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Total number of comments: 1974 (since 2009-08-02 18:11:12)

Danaa

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  • Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people
    • Jhitchcock: I'll take you up on this - since you keep bringing it up (and thanks Unverified above for your take) - using one sample from your collections of writings:

      PALESTINIAN BDS leaders, including Abunimah, Barghouti, and many others very forcefully and publicly disavowed Atzmon and don’t want anything to do with him because of his antisemitic rhetoric.

      You keep bringing up Barghoutti and Abunimah as "proof" that palestinians are FOR the shunning of those JVP - or rather, your corner of JVP (and, for the record, I am not sure how big this corner is) considers problematic. This is a strawman argument if there ever was one. Both Abunimah and Bargoutti, by virtue of being in leadership positions on BDS, and because they don't want to risk losing the support of the well-off Jewish groups in the US who have come - after much cajoling - to support BDS, come under huge pressure to stake positions on so-called 'anti-semitism" (a term that jennifer seems to have taken ownership of, here, by virtue of a secret anointment as an authority). Several Palestinian individuals, prominent in the leadership were, for all intents and purposes FORCED to renounce Atzmon, as well as Greta Berlin, and now Weir, surely with no small amount of barely veiled threats of withdrawal of support. I would not be surprised to find out that some Palestinian activist leaders thought that going along with these "little" all-jewish witch-hunts of a few individuals, is probably a small price to pay in return for BDS getting a megaphone on US campuses and inside the liberal jewish establishment. I fear, of course, that time may prove them wrong, because this kind of denouncement and shunning tactics may start out with a few individuals but the actual target is much larger.. It's actually a BIG price to pay, since the blackmail will never stop. Weir is just the first move to go after those who go after the lobby (which is something that's obviously poised to happen).

      A few more points here (offered humbly by one who alas, has not taken a single rhetoric class):

      1. Barghoutti and Abunimah and perhaps a few more leaders are only some of the palestinian voices. For every one well known Palestinian who, by virtue of being publiclly andv isibley associated with the Palestinian solidarity movement are subject to pressure, there are 100's more Palestinian voices, some known, many less so and many more still who must remain annonymous and/or silent (for fear of being persecuted - a distinct possibility if they live in israel. More insiduously so if they live in the US) whose opinions are solidly in the camp of those opposing the exile of people like Weir, Berlin, Blankfort, and Atzmon. You Jennifer, comfortably enconced in your rhetoric department, know absolutely nothing of what most Palestinians think or where they are on issues like the ones discussed here; yet you profess to speak for them, waving two names over and over, like a flag. Using these two names as a "killer" argument to rally some "legitimacy" to your side. Some day, you should perhaps ask the devil himself (Atzmon) just how many Palestinians encourage him, speak to him, buy his book, and generally find his persecution to be on par with their own.

      Long time ago, I read a story about a German priest (I am not 100% sure he was german, but that's what I remember ), who of his own volition, chose to be deported with the Jews to the concentration camp, where he died, suffering their fate with them. For many Palestinians, this is, figuratively if not literally, what Atzmon chose to do - in his own way. March with the persecuted to experience persecution himself, and in the process, out the many tentacles of them who made common cause with the persecutors. Some very nice activist people, all heart, all spirit, come out of the woodworks when the name Atzmon is mentioned. Funny that. But bear in mind that many Palestinians (who cannot be all named publicly and will not wish to be "outed") appreciate his sacrifice, making himself a target (disclaimer - no, I am not trying to make Atzmon into a jesus figure - he would laugh at me all the way to kingdom come, if I did. But as I said before, imagination is a tough cross to bear>>>>).

      2. Just how much do you think Barghoutti or Abunimah know or care about the American brand of "white supremacy"? another flag you seem to keep waving, and not coincidentally, at Weir, even going as far as conjuring a radio interview from many years ago. And why exactly is it is the palestinians' job to weigh in on the jewish pilpul on what "anti-semitism" is or isn't , was or wasn't (and yes, I always put it into quotation marks for a reason). Why, would it next be a requirement that the history of anti-semitism bin Europe be taught as a de-rigeur course in West bank schools so their children ca nfeel bad when they throw stones at the storm troopers who torment their families?

      BTW, much skewed European "teaching" are required in Arab Israeli schools.

      3. You, jhitchcock have not been assigned or provided with the absolute authority to pick and choose "anti-semites" like a bird picks seeds. You keep mentioning "the protocols". Now what about those, exactly? is that the definitive treatise on the issue? and how are you so sure you have been provided with the secret smell-sniffing tools to get a whiff of an "anti-semite" should one get too close to you? can you share with us perhaps the training manuals? is there a widget we too can buy that would give us all that uniquely fine-tuned sense of smell? can my dog, with his excellent sniffing skills be trained to sniff them out? just asking, because you seem to be such an expert on the subject.

      BTW, on this last one - a hint (again): please learn Hebrew then take a trip to israel. There, on the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa you'll find the world's greatest collection of rabid anti-semites (no quotation marks this time) in the fully irrational, racist sense. They really do despise each other there in ways you couldn't even fathom. If you want, I'l leven lend you my dog to take with you. He is really good at sniffing, in any language, and is eager to learn new skills! just be sure to bring him back since it took years to get him to tolerate cats and kittens (secret sniffer that he is).

      PS my heart-felt apologies for yet another overly long post. No time to chop down.....

    • Yonah, begin was a follower of the criminally minded Zhabotinsky, who called for pretty much anything just barely short of outright genocide against Palestinians. In Israel they actually name streets after that guy and give awards in his name. It was the Israeli people who elected prime ministers who followed Zhabotinsky's fascist inhumane calling and supported the terrorism he called for. In fact, they instituted it outright, causing the murder of countless human beings, all in the name of "Am Israel Chai".

      And to this day, a majority of people in israel, secular ones, people who consider themselves to be otherwise good people, they read, follow and even admire the preachings of this fascist individual.

      Then they proceed to whitewash his name in the west so they can continue to be schnorers off the American taxpayers.

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • On a different direction - First a quote from tree (up-thread, maybe the 4th comment):

      tree August 16, 2015, 10:03 pm

      interesting side note: In Amith Gupta’s piece he cites this passage from the JVP FAQs section to compare their own questionable identity politics with Weir’s

      Q: Why are you a Jewish group? Can’t you just be a peace group?

      “A: … “Because we are Jews, we have a particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies. As Jews, we can make the distinction between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue to shield Israel from legitimate criticism.

      This later disappeared from JVP site, but I assume the sentiment expressed in the Answer still stands, and we see it in fact reflected in many of jhitchcok's answers.

      My comment: I seriously question the special "legitimacy [as Jews] in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies" I question that principally because I believe American jews understand very little about Israel in general and Israeli Jews in particular. In fact, I would go further and say that American Jews (can't speak for the English variant but suspect it's similar) are uniquely ill-suited to either understand Israel, or Israelis, or be successful in countering israel's actions. Just because there is a tenuous connection running through the thread "Jewish" does not mean the two groups - Israelis and Jews outside - have not parted company, and are in fact on fast diverging trajectories.

      For one thing - think about this: the vast majority of American jews cannot speak Hebrew or understand it when spoken or read in it or, indeed, comprehend the dynamics of a language that has a vocabulary that's 20 times smaller than English. Neither are most israelis (who do not hail from anglo background) speak English or read it with any great comfort or fluency. They can use it as tourists, or get an easy joke, or follow a simple script but that's about it. I know that because I was there. And all you who have studied Spanish in school know exactly how helpful it was for carrying on an in depth conversation in that language. The separation of language goes deep - it means that American jews do not read the haaretz in hebrew or the Israeli facebook posts or follow the daily racuous bpolitical back and forth. They know little of what is of concern to actual israelis, be it thier own rapidly increasing inequality or the endemic corruption that screams every day from the headlines. They know little about the gigantic gap, actually a canyon, between the religious - who are taking over, and the seculars. Or the equally deep separation between ashkenazi and mizrahi descendants. They don't know how torn apart israel is along different constituencies - and that's before we even bring Arabs into the mix.

      Yet, knowing nothing they propose "solutions", profess to speak to Palestinians about "anti-semitism" (which means zilch in an Israeli context), and strive to limit terms of discourse in the US. I realize many JVP'ers are no doubt thinking/hoping that Gideon levy/Amira hass/Uri Avnery/and another 20 or so are somehow representative of a group that's greater than 20-30,000 max in the entire country (OK, I am assuming many of the disaffected along these lines moved out of israel, thinning the numbers further). They - the well-meaning jews of America and groups like JVP - know not a tiny bit more than any other non-Jewish American. In fact, the latter may know more, because they sometimes take pains to learn more.

      Therefore, I have maintained for some time now, that -groups that profess to speak - as Jews - to thereby garner "legitimacy", are in fact unqualified to take the lead role in the struggle FOR Palestinian rights. The palestinians who are over there, not over here. The Palestinians who have to deal with israelis as they are, not as we imagine them to be. IMO, the key ingredient missing in the jewish peace goulash is humility. The kind of humility that accepts one's role as an outsider to the conflict, something that just about every non-Jewish American does. The absence of humility means that people ascribe success to actions that produce some noise in the US for example, but do next to nothing to get Israel to move one iota in a more humane direction. All these discussions about BDS - outside and within the Green lines - the two vs one state, the so-called "anti-semitism" - it's all just white noise to the Israelis.

      What the movement really needs are people who are more thoughtful, less arrogant and truly interested in helping the plight of palestinians, or for that matter the plight of an America that lost control of its foreign policy (ie, its empire - you hear that, keith?). people who are jewish and not, Arab and not, white and not, even ex-israelis here and there. People who are perhaps a bit less doe-eyed about "peace" and more inclined for affecting actual, real change on the ground. There are obviously many such people on these boards. I think we should perhaps archive this great discussion precipitated by the banishing of Weir, and start thinking more pro-actively and perhaps productively. For myself, I says, young/old, white/not-white, guy/not guy, sort-of-left/sort-of-right, should all be welcome if they agree on some basic goals and are willing to contribute productively, even if they disagree on all kind of other issues . I don't mind it if I have to make common cause with, say, yonah, even if we disagree on much, as long as we agree on what the central goal is - not to save the jews, who obviously need no saving at this point, but to save the Palestinians, who obviously do.

      How's that?

    • Annie, and there I was imagining all kind of nefarious scenarios, or heaven forbid - possible fatigue on your or someone else's part. The thought that you might actually be human - the outrage!

      Anyways, no problem here. Just glad my replies saw the light of day. Wouldn't want people to think I cut and run, not when the target of 1000 comments is well in sight.

    • irishmoses - great analysis.

      Except that I think it's gotten worse - the zio-libs, having figured out we are on to them, have been surrepticiously moving into the more "progressive", BDS/one-state-supporting groups. After all, JVP and USC do claim to support a "one state", or at least are disclaiming being wedded to the ephemeral "two states". And in so doing they put pressure (a great deal, I suspect) on the palestinian movement leaders like Bargoutti and Abunimah to endorse their view of "who is and who isn't a closet anti-semite" (notice how the "anti-semites" now have to be fished out of closets!). This is really a subversion from within, or a kind of COINTEPRO, if you want. The whole sad spectacle of anonymous denounciations from JVP and USC can't possibly be of any benefit whatsoever for Palestinians, so by a process of elimination, we can figure out who or what the intended beneficiaries are.

      Also, for some reason I keep thinking of the Chinese cultural revolution. May be there's something to be learnt from both tactics and execution - with special attention to the end-goal - which was to squash any true independent thought, especially among its best and brightest and most idealistic. In the process, China that was set to start emerging out of its earlier revolution to a more pragmatic state, sank back into a ditch for many years, traumatizing two generations in the process. While the battles of zionism cannot be directly compared with the tribulations of Chinese communism, aspects of control exercised from both above and below bear some comparison. Just a thought here, as all human movements tend to havetheir Kafkaesque sides, which they can sink into or rise above.

