of whom, mind you, seem to be living quite comfortably outside Syria, and are ready to move back as soos as the road is clear and the country suitably decimated..

      Those calling for scorched earth campaigns to achieve their aims, should not be surprised when we look askance at their aims - including the ones not quite in the open. We understand that people like her are, for some reason, consumed with hate for assad. such we have seen for example among the Cuban exiles. Still, for the life of me I can't see assad as any worse than any number of piggish, ruthless, racist monarchs in the ME, who for some reason think they can be mistaken for butterflies. Assad made mistakes I agree. Which he seemed willing enough to correct, but never given a chance before armed Jihadis were sent in to sow terror among the citizens. Are any of the other tyrants admitting errors or proceeding with even the appearance of reforms? Is abdullah? or what's his name - that fellow who is ape-ish bandar's boss or the bozo reactionary who rules over Bahrain as if it was one of his harems? where are Kudaimi's clarion calls for the ouster of the Saudi Arabian tyrants + endless broods? the Quatari slave masters, the Bahraini "emirs" or the midget king of jordan? Silence of the lambs is what I hear.

      Now if Kudaimi called for unleashing the bombs-of-Empire on Bahrain or Saudi_Arabia, I just might give such calls a second look (a look, not approval! me no like bombs, even on worst designated bad-boys-de-jour).

      Come to think of it, funny that there never seem to be any exile groups of saudi Arabians or Gulf state refugees calling for the ouster of their own kings, queens, princes and sultans by any means possible. Where are those exiles, BTW? anyone seen any lately? heard a peep from them? may be they all are hiding in iceland working for the new Wiki-East?

      ** Walid, if i ever find that you have been one of them sleepers I'll declare an abrupt end to the game we know as our universe (bye-bye pretty galaxies too...). So there...

    • taxi, you are right about things not making sense of course. But try to look at things from israel's viewpoint and accept that it absolutely determined to wreak havoc. watch them move their peons in the US. It's hard to watch that, i know, because it's all about lies and subterfuge and pulling wool over people's eyes. But they sure are trying.

      Whatever keith is saying, it ain't the forces of Empire doing this dance of the bombs. There IS a man behind the curtain, who is really easy to see, since someone didn't even bother to make sure the curtain is not too transparent.

    • American, you are, of course right about Russia's resources and ability to withstand pressure, Also about everyone who is anyone knowing that this CW business was a ruse for intervention.

      Unfortunately, Israel could not just let things be and let Assad win. So it went all out with the prepared pretext, busily trying to rope in the American, UK and french ruling establishment.

      I understand all too well that whether or not an attack will happen is entirely up to Russia. Is it willing to play some real risky cards? the israeli calculation is that it won't. There might be serious attempts going on to convince the russians that the Sochi games depend on them stepping aside, and in return they promise a "limited" fun bombing. The Russians, not being stupid, also know that promises aside, nothing can be assured to be "limited" once it starts. Surely they are checking into their card deck to see what else is there to use.

      Personally, I think they should take the dead man gambit and move the rook. But I am just a chess player and don't have real people hollering in my ear about the end of the world.

    • I think that as much as I hate to admit it the israeli plan for breaking up the Middle east and bring US and Europe to heel is working. It is completely unbelievable the way the iraq playbook isd being reread - by the same people !! - to create an aura of inevitability regarding the coming strike on Syria. However, I also think it's too simple to ascribe things to "Americans love a winner". Where I live no one "admires" israel, but people do have apprehensions, about its ruthlessness and what that can bring upon the country - and the world. i believe that this "inevitability" created by press reports and the media shills produces not a gang-ho attitude among the majority of the American populance but a sense of resignation and of powerlessness. And strangely enough, that's true for both progressives and conservatives.

      Israel has learned long ago to manipulate perception, not just among its own people, but in the US - largely through its bought-and-paid-for journalistic and political class. And it has set upon that kind of manipulation ages ago. And unfortunately, it works - not because anyone is converted to their cause (which at its very bottom is what i learnt in school: "a good Arab is a dead Arab), but because israel is so relentless in its subversion that eventually it prevails because others have let up on the resistance.