      I guess what I am trying to say is that what happened here with JVP is a canary song in the mines. A harbinger of the battle lines moving from the more-or-less-left (where zionism is losing the liberals) to the left-of-the-left (there to capture some progressive flesh). In many ways I expected that. Unfortunately, I expect even more pressure on Palestinians who are in the forefront of the battle, especially as clearly the new "anti-semite' fishing campaign is not having much success with most of us here.

      Eternal vigilance, I says. And do keep analyzing (muttering as she trepsies off to the zoo to watch peculiar pachyderm customs - and get tips from the lions).

      And let us remember that the idea is that in the end, we'll have no idea of who really is on which side. You know, the Empire of Chaos.

    • Keith, this thread is hard to resist, isn't it? your previous comment I liked too - and agreed with, largely - though alas, it's gotten too difficult to dig things out of the first 500 comments page.

      Indeed, since the mixture of holocaust, anti-semitism (the "irrational" version), faux-biblical historicism (with a dash of histrionics), zionism and (hidden under the carpet) privilege, works so well, why cast any of the ingredients aside?

      You should look in some time (if you haven't, which I doubt, since you seem to look far and wide) on the Chicago School of Economic, where gave us such great neo-liberalism couched with the respectable sounding "new classical economics". Worked great for some people....

    • tree the awesome! if only I could get you to be my "straight-"man", I know it would be an unbeatable act! might even help save a [olive] tree or two....

    • So, Tokyobk

      Since O'keefe falls afoul of the purity standards do you think we could get you, who are no doubt pure, to go hugg an olive tree? if you did, do you think those "other Jews" (also known as israelis) would hesitate just a little longer before sending in the buldozers?

      And if we had, you, a purely-un-bigot go up against the Lobby with your purity-department-approved slingshot at hand, do you think we could get the US to not veto a Palestinian state in the UN?

      because, you know, if you were to show me how greater purity is all it would take to save just one more olive tree from the hatchet, much less one more child's life, I would be all for purity. Heck - I would use my study notes (painstakingly collated from your lectures) to go and preach the word!

      PS sorry for making two points when I promised to make just one! unpure me!

    • W.Jones, just so you know: the Ken insertion was not without forethought (or malice? ouch!). Lo and behold - did I catch a mouse or not? and it roars too!

      If only Weir were weirder!

      If only Walt and Meirsheimer were not so professorial!

      If only Gilad did not play jazz!

    • tokyobk - the inclusion of O'Keefe was a present, left outside on the threshold, just in case a passer-by would want to pick it up. Lo and behold, you did - and then some!

      And while turning it over and examining this undesired object of derision, you gave us all a master class - through 8 or more comments (who's counting?) - on how to divert a point [or a conversation} and score a few shots on the fly.

      As a faithful student of yours, let me just ask one question

      1. how did you get from here (here being my musings on elephants and such) to there? (there being the almost-all-inclusive "anti-semitism" club)?

      2. If I were to use my study-notes (which I assembled from your class) and share them with a select group of palestinians, waiting, as we speak, in the sweltering summer heat of a checkpoint mozying along through the cattle turnsteels, do you think they would learn a thing or two on how not to be {"anti-semitic"} and would it help quench their thirst for a drop of of that "happiness, liberty and justice for all" bucket list?

    • having looked through some of the more recent comments, as well as some older ones (and impressed with the quality of many) it became very noticeable that the conversation came to revolve around the usual canard of 'anti-semitism" - what it is, may be, would have been, was once, can never be except for, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Needless to say, most of us here see straight through the pilpul (and unfortunately, when it comes to the so-called "anti-semitism" accusation, pilpul is all we can engage in, even the best of us, the word itself being loaded and used as a weapon of mass distraction). Doesn't matter, we still get sucked in, because the weapon used against people who try to do some good in this world (Carter, Berlin, Weir, Sheehan, McWright, Finkelstein, O'Keefe, and many more named and unknown) is irressistable. Even though we know it's a false flag operation, a cover for either gatekeeping or redirection or outright subversion, it is still difficult to ignore and move on. And so the conversation continues, sometimes insightful - as when it touches on larger issues of racism and ethnocentricity among humans, sometimes circuitous, but always belabored and intellectual/spiritual fatigue inducing.

      As some have said, notice what we are not talking about - the real, truly gigantic elephant in the room - the one smiting any campaign to actually help real Palestinians, should such campaign display the slightest chance of success. As the comfortable and privileged speak with great certainty about matters they claim to be of import (such as "anti-semitism"vs "white supremacism" vs "jewish entitlement to be the voice of authority on whatever the cudgel-de-jour to is"), as they behold their own activism to be a paragon of virtue, actual, real palestinians in Gaza are locked in a ghetto by "those other jews" (known as Israelis) there to be deprived of sustenance, liberty and often life. They do the dying as we all do the talking about "things that are important to the activist Jews of America". Later, as more of them will have suffered, and more will have died, and much more land and water taken from the west bank, Jennifer Hitchcok will do more "BDS activism on campus" and continue to argue about the many meanings of anti-semitism and what it all mean in the context of whether or not this or that figure should be ostracized from the "movement".

      Back to the giant elephant now (or is it a shark?) - the Lobby the name of which can barely be spoken because, after all, it's a lobby just like "any other lobby". The question I want to ask the elephant is how to make it go away for a while, long enough for the US to at least uphold palestinian statehood in the UN - as a start. An extremely modest start. So modest that there can be no conceivable reason it was not taken other than that darn elephant. Which of course, is an elephant like any other elephant, and we should really be talking about how bad the ivory trade is for humanity, and of course, all elephants. We are, you see, allowed to speak of the shrinking habitat of elephants (due to rampant "anti-semitism"), but not of putting elephants to pasture, as that would be - yes, you guessed it - anti-semitic.

      Alas, this one elephant, which we are told, is really a member of an endangered species, keeps stinking up the joint, to put it politely. Yet, we cannot admit to having gotten a whiff of the unsavory scent, as that would be - yes! - "anti-semitic"! practically a conspiracy. Fancy that! denying the elephant its right to natural bodily functions, and perhaps even caught in the act of sniffing, a gesture of distaste, or god forbid, pulling out a kerchief.

      But, you see? the elephant is really an innocent creature, having wandered into our rooms where debates about "peace" are raging, probably by mistake. If some of us have problems with maintaining a straight face about all that sweet smell of "peace' and actually suggest moving the elephant to a more suitable enclosure along with other members of its species (there to graze with NRA, Big Pharma and little Monsanto), we are told emphatically - no! for one thing, the elephant is not really all that big, for another, it does not smell any worse than any other pachyderm. Besides, who said there was an elephant in the room in the first place? a bunch of white, old guys who see conspiracies everywhere? after all, it's the fault of the Empire that the elephant (that is not there and does not smell) even wandered in (if it did, which it didn't), chased out of its ever-shrinking habitat, by raving brutes (yes, those white old guys many from the southern hunting horde) wielding their spears with tips dipped into that anti-semitic poison brew. What next? are they going to hunt the poor elephant down and kill it with an arrow like poor Cecil the lion?

      So, many of us - having realized that we may not be old, white or guy enough, and really don't much care for hunting any creature large or small, we leave the room to get a little fresh air. We, outside the room of "peace' that smells a bit, speak amongst ourselves about how nice it would be to get that elephant to more appropriate place - a nice zoo, if not a circus. Because no, releasing it back into the wild would not be such a good thing - too late for that, it might stomp on the wrong creatures, or it might get lost or worse.

      Later, we may retire to a bar (frequented by oh so white, of so old, oh so not jewish enough) where, after a couple of beers, we may discuss the true nature of reality - is it the empire or the emperor that had no cloths?

      In the meantime, another Palestinian was shot in the back, a baby burnt, kids arrested, village raised, water denied.

    • Annie, just as an aside - when the comment is on the first page, you can no longer get to it directly - clicking the link that would otherwise bring up the specific discussion now just gives this second page. It's a fluke in the software I suspect. May be one that's not been discovered so far because there was no other thread that had to go to a second page since the new website went up.

      May be you could try it and see whether I'm right?

      If so, it makes the first page effectively closed for further discussion or replies since it's too time consuming to scroll through the entire thread. In any case, i doubt that's intentional.

    • it is now 650. Annie to the Hall of Fame.

      Too bad there's no OFM (Olympics for Moderators).

    • tree, a tour de force keeper. Love your summaries (or are they "briefs"?)

    • +3 genesto

      +1 (then some) stephen

    • Keith - bold you may be, but there is much truth in what you say. The reinvention of secular jewish tribalism has indeed worked miracles to propel jews into the modern new madarins class of the west. And like you say, since when has any mandarin class given up its privileges peacefully? so why would the the jewish mandarins give up the pillars on which their success rests?

      But, that being said, and the cynic in me is certainly not spoiling for an unwinnable fight, there is something to be said for redemption too. I plead guilty to reading marc Ellis' takes with some attention. He is, IMO, right on the money when he calls out the Empire Jews, for being part and parcel of the power game that is the empire, sometimes dictating it, sometimes along for the ride, but always tied at the hip to it, The Empire.

      Like all Empires however, this American one too, will decline, a process that is already under way. And just like happened with good old Rome, the mandarin class will not be able to reinvent itself, any more than mandarins ever could. IT is then that redemption will be sought. The only question is - do the Palestinians have that much time?

      Hence the sense of urgency, and hence the importance of Allison Weir's work. Her research and books hasten the day that the fissures in the fabric of Empire become all to visible. No matter how hard the mandarins toil in desperately trying to stitch it all up, the threads are fraying further every day.

      Sorry, I didn't mean to be an annoying prophet but you are such a bringer of despair!

    • Mooser - on your "inside-out" concept of Atzmon. I think you have hit it there fairely well. Atzmon is as intense as all Israelis are, and just as prone to sarcasm (it's practically a national trait). When he found out that much of the ideals he was raised on were bogus he flipped inside-out as you said. Trouble is once one gets into the habit of hanging out dirty laundry in public, it's kind of hard to stop - not enough washing machines out there. In israel a state of righteous rage is the rule, not the exception. Flipping the direction of the rage so it's back at the source, does not make it less of a rage or less righteous. It's also the nature of rage that it tends to get dispersed - or else one gets burnt to a crisp. One can get seriously addicted to such a state, I hear, and yes, it can cloud a good argument.

      How do I know? because I suffer from some of the same syndrome myself. I don't think a cure has been found yet. On the plus side, nothing like a state pf perpetual rage to keep oneself eternally young....there's even a patent on some such potion, I think.

    • Hostage: "I think that I’ve always made it crystal clear that I consider ankle biting, back stabbing, and navel gazing to be sophomoric behaviors, whether they are being displayed among Palestinians, Jews, or so-called solidarity activists. "

      Well said - the sophomoric part, especially. Smart people behaving in silly ways - the fatal flaw of the left - always and forever looking for that purity thing.

      Why is it that in any social protest movement, these behavior patterns become so common? is this something inherent to "progressive" DNA? or is it because the meeting place where "progressive", "individualist" , "leftist", "liberal", "humanist" and sometimes "nationalist" (in the broad sense) brush against each other is inherently uncomfortable because it challenges identity?

      Sometimes one envies those on the side of the right, especially the religious right - they have such unanimity!

    • Wise words, Pixel. Good quote from Nin too.

      There is indeed a mixture of very good comments here from all directions. I too try to read through the comments of people I fiercely disagree with or strongly feel they are in the wrong on this or any other issue. People like jhitchcock and Donald, to cite a few. It helps crystallize my thoughts on why some can be so very wrong and/or deeply so mired in conscious misunderstanding of what the issues really are. I am especially interested in the phenomenon of tone deafness, something unique to the human species (as far as I know, no other sentient beings having revealed themselves so far). Something all too common to the I/P debates, but something that is also clearly manifested on other issues, such as the strange phenomenon of "humanitarian" intervention, that almost always turns out to be an exercise in murderous destruction (cf. Syria, Libya, Iraq). Still, it's important to see where the censorious part of JVP is coming from, a place so deeply stuck in a murky distant past that it actually blocks the very path forward they profess to support.

      Like you, I hope Phil, in particular, will find the time and spiritual stamina to wade through the comments here, if not now, then sometime in the future. I say that knowing that he does care about the Palestinians' cause, and I believe Adam does too, as this entire web site proves. But it is at the same time important to come to terms with the most formidable obstacles on the way from here to there. And the biggest obstacle to redemption of the jewish people - in the US, the world or in Israel - is the jewish people. A redemption that can only come from freeing the Palestinians to determine their own future and from coming to terms with the abominable crimes of the past.

      The circling of the wagons, the calling upon protocols, the need by some to shun others, the ascribing and projecting of ill-intentions based on one's own fears, backed by the flimsiest of proofs, only serve to show that redemption, such as is ultimately needed, is still well beyond the horizon. But I also think that threads like this, the variety of places and thoughts people put forward, can at least help in divining the contours of that horizon. A necessary, if not sufficient condition to going eventually beyond.

    • W. Jones: "Her critics are legitimately and sincerely sensitive about anti-Semitism".

      I beg to differ - there is nothing legitimate or sincerely sensitive in those critics hyperventillating about some supposed "anti-semitism". These are people who see ghosts everywhere they go. They are busy throwing this, that or the other person into herem, claiming they can smell "whiffs" of something that only they can smell.

      I am not sure whether all this hoopla about "anti-semitism" is disingenuous gambit to dictate the terms of activism - supposedly on behalf of palestinians, but really to maintain their privileged standing as - to use marc Ellis' term - Jews of the Empire. Or there is genuine paranoia about what will happen to jewish power in America (and all the other Anglo countries) is everyone knew just how much parts of that power worked to subvert American policy, and indeed hasten the decline of the American Empire itself.

      I can't tell at this point if the paranoia is justified. IT may however become self-justifying the more high-minded, cesorious actions like the attack on Allison Weir take place. In a way, the reprehensible positions taken by jewish action groups like JVP seem to support Gilad's contention of a 'spectrum" from zionist to anti-zionist. I know i find the utter selfishness of these kinds of witch hunting exercises to be beyond reprehensible, given that in no way, do they support the palestinian cause.

      Some of us are actually beginning to wonder whether JVP and the CEIC group have infact been infiltrated by zionist agents intent on splitting the solidarity movement. Wouldn't surprise me were that the case.. At the very least, JVP, which previously was high on the list of upstanding organizations, has now lost much of its lofty credentials.

      I can only imagine how disheartened the Palestinians are, seeing this kind of bickery, snippy behavior.

    • W. Jones: "Her critics are legitimately and sincerely sensitive about anti-Semitism".

      I beg to differ - there is nothing legitimate or sincerely sensitive in those critics hyperventillating about some supposed "anti-semitism". These are people who see ghosts everywhere they go. They are busy throwing this, that or the other person into herem, claiming they can smell "whiffs" of something that only they can smell.

      I am not sure whether all this hoopla about "anti-semitism" is disingenuous gambit to dictate the terms of activism - supposedly on behalf of palestinians, but really to maintain their privileged standing as - to use marc Ellis' term - Jews of the Empire. Or there is genuine paranoia about what will happen to jewish power in America (and all the other Anglo countries) is everyone knew just how much parts of that power worked to subvert American policy, and indeed hasten the decline of the American Empire itself.

      I can't tell at this point if the paranoia is justified. IT may however become self-justifying the more high-minded, cesorious actions like the attack on Allison Weir take place. In a way, the reprehensible positions taken by jewish action groups like JVP seem to support Gilad's contention of a 'spectrum" from zionist to anti-zionist. I know i find the utter selfishness of these kinds of witch hunting exercises to be beyond reprehensible, given that in no way, do they support the palestinian cause.

      Some of us are actually beginning to wonder whether JVP and the CEIC group have infact been infiltrated by zionist agents intent on splitting the solidarity movement. Wouldn't surprise me were that the case.. At the very least, JVP, which previously was high on the list of upstanding organizations, has now lost much of its lofty credentials.

      I can only imagine how disheartened the Palestinians are, seeing this kind of bickery, snippy behavior.

    • Donald, I think paul meant what he said in the context of this particular discussion. Which is, if you missed it, about an organization called JVP that professes to circumscribe who can and who cannot join on the BDS bandwagon.

      I do agree with the sentiment that it is the Palestinians, not an organization with "Jewish" in their headline, that should have the main voice on the matter of BDS. It is for them this battle is being waged and it is the Palestinians that have their lives, liberty and dignity on the line every day, unlike the privileged, generally well-to-do jews of the west. Jews of the west, who, generally speaking are enabling the atrocious behavior of the jews of israel. IF Palestinians are happy to have nationalists of all stripes along for their fight, it's their right and privilege to do because it's their battle first and foremost.

      I never quite understood BTW what that "peace" stands for in "Jewish Voice for Peace". Israel already has all the peace it wants - their motivation to give anything to the Palestinians is obviously nil. The battle is therefore not for "peace". IT is for saving the Palestinian people from the worst fate israel's great jewish planners have in store for them. That's what we are all trying to prevent. This stopped being about a one-state, two-state long ago. It's now about a people and their right to survive as people. Nationhood is part of this, but peoplehood more so.

      Anyways, I will be more inclined to take the JVP pronouncements, prohibitions and prescriptions more seriously if they were to drop both the "Jewish" and the "Peace" from the organization's name. It seems quite strangely anachronistic now.

    • Donald, stop pretending you know and care so much about the black people of this country, and that you have can do or have done much more for them than pay lip service. You are a person of obvious privilege (yes, I am guessing, but it's a fair guess, I think) and wherever you live, I kind of doubt you have much of a concept of what the American South was and is or the complex reasons behind the civil war and/or the affinity some there had for the confederate flag. Your sarcastic comment about the flag may indicate sensitivity to the latest and hottest politically correct cause, but the plight of America's inner cities, just like the plight of the American rural areas - populated by whites, blacks and browns of all shades - their battles are obviously not yours, as much as you profess great sympathy for the former. How do I know? simple - by your own words you trip - lumping anti-black, anti-brown, anti-arab racism with the same blanket of a vague, barely perceptible anti-jewish sentiment which is a direct result of jewish power in the US and the subversion of American foreign policy it beget is too obvious a hyperbole. I kind of doubt the BlackLivesMatter people would want you as their flag bearer - especially as you seem to not quite perceive what actual racism is like. To remedy that, I suggest you go to israel - it's an instant cure to ignorance in such matters, because no one does real true blue racism better and deeper and more heart felt than the so-called jews of Israel.

      You may notice you are alone in your Anti Allison Weir sentiments here (which you have done your best to couch behind some concocted anti-white supremacy platitudes). As it happens, no one stands with you other than a few prissy witch hunters who are ready to hound anyone who as much as dares to profess caring for America, an actual nation, with its own interests and issues, most of which are directly orthogonal to israel's.

      Be careful that those tell-tale coat-tails of privilege not show too much....

    • I have been following with interest the attempts by two organizations, one entirely jewish (JVP) to put a non-Jewish long time activist and writer, into Herem. This crazy "hunting for anti-semites" campaign by members of the "sanctioned left", leave a funny after-taste reminder of the great bolshevik/troskiite purity fights of the early 20th century in western Europe. If most of us have no clue what those "great battles" were about, it's probably because they were about nothing in particular. That is to say, nothing other than the usual power battles that take place inside every movement - right or left. In retrospect, viewing the European communist movements from a century away, they seem to have been guilty of one thing above all - a tendency to cantankerousness. And so it seems with the purity advocates of JVP etc.

      Personally, I happen to think that the entire tapestry of accusations of "anti-semitism" are bogus to start with, reflecting more than anything the paranoia in certain Jewish left circles. Something that leads to a "circling of the wagons". We see this strain of intolerance coming out whenever Ron Paul's name comes up, or anyone who is Libertarian, or anyone who is basically not following the prescribed allowed and not allowed actions. Or some who come from a very Christian direction, who might dare to question the superiority of the jewish historical narrative (supercessionism anyone?). Or, heaven forbid, some who ask serious questions about historical events, including the times leading up to WWII or the Bolshevik revolution. Or, the worst of all worsts, anyone who comes from a purely American, non-jewish-centric viewpoint. All such people get apparently denounced as 'right wing" and/or suffering from some peculiar form of latent "anti-semitism" (whatever that is), which has something to do with the suspect strain of "nationalism" contaminated with "whiteness".

      Having failed to find any actual anti-semitic pronouncements by Allison Weir herself, they now seek to smear her by association. Just as they did to Greta Berlin and many others. After all, she gave interviews to the 'wrong" people. Wrong, being defined as anything on the "right", which has the unspoken theme of "white", or more generally, anything not on "the sanctioned liberal left". Those darn anglo-saxons! how dare they?

      I understand very well why MW chose to stay away from the controversy. My guess is that the vast majority of MW readers and commenters will want to have nothing to do with the stipulations and assertions by one self-righteous organization, one with an ax to grind, one that seeks to control and channel the terms of discourse. There is very little to gain from even as much as 'debating" the questions of who is and who isn't anti-semitic, or what anti-semitism is or how it is different than any other anti. This whole technique of smearing others by association has been around the left for a long time, and not just in BDS circles. Which, IMO, as I said above, i has more to do with a tendency, especially among the radical jewish left to turn on the non-Jewish-at-heart, not-left-enough.

      There, I said it! i made what some might consider an anti-semitic statement. But is it really? or did I just make a bit of a generalization just as JVP does?

      My basic take is, that when we take off all the dressings and emotional hoopla, what this is really all about is an attempt to make BDS a movement of the left. Not just the left, but the "pure" left. heaven forbid that we listen to criticism of israel coming from the right. After all, anything that's considered "on the right" is suspect, almost by definition. Alas, in doing so, the sanctioned "left" and especially the "Jewish left" (which tends to lump BDS with other causes, including gender issues, and so-called "social justice") will end up shooting themselves in the foot. Ultimately, for BDS to have an effect we need the vast majority of non-Jewish people in the world to join in. And this non-Jewish majority includes people who, for example, may come from a christian religious space, or a non gay loving space, or a non-immigration promoting place, or a "national" space.

      May be that's the basic problem - Allison Weir is just not liberal enough for JVP and like-minded. So her anti-zionism is suspect. And being a prolific writer and commenter I have no doubt that something somewhere in her work will strike a note of dissonance with the jewish audience. And if the 'something" is insufficiently "liberal" then it won't pass the infamous 'smell test" that only some noses are authorized to apply.

  • 'I love Obama' 'You're infatuated' (The argument on the left)
    • Keith, it's not like you to address points tangentially! I know my comment was longish, as usual, but the issue I wanted to address is not what Obama is or sin't in his heart of hearts or whatever. That is hardly my concern. Rather than get into pointless debates about what Obama "really" wants or wanted, the problem we have is with the presidency itself, and indeed with the entire election system. Since those are entirely captured by the 1%, it makes little difference what any one candidate really wants. Rather it's about who is even allowed to be a candidate in the first place. Of course, only those the PTBs (Powers-That-Be for Boomer) vetted to be pro-empire will ever be allowed to pop up near the top. So by definition, anyone else, with any other message (such as - cutting back on military expenditures, working WITH Russia and China, supporting a multi-polar world model, and of course, cutting back the power of military-industrial-surveillance lobies and foreign lobbies) will never make it to the finishing line, or even the pre-finishing line.

      That's why my final comment was that we should absolutely not expect a whole lot of good to come from the top down. If there's a tiny bit of good, great, but it will be just those things the PTBs allowed to squeak through as a way of "pacifying" the masses. Like the AHC and the Iran deal. Real change can only come from the level of the people, as Smith was saying - we will never have another Roosevelt, and 'they" are watching very carefully over any potential new MLK.

      My other key point was that using words such as "love' when it comes to a president are really a waste of an otherwise good emotion. No use spending any emotional energy on the puppet presidents or any mental energy on analyzing the puppet show. It's all a show, in the end. What energy there is should be put towards actions on the people's level, where politics is the side show not the main ticket.

      So, what is it we were disagreeing about, again?