      On Syria, they have been biding their time for the past half a year seething and fulminating at assad's victories and the weakening of the western "resolve" to the "Assad must go" mantra. I have been watching press reports coming out of israel and spokespeople and starting about a month and half ago, they have been getting extremely shrill and almost desperate about the need to turn the tide. I've had no doubt that israel was very busy pointing out and cajoling its bought regimes of US< UK and France about what a disaster it would be were the west to lose. I seemed to be alone, raising the alarm on this - wherever i put up a comment - even at MoA. For Assad to prevail would be an enormous victory for Russia and major defeat for the US - that's how "they' would and have been framing the issue. In fact, the israelis would likely have even resorted to the line "the world loves a winner' to convince American movers. On top of that America is still looking for a way to get back at the russians for the Snowden affair, and what better way than to have a little bombing escapade at the expense of Syria?

      What happened that "broke the camel's back" was Dempsey's report that all but threw in the towel on ousting Assad. That's when israel and neocons went into high gear and engineered this CW incident. The shills were ready, the presses pressed and BHL ready to unveil with all shining armor on unsuspecting Europeans. How to deal with Russia was the only question. So they sent that horrid creature bandar to Putin, probably to point out, ever so subtly what a shame it'd be were Sochii to be attacked by terrorists. And, of course, to carry a carrot or two, should russia agree to 'step aside" while "the deed' is done. Accounts have it that Putin sent him packing, but do we know for sure/ perhaps there was an agreement to let Usrael have a "little' bombing run fun as a way to "save face' and remove the israeli threat to unseat obama through weakness (and reward him by bringing in some 'publicans to help raise the debt ceiling).

      I don't know what the Russian calculation was or where Hezbollah is in all this. I am sure Nasrallah et al know they are they and Iran are the real target here, and I am even more certain that Hezbollah knows israel will not stop, because it is, well, Israel. Nasrallah lives in very few illusions, but also knows that though it may have a strong militia force and military capability it is still in a very small country, which can be broken up into pieceswilly-nilly, should the PTBs so decide. Clearly, the saudi Arabian over-fed monarchs have been trying to unleash the Jihadi weapons with a little bombing here and there. I believe hezbollah knew it was coming and has been taking steps to counter that in its own strongholds. Of course, next the Jihadi agents will be unfurled on softer targets in lebanon. we'll see.

      I think that when sean mention the 'love' for winners, he means the same kind of love the world had for Attila the Hun. It isn't love but trepidation. as for respect, well, it's the respect one might have for a Stalin (who, after all, was also a "winner"). It was Attila, and after him Ginghis Khan who mastered the art of creating a sense of "inevitability" in executing the conquest of such huge areas with relatively so few warriors who could be wielded. People and populations who just want to go about their business are at a huge disadvantage holding out against those who set upon executing a plan of conquest, no matter how strong or weak their moral case is. It is, unfortunately, the so-called powers of the West who are the real losers here. When a US president and congress and press can be blown away with a feather, that IS a sign of weakness. not necessarily because anyone believes israel is right or admires them so much, but because they are stuck in defensive postures and it is obvious that Israel is moving the pieces one by one. I have no doubt Nasralla, the Russian bear and the Iranian power brokers understand all that. But the PR front is not an easy battle on which to fight for any of them.

      The situation America is being driven to is not something to the liking of many - including the military that is largely against it though it knows it'll have to execute if ordered, and including many in the defense establishment. That this is so may best be seen through the amazing spectacle of Hannity and Glenn Beck - and indeed much of Fox news becoming out AGAINST Syrian intervention. partly no doubt to resist anything Obama does but partly because they have seen the face of Attila and don't like to see America being brought down to heel in the face of the zionist plan onslaught.

      My advise is to go back and study history - but who would I give this advise to anyways? those who know they are to be the victims (the Syrians) already know all too well what's afoot. Those who don't know are not interested in knowing.

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