    • Unfortunately (for me) I understand both sides of the argument. Unfortunate, because my heart is with the revolution of the people, now and always, but the analytic part of the head, that analyses the pros and cons of moves on a chessboard run by and for the ruling classes, tells me that much of the time Obama has little, if any choice. What little room he had to maneover he did on occasion use to try and do something good. The fact that it was so little (46 prisoners - not even 50 - a nice round number! Guantanamo still there, warehousing unlucky people who got caught in America's wars, healthcare Law with no public option, Libya, Palestine, NSA, Yemen, the banks rescue, and the list goes on...better stop now) is, IMO, more a function of the truly minute space a president (any president) has to work in than any reflection on what Obama's true inclinations are.

      It may seem like I am joining Phil is justifying the smallness of Obama's steps by accepting the power equation that limits those steps. But not quite. Where Phil errs (and love always errs, and desire for love even more so) is in pre-assigning an element of greatness just because his guy tried something and got a few victories. Greatness is not how history will judge Obama however. He is not Roosevelt or a Lincoln. And the missing bit is something personal something that assigns some to geatness and others not so much. My love Obama did not earn because even being hemmed in on all sides by powerful interests, I believe he could have done more. I think he did not realize until relatively recently that the president does have secret little powers that can allow him to punch through the power veil that surrounds him. Roosevelt came up with the fireside chats - a briliant move, never to be repeated by anyone since. Reagan used a talent for affability that the TV cameras loved and accomplished lots for the right, even as the left was left somewhat dulled and dispirited. Obama has unique personality traits that can work too, just like reagan. He could have used more of it to take bold steps. He didn't.

      Personally I lament the fact that the PTBs were able to use Obama presidency to lull the left into a dormant state. That includes the rage of the black people, which now people realize was percolating all this time. Remember how we all were willing to give a pass to Obama for turning on reverend Wright? was the good reverend not right all along? did he not express the rage as well as it should have been? did not Cornell West? Obama may have forced to surround himself by neocons, many, if not most Jewish, but he could have played it just a bit smarter. Take a page out of Putin's book, who himself is surrounded by traitorous transatlanticists, but manages to make some pretty good moves on his own complicated chessboard, moves, that whether anyone likes it or not, are for Russia the nation (rather than say, a clique's interest, or multi-nationals interests, or misguided desire for quick gains or whatever). Putin - and that we all agree - rfriends, enemies, whatevers - is first and foremost a Russian nationalist. By being for Russia sometimes - oftentimes, he manages to do things for the Russian people. And he does it boldly and without hesitation when need be (like Crimea, or using the excuse of sanctions to try and bring russian production up again without the WTO as much as squeaking. These moves were bloody smart - for Russia). I am saying Obama could have used more of his smarts than he did. And may be he didn't because he never had the internal conviction that Phil seems to attribute to him.

      So, "love" seems rather misplaced (though at least Phil did not offer the "admire' bit, so it stays in the gut rather than wreck havoc in the brain). But I think Smith's argument is not wrong as much as it is incomplete. The question is and always was - how does one get a president that will have what it takes to make the compromises bend that much more in the people's favor? and is a president something we should shoot for anyways? aren't we all wasting our energies, projecting them on an individual, who at best can do very little for what we want (Yes, I mean the current outpouring for Sanders). I say that spending too much mind power on a president or a senator is a waste of time because sooner or later they'll be co-opted (yes, they'll be coming for Elizabeth warren too and already started). WE, of the left, should really be thinking about building alternative power structures, worldwide ones. But that's another topic for another time.

  • Leading American writer Abulhawa is denied entry to Palestine
    • Jerusalem is not israel's capital and East Jerusalem is not part of israel, including that silly old wall some people worship so. Why would any civilized country keep an embassy in such a place? Visiting an embassy in the center of the Jewish Daesh zealots-land is kind of like going with the now notorious Palmer the evil dentist and cowardly Cecil the lion's killer on an outing to the local zoo, along with his bow and arrows that he keeps pointing at the panda bears.

  • Rand Paul turned into a hawk on Iran and libertarians are burning his stuff
    • Me too, citizen. Surprised?

      OK, I did buy Obama T shirts back in the days when hope and change suffused the airwaves.... I wear them for yard work, these days (and would for farming, if I had a farm and knew a thing about farming...though I want to, theoretically).

      Am on the fence about Bernie. Got time, will wait till the dust settles.

      Once, long ago, I thought I might like Webb. But something happened to him too on the way to the forum....

  • It's time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped
    • Thanks for the good comments, all. Nothing like a few compliments to get one back from too long a stay elsewhere.....

      I am really enjoying reading the many good comments in this thread. Been a while seeing that, hasn't it?

    • straightline - thanks for that cogent analysis of the british vote. I followed it with interest and noticed the pattern of the different counties and how they voted. But you made sense of it all.

      Of course, personally I hope Scotland will eventually find the werewithal to secede. If only because it'll drive certain people mad.

    • I second your comment ritzl.

      Personally, I also wanted to commend Avigail for her gracious participation in this thread, which no doubt helped raise it to higher level than we see usually, and made it one of the most popular in some time. Plus it brought several of us back in from the back woods or wherever we decamped to.

      I note that everyone (yes, yonah too...) has been on their best behavior. Graciousness does that to people. Can only hope to see more of Avigail's writing as well as the astute commentary by many here. I know that sometimes, it feels like we said it all before, but there is always a new way of stating old truths - this this essay and the comments it inspired prove it (plus i got my quote of the month from Shmuel! Can now go off and contemplate the meaninglessness of life in peace...).

    • Good to see you here as well. Too many of us seem to have decamped elsewhere, understandably perhaps, given that one can rail against the injustice that is israel only so long, before getting a bit disheartened with the near absence of "progress" towards actually helping the people that do the suffering. I am wrong, of course, in my impatience and too quick to put on the dark glasses, given that historically, justice never came swiftly to anyone, and many are still waiting, 100's if not 1000's of years later. I am also wrong because BDS is in fact making progress, even if the progress can give only so much comfort to those on the ground who bear the brunt of Israel's and israelis' atrocious behavior. The progress manifest in the new assaults on BDS coming from the usual corners. Still, my tendency - inherited no doubt of millenia of DNA conditioning - is to worry, and so worry I do.

      Your point is a good one indeed - the battle ground against BDS has been shifting for some time, and so it's hardly a surprise to see the poison arrow of "legitimacy" questioning, hurled with gusto. Whataboutism is just part of it (also known as "why us"?). The other piece of the same old tactic is the attempt to undermine solidarity by calling upon that mortal enemy of the attempt to do good - planting doubt in the morality of the cause, as a way of undermining its viability. It's a tactic that few have ever been better at than the great Jewish people - after all, they started that in antiquity and wrote a very very long book that is masterpiece of PR for the rights of the chosen to behave badly, the badness of the acts papered over with exclamations of guilt, pierced with heavy doses of self-doubt, said self-doubts then being project upon enemies, both real and made-up.

      That being said, I still love your quotes - goes to show you - can never overlook the pearls hiding beneath the junk (alas, those dark glasses don't help!). No one better than you to find them though - no wonder you are missed. Anyways, having just called it junk, I'm a sucker for biblical justifications must be the traces of some old cognitive dissonance. But for a cure!

    • Well said, Avigail - I couldn't agree more about the duping of American Jews, though clearly, those who get duped do so largely because they feel it's not in the interest of their well-being to be otherwise. It's sort of like those people on the right, being "duped" by the likes of Bush or Rubio or Trump, but on a much deeper and far more insiduous scale, because, after all, most Jewish Americans do not have the excuse of being ill-educated, or poorly travelled, or information deprived, or just discouraged from independent thought. Far from it.

      I would have to add though that those growing up in the "good old israel", people like me, were duped even more. Yes we had excuses - and they were not even 'excuses', they were the reality bubble we lived in. In the days before the internet and with hebrew as the one and only language most of us read, we were quite limited in what we got exposed to. For example, myself, a voracious reader, never heard of hannah Arendt, had no clue what all the fuss about Kastner was and the name Deir Yassin was only once over-heard, surrepticiously, to never be heard again. Young people especially, who grew up in israel knoew not to ask difficult questions about the narrative of how israel really came to be. It is easy to believe that, as the off-spring of the victims of Europe, you, your people your country are "better than that". We all want to believe that, and so we did, and everything around us conspired to make the belief valid enough, at least superficially.

      Back in the "old days", my own encounters with American jews who came to visit Israel, left me with the impression they were, on the whole, incredibly naive and generally quite credulous of whatever crazy story, any of us, israeli natives chose to tell them. And we sure made up some crazy stuff (or at least I did, mostly tragic/heroic tales, borrowed from over-fertile imagination and not a few books) - they believed almost anything, if an israeli told the tale, and lapped up any make-believe deeds and misdeeds (yes, that was kind of fun....oh well, too bad those tales are now forgotten).

      Nowadays, after decades in the US, I still think of American jews as strangely naive about the world in general, and Israel in particular (strange enough when one realizes how many of these jewish people have all manner of advanced degrees). But I also realize something else - what makes the 'duping" so much easier, even now, is the simple fact thatJjewish Americans do not read or speak hebrew fluently. Frankly, a brief visit to the comment pages of Haaretz (the hebrew not the English version) and/or a little scroll through the Israeli Facebooks that mention, for example, Obama, should be more than enough to disabuse many a fine American soul from their idealism about the average Israeli soul. In a way this is the flip side of what we, of the "old israel" faced - being cut off from the material available in, say, English, meant there was only what was published in Hebrew. Similarly, the well-meaning American jewish person, knowing little or no Hebrew, has no clue about the reality of life in Israel, and perhaps are not all that interested to know. A shining city on the hill - it's so much easier on the soul.

      You are also right on the money when you say that an enterprise based on lies and dispossession cannot but precipitate a deep sense of guilt, whether acknowledged or not. I always thought it is hardly a coincidence than no sooner one gets into any "debate", say with a typical liberal zionist, or even some israelis, that the question is hurled " do you or don't you believe that israel has the "right to exist?". Funny question, that. One never gets it from other people of other ethnicities or nationalities. It's as if, psychologically speaking, they know very well, there is a question of moral legitimacy there, but they turn the self-doubt into an accusation.

  • Charleston: Do Black and Palestinian lives matter?
    • This angle on Black/Jewish interaction as conceptual rather than real, strikes me as all too true. I know that when it comes to people from the American heartland - where hardly any jewish person is known, except from television screens - and biblical legneds, I often find myself having to mention that israel, to them The Holy land, is a real place where real people live and have all kind of problems. Even those who went to Israel, say on a church tour, have a hard time thinking of it as a country like any other, just with much bigger and more intractable issues.

      Which kind of connects to what Ellis says about the jewish establishment interacting with blacks, as a conceptual group, as a subset of America, one they supposedly empathize with, because, well - Jews do that sort of thing (ethnic sympathy). But do they really empathize? can they? can they connect to the lives of black people beyond the racial dimension? can they connect to them as an oppressed class, when they themselves belong to the upper class (at least now)?

      Sometimes I wonder whether the racial issue for many of the well-to-dos on the left (not just jewish) is just a convenient escape hatch - something to latch onto so they don't have to admit there is serious class divide going on everywhere in the country, not even under the surface, not just somewhere in the south or in Texas or somewhere in an inner city left to languish, scorched, on the bone fire of Capitalism. How many people really look beyond what's most visible in, say, NYC?

  • Munayyer and Beinart's historic debate on the solution to the conflict
    • Many good comments made on this thread, which I think reinforce and bring to light the fundamental issues separating the Liberal-zionist side from the Liberal-palestinian side (added to make things symmetrical. After all, we rarely hear from true-blue muslim Palestinians, do we? more on that later).

      There are two points I wanted to make, which I think have not yet been brought to light:

      1. Beinart is not just a liberal-zionist. He is also an orthodox Jew. He gives the impression that his second identity inhabits and co-exists with the first. Yet, let's face it - orthodox Judaism places strict limits on liberalism, especially when it comes to concepts such as universal justice and universal rights. I suggest that in beinart's case, the reason he is able to sound so thoughtful, while maintaining that zionism can never be fully compatible with liberalism, is BECAUSE he lives inside the jewish religious traditions, which allow these kind of dichotomies by its very nature. So Beinart is easily able to navigate the liberal AND zionist landscape (despite the obvious contradictions) because he lives within a tradition that constantly navigates the liberal AND Jewish orthodox landscape. This means that he, unlike cruder versions of religious jews such as Boteach (just to name one) can do high-finess pilpul. But pilpul it still is, no matter the sophisticated covering. At home, and in the synagog, and in his heart of hearts Beinart still believes the Jews are chosen. The fine wordings and clever thoughtful-like style of argumentation is therefore part of the smoke screen. An effective one, dare I say, for its lack of transparency, except when he slips a little, as when he accepts that a not-quite-liberal and not-really-just state is a 'small" price to pay for it being a "Jewish" state.

      2. The real elephant in the room of the 2SS is the fact that israel, far from becoming more liberal secular (as some American liberal jews dearly hoped), is becoming more and more religious, as statistics and governmental realities both tell us. That religious element in israel - quite unlike Beinart's own orthodox denomination - is becoming less and less liberal and more and more parochial and xenophobic. Were Israel to rid itself of most of the West bank and gaza Palestinians by granting them a full country (even on full 1967 borders, just to be hypothetical) it would herald the birth of an extremely nationalistic and parochial religious country that will ultimately be ruled by some rather dangerous zealots, every bit as dangerous as salafists. The secular israel is dwindling in relative numbers daily, even as theirs are the voices the liberal jews of America hear, which is why they are able to go on with their illusion of a shining city on the hill (I can easily imagine which israelis Beinart meets when he goes on a visit. Not too many from the Bennet camp, I'm sure).

      Ok, so I lied - I do have a third point:

      3. In the much much larger scale of things the liberal parts of Israel desperately need greater number of Palestinians as allies in their very midst, to tacitly propel their quest for a more tolerant and progressive and less religious Israel. This may seem counter-intuitive (and sure, things can be torn asunder easily enough in a one state) but I believe that sometimes, progressivism needs the push and pull of two or three traditions/world views to come forth as a serious uniting principle. When it is one ethnic group that has all the cards, it's too easy to give in to the temptation of triumphalism and singularism. One could say, for example, that it is from the clash of catholicism and protestanism that a more liberal and enlightened Europe was eventually born, at least leading up to the 20th century when power issues kind of ruined it for the continent. In Canada too, one could argue that the mere existence of Quebec as a semi-autonomous Francophile region has had a tempering effect on the Anglo parts, even if Canada is far from the best analogy for israel/Palestine.

  • Corey Robin revisits Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem
    • The commenter with call sign "neggy" (as in "nag-gy?) has now accused keith of being an anti-semite (same old same old trot) plus has denied the narqba p;us committed high crimes and misdemeanorts against logic, history, morality and factuality. I vote to get rid of him/her. Unless a little dose of stupid is needed to liven things up, of course. Unfortunally, sometimes itseems that without the neggies, the naysayers and the hop-hommies conversation just doesn't seem to get going, alas.

      Personally, I feel that anyone who resorts to the trollish tried and true "anti-semitism" rubbish, should not be allowed to post here. They can post elsewhere where their counter-factual, misbegotten diatribes and libelious nonsense are accepted. Like zoa. Or the times of israel. Or the "new witches of salem" (not sure there's such a peiodical but there should be!).

    • Actually, netanyahoo and his voters + nutty coalition members + supporters and tribal apologists in the US (including Christian zionist mad variety) are the modern version of biblical psychopaths. I am not sure why anyone even bothers to engage with them who put up apologies for the thuggeries and high crimes committed by these brutes and supported by oligarch friends far and wide. Corruption is the least of their crimes. If only there was a court to try them who are the the true criminals against humanity!

    • Catalan, I think you didn't get Keith's point. he did not imply that ALL Jews dislike/fear ALL non-Jews ALL the time. Rather he was saying, I think, that a belief in the IRRATIONALITY of anti-semitism is the glue that holds the Israel project together, both in israel and among Israel Jewish supporters outside. That, ias Keith said. is the essence of Zionism as the rightful secular inheritor to its religious counterpart - "Classic Judaism".

      The existence of such a belief may not seem to apply to individual jewish people who, as you say, live just fine among the gentiles, sometimes intermarrying, always associating. It may, indeed not apply to you, and I see no reason to dismiss the sincerity of your assertion that it doesn't. Where this belief does apply, is in the more collective sense AND the way in which this collective sensibility sips into individuals, often unbeknownst to them, at least untill there is reason for it to come to the surface.

      Going beyond Keith's point, I do maintain that the belief in the IRRATIONALITY and UBIQUITY of anti-semitism is, in fact, the secret key that opens the doors to the heart of hearts of the jewish sense-of-being not quite in and sometimes OUT of the world (of other humans). yes, for some Jews the OUT leads directly to a sense of being ABOVE the world, while others hear just a vague echo that tags on strings not quite visible and rarely felt. So, while no two individuals experience the same effect, they will all respond - one way or another - upon hearing the sound of the turn of the key in the secret keyhole.

      I know this is the key because I used it to open doors a crack that in no time widened to let loose all manner of furies. I lost one friendship on account of a seemingly innocuous conversation with a super-liberal, super-educated, totally non-Israel supporting (almost an anti-zionist) Jewish person. The conversation took a turn (at my initiation) towards jews during the Middle Ages and, at one point, I made the claim that in most, if not all, cases, the many examples of jewish persecution (at the time anti-semitism was not yet a coined, loaded word) could be explained quite simply in the context of the times, the unique place accorded to the jews in many countries, the special professions they had and the need of various rulers to divert attention from their own culpability in making their people miserable and/or the totally rational desire to not pay back loans they received to conduct various wars. Coupled with the interests f the catholic church (forever needing an identifyable enemy), the Jews not being integrated into the feudal system and their own choice to NOT assimilate, and the fact that foreign elements were hardly tolerated anywhere in middle age Europe, there were plenty of perfectly rational reasons that could explain why Jews were first invited in, then (sometimes 100-200 years later!) persecuted and/or expelled. And, my argument went further, the Jews as diverse groups in different countries were not even persecuted nearly as severely (to the point of complete obliteration) as were other sects during the same time. In pther words, persecution of the jews is a historical fact, fully explainable in the contexts of the times and places, rather than it being any more irrational than any other xenophobic impulse among the populace.

      At the time, I expected a retort with a counter- example or two of cases where rational explanations alone could not suffice. Instead, my very erudite and usually tempered friend launched into a crazy sounding diatribe that came seemingly out of the blue. He did not have a single argument to proffer, instead preferring to accuse my not-quite-prepared self of buying into abject anti-semitism mixed with self-hatred.

      Then it was silence which, to this day has not been bridged.

      Make of this what you will, but upon further exploration of the "key" (why, how could I resist?) I found it seemed to work every single time, and especially well with israelis/ex-Israelis. The implication of rationality in this one domain brought out a burst of irrationality. Mercifully, after that first experience I learnt to not let it escalate, so , I managed, after some trials and tribulations, to keep [some] friends even as I kept chugging at the key, pretending it's stuck. Yes, to this day, if you wonder.

  • Pro-Israel wealthy Jews feature in 'Forward,' Christie roast, and U of Michigan censorship
    • Here goes the idiotic anti-semitic "trump card" from yonah. Heaven forbid we point out that the 0.1% oligarchy that's ruling this country is in any number of ways enforces support to an absolutely horrific, almost robotically oppressive caste society in the Middle east. That the oligarchy is not all Jewish we know. But just what fraction of it is? and what of the friends of uber-wealthy friends? do they not all flock together like the birds of prey that they are?

      That the abominable country in question should have been subject to all-out sanctions - much more stringent than those put on Iran - for far more grievous reasons, is obvious to any person with even slight concern about human welfare in general. So why isn't there a a congressional vote to slap sanctions on Israel? is it just because israel makes a good vassal to the Empire? is it really that simple? or are the chicken and the egg merely illusory manifestations of the same dark forces lurking in all our natures, so it's quite pointless to ask what came first. The important thing is the end result - corruption, subversion, triumphalism, entitlement. The rich play nice together so the more aggressive influence peddlers win,basically by default. The Koch brothers simply give way to the Addelsons, don't they? seen any rich carping at other rich much lately?

      We can ask about the silence of the congress - that supposed representatives of the American public, that pinnacle of democracy. Are they all - to the last man silent because the money (much of it indeed from jewish sources) bought their tongues?do they fear the likes of jokers like Yohah who keep wagging their fingers while whining incessantly about some mysterious thing called "anti-semitism"? or is it simply because elected officials go with the loudest voices and the victims of oppression and the ones concentrated into a desolate no way out place called Gaza are less moneyed and less empowered and have little if any access to our media megaphones??

      I hope people learn to brush aside these silly disingenuous accusations from people like Yonah and hophmi and jon s who care not a hill of beans about humans in general (none that I ever saw evidenced at least, except as a point hurled out in a debate, cf the Oy vey, what about Darfur?). It is high time to do the studies that will disclose just how much wealth is spent by the pro-apartheid, pro-oppression, soul-crushing members of this one particular ethnic/religious group that feels totally entitled to subject the rest of the country to their big brother, orwellian tactics. The numbers should be laid out as for any other influence or control-peddling group. So yes, people should do the research, look up the names, investigate the amounts, identify the owners and editors of the media/publishing/Hollywood and let it all hang out. Just like we do (or at least some do) with any lobby group, foreign agents or otherwise.

      The people of the world deserve to know the truth. Especially the countless victims now lining the graves of Palestine, Iraq and Syria, among other places where power and money did its thing and poisoned whatever was ever good about the American Empire.

      Sounds like AS to some, I know. But the ghosts of millions of victims (and I mean, millions) out there, including the ones not acknowledged to be victims - sometimes choose to speak at me and so I feel obliged to channel them who cannot speak (even if sometimes I steal the words from my betters...). The bottom line to me is simple; mere words, even if laden with false meanings, like Anti-semitism - mean little in the face of the calamities that became the fate of the people of Gaza, just to name a most obvious victim. People that to Yonah and the like, are not really people, or so I suspect.

      So, I say, lets get the numbers - all of them or as much as is possible. And let the people of the world make their judgement.

  • 'So wait, the Nakba is…?': Listening to Israelis discuss the Nakba
    • Keith, you flatter me so - Arundhati Roy - that's quite a compliment. Ever worry it might go to my head? and what then?

      Just, thanks to you too - always glad to hear from you.

      And Mooser, what can I say? more unsayables perhaps?

    • "How would they react if someone said the holocaust is a Jewish holiday, or Jewish celebration? "

      But the Holocaust IS treated as a "celebration" of sorts even if it's supposed to be tinged with sadness. In one sense it's more like a "commemoration" not unlike Tisha b'av which commemorates the loss of the temple. It is a 'celebration' because hidden within the folds of the outward commemoration are the poison darts of a weaponized history. And poison darts are there to be wielded, and in the case of the Holocaust they are, as we all know.

      On Holocaust day, the jews of Israel do not just feel sad. They also feel totally empowered as "the greatest and most significant victims ever". They also feel superior, as in having the high moral ground for any slight "the others" (ie, goys, not necessarily Palestinians) feel has been administered to them. Such as the compensation racket from Germany. Or the Nakba the Palestinians "claim" was inflicted upon them by the jews (and I mean "the jews" in this case, as in the great collective of them, inside israel and outside). Israelis on Holocaust day, KNOW why they DESERVED Israel - it's not even a question of what the cost could have been to others. As in "it doesn't really matter. SOMEONE had to pay the price". So there is no need to take notice of such words like "Nakba" (let them try the israelis think - consciously and not - but we are still the master victims! and we know how the histoical narrative game goes - we won it every time, didn't we?).

      One does not have to even be an israeli to partake in the Holocaust as 'celebration" even if the weaponization has to be treated more gingerly elsewhere. Suffice it to be a grand supporter of israel in the world, especially a Jewish one. the Holocaust day for example is rarely accompanied by feelings of good will towards others who may be persecuted elsewhere, except those who are "conveniently remembered" like Tibetans or Darfurians. among jewish people in particular, you will not likely find an iota of sympathy towards the upward of 10 Million Russian civilians lost in the Great War. Or the Millions of Poles. Certainly not the millions of German civilians made to pay a huge price in death and suffering after it was all over.

      Of course, the people who have become accustomed to using the holocaust as a WMD, will deny the Nakba commemoration, precisely because deep at heart, they fear it turning also into a weapon, one that could be used to counter and poke holes in the holocaust narrative as justifying any and all obnoxious, disgusting actions perpetrated by the would-be inheritors to the holocaust tale-of-tales. The people of israel - the ignorant, the ugly, the bad, the wanting-to-be-good, and the actually good (all few 10's of thousands in the last category) - they all know the implications and dynamics hidden within a single word. They know because they did it themselves throughout their entire history. After all, the entire bible is an informercial, designed to lead the jewish reader/inheritor, religious or not, to a place of great superiority, one that is beyond history.

      And this is why we will not only see no change in attitudes towards the nakba, but instead we'll see further hardening of the hearts, minds and souls. Until all that's left, after all this hardening are calcified residues of a once interesting people.

  • Forgiving the anti-Semites
    • jon s, I was not here taking issue with what's in the bible, the talmud etc (though I might at other times). I was pointing out the unctuous hypocricy of those who recite words of deliverance from oppression while supporting the obnoxious behavior of a people that practice brutal oppression every day. Since you profess to be a liberal zionist, I do indeed question your sincerity in extoling supposed universal values while the country you support violates those very values every second of every day . So, for you to imply the reading of the hagadda comports with certain universal values (notwithstanding the fact that the haggadah itself speaks of those values strictly in a jewish context of "they wanted to oppress us, we won, let's eat - a lot" ) is indeed hypocritical, and your defense of it sanctimonious.

      Now, I do understand you want to think of yourself as a moral person while partaking in in certain Jewish traditions. I just couldn't help pointing out the glaring contradictions thereof. I would further say that you should not worry so much about others being "self-hating jews" but should instead do something about your own cognitive dissonance. I heard somewhere it can lead to spiritual ulcers. Very difficult to treat, that.

      And Mooser, thanks for defending my lost honor. If jon s actually apologizes, I promise to eat one of [my more elaborate] hats. If not, I am always up for a duel (just never at sunrise) - mostly to help call the shots from the sidelines.

    • Thanks just, but alas, jon s tricked me into one of my rants now, assuming they'll actually let it stand ( and I am so trying to stay away from those!). Unfortunately, for me, sad leads to mad, at a drop of a hat. Must learn to meditate.

    • jon s, as my comment said, my realization was that the very last people who have a right to lecture to others about "deliverance from bondage" are the Jewish people of israel accompanied by their zionist brethern in the West. Be they liberal or right wing fascists (cf. Republican types) it matters not, because collectively, those jews who failed to repent for the grievous injuries committed by their own cohorts cannot be the ones extoling humanist values, as if they became some kind of spiritualized wise pacifists in the mold of Ghandi.

      Currently the great israelite people (some call them jews. I prefer not to engage in name calling on account of attachment to precision) are engaged in one of the most brutal, cold hearted and evil persecution of another people because of who they are. This persecution may not hold candle to the Boko harams or ISIS of the moment but has a unique place as one of the most crass, insidious, cruel and long term persecutions that the world has seen in over 70 years. No sooner were people delivered from concentration camps that they turned around and herded over a million other people into the ghetto of Gaza (all in the hope that one of these days, the world will be too preoccupied with some other disaster to note that the liquidation process has started). Murdering 500 children in a month of cold-bloodied shooting at humans whose only crime was that they happened not to be jewish and descended from those who were brutally exiled from their own homes, is something that the Pharoah probably would have been proud of - shooting at fish in a barrel is so much more efficient than having them die from the travails of slavery and toil!

      So, I ask the ffgth question, the one left unspoken in the hagada - who are these people, sitting around their precious Seder table, reciting platitudes and exhortations for the blood of their enemies, who are they to have the right to demand that we all look elsewhere, avert our eyes as they go about their torrid little business of finding a way to get rid of an inconvenient people? who are they that can play deaf and dumb as bombs tear children and babies apart? who are they that I should want to listen to their sermons of "deliverance"? and praises to a blood-thirsty god?

      In the past, knowing who I had around the table with me, listening to them that know no mercy recite the messages of deliverance and thanks to a cruel deliverer, was, at times not unlike listening to Dracula lecturing about the virtues of Type O blood. Or Pol Pot singing the praises of "humane" population control. It is not surprising that them whose hands are deeply bloodied and whose hearts are shriveled with the sin of triumphalism are those who keep heaping praise upon a lord that knows no mercy every year. Why shouldn't they? after all, they keep getting away with it, so their god must be powerful indeed!

      Basically, my problem with the Seder is that it's a disingenuous and meaningless ceremony which carries no message other than - "it's good to be on top rather than on the bottom". What other enlightening message have you found in the haggada, jon s? may be you can insert some modern, wanna-be uplifting Tikun Olam messages there. Something about israeli doctors flying to Nepal with great fanfare to save a few children for the camera. Something about supporting gay liberation etc etc (insert whatever passes for the liberal value of the day). May be you can, because in America anything is possible. All messages can be rewritten. All villainous acts can be re-branded as mercy killing acts. But I, with my simple analytic mind, find little that is actually spiritual in the Haggada, little that can be considered enlightened, and even less of that quality of grace and redemption that frankly belongs to a certain break-away sect once known collectively as Christianity (yes, yes, I know. when it comes to branding, Paul was no slouch).

      And, mind you, it's not just Palestinians I am thinking about, but the Iraqis that fell victim to the neocon policies peddled by the full court jewish establishment in the US (give or take a few saintly people like Judt and Chomsky and Greenwald and another few hundred) and the Syrian people now subjected to a campaign of destruction and mayhem, thanks again to an unholy alliance between the hideous house of Wahabist Saudi head choppers and their somewhat more sophisticated ethno-supremacist friends living in that least holy of all lands, now called israel. Nice to see these twiddle-dee-twiddle-dams of the Middle east, inheritors two two great religions. Nice to see Israel and new best bud Saudi Arabia being aided and abetted by the empire's hegemonists, many of whom are members of the third great monotheistic religion, making this the grandest of all monotheist alliances.

      Personally, I think most jews who do attend Seders of all kinds would do well to stop counting the plagues visited upon their supposed enemies (supposed because there never was any "exodus" from Egypt by all historical accounts) much as they like to count the murderous rampages of the henchmen of Mordechai against men, women and children of the Haman clan of Persia as 'righteous riot". May be they should instead start counting their blessings for being given a pass on account of past persecution. Now, if we could only have descendants of the illustrious Huns join in to receive their own forebearances and blessings!.

      I don't know how your haggadah is written but the one followed in israel is a treatise of vengeance celebration thanks to a egomaniac and cruel god that should really have been banished from followers of civilized discourse the world over sometime ago. So I ask, how can reading from the traditional Hagadah be seen as a beautiful spiritual affair when those reveling in the recitations and celebrations are committing and commemorating some of the ugliest acts of persecution seen these past 70 years.

      So yes, given who reads it, and the spirit in which it is read, for me the Haggadah has become a book of death, one that, shorn of the propaganda value in which it is encased, is, at its heart, a simple minded celebration of vengeance by a people for whom the concept of mercy has no meaning outside their own narrow-minded, ethnically/religiously defined tribes of zealots. The people of israel, who have "arrived" in jerusalem - that city on the hill - are indeed the natural spiritual descendants of the zealotry of the maccabis, the cruelty of Mordechai's henchmen and the terror spreading legionaires of Begin, Sharon and now netanyahu. So what message do any of them or their supporters have for the rest of the world that's worth listening to?

      May be sometimes it's not so hard to understand how Christianity ended up triumphing in the old world. Passover, like Yom Kippur, is among those special days of the jewish tradition when I actually can actually see why Christianity (and later islam) spread as far as they did and Judaism didn't. Not that the modern day adherents of either religion are short in the misery inflicting department (see above re the great collusion of the world's three religions), but long ago, during difficult times, if one looks carefully, and perhaps objectively, it's not so hard to see why things came about the way they did.

      Thanks for the inspiration jon s. Please send more soap boxes my way!

    • Yonah, you sure are making a career out of the Not Getting IT syndrome. Does it pay well?

    • Mooser, but you forgot "Gawd"! that I believe is one of the more modern additions to the many names of The One.

      I do see the cash checking difficulty - or the gawd awful TSA quandry when checking against the No-Fly data base .

      We need some standards, I says!

    • Michelle - what is "G-d"? any one in particular? (there are so many G-Ds!).

      As for "love" - may be you need a better translation of the hagadah?

      And it is, I believe "seder", not "sedar" (check you CZ dictionary...or the Book of Selections -from-Left-Behind).

    • This is the second year I did not have any urge to go to a seder of any kind. Not that in years past the urge was strong enough to move me more than a few miles either way, but still, there was a little tingle there, like a secret voice that tags on an invisible string, one i thought was long buried.

      But something grievous must have happened for the secret string to go all but silent. It might have been the last atrocities visited upon the Gazans. Perhaps not so much the ordeal the Palestinians are forced to through (which, after all has become something of a yearly, monthly, daily ritual, much as the pain that was inflicted upon African Slave descendants over centuries); may be it was the realization that Israelis - the vast majority thereof - have become, en mass inured to the suffering of others deemed "not of them". And in the process lost not only chunks of their collective humanity, but the soul of the history jewish people through the centuries strove so hard to keep up. Israelis, and the Jewish people who support the obnoxious israeli reality have, in my eyes, lost the moral status (both low and high ground) that allowed them to discourse on persecutions past, their own or others'. Or to continue to pretend that their Seder or Yom Kippur rituals are anything but a triumphalist tribal chest beating.

      So passover for me, a thoroughly secular ex-Israeli, has over the years become an empty ritual, empty of meaning any higher or larger than an excuse for a familial get together, where numerous courses of specialty dishes are sampled, while interspersed by [hurried and condensed] reacitations from an old book that, at its esssence, seeks to portray jews as rightful inheritors of the privilege to lecture others. The passover ritual for me, seems to side-step, as it does for most people, deep truths, such as the unrighteousness of over-the-top celebration of deliverance from persecution by a people who then proceeded to become vengeful, arrogant and high minded themselves. The entire occasion, far from solemn, has, for me, become kind of a sad symbol of the moral degradation suffered by those who insist on remaining blind to their own increasingly cold hearts, now encased in thick layers of icy sleet.

      The very last time I attended a seder of any kind, I found it depressing, the opposite of uplifting. The hagadah lithurgy serving as a sad chorus accompanying a collective descent into a special purgatory, the kind reserved for those who were meant to learn something from history but didn't and wouldn't.

      This year, I spent part of passover night at the Gym where I joined the practitioners of other rituals that, in the end, serve well to highlight the human condition which, at its heart, is a rage about its own finiteness. At the Gym, propelled by our own exertions, we can entertain momentary visions of immortality and power over fate, from which, if we are wise, we'll do well to recover as soon as the mirror tells us that no, despite all the hard work, we have not shed thirty years in an evening. I thought a solid session at the Gym will make for a nice substitute ritual where, unlike the hagadah, partakes of some measure of humility in the face of our own illusions and finds redemption in that.

      An evening spent in the company of utter strangers who nonetheless are glued together by a a bond deeper than any individual or collective history. So i think I like the gym people better than I like the Passover people. They even have their special little recipes and musical interludes. And, unlike the end of the seder, where we get to feel a bit stuffed up with too much food and drink, and often not nearly the kind of good conversation Phil somehow manages to have, at the end of a well-spent Gym session, one feels truly uplifted.

      Anyways, I am convinced that every tiny little triumph over eternity counts, and Passover just doesn't cut it in that department any longer. At least not for me.

  • Dead End
    • The Holocaust happened more than 70 years ago. Iraqi holocaust, which is what the American invasion urged on and enabled by Israel and neocon zionists in the US started in 2003 and is continuing today. There was a holocaust perpetrated on Russian citizens during WWII that was just as serious and evil as anything done to the Jews (read about the camps for Russians and what was done to Russian citizens, over 6 million of whom perished, not to mention the soldiers that fought the invasion).

      Yet, Netanyahu is not going to victory day in Russia presumably because he could care less that it was the Russian army - at a huge cost in blood - that liberated many camps, and indeed allowed the western allies to triumph on their end. Netanyahu is not going because it's only the fate of jewish victims that really matter to him (if that much) AND many of the Russian civilians who died - the majority in fact, were non-Jews and therefore didn't count all that much. Just as all the many victims of the Nazis do not matter all that much to the good, oh so moral, israeli citizens, who speak and lament only their perished ancestors, with barely a nod to the many others who died just as horribly and unnecessarily. And I know the one-directional nature of sympathies and empathies in israel all too well, even if lip service is paid to the 'righteous gentiles".

      I am personally finding it quite tiresome for all the channels in the US to unveil various Holocaust stories and documentaries, almost exclusively about the jews that perished, even while shortchanging the fate of non-Jewish victims. Further ignoring the enormous atrocities perpetrated in Americans' name in Iraq, and in Syria and ongoing in Ukraine, where the US is arming and abetting essentially neo-nazi groups (US soldiers have arrived to train the banderist, now whitewashed clean from the crimes of their spiritual godfathers of the Nazi era, the ones who participated - enthusiastically in Babi Yar and then some). makes one wonder on behalf of whom and how are Holocausts counted for public consumption.

      With scant attention paid to victims who were not jewish in both the US and israel, and the ongoing campaign to vilify Russia for purely geopolitical reasons - now on fully obscene display far and wide, the Holocaust remembrance days come across as a celebration of Jewish power - the power to bend history so it arcs their way, not as a true mourning for victims of wars and genocides of all kinds.

      So yes, for my own many reasons, I agree with Marc Ellis. It's high time to call it quits for this remembrance day unless it takes place in a far more moral universe, rather than the disingenuous one built just for us. So we can properly align our memories in the selective ways chosen for us.

      For myself, I'll choose to remember the victims of many holocausts perpetrated on members of the human race, jewish and otherwise. I try to remember those every day not just on the one day designated by a select group of humans who consider themselves chosen over all others to prioratize their group's particular sufferings. For me, all are chosen, and all lives taken away wantonly and collectively matter.

  • Yarmouk camp reaches out to the international community for help against IS invasion
    • Thanks Annie for the reminder about al-Bared. The similarities to Yarmouk are indeed striking.

    • Walid, I see you subtracted the 2000 that fled Yarmuk from the 20,000 that were supposed to be still there. It is, of course, possible, that some may not find it so easy to leave, even if they wanted to.

      I read somewhere that one issue faced by the Syrian arab army is that the government is prohibited from entering Palestinian camps by some law they signed onto. That makes it impossible for them to do anything other than lay siege to the town. Still, I am curious - how did those 200 ISIS people slip into the camp iof it is guarded from all sides? who slipped them in and why? if you hear or read anything, please share.

    • Walid, so now that we figured how a caliph can pop out like a jack-in-the-box, the question remains - what turns the PA buttons on and off? couldn't possibly be something greasy that can make up for withheld tax monies? well, you probably know more about the strange happenstances in that part of the world than I do.

      One really hates to be cynical when real people are suffering. I just wish more saw through the cynical manipulations by certain powers and had the gumption it takes to resist. I reckon some do, perhaps even many. They are just not the ones in the headlines.

    • I tend to agree Rusty Pipes. I sure wouldn't want to see MW get sucked into this quagmire where regime change operators with bloody hands one day masquerade as humanitarians the next. This entire campaign against Syria has long ago stopped being about Assad per se. It most certainly is not about any legitimate opposition to Assad and decidedly not about a "democratocracy-US-style" (the kind that brought the banderites to power in Ulraine. Isis here, neo-nazis there, what's the difference?).

      I do not know the history of the writer of this article and I would like to assume the intentions are good, except for that nagging little doubt - the timing. Something quite not right about the timing.

      To me, the ISIS entry into yarmouk (aided by whom, exactly?), its timing and any atrocities they are likely to perpetrate smell like another type (a particularly odious type) of a false flag operation. Like all false flags, certain people and writers and activists are handed their talking points, the calls of "gevalt!" go to the UN, action is solicited, ink is spilled on-line as blood sinks to the ground on location.

      Somehow, I keep thinking that maybe the "chlorine" charges didn't stick at the UN, so it's on to Plan B (or is it Plan C, or Plan D?). Why do I get the funny feeling that these ISIS people can be turned on at will, where needed to precipitate calls for a little "humanitarian" help - be it in the form of foods or bombs (the regime changers honestly could care less which one it is, though bombs may be cheaper and with easier delivery).

      But back to the point: things are certainly murky over at Yarmouk in many more ways than one. I think MW is well advised to stay clear and away until the dust settles.

    • I find it interesting that in this article hardly anything is being said about making common cause with the Syrian government - and the Syrian people - who have been subjected to a brutal campaign of regime change by a collusion of American neocons, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Wahabi infested portion of the Arab world. The best way to bring a solution for the problems of yarmouk is to strengthen the hand - and work jointly with the Syrian Army, now fighting against the ISIS foreigners injected into the midst of Syria. I find it curious that there is so little mention of the obvious and instead we get these appeals to the UN. Especially since Syria has done everything possible to help Palestinian citizens leave the camp, even as they were being held hostage by the various groups fighting over control there.

      The most recent stories before this "Isis invasion" were about the different camps in Yarmouk having reached an understanding with the Syrian government to lay down their arms and curtail the more extremist elements in the camps that caused it to be besieged in the first place.

      One finds it very interesting that shortly after news of an agreement being reached that suddenly ISIS find a way into the camp by mysterious means. Who let them in? how did they manage to gain partial control there? who has an interest in sucking Palestinians into the "regime change" paradigm promulgated by Neocons, Israel and their wahabist criminal bretherns in the KSA?

      It is clear that right now the ISIS front - and their Israel-aided al Nusra terrorists are suffering serious set-back in the Qalamoun mountains and near the Golan hieights. Is it a coincidencne that suddenly we are seeing a coordinated attack on Idlib and this mysterious "injection" of ISIS into yarmouk?

      I think everyone who cares about the Palestinian cause would be well advised to look very carefully at the events unfolding in Syria. It is time to put the pressure on the real culprits: Israel (which is arming and supporting al-Nusra), Saudi Arabia that brought ISIS about and is funding them as we speak (while pretending otherwise) and the US which made no secret of wanting to demolish Syria as an independent country through one of their atrocity-generating regime change operations.

      The solution to the yarmouk problem is staring at us all in the face. Advocating some UN "intervention" when it is the very same militant factions allied with nusra salafists and Isis that have been preventing the entry of UN aid in the first place. Anyone else notices the strange contradictions and coincidences here?

  • I want my country back
    • Ah, Mooser dearest - now that possibility of a parasite involved in precipitating the notorius ziocaine syndrome (ZS) and its infamous cousin ZSBP (ziocayne syndrome-by-proxy) got me right back into the mix. By virtue of scientific curiosity, you know. For some time, I have been thinking that perhaps it is not a parasite but rather something akin to prions (a more primitive form of a parasite or a bacteria). Prions being known, of course, for their connection to mad Cow disease, which, as we know is rather fatal. While potential antidotes to parasites have been known in the literature of infectious agents, alas, when it comes to prions, our science is powerless. No cure or antidotes are known and so far attempts to come up with immuno-boosting agents have been unsuccessful.

      I urge one and all to check out the best that Wikipedia has to offer on the fascinating topic of Mad Cow disease and its antagonists. For eons I have been wondering whether parial protein starands could be an answer to some of humanity's most vexing questions.

      BTW, I have been fine, thank you. Just busy with a case of deep despondency syndrome (DDS). Very busyness causing even when business is at a stand still.

  • Why I am not Charlie
    • Why, thanks Mooser. I'll definitely try to remember next time who I'm dealing with. Darn, to think that I wasted that "pink glow" and the "drapes of blood" on our jon-es. I really need to relocate my soap-box. Know of any public squares that may rent some cheap ones out (preferrably by the hour)?

    • jon S "we are all French jews"

      You peddling the jewish meme is nothing short of nauseating. We are no such thing. Not with photos of the murderer and war criminal Netanyahoo, hand in hand with Hollande, looking ever so sanctimonious, ever the manipulator and schemer. Even as the blood of 500 children drips all around him. You can almost see the pink glow in the Paris lights. Any ralley that would allow this horrid creature to march is hypocritical. I feel sad for all those french people, led through irony's door, like sheep. having convinced themselves that this all has something to do with "freedom of speech".

      may be we should say instead, "we are all Ahmed" for the Muslim policeman shot in the line of duty? like someone above suggested (was it you taxi?)

      Or, better yet, what was the name of the hero at the Lebanon cafe that gave his life to protect many more people from getting killed?

      That's who we should be.

    • I would have to agree here MRW. The jewish people of late middle age, early enlightenement periods in Europe were persecuted - at times and in places. Not everywhere and hardly all the time (yes, Shahak, among others). The facts of the matter are not that they couldn't easily get out of the shtetls. Most Europeans - mainstream and sects of all kind - remained enclosed in their own private "shtetls" for a long time after Voltaire, bound to a reactionary church and stale dogmas. Nothing unusual there - either about jews or non-Jews.

      The point I'd make is that INSIDE the shtetls, all through the 15th-18th century, when many jewish communities actually thrived (like the one in Holland) and when ideas of the enlightenment were starting to make themselves known widely, the jews still did not emerge from a religion-bound, dogmatic and oppressively authocracy respecting thought style.

      The universalist ideas of freedom, individuality and liberty were not forged in the midst of jewish communities (with a few exceptions noted - on the margins of Europe). These concepts were hardly contained within the jewish tenets of law that governed all behavior and thought for centuries. They came to the jews from without and did not emerge organically within. These are facts. And, as you pointed out - from maimonides to Spinoza - who else was there? uriel d'Acosta - who was literally stepped upon and driven to suicide?

      Yes, once Napoleon issued his emancipation decrees - there were takers among the jews and slowly but surely many emerged into the new haskala. Which is when Judaism - as a culture, rather than a religion - started to take hold. And once they emerged, jewish people made themselves heard and seen through many contributions. But that was because they were able to stand on the shoulders of giants. And one of those giants was Voltaire. Who, with all his accomplishments, was just another human. I am sure he would have torn into the Gypsies, were they around then. But as it was, for him, Jews and devout Christians were all of a cloth. perhaps it was safer to rant against one more than the other. We'll never know.

      Disclaimer: the above comments about the late emergence of Jews into the enlightenment era are my opinions, formed in the course of reading much about the period. Exceptions to the rule are easy to find, I'm sure. But history is what it was, as much as some would like to rewrite portions thereof.

    • Mooser: "Judaism and Jews survived the Nazi Holocaust. I think we will survive Zionism, too". Jews will, but I am not sure in what form Judaism will survive. Zionism clawed its way rather deep into the heart of hearts and it is gobbling up the core, as we speak. I know you'll say that Judaism survived Shabtai Zvi too. But Shabtai never got very far in his messianic aspirations and his movement crashed against the rocks of reality rather early on. By contrast, zionism got very far indeed. Like a particularly voracious plant species it gobbles all in its wake, leaving nothing but spiritual bareness behind. Furthermore, the craziest seem to multiply the fastest, and as they grow, they sow toxic mutations that will wreck havoc for generations to come. And I don't mean that the toxicity is limited to the physical sphere.

      To clarify, I don't think the religion per se will perish because religions never do. What I fear will ultimately be gone- that is once all is said and done - is the reputation of Judaism as a progressive world view. In time, after israel had its chance to commit all the heinous acts it plans, and after its friends and hangers-on did the damage far and wide, dragging the western world into abject, cowardly inaction, and the jews of the world into silence, if not tacit approval, what will be left will be smoking embers of the forward looking, beneficient bits of a culture, leaving only the backward looking skeletal remains of both culture and religion (which cannot be as readily separated as some think)>

      Of course, by the time all this will come to pass, global warming will make its more destructive effects felt far and wide, and perhaps the fate of one ancient religion will be the least of humanity's worries.

      Today, I am Jeremiah.

    • Teapot - there are many secret MW readers in all kinds of places. One could indeed be your next door neighbor! or the babysitter's boyfriend. Or the supermarket checkout clerk.

      Sometimes I wish there could be, like, a virtual space reunion, of the MWs of the world. I think there would be quite a few surprises for many. Though alas, not many are likely to be nubile cheerleader types, or, busy hedge fund managers, or for that matter, people in the prime reproductive years. Just a hunch there. With all due exception to Mooser perhaps. Wherever he may be in his prime or primal years, something tells me his party invitations keep on coming, and his belts are hedged.

    • Keith - I also agree with the need for perspective and the obvious intent to manipulate what happened by TPTB to further their own goals. Glad to see you quote The saker. He doesn't always state things most elegantly but the words he chooses, more often than not, cut to the core.

      I saw the photos of the heads of state marching in France todays. Looking ever so solemn. Commemorating those who died in France and supposedly extolling free speech. MoA pointed out that on the very same day, 40 would-be police recruits - patriots all - got bombed and killed in Yemen. Where was the march for them? over the past weeks Bahrain, one of SA's lap dogs, stepped up the persecution of the freedom fighters there (yes, why don't we call them freedom fighters? why are the MSM mouthpieces referring to them as "shiite activists"?), including some of turned up dead, tortured and/or sentenced to long jail time. Where is the march for the brave Bahrainis who are agitating for freedom of speech?

      BTW, some good pieces you put up on your blog, Keith. You should direct traffic there.

    • Walid, to add to your list - Tamerlan Tsarnaev, shot dead, as was the friend (Todashev?) in Florida - was it? (yes, we heard that tale of the grabbing for the gun, and the threatening with the table, etc. etc.). In fact, some of the similarities with the Boston marathon events are chilling. A known threat, Tamerlan was. But strangely enough, he was off the hook for those three dead in a supposed drug related killing. Not even subject to surveillance after returning from Dagestan On the hook (as was Tobashev) off again, whatever is convenient whenever.

      The younger Tsarnaev was caught alive - just barely - a decision must have been made that this would be more useful than killing him. By somebodies somewhere.

      The similarities with the Boston case don't end up there. Just like the similarities with 9/11. Funny how the terrorists knew to leave behind their IDs in the stolen car. it definitely brings to mind the 9/11 terrorist guy's passport materializing, well worn but intact.

      Not all of these incidents were false flags, perhaps. But the "let it just happen" seems all too plausible, especially when one looks at the cui Bono. Sometimes, it's OK to state the obvious, as inconvenient as it is.

  • A tale of two tests
    • David - you gave up Math for Law? how could you? where do you find clarity these days (moral or otherwise)? you have seen purity once - how can you live without it? (OK there's always Sudoku....). No wonder you feel the urge to concoct morality tests!

    • This is a great test, David. I am partial to Math. It brings much clarity, doesn't it?

  • The moral hysteria of Je suis charlie
    • Was an Egyptian delegation really in attendance of the the rallies? the Sisi people who are persecuting countless people in Egypt for daring to speak their mind?

      I think the only delegation missing is the one from saudi Arabia, led perhaps by the blogger who just got flogged for expressing some opinion.

      yes, the irony.

  • Don't let's go to the war of civilizations again
    • Believe it or not, Mooser, these pro-israel posters would be considered practically righteous saintly apparitions, were they to speak in Israel as they do here. For one thing, they are polite in language (yes, I know, otherwise they'd be out). For another, they do seem, for the most part, to take pains to issue standard Hasbara, each with their few personal "flourishes" and ornamentations. They all put on a good show of "being reasonable" and "engaging with the other side". Some, like JeffB would even add the mandatory humanitarian concern (for all those poor Tibetans and Syrians that the MW pages painstakingly neglect). In Israel, were they to speak as they do here (assuming some, like jeffB could be a bit more condensed - patience is thin over there), they would be lambasted for being "naive", failing to see just how Amaleki Muslims really are and for being weak-kneed liberals trembling before the mighty 'Bama, all for daring to posit that somehow Palestinians have a human dimension too (despited being obvious Amalekites) . And those accusations would be the gentlest of the lot.

      All these posters you mention, Mooser (and we have seen a few more over time) are American or Anglo versions of liberal or semi-liberal zionists. They all seem to enjoy what they probably consider a "debate" never mind not making much hey with their points. The real right wingers are not likely to even bother to engage with a blog like MW, other than in passing through.

      The discourse I speak of inside israel, in hebrew, is far more raw and vitriolic, especially on social media. In general, I'd call it bloody-minded, something that works well in Hebrew, a more guttoral, concise and picturesque language than English. After all, inside israel they have no need for Hasbara. That's something that's done just for the consumption of the educated western useful idiots (idiots to their mind). So just try to imagine what the discourse would be like in parts of the US if people didn't feel the need to mask their true feelings. FOX doesn't even get to the starting line. After all, they too must be "polite".

      Were hophmi, or ivri or jeffB or Gilad or jonS, to ever read the hebrew lingo fluently (ie, other than the rudimentary basics they might have been exposed to in the US or an Israeli ulpan) they would run screaming into the stormy night, covering their ears all they way to kingdom come.

      As for lack of thought, you'll just have to believe me when i sa that what we are dealing with here, on these pages, are veritable Einsteins, cogent in their brilliant coherence, by comparison with the Israeli variant, even the more educated ones.

      Sorry all for the praise I had to heap upon the innocently undeserving. Aren't we the lucky ones, here at MW?

    • I kind of have to agree with Boomer here - especially about one point: the will to change does not exist in Israel. Not at all. Nothing above a smidgen that shows itself among the few groups, like B'tselem and breaking the Silence and Zochrot. Organizations that count hundreds not thousands among their members, each. The reality of israel is far more dire than even Phil is willing to acknowledge.

      For which degrees of separation I count the distance in language as a key factor. Phil and most other progressive American jews do not speak hebrew, and those who understand a little are neither fluent nor comfortable in it. I keep harping on this point, something that no israeli or ex-Israeli has ever challenged me on - the secret is in the language. American jews - conservatives, liberals, progressives and indifferent simply do not know what the discourse is really like in Israel. They have some translations and some accounts. They may be aware of some of it. But they don't know the full extent of what's in the hearts and minds of israelis, a people hardly inclined to keep their opinions to themselves.

      And If they knew, they would grow ashen with despair. I once thought of starting a project with similarly minded and linguistically schooled friends of having snippets of translations from israelis social media, especially facebook. But then, a problem arose. The more I read, the more despondent I became. not because of what I read on the pages of some radicals and settler types. But because of what I saw endorsed - and seconded - on the pages of perfectly normal people, from everyday grandmothers and sweet looking teenagers. At which point I realized that despondency is the enemy of hope. It is actually essential that people like Phil maintain a measure of hope. That things can change, perhaps first among American jews and ultimately among Israelis. It is essential because some must hope against hope to remain motivated to do the hard lifting.

      Sometimes I wish I could be among the activists, bright eyed and a bit naive as some of them are. Be a foot soldier among the righteous. Instead of issuing periodic jeremiads that seem to do no good at all to anyone, myself included. Other than letting off steam, perhaps. But perhaps this is not my choice to make. Some march, some activate, some pontificate, and some just rant. What can the fox do?

      More than anything I wish to be ultimately proven wrong in my prognosis. Stranger things have happened. Parts of humanity did step back from the brink before. Though certainly not all, and not always. Alas, at the moment I don't see anything good happening vis-a-vis I/P other than a steady, almost dull march towards an inevitable drreary conclusion. That because I cannot stop being aware of a collusion of factors - somewhere between the empire of chaos, neoliberalism as an ultimately dead-end economic path (unless neo-feudalism is a legitimate end-point), the rise of extreme radicalism among muslims due to all the reasons that have been cited - accompanied by a fear-motivated radicalism in the West, and above all, the steady and inexorable march of global warning, I see nothing but trouble ahead as far as my own logic will allow me.

      I would give much to have just a somewhat larger sliver of Phil's optimism. may be he could lend me a few bits of his genome?

  • Against self-determination
    • Sorry Elliot, for addressing "Eljay". it's thos "El"'s that get me every time! Thanks for not saying anything....

    • Eljay, thanks for asking. For sure I am in their data base as an ex-israeli. For whatever reason the last time I entered israel with my American passport, I got a couple of raised eye brows, which beget a "please ask me" stare from yours truly. So to punish me, no one did. The time before that, I entered with my American passport and a letter from the consulate saying I returned all my israeli documents. With that letter in hand, I was able to slide straight in, eliciting just a curious, not even reproachful, stare. Don't ask me why it has been so easy for me. Could be the fact that I only speak English, when it's obvious I must be a fluent hebrew speaker. Could be that things are getting progressively worse and it's been 3 years now since my last visit, so things may not be so smooth next time.

      So here's what I suspect - israelis, for the most part play a "dare me" game with each other. A game i almost always win, even as the game barely starts. I get instantly classified - before anyone knows anything - as an alpha, whatever that means for israelis. Somehow to the average israeli something clicks that say 'don't go there or you'll be sorry". May be there is more information about me on their computers - going way back to those high school days where I perfected the paper airplane construction business + a few other odds and ends. Or there is a note about my IDF days, when everyone seemed to be counting the days when my service can be finally "over' for everyone. May be it says something like "don't ask or she'll tell" on the computer screen. May be it says other, worse things, who knows?

      In any case, I'm sure it's a matter of luck who one runs into at the airport, and I may have lucked out. Sounds like you got treated rather well too, all in all considered. I don't intend to go too often in any case. I think my family may not mind all that much - it seems to really weigh on them, having to speak in English and realizing how little they can express themselves in the universal language, even with their degrees, much less the lack thereof. I suspect that most of the time, no one there quite understands what I am saying anyways - they suspect I went over to "the other side" but can't be sure what that "other side" is exactly, so perhaps it's best not to know too much>>>.

      What is it they say? you can't go home again, right? especially if the original home was not the right home for the soul.

    • hophmi: "like many secular Jews, he wants Judaism to reflect his own predilections because while he fetishizes assimilation, deep down, he feels a need for acceptance ."

      You got it all wrong, hophmi. Phil is hardly asking "Judaism" to do anything, much less "reflect his own predilections". Rather, he was implying that Jewish subculture (rather than judaism about which he has not made any comment) is something he has less and less use for, other than as one element in the great American mix, one that he values.

      If anything, it is Phil that's moving, even as "Judaism" (I assume you mean the religion), and to a large extent the "Jewish subculture" is staying put, mired in one place, paralysed in thought and action; all because of one country in the Middle east that has chosen a path of abomination, dragging all that was good and laudable in both religion and culture with it. Israel killed the Yiddish culture and language. It killed the Mizrahi culture, stomping on it for good measure. It treats jewish American culture (including the reform and conservative streams) with contempt (except when it can brag about some accomplished jewish person or another). And it never stopped stealing land and trying to kill the person and soul of others who dared inhabit it. It is in the process of returning the religion of judaism back to a spiritual stone age where golden calves are worshipped and corruption is rampant everywhere throughout the land - among the highest and lowest, the devout and the secular. israel and the toxic version of zionism it promulgates far and wide kill the spirit of anything it will encounter until all that's left is a "Torah" shorn of any meaning to anyone other than the self-selected, most cantankerous members of one part of one tribe. Thus it has ever been for the jews when they lived in their own country, and just because the pattern is not visible to all, does not mean it is ahistoric.

      Phil prefers to move beyond and away from this self-destructive path and finds company with others who share his chosen humanist, enlightenment values, be they jewish or not. That's what he keeps saying - and has been saying - through this blog, nuances and changes notwithstanding. The evolution he is describing has absolutely nothing to do with some secret "desire for acceptance" but with spiritual and intellectual progression, which he is lucky to experience. No one says you have to follow that path, hophmi since you are seemingly comfortable in the embrace of a more tribal mix. Why you are here, on this blog, is the only mystery, though perhaps it speaks of a certain masochism (see? we can all be amateur psychologists).

      I was only surprised you didn't dish out the tried and true "self hate" meme. But I'm sure that's coming next.

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